A cathedral is the main church of a diocese and as such will have a bishop attached to its operations. A church will instead be run by groups of priests or clergymen. A cathedral is a larger place of worship than a church and a building that defines a city. So, now that we have the definition out of the way, let us explore 4 cathedrals in the UK that should be top of any travel plan.
Located on Ludgate Hill in London, St Paul’s stands as a now Grade I listed building. That is, a building deemed to be of great interest and of national importance. The Anglican cathedral was designed by architects Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Nicholas Hawksmoor and is iconic to the skyline of London. Standing at a height of 111 metres, it is built in a Renaissance, English Baroque style. It is famous for its domed roof and framework of Christopher Wren spires. Between 1710 and 1963 it was the tallest building in London. The dome is still one of the highest in the world.
Gloucester’s cathedral is famed for being one of the many UK filming locations used in the making of the Harry Potter films. It became the backdrop to many Hogwarts scenes throughout the Harry Potter movie series. For example, its cloisters are visible in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, representing the corridor leading to Gryffindor’s common room, and when Hermione was trapped in the toilet by a troll. For those interested in architecture, a cloister is a covered walkway of the sort typically found in buildings which have a religious function. For example, cathedrals, monasteries, and convents.
In terms of age, the site as an abbey dates to 681 and the cathedral as we know it today to 1100. The abbey site was abandoned with the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536 and 1539 under the rule of King Henry VIII. It, however, became the seat for a bishopric in 1541.
Situated in Hampshire, England, Winchester Cathedral stands as one of Europe’s largest. It is longer in overall length than any of the Gothic cathedrals standing.
The remains of Anglo-Saxons and Normans are thought to exist at the site of the cathedral. These include Cnut, Edmund Ironside, and William II Rufus.
King Alfred the Great was originally buried in the Old’ Minster until his remains, together with those of his wife and children, were moved to Hyde Abbey. It is thought, though, that the bones may have been lost when in 1788 a prison was constructed on the site.
In terms of its structure, Winchester Cathedral consists of Norman and English Gothic architecture.
York Minister is the largest Gothic cathedral existing in Europe. In addition, York’s cathedral is the biggest in northern Europe. It is famous for its Gothic architecture. Work began on it in the 1200s and was not completed until the 1470s, indicating the scale of the task. It has 3 towers: a central tower (72 metres), and 2 western towers (60 metres each). It is an impressive sight, as are the other cathedrals described above.
Although known as “Minster”, York is still officially a cathedral, as well as being the Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York. As talked about in the introduction of this article, a cathedral is defined as a place of worship that is run by a bishop, or is the seat of their throne, but this definition was not in use until after the Norman conquest.
In summary, there are many cathedrals in just the UK alone to visit. All of them are spectacular sights due to their vast size. So, whether you are interested in religion, architecture, city skylines, or even Harry Potter, there is much to be gained from visited them in person.