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St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome – ticket, architecture, galleries

What would St. Paul’s Cathedral be without its magnificent dome? 

Designed by the eminent architect Sir Christopher Wren, the iconic Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the largest in the world.

St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome rises 111 meters (365 feet) above the city and boasts a diameter of 34 meters (112 feet).  Even more remarkable is its triple-shell design—more on that later.

Visiting the Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome

The easiest way to access the Dome is when you buy the St Paul’s Cathedral Fast-Entry Ticket.

This ticket includes a tour around the cathedral floor, the crypt, and the Dome’s galleries.

If your destination is the galleries, remember you need to climb 528 steps to reach the top-most part of the Dome, the Golden Gallery.

Also, remember these steps get narrower the higher you climb. Hence, it’s not recommended for all—especially if you’re suffering from vertigo and other health issues.

There are two flights of stairs on opposite sides of the cathedral, one for going up and the other for climbing down. 

Make sure you take the steps on the South Transept side of the Cathedral to ascend the Dome.

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (18 to 64 years): £29
Student Ticket (with valid ID card): £26
Senior Ticket (65+ years): £26
Child Ticket (6 to 17 years): £12
Infant Ticket (up to 5 years): Free

Want to make the best of your trip to the cathedral and other nearby attractions? We recommend the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London & River Cruise ticket that whisks you around London’s iconic landmarks and a cruise along the Thames. Another equally interesting ticket is the Welcome to London Tour ticket; it includes a live English tour guide who takes you through significant landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben.

The architecture of the Dome

St. Paul’s Cathedral at Dusk

St Paul’s Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the most famous sights you’ll come across in London. 

But when you walk through the cathedral’s nave and look skyward, there’s just going to be one thing mesmerizing you—the Dome.

Bearing a striking resemblance to the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica and Mansart’s Church, St Paul’s Cathedral Dome weighs a hefty 65,000 tons.

It springs from two clearly defined stories of masonry and rises 111 meters (365 feet—or, as the church says, a foot for each day of the year).

You’ll be surprised to know that despite being massive from the outside, Wren designed the cathedral’s inner dome to be proportionate to its overall architecture.

This sloping inner-dome or triple-shell design was considered a breakthrough back in the day.

It remains one of the few recorded instances where mathematical science was applied to an actual building in the 1600s.

Are you up for some adventure? Buy the London Outdoor Escape Game: The Great Fire ticket and follow the path of the 1666 Great Fire of London that razed some of the city’s most iconic attractions to ashes. Unlock clues and solve puzzles on your phone while reenacting the story of amateur fireman Gregory Grail on this self-guided tour.

The Dome’s galleries

St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome Galleries

A visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome is incomplete without you spending some time at the galleries that encircle its interior. 

Whispering Gallery

The very first Dome gallery you’ll encounter at 250 steps is the Whispering Gallery.

This masterpiece by Sir Christopher Wren is renowned for being an acoustic phenomenon and speaks volumes about Wren’s architectural ingenuity.

The curvature of the dome is what causes your whispers spoken against the walls to be heard on the other side of the gallery. All said and done, it’s not the best place to share secrets!

Take a peep down from the gallery, and you can see the Cathedral’s chequerboard marble tiles below.

Tilt your head upward, and you’ll notice eight gigantic monochrome paintings by Sir James Thornhill detailing St. Paul’s conversion to Christianity.

Note: Photography is strictly prohibited in this gallery.

Stone Gallery

If you climb another 128 steps above (378 steps from the Cathedral floor), you’ll reach the Dome’s Stone Gallery.

The first thing you’ll notice when entering here is that it functions as an outdoor observation deck encircling the exterior of St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome.

Don’t forget to marvel at the gallery’s intricate stonework, decorative fences, sculpted knobs, and imposing buttresses before you venture to the deck.

If you’re a panorama shutterbug, the Stone Gallery is where you ought to be. 

From here, you can view the River Thames, Tower Bridge, and London Eye

Golden Gallery

This is the top-most gallery of the Dome; you can either ascend and access this section, one gallery at a time.

Wondering how this gallery got its name?

Well, there’s a gold leaf that adorns this gallery’s exterior, and it shimmers in the sunlight. Hence the name ‘Golden Gallery’.

Or if you have the legs and will to reach it in one stretch without going out of breath, then the only thing standing in your way is 528 steps!

And we assure you, it’s worth the climb. 

The Golden Gallery, though being the smallest gallery among the three, puts you at the highest point of the outer Dome.

Let me assure you, the view from here is magical, with London’s skyline looking as grand and beautiful as it can be. 

You’d be astounded to know that the eight pillars supporting this gallery were chiseled from a single block of Portland stone!

The Dome’s Ball, Cross, and Lantern

St.-Pauls-Cathedral-Domes-Ball-Cross-and-Lantern

While St. Paul’s Dome garners all the praises and gazes for towering its way into the London skyline, the top-most point of the cathedral is actually its golden ball, cross, and lantern. 

Just so you know, the lantern is not open to the public. But if it were, it could easily hold 10 people and imagine the view from here!

The highest point of the cathedral is its golden ball and cross. They, together, weigh 7 tons and stand 7 meters (23 feet) tall.

Unlike most parts of the Cathedral, the ball and cross atop the lantern is of recent origin: The original cross and ball was erected in 1708, and the current one in 1821.

Calling all Potterheads! Embark on a magical Harry Potter-themed walking tour across London. This guided tour, available in English, Italian, German, Spanish, and French, takes you through Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron. Stop by St. Paul’s Cathedral and marvel at the spiral geometric staircase featured in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.

Source
# Stpauls.co.uk
# Wikipedia.org
# Britannica.com
# Tripadvisor.com

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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