Lent and Easter Services at St Paul’s Cathedral

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

Nestled in the heart of London as a beacon of faith and British heritage, St. Paul’s Cathedral London is a haven that intertwines worship with exemplary architecture. 

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren after being damaged by the Great Fire, St. Paul’s Cathedral London traces its origins to the 17th century. 

Today, the cathedral’s iconic dome stands out in the modern skyline of London as a gleaming jewel wrapped in fascinating history.

The allure of St Paul’s Cathedral, faith and resilience become even more enticing during the pious period of Lent, attracting believers and the populace from around the globe. 

The holy period of Lent ending in the big celebration of Easter creates an otherworldly magic that mixes faith and tradition enriched by a world-class cathedral choir.

So, let’s jump in and take a detailed look at all the relevant details so that your tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral London this Lent and Easter is memorable and hassle-free. 

Lent and Easter timings at St Paul’s Cathedral

The St Paul’s Cathedral Cathedral typically opens at 8.30 am and closes at 4.30 pm.

During Lent and Easter, timings change to 7.30 am to 6.30 pm. 

Several events occur during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter services at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Easter Day Dawn Eucharist is from 5.45 am to 6.15 am.

The Easter Day Eucharist timings are from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm.

Here are the timings and events for Easter Day for the visitors:

Easter Day Dawn Eucharist31 March5.45 am to 6.15 am
Easter Dar Holy Communion31 March8 am to 8.30 am
Easter Day Mattins31 March10 am to 10.45 am
Easter Day Sung Eucharist31 March11.15 am to 12.15 am
Easter Day Festal Evensong31 March3 pm to 4 pm
Easter Day Eucharist31 March5.30 pm to 6.30 pm

Events at St Paul’s Cathedral during Easter and Holy Week

Easter at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London offers a range of events and services that highlight the spiritual significance of this period. 

The events cater to different aspects of the Lent, Holy Week, and Easter celebrations.

The season starts with Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, a time for reflection and preparation for Easter.

Throughout Lent, various services emphasize self-examination, repentance, and self-denial.

As Holy Week approaches, the tone intensifies with events following the Passion of Christ. 

This includes a Palm Sunday Procession, which is a dramatic re-enactment of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. 

Maundy Thursday is observed with a Liturgy of the Day and a watch that lasts until midnight, commemorating Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples.

Good Friday is marked by the Litany with the Veneration of the Cross, a service reflecting on the crucifixion and death of Jesus. 

The culmination of these observances is the Easter Day Sung Eucharist, a principal celebration under the Dome of St Paul’s.

In addition to these services, the Cathedral also hosts special concerts and performances. 

One such event is the performance of Bach’s St John Passion, providing an evening of dramatic and meditative music set in the beautiful backdrop of the Cathedral.

Here are the timings and events for the Holy Week for the visitors:

Palm Sunday Procession24 March11 am to 12.15 pm
Maundy Thursday Chrism Mass28 March10.30 am to 12 pm
Liturgy of the Day and Watch until Midnight28 March5 pm to 11.59 pm
Good Friday, Choral Mattins and Littany in Procession29 March10 am to 11 am
Good Friday: The Three Hours29 March12 pm to 3 pm
Good Friday Evening Prayer29 March4 pm to 4.30 pm
Good Friday Litany with the Veneration of the Cross29 March5 pm to 6 pm
Easter Vigil and DiocesanConfirmation30 March6 pm to 8 pm

Mass During Lent and Easter at St Paul’s Cathedral

On Ash Wednesday, the cathedral begins Lent by receiving the ashes as a symbol of our mortality, entering a forty-day season of reflection.

Followers look at what holds them back, spiritually and personally, and how they want to spend their lives, actively deciding how they want to live and thrive.

As the season approaches Holy Week, the tone intensifies as they anticipate the story of Christ’s suffering and death.

As the Holy Week progresses, the cathedral follows the events of the Passion.

From Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the last supper with the disciples.

There are several services and events for Easter Day, too.

Here are the event highlights for the Easter day at St Paul’s Cathedral.

  • Easter Day Dawn Eucharist is the first service on the day of Easter, celebrated at Dawn or around 30 minutes.

  • Choral Mattin’s joyful service is Easter Day, during which the Morning Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 is sung.

    The choir leads the service by singing the responses, hymns, and the psalms set for the day.

  • Easter Day Eucharist 

    The final Eucharist is on Easter Day and lasts around one hour.

    The Easter Day Eucharist will be organized on the cathedral floor.

St. Paul’s Cathedral Lent and Easter tickets

While entry is free for religious visitors, you can not tour the cathedral without a ticket. 

Visitors need a St Paul’s Cathedral Entry Ticket to access the galleries and the dome. 

