Fodor's Expert Review Southwark Cathedral

South of the Thames Historical
Free

Pronounced suth-uck, this is the oldest Gothic church in London, parts of it dating back to the 12th century. It remains off the beaten track, despite being the site of some remarkable memorials and a concert program that offers free half-hour organ recitals at 1:10 pm every Monday (except in August and December) and classical music at 3:15 pm every Tuesday during the school year. Originally the priory church of St. Mary Overie (as in "over the water," on the South Bank), it became a palace church under Henry VIII (when it became known as St. Saviour's) until some merchant parishioners bought it from James I in 1611. It was only promoted to cathedral status in 1905.

Look for the vivid 15th-century roof bosses (small ornamental wood carvings); the gaudily renovated 1408 tomb of John Gower, Richard II's poet laureate and a friend of Chaucer's; and the Harvard Chapel, where John Harvard, a local butcher's son who went on to found the American university, was baptized. Another... READ MORE

Pronounced suth-uck, this is the oldest Gothic church in London, parts of it dating back to the 12th century. It remains off the beaten track, despite being the site of some remarkable memorials and a concert program that offers free half-hour organ recitals at 1:10 pm every Monday (except in August and December) and classical music at 3:15 pm every Tuesday during the school year. Originally the priory church of St. Mary Overie (as in "over the water," on the South Bank), it became a palace church under Henry VIII (when it became known as St. Saviour's) until some merchant parishioners bought it from James I in 1611. It was only promoted to cathedral status in 1905.

Look for the vivid 15th-century roof bosses (small ornamental wood carvings); the gaudily renovated 1408 tomb of John Gower, Richard II's poet laureate and a friend of Chaucer's; and the Harvard Chapel, where John Harvard, a local butcher's son who went on to found the American university, was baptized. Another notable buried here (between the choir stalls) is Edmund Shakespeare, brother of William. Free drop-in 45-minute tours are offered depending on the church's services and events.

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Historical Free Church

Quick Facts

London Bridge
London, Greater London  SE1 9DA, England

- 020 - 7367–6700

cathedral.southwark.anglican.org

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free (suggested donation £4)

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