St Pauls Cathedral, London

St Pauls Cathedral, London

Top Tourist Attractions

St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. As the seat of the Bishop of London, the cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade I listed building. 

St Paul’s Cathedral London

St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in London. As the seat of the Bishop of London, the cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. The present structure, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding program in the city after the Great Fire of London. The earlier Gothic cathedral (Old St Paul's Cathedral), largely destroyed in the Great Fire, was a central focus for medieval and early modern London, including Paul's walk and St Paul's Churchyard being the site of St Paul's Cross. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1963. The dome remains among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in the area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral.

The Dome

St Paul's is built in the shape of a cross, with a large dome crowning the intersection of its arms. At 111.3 meters high, it is one of the largest cathedral domes in the world and weighs approximately 65,000 tons. The area under the dome is the principal place for worship in the Cathedral.

St Paul's has a three-dome structure. This allows the inner dome to rise in proportion to the internal architecture and the outer dome to be much larger and more impressive. It is this outer dome shell that is prominent on the London skyline. The inner dome is the painted dome one can see looking up from the cathedral floor. Between these two domes is a third; a brick cone that provides strength and supports the stone lantern above.

  • The Ball and Lantern
    The original ball and cross were erected by Andrew Niblett, Citizen, and Armorer of London, in 1708. They were replaced by a new ball and cross in 1821 designed by the Surveyor to the Fabric, CR Cockerell, and executed by R and E Kepp. The ball and cross stand at 23 feet high and weigh approximately 7 tons.
  • The Golden Gallery
    The Golden Gallery is the smallest of the galleries and runs around the highest point of the outer dome, 280ft (85.4 meters) Visitors who climb the 528 steps to this gallery will be treated to panoramic views of London that take in the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. 
  • The Stone Gallery
    The Stone Gallery is the first of two galleries above the Whispering Gallery that encircle the outside of the dome. The Stone Gallery stands at 173 ft. (53.4 meters) from ground level and can be reached by 378 steps. 
  • The Whispering Gallery
    Climb 257 steps up the dome at a height of 100 feet and you will find The Whispering Gallery, which runs around the interior of the Dome. It gets its name from a charming quirk in its construction, which makes a whisper against its walls audible on the opposite side.

Cathedral Floor

  • The North Aisle

The North Aisle is situated to the left of the Great West Door entrance. From here, visitors will be able to access St Dunstan's Chapel, which is situated aside for private prayers along with the Chapel of Souls, also known as Kitchener Chapel as it features a memorial to the First World Way army leader.

  • Wellington's Monument

Sitting between one of the arches between the nave and the north aisle is one of Britain's greatest soldiers and statesmen, Arthur, Duke of Wellington's monument. He died in 1852 but his monument was only completed by 1912.

  • The Nave

The very first element that visitors would notice as they step inside St Paul's Cathedral is the vista down the full length of the Cathedral from the nave - the long central aisle that leads to the dome. Great-West Doors is at the very end of the nave and stands nine meters tall. It is typically used for special services.

  • The South Aisle

The South Aisle is situated on the right side of the Great West Door entrance. From here, you can access The Chapel of St. Michael and St. George, which is the spiritual home to the Order of the same name. The chapel was originally a consistory court - the place where the bishop sat in judgment over the clergy.

The Quire (Choir)

Its choir stalls by Grinling Gibbons – of particular interest due to their fine oblong panels with carved foliage ornaments in pearwood – the choir boasts a magnificent high altar built from sketches left behind by Wren. In the south choir, the aisle is the Lady Chapel and a statue of poet John Donne. This statue is famous for being the only monument from Old St. Paul's to survive the Great Fire of 1666

The Crypt

The vast crypt contains the tombs of many notable figures, including the painter’s Constable, Turner, and Reynolds.  The cathedral’s crypt is the largest in Western Europe and extends the entire length of the building. There are over 200 monuments and memorials in the crypt.

The Cathedral Collections

The Cathedral Library houses St. Paul's superb collection of more than 21,000 books and manuscripts dating from 1690 (earlier works dating as far back as the 1300s were destroyed in the Great Fire). The collection contains numerous artifacts associated with the history of St. Paul's and includes models, paintings, and archaeological findings. The Architectural Archive contains papers and drawings charting the building's design and construction.

Oculus: An Eye into St. Paul's

A must-see while visiting St. Paul's is Oculus. This fascinating 270-degree film experience outlines the cathedral's 1,400 years of history. Also on show in the theater in the crypt are Resurgam: I Will Rise Again, a short film showing the devastation caused by the Great Fire and the Blitz; Virtual Access: The Dome, a short film featuring the cathedral's magnificent domes; and Virtual Access: The Great Model, a bird's-eye view of Wren's famous model of St. Paul's.

There are a lot more useful services like experiencing the Cathedral Online, shopping online, online podcasts, Multimedia guides, Accessibility for the disabled, etc.

Although photography is allowed only during sightseeing hours, it’s an awesome experience for tourists who want to experience the solemnity of the place.