The Most Beautiful Cathedral in the UK: A Ranking of Architectural Marvels

Choose the cathedral you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 19, 2024 05:21
Unveil the breathtaking beauty of the UK's architectural gems by participating in our exclusive ranking of the most beautiful cathedrals! Delve into the awe-inspiring world of towering spires, intricate stained glass windows, and centuries-old history as you explore the country's most stunning cathedrals. Will the enchanting Canterbury Cathedral take the crown, or will the majestic York Minster steal the show? Maybe the lesser-known but equally mesmerizing gems, like Ely or Salisbury, will rise to the top? It's time to cast your vote and have your say in this captivating quest to discover the UK's most beautiful cathedral! And if you think we've missed a hidden treasure, don't hesitate to suggest an addition to our ever-evolving list. Embark on this fascinating journey with us and immerse yourself in the timeless allure of the United Kingdom's most exquisite sacred masterpieces!

What Is the Most Beautiful Cathedral in the UK?

  1. 1
    43
    votes
    York Minster
    MatzeTrier · CC BY-SA 3.0
    York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe and is known for its intricate stained glass windows, stunning architecture, and historical significance.
    York Minster is a magnificent Gothic cathedral located in the city of York, England. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe and is renowned for its stunning architectural beauty.
    • Style: Gothic
    • Height: 72 meters (235 feet)
    • Length: 158 meters (518 feet)
    • Width: 76 meters (250 feet)
    • Construction Period: Started in 1220, took around 250 years to complete
  2. 2
    35
    votes
    St. Paul's Cathedral
    Mark Fosh · CC BY 2.0

    St. Paul's Cathedral

    Sir Christopher Wren
    St. Paul's Cathedral is an iconic landmark in London and is known for its awe-inspiring dome, beautiful mosaics, and ornate carvings.
    St. Paul's Cathedral is an iconic Anglican cathedral located in the heart of London, England. Built in the English Baroque style, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. The cathedral has a rich history dating back to its original construction in 604 AD. The current cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was completed in 1708 after the Great Fire of London. With its magnificent dome, St. Paul's Cathedral stands as a symbol of resilience and architectural brilliance.
    • Architectural style: English Baroque
    • Location: London, England
    • Construction period: Construction started in 1675 and completed in 1708
    • Height: 365 feet (111 meters)
    • Dome diameter: 112 feet (34 meters)
    St. Paul's Cathedral in other rankings
  3. 3
    21
    votes
    Canterbury Cathedral
    Hans Musil · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Canterbury Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the site of Thomas Becket's murder.
    Canterbury Cathedral is a magnificent Gothic structure located in Canterbury, England. It serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. As one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England, it has a rich history and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Height of the Nave: 26.6 meters
    • Height of the Bell Tower: 72 meters
    • Length of the Cathedral: 160 meters
    • Number of Bell Towers: 2
  4. 4
    21
    votes
    Durham Cathedral is known for its stunning Romanesque architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the burial place of St. Cuthbert.
    Durham Cathedral is a magnificent medieval cathedral located in the city of Durham, England. It is widely considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the United Kingdom and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Cuthbert and dates back to the 11th century, showcasing exceptional Norman architecture and Gothic elements.
    • Height: The central tower stands at approximately 66 meters (216 feet) tall.
    • Length: The total length of the building is approximately 144 meters (472 feet).
    • Width: The width of the nave is about 30 meters (98 feet).
    • Nave: The nave features stunning ribbed vaulting and is divided into nine bays.
    • Rose Window: The cathedral boasts a beautiful rose window with intricate tracery.
  5. 5
    14
    votes
    Westminster Abbey
    Σπάρτακος · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Westminster Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the site of numerous royal coronations and burials.
    Westminster Abbey is a Gothic masterpiece and one of the most iconic landmarks in London, England. It is a world-famous religious building and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The abbey has a rich history dating back over a thousand years and is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English monarchs. It is also known for hosting royal weddings, including the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The abbey features stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and magnificent medieval decorations.
    • Architectural style: Gothic
    • Construction started: Around 1045
    • Unique features: Poets' Corner, The Coronation Chair, The Henry VII Lady Chapel
    • Height: 69 meters (225 feet)
    • Length: 160 meters (525 feet)
    Westminster Abbey in other rankings
  6. 6
    12
    votes
    Salisbury Cathedral
    Andrew Dunn (Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/) · CC BY-SA 2.0
    Salisbury Cathedral is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the site of the Magna Carta.
    Salisbury Cathedral, located in Salisbury, Wiltshire, is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the UK. It is recognized for its stunning Gothic architecture and scenic surroundings. The cathedral is known for its iconic spire, which is the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom.
    • Location: Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Spire Height: 123 meters (404 feet)
    • Nave Length: 83 meters (272 feet)
    • Choir Length: 48 meters (157 feet)
  7. 7
    7
    votes
    Winchester Cathedral is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the burial place of numerous kings and queens of England.
    Winchester Cathedral is a magnificent medieval cathedral located in Winchester, England. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the United Kingdom, known for its stunning Gothic architecture and rich history. The cathedral stands as a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the medieval builders and is an iconic landmark in the city.
    • Year of completion: 1093
    • Architectural style: Gothic
    • Height of the tower: 45.7 meters (150 feet)
    • Length of the building: 169.5 meters (556 feet)
    • Width of the nave: 26.5 meters (87 feet)
  8. 8
    5
    votes
    Lincoln Cathedral
    DrMoschi · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Lincoln Cathedral is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the site of the Lincoln Imp legend.
    The Lincoln Cathedral is a magnificent Gothic-style cathedral located in Lincoln, England. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the UK, known for its impressive architecture, intricate decorations, and soaring spires.
    • Style: Gothic
    • Architectural Features: Intricate decorations and carvings, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, stained glass windows
    • Height of Main Tower: 83 meters (272 feet)
    • Height of Central Spire: 123 meters (404 feet)
    • Length of Nave: 83 meters (272 feet)
  9. 9
    7
    votes
    Ely Cathedral
    Bs0u10e01 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Ely Cathedral is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the burial place of St. Etheldreda.
    Ely Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is a stunning medieval cathedral located in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. It is renowned for its architectural beauty and historical significance, making it one of the most exceptional cathedrals in the United Kingdom.
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Height: 66 meters (216 feet)
    • Length: 172 meters (564 feet)
    • Width: 54 meters (177 feet)
    • Nave Roof Height: 23 meters (75 feet)
  10. 10
    7
    votes
    Wells Cathedral
    Diliff · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Wells Cathedral is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and historical significance as the site of the Vicars' Close, the oldest continuously inhabited street in Europe.
    Wells Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, is a stunning medieval cathedral located in Wells, Somerset, England. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the United Kingdom. The cathedral's remarkable architecture and intricate details make it a true masterpiece of Gothic design. Wells Cathedral serves as the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and has been a place of worship for over 800 years.
    • Location: Wells, Somerset, England
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Construction Period: Began in the 12th century
    • Height of Nave: 82 feet (25 meters)
    • Length: 386 feet (118 meters)

