London underground station St Pauls, Central Line, Zone 1
For sightseeing from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 till 16:30 o'clock (Galleries from 9:30 o'clock), these times may vary sometimes due to church events (link to current information at the end of the article)
If you are satisfied with an impression of the cathedrals interior and you also like choral music and singing you should visit the mass -Choral Evensong-. Usually this mass takes place from Monday to Friday at 17:00 o'clock. It lasts about 45 minutes and the entry is free.
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Besides Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in London. The wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles was probably one of the most important events there in recent history.
Is a free entry possible?
Yes, the entrance to the masses is free of charge for everybody. The masses take place several times a day (link with schedule below). Thereby you have the chance to admire the imposing interior of St Paul's Cathedral. Especially recommendable is normally the mass at 17:00 o'clock, from Monday to Friday. The -Choral Evensong- lasts about 45 minutes and is dominated by choir music and vocals. If you line up at least 15 minutes before the mass begins, you should have no problem to get a nice seat. Even if you arrive later you should be able to get a seat in the back area of the cathedral.
If you prefer to look more closely at the various highlights and especially want to enjoy the unique view at the center of London you have to pay an entrance fee. It costs on-site approx. 20.00 £ for adults. If you have the possibility, you should buy the tickets online one day in advance. In this case the entrance fee is only approx. 17.00 £ per adult. The admission price includes also audio guides, multimedia guides and guided tours.
The dome, which is up to 111 m high, is located in the center of the Cathedral. The most famous highlights of this sight can be found there. But you have to be reasonably fit to reach them and you should have no problem with climbing stairs.
1. The Whispering Gallery can be reached by 257 wide and comfortable laid out stairs. It is no problem if you are out of breath when you arrive upstairs, because you have only to whisper to experience the specialty of this circular constructed gallery. Due to the specific design the sound is reflected to the approx. 42 m opposite side and you are able to hear even a whisper clearly across this long distance.
2. To get to the Stone Gallery you have to climb 376 stairs in total. From the Whispering Gallery a narrow brick spiral stair case leads up to a height of approx. 52 m. The gallery in the outdoor area offers beautiful views of Central London. Unfortunately the sight is a bit restricted by a high stone balustrade.
3. The Golden Gallery, which is located at a height of 85 m, offers unrestricted views of the city center and the river Thames. But this view has to be earned by defeating in total 528 steps. A narrow, open metal spiral staircase leads up from the Stone Gallery. I would skip this part if you suffer from a fear of heights.
4. At the Crypt you will find the resting place of famous personalities. This includes Sir Christopher Wren's, the architect of St Paul's Cathedral. Admiral Lord Nelson, a famous British war hero, whose statue stands at Trafalgar Square.
Even a walk around the cathedral is impressive and you can admire among other things following: west front with Queen Anne statue, Festival Gardens and the golden Saint Paul statue.
If you do not want to drown in the babble of voices at the Whispering Gallery and you also like to enjoy the view from the Golden Gallery in peace, you should start your visit in the morning, immediately after the opening of the galleries at 9:30 o'clock.
Construction period: 1675 to 1720
Dome height: 111 m
Length: 158 m
The cathedral attracts approx. 2 million visitors per year. Around half of them visit one of the masses. The Cathedral offers space for around 3,500 persons. This huge capacity was the main reason for the choice as wedding church of Lady Diana and Prince Charles.