Fancy waking up to a view of a magnificent cathedral? Check out these historic properties for sale in the UK’s best cathedral cities.

It is often cited that city can only be classified as such if it is in possession of a cathedral. Whilst historically that may have been true, city status is no longer conferred solely on that basis; Birmingham, for example, officially became the first city without a cathedral back in 1889. However, the bygone criterion does make for some pleasing oddities, such as Wells – a parish in Somerset with a modest 12,000 inhabitants – being classed as a city on the basis of its resplendent medieval Gothic cathedral; and Oxford, which may feel like a city, but technically only is by dint of being possession of one of the smallest cathedrals in the Church of England.

One thing is for certain: cathedral cities make ever popular places to live. There are 42 cathedrals in the country, many of them housed within beautiful urban landscapes that retain, in most cases, well-preserved historical centres. They are, then, often thriving places, full of life as well as architectural beauty. Here we round up some of the best properties for sale in these fine cities.

Christ’s Hospital Terrace, Lincoln

Pygott Crone, £895,000

Lincoln Cathedral is rightly considered one of the most important examples of early English Gothic architecture in the land. This four-storey, five-bedroomed Grade II-listed 18th-century house in the Bailgate quarter is not only exceptionally beautiful but comes with views over said gothic masterpiece. There are also two garages and a self-contained ground floor apartment, making this a truly exceptional buy. Find more details here.

Cathedral Green, Wells

Savills, £850,000

Few are the houses with as covetable an outlook as this. Wells Cathedral was built between the 12th- and 15th-centuries by Willian Wynford, Elias of Dereham and William Joy, the results of their efforts as surprising and splendid now as they were then. This Grade II-listed house is believed to date back to 1650 and is set right on the cathedral green, thus allowing for the most spectacular view of the building that dominates this smallest of cities. Arranged over four floors, the backdrop to it all is the extraordinary western elevation of the cathedral. Having been in the same family for half a century, there is scope for renovation here, but the bones of this house are about as beautiful as they come. Find more details here.

Parchment Street, Winchester

Strutt & Parker, £899,000

The beautiful city of Winchester’s crowning glory is, at its centre, the Norman Gothic cathedral that was built in 1079. The final resting place of William Rufus, son of William The Conqueror, it attracts crowds throughout the year, who queue to wander its early Norman crypt and its ornate Renaissance chantry chapels. A short walk from it sits this large Grade II-listed, five-bedroomed house on a handsome street in the centre of the city. We love its elegant proportions and the scope to make it even more beautiful than it already is. Find more details here.

Duke Street, Bath

Zest, £650,000

Bath is famously awash with Georgian properties. But long pre-dating the elegant vision of architects, Sirs John Wood The Elder and The Younger, is its 1499 Abbey. Technically not classed as a cathedral (on account of being headed by the Abbot rather than the bishop), architecturally at least, it would be hard to differentiate the two. And just a wander from it is this three-bed garden maisonette, set within a larger house in the dominant Georgian style. Its marriage of exceptional proportions, period details and a contemporary renovation is hard to argue with. Find more details here.

Sir John Lygon House, St Pauls, London

KW London Bridge, £3m

There are few cathedrals more famous than Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece in London, both as an architectural set piece and as a survivor of more than one fire and, of course, The Blitz. Now, even it as it is surrounded by more modern icons in the form of ever more improbably fashioned skyscrapers, it remains the constant, the icon amid icons. This contemporary riverside penthouse has 1677sqft of accommodation and three good-sized bedrooms. The showstopper, however, is the private roof terrace, with views of the Thames and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to the south and St Paul's Cathedral to the north. Hard to beat. Find more details here.

Cornwallis Court, Liverpool

Keppie Massie, £230,000

How’s this for the cathedral enthusiast? This two-bedroom pied-a-terre is within striking distance of both Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and its Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral, the latter’s Gothic Revival style the handiwork of the great Edwin Lutyens and Frederick Gibberd. Its balcony, with views across to the Anglican church, makes the perfect spot for a sundowner. Find more details here.?

Milford Mill Road, Salisbury

Hamptons, £1.375m

The beautiful Salisbury Cathedral has two excellent claims to fame. First, it has the tallest spire in the UK and second, it houses the best surviving copy of Magna Carta. It is also just a short distance from this unusual and deceptively large 5,000sqft former mill house. Just a ten-minute walk from the centre, its idyllic setting and riverside garden makes it feel a world away from urban life. Heaven for those who want the best of both town and country. Find more details here.

Victoria Terrace, Durham

JW Wood, £585,000

Durham’s Romanesque cathedral was built between 1093 and 1133, towering magnificently over the city, and justly scooping the accolade of the Number One Landmark in Britain in 2013. Anyone who wishes to be able to be able to ponder that claim in person daily may wish to consider this wonderful five-bedroom town house, which is a short stroll from the cathedral. Arranged over four storeys, it is something of a timepiece decoratively. For the right buyer, it would make the most glorious renovation project. Find more details here.

Old Dover Road, Canterbury

Strutt & Parker, £1.5m

Canterbury’s Cathedral has stood on the same footprint since 597AD. Little to nothing remains of the original structure and in its stead what we see today is a 14th-century Romanesque nave and an 11th-century crypt. Visitors flock to drink in its history, which is told through its stained-glass windows, with the notable inclusion of the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170. Those who wish to be within meandering distance of the last resting place of King Henry IV may wish to ponder this Arts and Crafts home, which was built in 1903 and has five bedrooms, an idyllic garden and a summer house. The perfect family home. Find more details here.

North Street, Chichester

Hamptons, £1m

Built in 1075, Chichester’s glorious cathedral is the last resting place of composer Gustav Holst, as well as being home to the famous Gothic ‘Arundel tomb’, which shows the 10th Earl of Arundel (1313–1376) holding hands with his wife, Eleanor of Lancaster. Art history enthusiasts also descend upon the cathedral to see its famous and vivid Marc Chagall window, which was unveiled in 1978. For those who wish to gaze upon these delights daily, as well as to immerse themselves in the thriving life of the city, this heart-stoppingly beautiful 18th-century three-bedroom house, arranged over 18000sqft, must surely be a contender. It has a carport, a cellar, two cloakrooms and a west-facing garden. Above all, though, it has a surfeit of character, charm and effortless elegance. Find more details here.

By Nancy Alsop
September 2021

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