St. Paul's Cathedral

Posted in Tourist Attractions

Set upon the highest point in the city, London’s famed St. Paul’s Cathedral comprises an iconic piece of both the city’s skyline and the country’s history. Originally erected in the year 604 to venerate St. Paul, the original cathedral was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire. The present-day cathedral was built between 1575 and 1710 under the guiding vision of famed architect Sir Christopher Wren. Steeped in world history, St. Paul’s Cathedral has been host to such historical events as Winston Churchill’s 1965 state funeral and the sermon of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964.

No trip to London is complete without a visit to this most hallowed ground. Upon first entering the cathedral, visitors can be overcome by the grandeur and enormity of the cathedral as they stand at the head of the nave, the aisle leading to the building’s dome. It is this famed nave that conjures images of Lady Diana’s long train sweeping along this very same floor as she made her walk to become the people’s princess.

('into the dome' - photo by Graham Lacdao)

The architectural splendor of the cathedral is rivaled only by its many renowned works of art, such as the Wellington Monument, located in the cathedral’s north aisle. The monument depicts the Duke of Wellington atop the enormous sculpture overseeing as valor triumphs over cowardice and truth vanquishes falsehood. Not just a homage to one the nations’ finest statesman, the monument serves as an inspiring testament to the virtues upon which Britain was founded.

Rising an incredible 111.3 meters above the cathedral floor stands one of the largest domes in the world. Accessible to visitors, the climb up the dome is beset on all sides by the splendid murals of James Thornhill and offers unique structural characteristics at various stops along the way. At 257 steps, visitors enter the whispering gallery. This beautiful interior portion of the dome provides an auditory anomaly in which whispers can be heard audibly across the room from which they were uttered. Visitors reach the highest point of the dome at 528 steps and are treated to panoramic views of the city and majestic River Thames.

(Nelson's Chamber - photo by Graham Lacdao)

From the highest peak to the lowest vault, visitors are allowed to enter the sacred crypt which is the final resting place to some of Britain’s most prominent and influential figures. From the black marble sarcophagus marking Lord Nelson’s tomb to the regal lions safeguarding the Duke of Wellington; the unique detail of each of the tombs serves to commemorate the lives of individuals instrumental to the British cause, who now lie peacefully beneath one of the its most revered landmarks.

The cathedral welcomes visitors between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday and on Sundays for worship. Visitors who wish to tour the cathedral are encouraged to allow for one to two hours to fully explore the building and its grounds. If traveling by underground, the Central Line has a station a mere two minute walk from the cathedral, as well as Mansion House, Cannon Street and Blackfriar stations also within walking distance.

A visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral is an awe-inspiring journey for art lovers, religious devotees, history buffs and architectural aficionados alike. Offering an illustrative journey through a nation’s greatest struggles and triumphs, St. Paul’s Cathedral emerges from the London skyline as old-world testament to modern day Britain.


When to visit & ticket prices

Open daily from 0830
Last entry for sightseeing: 1600
Tickets: £16.50 adults, £7.50 children (under 6 free), £14.50 concessions (60+, students), £40 family (2+2).
Information for the Disabled: External Link to page with access information for St.Paul's

Getting there

From Camden

The number 46 Bus leaves from Royal College Street every 10 minutes and will take approximately 25 minutes to reach St. Paul's. It's by far the easiest way to reach St. Paul's.

By Underground

St. Paul's is on the Central Line (Underground) and is two-minutes walk from the station.
Alternative stations (still within walking distance) include: Mansion House, Cannon Street & Blackfriars on the District & Circle lines.

By Train
London Bridge railway station is a twenty minute walk, while Cannon Street (8 mins) and Blackfriars (5 mins) are also available.

More to explore when you visit London (further reading)

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Explore the British MuseumExplore the British Museum

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