After spending 6 full days exploring London as part of our week long adventure, we decided on our last full day to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London. Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral was such a perfect end to our trip! Not only was the cathedral stunning both inside and out, but the views from on top of the dome were spectacular!
Shortly after leaving the hotel, we stopped at a little restaurant for a traditional English breakfast. Not only did we have tea, but we also had eggs, sausage, bacon, tomatoes, white and black pudding, mushrooms, & toast. It was such a filling breakfast and a great start to the day! After breakfast, we headed off to central London via the tube (which was really easy to navigate) to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral
Christopher Wren designed and built the baroque style cathedral following the great fire of London. The 17th century cathedral is located at the highest point in London on Ludgate Hill. Throughout the city, you can see the dome, but visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral for a close up was even better!
On our visit, we toured both the inside of the church and also climbed the dome. We arrived at the Cathedral shortly after the dome galleries opened (~9:30AM). We booked tickets in advance through the St. Paul’s Cathedral website (20-17 pounds) to save us some time waiting in lines (although there weren’t any when we arrived). Also, included as part of the ticket price, was an audio guide to learn even more about the church which was very informative both for the inside and dome tours.
Climbing the Dome
Climbing the dome was one of our favorite items of the day! There are 3 levels to this climb and 528 steps along the way. You can stop along the way at level 1, the whispering gallery, level 2, the stone gallery, or continue to the top to the golden gallery. We made it all the way to the top after multiple stops along the way.
After every level, the views of the city below kept getting better and better! You could see all the main sites we saw and experienced in the other days scattered throughout the city, including the London Eye (from Day 2).
Making it to the golden level or 3rd level was much more intense than we originally thought. We’ve climbed other domes, like the one in Florence, where the step count was similar; however, what makes St. Paul’s more challenging is the type of stairs for this final level. For the final level, we had to climb through a metal spiral staircase (one-way traffic only). Getting to the top though was so worth it! The views from that high up were spectacular!
After descending the dome, we explored the inside of the church. Stepping inside the cathedral, the dome and surrounding artwork was stunning. Following the audioguide around the cathedral, we passed tombs and side chapels and learned about the history of the church.
Exiting the cathedral, we decided to have lunch near by at a local deli. The remainder of the afternoon we spent walking around central London and shopping for last minute souvenirs.