Perched at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest hill in Central London is the present St Pauls Cathedral, on a spot where at least seven other churches have stood before. During the Roman occupation of London a temple dedicated to the goddess Diana stood here. This is truly a deeply sacred and historically important location and London Duck Tours’ favourite domed building in all of the Capital.
Wren’s Post Fire Masterpiece
This “new” English Baroque style cathedral dating from the late 1600’s is Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, part of the city-wide rebuilding programme after the devastating Great Fire of London in 1666. It’s undoubtedly one of the most famous churches in England, indeed the world, and was the tallest building in London until 1967. Only Liverpool’s massive Victorian Cathedral is larger.
At the heart of British ceremonial life
St Paul’s Cathedral has a much loved place in the UK’s national identity, and its image was much used to rally public moral during World War II. Hosting the funerals of Churchill, Nelson, Wellington and Margaret Thatcher, the wedding of Charles and Diana and holding celebratory services for all the landmark birthdays and jubilees of Her Majesty the Queen, the Cathedral still occupies a unique and highly significant position in today’s Britain.
The Modern Cathedral Experience
By no means stuck in the past, visitors to St Pauls Cathedral can enjoy interactive multimedia displays, or join a guided tour of the 17th Century masterpiece, all included in the sightseeing admission charge. The crypt is of particular interest and shouldn’t be missed – not only does it contain tombs and memorials to the great and the good from British history – Wellington, Nelson included – it’s also the location for Oculus, their immersive film experience. Do make sure to visit the excellent gift shop and café also underneath the Cathedral.
Whispering Gallery and Golden Views
For centuries the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery has fascinated visitors to the cathedral. London Duck Tours suggests that if you can climb the dozens of stairs to hear those whispers, and then, if you still have some puff left, combine it with the eye popping views from the Golden Gallery, it’s definitely something to check off the “bucket list” of unique things to do in London. You’d be quackers to miss it from your visit.