Cathedral Cafes

A Quick Trip Around Our Church Of England Cathedral Cafes

Cathedral Cafes pits church against church in an epic battle of cafes!

Each church is brutally critiqued on fundamental criteria such as their cakes, the quality of their dead people and on the trivia we learn on the day. So, which church has the "†-factor"?

Must-Dos: Find the 10th century stones, find the memorial to W. Shakespeare, drink tea.

Occasionally a city has more than one C of E cathedral and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to you that London is one of them. As a church this one is much older (pre-conquest) than Wren's little design and much more like a comfy armchair - we loved this little church. This choice for two 17th century bards is a tiny and condensed church where the photography tax is well worthwile.

Clositers Cafe

Inside the noisy heart of London but away from the trendies of Borough market, the tourist mayhem and the suits of the city, touch-down in this modern cafe with quaint touches such as hand painted tea pots and mediocre paintings on sale for in excess of 1000 pounds. We had three home cooked cakes here, the best of which was a delicious honey, and walnut and the tea was superb.


  • Oldest Gothic church in London
  • Directly outside the trendy Borough Market, neighbour to The Shard
  • The church has Pre-Norman origins
  • Referenced to in the Domesday book, but has Saxon origins
  • Massive bonfire in 1212
  • Chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalen
  • During the reign of Queen Mary heresy trials were held in the retrochoir
  • Shakespearian family stories
  • In January 1555 the Bishop of Gloucester was condemned to death here - a naughty man he was
  • It was from the tower of St Saviour's that the Czech artist Wenceslas Hollar drew his Long View of London from Bankside in 1647, a panorama which has become a definitive image of the city in the 17th century.
  • Considered for demolition in 1852 in favour of railway route, thankfully a full eighteen metres from the southeast corner.
  • Only a cathedral since 1905
  • TV: wedding scenes in the film The Slipper and the Rose (1976). Parts also used in the filming of the Doctor Who episode "The Lazarus Experiment"
  • The entrance to The City Of London
  • Renamed to St Savioirs by Henry VII
  • James 1st bought the chirch for 800 pounds


  • Incredible gargolye of a demon eating an unfortunate young lady.
  • large stained glass window dedicated to William Shakespeare
  • alabaster statue representing WS reclining
  • Monuments to: Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Isabella Gilmore and the victims of the Marchioness disaster
  • hosted a twentieth-anniversary service for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement
  • Diamond Jubalee stained glass windows
  • John Harvard has been honoured by the dedication of the Harvard Chapel.
  • stained glass window showing St John baptizing Christ
  • Memorial to the Marchioness disaster

Dead People

  • St Alfege - but moved to Grenwich
  • 15th-century poet John Gower - poet to Richard II and Henry IV and a close friend of Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • 1275 timber effigy of a knights
  • William Shakespeare's brother, Edmund, was buried here in 1607. His grave is unmarked.
  • Lancelot Andrewes, part-author of the Authorised Version, who died in 1626,[17] was buried in a small chapel at the east end that afterwards became known as the "Bishop's Chapel".


  • The St Savioirs pre-Norman church has been heavily built on top of - now mostly featuring Gothic styles
  • Oldest stones that you can walk on date to the 1100's
  • 13th-century arcading
  • Two Norman doorways
  • Original church possibly pre-800AD; witnesses now quite hard to come by
  • Roman roads on show

Must-Dos: Watch The Omen, find the royal bricks, drink tea.

England's most modern cathedral in a youthful 1927 diocese. Along with the Queen, one of team CC's grandmother owns a brick here.

Our heroes began their trip to the attractive market town of Guildford with lunch in the White House, a busy riverside pub near the station. Shrub arrived with his family after a gruelling car trip across the motorways of southern England, and the beer garden soon heaved with the pushchairs and tupperware that tumbled out of his Peugeot. It was a pleasant spot, and our troupe were soon fortified for their stroll to the cathedral.

Sited on a prominent hill at the foot of the Hog’s Back ridge, Guildford cathedral enjoys a fantastic location. The angel at the top of the cathedral’s tower was recently regilded courtesy of the telecoms companies who own transmitters in her torso. She now shimmers in the morning sun, beaming phone chatter across the Surrey landscape, with each change in the wind swinging her to face a new spectacular view.

