Brilliant Anne, well written, cheeers, Martin . xxxxx
St. Paul's Cathedral
City of London, London
St. Paul's Churchyard, St Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AE
- St. Paul's Station (0.1 km)
- St. Paul's Tube Station (0.1 km)
- City Thameslink Station (0.5 km)
- Contact us:
020 7246 8348
Gipsy Lane, Barnes, London SW15 5RG
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50 reviews of St. Paul's Cathedral in English
I am still trying to work out the kink in my neck which I acquired while admiring the architectural beauty of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is an amazing building with soring ceilings, with something to see in every nook and cranny.
A guide like our Derek is well worth the extra £3, or else I’m not sure you would know where to start, and you might miss seeing some of the amazing things the cathedral holds.
Christopher Wren I salute you!
Probably the only people in the world who think St. Pauls Cathedral is just another piece of western religious decadence is President Ahmadinejad of Iran and King Flukah of the Arunga Tribe in Papua, New Guinea. Normally, anyone who gives Sir Christopher Wren’s great Cathedral – a masterpiece of architectural genius – less than 5 stars here deserves to be drawn and quartered and their entrails sent to Scotland to be made into Haggis. So why do I dare commit such blasphemy here?
To explain and make a very long story and a rather big Cathedral less of a Federal case, we have to look back to the original hallowed ground when Mellitus – Bishop of the East Saxons – built the first one in the year 604. Since then, it suffered more than a few disasters. Mostly of the grave inflammatory kind. And anyway, St. Pauls will indeed get their fifth star back when the Masters of said building grow some backbone and kick out the offensive tent-lodgers who are over-shadowing such a fine and erstwhile house of prayer.
After being burnt in 962 and then again after another attack by a local arsonist in 1087 and then rebuilt by the Normans, it reached it’s first major highlight in English history when Katherine of Aragon married Prince Arthur in 1501 – no relation to the mythical King Arthur I hasten to add – and then again in 1526, because of the London Bishop’s campaign against Tyndale’s new Testament. It was the same place where that doomed document was burnt.
It reached real fame when Queen Elizabeth I prayed there after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. And, with a breathing sigh of relief, the only fire about then, was the musket fire shot into the air in celebration.
But, in 1604, the four Gunpowder Plotters led by the famous and explosive Guy Fawkes, after being suitably drawn and quartered, were all hung in St Paul’s Garden. However, it wasn’t until 1666 when the Great Fire of London again brought more hell, fire and brimstone to this historic place and burnt it once again to the ground. So, we could say up until this point in history, that the Devil – in many a mischievous guise – had been at play here on frequent occasions.
However, when Christopher Wren in 1668 was commissioned to design a final glorious building. The one indeed that stands in the spot today, which after many hardships wasn’t finished until 1710, and that somehow, an exorcism from fire took place gratis of the great man himself. It became the venue for the burial services of many great people from Lord Nelson, to The Duke of Wellington and honoured Queen Victoria’s Jubilee to Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral. Then on to Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee and where Prince Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer to everyone’s great delight at the time.
And even before then, the Germans did there best to again destroy it with fire by a good old World War II bombing. However, apart from minor damage, that old exorcism that was performed by Christopher Wren stayed intact. St. Pauls survived.
It seemed until not long ago that the curse of fire had left this much scarred ground. Well, that is until only some months ago when it came under fire again, of a rather different kind. This time by the very grace of the church itself because it’s administrators allowed a group of protesting tent dwellers, mostly mischief-makers and have-nots and those who always have to complain and gather each time in packs when society stumbles onto hard times, to try and interfere with the life of those who try that little bit harder to help society recover. Even now, today, the courts have not managed to stop this obnoxious tent blockade of this marvellous, stoic and historical building – on such sacred ground and for quite awhile these social misfits have almost achieved what the once mighty German Air Force could not achieve – and bring it under heavy fire again.
Hopefully, their tent based gas cannister cookers and their ragamuffin audacity will pass and not ignite the devil into returning with even more fumes. However, somehow one feels the great Christopher Wren will keep these devilish troublemakers at bay from his celestial seat and the superb structure will stand well clear of troublesome fumes for at least another few hundred years.
