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St Paul's Cathedral in London England

Built by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul's Cathedral is a London attraction that should not be missed. What we see today is a re-build of the original which was burnt down in the great fire of London. Seat of the Bishop of London, this is London's answer to St Peters in the Vatican. Many memorable Royal and national events take place here. There is much for visitors to see on the floor level, also tombs in the crypt and of course the great dome itself.

Picture of St Paul's Cathedral including the dome


St Paul's is a masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren's and a definitive London landmark. An inescapable attraction for all travellers to this great city. St Paul's is the most recognisable Gothic Cathedral in England. National events are held here. Some of these are the Royal families celebrations. This is one of the MUST SEE London tourist attractions.

History of St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's is one of England's most recognizable cathedrals. This is probably because its splendid dome is so easy to notice. It is the only Anglican cathedral to have one of these.

The original Gothic, medieval cathedral had been burnt down in the fire of London 1666. Legend has it that the architect of the modern building, Sir Christopher Wren, was walking through the ruins. There he saw a stone with the word resurgam - Latin for resurrection - and was inspired. Whatever the truth he became the architect and rebuilding took place between 1668 and 1710.

Facts about St Paul's

  • It is the seat (cathedra) of the Bishop of London one of the most senior bishops within the Anglican Church.
  • St Paul's is a baroque masterpiece, without doubt.
  • It is considered to be the protestant answer to St Peters in the Vatican, Rome.
  • It was built in an age when French, Spanish and catholic threats to England's safety were a reality.
Picture of St Pauls Cathedral from the front including statue of Queen Anne

England's National Cathedral

St Paul's can be said to be the National Cathedral of England. It is here, National events such as jubilee celebrations, take place. Everyone alive at the time, will remember the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana that also took place here.

What to see inside St Paul's Cathedral

Inside the cathedral there are several things which are a must to see. The ceiling decoration is magnificent, even more so inside of the dome itself. Many of the side chapels are also worth seeing in particular the American chapel behind the high altar which commemorates Americans who died in the World wars.

The Dome of St Paul's

Visitors can ascend to the inside of the dome. However, it is worth noting, it is not for the feint hearted or those with a fear of heights. The view of the inside of the cathedral from above is spectacular. Yet, a view from underneath is magnificent enough for those who don't wish go up all of the steps. From below the dome you can take in the full beauty of the mosaics depicting saints and prophets and Sir James Thornhill's murals.

Picture from under the dome of St Paul's cathedral

259 steps going up will lead you to what is known as, the whispering gallery. When you speak quietly here, facing towards the walls, you can be heard on the other side of the dome. Best to be careful what you say. Walls do have ears!

There are two galleries above the whispering gallery. These can also be reached by climbing higher. 378 steps lead you to the Stone Gallery and still higher 530 steps get you to the Golden Gallery.

Tombs in the Crypt of St Paul's

Two tombs of great note downstairs in the crypt are those of great English heroes. Firstly, you will see The Duke of Wellington's final resting place. The victorious hero at the battle of waterloo is here encased in a magnificent sarcophagus made of Cornish Granite. Secondly, right in the centre of the crypt, there is the casket of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. He is encased in, what could be likened to, a boat like casket, that cannot go unnoticed if you are down here.

As well as these two great men, there is the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren - architect of St Paul's Cathedral. Also worthy of note is a memorial to Florence Nightingale.

Sadly there is a charge to get inside the cathedral. However it is very worthwhile. It will be a memorable experience for you and your family or travel companions.