One of the great things about Britain that often gets lost in the many other attractions is the abundance of spectacular cathedrals that you can find throughout the island. Even if you are not into history or churches entirely, these are some of the most beautiful structural achievements that have ever been created. There are countless cathedrals throughout Britain, so we wanted to give you a selection of a few of the best ones that you should make time for on your trip.
The magnificent Church of England Cathedral is located in the heart of the historic town of Winchester. Once the seat of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs, the history stretches back 15 centuries. After the cathedral was already five centuries old, it found new life with the coming of William the Conquer.
The church is one of the largest in England and it has the biggest nave and the largest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. A few of the treasures you can find here include the largest and finest of all the 12th century English bibles (the Winchester Bible) and precious works of art in the Triforium Gallery.
This Anglican cathedral stems back into English history and is a beautiful testament to early English architecture. It is officially referred to as the Cathedral of Saint Mary. The spire here is the tallest throughout the UK. It also is home to the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta, the world’s oldest clock (around 1386), and the largest cloister in Britain. The cathedral was only under construction from 1220 to 1258, meaning it was built in only 38 years.
St. David’s Cathedral
St. David has been a prominent spiritual force in Britain since the 8th century. So much so that the monastic community was called upon to help repel the Viking invasion. The construction first started in 1181, but it did not take long before the church became damaged, primarily because of earthquakes and the collapse of a central tower.
The historical building was almost entirely destroyed and it was not until the 18th century that the cathedral was restored. You can find the cathedral in a small town that carries the same name, on Wales’ most westerly coast. Not only is the cathedral itself worth a visit, but the surrounding beauty is also stunning.
At one point, the Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in the world. It stood alone until about 1549. One of the reasons that many people love the Lincoln Cathedral is because of its unique design. It has a standard long nave with crossing napes, thus making the symbol of the cross.
The Gothic and Norman combination found in the Lincoln Cathedral makes it one of most the unique throughout Europe. Like many of its contemporaries, there are many important historical works to find here, including texts from Saint Bede and four copies of the Magna Carta.
St. Giles Cathedral
This is the official principal place of worship for the Church of Scotland. There has been a site of worship in this specific location for more than 900 years, and the current cathedral borrows certain aspects from different historical periods that date back all the way to the 13th century.
This is one of the most iconic buildings in Scotland, primarily because of the constant adding and reconstruction. The general dreary demeanor, large frontal stained glass windows, and unique spire make the cathedral stand out amongst the cityscape, but at the same time, it appears so perfectly logically positioned.
St. Magnus Cathedral
This cathedral was built in the far north of Scotland, all the way on the Orkney Island of Kirkwall. Especially with the otherwise green and blue dominated landscape, the red sandstone from the cathedral certainly stands out.
The cathedral itself is a prime example of typical Norman architecture. It has many small archways and it is also studded with large pillars. Especially because the island itself is relatively small and only offers a handful of major historical attractions, you cannot miss this beautiful cathedral.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
This cathedral is an absolute architectural marvel and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, one of Britain’s most famous architects. The present cathedral was under construction between 1675 and 1710; this after the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the cathedral’s predecessor.
The cathedral currently serves the city of London as its Cathedral Church of the Diocese of London. One of the reasons that St. Paul’s Cathedral is well known is because of its iconic dome that dominates the London skyline. Even though the 271-step climb is steep, the panoramic views of downtown London are unmatched anywhere else in the city. Some of the nation’s greatest heroes rest in the large underground crypt, including the famous architect of the building himself, The Duke of Wellington, and Admiral Lord Nelson.