St Paul’s Cathedral has been here for over 1,400 years. It has been built and rebuilt five times, and always its main purpose has been as a
place of worship and prayer.
St Paul's, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Step inside and you can enjoy the Cathedral's awe-inspiring
interior, and uncover fascinating stories about its history.
Learning & Faith
Lifelong learning is a core part of the our work, delivered through a variety of events by St Paul's Institute, and the
Cathedral's Adult Learning and Schools & Family Learning departments.
History & Collections
For more than 1,400 years, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. The present Cathedral is the
masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Behind the scenes, the cost of caring for St Paul's and continuing to deliver our central ministry and work is enormous and the generosity of
our supporters is critical.
Widely considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and a powerful symbol of the splendour of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is a
breathtaking events venue.
Explore the Dome and the breathtaking views from the Golden Gallery with our Virtual Tour
St Paul's is built in the shape of a cross, with a large dome crowning the intersection of its arms. At 111.3 metres high, it is one of the
largest cathedral domes in the world and weighs approximately 65,000 tons. The area under the dome is the principal place for worship in
St Paul's has a three-dome structure. This allows the inner dome to rise in proportion to the internal architecture and the
outer dome to be much larger and impressive. It is this outer dome shell that is prominent on the London skyline. The inner dome is the
painted dome one can see looking up from the cathedral floor. Between these two domes is a third; a brick cone which provide strength and
supports the stone lantern above.
It has been suggested that Wren had intended to decorate the inside of the dome in mosaic. But in 1708 the cathedral commissioners
appointed James Thornhill to paint it in monochrome, partly because mosaic was expensive, time-consuming and considered too elaborate.
Thornhill began work on the dome in 1715 and finished four years later. His murals are based on a series of pen and ink sketches on the
life of St Paul. What we see today are reproductions from Thornhill's designs that were repainted in 1853. The originals deteriorated as a
result of the British climate and London smog.
The Whispering Gallery
Climb 259 steps up the dome and you will find The Whispering Gallery, which runs around the interior of the Dome. It gets its name from a
charming quirk in its construction, which makes a whisper against its walls audible on the opposite side.
‘This was fun the first time I did it – but magical the second time, because my five year old son was with me. The Whispering
Gallery with a child … Pure joy!’– Steve Silver, New Hampshire, USA
The Stone Gallery
The Stone Gallery is the first of two galleries above the Whispering Gallery that encircle the outside of the dome. The Stone Gallery
stands at 173 ft (53.4 metres) from ground-level and can be reached by 378 steps.
The Golden Gallery
The Golden Gallery is the smallest of the galleries and runs around the highest point of the outer dome, 280ft (85.4 metres) Visitors who
climb the 528 steps to this gallery will be treated to panoramic views of London that take in the River Thames, Tate Modern and
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
The Ball and Lantern
The original ball and cross were erected by Andrew Niblett, Citizen and Armourer of London, in 1708. They were replaced by a new ball and
cross in 1821 designed by the Surveyor to the Fabric, CR Cockerell and executed by R and E Kepp. The ball and cross stand at 23 feet high
and weigh approximately 7 tonnes.
Please note that the Whispering Gallery is temporarily closed. The Stone Gallery and Golden Gallery are open on Saturdays and
during school holidays only.