When you step inside St Paul’s Cathedral, you will not only be swept off by the Cathedral's remarkable interior but also taken by the fascinating stories about its layered history that is spread over five levels. Here you can expect to walk in the footsteps of royalty and eminent leaders on the Cathedral floor and ascend the dome to enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the London skyline. Alternatively, you can even head down to the crypt to pay respects to the country’s heroes who are buried. Here are the top ten highlights that you must visit as you step inside St Paul’s Cathedral.
The North Aisle is situated to the left of the Great West Door entrance. From here, visitors will be able to access St Dunstan's Chapel, which is situated aside for private prayers along with the Chapel of Souls, also known as Kitchener Chapel as it features a memorial to the First World Way army leader.
Sitting between one of the arches between the nave and the north aisle is one of Britain's greatest soldiers and statesmen, Arthur, Duke of Wellington's monument. He died in 1852 but his monument was only completed by 1912.
The very first element that visitors would notice as they step inside St Paul's Cathedral is the vista down the full length of the Cathedral from the nave - the long central aisle that leads to the dome. Great West Doors is at the very end of the nave and stands nine meters tall. It is typically used for special services.
The South Aisle is situated on the right side of the Great West Door entrance. From here, you can access The Chapel of St. Michael and St. George, which is the spiritual home to the Order of the same name. The chapel was originally a consistory court - the place where the bishop sat in judgement over the clergy.
William Holman Hunt's painting The Light of the World is without a doubt the most dominating feature of the north transept. It forms an altarpiece in the Middlesex Chapel. The image depicts Christ knocking at the door that opens from inside, indicating that God can only enter our lives if we invite him.
The monument dedicated to Britain's great naval hero - Horatio Nelson, who died in the famous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, stands in the south transept. Other memorials displayed includes Nelson's second-in-command, Cuthbert Collingwood, the landscape painter JMW Turner and the explorer Captain Robert Scott.
Built and installed in 1695, the Grand Organ has undergone several restorations. It is the third-largest organ in the UK and has 7,189 pipes, five keyboards and 138 organ stops. If you're visiting St Paul's Cathedral, this is definitely worth looking out for!
The wrought-iron gates located in the north quire aisle, popular known as the Minor Canons' Aisle, were built by the French master metalworker - Jean Tijou. He was responsible for the majority of the decorative metalwork in the Cathedral. The aisle also features the sculpture Mother and Child: Hood.
The Quire situated at the east of the Cathedral's cross is where the choir and the clergy usually sit during services. The quire was one of the first parts inside St Paul's Cathedral to be built and consecrated. The choir stalls located on both sides feature delicate carvings done by Grinling Gibbons, whose work can be seen on many royal palaces.
South Quire Aisle, known as the Dean's Aisle features the effigies of two Bishops of London along with a marble effigy of John Donne. Donne was a Dean of the Cathedral, not to mention, one of Britain's finest poets, who died in 1631. It is one of the few monuments that survived the Great Fire in London.
The current High Altar dates back to the late 1950s, and it is made of marble and carved and gilded oak. It features a stunning canopy based on a sketch by Christopher Wren, but which wasn't built in his time. It replaced a large Victorian marble alter and screen which were ruined by a bomb strike in WW2.
At the east end inside St Paul's Cathedral, situated right behind the High Altar is the American Memorial Chapel, also known as the Jesus Chapel. The section of the Cathedral was destroyed during the Blitz and as a part of the restoration, it was decided that Britain should commemorate the 28,000 Americans stationed in the UK during WW2.
The original Ball and Lantern cross were erected in 1708. However, they got replaced by a new ball and cross in 1821. They stand at a height of 23 feet and weight appropriately seven tonnes!
The Golden Gallery is the smallest of the galleries. It runs around the highest point of the outer dome, at 85 meters. If you climb the 528 steps into the gallery, you'll be able to witness the stunning panoramic views of London.
The Stone Gallery is the first of two galleries, located above Whispering Gallery that encircle the outside of the dome. It stands at 52 meters from ground-level and be reached within 376 steps.
Make your way up 257 steps from the Cathedral floor to reach the Whispering Gallery. It rungs around the interiors of the dome. it is known for its acoustics– if you whisper across the gallery to someone standing opposite you, they’ll hear it as clearly as you were standing right next to them!
