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St Paul's Cathedral, London

St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Central London dedicated to Paul the Apostle. Sitting on Ludgate Hill, the cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London and plays a significant role in the national identity. St Paul's Cathedral is another prominent landmark in London and the second largest church in the UK after the Liverpool Cathedral.

The cathedral was where Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981 and services for the Queens Jubilee celebrations including the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Funeral services of many prominent people have taken place here including Lord Nelson, Sir Winston Churchill, Alexander Fleming and Margaret Thatcher. The cathedral is also the final resting place of notable people in British history including Sir Christopher Wren, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson.

 St Paul's Cathedral by Eluveitie

About

The cathedral seen today was the fifth church built on the same site since the 7th century. The present St Paul's Cathedral was part of a rebuilding programme after the Great Fire of London in 1666 that swept through the central parts of the city. Sir Christopher Wren was the designer of the cathedral and conceived the building in the English Baroque style. Construction was officially completed in 1711 though construction continued for a few more years.

See & Do

The architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral is spectacular and its most notable feature is the dome, rising to a height of 111 metres (365 feet). The dome’s design is probably one of the finest and most majestic in Europe. Sir Christopher drew inspiration for the dome after visiting St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and Church of the Val-de-Grace in Paris. Standing outside the cathedral on Sundays, you can hear the weekly ringing of the bells.

Exterior architecture of St Paul's Cathedral by Txllxt TxllxT

The interior features several chapels, religious works of art, monuments and sculptures as well as a nave and choir in each of the three bays. There are scenes or paintings of the life of St Paul once you enter the cathedral. The large dome seen from the outside is in the main internal area of the building, raised on a tall drum surrounded by pilasters and windows. There are several statues and a monument of the Duke of Wellington at the aisle in the northern section of the building.

The nave at St Paul's Cathedral by David Iliff

If your legs are up to it, walk 560 steps up the Dome to the Whispering Gallery, so-called because its acoustic properties makes a whisper against the wall audible on the opposite side. The large circular enclosure at the dome offers visitors an amazing top-bottom view of the cathedral’s interior. Walk a further 117 steps to the Stone Gallery and another 166 steps to the Golden Gallery for panoramic views of London. The Ocolus is a state-of-the-art projection inside the crypt that tells the 1,400-year history of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

View from the Dome by Peter Morgan

Visiting St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral is a working church with daily services. Visiting time is on Monday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but Sundays open only to worshippers. There is an admission ticket for non-worshippers to tour the cathedral but there is no charge for worshippers. The ticket includes an audio guide available in several languages. Check with the official St Paul’s Cathedral website for programmes such as organ recitals to decide on the best time to visit.

The nearest London Underground station is St Paul’s Station serving the Central Line. Other Underground stations within walking distance from St Paul’s Cathedral are Mansion House Station (5 minutes) serving the District and Circle Lines, Blackfriars Station (5 minutes) serving the District and Circle Lines and Bank Station (7 minutes) serving the Central, Northern and Waterloo & City Lines as well as the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Riverboats under the  London River Services stop at Blackfriars Pier (9 minutes) and Bankside Pier (10 minutes ).

St Paul's Cathedral on the Map

St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK

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