Westminster Cathedral, London, England (with Map & Photos)

Westminster Cathedral is the main Catholic church in England and Wales, located in one of the oldest districts of London - Westminster. A beautiful building in the neo-Byzantine style was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and stands out noticeably among the surrounding modern buildings.

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral

The large building, with an area of ​​more than 5,000 m², was built of red brick with white stone inserts typical of Byzantine churches. Powerful buttresses are also built of brick, and the domes are made of concrete. Westminster Cathedral consists of several chapels and has one bell tower rising to a height of 90 meters. At the very top there is a large cross with particles of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Information for tourists

Westminster Cathedral attracts tourists with its unusual architecture and richly decorated interiors. In it you can see picturesque mosaics, inlaid marble and works of arts and crafts trimmed with gold, pearls and lapis lazuli. The cathedral has two organs. The large one is behind the western entrance, and the small one is behind the altar. Many visitors come to the temple for organ music concerts.

By paying £5, you can inspect the temple treasury. The same money must be paid in order to take the elevator to the top of the high tower - the campanile, from which an excellent view of Westminster opens. From the tower you can see the Palace of Westminster, Trafalgar Square and the Queen Victoria Memorial. For £8, travelers can purchase a combined ticket and view the treasury and campanile at the same time.

Tourists are allowed free of charge throughout the first floor of Westminster Cathedral and its side aisles. The temple is open from Monday to Friday from 7.00 to 19.00, and on Saturday and Sunday from 8.00 to 19.00. The bell tower is available from 9.30 to 12.30 and from 13.00 to 17.00.

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral

History of Westminster Cathedral

It was originally planned to build a cathedral in the Gothic style. But calculations showed that this project would be too expensive, and the city authorities settled on the neo-Byzantine project of the architect John Francis Bentley. The middle-aged architect wanted the building to meet all the traditions, so he went to Venice and thoroughly studied the structure of the Cathedral of St. Mark.

The construction of the temple began in 1895 and lasted 8 years. Westminster Cathedral became Bentley's most famous work, but, unfortunately, the architect did not live to see the completion of construction. In 1903, the temple opened its doors to believers, and its official consecration took place 7 years later. In 1977, for the first time since the Anglican Reformation, the Queen of Great Britain visited the Catholic Church, 18 years later, Elizabeth II took part in the Catholic Mass.

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral


Many tourists who find themselves inside Westminster Cathedral are struck by the height of its vaults. The main dome is understood to be 33 meters from the floor, and it seems that overhead is not a vault, but the sky. Thanks to wealthy patrons, the cathedral received a rich marble pulpit, an alabaster statue of the Virgin and Child and a large bell.

In the temple you can see very rare mosaics for English cathedrals. The chapel of Our Lady was designed by the artist Gertrude Martin, and the main entrance was decorated with the mosaic "Christ in Glory" by the British artist Robert Annig Bell.

It is curious that mosaics made by the Russian muralist Boris Vasilyevich Anrep are stored in Westminster Cathedral. And in the crypt of the temple lies the ashes of the last ambassador of the Russian Empire, Count Alexander Konstantinovich Benkendorf, who died in London in January 1917.

How to get there

Westminster Cathedral stands at 42 Francis Street, 300 meters from London Victoria Station and 600 meters from St. James's Park. Near the temple, on Victoria Street, city buses number 11, 24, 148, 507 and 211 stop.

Westminster Cathedral Map