June 5, 2022

St. Paul’s Cathedral

In 2020, when this trip was initially scheduled, I had booked to entries into St. Paul’s Cathedral, one for me and one for Melanie. As we have discussed, that trip didn’t happen, so when it came time to organize this trip, I looked at seeing if I could use the passes. There wasn’t anything of note on the website about the topic, so I sent an e-mail into the contact address on the site.

It took a week or, but they responded and simply said I could use the passes that were originally sent out at any time, including the extra’s we had paid for.

With only one minor exception cough, Tickemaster, cough, all the tourist venues that we had booked tickets for in 2020 allowed usage of those tickets in 2022. Kudo’s to all of those who were supportive and a pox on those who weren’t.

So, on Monday morning, I got up early, had my delightful “full English Breakfast” at the Melia, and headed out toward the cathedral.

We have visited London several times over the years, but this was the first time since I was in college that I was going into the facility.

It’s a bit childish, but the reason was the admission fee that was instigated at some point in time. The cheap-ass me decided, nope, not going to do that. In the early days, there were also a lot of restrictions on photography, which was one of the prime reasons to go, so it was double no.

Well, I’ve “matured” a bit over the years, and since was, most likely going to be our last visit to London, I sprung for the tickets only not to be able to use them. And if photography was still limited/restricted, then so be it.

Arriving, I made my way to the front entrance, making several miscues en route, I entered the big doors you always see in the media. This is and amazingly grand entrance, fit for royalty. 🙂

Getting through the door, I presented my e-ticket for entrance and program and I was in. Entering the rear, the sign said photography was not allowed during services, but allowable otherwise. Yes!

The entrance included a guided tour, and I joined the group that was forming headed by our docent, Peter. He advised the tour was going to last nearly 2 hours, as he talked a lot, and we chuckled and followed in behind him.

It was time well spent and tour was fascinating as we made our way completely through the Cathedral. Being with the tour gets you into a lot of places not open to the public so it’s a big plus if you on the fence about taking the guided tour.

The tour took the full 2 hours, and then I spent another hour or two meandering around, so a lot of images were captured.

What follows are a few notable ones, but the reminder can be seen here.

As you enter the main hall, this is the sight you are presented with. Simply magnificent.

After tagging in with the tour group, we headed toward one of the side corridors.

Rounding our way back toward the entrance, the baptismal font comes into view. It’s about 9 feet (3 meters) in diameter!

From there we headed toward the back of the church into areas not open to the public. This is a stairwell in one of the access halls.

From there we headed back into the side hall, where most of the statues and effigies are arranged.

There are numerous small chapels. I’m certain I’m not doing this justice. The names of all the chapels have long since escaped me. See the photo page for a lot more photos.

Entering the main hall from approximately the middle is this wonderful view.

The amazing dome structure. Looking closely at the top, you can see the feet of visitors that have made the journey to the top of the dome.

The tour continues toward the main alter.

At this stage the tour was complete, so we were left to our own devices. I had wanted to go to the Whispering Gallery as I had done that last time and it was really awesome, but it was closed for construction.

What was open was the Entrance to the top of the dome, complete with 528 steps…

So, swallowing hard, I began the journey. There weren’t too many people, and pacing myself and taking several stops along the way, I made it to the top where I was presented with this view:

Just for fun, prior to descending, I tried making some panoramic shots. I’ve not had a lot of success with the XT-2 in this regard, but the amazing vista in front of me insisted that I try. So, walking around the dome, I grabbed what was effectively a 360 degree view of London.

Once done with that, I headed toward the bottom. This is the stairwell at the very top of the climb after you emerge from the side alleys. Fun, huh? There were a slew of school children climbing these on my way up followed by a couple of exhausted looking chaperones. Luckily they were slow, so I had an excuse to go slowly. They offered to let me go by, but I politely declined 🙂

Descending all the way into the lower levels to get out,

And finally out on the ground level.

You exit in the rear, so I walked around to the front to get some photos of the facade.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is an amazing place. Well worth the admission. Plan on a goodly chunk of the day to see it all. I had gotten there around 10 and left around 2. It was getting crowded when I left, so earlier is better in that regard.

The one notable thing about the photos, was the lack of an ultra wide angle for the interior shots. I had decided to pack light and not carry the XF10-24 OIS, but in hindsight that was a mistake. It would have been very useful inside the beautiful cathedral.

Oh well, lesson learned.

Next time, we’ll bop around London a bit and head out to the Excel Convention center.