London is rich in history and art, and you can experience both at the city’s cathedrals.
Westminster Cathedral is located on Victoria street. The nearest tube and train station is Victoria. As you walk along Victoria Street, you discover a wide piazza among commercial and office buildings. That is the main entrance to the cathedral. You will probably think that you have been transported to Constantinople. No, you are still in London.
Built in the late 19th century (1895), the cathedral building is actually Victorian. However, its design style is Early Christian Byzantine. The nave and the mosaics reminded me of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (modern-day Constantinople).
The cavernous nave and chapels are decorated with over one hundred different types of marble from all over the world, like red granite from Sweden or lapis lazuli form Chile. The effect is truly astounding.
The mosaics are Neo-Byzantine in style. They were installed between 1912 and 1916 by members of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which stood for traditional craftsmanship and often inspired by medieval, romantic or folk styles.
Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1P 1LT
Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile
This is a little-known cathedral, or, at any rate, I never heard of it until now. It is the cathedral of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London.
This is bit is confusing to me: “Though independent from the authority of the Latin Rite hierarchy in England and Wales, and instead under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchial bishop, territorially, the cathedral is considered to be part of the Marylebone deanery of the Latin Rite Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster.”
The Ukrainian Catholic church bought this building in 1967. It was originally built in in the Italianate classic design in 1891 for the Congregational King’s Weigh House. The architect, Alfred Waterhouse, also designed the Natural History Museum. learn more about the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile here.
22 Binney Street (Chancery), London, W1K 5BQ
St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark
Two cathedrals grace Southwark: St. George’s, which is Catholic, and Southwark Cathedral, which is Anglican. Of the two, St. George’s is lesser known. Let’s change that.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the St. George is the seat of the Archbishop of Southwark, which the London boroughs south of the Thames, the Medway and Kent.
The building was designed by the renowned Victorian architect Augustus Pugin and was officially opened in 1848. Almost a century later, in April 1941, an incendiary bomb caused a lot of damage. After rebuilding, the cathedral was reconsecrated in 1958.
St. George’s Cathedral is a stone’s throw away from the Imperial War Museum and the South Bank. It’s a short walk from Waterloo Station.
Lambeth Road, (SE1 6HR)
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is the best known of all London’s cathedrals. It’s one of the quintessential landmarks we think of when we think of London.
St. Paul’s has a very long history that goes back to the 7th century. The current building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the English Baroque style, after the Great Fire of London of 1666 destroyed the medieval cathedral.
This was not the only time that St. Paul’s was under attack. The suffragettes planted a bomb in 1913, but it didn’t go off. However, the German bombs during the Blitz did not miss the cathedral, which then became a symbol of resistance.
St. Paul’s is the seat of the Bishop of London and is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of London. It’s a wonderful building. If you have time to visit just the one cathedral, do choose St. Paul’s.
St Paul’s Cathedral, St Paul’s Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD
Southwark Cathedral is located on the south bank of the Thames in Bankside. It is the seat of the Diocese of Southwark of the Church of England, which serves South London and Surrey.
Its full name is The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie. Its history dates back to the Doomsday Book (1086), as it mentions the existence of a minster at that location. The Normans re-founded it in 1106 as a priory under the Augustinian rule.
The many highlights of Southwark Cathedral include a Roman pavement, the stained glass, Edmund Shakespeare’s memorial stone (he was William’s brother), and the altar piece and screen. And a lovely café to sit and relax. Find visitor information here. You’ll find the cathedral behind Borough Market, at the foot of London Bridge.
London Bridge, London SE1 9DA
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