Moments of reflection: Worcester Cathedral, River Severn navigation – South West

Worcester Cathedral offers a peaceful space to contemplate life – and to marvel at its incredible architecture

Photo: Michael D Beckwith


Soaring above the River Severn, Worcester Cathedral is a stunning vision for visitors to the old city of Worcester. It’s the sort of building that invites us to gaze upon its architectural splendour and contemplate how such a thing was ever designed and built by human hands so many centuries ago, while its interior provides a hushed space for commemoration, contemplation, celebration and remembrance.

Of all the buildings that line the banks of the waterways managed by the Canal & River Trust, there can be few that are quite as striking as this. Even the resolutely secular can find succour and inner peace from such a building, which is why the cathedral is such a popular spot for tourists from all over the world.

Worcester Cathedral was built between 1085 and 1504 and consequently features examples of a number English architectural styles, from Norman to Gothic. Its tower is particularly fine and is best seen from across the River Severn. The oldest part of the building is the Norman crypt.

Several important historic figures are buried in the cathedral including King John, Arthur Tudor – the fated older brother to Henry VIII – and former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. The cathedral is open to the public and there is no admission charge, but you can also attend daily services – there are at least three a day, including Morning Prayer, Holy Communion and Evensong.

Inside, there are several spaces for those seeking solitude, including medieval cloisters and the ancient crypt. The combination of history and tranquillity makes it a treasure, while the evening music recitals can be transcendent.

It is certainly an enriching jewel in the crown of the River Severn. The Severn is the UK’s longest river, running for 220 miles from the Welsh mountains before spilling out into the Severn estuary. Thanks to the Severn Way, a continuous long distance footpath along the Severn, you can explore the entire length of the river on foot from source to sea. The Canal & River Trust manages the Severn between Stourport and Gloucester, a passage which includes the city of Worcester and its monumental cathedral.

You can find Worcester Cathedral at 8 College Yard, Worcester WR1 2LA. Read a guide to the Worcester section of the Severn Way on the Waterfront website <please insert link once created>