on April 11, 2008
On Ludgate Hill, at the end of The Strand, you come around a turn in the road and this huge domed building looms out at you amid the busy traffic. St. Paul's Cathedral was finished in 1710, built after the great fire of London in 1666 burned down Old St. Paul's. It's a Baroque masterpiece, filled with tombs, statues, frescos and gilded everything. It costs 10 pounds for adults, 9 for seniors plus they have family (2 children 2 adults) tickets and that includes everything. You can visit the crypt and you can also climb up over 500 steps to go to the very top of the dome. It's fewer if you just want to go to the Whispering Gallery where a sound whispered on one side will travel around and be heard on the other. It really works! There's also an outside deck at the base of the dome with higher stone balustrades. At the very top, there's only a narrow walk way and a waist high railing. I'm ok with heights and even i found that a bit intimidating. You aren't allowed to take photos in St. Paul's but i took a few "stealth" non-flash shots by aiming the camera from my waist and kept the best of the ones that came out, after i was scolded by a staff member for taking a proper photo of an angel statue. The decoration in the cathdral is just spectacular. The Crypt is interesting as well, with the tombs of Waterloo veteran Wellington and Admiral Nelson. The simple tomb of Christopher Wren is there too, tucked away in a corner. There's a gift shop and a cafe as well for tired feet. They do have disabled access but you may have to ask for it. We did notice a platform that could fit a wheelchair on a rail to the crypt (where there are washrooms, and where the cafe and gift shop are). There's a wheelchair accessible entrance on the north side which enters via the crypt. The website, http://www.stpauls.co.uk/ has full descriptions of all the disabled access. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to St. Paul's. I didn't climb the dome this time but i have done in the past and the views are out of this world!
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