EVERYONE who has visited London has heard of Westminster Abbey, and rightly so – the building itself is stunning, not to mention all the Royal goings on that have happened there over the years. However not many people have heard of the Westminster Cathedral, #60 on London’s Top 100 list.
Tucked in between office and apartment buildings a short walk from Victoria Station, the Westminster Cathedral is a historic Roman Catholic church. The red and white brick building is quite a contrast to the glass and concrete office buildings nearby but a courtyard plaza in front allows for a great view of this building for office workers on their lunch break.
When I entered the cathedral, what struck me the most was how different it was from many of the cathedrals and churches I had visited in my time in Europe. Many cathedrals are opulently decorated in gold or filled with paintings or carvings – however the Westminster Cathedral was quite plain. Don’t get me wrong, it has its fair share of paintings, carvings and occasional grandeur but the high arched ceilings are made out of dark stones giving it quite a gothic feeling. They also have beautiful wrought iron chandeliers giving off subtle lighting which made the place pretty cosy. I am not sure if it was because it was in the mid afternoon, or if it’s not a throbbing tourist attraction but it was a nice change to visit a cathedral without the hustle and bustle of many others.
The best thing about the ancient building is not the interior design or the lack of tourists, it is the view of the city from the tower. For those of you who dread long windy flights of stairs to get a view, never fear for there is an elevator. The cost of a visit to the top of the tower is only a fiver and well worth it if you have a clear(ish) day. Luckily for me I went up on a rare cloudless day in London and had a great time looking out over the city.
The tower is caged in, which doesn’t allow for great panoramic photos, however you can still enjoy the 360 degree view over the city. It’s also great to get a view that isn’t so high that everything looks like tiny dots but feels more like you’re poking your head over the skyline. Although there are many buildings taller than the tower and it might not be the best view around, it’s really great to get up there and peer over the wondrous city.
It is surprise views like this that are my favourite discoveries in my London adventures. I highly recommend a visit to the religious building in Westminster that often gets forgotten!