A cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood on this site since 604AD, and throughout the cathedral has remained a busy, working church where millions come to reflect and find peace.
ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL is not only an iconic part of the London skyline but also a symbol of the hope, resilience and strength of the city and nation it serves. Its rich and diverse history means there’s lots for visitors to the Cathedral to discover.
The current cathedral – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Its architectural and artistic importance reflect the determination of the five monarchs who oversaw its building that London’s leading church should be as beautiful and imposing as their private palaces.
Since the first service was held here in 1697, Wren's masterpiece has been where people and events of overwhelming importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated. Important services have included:
- The funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill;
- Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria;
- Peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars;
- The launch of the Festival of Britain;
- The Service of Remembrance and Commemoration for the 11th September 2001:
- The 80th and 100th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother;
- The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer
- And most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
Over the centuries, ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL has changed to reflect shifting tastes and attitudes. Today, the history of the nation is written in the carved stone of its pillars and arches and is celebrated in its works of art and monuments.
In the crypt are effigies and fragments of stone that pre-date the Cathedral, relics of a medieval world. From Wren’s original vision, Jean Tijou’s beautiful wrought iron gates of 1700 still separate the quire from the ambulatory; children still test the acoustics in the Whispering Gallery; and the 1695 organ – which Mendelssohn once played – is still in use.
The magnificent mosaics are the result of Queen Victoria’s mid-19th century complaint that the interior was "most dreary, dingy and undevotional.” The American Memorial Chapel stands behind the High Altar in an area that was bomb-damaged during the Second World War – a gesture of gratitude to the American dead of the Second World War from the people of Britain. An altar has now been installed on a dais in the heart of the Cathedral, bringing services closer to those who attend them.
*Please note that ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL have planned closure and restrictions for sightseeing, and they thank you in advance for your understanding whilst maintenance is carried out, or special services and events are conducted in the cathedral. Please view St Paul’s Cathedral planned closures and sightseeing restrictions here before you select your sightseeing date prior to checkout.
The cathedral floor and crypt open at 08.30 Monday to Saturday.
The Whispering, Stone and Golden Galleries open at 09.30.
Last admissions to the cathedral are at 16.00.
Once inside the cathedral, last admissions to the galleries are at 16.15.
The cathedral closes for sightseeing at 16.30.
Please note that St Paul's have planned closure and restrictions for sightseeing, and they thank you in advance for your understanding whilst maintenance is carried out, or special services and events are conducted in the cathedral.
Please view St Paul's Cathedral planned closures and sightseeing restrictions here
before you select your sightseeing date prior to checkout.