I haven’t done a post about London in while, and I love sharing my adventures in the city with you, and places that I love. This time, I went to St Paul’s Cathedral, which is a beautiful, peaceful place. Oddly enough, even though I’ve been in London for 8 years, I hadn’t actually gone inside this beautiful place before.
There has been a church on the site of St Paul’s for about 1400 years, with the current building being built a few decades after the Great Fire of London which devastated London in 1666. It’s designed by Christopher Wren, who was an incredible architect, and is quite Italianate for an Anglican church, which made it a little controversial in it’s day. It’s beautiful dome is a well known and much loved icon on the London skyline.
The building itself is full of history and story, and is quite huge. There are certain areas off limits to the public, but you can apply to see them or take a look at them on the virtual tour on St Paul’s website (HERE). One of which is an incredibly beautiful library. It’s also worth timing your visit to arrive when the bells are rung, they’re a quintessentially London sound.
There are few areas inside this building where you’re allowed to take pictures, which is quite nice, as it’s nice to just be there, but I did take a few pictures inside to share with you.
The Cathedral has three levels, the crypt underneath, the ground floor, which is the cathedral proper, and then the dome, where there are three galleries, where you can see a view over London, if you’re brave enough to climb the winding and narrow stairs.
Inside, there is so much, everywhere you look. Art works and monuments, all of which have their own story and significance. You enter in the nave, which is soft coloured marble, down the sides are memorials, and then in the centre is the dome, which is intricate and heavily decorated.
It’s hard to describe how beautiful and calm it is under the dome. At this part of the cathedral, huge mosaics and paintings adorn the ceiling, and you can look through in beautiful carved choir down to the sanctuary. I’m not religious at all, but it’s very beautiful.
Inside there are many monuments and memorials, many to those who gave their lives and fell during war. It’s hard to capture the glow of the light as it comes through the windows and illuminates the statues. They’re all incredibly moving and lifelike, incredible works of art, showing very dramatic scenes of battle, each with their inscription.
There are some interesting motifs on the memorials, I loved this lion because he looked so fierce, but each has it’s own symbols and there are scenes of battle and ships on the ocean, angels and symbols of strange places here.
The Whispering Gallery is a really famous part of the building, and is located in the dome. You enter a flight of stairs, seen above, and make your way up. You can’t take pictures up there, but you can see in greater detail the beautiful paintings in the dome, which depict the life of St Paul. It’s name comes from it’s unusual effect: when you whisper against the wall, the sound carries perfectly round and can be heard perfectly by person across the space from you. It’s quite incredible to witness, sitting there looking up, and being surrounded by ghostly whispers of visitors.
Under the cathedral, is the crypt where you’ll find some beautiful pieces of monuments that survived the Great Fire, as well as the resting places of Nelson, Wellington, Churchill, Florence Nightingale, and many other incredible people. It’s quite moving to stand there, amongst so much greatness and so much sacrifice. Oddly, the crypt also contains a cafe, which is a wonderful thing, because they do a delicious blueberry cake and sandwiches, much needed after taking everything in, and yet it feels a little strange to buy an iced latte there.