The building, began in 1936, is as tasteful modern interpretation of the traditional English cathedral: no radical change of layout or fancy materials: the interior is clad in unadorned caramel-coloured limestone: the exterior is a giant brick structure reminiscent of the pre-war power stations. It was built slowly through the mid-twentieth century as funds allowed. Construction stopped during the second world war leaving partially-complete works on the hill that many locals were convinced made ideal waymarkers for the Luftwaffe. In the 1950s, the cash-strapped diocese invited the town’s residents to buy individual bricks and have their names marked on the clay. A brick by the Queen remains on display. Now, fifty years after the cathedral was consecrated, a new funding crisis looms: the roof has aged badly. The ceiling’s deterioration is clearly visible and the whole structure needs to be substantially replaced; the cost will be high: just removing all the asbestos will cost millions. The hat is being passed round again: let’s hope the IT consultants and merchant bankers who fill the borough dig deep.

The trip closed with a visit to the cathedral’s refectory. This brought back bittersweet memories for The Spesh: it was the venue for his grandmother’s wake. The bright room was spacious and reassuring in the tradition of the better 1960s architecture. The tea and cakes were enjoyable. Opening hours are limited: try to check this before you visit.

Finally, an odd bit of trivia: movie fans will recognise Guildford cathedral from the 1976 film The Omen, where the infant antichrist refuses to cross the cathedral’s threshold, screaming from the back of an ambassadorial car at the sight of the building’s understated facade. Readers will be reassured that Shrub’s own offspring remained placid and content throughout the visit.

Guildford Refectory

Featuring probably the CofE's finest cathedral cafes website, this service was closed on our visit. This hit us very hard and there were tears and speaking in tongues. However, the bravest two of the CC roadshow returned the following week - and for great reward! We had a fine lunch of cake and tea. This is not just a cafe though, it's a venue - it will have seen much wedding fuss.

Be warned - this is a small cathedral and not a "big gun" so the cafe and gift shop have hours to suit - don't get caught out like we did!!


  • This is the church from the 1961 film The Omen - yes! That's true.
  • Designed by the Englishman Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe
  • Joint first youngest diocese
  • Youngest cathedral, consecrated May 1961. A mere baby.
  • Following WW2 building resumed on a budget and locals each gave a brick.
  • Mounted on Stag Hill where kings of England once hunted deer.
  • Solid red bricks taken from the clay hill where it stands
  • Best o2 signal in the country - they pay good money to have a transmitter integrated into the church spire!
  • Best cathedral website
  • The fewest stained glass windows (in fitting with the modernist architecture)
  • Bricks owned by multiple royals
  • Gift shop does not sell tea towels
  • 1500 hand made "kneelers"
  • Guildford is a town and not a city - well done Guildford
  • There is a 12th century synagougue (now closed) on the nearby high street
  • Asbestos roof


  • Has a whopping 12 bells.
  • Bricks with Royal signatures
  • With no Treasury Guildford rotates treasures from churches in the diocese

Dead People

  • Not yet, but Guildford has not had much time to collect dead bodies.


  • Modern. Really different to any other cathedral.
  • Clay bricks made from the hill that it rests on.

Must-Dos: Find Holst's corpse, wait for some falcons to fly, drink tea.

Chichester, "the most typical English Cathedral", was a well equipped cafe and accommodates one of our most famous composers. Found on the river Lavant, just beneath the South Downs and opposite The House of Frasier, we have an 11th century church with Roman and Anglo-Saxon *and* Norman footnotes.

Set between pretty precincts of handsome cottages and the town centre of this characterful market town, Chichester cathedral is a structure of which locals must be very proud. It also had a handy bike rack by the entrance: a useful feature for Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh because they cycled all the way there, and categorically did not (as has been suggested by gossiping malcontents eager to sneer at the trio's adventure) quickly give up on cycling and gratefully drag their bikes onto the first Chichester-bound train they could find.

This cathedral is just a few miles from the sea, and has long been a landmark for sailors. Plentiful information boards explained the salt-laden sea breezes also led to rapid erosion of the building's stone. An ongoing and (it was made very clear) expensive programme of works was necessary to keep the carvings from wearing away. Donation machines, able to take debit or credit cards, were dotted around to allow visitors to make their own contribution to this noble effort. Other money-making schemes include a full programme of live music; a concert by the band of the Royal Marines meant the nave was out of bounds for much of the afternoon. This was not such a sacrifice: our heroes made themselves comfortable in the cathedral's cafe: its garden was delightful, and the homemade cakes could not be faulted.

Clositers Cafe

All round very professional, modern cafe. Nice spacious garden; neat and tidy, comfortable and relaxing. Excellent home made cakes.


