St Paul's Cathedral
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St Paul's Cathedral: Tours & Tickets

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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

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

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

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!

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

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!

Our insider tips

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! *

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