St Paul’s Cathedral in London is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world! So, you can’t visit London without spending at the very least a few minutes at this iconic landmark in the capital.
St Paul’s Cathedral is the Anglican Church of England and is arguably one of the most recognisable buildings in the city. It is located at the same spot where the first church in England was built. The church was built to be a place of worship for the town, however it destroyed by The Great Fire of London in 1666. After the devastating fire, the Cathedral of St Paul was rebuilt by architect Christopher Wren in 1676. He created the impressive 111-meter dome – an impressive feature that wows visitors even to this day.
Many important historical events have happened at St Paul’s Cathedral, including the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles as well as the funeral of Winston Churchill.
Fun fact: Until 1962 no buildings in the city could be higher than the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. And this was one of the few buildings that survived the bombings of world war II.
What to see in St Paul’s Cathedral in London
St Paul’s Cathedral impresses even from the outside, the imposing façade and the famous dome are the first thing that strike you. But if you make time to go inside, you’ll be able to explore its magnificent decoration. As well as the following:
- The main space on the ground floor is cross-shaped, with stunning fresco paintings that adorn the ceilings.
- The dome is formed by three circular galleries, which can be reached via stairs – however they can be quite narrow and irregular in some sections.
- Whispering Gallery: This is probably the most well-known gallery of the dome. It was named as such due to its acoustics – where you can hear any sounds in the opposite part of the gallery. It can be reached via 257 steps.
- Stone Gallery: The Stone Gallery provides magnificent views of the city. To reach it you’ll have to venture up 257 steps.
- Golden Gallery: The Gold Gallery is 85 metres high up, and the views are incredible. To get here you’ll have to walk up 528 steps.
- Crypt: Here you’ll be able to see the remains of the previous temples, as well as numerous memorials and monuments of historical British characters. The remains of Nelson, Churchill, Wellington and Christopher Wren are also in the Crypt.
Opening times to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in London
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 8.30 am – 4.30 pm. Last entry: 4 pm. On Sunday the Cathedral is open for worship only.
Summer Opening Times: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm. Last entry at 5pm. (Friday 2 August – Saturday 31 August)
Average visit time: 1.5 – 2 hours
We recommend that you get the free audio guide that is available.
St Paul’s Cathedral is in central London, with the nearest tube station being St Paul’s (Central Line – zone 1.) You can also easily walk to it from tube stations London Bridge, Blackfriars, Cannon Street Station and Monument.
Prices to enter St. Paul’s Cathedral
Students/Seniors (65 years +): £16
Children (6-17): £8
If you buy your tickets online you’ll save money, as it’s cheaper than buying them at the gate, and you can also skip the queues.
London Tourist Passes
Some tourist passes include entrance to the Cathedral, such as the London Pass.
How to enter the Cathedral for free
It is possible to gain entry to St. Paul’s Cathedral for free, however this can only be done on Sunday mornings when there is mass, but you will not be able to go up to the dome to see the galleries or to the crypt – which are both very important parts of a visit here.
Our recommendations for things to do near St. Paul’s Cathedral
Restaurants and Cafes
Around the Cathedral you will find plenty of restaurants, burger joints and coffee shops. You’ll find the One New Change shopping centre right next to the cathedral which is packed with clothing stores and eateries.
If you’re looking for a typical English pub, where you can get traditional British meals, the Ye Olde London is a good option. You can also take children in here.
On the ground floor of the One New Change shopping centre, we like to go to a quaint little place called Bea’s of Bloomsbury, great for a nice cup of tea and cupcake.
Secret Gems around St Paul’s Cathedral
There are so many secret spots around St Paul’s, that we would love to let you in on. Here are our favourite two:
The Crypt Restaurant: One of our favourite places in London is the restaurant/café that is in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral – which surprisingly rarely has many tourists. You can choose to visit here at the end of your Cathedral tour. However, you can visit this restaurant without visiting the Cathedral, the entrance is a little hard to spot, which is a shame as it really is great for drinks (or using the rest rooms.) The entrance is located on Paternoster Row (to the left of the entrance.)
Skyline views: We absolutely love heading to the terrace on the top floor of One New Change shopping center (located right next to St.Paul’s Cathedral.) All you need to do is take the lift to the top floor and you’ll find an amazing terrace with stunning views of the city. There are also two bars/restaurants so you can enjoy a nice glass of wine or a refreshing beer with an incredible view. Going to this floor is free and available at any time.
We would recommend dining in one of the many restaurants in the area, then going up to the One New Change terrace for a drink or just to enjoy the views of the city at night. And we always recommend crossing the Millennium Bridge at night.