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All About St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome

St Paul's Cathedral, praised as an ecclesiastical masterpiece, is the seat of the Bishop of London. It is one of London's most stunning attractions, with its rich historical past and majestic design. The church has hosted major events ranging from art installations to state funerals and royal weddings. It also contains the world's largest dome, which stands at 366 feet in height. Read on to learn more about St Paul’s Cathedral dome, its design, what's inside and more!

About St. Paul’s Cathedral dome

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The design of St. Paul’s Cathedral dome

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The exterior of St. Paul’s Cathedral dome

St. Paul's Cathedral's dome stands tall at 365 feet, resembling a majestic layered structure envisioned by Sir Christopher Wren. Picture a grand tiered cake: intricately decorated inside, supported by a sturdy middle layer, and adorned with an impressive outer shell. Wren's design, complemented by an elegant base, offers visual allure and structural resilience, with its gleaming grey exterior contrasting the cathedral's pale stone walls.

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral dome

Beneath the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, you'll encounter a captivating sight. Supported by eight sturdy arches, the expansive dome boasts towering paintings depicting scenes from St. Paul's life. These intricate artworks, spanning over 6,000 square feet, infuse the space with grandeur and narrative richness. Natural light pours in through the oculus, illuminating the paintings and enveloping the whole space with a dreamy aura.

How to Visit St. Paul's Cathedral Dome?

St. Paul's Cathedral is a ticket attraction, which means that you will have to buy a ticket to enter and explore the cathedral. Plan your visit beforehand and book your St. Paul's Cathedral tickets online to make sure that your visit goes smoothly. Your tickets will be sent directly to your phone and you can simply display it at the entrance to get entry. After this, climb the 528 steps within the dome to enjoy beautiful views of the London city.




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What's inside St Paul’s Cathedral dome?

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The Whispering Gallery

The Whispering Gallery is the cathedral’s standout attraction. The Whispering Gallery is a circular promenade 30m above the ground that hugs the dome’s base and provides a dizzying view of the cathedral floor far below. The unique design of this gallery can carry the tiniest of sounds anywhere within. Whisper along the curved wall, and someone can hear you from elsewhere along the same wall, even on the opposite side!

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The Stone Gallery

Ascend 259 steps to reach St. Paul's Cathedral's Stone Gallery, a stunning vantage point 30 meters above ground level. Enclosed by a balustraded balcony, this gallery offers unparalleled panoramic views of London and the cathedral floor. Adorned with alternating pilasters and rectangular windows, it exudes an airy ambiance, providing a captivating perspective of the city's skyline and the cathedral's architectural grandeur.

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The Golden Gallery

Perched atop St. Paul's Cathedral's dome, the Golden Gallery offers panoramic views of London. Its exterior, adorned with gold leaf, glistens in sunlight. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1708, it boasts eight robust pillars of Portland stone, ensuring stability. Accessible via a challenging 528-step climb, you will be rewarded with breathtaking vistas, including landmarks like the London Eye and the Shard.

St Paul’s Cathedral dome

The Ball and the Lantern

The golden ball and lantern crowning St. Paul's Cathedral's dome are striking architectural features, adding to its majestic silhouette. With a cross atop, the ball stands 23 feet tall and weighs 7 tons. Though not accessible to the public, they imbue the cathedral with grandeur. Roosted at the dome's peak, the lantern provides an awe-inspiring view, elevating the cathedral's iconic status in London's skyline.

Climbing the St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome

The three-domed construction of St. Paul's Cathedral is unique. To see all the galleries in the dome, you must climb 528 steps. Although this number is quite large, the climb to the top of the dome allows you to see the gorgeous skyline of London. 

Climbing the St. Paul's Cathedral Dome involves physical strain, but it must be attempted only if you think it is safe for you. If you feel that you will be unable to make it to the top, please don't attempt to climb the dome, as the way up is separate from the way down.

Frequently Asked Questions about St. Paul's Cathedral dome

Who built the St. Paul's Cathedral dome?

Sir Christopher Wren, a famous English architect drew inspiration from Michelangelo's dome at St Peter's Basilica and improved upon its design to build a magnificent dome at St Paul's Cathedral. This dome rises in two levels, a larger outer dome to give it a large and majestic appearance on the outside and a smaller dome within that supports the larger dome and sits atop the cathedral nave.

How many steps are there inside St. Paul's Cathedral dome?

There are 528 steps in total inside the St. Paul's Cathedral dome.

Can I climb the St. Paul's Cathedral dome?

Yes, you can climb the steps inside St Paul's Cathedral dome. However, make sure that you are certain that you can climb all the 528 steps to get to the top before you start climbing. The entry and exit routes for the dome are separate and you will not be able to return from the same direction if you change your mind mid-way.

What are the hours for accessing the dome?

The dome is open to visitors during the cathedral's regular opening hours.

Is there an elevator or lift to the top of the dome?

No, there is no elevator or lift available. Visitors must ascend the 528 steps to reach the top.

What kind of footwear should I wear to climb the St. Paul's Cathedral dome?

Some steps within the St Paul's Cathedral dome are quite narrow or spiral. Make sure that you're wearing flat and comfortable footwear.

Are there rest areas along the climb to the dome?

Yes, there are rest areas with benches strategically placed along the ascent for visitors to take breaks if needed.

What landmarks can be seen from the top of the dome?

From the top of the dome, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of iconic London landmarks such as the London Eye, the Shard, and the Tower of London.

Is the dome accessible for visitors with mobility issues?

Unfortunately, due to the absence of an elevator, the dome may not be accessible for visitors with mobility issues.

Do I need to get a ticket to climb the St. Paul's Cathedral dome?

Yes, you will have to book tickets if you want to climb the St. Paul's Cathedral dome. Book tickets online.