  • The building has a history peppered by disasters such as the collapse of the steeple.
  • A family of peregrine falcons nest in the roof and feature on the tea towels sold in the little shop.
  • "An Arundel Tomb", a poem by Philip Larkin, describes a medieval tomb which is found here.
  • One of two cathedrals whose steeple is visible from the sea
  • Can donate money using credit card machines on the spot
  • embraces local cultural events


  • Distinctive and rare Norman and Gothic sculptures such as the "Arundel tomb",
  • Fragment of 2nd century Roman Mosaic
  • The usual militaria that clutters English cathedrals
  • Contemporary Art
  • The Treasury featuring silver goblets etc. We weren't aloud in.

Dead People

  • Gustav Theodore Holst, renouned throughout the planets
  • Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel


  • Founded in 1075, Chichester displays both Norman and Gothic architecture
  • The only cathedral with a free-standing bell tower
  • The only cathedral with "basilica-esk" double-aisles
  • Striking green copper roof
  • Convenient bike rack
  • Detailed stone carvings, for example, the bespectacled lawyer

Must-Dos: Find the pre-reformation wall paintings, read the bosses' stories, drink tea.

A relatively quick Norman build, 1096 - 1145, the church required the demolition of the towns marketplace, two churches and a few houses, however, this is England's most complete Norman cathedral.

Spring came late, but made a grand entrance. The April sun shone full beam and Norwich’s inhabitants filled the city’s pretty streets - even the bearded volunteers at a Socialist Worker stall in the market square seemed relaxed and cheerful. Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh had also blinked disbelievingly at the weather. Our heroes had a generous lunch in a delightful historic pub called The Dove {? Is that right?}, before moving on to the expansive and attractive cathedral precincts.

Norwich’s cathedral is a mainly Norman structure, knocked up with limestone imported from Northern France. Its handsome design has a simplicity and solidity that contrasts with the elaborate Gothic wedding cakes found elsewhere; the decorative forms on the tower - abstract circles and squares - look almost modernist in their restraint.

Of many points of note inside, Shrub was impressed by stone columns baked pink by the fires that periodically gutted the building, while The Spesh liked the civil war relics such as the musket ball lodged in a tomb; an enraged puritan had shot carved bosses of the Virgin Mary in the ceiling, and, as an enthusiastic guide explained the tale, The Spesh could almost hear the sound of the ricocheting projectile echoing round the nave.

The cloisters, dating from when there was an abbey on-site and hosting a slightly-too-easy labyrinth, are undoubtedly a good spot for lounging about on the grass on a bright afternoon. Adjacent to this, an excellent wooden structure, less than ten years old, houses a new refectory. Our adventurers arrived close to closing time - a deal on the remaining cakes, plump and very tasty, meant they ate with both great enjoyment and economy. The cheerful staff and shimmering trees brushing against the windows completed the scene: the best café of the tour so far? It might well be.

On the way back to the station, an errant guest from a nearby wedding reception pointed out falcons nesting in the cathedral’s spire. They really are a cheerful lot in Norwich. Even the Canaries fans that filled the station after beating Reading seemed chilled and good natured, although match-day trouble was probably unlikely at this most middle-class of Premiership fixtures: the teams’ two sponsors - Aviva and Waitrose - say it all.

The Refectory

An award winning cafe: Winner, National Wood Awards 2004. A stand-out building indeed. A great range of home made cakes which pleased us immensely - a proper CC tasting was had here by the team. The tea was good and strong, the service was chirpy and prompt. We even heard the cheers of the Norwich city fans in the wind as their favourite team scored.


  • The only English city to be excommunicated by the Pope following the riot of 1272.
  • Largest collection of bosses in Christendom.
  • Has it's own maze.
  • Has some Perriguines and a webcam
  • Pink cathedral wall stones following a lightening strike
  • One of the 3 cathedrals withoug Bells!
  • bullet holes to be found in walls (one with bullet still) from an angry Puritan mob.
  • The cathedral was used as a location for the 2013 film Jack the Giant Slayer (your guess is as good as ours)
  • The earliest record of Blood Libel
  • There is giant unexploded German bomb in the close.


  • Original wall painting carelessly overlooked by the raucous reformers
  • 61 Misericords (mercy seats)
  • The largest collection of bosses in Christendom (396) which tell stories in medievak art!!

