St. Paul's Cathedral
Since 604AD there has been a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul, where the current one stands. The current Cathedral is the fourth version, and was built between 1675-1710 by Sir Christopher Wren. The crypt still retains effigies and stone from previous buildings.
As London's leading church, it has been the setting for many important ceremonies and celebrations over the centuries: the funeral of Lord Nelson, Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
The interior of St Paul's has changed according to changes in fashion, taste and church services. Queen Victoria remarked that the interior was dreary, and the result was the creation of colourful mosaics. An area of bomb damage from World War II now contains an altar dedicated to dead American soldiers who helped the British.
St.Paul's Cathedral is cross-shaped, with the iconic dome located at the intersection. Visitors can climb up through three galleries to the top of the dome, for a spectacular view across London. One of the galleries, the Whispering Gallery, is so called because the shape of the building is such that whispering against the wall at one end of the gallery, is audible at the opposite end!
By appointment the Cathedral's library can be used. It was purpose built and was nearly destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. In later years many generous donations helped to restock the shelves.
There is a cafe, restaurant and gift shop at St Paul's Cathedral. There is access for wheelchairs and prams on the lower levels, but the galleries are only accessible via staircases. A film about the dome and galleries can be viewed in the crypt. The crypt is also the location of the tombs of prominent London figures, such as Admiral Nelson, and Sir Christopher Wren.
The Cathedral is serviced by local buses and the underground tube network. Visitors are advised not to arrive by car, due to the dense traffic in London's city centre.
The Chapter House
St Paul's Churchyard
Tel: 020 7236 4128