Christopher Wren’s masterpiece is an architectural marvel. Come and test your hearing in the Whispering Gallery and stay for evensong
The iconic landmark that now stands in the city is St Paul’s Cathedral Mk VI at least – designed by Christopher Wren after its predecessor burnt down during the Great Fire of London in 1666. Amazingly, despite the devastation caused to many of the City of London churches all around it, the Cathedral survived the bombs of the Blitz and was the focus of celebration and mourning in 1945. It continues today, with some of the highest profile weddings and funerals held here.
Buy the sightseeing ticket to walk around inside the Cathedral, venturing down to the Crypt to see the tombs of Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Christopher Wren, and climbing up into the dome. Here the circular walkway around the inside edge of the dome is called the Whispering Gallery – the acoustics enable you to be heard right across the other side of the walkway even when you talk softly. If you have the stamina and a head for heights, you can walk up even further and see views over London from the Stone and Golden galleries.
St Paul’s Cathedral features many stunning design features, including the mesmerising Geometric staircase that looks like the shell of a giant snail. There are several different tour options depending on how long you’ve got for exploring. Included in the main entry ticket you can hear the 15–20 minute introductory talk and take the 90-minute guided tours that run Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm. For an extra charge you join a more in-depth, one-hour Triforum Tour, available on set days through the year (see the website for details).
There’s lots to enjoy for free, too. Services throughout the week are free to attend, as are the Choral Evensong sessions (Monday to Saturday 5pm, Sunday 3.15pm). And if you just want to sit on the steps and sing ‘Feed the Birds’ from ‘Mary Poppins’ (many do), the grounds are worthy of a visit. Planted with flowers and trees to encourage wildlife, the surrounding gardens are designed with plenty of areas for tourists and office workers to sit out in the sun.
|Venue name:||St Paul's Cathedral||Contact:|
St Paul's Churchyard
|Opening hours:||Sightseeing opening times: Mon–Sat 8.30am–4.30pm, Sun open for worship only.|
|Transport:||Tube: St Paul's|
|Price:||£18 (online £16), £16 (online £14) concs., £8 (online £7) under-18s, free under-sixes, family £44 (online £39).|
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Out of the Fire
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I will be visiting the Cathedral for a second time in 3 years for a charity event held by VSO in December. They will have Griff Rhys Jones and the City of London Choir performing that evening. It should be a great night. I highly recommend you go and see the Choir performing on the night especially if its in the St Paul's Cathedral. The architectural build simply is one of the greatest in the City.
Go on a Sunday for a service- beautiful music, flowers, the church 'in action' and it doesn't cost a thing...
I visited St Paul's Cathedral recently and was completely overwhelmed by how good condition the Cathedral is still in, although there was currently a service on everyone was very welcome and still allowed for a good explore around the place. Best of all it was free! (Although I believe if you want to have a look at the top of the Cathedral etc then you have to pay) Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical landmarks; a must-see.