Sir Christopher Wren’s great 17th Century baroque Cathedral stands at the top of Ludgate Hill in the City of London. On the site of a Roman Temple St Paul's has been home to the Bishops of London since Saxon times.
The original wooden Cathedral, built in 604AD, was dedicated to St Paul by Ethelbert, England’s first king to convert to Christianity from paganism. This Cathedral and three further Cathedrals built on this site were all destroyed by fire.
After the Great Fire of London in 1666 Wren was commissioned to design the cathedral we see today, the 5th St Paul's on this site. For many years the 365ft cathedral was the tallest building in London. Its famous dome, which was inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is still the 3rd largest church dome in the world.
Visitors can ascend to the Whispering Gallery, so called because a whisper into the wall at any part of the gallery can be heard by someone with an ear to any other point of the wall. Higher up there are external galleries giving outstanding panoramic views of London.
In the crypt are monuments to famous patriots including Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington whose funeral in 1862 was watch from the streets of London by over 1 million people.
As the nation's church, St Paul's has been the site of great State occasions; the marriage of Catherine of Aragon to Prince Arthur in 1501 and a visit by Queen Elizabeth I after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
More recently, in 1964, Human rights campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King preached and in 1999
the memorial service for King Hussein of Jordan was the first Christian service in St Paul's to include a reading from the Qur'an.
A more gruesome event was in 1606 when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were hung, drawn and quartered in the Churchyard for trying to assassinate James I by blowing up Parliament.
Please Note: Special services or events may occasionally close all, or part, of the cathedral to sightseeing.