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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
George the guide was a great. He has amazing knowledge of London and told some great stories. It was a fun and very enjoyable 2 hour walk and would recommend George for this Ghost walk if you are in London.
Our guide was awesome! And he made sure didn't let list in the Underground either. Showed us the Muggle equivalents to the Magical world. He really got us engaged in exploring London! Our family had a a fun time and met alto of neat folks from around the world too. Get ready to do a whole lot of walking!
What a perfect day! Lot´s of detailed informations and spectacular spots, loved it!
We enjoyed this tour very much - we had a very friendly guide who showed us many interesting settings of the Harry Potter movies. Thus we also saw places we would not have discovered on our own. Our tour guide answered all individual questions and although the participants didn't know each other before the tour we really felt like a group.
The tour combined useful historical context both social and architectural with a variety of ways to see the city. While billed as a walking tour, we of course saw London from the street. But in addition our guide took us through a number of buildings to take in views from great heights.