England’s capital is home to a diverse range of cultural attractions, including museums, galleries and entertainment venues galore. It is also the place to find a host of beautiful cathedrals and places of worship, including one of the world’s most iconic buildings. In this article we take a close look at four of the best and most diverse. If you’re intending to tour the region, why not take advantage of car hire in London and explore the city’s sights at your convenience.
St Paul’s Cathedral
The famous Dome of St Paul’s is one of London’s most famous sights. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London in 1666, the “new” Anglican cathedral stands on a site which has housed religious buildings since the early 7th Century. St Paul’s soars to almost 400 feet high, is the second largest cathedral in the UK, and arguably one of the world’s most famous buildings. The cathedral has been the venue for many iconic events, such as the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and the funeral of late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 2013. The church remains in permanent religious use, and visitors can also enjoy the wonderful architecture, which encompasses styles ranging from Gothic to Neo-classical. The crypt houses 200 memorials to famous figures, including Lord Nelson, and Wren himself.
Located just south of the Thames in the borough of Southwark, the cathedral was officially named in 1905; however it is one of the oldest religious sites in England, dating to around 600 AD. The building was extended in 2000 to include a visitor centre, a shop, and conference facilities. The cathedral holds educational events, college and university graduations, and a regular program of worship each day. During the festive season, the friends of Southwark Cathedral hold a much-loved Christmas market.
Whilst not as well-known as its city neighbours, this Roman Catholic cathedral is one of the most architecturally beautiful in London. Featuring a tower viewing gallery and a host of treasures on permanent exhibit, this is a hidden gem. Although the building wasn’t completed until the turn of the twentieth century, it is home to a wide range of architectural influences and stunning designs; the cathedral includes more than 120 types of marble in its structure, and a host of mosaic patterns influenced by a typical Byzantine church and basilica. Westminster Cathedral has received numerous accolades, and is one of the most stunning and well-photographed buildings in the city.
St George’s, Southwark
Southwark’s Roman Catholic cathedral was officially raised to its current status in 1852, and has a storied history. It suffered a great deal of bomb damage during the Second World War, but has been lovingly restored since then. One of its key attractions is its great acoustics, making it a perfect venue for choirs and orchestras to perform. Visitors and locals alike can partake of services in other formats too, including a weekly Spanish mass. The venue is also used for concerts and graduation ceremonies.