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.
Admiral Lord Nelson lies in the Crypt, alongside the tombs of Sir Christopher Wren and the Duke of Wellington, which you can see for yourself if you have a penchant for the macabre with a sightseeing ticket. This will also gain you access to the walkway that runs around the inside edge of St Paul’s iconic dome, otherwise known as the Whispering Gallery because the acoustics allow someone to be heard round the other side of the dome, even if you’re whispering. Those with a head for heights can venture up even further to take in 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. If you’ve paid for main admission you’ll be treated to an introductory talk that lasts around 15 or 20 minutes before being taken on a 90-minute guided tour (available Monday to Saturday, 10am-2pm). But if you pay a little more, you can also join a more detailed, Triforum Tour that lasts an hour and happens on certain days, so if you’re hoping to join in make sure to check the website before you go.
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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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.