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Sir Christopher Wren's architectural masterpiece is one of London's most celebrated landmarks, and the perfect backdrop to your vacation photos! Before you climb the 528 steps up to its spectacular dome, here are a few things to know about its history.
The current St Paul's is the fifth to have been built on or near the site. Little is known about the pre-Norman ones, but the third burned down in a widespread fire in 1087.
The fourth cathedral was also destroyed by fire. After the most famous fire in London's history, Sir Christopher Wren was tasked with building the current cathedral.
Wren was working on repairs to the old cathedral before the Great Fire broke out. He had grand plans for its replacement and used the burned out frame to stabilize the construction.
By 1716 the price of the finished building had reached £1,095,556, financed by a tax on coal. That's £143 million in today's money!
It was no miracle that the Blitz caused minimal damage. For the sake of national morale, Winston Churchill had the capital's fire-fighters prioritize saving the iconic monument!
St Paul's Cathedral is open to sightseers between the hours of 8:30AM and 4:30PM from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays it is only open for worship. Note that the galleries – including the Golden Gallery in the cathedral's dome – don't open until 9:30AM. Admission tickets include multimedia guides and group tours (subject to guide availability). Book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Touring the cathedral at a relaxed pace should take approximately 2 hours.
The best tube station for St Paul's Cathedral is on the Central Line and is also called St Paul's, which should be nice and easy to remember! The bus stop of the same name can be reached via the 4, 11, 15, 17, 23, 26, 76, and 172 bus routes.
- When to visit8:30AM to 4:30PM Monday through Saturday, worship only on Sundays.
- What is the price?Adult tickets are £18.00.
- Will I need a guide?Admission includes multimedia guides and guided tours, but check our our best-selling tours around the area.
- How to get thereTake the Central Line to St Paul's, or the 4, 11, 15, 17, 23, 26, 76 or 172 bus to St Paul's.
- Additional tips*Buy tickets online to get a cheaper price, and fast-track entry! | Filming and photography are not allowed inside the Cathedral. | Special events may close the Cathedral, so double-check online before your visit! *
What People Are Saying About St Paul's Cathedral
Andy was a great tour guide, very friendly with a good knowledge of London history as well as excellent information about all the modern buildings we viewed. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour even though it was cold and windy!
Great mix of history and ghost stories, George is a brilliant guide and made the tour both fun and informative
The guide itself and the walk were very good and fun. The phone help when we didn't find the starting point was rather difficult until we were contacted by the guides organization.
Very professional, pleasant and knowledgeable guide! I went there with my 9 years old son and we both recommend!
George, the tour leader, was extremely likeable, friendly and very interesting to listen to! The places we visited were generally nooks and crannies which I wouldn't discover in London on my own. At each site George gave some interesting information and made me realise I really ought to do more of these walks on my next visit to London!!