St Paul's Cathedral

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5 historical facts about St Paul's Cathedral

Sir Christopher Wren's architectural masterpiece is one of London's most celebrated landmarks, and the perfect backdrop to your vacation photos! Before you climb the 528 steps up to its spectacular dome, here are a few things to know about its history.

  • It was predated by several cathedrals for St Paul

    1. It was predated by several cathedrals for St Paul

    The current St Paul's is the fifth to have been built on or near the site. Little is known about the pre-Norman ones, but the third burned down in a widespread fire in 1087.

  • It was built after the Great Fire of London in 1666

    2. It was built after the Great Fire of London in 1666

    The fourth cathedral was also destroyed by fire. After the most famous fire in London's history, Sir Christopher Wren was tasked with building the current cathedral.

  • The Old St Paul's was used as a scaffold

    3. The Old St Paul's was used as a scaffold

    Wren was working on repairs to the old cathedral before the Great Fire broke out. He had grand plans for its replacement and used the burned out frame to stabilize the construction.

  • It wasn't cheap!

    4. It wasn't cheap!

    By 1716 the price of the finished building had reached £1,095,556, financed by a tax on coal. That's £143 million in today's money!

  • It survived German air raids in 1940 and 1941

    5. It survived German air raids in 1940 and 1941

    It was no miracle that the Blitz caused minimal damage. For the sake of national morale, Winston Churchill had the capital's fire-fighters prioritize saving the iconic monument!

Planning Your Visit

  • What are the opening times?

    St Paul's Cathedral is open to sightseers between the hours of 8:30AM and 4:30PM from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays it is only open for worship.
    Note that the galleries – including the Golden Gallery in the cathedral's dome – don't open until 9:30AM. Admission tickets include multimedia guides and group tours (subject to guide availability). Book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

  • How long to visit?

    Touring the cathedral at a relaxed pace should take approximately 2 hours.

  • How to get there?

    The best tube station for St Paul's Cathedral is on the Central Line and is also called St Paul's, which should be nice and easy to remember! The bus stop of the same name can be reached via the 4, 11, 15, 17, 23, 26, 76, and 172 bus routes.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    8:30AM to 4:30PM Monday through Saturday, worship only on Sundays.
  • Is it expensive?
    Adult tickets are £18.00.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Admission includes multimedia guides and guided tours, but check our our best-selling tours around the area.
  • How to get there
    Take the Central Line to St Paul's, or the 4, 11, 15, 17, 23, 26, 76 or 172 bus to St Paul's.
  • Additional information
    *Buy tickets online to get a cheaper price, and fast-track entry! |
    Filming and photography are not allowed inside the Cathedral. |
    Special events may close the Cathedral, so double-check online before your visit! *

What people are saying about St Paul's Cathedral

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 15,327 reviews

Really enjoyed our trip to London and our package we purchased. We wanted to do the London Eye and hop on hop off bus - the river cruise was an additional extra thrown in and ended up being the highlight. We ended up walking most of the way around the city, only using the bus twice - both times to go just one stop. Magnificent views from the London Eye - but the cruise was just wonderful. We went from Tower Bridge to Westminster. The guy speaking was really funny and the facts super interesting. The baileys hot chocolate on board also delicious. Would absolutely recommend.

The old London bus was fantastically themed, tour guide Taylor was really funny and very well understood - we did notice a few problems with the wireless microphone cutting in and out, when the tour guide left the bus to talk - however the majority of the time it was clear. some of the story's were fictional and for humour so the tour wasn't really catered for the factual tourers but was still very knowledgeable in parts. its is also quite blue in part so would not recommend children under 12 for this one. marks 7/10

Was fun, wasnt sure what to expect but was nicely Surprised. I took my 8 year old son and I did think some jokes were a little crude, he on the other hand found them hilarious! My fiancé also enjoyed the dad jokes so it worked out pretty well for us. Defo a fun way to sight see :)

It was utterly brilliant! My girlfriend & I had so much fun! Tom was a great tour guide and he brought the whole thing to life. It was really nice as well to hear a lot about London’s history aside from the core Harry Potter mania and explore the city. Loved it.

Me and my girlfriend truly enjoyed our ghost bus tour with Barrid Alive. He is very hilarious and the tour is very eerie with comedy. Recommend this especially this halloween season.