The site where St Paul’s Cathedral is built has been a religious site dating back thousands of years, and has even hosted a Greek temple and a dolmen. The Greek temple was replaced by the oldest church in England, founded in 604 AD.
The church, made of wood, was one of the many buildings to be destroyed in the Fire of 1666. It was reconstructed several times, until St Paul’s Cathedral was erected between 1676 and 1710.
Services held at the Cathedral include Churchill’s funeral and the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana.
Inside St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is a colossal cross-shaped church, with striking decoration, especially its beautiful ceilings decorated with frescos.
We recommend visiting the church with the free multimedia guide given with all tickets, as it narrates the most interesting details of all the different parts of the Cathedral.
The dome is probably St Paul’s most impressive part. It is composed of three circular galleries. Walking up a flight of 257 steps, visitors will reach the first gallery, the Whispering Gallery, standing at 99 feet (30 m) tall. It has impressive acoustic properties so any whisper or murmur at the other side of the gallery can be heard clearly.
The Stone Gallery is reachable after climbing another 376 steps. Here you get some impressive views of the city, but not as breath-taking as those from the highest point of the cathedral, the Golden Gallery, standing 214 feet (85 m) tall.
The Cathedral’s core is perforated forming a large underground crypt in which fragments of previous temples remain, as well as different monuments and memorials. It is also a burial ground for some of UK’s most famous citizens, including Lord Nelson, Wellington and Churchill.
Difficult access to the Dome
Although the visit to St Paul’s Cathedral and its crypt are highly recommendable, the access to its dome can be a little difficult for some, as the staircase is poorly lit and not very accessible.
If you want to visit St Paul's Cathedral and skip the lines, click on the following link:
Monday to Saturday:
8:30 am: Doors open for sightseeing
9:30 am: Galleries open for access
4pm: Last entry
4:30pm: Cathedral closes
Students and seniors (over 60): £16
Children (ages 6 to 17): £8
Tube: St Paul’s (Central line)
Buses: 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100 and 242.