St. Paul’s Cathedral

 

The incredible size and intricate design of St Paul’s Cathedral is enough to leave you in awe before you even step in doors. Visitors and commuters alike find solitude and comfort just sitting in the churchyard or upon the stone steps, as they are joined by spectacular sculptures and the impressive exterior of the building itself.

Upon arriving to the Cathedral and entering the small door to the left of the steps, the soft dimmed light and calm atmosphere reminds you that this is a house of God and that a level of respect is necessary. To preserve the sanctity of the space, it is asked that photos are not taken inside the Cathedral, but you soon realise how difficult a rule this is to stick to.

Under the dome in a space of such historical importance, take a moment to reflect that you are stood where Princes Charles and Lady Diana married, where Martin Luther King once preached, and where the funerals of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher were both held.

Though the Cathedral is over 300 years old, touch-screen multimedia guides are available upon entry and are included in the admission fee in 12 different languages to give you a closer look at the Cathedral’s history. Visually impaired visitors can also benefit from audio guides.

After exploring the intricate artwork and the high domed roof as high as 85 meters above, head up the stairs to the galleries. This is not a trip for the faint-hearted, so we recommend taking it slow and giving yourself plenty of time to investigate. There are 528 steps to climb to reach the very top of the Cathedral.

Climbing the stairs, you will notice the corridors begin to narrow and the ceilings begin to lower. The walls start to sit unevenly and the steps turn into stone, serving as a reminder that the Cathedral is over 300 years old.

You will reach the Whispering Gallery after climbing 257 steps. Being 30 meters closer gives you a different perspective of the detailed art work on the ceiling. Lean into the wall and whisper. The shape of the building means that sounds travel around the walls, making it possible for your friends to hear your quiet message from the other side of the dome (so be careful what you whisper!)

After climbing more stairs you will reach the Stone Gallery, where you can take in the view of the city. At this level, you can also get a closer look at the Cathedral’s architectural beauty and design, including the gold pineapples.

Though you will have to climb more stairs, and several metal spiral staircases, you should take your visit up to the Golden Gallery at the very top. There is no better place to absorb the London skyline than from one of the iconic landmarks.

Being 85 meters above the Cathedral floor, and beside the Millennium bridge and across the River Thames from the Tate Modern museum, you will be graced with a perfect view of the city and its most remarkable buildings.

Below the Cathedral floor is the Crypt, where you can refresh in the Cathedral’s cafe. Here, you can enjoy lunch or a delicious coffee break while being surrounded by the tombs of Lord Nelson, Lord Wellington, and Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of the masterpiece that is St Paul’s Cathedral.

We recommend sticking around for a service at St Paul’s, if possible. The choir will blow you away, immersing you entirely and giving you a glimpse of the St Paul’s Cathedral community spirit.