In love with my namesake

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by TianjinPaul on August 7, 2012

I suppose I should begin this journal with a rather embarrassing admission. Even though I am a grown man of more than 30 years of age, I still find immense pleasure in the fact that I share a Christian name with one of London's most easily recognisable landmarks. I must also rather shamefully admit that I took a similar amount of pleasure in having my picture taken in front of Christopher Wren's masterpiece pointing at it's dome and placing my hand on my chest to signify that, in my mind at least, the cathedral is named after me. Let's now though forget my rather childish thoughts and get onto a description of the cathedral itself.

Setting eyes on St Paul's was one of the greatest surprises of my life. My girlfriend and I had alighted from the underground at Blackfriars and were walking the the direction of the cathedral and the Millennium Bridge, which spans the Thames in front of it. We were not expecting St Paul's to loom and appear in quite the way it did. I was expecting to be able to spot it from a distance with the dome peeking over the London skyline. However, this was not the case. We were walking along consulting our map when suddenly from behind a building the full facade of the building appeared as if out of nowhere about 50m away. It was a stunning sight.

The dome of St Paul's is one of the world's most glorious architectural sights. It was the type of sight that stops you in your tracks. We were lucky as it was a bright and sunny day – which is not always typical in London – and the sun shone down onto the down brilliantly, so that it almost glistened. From a distance of 50m, the cathedral looked wonderful. However, from every point of perspective it was magnificent. When we crossed the Millennium Bridge to Tate Modern the view of the cathedral above the Central London skyline was awe-inspiring as it dwarfed and surpassed everything else in the frame. Up close too, it was wonderful. It was hard to imagine that a building on such scale could be so wonderfully detailed. However, each gargoyle and window put that idea to bed with aplomb.

The one disappointing aspect of St Paul's was the price. It costs 16GBP to enter the cathedral when there are no services – worshippers are free to enter for religious ceremonies or the regular services. We considered this to be rather steep considering that the majority of museums and galleries in London are free of charge. We also found it a little distasteful as, in theory at least, the cathedral was a place of worship rather than a tourist attraction. Because of this, we contented ourselves by walking around the resplendent gardens and capturing hundreds of photographs.

St Paul's cathedral is served directly by St Paul's underground section and is also close to Blackfriars. Admission is 16GBP, but the view from the Millennium Bridge is free and is priceless.
St Paul's Cathedral
The Chapter House
London, England, EC4M 8AD
+44 (20 7) 236 4128

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