What do Sir Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington, and Florence Nightingale have in common? You could say they were all buried at the iconic St.Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The cathedral is unlike others around the world. Not just because of its striking beauty, but for its history. Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married here!
On a different note, even though parts of it have been destroyed five times it’s a testimony to the city of London for rebuilding it every time. In fact, Churchill’s top priority
was the protection of the church during the the Blitz in WW2.
The opposing forces mounted many attacks to take down one of the most important symbols of the country. However, a team of volunteers stood guard throughout the cathedral to extinguish any fires during the bombing craze. There was one very close call, actually. In 1940 a time-delayed bomb hit the cathedral. A team of Royal Engineers were able to defuse and and discard of the bomb before it could obliterate the cathedral.
While living in London I spent a few hours touring the cathedral grounds from the crypt down below to the lookout tower hundreds of feet above.
How to Get There:
My tour began at the entrance where I voluntary arched my head up until it locked into place. The building was huge. I would have had to lie down on the cement if I wanted to really appreciate its enormity. I think the master architect, Sir Christopher Wren, was sort of a genius to build this on the highest ground in London, at the top of Ludgate Hill. Actually, finding St. Paul’s Cathedral
is super easy. A quick scan of any London Tube Map shows the stop, St. Paul’s. Simple enough, right? Otherwise you can find it by bus using routes 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, and 242. St Paul’s Cathedral is open for sightseeing from Monday to Saturday between 8.30am – 4pm.
Admission Charges 2011 (Prices in UK pounds sterling)*
|Individual||Group Rates (10+)|
|Concessions (Students & Seniors)||£13.50||£12.50|
(2 Adults + 2 Children)
Let’s say you’re there now, but from my perspective. You’ll walk through the main entrance with a general view of the interior. If you’re poor, at least you got to see something. If you came to London to spend, you’ll then purchase your ticket and pick up an audio guide. Go early. The best part of the trip is to climb to the Golden Gallery, so pick a day with relatively nice weather . With the earliest arrival you will wait the the least time. But if going in mid-afternoon you may find a queue going up last the bits since they only let people out a few at a time onto the gallery. The 580 odd steps to reach the very top of the dome is all worth it.
Moving on. While walking back down the main floor it will hit you. This really is a massive church. It’s the second largest church in the United Kingdom. Your walk down will take you back into time.
I wonder what it would have been like living then? The first St. Paul’s was built in AD 604. It’s as though when visiting Europe you get a reality check. History! This has been a church of prayer since AD 604. That’s a hell of a long time!
Besides the dome you’ll want to wander down below, to the crypt. By this point in the tour you will be spent. That is why the people who created the tour are geniuses. You’ll be able to relax and watch a few historical films right in the very place they are talking about. Once I regained my energy I curiously made my way around the many famous British folks buried inside.
I can see why it’s certainly one of London’s most visited attractions.