London’s Westminster Cathedral

For overseas visitors to the South West, a few days in London will most likely be part of your trip – especially if your travelling to the UK via one of the London airports or Eurostar.  Here is a suggestion of a place to visit in London’s West End – ideal if you have spent a hectic day shopping in London’s West End.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral is one of London’s most famous and a must see tourist attractions when visiting the city. After all London is not just about the nightlife and food. It also offers cultural destinations such as museums or cathedrals. You have more than enough reason not to miss seeing the Church, its history and its importance in the development of London. Westminster Cathedral is the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Beware as it is often confused with Westminster Abby, which belongs to the Church of London! The space occupied by the church originally belonged to the Benedictine monks and was acquired by the Archbishop of Westminster in 1885.

History and Architecture

If you’ve gone through the Victoria neighborhood, you must have seen a reddish brick building with brick domes. This is none other than Westminster Cathedral. In the nineteenth century, the Catholic Church in England was just recovering after years of persecution. In honor of the memory of Cardinal Wiseman who died during mid-nineteenth century, it was possible to raise the money for the first part of the project to build a cathedral. After several false starts it was in 1895 that they started with the construction of the Cathedral. The architecture was substantially influenced by the Byzantine model as seen in the high tower that dominates and domes.

They mistakenly believe that Westminster Cathedral was the first Catholic church built in the UK since the Reformation. The consecration of the Cathedral of Westminster was not carried out until June 28, 1910 when it was debt free and fully completed.

Inside the cathedral

An important event happened in 1977 when the Queen visited the church. There was no religious service conducted a religious service and the reason for the visit had little to do with the religious side. The event is symbolic as it is the first time since the Reformation, a monarch of the United Kingdom visited a Catholic church.

As I said the building has a strong Byzantine style but some parts of the interior seem to indicate a different trend, perhaps to generate a specific contrast. Some details are considered Norman style. It is a good idea to enjoy a celebration of Mass in the church. The acoustics are very good and the event has an ancient and reverent air. Work is especially impressive from the choir which is usually hidden behind the main altar. It is also an extremely interesting destination for teens.

Useful Information

The cathedral is open from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday. During the weekend it opens at 8am, with the same closing time. The tour is free, except for if you want to visit the tower at a cost of £5.