The All Souls' Chapel located in the north tower was dedicated in memory f Field Marshal Lord Kitchener in 1925. Kitchener died at sea and his body was never recovered. He is popular known for his restructuring of British army during WW1 and for creating the most effective military recruitment campaign with the slogan 'Your Country Needs You'.
St Dunstan's Chapel, consecrated in 1699, was the second part of Wren's building to come into use after the quire. It was dedicated to a Bishop of London named St Dunstan who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1959. Previously, it was known as the Morning Chapel, because the early morning service of Mattins was conducted here.
This was originally a consistory court in which cases of ecclesiastical law were heard. Renamed in 1906 and dedicated to St Michael and St George, it is the spiritual home of the Order of St Michael and St George. It was founded in 1818 to honour people who have rendered important service overseas.
The Chapel of St Erkenwald and St Ethelburga is known as the Middlesex Chapel houses members of the Middlesex Regiment. The flag of the chapel displays the colours of the Middlesex Regiment - the empty pole belongs to a flag lost during WW2.
At the east end, inside St Paul's Cathedral, is the American Memorial Chapel. Popularly known as the Jesus Chapel, this part of the Cathedral was destroyed during the Blitz. And as a part of the restoration, it was decided that the people of Britain should commemorate the 28,000 Americans in the UK who lost their lives in WW2.
The Chapel of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor, known as the St Martin's Chapel was dedicated by HM the Queen in 2008. The Chapel is built using English oak and in it, there are two elegant cases which contain the names of all Knights Bachelor (deceased) from 1257 to date and Founder Knights' and Benefactors' Book.
At the east end of the Crypt is the OBE Chapel, known as St Faith's Chapel. The original St Faith's was a parish church that was attached to the old St Paul's Cathedral that got destroyed in the Great Fire of London. In 1960 this chapel became the spiritual home to the Order of the British Empire.
Oculus: an eye into St Paul's is a 270° film experience that unfolds 1,400 years of history to life. Situated in the atmospheric former Treasury in the crypt, Oculus instantly transports you through the history and daily life of St Paul's in three films: Life of the Cathedral; Resurgam, I will Rise Again; and Virtual Access, the Dome.
The west front of St Paul's displays a triangular structure depicting the conversion of the Cathedral's patron saint to Christianity. Above it stands the figure of St Paul himself, flanked by other apostles and the four evangelists. This work by done by Francis Bird between 1718-21, who was inspired by the church architecture of Rome.
There are tow western towers, both are topped with pineapple - a symbol of peace, propensity and hospitality. Near the top of the south-west tower is a clock which was built in 1893. It has 3 faces, each more than 5 meters in diameter. Above the clock hangs Great Tom, the hour bell, and Great Paul, the largest bell in the UK.
The South Churchyard was refashioned in 2008. On the pavement at the western end of the churchyard is a floor-plan of the Cathedral that existed before the Great Fire. Along with this is an outline of the present Cathedral superimposed on it.
In the Cathedral's north-east churchyard, a plaque marks the location of St Paul's Cross which is popular centre of news and comment, where during the reformation William Tyndale's New Testament was burned because it was in English and where generations of Londoners played their role in fomenting public opening.
A. Apart from the breathtaking architecture of the St Paul's Cathedral's dome, there are also chapels, tombs, artworks and many other things worth viewing inside. You can also view the 270° film experience called Oculus that gives you insight into the past life of St Paul's Cathedral.
A. If you wish to visit St Paul's Cathedral for prayer or attending a service, then you can enter the cathedral for free. However, if you wish to explore the cathedral, you may have to buy tickets for the same. Book St Paul's Cathedral tickets
A. Yes. If you wish to visit St Paul's Cathedral just to attend prayer or service, then you can enter the cathedral for free. However, if you wish to explore the rest of the cathedral, make sure that you book a ticket for the same. Book St Paul's Cathedral tickets online
A. There are 528 steps in total that you will have to climb to get to the top of the dome in St Paul's Cathedral.
A. Yes, the St Paul's Cathedral dome is open for visits. Climb the 528 steps within to enjoy panoramic views of the city of London.