United Kingdom

United Kingdom:

Like Ireland, the United Kingdom has several pilgrimage sites tied to ancient Christianity or Celtic Christianity, predating the arrival of St. Augustine and the founding of Canterbury Cathedral. These include:

  • St. Bertram of Ilam, England 
  • St. Cafdan in Wales;
  • St. Columba in Iona, Scotland

The ancient ones associated with Roman Christianity include:

  • Abbey of St. Edmund the Martyr.
  • Bromholm Priory, established in 1113 which is said to have a piece of the Holy Cross;
  • Canterbury Cathedral, Kent. This is associated with the birth of English Christianity (although Celtic Christianity existed before the arrival of St. Augustine);
  • Lindisfarne, England. This is where St. Cuthbert was buried before being moved to the Cathedral of Durham. Lindisfarne is also associated with St. Aidan who evangelized the Northumbria;
  • St. Albans Cathedral, England. Although pre-dating Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom, St. Albans also pre-dates Celtic Christianity in that he was martyred before the retreat of the Romans from the British Isles;
  • St. Andrews, Scotland. The place is associated with the remains of St. Andrew and was a place of pilgrimage and veneration from ancient times;
  • St. David, Wales. The place is associated with pilgrimage since David was made a saint in the 12th century;
  • St. Patrick, Strell Wells, Northern Ireland, a pilgrimage route associated with the evangelization route of St. Patrick in Northern Ireland;
  • St. Winefride’s Well, a 12th century pilgrim site to a well with healing powers dubbed the Lourdes of Wales;
  • Walshingham Abbey, is a 7th century pilgrim site also associated with the Holy Cross;
  • Winchester Cathedral, is a 7th century Cathedral with early Roman Christianity in Britain and with the Anglo-Saxon bishop St Swithun 



St. Meinrad, Einsiedeln is linked to the ancient hermitage of St. Meinrad; now a Benedictine monastery. Einsiedeln is on the Via Jacobi, the route of St. James passing through Switzerland.



Spain is, of course, most renowned for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or the Way of St. James (Via Jacobi or Jakobsweg). Although this is being listed as one pilgrimage, in reality pilgrims from all the ancient Christian kingdoms, princedoms, dukedoms and Bishopric states flocked to Santiago and – as a result – there are several routes of St. James converging on Santiago de Compostela. In addition to the Way of St. James, Spain has other ancient pilgrimage sites.

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe. A 13th century monastery.
  • Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage route dates back to the discovery of the remains of St. James in Galicia dating back to the 9th century AD. It grew steadily in importance as the Spanish Reconquista started gaining ground in Spain.  http://catedraldesantiago.es/

Spain has many other pilgrimage routes particularly tied to apparitions of Our Lady. But most of these would be more recent than the ones mentioned above.



Portugal has a number of pilgrimage routes but the most popular, such as Our Lady of
Fatima and Our Lady of Sameiro are not ancient routes.