Have you ever been fascinated by St Paul’s Cathedral? From what royal weddings have taken place there, state funerals and the iconic outer dome? It is one of the most popular attractions for tourists to visit when travelling to London!
We’ve rounded up the top ten facts about St Paul’s Cathedral, so you can deep dive into the famous cathedral with us.
Exploring St Paul’s Cathedral: 10 Fascinating Facts for Families
1. St Paul’s Cathedral has a fascinating British history
St Paul’s Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle, has a history dating back to the 17th century. It was designed by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was also one of London’s tallest buildings until 1962.
Did you know that it’s the 4th church to be built on this site? And that Sir Christoper Wren designed the current building that stands today?
2. It has one of the biggest domes in the world
One of the cathedral’s most iconic features is its dome, which reaches a whopping height of 366 feet (or 111 metres). For those who don’t mind climbing 528 steps, you can climb to the top and enjoy breathtaking views of London from the Golden Gallery.
The cathedral dome is also the second largest in the world!
3. You can have a conversation in whispers from across the room
The Whispering Gallery inside the dome is a unique feature that the cathedral building. If you whisper near one side of the dome, the sound can travel along the curved wall, allowing someone standing on the opposite side to hear your words. Kids will love experimenting with this acoustic marvel!
4. St Paul’s Cathedral holds beautiful artwork
St Paul’s Cathedral is adorned with exquisite Victorian mosaics, including the grand mosaics in the main dome! These colourful artworks depict scenes from the life of St. Paul and add to the cathedral’s beauty. Not only that but St Paul’s is a treasure trove of art and architecture. Marvel at the intricate carvings, beautiful stained glass windows, and the awe-inspiring High Altar.
From Henry Moore’s Madonna and Child sculpture and Gerry Judah’s white crosses to pieces of art that span decades. It’s a must-visit for art lovers!
5. Notable figures are buried in the crypt exploration
Beneath the cathedral lies a crypt where many famous figures are interred, including Sir Christopher Wren himself, the cathedral’s architect. He was the first of many notable figures to be buried there.
From Sir Alexander Fleming, Joseph Turner, Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington – to name a few! It’s like stepping back in time as you explore this underground world.
6. St Paul’s Cathedral has many royal connections
St Paul’s Cathedral has been the backdrop for many royal family events, including the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Your family can walk in the footsteps of royalty, as you bring history to life! Did you know in 1897 Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee here? Queen Elizabeth II also attended a Thanksgiving Service to celebrate her 90th birthday!
7. The famous cathedral survived the brutal Blitz
During World War II, St Paul’s Catedral was targeted by German bombs in 1940 and 1941. Remarkably, St. Paul’s Cathedral survived the bombings of the war, mostly unscathed, becoming a symbol of resilience for Londoners during the Blitz. The beautiful High Altar was left with bomb damage after the war but has since been restored.
8. It holds multiple daily services
The cathedral continues to serve as a place of worship and holds daily services. Families are welcome to attend these services and soak in the spiritual atmosphere. It’s a busy church that holds 4 to 5 services every day!
9. Martin Luther King held a sermon here
Martin Luther King who was a Baptist minister was invited to speak at St Paul’s Cathedral by Canon John Collins in 1964. He spoke about three different approaches to life – you can read up on too! Just search The Three Dimensions to a Complete Life.
10. St Paul’s Cathedral has starred in many movies
You might recognise St. Paul’s Cathedral from a whole host of movies and shows! From Mary Poppins Returns and Paddington 2 and Doctor Who to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sherlock Holmes and even Men In Black: International!
It’s a popular filming location for its timeless charm. See if you can spot it the next time you watch any of these movies or shows!
Whether you’re planning a visit to London or simply want to explore its rich history from afar, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a must-see destination. With its incredible architecture, historical significance, and unique features, it’s an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family.
So, pack your bags (or at least your sense of wonder) and get ready to explore the wonders of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Your family adventure awaits in the heart of London!
While you’re in London, why not explore these top attractions?