Mum rents out an old church on Airbnb and Taylor Swift fans noticed straight away

The stained glass window has been kept and restored in the Airbnb
The stained glass window has been kept and restored in the Airbnb -Credit:Airbnb/FTI Consulting

A mum who bought a converted old church was instantly contacted by Taylor Swift fans.

Gill Gradden, 56, originally from Bootle, worked as a nurse in A&E for many years and still works in the health service now as a GP. However, she and her partner found something new to do after they bought a flat which was part of an old church that had been restored in Crosby.

The couple began letting it out on Airbnb. They soon bought a flat that also used to be a church in the same area, St Mary’s, to do the same thing. Gill told the ECHO: “I liked it so much, I didn't really want someone to live in it and not see it again. It’s kind of the same with this flat really. It's a lovely place.”

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“The whole thing's been converted into 15 apartments. It's been done really lovely, it's pristine.

“I had someone that does reviews, and she lives locally, and I said to her to come in and give me some private feedback. She did a little reel on Instagram, and there were lots of people commenting. Some people were saying, it's so lovely, because this was actually empty for ages and boarded up. There's so many beautiful features in it, and stained glass.

The exterior of the church
The exterior of the church -Credit:Airbnb/FTI Consulting

“It would have just been a shame to see it go to rack and ruin, and I think the majority of people are really pleased that it's been changed.”

Gill started to let it out on Airbnb and she quickly became fully booked for Eurovision last year, the Grand National and important football matches. According to Gill, it was booked out ‘straight away’ for the evening of one of Taylor Swift’s concerts by a mum and daughter visiting for one of her Anfield gigs. Searches for Airbnbs shot up more than 350% in Liverpool for Taylor’s concert nights when tickets went on sale in July, bringing a welcome boost to the city’s hospitality industry.

Gill said: “We were away at the time and I was aware of the concert. I think the daughter has just finished the GCSEs as well, so I think it was a gift, a celebration for them.”

Gill feels the mum and daughter will experience something unique compared to those staying in the city centre for the concerts. She said: “When we opened it up, I said to my friend who's from Manchester, just come and stay and give me a few pointers on, is there anything we've forgotten, is there something that would be nice added to it? And she absolutely loved it. She just said to me, you know, it's just so easy to hop on a bus and a train.

“We're just so close to the centre, but you've got that bit of peace in the local area with the bars and the restaurants and stuff. It's nice.”

The church has been restored in a 'pristine' condition
The church has been restored in a 'pristine' condition -Credit:Airbnb/FTI Consulting

“We've got someone coming today - he's staying for the weekend. He's come from Manchester with his friends. I've got a lady who's coming on a cycling trip actually, so they're going to the coastal paths and, and things like that while they're here."

Gill is aware of the huge demand for accommodation for the singer’s concerts in Merseyside, despite not being a huge fan herself. She said: “I must admit no, I'm more rock and stuff like that.

“It's lovely to see. I mean, it was just crazy. The excitement about it when the tickets came out, even in work, everyone had stopped work. I was looking around the room thinking, this is mad I've never seen anything like it. For a concert it was crazy.”

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