Dead People

  • St William (of Norwich), Child Martyr (d 1144), bruttally murderd by his uncle.
  • Sir Thomas Erpingham, Knight of the Garter (c. 1355–1428), commander of King Henry V's English and Welsh archers at the Battle of Agincourt


  • Near-complete, untouched, unspolit Norman church
  • Gothic perpendicular vaulting
  • Second largest cloisters
  • Second largest spire
  • Largest cathedral close in England (not second). Tombland (the original marketplace, church and houses) is basically now the cathedral close/precinct.
  • Only two story Cloister in the CofE

Must-Dos: Admire the twin towers, find Hickery Dickery clock, drink tea.

Apprehensive of the long 8am train journey from London the CC adventurers were eventually greeted by glorious sunshine and a truly magnificent church on a delightful village green. Stand-out feature: The Cafe! With its vaulted roof, stained glass windows, immaculate garden, great food, tea and service.

This epic reaches its Devonian Period, with a visit to Exeter. After weeks of rain, a stroll through the town's sun-soaked streets heartened Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh no end. They soon reached the cathedral's splendid grounds brimming with contented westcountryfolk lounging in the midday warmth. Our heroes' only complaint was the amplified Spanish guitar music that boomed through the scene and prompted them to find lunch elsewhere: they enjoyed a refreshing drink in The Ship Inn, with its doubtful links to Sir Francis Drake, and an al fresco ploughmans in the yet-more tenously-connected Drake's Cafe, next to House of Fraser.

Squat, long and broad, Exeter cathedral has a unique layout. There is no central tower - the collapse of Winchester's gave the bishop commissioning Exeter's Gothic rebuild the jitters. Instead, two Norman towers from the original structure flank the later nave: this plan gives Exeter the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling of all England's cathedrals: its attractively-coloured stonework reminded Sneak of his mum's new patio.

The choir was practicing while Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh ambled round the building's interior; the collected voices and many-piped organ filled the great space with delicate and timeless harmonies, and Shrub enjoyed watching the enthusiastic conductor chappie encourage his diverse charges to refine and perfect their performance. The singing continued during the early-afternoon tour, where a cravatted guide in a cream suit occasionally had to pause his amusing tales of bishop this-or-that when a particularly-tumultuous crescendo of voices overwhelmed his own. He also punctuated his talk with updates on the qualifying for the Spanish grand prix, which The Spesh found helpful.

Amongst the usual bits and bobs that fill the nation's cathedrals (stacks of chairs, scarred regimental standards, pianos under tarps), Exeter's treasures include the giant carved bishop's seat (saved from a German bomb in 1942 by cathedral bosses who shifted it to storage) and an astronomical clock that was once the only timepiece in the westcountry. The clock was guarded by a cathedral cat who prowled its workings to snare the mice that chewed the fat-soaked ropes carrying its weights, and supposedly inspired (i.e. did not inspire) the lyrics to Hickory Dickory Dock. Another impressive feature is the magnificent carved screen at the front of the cathedral, loaded with various apostles and assorted Biblical bods at different stages of erosion.

Exeter's cafe is a real find. The trio struggled to find anything to fault in this delighful eatery, with its lovely setting, cheerful staff and tasty homemade cakes. The visitor can choose between settling down in its magnificent Victorian gothic revival interior (with glowing stained glass and an ornately-decorated stone ceiling) or heading outside to benches beneath the cathedral itself. Our adventurers chose to sun themselves while enjoying a big pot of tea and a generous serving of scones, jam and clotted cream. The cream tea was, of course, obligatory (given they were in Devon) and, luckily, completely delicious. Indeed, The Spesh ate far too much - he still felt slightly queasy hours later.

Clositers Cafe

This cafe served Doom Bar straight from the barrel — heavenly. Also a cracking cup of tea here. Plenty of home-made cakes — a must for the respect of CC. The Devon cream-teas were delicious and had a very generous serving of clotted cream.


  • History of maurauding Norsemen.
  • Hickery Dickery Dock nursery rhyme
  • Bombed by the Nazis and depicted in a colouful window


  • Astronomical clock
  • Impressive organ
  • Captain Scott's Sledging Flag
  • Bosses
  • 30 Misericords',
  • Bishop's Seat - the largest piece of wooden furniture in Britain

Dead People

  • The British General who imaginatively canme up with the idea of a concentration camp.
  • General John Simcoe - He founded Toronto - although he christened it York.


  • Longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in the whole world
  • The ONLY cathedral with two squres towers

Must-Dos: Find the Wheel Of Fortune, read some (slightly bitter) Dickens trivia, drink tea.

