Though there are countless pictures of Westminster Abbey on tourists’ cameras, let’s not forget St. Paul’s Cathedral, also known as ‘the Nation’s Church’. Located at the top of Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s Cathedral has a history to boast and breathtaking views of the city.
After the Great Fire of London in 1666, the cathedral was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and is thought to be his greatest achievement. It takes 528 steps to get to the very top of the cathedral. On your way up, your first stop will be the Whispering Gallery where you can hear a whisper across the room.There are 119 more steps to the Stone Gallery, then 152 steps to the Golden Gallery where you can see a spectacular panoramic view of London.
Multimedia tours are included with the purchase of admission. In these multimedia tours, guests are given iPods to help them experience an audio and visual guided tour of the history of St. Paul’s Cathedral. These tours will be offered in a number of languages and lasts up to 90 minutes.
Another tidbit about the cathedral that many may have overlooked is the American Memorial Chapel located at the east end of the cathedral behind the High Altar. The memorial honors the 28,000 Americans who were killed on their way or stationed in the UK during World War II. Their names are written in the 500 page roll of honor in which a page is turned once a day. This section of the cathedral contains the only stained glass windows in the entire building. The windows depict plant life and animals native to the United States and references historic American events.
There is so much to see and do at St. Paul’s that it can definitely be made into a day trip on its own. With the journey to the top of the chapel, the multimedia tours, and the American Memorial Chapel, there are a number of things you can do! You can also go downstairs and see the Crypt, wander through the Collections, or even dine in the café.
Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to plan your visit to St. Paul’s. It has taken 15 years to meticulously restore the entire cathedral, and for the first time ever, people can see how Wren originally envisioned his masterpiece.