St Woolos Cathedral

Southeast Wales

A steep 10-minute walk uphill from the main shopping strip leads to Newport's ancient cathedral. The building provides a fascinating journey through history via a succession of distinct architectural styles.

The main door leads into the oldest part of the building, a 9th-century stone chapel constructed to replace a wooden church built here in 500 on the burial site of Welsh king-turned-monk St Gwynllyw (Woolos is an English corruption of his name). The Normans came next, represented by the magnificent Romanesque arch leading into their grand nave (look up to the curved timbers of the medieval 'wagon roof'). You can see the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style in the pointy windows of the outside aisles, which were grafted on later. Newport's prosperous Victorian period is evident in the chancel, while the very end of the building is pure 1960s, including the painted marble effect behind the altar.