Given its long Christian heritage, England boasts an astonishing array of cathedrals, churches, and abbeys. Some of the most spectacular cathedrals in the UK have drawn pilgrims from across the globe for centuries, and more recently attract all those with a passion for religious architecture.
Discover the four cathedrals in the UK which are sure to take your breath away!
First on the list is St. Paul’s, one of the most iconic buildings in England’s capital. It is easy to find when you are traveling around London by train because the Underground stop is named in its honor.
St. Paul’s Cathedral dates back to the 600s, although the existing structure is a 17th-century creation as the original building was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Christopher Wren was the mastermind behind the redesign, blessing St. Paul’s with one of the tallest domes in the world that stands proud at over 110 meters high. Visitors can climb hundreds of steps to reach the top, pausing to pass messages to each other across the famous Whispering Gallery around 30 meters up.
Further north in the center of England’s largest region is York, a historic city that was constructed around York Minster.
The site on which the present cathedral stands has been Roman barracks, a Viking stronghold, and a Christian pilgrimage site, so there is a wealth of heritage to explore. The minster itself is over 800 years old, a masterpiece of handcrafted stone decorated with one of the world’s best collections of medieval stained glass.
If you have the energy, it is well worth scaling the 275 steps that take you to a sensational viewpoint.
More northerly still is Durham Cathedral which is a similar age to York Minster.
This impressive structure was commissioned by William to Conqueror in the late 11th century to house the relics of St Cuthbert who evangelized Northumbria and the 8th-century English monk and scholar the Venerable Bede.
Durham Cathedral is of significant architectural importance because it is the largest and greatest example of a Norman building in England of bold experimental design verging on Gothic. It also reflects the central role of the early Benedictine monasteries in English society.
Last on the list but perhaps most impressive is Salisbury Cathedral in the south.
This immense building was constructed in just 38 years, an astonishing feat considering that it dates to the first half of the 13th century. It boasts the tallest spire in Great Britain which soars an astonishing 123 metres, as well as the oldest working clock in Europe.
The most incredible element that awaits visitors is the very best preserved copy of the Magna Carta. This historic document placed limits on the king to avoid the exploitation of monarchical power, establishing the law as a power in itself. This was the beginning of English Law as we know it today.