What you have to pay the new money-changers

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Entrance fee (compulsory): £3.50

History: The principal cathedral in England. Built between 1097 and 1498

Unique selling points: The spot where Thomas Becket was slain, the Tomb of the Black Prince

Annual income generated from charges: £1.1m

Drawbacks: Hordes of French and Italian school children

Consumers' Association value-for-money rating: **


Entrance fee (compulsory): £3.50

History: Founded in early 11th century

Unique selling points: Architecture, views of the town and countryside

Income: £250,000

Drawbacks: Chaotic architecture of west end

Value for money: *****


Entrance fee (voluntary): £3 plus compulsory £2 for tombs, tower and shrines

History: Built in the 12th century; defining example of Norman architecture

Unique selling point: Tomb of Venerable Bede

Income: Cathedral declined to give details

Drawbacks: Visits from Harry Potter fans after its role in forthcoming film

Value for money: **


Entrance (compulsory): £4

History: Built 1081-1189

Unique selling points: Octagonal central tower, 24-hour lunar clock believed to be second oldest in the world

Income: £200,000

Drawbacks: Bleak Fenland surroundings

Value for money: ****


Entrance fee (voluntary): £2, compulsory £4 for library

History: Originally erected circa 825, now a showpiece of different Gothic styles

Unique selling points: Chained medieval library with the Mappa Mundi

Income: £80,000

Drawbacks: Ugly 20th- century additions

Value for money: ***


Entrance (voluntary): £3.50

History: England's most elegant Gothic cathedral with tallest spire, founded in 1220

Unique selling points: 404ft spire, one of four original copies of Magna Carta

Income: £750,000

Drawbacks: Sweatshirts cost £26.50

Value for money: ***

St Paul's London

Entrance (compulsory): £5

History: Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece completed in 1710

Unique selling points: One of three versions of Holman Hunt's 'The Light of the World', Nelson's tomb, the Whispering Gallery

Income: £2.8m

Drawbacks: Huge crowds and long queues

Value for money: ***


Entrance fee (voluntary): £3.50

History: The longest cathedral in England, built late 11th century

Unique selling points: St Swithun's tomb, Jane Austen's memorial, graves of Saxon monarchs including King Canute

Income: £350,000

Drawbacks: officials pounce on you with "welcome" leaflets

Value for money: ****

York Minster

Entrance fee: free, but £3 compulsory charge to visit tower

History: building begun in 1220 with aim of rivalling Canterbury. Largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe

Unique selling points: Contains 60 per cent of Britain's surviving medieval stained glass; stupendous ceiling

Income from charges: not available

Drawbacks: So many tourists you can't hear the services

Value for money:*****

Value-for-money ratings taken from the 'Which? Guide to Tourist Attractions'