Southwark (pronounced ‘suth-ark’) Cathedral, officially called the ‘Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie,’ is located close to London Bridge on the south bank of the Thames River. Today, railway lines and office buildings, including the historic Borough Market, surround the old cathedral. The calm churchyard on the south side of the cathedral is a popular place for local office workers to enjoy their lunch hour – weather permitting. Although the interior of the cathedral is relatively modern (it was begun in 1890), traces of the past are still present there. Remains of the 13th-century arcading can be found in the south aisle, and in the north aisle a wooden effigy of a knight dates from 1275.
Also of note is a monument to the playwright William Shakespeare (the cathedral holds an annual birthday service for ‘The Bard’), which can be found beneath a stained glass window depicting characters from his famous plays. The cathedral was once a riverside priory, and the cloister-style courtyard is on the site of the original cloister that was used during those times. To the north, a more modern development includes the refectory and a gift shop with specially commissioned Southwark Cathedral products. An ancient alleyway, now a pedestrian walkway called Lancelot’s Link, separates the cathedral’s old and new buildings.
Visiting restrictions may apply when services or other activities are taking place. Visitors are always welcome to attend acts of worship. Groups are strongly encouraged to pre-book their visits. Hourly prayers lasting approximately two minutes are practiced throughout the day, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the prayers visitors are requested to remain still, and are invited to join in saying The Lord's Prayer in their native language.