10 Great Examples Of UK Gothic Architecture

Team Hoo
21st October 2021

Originating from France in the 12th century, Gothic architecture grew popular in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It’s a style of masonry that accompanies large stained glass windows, pointed arches, and buttresses. Used predominantly in cathedrals at its height, it later extended to stately homes, monuments, and government buildings during the Gothic Revival. 

With several very famous buildings in the UK with Gothic architecture still standing today, we wanted to list some for you. Here are ten of the UK’s most famous Gothic or Gothic-Inspired buildings. 

10 of the UK’s Most Famous Gothic Buildings

Palace of Westminster

Close by to the River Thames is the Palace of Westminster in London. Having been commissioned to build it after the first Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834, Sir Charles Barry designed and built it between 1840 to 1876 in the Gothic Revival Style and English Perpendicular style. The exterior has a beautiful symmetrical combination of stone, glass, and iron, leading it to be one of London’s most iconic structures.

Palace of Westminster, UK

Westminster Abbey

Located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey is a Gothic abbey church in London. Having been constructed in the 13th century as a burial site for King Henry III, it has almost every Gothic element seen in the abbey with vaulted ribbed ceilings, statues, stained glass and arches. Presently, Westminster Abbey serves as a site for royal coronations, burials and weddings. 

Westminster Abbey, UK

Gloucester Cathedral

Built over several centuries, Gloucester Cathedral has an array of architectural styles, including Gothic architecture. Later, ​​a remodelling of the East End took place from 1331 to 1355, done in a Gothic Style. It has remained as a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1,300 years, and much of the stained glass is still from the 14th century to the present day. Interestingly, the building has also made an appearance in two Harry Potter films!

Gloucester Cathedral, UK

Albert Memorial

Located in London, the Albert Memorial monument is in the Gothic Revival style, featuring a statue of a seated Prince Albert beneath a canopy. Constructed ten years after his death, Queen Victoria commissioned the piece in loving memory of her husband, which was completed in 1876. Interestingly, all around the base of Prince Albert are celebrated painters, poets, and musicians, a nod to Prince Albert’s love and appreciation of the arts. Following restoration, the seated Prince Albert is now covered in gold leaf and has been Grade I listed since 1970.

Albert Memorial, UK

Margam Castle

Found on Margam Country Park in Port Talbot in Wales, the Margam Castle is a country home built initially for Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot. It was designed by Thomas Hopper, who opted to construct a ‘mock’ castle in a 19th Century Tudor-Gothic style, with the castle being mainly made from stone. It has featured towers, arches and portals, and is now a Grade I listed building with the service courtyard listed as Grade II. The park, where Margam Castle is, officially opened to the public in 1977, and now over four million people have visited. 

Margam Castle, UK

York Minster

Sometimes called the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, it is better known as York Minster and was built between 1200 and 1472. The Minster is devoted to Saint Peter and has a very wide decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, with a Perpendicular Gothic quire. The Gothic nave contains the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the entire world, with the south transept having a rose window, often dubbed as ‘The Heart of Yorkshire’. 

York Minster, UK

Canterbury Cathedral

One of the oldest cathedrals in England, Canterbury Cathedral is the home of the Anglican Church and was rebuilt in Gothic style around 1174, with styles known now as English Gothic and Romanesque architecture. Like many Gothic church buildings, the choir interior is embellished with buttresses, ribbed vaulting and pointed arches and is one of the most extravagant parts of the church. This cathedral was also the scene of one of the most infamous assassinations, the murder of its most famous Archbishop, Thomas Becket, in 1170 and is known as one of the most important centres of pilgrimage. 

Canterbury Cathedral, UK

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 

Found in Edinburgh, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is one of the unique buildings within the Scottish capital. Designed by a Victorian architect, it opened in 1899. It was designed in the style of Neo-Gothic, which idealises and imitates the original Gothic architecture style despite being built after the timeframe of Gothic architecture’s popularity. There are also decorated sculptures of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace and other famous Scottish monarchs and poets.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, UK

All Souls College

Located in Oxford, England, the All Souls College has a Gothic base, with the best example of Gothic architecture being in the Chapel. Having been completed in 1442, the Chapel has a rich Perpendicular Gothic style with stained-glass windows, vaults, and portals. Other examples are the fan vaulting in the Chapel vestibule, with the Chapel still having the original medieval hammer-beam roof. In the antechapel, most of the windows still contain some 15th Century stained glass, most notably the three holy women who can be found on the east wall, to the south of the screen. They are Saint Maria, Saint Helena, and Saint Anastasia.

All Souls College, UK

King’s College Chapel

We can’t mention one without mentioning the other, and over in Cambridge, we have the King’s College Chapel. Since being built, between 1446 and 1515, the Chapel has become an architectural symbol of Cambridge University and a perfect example of Perpendicular English-Gothic style. The Chapel features the world’s largest vaulted fan ceiling, a hallmark of this Gothic style. The large stained glass windows were not completed until 1531, until the Second World War, when most of them were removed for safety which allowed them to be preserved, photographed and cleaned.

Kings College Chapel, UK

With Gothic architecture still admired to this day as it was when it was being built, many of the buildings in the UK are influenced by this particular style. Whether you’re into Gothic churches, mock castles or colleges, there’s something for every admirer of this beautiful architectural style. Have we included your favourite on our list? Is there a famous Gothic UK building you feel should be up there? Let us know on Insta or tweet us @justhooit!

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