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Ranking factors for beautiful cathedral

  1. Architectural style and design
    The overall design, the architectural style, and the various elements that make the cathedral stand out should be considered. This includes the exteriors, interiors, the nave, the facade, and the choir.
  2. Historical and cultural significance
    The importance of the cathedral in the history and culture of the UK should be taken into account. This can include historical events that took place there or connections to notable figures.
  3. Art and craftsmanship
    The quality of the artwork and craftsmanship within the cathedral, such as stained glass windows, frescoes, sculptures, and other artistic elements.
  4. Size and scale
    The overall size and scale of the cathedral, including its height, floor area, and the size of its various features, such as the towers, spires, and domes.
  5. Innovation and uniqueness
    The degree to which the cathedral presents something new, unique, or innovative in terms of its design, construction techniques, or other aspects.
  6. Preservation and restoration
    The condition of the cathedral in terms of its preservation and any restoration work that has been undertaken to maintain or improve it over time.
  7. Acoustics
    The quality and nature of the acoustic environment within the cathedral, particularly for music and singing performances.
  8. Atmosphere and ambiance
    The overall atmosphere and ambiance of the cathedral, including the sense of peace, tranquility, and spirituality that it may evoke.
  9. Landscaping and setting
    The location of the cathedral and its surroundings, including gardens, courtyards, and other outdoor spaces that contribute to its beauty and appeal.
  10. Visitability and accessibility
    How easy it is for visitors to access and appreciate the cathedral, including factors like transportation, guided tours, and information resources available.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful cathedral in the UK. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Cathedral is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 1142 views
  • 169 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Cathedral once every 24 hours. The rank of each Cathedral is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most beautiful cathedral in the uk

As a country that has been shaped by religion and history, the UK boasts some of the most stunning cathedrals in the world. These architectural wonders are not only places of worship but also serve as symbols of the country's rich cultural heritage. From the iconic Westminster Abbey to the majestic St. Paul's Cathedral, the UK's cathedrals offer visitors a glimpse into the country's past and present. Whether you're an architecture enthusiast or simply looking for a spiritual retreat, the UK's cathedrals are a must-visit destination. In this article, we'll explore some of the most beautiful cathedrals in the UK and discover what makes them so special.

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