Of course, a little prayer for an almighty good cause may just do the world of good. At least the bad weather during the wintry months in London might just flood more than a few Tent-ships into Father Thames. Christopher Wren’s Poetic Justice?
sheepfarmer, 12 December 2011:
Anne Hunt, 12 December 2011:
Thank you ‘M’
sheepfarmer, 12 December 2011:
Anne, fully agree , that they should be made into Haggis, and then what about sending the Haggis, to King Flukah ancestors, (Canniballs). It is a brilliant ‘Church’, i think as well that Sir Christopher Wren, looks down protecting his Masterpice
Anne Hunt, 13 December 2011:
Roger, Limoncina and M I thank you for your pertinent comments. St. Pauls is a grand and historical building built on what one would hope to be somewhat sacred ground. Unfortunately, it has been met with some fire and brimstone in it’s time from all kinds of devilish antics, so certainly has been through much adversity. Let’s hope these rather large, devilish demons who have housed themselves in tents outside the portals of this magnificent structure – assuring us all the while it is all for the ‘greater good’ – will not whisk up a few witches brews themselves and give it out as altar wine!
mostro, 14 December 2011:
Good and entertaining review – and I agree that people who prefer to give the 5 stars rather to their local pub and deny it to St Pauls deserve the kind of punishment you suggest (Haggis? This would explain at least how it tastes…).
Limoncina – you have not been here?!?! Quite a place to go on with your beautiful poetry… wait and see.
Anne Hunt, 15 December 2011:
You are correct Mostro a crime indeed not to give St. Pauls 5 stars, but I shall change that star status once the 100 or so very unwise men who think camping around this unique church structure is their given right and are indeed given the Royal order of the boot, like they should have been given from day one of camp night….This is taking Christianity and compassion for delinquents just a little bit too far. What is the church going to do come Christmas day…pass around the altar wine? They dare not pass around the plate for rental money, that’s for fine sure. Yes, the church shall get their fifth star back when they show a little determined effort and a forthright tone instead of pussy footing around.
Haggis? Some people have to be incredibly inebriated or perhaps bewildered….or, maybe even both, to eat and then say they enjoyed haggis!
sheepfarmer, 15 December 2011:
Anne, Haggis is preferble to Lamprey, Do not tell the locals round here it is a delicacy. Four day prepartion for a muddy bony ‘Fish’. it is a parestic fish, it sucks onto other fish. Henry 1 , died of a surfit. At certain times of the year, Supermarkets , have tanks with live fish. M.x
Anne Hunt, 16 December 2011:
I think I should give that a miss as well M…sounds a bit fishy!
Anne Hunt, 16 December 2011:
Roger. You are right. The ingredients in Paella surpasses that of Haggis any day of the week in my book!
jpduburcq, 16 December 2011:
work of a professional: you’re the best, Anne !
sheepfarmer, 16 December 2011:
Agree with you Anne and Roger, about a good Paella, is better than Ingredients of a Haggis, but have to say unfortunatly had some bad ones. I think the Chef must have given the washing up boy , to make it.
Anne Hunt, 16 December 2011:
Thank you most kindly JP for your remarks. Yes M …everything, no matter what it is in life, even people…it is all in the making. The right ingredients help, but it is also the blending, mixing and nurturing – ‘TLC’ I think it is called!
A fantastical place : so grand!
It is too big for me – except when
the choir are singing & then I’m
This is the site of the tomb of Frederick,Lord Leighton one of the
grandest of the Pre Raphaelite painters & grand is his enormous tomb too
(Update 2011) Outside is tent city. Protesters against corporate greed have
been moved from outside the banking area to here. Now, they may even be
installed inside the Cathedral due to intense criticism of this occupation outside.
Two senior members of the place have already resigned over the furore
Everyone knows what the outside of St Pauls Cathedral looks like, but inside lies a rarely explored treasure of London .The architecture is breathtaking – it’s quite something to stand at the foot of Christopher Wren’s geodesic staircase and just look up.
It’s worth spending a bit extra to get yourself one of the enthusiastic tour guides to talk you through the history and marvel of the venue that hosted Charles and Diana’s wedding and is now the resting place of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. There’s a lot to take in - floor covers, crypt inscriptions and large wooden doors seem more at home at Hogwarts than in this working church.
The restaurant is great. I can recommend the quirky ‘afternoon tea’ of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and tea served from random silverware by kindly staff.
While you can’t take photos inside, this does not detract from the experience. It’s a great thing to do on a raining day, and will please tourists and Londoners alike.
Peaceful yet busy working church. Cheaper if you book in advance on the internet. Go early in the morning to beat the queues. An audio guide's included in the price. Fascinating architechture and history.
It's a gruelling climb to the whispering gallery and the top but wonderful views of central London. The gift shop has good value books on London. Thanks to the very friendly staff.
Ok, everyone of course described how this gem designed by the master architect Christopher Wren is a must-see, how beautiful it is and all. But I'd like only to reinforce how the view from the top of this church is one of the most beautiful views from London. I know there are way too many steps - not for the faint-hearted - but believe me: it's worth it. London is even more majestic from up there.