England's second oldest cathedral and possibly its finest Norman church. Found in the smallest diocese, this intimate church in central Rochester has over 1400 years of history and was cheated out of one of England's greatest dead bodies — Charles John Huffam Dickens.

Readers will recall Rochester was the first place reached by those other bemused adventurers on a perambulatory tour of England, the Corresponding Society of the Pickwick Club. Doubtless the authenticated accounts of Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh's own wanderings, recorded herewith, will, in time, be regarded with the same esteem as those of Dickens' heroes. With that in mind, let it be noted that, like the noble Pickwickians, Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh recognise the principle of every member defraying his own travelling expenses.

Fittingly, and due to complete accident, our plucky trio arrived in the historic Medway town in the midst of a Dickensian Festival. Held every Christmas, this spectacle features locals in period costume, tasty mulled wine sold in aid of veterans of the Afghan campaigns, roast chestnuts, and crowds so big as to require marshals with megaphones and high visibility jackets. It was a lot of fun.

It took some time for our adventurers to make their way down the High Street; Sneak and Shrub became mesmerised by a shop selling cutlasses and muskets, while The Spesh was waylaid in a bakers with a cream horn clear-out. But they finally made their way to the town's handsome church and its charming frontage.

As Britain's second oldest cathedral, Rochester far predates the gargantuan Gothic showboats that dominate the British cathedral scene, possessing instead a compact and intimate feel to which Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh quickly warmed. Its homely Norman architecture packs a lot in; this is emphasised by the strict one-way system enforced by Cathedral staff, following a circuitous route that allows the visitor to tick-off the many treasures and points of note they pass. Particularly poignant were the Royal Engineers' shrapnel-scarred standards, and a new fresco in the Byzantine-style which colourfully celebrated the building's 700th anniversary.

Eventually, our selfless trio reached the cafeteria, which was packed, it being Festival day. Cakes were home-made and enjoyable, but Sneak had doubts about the tea. All tables were taken, but there were seats in the gardens; a bit chilly, it being December, but not unbearable. Like all the Cathedral's grounds, the gardens were very well kept, and will present a delightful scene come the spring. Our travellers later dropped-by the temporary café in the crypt set up to cater for the crowds; after the queues of the official refectory, it actually offered a much more pleasant experience: drinks were even served by a vicar.

Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh ended their day in a boisterous boozer by Rochester Castle, where The Spesh explained the chief differences between Men of Kent (those rumbustious fellows born east of the Medway) and Kentish Men (their effete westerly cousins). Or is it the other way round, with the Men of Kent in the west? The Spesh could not really remember; yet more evidence that his supposed learning can only be considered such in the Pickwickian sense of the term.

The Cathedral Tea Rooms

The cafe is a busy affair with English gardens and a traditional feel. It has a lived-in and well-used character; no franchising here.

There are home-made cakes on the counter, a simple menu and a queue holding as many locals as tourists. If you visit in the summer, the garden will almost certainly be where you will rest your tray. Even if it is too chilly, go and take a peek.

We visited on a very busy day (it being the December Dickensian Festival) and so our experience of the main café may not be typical: we were served tea in cardboard and, while we accept some people like milky tea, it was weak. This has affected our scoring, perhaps unfairly. Luckily, a pop-up cafe appeared in the Crypt for festival day where the tea was in cups and was as strong as you liked!


  • In 1130 a fire destroyed Rochester pretty much entirely. What was salvaged was probably lost in subsequent blazes in 1137 and 1179. Fire safety record: appauling.
  • Unruly Monks bickered and feuded with the Canterbury monks, warred against the locals of Rochester, and fought for every pig and goose in the annual xenium feaSt
  • Rochester's foundations are the second oldest in the country
  • The Bishop's Xenium - the Bishop should take the Xenium on the feast of St Andrew wherever he might be (but what is it???)
  • It is said the towns of East Kent held out against William the Conqueror longer than their neighbours - the "Men of Kent / Kentish Men" thing.


  • Wheel of Fortune painting, bearing wounds from the English civil war
  • 2004 Fresco, quite popular it is, or maybe it's the gift shop that is.
  • Mosaic memorial to the Royal Engineers.
  • The Kent Bell; a shiny bell!
  • Charles Dickens' Memorial
  • It is said the towns of East Kent held out against William the Conqueror longer than their neighbours;

Dead People

  • William of Perth, a Scottish corpse with healin powers
  • Charles Dickens’ ghost - Dickens was actually deemed too famous to rest by the Medway and his body was carted off to Westminster Abbey.


