Last Sunday – 24th October – I was passing through Lichfield on a lazy bike ride, when I noticed that the St. Marys Heritage Centre in the marketplace was advertising trips up to the viewing platform in the tower. Promising fantastic views, and the day being bright and clear, I stumped up the remarkable low price of £2.75. Accompanied by a wonderful lady guide who really knew her stuff, I was escorted up spiral stairs into the belltower of the former church. An arduous, painstaking journey of stone spirals, steel ladders and platforms ensued, which was magical in itself.
Arriving at the top, there is a secure platform with steps near the windows which are opened by the guide in turn. It’s a photographers dream – on this clear day the views were hugely engaging, and I could see as far as the Derbyshire peaks and Weaver Hills, with the Toyota plant at Burnaston clearly visible, as was the water tower at Swadlincote. To the south and west, Aldershawe and Maple Hays appeared as I’d never seen them before, and the autumnal hues of a sunny Sunday in Lichfield were a joy to behold.
If you’re fit and can moderately tolerate heights, it’s a great way to spend half an hour. I fully recommend it, and my guide was eloquent, knowledgable and witty. All in all the whole experience was enchanting and brilliant value. Do give it a go if you can.