About the Gazetteer
There is nothing that evokes a sense of heritage more than the parish churches of Britain. These historic treasures range from fabulous cathedrals, some of the most elaborate and effusive examples of medieval architecture, to isolated country churches, slumbering away the years amid quiet lanes and hedgerows. I love visiting the historic churches of Britain, and I hope that you will, too. Most of the churches in our gazetteer are those I have visited personally. Where possible I have included opening information and directions. Follow the links on this page to find more resources for church tourism and to learn more about historic church architecture and history.
Historic Churches Menu
Stoke Dry, Rutland

Historic Churches in: Scotland | Wales | for England see individual counties menu

Quick jump:
Cathedrals in England | Wales

Illustrated Dictionary of Church History and Architecture
A visual guide to British Churches from Saxon to Victorian Gothic.

Heritage Rating The Best Churches to Visit in Britain: a highly subjective rating of the most historic churches in Britain - those churches awarded the top score in our Heritage Rating scheme.

Learn more:

Glossary of Medieval Church Architecture
Romanesque architecture
Gothic architecture:
    Early English
The Medieval Parish Church

Our Favourite parish churches
Barfreston, Kent

Our picks among historic and architecturally interesting churches:

  1. Patrington, Yorkshire - the perfect Decorated Gothic church
  2. Lower Oddington, Gloucestershire - superb 'Doom' painting
  3. Pickering, Yorkshire - perhaps the finest wall paintings in England
  4. South Dalton, Yorkshire - a Victorian Gothic gem
  5. Stoke Dry, Rutland - unique wall paintings and Gunpowder Plot association
  6. Exton, Rutland - magnificent memorials
  7. Barfreston, Kent - arguably the finest Norman carvings in England

What about cathedrals?

Our favourites:

  1. Wells Cathedral, Somerset
  2. York Minster, Yorkshire
  3. Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire
  4. Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire
  5. Canterbury Cathedral, Kent
Church Tourism Resources
Wells Cathedral, Somerset

Churches Conservation Trust
The CCT looks after over 340 redundant and historically important parish churches, offering free entry to visitors. See all Churches Conservation Trust properties >>

Church tourism
National and regional societies, charities, histories, and suggested regional resources

County Church Trusts
Many British counties and regions have a trust that cares for historic churches. This can be a great resource for finding interesting historic churches to visit.

Books and DVDs

Christianity and CultureThe English Parish Church Through the Centuries: Daily Life and Spirituality, Art and Architecture, Literature and Music
An Interactive DVD-ROM published by Christianity and Culture. Highly recommended - and they feature some of our photos, too!

The following list contains several books that we use regularly to plan trips and research historic churches. Links are to Amazon.co.uk

England's Thousand Best Churches , by Simon Jenkins

The Church Explorer's Handbook, by Clive Fewins

How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals

Church Architecture: A Glossary of Terms (Discovering)

Harris's Guide to Churches and Cathedrals: Discovering the unique and unusual in over 500 churches and cathedrals

Wales' Best 100 ChurchesWales's Best One Hundred Churches

Harris's Guide to Churches and Cathedrals: Discovering the unique and unusual in over 500 churches and cathedrals

The "Daily Telegraph" Guide to England's Parish Churches (Daily Telegraph Guide)

1000 Churches to Visit in Scotland , published by The Scotland's Churches Scheme.

A Little History Of The English Country Church - by Roy Strong. A lovely book. I got this for a Christmas present a few years ago, and really enjoyed it.

Discovering the Smallest Churches in England - a small book (naturally) covering some of the most appealing little churches in each county

Discovering the Smallest Churches in Wales , by John Kinross

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Medieval abbeys and monasteries
England | Scotland | Wales