  • “romanesque” or “pre-Gothic” European architecture
  • Round arches
  • French monk and architect Gundulf, was the builder of much of the Tower of London
  • The Green Men carvings

Must-Dos: A Roof tour, find some Imps, drink tea.

An architectural treat with 1000 years of history - this building stands out amongst our Cathedrals. Also features Imps.

It was early on a bright Sunday in May; surely few of the travellers filling the concourse of King's Cross station had a day in prospect as exciting as that of Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh, embarking, full of hope and anticipation, on the inaugural journey of their tour of the gift shops and cafeteria of England's cathedrals.

Not even the pounding rain that greeted them in Lincoln could dampen their enthusiasm; the cathedral was visible through the gloom, towering on a hill at the heart of the historic city. Before heading to the church, the trio thought it prudent to fortify their fibres with a snifter and spot of scran in a local boozer: The Still on Saltergate proved accommodating, and offered the excellent value for money The Spesh so appreciates.

The downpour lessened, and before long, Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh were climbing the glistening cobbles up the steep hill to the cathedral. Pokey little bookshops and curiosity-retailers lined the street, which The Spesh thought endearing, and Shrub found twee and absurd. But, once at the summit, few could fail to be impressed by the imposing frontage of the cathedral.

Through sheer chance, our adventurous trio arrived just as the afternoon tour was about to begin. They were quick to sign on, and were soon clambering up the spiral staircases within the great towers behind a spritely and knowledgeable guide. The tour gave an insight into the behind-the-scenes struggle to our great cathedrals upright. From the marks left by the mediaeval craftsmen who shaped the intricate limestone blocks, to the tonnes of steel and concrete fixed inside the tilting towers of the west front, there were constant reminders of the human ingenuity on which our these surprisingly fragile monuments still depend.

Much of the modern interior owes a lot to a Victorian restoration; they inherited a building in poor repair and open to the elements and the predations of pigeons. It is now much neater, and shown to best effect from the vantage point of the high gallery above the entrance. The tour also offered a fascinating visit to the loft. Under the roof's sturdy oak beams, a glass case contained a scale model of Lincoln cathedral in the middle ages, before its spire collapsed in a storm. This colossal wooden addition to the central tower doubles its height from today's 80 metres. Remember the cathedral is on a substantial hill in the broad Lincolnshire plain, and the impression on Johnny Middle-Ages must have been quite breathtaking.

From this oversized attic, a door opened to the exterior, and impressive views across Lincolnshire. The sight of the dual carriageways and industrial parks that fringed the city filled The Shrub with a deep reverence. Before becoming a cathedral in its own right, Lincoln was part of a giant diocese that stretched from the mud of the Humber Estuary to the gentle Thameside scenery of South Oxfordshire; territory, The Spesh silently noted to himself, studded with some of his favourite examples of today's great cathedrals, the parabolic powerstation cooling towers beneath their gently heaving clouds of steam. Sadly none were visible through the rain, that had begun, again.

To the cafeteria: a pleasant enough little stop, although pots of tea and slices of cake were not enough for our expeditionary troupe; they were soon supping local bitters in a smart drinker on Castle Hill decorated chiefly by framed prints of Avro Lancasters and squadron stickers left by aircrews visiting one of the county's many bomber bases. That was not the last beermonger Shrub, Sneak and The Spesh visited before getting home, particularly if you count the bar in the buffet car of the London-bound inter-city against which it was necessary to perch because no seats remained on the train.

Cloisters Cafe

The Red Lion of the cafe circuit, at Lincoln Cathedral you'll drink at The Cloisters - small, tidy, calm and well presented. Solid wood furniture. Nice colour scheme. The tea was good. However, cakes were served in plastic wrapping.


  • "I have always held and am prepared against all evidence to maintain that the Cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have." John Ruskin, 1819-1900.
  • Once the tallest building in the world! stealing the honour from Giza.
  • Giant spire blew over in 1548
  • The Lincoln Imp
  • The roof is held in place by gravity alone


  • Magna Carta
  • The (Sir Christopher) Wren Library

Dead People

  • Usual den of saints


  • The Roof is just a lid - a giant structure that stays in place purely because of it's humongous size and weight.
  • The Western Towers resemble a fortress
  • Choirs: St Hugh's, Angel
  • The Dean's Eye and The Bishop's Eye - two large rose windows with highly unusual medieval features.
  • Crazy experimental, asymetric Zig-Zag Vaults
  • First use in a Cathedral of arched diagonal ribs, called tiercerons.