Worcester Cathedral on the banks of the river Severn

Worcester Cathedral on the banks of the river SevernImage: Getty Images

How many do you know?

Of the several dozen diocesan cathedrals in England, some are just special. Yes, everyone knows St. Paul’s, of course, but for sundry reasons each of these provincial ecclesiastical fortresses merits a place on our list of the ten best cathedrals in England. 

York Minster 

Seat of the Archbishop of York, York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps, and home to the greatest display of medieval stained glass in Britain. With high clerestory windows, it’s also refreshingly light. 

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Winchester Cathedral 

Burial place of Saxon kings (and Jane Austen), Winchester has the longest nave of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. Among the most historic of English cathedrals, Winchester also has one of the prettiest of settings. 

Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, Hampshire, circa 1910. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, Hampshire, circa 1910. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Durham Cathedral

Among the most impressive cathedrals viewed from a distance, Durham is one of the most important examples of Norman architecture in the world. Heavy, stolid and a World Heritage site for good reason.

The congregation listen to a service held in Durham Cathedral during the inauguration service for the Right Reverend Paul Butler on February 22, 2014 in Durham, England

The congregation listen to a service held in Durham Cathedral during the inauguration service for the Right Reverend Paul Butler on February 22, 2014 in Durham, England

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Peterborough Cathedral 

Peterborough’s 12th-century Early English dramatic West Front is uniquely impressive. So is the painted wooden ceiling that fills its nave; among the most important in Europe. An under-valued gem of a cathedral. 

October 1961: Front aspect of Peterborough Cathedral

October 1961: Front aspect of Peterborough Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathdreal is mother church of the Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. With its roots in the 6th century, the magnificent church of today was built in the 1070s. Still marked is the scene of Becket’s martyrdom. 

West facade of the cathedral of Canterbury

West facade of the cathedral of Canterbury

Salisbury Cathedral

With the tallest cathedral spire in the country (at 404 feet) and the largest close, 14th-century Salisbury Cathedral is unusual in having been built in a single generation. The cathedral of the soaring spaces.

Exterior of Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, UK

Exterior of Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, UK

Lincoln Cathedral

The magnificent West Front gives Lincoln its most distinguishing feature. Begun in 1072, however, England’s third-largest cathedral is noted for its bells, and for its slightly eclectic architectural style.

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Lincoln Cathedral Against Sky At Dusk

Lincoln Cathedral Against Sky At Dusk

Wells Cathedral

Pretty Wells Cathedral sits in England’s smallest cathedral city. Known for its beautiful Early English façade and its extraordinary collection of original (or nearly) stained glass, Wells always amazes visitors.

Wells Cathedral, Wells, Somerset, UK

Wells Cathedral, Wells, Somerset, UK

Norwich Cathedral

More than 1,000 unique bosses decorate the vaulting that leads the heart toward its 315-foot spire. Faced with bright limestone brought from Caen, Norwich Cathedral also features the only two-story cloister in Britain.

Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral

Worcestor Cathedral

A singular collection of 14th-century misericords and the tomb of King John highlight this imposing 13th-century cathedral. Like so many other cathedrals, though, Worcestor Cathedral's roots extend back another millennium.

Worcester Cathedral on the banks of the river Severn

Worcester Cathedral on the banks of the river Severn