Southwark Cathedral

It’s believed a house of worship, in one form or another, has existed on the site of Southwark Cathedral for over a millennium now. The current structure dates to the thirteenth century, with prominent additions to the attraction being made in the late nineteenth century, making this Anglican cathedral an architectural marvel for the ages. Southwark Cathedral is prominently located on the south bank of the Thames in the midst of numerous other popular London attractions and guided tour destinations. It is open for self-guided tours and occasional guided tours, and contains a gift shop, café, and numerous special exhibits.

Money Saving Tip! Southwark Cathedral is included on the London Pass and London Explorer Pass. If you are sightseeing in London, then you can save a lot of money with the pass.

History of Southwark Cathedral

The iconic Domesday Book mentions a place of worship on the site of Southwark Cathedral, lending credence to the notion that, as is sometimes claimed, a nunnery existed here as far back as the seventh century. Regardless, a priory was for certain established on the site in 1106, with significant portions of the church as we know it today being built between roughly 1220 and 1420. As a result, Southwark Cathedral is widely considered to be one of the oldest examples of Gothic architecture in all of London. The fourteenth-century poet John Gower, a notable friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, lived in this priory for decades, and his tomb is a standout feature of the attraction to this day.

By the nineteenth century, circumstances dictated that the aged church be significantly renovated or demolished. Fortunately, the decision was made to refurbish the structure, work that culminated in the construction of a new nave in 1895. The church became a cathedral in 1905, and another addition was built in 2000, providing Southwark Cathedral with space for modern amenities like a gift shop, conference rooms, and educational center.

Southwark Cathedral Highlights

Southwark Cathedral is open to the public seven days a week, with the following suggested visiting times: Monday through Friday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm; Saturday, from 9:30am to 3:45pm and 5:00pm to 6:00pm; and Sundays, from 12:30pm to 3:45pm and 5:00pm to 6:00pm. Southwark Cathedral remains an active place of worship today; accordingly, it regularly conducts hourly prayers during which all visitors are expected to refrain from disruptions. The cathedral also closes to visitors on occasion for private events and services. For the most up-to-date information, be sure and check out the site’s official website in advance of your visit.

Those visitors hoping to get the most out of their time at Southwark Cathedral will want to consider going on a guided tour of the attraction. These 45-minute tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They’re completely free but dependent on the availability of a guide. Interested parties should stop at the cathedral’s Welcome Desk upon their arrival at the attraction.

For visitors content to experience the cathedral via a self-guided tour, an informative souvenir map is available for purchase at the attraction’s gift shop. Likewise, the more substantial Southwark Cathedral guidebook is another great option for those visitors wanting to learn more about the history of this remarkable place on their own time. Both are inexpensive and could serve as charming souvenirs.

More to See and Do at Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral is the sort of place where the old and traditional collides with the new and modern, meaning there’s usually something intriguing taking place on this hallowed ground. Keep reading for a few more things to see and do here.

*In addition to the aforementioned souvenir map and cathedral guidebook, the Southwark Cathedral shop sells a host of books, cards, prints, jewelry, gifts, souvenirs, and devotional items. Proceeds from Cathedral shop sales are used to support the church’s mission.

*The Southwark Cathedral café is a pleasant place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while savoring a fresh baked pastry. Operated by a well-regarded local baking company, it maintains hours similar to the cathedral itself.

*Something to keep in mind as you plan your Southwark Cathedral excursion: certain London tourist passes, when used for admission here, entitle passholders to receive a complimentary souvenir map.

*Southwark Cathedral is known for its well-curated programming. The nature of particular exhibits installed within the cathedral’s nave are subject to change depending on when you’re visiting, but recent shows of note have included Museum of the Moon, a large-scale artwork featuring high-resolution NASA-imagery of the moon’s surface; and Gaia, a similar piece highlighting the surface of the Earth.

*Other events hosted by Southwark Cathedral on a regular basis include live music, comedy shows, educational lectures, and choir recitals, just to name a few. The cathedral’s online calendar of events is your best bet for the most accurate schedule of the attraction’s public offerings.

Why Southwark Cathedral Should Be on Your Must-See List

A place of worship has stood on the site of Southwark Cathedral for approximately 1,000 years now, and still the location is going strong today. Whether you’re interested in exploring this historic attraction’s architectural charms, catching a live concert, recital, or art exhibit, or you just want to pause in a solemn place for a few moments and catch your breath before or after partaking in nearby local attractions like The View from The Shard, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or the Monument to the Great Fire of London, Southwark Cathedral makes a worthwhile addition to any visitor’s London itinerary.