Updated: May 21, 2015
St. Paul's Cathedral - London:One of the biggest tourist draws in London is the majestic and beautiful St. Paul's Cathedral. A Cathedral has been on this site since 604AD so there is plenty of history surrounding this location. St. Paul's Cathedral was designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren and the current structure was built between 1675 and 1710. It's the 4th Cathedral to stand on this spot as the last one was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. St. Paul's Cathedral is truly a masterpiece from outside and inside. Before you go in, take a second and get a nice photograph from the front. Step back to where Cannon Street meets St. Paul's Church Yard for the best angle and also get one on the steps into the Cathedral in front of the massive wooden doors. Once inside pictures and video are not allowed. You should be able to see the main sections of the Cathedral (Nave, Dome, Quire, Crypt, and Galleries) within 1 1/2 hours.
A good image of the interior floor plan can be found online HERE. The overhead map shows you the main areas of the Cathedral with the Nave being the first section you come to upon entering. The memorial to the Duke of Wellington is perhaps the one thing that stands out in the Nave. The Dome is very impressive and worth taking in while sitting beneath it. Admire the architecture while seated and take a look up to the top of the Dome (you can walk up almost to the top if you wish). Beyond the Dome on the floor level is the Quire which features the organ, Bishop's Throne, High Altar, and the American Memorial Chapel. Hopefully you have had a good rest and are ready to see the Dome from a little closer point of view. You'll need to take the stairs to the Galleries and the first 257 steps get you up to the Whispering Gallery which overlooks the Cathedral floor and gives you a much better look at the Dome. We have supplied a link to an image which gives you a good idea of the height of the Dome and Golden Gallery which goes above that. See the Image HERE. On my recent trip to the Cathedral in March 2009 the Golden Gallery was closed but I was able to get up to the Stone Gallery for some good photo opportunities over the city of London. The Whispering Gallery is an interesting area where you can whisper to someone on the other side of the Dome and they can hear it. It works best when there aren't a lot of visitors in this section, but give it a try and you'll be surprised at how well the sound travels. If you are ready to move on, the next 119 steps await you to the Stone Gallery which allows you to go outside of the Dome. On a good day visibility lets you see all of the city, take a photo at this point. For the best panoramic views, go up another 152 steps to the Golden Gallery. Take in this view since very few other spots in London offer this. The trip back down is steep so watch your step. Once you get back down to the main floor follow the signs that lead to the Crypt. In the burial chambers of the Cathedral you will find tombs for the Duke of Wellington, Florence Nightingale, Admiral Lord Nelson, Sir Christopher Wren, and William Blake. St. Paul's Cathedral is a must see for any tourist traveling to London and it's not just for sightseeing as they hold regular services here all week. Note that the Cathedral is NOT open on Sundays to sightseers.
Ticket Prices - Hours - Tours:The Cathedral is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 AM to 4 PM. The galleries open up at 9:30AM and the last admission is at 4:15PM. Sunday is reserved for services and not for sightseeing. Admission prices are $11 GBP for an adult, seniors are $10 GPB, and students are $8.50. Children are only $3.50 (British Pounds) but you can get family ticket for $25.50 GBP if that is a better deal. Group rates are available on request. I highly RECOMMEND the audio tour of the Cathedral and the Crypt which are only $4 GBP for an adult. If you would rather here a live person talk about the vast history of St. Paul's Cathedral then perhaps consider the guided tours which are offered 4 times a day and last from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Amazingly enough the guided tour of St. Pauls Cathedral is cheaper than the handset audio tour. You can buy tickets in advance online but it only saves a bit of money and perhaps a few minutes in line.
Getting There - Location:The nearest Tube station is the St. Paul's stop on the Central Line (red on the London Underground map). You can see the map of the streets near St. Paul's Cathedral down below with a blue bubble where it's located at. You'll notice it's just a few minutes walk from the Tube station.
If you have a map of the London city center (you can get these from hotels and tourist stops), you'll be able to find your way along the streets even if you don't take the subway to the Cathedral. Also, bus lines #4, #11, #15, #23, #26, #100 have stops just outside the Cathedral so check for those times on a bus route timetable.