St Pauls Cathedral is one of the most impressive buildings in London. The building, with its high impressive dome, is a real eye-catcher. The building was built between 1675 and 1710 after the predecessor was destroyed during the great fire. During this great fire, a large part of the city was destroyed, including the old St Pauls Cathedral.
St Pauls towers over Ludgate Hill. The building has a height of 108 meters and was even the tallest building in London until 1962. Due to the many skyscrapers that have been built there since then, the building is a lot less noticeable today.
The architect of St Pauls wanted to build a dome that was impressive on the outside but not overly large on the inside. The solution he came up with was to build the dome in three parts: a brick plastered inner dome, an outer lead dome and in between a brick cone that holds everything together. This unique construction is, after St Peter’s in Rome, the largest in the world.
The interior is a beautiful example of the English Baroque. Climb the 257 steps of the Geometric Staircase to arrive at the Whispering Gallery. This is a circular walkway that hugs the base of the dome structure and offers great views of the floor of the cathedral far below. If you whisper along the curved wall and there isn’t too much background noise, someone on the same wall can hear it, even if they’re on the other side. So you have to be very careful what you say here.
the Stone Gallery
119 steps higher is the Stone Gallery. This surrounds the outside of the dome and offers a panoramic view of London. The Stone Gallery is about 53 meters high.
the Golden Gallery
Another 152 steps up is the Golden Gallery. This is an observation platform at a height of 85 meters. To reach it, a total of 528 steps must be climbed. The Golden Gallery is the highest point that can be reached above the dome.
special events in St Pauls
St Pauls has been the setting for special events. For example, Prince Charles and Diana were married here and Winston Churchill’s funeral was also held here.
St Pauls Cathedral offers daily guided tours ranging from 10 to 90 minutes. There is the Highlights tour (20-30 minutes), the Cathedral Floor and Crypt tour (60-90 minutes) and the Geometric Staircase tour (10 minutes). All these tours are free for ticket holders. The Triforium tour (60 minutes) is an extensive tour with a lot of stairs, it costs 10 pounds pp.
St Pauls is open Monday to Saturday from 8:30am – 4:30pm.
how do you get there?
Underground station Mansion House and then a 5 minute walk west on Cannon Street