Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

36. Cathedral spires

Salisbury cathedral in the close Salisbury Wiltshire England UK GB EU Europe

Britain’s historic cathedrals are, quite simply, the most widely loved, admired and visited of all our public buildings. In 2012, just over a quarter of the population (11.3 million people) was estimated to have visited a Church of England cathedral in the preceding 12 months. Cathedrals are also great landmarks and the object of intense local pride. The vast spire of Salisbury Cathedral, for example, is a defining symbol of the city and a landmark for miles around.

‘Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice’
(‘Reader, if you seek a monument, look around’)
(On Christopher Wren’s tomb in St Paul’s)

Next page Previous page