Westminster Cathedral is one of the world’s most delightful examples of neo-Byzantine architecture. The 19th-century cathedral’s most distinctive features are its candy-striped white stone and red brick towers, and its cheery facade breaks up the concrete jungle of downtown London.
The remarkable building was designed by architect John Francis Bentley, who sought inspiration from Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia and Venice’s St. Mark’s. The result is an edifice of red brick striped with Portland stone and topped with a bell tower that reaches heights of over 270 feet. Accessible by elevator, the tower offers breathtaking views of the city.
Westminster Cathedral interior
Unfortunately, the colorful exterior gives way to an incomplete and brooding interior. Intense and dark, the inside of the church is a bit gloomy due to the exposed brick walls and ceilings, but the several side chapels provide a break from the monotony and are truly beautiful. The Lady Chapel, built in honor of the Virgin Mary, is particularly sumptuous.
Interior of Westminster Cathedral
Other striking features of the cathedral include the Holy Souls Chapel, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross, the spectacular baldachin and Cardinal Basil Hume’s tomb. Hume was the leader of the Catholic Church in Wales and England for over 25 years, and his tomb is located near the main entrance to the cathedral.
Westminster Cathedral main entrance decoration
Westminster Cathedral facade, London