London Travel

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the best known landmarks in London. We’ve decided to visit it on our last trip to London, this month. As the weather was rather lovely, but cold, I wanted to visit an indoor location, so I picked St. Paul’s. Buckingham is only open in the summer and we’ve already been to Kensington Palace.

St Paul's Cathedral. Imagine from outside

One of the things that made me wonder if we should visit it or not was the high price tag, £20 per person is not exactly a bargain. After visiting it, I think it is worth it, if you take one of the guided tours. There are two guided tours available, the one that we took, a 90 minutes tour, and a short tour with highlights, that lasts for 30 minutes. I think the 90 minutes tour is more interesting because the guide talked a lot about the cathedral, Christopher Wren, the architect who designed St. Paul’s, about Nelson and Wellington, both buried at St. Paul’s. Of course, Wren is buried at St. Paul’s too.

St Paul's Cathedral. Detail of the building, outside

 St Paul's Cathedral. Imagine from outside

After taking pictures outside of the building, we went in. No pictures were allowed inside, not even in the crypts or in the whispering gallery. I’ve seen some people taking pictures, but I found that disrespectful. Obviously I don’t agree with the statement that taking pictures would disturb people praying, as no pictures are allowed in places where nobody is praying, but these are their rules.
Also, I can’t imagine people taking picture of other people when the ceiling is just stunning, and the cathedral is made up of two very different parts. One that is white and clean and another part, decorated in the Victorian era that looks very much catholic. I asked the guide about that and her answer only told me that she is Anglican and not an explanation of why there are, gorgeous looking, Italian and Italian-style mosaics with pictures of saints.

I was also intrigued by the beautiful ceiling painted at the time of Charles II, with myths from the life of Paul. I wonder if these show the attraction Charles II had for Catholicism. I didn’t ask the guide that though.

St Paul's Cathedral. On top viewing point

The whispering gallery is were I stopped. I’m not good with heights, so I stood there and waited for my husband. He went up and saw London. Luckily he took so many pictures and I can share them with you.

 London seen from St Paul's Cathedral. Buildings

London seen from St Paul's Cathedral. The Shard is in the background

London seen from St Paul's Cathedral. In the background is Tate Modern

Buildings in London, seen from the viewing point at St Paul's Cathedral

The Shard, from St Paul's Cathedral

London seen from St Paul's Cathedral

I love this picture. With Tate Modern in the background and Millennium bridge. The Globe can barely be seen, on the left.

London seen from St Paul's Cathedral

 London seen from St Paul's Cathedral

Cream tea at St Paul's Cathedral

Before leaving, we went to the tea rooms for cream tea. The lady said they could make a vegetarian afternoon tea, but I’m not keen if I can’t see a vegetarian option mentioned in the menu. So, we only had cream tea. It was delightful. The tea was a bit strong, but it was very good. The scones were hot and delicious. I would recommend having cream tea at St. Paul’s cathedral.

Poster for St Paul's Cathedral

Have you ever been to the cathedral?

3 Comment

  1. I went there once as a child with my Mum and we went to the Golden gallery – I was already experiencing hysterics at that height so we didn’t go any higher (you used to be able to!).
    As an adult, I have sung there about 3 times for Choral evensong as I used to sing with a choir who deputised for the cathedral choir there and at other cathedrals such as Canterbury and Lincoln. It was nice to visit the bits that other people don’t get to see!!

  2. I’ve always wanted to see St Paul’s, but the price tag makes me a bit reticent… It really is a lot for a cathedral, and I really think all cathedrals ought to be free (or at least have a recommended donation only.) With the 90 minutes tour it makes it more worth it though, so one day I will definitely visit it!

    Julia x

  3. Great views from high up! I’m not good with heights, either, but I’m sometimes okay as long as I’m enclosed well enough (like on the London Eye). Looks pretty open here.

    Though they’re not canonized or revered in the same way (as in the Catholic Church), Anglicans do have a calendar of recognized saints.

    I know I didn’t visit St. Paul’s in my last couple of trips to London, but can’t remember if we went inside when I was there more than 45 years ago. I’ve been somewhere with a “whispering gallery”, so maybe I did.

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