Southwark Cathedral – Why you should visit this Oldest Gothic Cathedral in London

posted in: England, London 37

Southwark Cathedral

The oldest Gothic Cathedral in London has a very special fulltime resident!

Part of Discover London with Georgina series

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Southwark Cathedral is an Anglican Church and is located in the South Bank of River Thames, just next to the Borough Market which is a thriving environment and easily accessible via London Bridge Station [see below on Useful information]

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Southwark Cathedral: A magnificent Gothic Cathedral and a historical masterpiece

Southwark Cathedral boasts a Gothic architecture and a history that goes way back to 606 AD where people have come here to worship. It was once, the site of Roman pagan worship. . The original site was mostly destroyed by fire in 1212 but there are remnants of original Norman constructed with ragstone rubble, chalk and lead which still remains. These Norman influences can be seen in the rounded arches at the back right of the Cathedral and the arched doorway that leads into the church. The distinguishable medieval Gothic elements can be seen in parts of the front of the Cathedral.  

Southwark Cathedral: A place of worship & hospitality

Described “as ‘thin places’ where you can glimpse and touch a little bit of heaven and experience something of the hospitality of God”, Southwark Cathedral is truly a remarkable Church. In my travels, I have visited many Cathedrals, but this was something else…there was a sense of peacefulness at this Church which I had not experienced elsewhere before.

I learnt that back in the day, this Priory was important to London not just as a place of worship but also because it was a place for education and hospitality – John Gower, the poet, once lived here. His tomb is located in the north aisle of the nave of the Cathedral. It is a brightly coloured tomb – you will not miss it.  You can read more about John Gower by clicking here.

The magnificent exterior architecture of Southwark Cathedral, London
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The magnificent exterior architecture of Southwark Cathedral, London

Southwark Cathedral: The interior – a splendid sight!

The interior of Southwark Cathedral boasts another splendid sight. The incredible architecture of the interior, with its intricate details, the curves, the alcoves and the stained glass windows…there are no special words except that it is simply “beautiful” – see ⇓⇓. The vaulted ceilings are a Must See! With the sunlight coming through into this large and airy space, it makes walking through the Cathedral a very relaxing experience.

The incredible Gothic architecture
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The incredible Gothic architecture of Southwark Cathedral, London

Hope that I have convinced you enough to visit Southwark Cathedral, but if not, then I am certain the following attraction will – a visit to the member of the Southwark Cathedral family…see below at the next picture 🙂

Doorkins Magnificat

I have visited Southwark Cathedral a couple of times since last summer, and besides the stained-glass windows, the breath-taking Gothic ceiling and its history, the highlight of my first visit was Doorkins Magnificat. I was with MT, who took a picture of this adorable furry baby who was asleep in her bed. Doorkins is 12-years old and she likes to sleep. She does not like to be disturbed as she would be grumpy! She has been part of the Cathedral’s family since 2008 and has her own line of merchandises, her story book and a twitter account [@DoorkinsM].  To read more on Doorkins, click here

Doorkins Magnificat
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Doorkins Magnificat ~ found herself a permanent home at the Southwark Cathedral

I had more time on my second visit and took to admiring the stained-glass windows – splendidly beautiful with the sun shining through. 

Southwark Cathedral - Stained-glass windows
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Southwark Cathedral – Stained-glass windows
Southwark Cathedral - Stained-glass windows
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Southwark Cathedral – Stained-glass windows

Southwark Cathedral: Other highlights

  • Shakespeare’s Memorial and window
  • The Harvard Chapel
  • The Herb Garden
  • The Archaeological Chamber

Travel tips and Useful information:

Opening times:      08:00 to 18:00

Entry – is FREE

Photography permit – £1.00 and it comes with a Souvenir Guide

Fully accessible for wheelchair users and limited mobility users.

Getting here:

The best way to get here is by the Underground or Trains and the nearest Station is London Bridge, less than 5-minute walk.

Exit London Bridge, onto Tooley Street.  opposite the Hay’s Galleria. Cross-over and head west towards London Bridge Hospital. Walk-under London Bridge and past the London Tombs and Mudlark Public House. You will reach the courtyard on the north side of the Cathedral.

Address: London Bridge, London, SE1 9DA

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7367 6734

Ways to experience London

For some great ideas on what sights to see, click this link and browse through for options to Get Your Guide to London and make your visit to this capital City an unforgettable one.


With so many sights in London to see and a gazillion things to do, Southwark Cathedral often goes unnoticed by tourists, which in itself is an attraction because it is not crowded and there is plenty of space to move around! It is a place I would recommend and hope you will visit.

Now its your turn – is this post valuable to you to aid your travel plans to London? If so, let me know in comments below or via Contact Form. I would love to hear from you.

Happy discovering London!


January 2020, Update

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A synopsis of history on the oldest Gothic cathedral in London and take a peek inside of its magnificent architecture via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/
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37 Responses

  1. Georgina

    Doorkins is absolutely adorable and he is for some, the main attraction in the Cathedral. Southwark Cathedral has an interesting history and, the architecture is something to go for. So glad you found the post useful and has inspired a future visit. Thank you so much.

  2. Nancy Hann

    Oh how sweet that there’s a cat in the cathedral. What a fun surprise. I just love buildings like this. I pinned your post for a future trip to England. Not sure when it will be, but hopefully soon!

  3. Georgina

    Borough Market is a vibrant market and you will all kinds of street food here which is such a delight. Southwark Cathedral is a beautiful church and I hope you will visit one day.

  4. Georgina

    You are absolutely correct. It is an amazing experience to learn of churches and architecture. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Yukti

    Southwark Cathedral which is an Anglican Church looks beautiful. And even its locations is great which is on the South Bank of River Thames. Also the Borough Market which is near to it would be great to visit for vibrant environment.

