Cathedrals can be amongst the best places to visit during the festive period to get you in the Christmas spirit. As well as reminding you of the meaning behind the celebration, these magnificent buildings are always well-decorated with the choral sounds adding to the Christmassy vibe. Where ever you are in the UK, you won’t be too far away from a spectacular Cathedral. Historically city status was only granted to places with a cathedral which means it is likely that you nearest city has one for you to visit. Alternatively, domestic holiday providers such as ukbreakaways.com run city breaks to a range of destinations with world-renowned cathedrals. Here is my run-down of the best the UK has to offer.
Famous for hosting the Christmas Eve Carol Service ‘A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’, King’s College Chapel is situated in Cambridge University. The 14th Century chapel is actively used as a place of worship so it is worth checking whether there is a service on in advance of your visit. King’s is famous for its large stained glass windows as well as its Christmas Eve tradition.
Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral is situated at the opposite end of Hope Street which connects it to the City’s Catholic Cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral which is also well worth a visit. The Anglican Cathedral was designed by famous architect Giles Gilbert Scott and holds the record for being the largest church building in the UK covering an area of nearly 10,000 square metres.
The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, to give its full name, is highly regarded as one of the country’s top architectural treasures and was used as the double for St Paul’s in the film of The Da Vinci Code. Lincoln Cathedral has a regular programme of events with some great Christmas concerts and theatre taking place in December.
Writer Bill Bryson, in his book Notes from a Small Island, rates Salisbury Cathedral as ‘the single most beautiful structure in England’. The cathedral was completed in 1258 and has the tallest spire of all UK churches. Salisbury is situated in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and hosts a wonderful quintessentially British Christmas market.
London is the home of Christmas and has two of the world’s most awe-inspiring Cathedrals in St Pauls and Westminster Abbey. These are two must-see sites for any London visitor but are especially stunning during the festive period. Both venues have an extensive Christmas calendar of events.
York Minster in the beautiful Yorkshire city is a stunning Gothic cathedral which boasts traces of every age from England’s Roman occupation in the first century. The Minster’s Christmas event programme includes the traditional ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ as well as family friendly craft activities
Gloucester Cathedral will already hold magic for visitors of a certain age as three of the Harry Potter films were filmed there. However, at Christmas there is much more on offer with Carol services, a festive market and classical concerts all going on.
As part of an awe-inspiring World Heritage site, Canterbury Cathedral is well worth a visit if you are in the Kent area. The Cathedral, originally founded in 597, is one of the oldest in the country.