The tour at St Pauls was fantastic. I was lucky enough to be part of the Qype Sherlock Holmes society tour of St Paul’s Cathedral and I have to say, it was wonderful. The church itself, while looking seriously Roman Catholic, is the head of the Anglican religion in England I think. For sure it is the head in the city. Within the church is the most magnificent artwork including a staircase whose only support is itself. You have to take the tour to see the staircase and be given entry into a few locked areas.
The artwork everywhere means you can dwell here for hours. It would be easy to spend a day walking around and enjoying the artwork and learning about the history of the cathedral. There are so many beautiful pieces of artwork, not the least of which is the ceiling reflecting the story of Genesis.
You do not have to be Christian or religious to enjoy St Paul’s cathedral. The beauty here is not bound by religion and a trip to the catacombs reveals monuments to some of the most important people from not just military history but also artistic and philosophical history. An impressive place and a fantastic day out.
Amazed that I had not been to St Paul's since I was a child, so it was interesting to view it as an adult.
It's an amazing Cathedral, of enormous proportions & you can see why it took 35 years to complete.
Our tour guide took us to some fantastic hidden stairways, where the spiral stairs were held up by mathematical genius alone.
I never knew that St Pauls was still a working church, so was nice to be interrupted by prayers & a time for quiet contemplation in what's still a major tourist attraction.
3 years I've been in London, I've walked past it countless times, and only now have I finally been in. Absolutely worth the visit! And absolutely worth getting a guide to show you around. Wren's masterpiece contains so much detail and decoration that you're bound to miss something, and the guides are knowledgeable and able to add personal touches to the otherwise overwhelming history of the building.
The crypt contains the superstar tombs of Nelson and Wellington for war-history buffs (as well as Collingwood, the chap who commanded the Battle of Trafalgar after Nelson's flashy attention-grabbing death). Down in the crypt you'll also find a fantastic restaurant well worth a visit.
2010 marks 300 years since the dome was capped out and the building was officially completed, so no doubt there'll be some special events to mark it. If you haven't already been, it's the perfect excuse to finally visit.
Note: the cathedral is still a place of worship, so pay attention to when visitors are welcome in certain parts. Or if you're so inclined, go along for a service.
Although I had been in St. Paul's Cathedral a number of times, I had never taken a tour. This weekend, I was fortunate to have Derek as our guide on the "Supertour" of this impressive working church cum iconic London landmark. The tour made me appreciate and opened my eyes to many things I would (and did) gloss over otherwise. It also gave us access to an amazing section of the church that is not open to the general public.
So, if you're wondering what to do over a weekend or if you have family in town, bring them to St. Paul's, take a tour and stand and marvel.
Then, go get tea, sandwiches and cakes at the Restaurant at St. Paul's. Wonderful day.
It's a shame that living in London often means missing out on the touristy stuff.
This weekend I went on a tour of St Pauls that charmed and intrigued me. In fact, it's left me determined to explore more of the city's awesome tourist attractions.
The building is overwhelming and imposing, inside and out. It's scale and ambition tells a tale of science, art, culture, religion, politics and mathematics. This mix comes together in graceful domes, arches, woodwork, pillars and mosaics. It's architectural alchemy and every detail has a story to share.
I can't recommend a tour of St Pauls enough.
Note: access to the whispering gallery ends at 16:00.
The guided “supertour” of St Paul’s Cathedral offers excellent insight to the story of what’s inside this grand edifice. If you haven’t gone, go! Whether here on holiday or simply a Londoner with a bit of free time, a tour of St Paul’s should be a high priority on anyone’s sightseeing agenda (perhaps even most especially if you actually live here).
One of the most cherished aspects of the London skyline is St Paul’s magnificent dome. Being able to now envisage what’s inside Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece and to better understand its role in London’s history only adds to the joy of catching a glance of this remarkable architectural wonder.
Lots more of my raving about this iconic marvel may be found at the Qype does London blog:
Don't just stand outside this incredible building, go and spend a paltry £3 - which gets you a bargain "supertour" around the inside of St Pauls Cathedral replete with a potted history from one of the lively guides.
I would recommend this for people who want to see a bit more of London than just the museums, and think it's a wonderful way to entertain tourists and londoners alike for an hour and a half. Be aware that you will be walking around the cathedral, so wear some comfy shoes.
Once you've worked up a bit of an appetite after all that cultural history, why not follow it up with delicious afternoon tea at the understated restaurant in the crypt? Their scones are among the best I've had, and the mismatched silverware has to be seen to be believed.
Afternoon tea: £14 (more if you want bubbly)
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