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Cathedrals In and Around London

I am planning a London visit to include an architectural tour of cathedrals in and around London. I plan about a 5-7 day tour where 2-3 of those might be spent in London. I would appreciate recommendations for the best cathedral sites to see, and how much time to allocate for each. I hope to schedule to attend a number of rehearsals/services of the best choirs as well.

Posted by
2 posts

Well, in London, St. Paul's is an obvious choice. You can attend a service for free, and the reverb and decor are amazing.

Canterbury is another obvious choice, the headquarters of the Anglican Communion and the tomb of St. Thomas a Becket.

Wells and Salisbury are my other favorites. Thanks to Rick's guidebook, I learned that I'd better stay overnight in Wells if I wanted to attend Evensong, and in addition, the whole town is shut down by the time Evensong lets out. Anyway, I liked the town, and the bus ride from Bath is lovely.

I'm a choir geek (and choral singer) myself, and they all put on a good choral evensong. At Salisbury, I heard the girl choristers sing, and they absolutely nailed a piece that the sopranos in my choir have struggled with forever. However, the men and boys' choirs at the other cathedrals have a unique, ethereal sound, too.

Posted by
8293 posts

Winchester is an hour by train from London (Waterloo Station) and its grand cathedral is well worth visiting. The Cathedral Guides, all volunteers, are a valuable source of information.

Posted by
8700 posts

Don't leave out Westminster Abbey in London. You can attend Evensong services there.

Posted by
12040 posts

Westminster Cathedral (the Roman Catholic counterpart to Westminster Abbey) is worth a visit. You could easily mistake it for a mosque if you overlooked the crosses, and even once identified as Christian, it more closely resembles a Greek Orthodox church than Roman Catholic.

Also, you can reach Canterburry Cathedral by a short train ride from London. I was originally quite impressed, but after visiting countless other gothic cathedrals, its prominence in my memory is somewhat diminished.

Posted by
588 posts

Do not go to London and miss Westminister. We had Gillian as our tour guide and three years later I'm still thinking about it. I would go again in a minute.

Posted by
80 posts

Hi Dan,
I experienced Ely Cathedral in Ely an hour RR trip from London leaving Kings Cross. It's a gorgeous cathedral, lovely small town and there is a labrynth inside the door (tiles are broken and it's not easy to tell what it is). The pub across the street is suppose to be haunted, my grandkids love to go there (they visit family in Soham every year). There is also Bury St Edmunds with an intact cathedral but ruins of the old abbey on the grounds, you can also go down the street in front and go to the Nutshell, smallest pub in England. My son-in-law enjoys taking his pals there. Enjoy your trip! Pam

Posted by
196 posts

Westminster Abbey, Salisbury Cathedral and Bath Church w/the angels climbing up Jacob's ladder. Sadly my photos of the latter were accidently exposed hours after leaving Bath. :(

I had to rely on post cards in my photo album. :(

Thank God for technology that has brought us the Digital Camera!!

Posted by
43 posts

"I would advise trying on a weekday, particularly a Tuesday or a Thursday. Try avoid July or August" Those words were cut and paste from a letter I received from the Dir. of Communications from Westminster Abbey when asking when was the best time to avoid crowds. The first time I visited Westminster Abbey, (and I get complaints about having a 'low emotional IQ')I actually gasped in awe when I walked through the doors. I'm just glad I didn't fall prostrate on the floor! But it's truly awesome.

Also, as mentioned before, the abbey at Bath is amazing with its fan-vaulted ceiling. And St. Pauls Cathedral with mosaic-lined ceilings. And you get to see those upclose if you go up to the galleries. There's a little window and you can see the detail!

By the way, I've had complaints myself that most of my photographs are of sheep and architectual detail, rather than people.

Spend at least a half day at Westminster and a half day at St. Pauls Cathedral. A few hours at the Abbey at Bath.

Posted by
20 posts

"By the way, I've had complaints myself that most of my photographs are of sheep and architectual detail, rather than people."

Ha Ha Judy! I love that line. I could have written it myself. The kicker is that I grew up on a sheep farm and the only thing I want to do is take pictures of sheep like I'd never seen them.

On another note, we are off to see London and will get to visit Westminster. Thanks for all the notes about it. 5 days to go before we leave....yippee

Posted by
215 posts

I would agree with all those previously mentioned
but would add a hidden gem, the Greek Orthodox
Cathedral just around the corner from the Bayswater
tube station. I forget the cathedral's name, but
believe it is on Princess Square. Well worth a
visit for the architecture alone. Their Sunday service has wonderful music, but is quite long, over
two hours. However, people seem to come and go