BRITAIN’s Top 10 cathedrals

Britain is home to some of the oldest and most spectacular cathedrals in the world. Here are 10 of our favourites.

Britain’s 42 cathedrals welcome more than 11 million visitors a year and are run by 6,000 dedicated staff and 15,000 volunteers. In March, British Chancellor George Osborne announced £20 million of funding for renovations ahead of the First World War centenary commemorations. Scroll down our gallery to find out about Britain’s best-loved cathedrals.

1. Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford

Christchurch
©VisitBritain/Britain on View

First built: 1160-1200
Style: Romanesque, Gothic
Architects: Various (bell tower by Sir Christopher Wren)
Did you know?: Christchurch Cathedral is also the chapel for the students and members of Christchurch College, Oxford University. It is famous for having appeared on film in the Harry Potter films.

 

2. Coventry Cathedral

Coventry Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Daniel Bosworth

First built: 1956-1962
Style: Modernist
Architect: Basil Spence
Did you know?: This is Coventry’s third cathedral in the last 1,000 years. The former one was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in 1940, with the new foundation stone being laid by Her Majesty the Queen on 23 March 1956.

 

3. Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Rod Edwards

First built: 1093-1133
Style: Romanesque
Architects: George Gilbert Scott, Edward Robert Robson, James Wyatt, Richard Farnham
Did you know?: Durham Cathedral won the prestigious title of Number 1 Landmark in Britain in 2013.

 

4. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Met Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Ingrid Rasmussen

First built: 1853-1856
Style: Gothic Revival
Architects: Sir Edwin Lutyens, Frederick Gibberd
Did you know?: It is sometimes known locally as “Paddy’s Wigwam” (after Liverpool’s large Irish Catholic community who were among the first parish) or the “Mersey Funnel”.

 

5. Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Britain on View

First built: 1220-1258
Style: Early English Gothic
Architects: Bishop Richard Poore, Elias of Dereham
Did you know?: The cathedral has the tallest spire in the UK at 404 ft (123m). It also houses the best-quality surviving copy of the Magna Carta.

 

6. Southwark Cathedral, London

Southwark Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Britain on View

First built: 1220-
Style: Romanesque, Gothic
Architect: Arthur Blomfield
Did you know?: There is a reference to the holy site in the Domesday Book in 1086, when the “minster” of Southwark appears to be under the control of William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux.

7. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

St Paul's Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Britain on View

First built: 1675-1720
Style: English Baroque
Architect: Sir Christopher Wren
Did you know?: St. Paul’s has held the funerals of various historical figures including Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill. It was also here the Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981.

8. Wells Cathedral, Somerset

Wells Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Britain on View

First built: 1175-
Style: Early English Period, Gothic architecture
Architects: William Wynford, Elias of Dereham, William Joy
Did you know?: Stone Age flints and Roman pottery have been found near the springs which gives the area its name: Wells.

 

9. Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral
©VisitBritain/Daniel Bosworth

First built: 1079-
Style: Norman, Gothic
Architects: Various
Did you know?: William Rufus, William the Conqueror’s son, was buried here in 1100.

10. York Minster

York Minster
©VisitBritain/Britain on View

First built: 1230
Style: Early English Gothic, Perpendicular
Architects: Various
Did you know?: Early historical records exist of a wooden structure built on the site in 627 to provide a place to baptise Edwin, King of Northumbria. Today York Minster is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.

 

Related articles

A weekend in Winchester
The English cathedral
London’s church spires
Durham Cathedral

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