With a history dating back some 3000 years and almost 9 million inhabitants, it’s not surprising that London holds several of Europe’s, if not the world’s, best known Cathedrals and Abbeys, following both the Protestant and Catholic faiths.
Built just over a hundred years ago in 1903, this as yet unfinished Byzantine style cathedral appears as somewhat Mediterranean amongst the gothic and classical churches of London. Designed by John Francis Bentley, the Roman Catholic Cathedral is a hidden gem, renowned for its superb classical music and world famous choir. Westminster Cathedral is also a parish church and holds Holy Mass forty times every week.
A gothic masterpiece dating from the 13th-16th centuries, Westminster Abbey has the nickname of “a Royal Peculiar” as it’s neither a Cathedral nor a parish church, but fulfils many ceremonial and religious functions of state and crown. The Abbey is many things to many people – a functioning location for daily worship and a place of shrines and tombs to monarchs, the famous, the great and the good and as a centre for musical excellence. It has been the location for all British coronations since 1066 and the setting for no less than sixteen royal weddings.
St Pauls Cathedral
Certainly one of the most historic places of worship in London, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood here for over 1400 years. Prior to that the hill on which it stands is believed to have been the location of a Roman temple to the Goddess Diana. It stands 58ft above sea level and is one of the three ancient hills of London. St Pauls Cathedral was the first Cathedral to be built after the English Reformation in the mid-16th century. The Cathedral we see today is probably the fourth cathedral on this site, this one famously designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London destroyed its predecessor. Built between 1675 – 1710, it opened to the public in 1697.
Tours featuring Cathedrals in London
Westminster Abbey features on all our tours apart from the City Tour where you will be able to view St Paul’s Cathedral. See our Tours page for details of these sights plus the dozens of others you’ll see when you join us for an amphibious road and river adventure.