  6. Fae Celine

    I love visiting churches when I travel. The architecture and the culture and learning about them is just an amazing experience

  7. Georgina

    Thank you so much – I love everything old about architecture and cathedrals are one of my biggest passion. So glad you like them too. You will love Southwark Cathedral if ever you get to visit.

  8. Karthika

    I love visiting old churches and cathedrals. There is always so much history and story there and sometimes they have locals who give you a tour of all the nooks and forgotten corners that makes it even more exciting!

  9. Georgina

    Easily missed but definitely worth visiting. It is a small but it does give you the majestic feel with it’s vaulted ceiling. Doorkins is adorable.

  10. Georgina

    You are welcome – Tucked away behind the Borough market, Southwark Cathedral is easily missed. However, once visited, it is a place you will return.

  11. nickymacke

    I’ve visited Borough Market many times and never noticed this Cathedral. I’m slightly ashamed. Thanks to you, I’ll put it right on my next trip, the vaulted ceiling is exquisite! And it’s worth a visit just to catch a glimpse of its adorable resident cat!

  12. Jan Banerjee

    I have walked past this place and not visited this cathedral. You have inspired me to take a break and spend some time in this beautiful cathedral in my next visit to London. Thank you! 🙂

  13. Georgina

    Southwark Cathedral is kinda hidden behind all that buzz of Borough Market. So glad you visited this hidden gem and experienced its tranquility. It is quite a cathedral! Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  14. Jay Artale

    I love Borough market and go there during every trip to London, but on my last visit I also went to Southwark Cathedral, and it’s a tranquil spot to wander around. I didn’t realize it was the oldest London cathedral. What got me was it’s size, it’s really quite compact, but still has a majestic quality befitting a cathedral.

  15. Georgina

    Awesome! Look out for Doorkins – she sometimes hides behind her bed. I am sure you will enjoy visiting this magnificent cathedral.

  16. Georgina

    Such a different surroundings to enjoy, away from the hustle and bustle of city centre. Doorkins is totally lovely. Not sure if she is aware of this attention on her 🙂

  17. Jennifer Rankin

    I will be in London April 1-8 and plan on trying to see this cathedral!

  18. Angie

    I always like to grab some lunch from Borough and sit in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral to enjoy it. Great that you’ve included Doorkins, a tourist attraction in her own right!

  19. […] Southwark Cathedral – Why you should visit this Oldest Gothic Cathedral in London […]

  20. Georgina

    Yes, totally agree with you. Southwark Cathedral is beautiful and it always seems quiet and not a tourist hotspot , which I quite like btw. Glad it was special to you. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I appreciate it.

  21. Ann

    This is such a beutiful place, the architechture is amazing!
    This was actually one of my favroite places to go to when we visited London 🙂

  22. […] that still reminds visitors of what it was like in the ‘old’ London plus visit the Gothic church that is home to Doorkins, the Magnificat – a lot more as this website […]

  23. Your beautiful post and words of kindness are so inspiring. I look forward to more wonder and beauty thru your lens. I thank you for connecting with me. Have a pleasant day.🐬°°°°🐟🐟~~~~

  24. Georgina

    Ahh…how nice 🙂 and super happy that my post has brought back pleasant memories for you, although I am sure you are not missing the British weather when you are in sunny Thailand. Really, thank you so much for your lovely comments. Appreciate it.

  25. Georgina

    Thank you 🙂 I am always pleased when my readers enjoy what I write and hope that they will be inspired to see some of this beautiful world through my lens. Great to connect with an inspiring writer as you.

  26. liveandletthai1

    Ah I used to walk past this place on my way home from work for about a year….lovely memories and nice post. Thank you

  27. Interesting! Thank you Georgina for your insping post shares and for your follow.

  28. Georgina

    I am glad you found the article useful and that you will be returning to view more of my page. Thank you so much for stopping-by and look forward to more of your visits here. Many thanks for your kind comments.

  29. Jennifer Leigh

    Such a thorough article; I’ll be sure to be checking this one again and again!

  30. […] Southwark Cathedral – Why you should visit this Oldest Gothic Cathedral in London? […]

  31. Gypsyat60

    what an amazing cathedral – I particularly love the the wooden roof. How on earth did they build them in those days? I’ve never been there but have added it to my to do list when next in London – we seem to visit every few years from the other side of the Globe. I hope Doorkins is still around to greet me! 🙂 Great read Jenny.

  32. Georgina

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Jenny. Southwark Cathedral is a pretty Cathedral and well worth a visit. I am glad to provide you with info that are useful. Hope that you will visit this Cathedral when you visit London.

  33. Georgina

    Thank you so much for your lovely words Comments, Estelle 🙂 This Gothic Cathedral is truly remarkable…it is often overlooked because it is tucked away behind the popular Borough Market. Happy that my tips are helpful. Look forward to your London Visit:)

  34. Jenny Peel

    I just love the internal photo of the cathedral with the vaulted ceilings! I must confess I hadn’t heard of this cathedral before! I guess this is why we read travel blogs – to learn and to add to the evergrowing list of must sees! 😊

  35. Estelle Anderson

    Fingers crossed I will be returning to London. Thank you Georgina for informing me about so many wonderful places for me to visit. Southwark Cathedral looks incredible. It’s crazy that it’s history goes all the way back to 606, and that it survived a fire in 1212. Thankfully the Cathedral still looks incredible, particularly the interior. And it is free to visit! And thanks for all the useful tips

  36. Georgina

    It will be great if you do visit us 🙂 Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

  37. Jenny peel

    Looks and sounds wonderful! Not sure if i’ll get to the uk (from Australia) but this cathedral should go on the list if I do!

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