The entry ticket is a wonderful way to learn about the cathedral through a multimedia guide offering information in multiple languages.

The ticket price for adults is £25.

Why visit St Paul’s Cathedral during Lent and Easter?

St. Paul’s Cathedral London, even on any other day of the year, provides an unforgettable visit with its grand interior and the majestic dome, rising 365 ft (111 m). 

It offers some breathtaking views of London from its Golden Gallery. However, St. Paul’s Cathedral London feels borderline ethereal during the period of Lent. 

A visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral London during Lent offers visitors an opportunity for personal reflection and tap into their faith. 

St. Paul’s Cathedral becomes a sacred space for spiritual reverence and exploration infused with Evensong and an enchanting cathedral choir. 

The period of Lent that ends with a big celebration, Easter, makes for the ideal setting to undertake an immersive journey sipped in faith, history and enchanting ambiance. 

Travelers can witness and participate in traditional services, such as Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.

This gives you a deeper connection to the spiritual essence of the season. 

What Should You Wear During Lent and Easter at St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral enforces a strict dress code.

All visitors are expected to cover their knees and shoulders while visiting the cathedral. 

While you are allowed to dress upto your choice, the outfit should be modest and respectful. 

The color of Lent is purple, and the color of Easter is white.

Visitors attending the Easter services at St. Paul’s Cathedral should opt for smart casuals matching the dress and color code. 

Business casuals, such as dresses, skirts, blouses, dress shirts, dress pants or suits that match the formality and reverence are permitted in the cathedral.

Visitors should avoid graphic prints, revealing clothes, shorts, skirts, tank tops, athletic wear, hats and sunglasses. 

Keep accessories to the minimum and leave valuables at home. 

Even though veiling is no longer mandatory, you can still look the part with a purple or black veil on Ash Wednesday.

It is always better to carry a scarf while visiting the cathedral to cover up. 

The Best Time to visit St Paul’s Cathedral during Lent and Easter

Depending on your expectations and what you want from your visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral London, the best time to visit may vary from person to person. 

For a Crowd-Free Visit

Travelers who want to avoid crowds should visit St. Paul’s Cathedral London at 7.30 am on weekdays, as soon as it opens. 

By visiting before noon to avoid the latter crowd, you can enjoy a peaceful time appreciating the gorgeous inner facade. 

Weekends are the most crowded, with Sunday receiving the most visitors. 

We also recommend you avoid special days like Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and Easter Sunday and visit during the other days of the Holy Week. 

This way, you can escape the crowds but still enjoy the holy spirit and events of the week. 

For a Holy Experience

If you want a unique experience, plan your visit during the Sung Eucharist times. 

The Sung Eucharist celebration on a Sunday at 11.15 am is the high point of weekly worship. 

It includes choral music, hymn singing, and a sermon lasting 75 minutes and is truly transcendental. 

You do not have to be a practicing member of the Church of England to attend the Eucharist. 

However, if you can’t plan for this, the next best option is to catch an Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral London. 

It allows visitors to experience the incredible voices of the cathedral choir as Evensong is a service of sung Evening Prayers. 

The Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral London takes place at 5 pm on most weekdays, except on Sundays when it happens at 3 pm.

Pro tip: Even though you can purchase a ticket on the spot, we recommend you get your St. Paul’s Cathedral tickets in advance to save time and avoid the long queues.

Waiting time for St Paul’s Cathedral during Lent and Easter

The wait time for St Paul’s Cathedral during the off-peak season is 30 to 60 minutes.

However, the waiting time for St Paul’s Cathedral during Lent and Easter increases manifold due to the rush and several security measures and checkpoints.

The wait time for events and services depends on the length of the service, typically ranging from one to 1.5 hours.

Due to the crowds, exploring the cathedral during Easter can take three to four hours.

We recommend allowing at least five to six hours for your visit, depending on the number of services and events you plan to attend.

Tips to Avoid Crowds at St Paul’s Cathedral During Easter

While crowds are expected during events and easter services at St Paul’s Cathedral, here are some tips to avoid the crowds:

Book Tickets in Advance

While entry is free for religious visitors, you need a ticket to skip the line, get priority entry, and tour the cathedral. 

You can save time, money, and effort by online booking your St. Paul’s Cathedral London tickets. 

With online St. Paul’s Cathedral tickets, you don’t have to face the long queues at the ticket counter on the spot. 

Arrive Early or Late

One of the best ways to avoid crowds is by arriving early or late.

Visit the cathedral as soon as it opens or a few hours before it closes.

Avoid Peak Days and Events

The best way to avoid crowds during Lent and Easter is to visit during the weekdays and avoid the weekends. 

Even on the weekdays, mid-week will allow you to tour St. Paul’s Cathedral London peacefully to soak in the incredible views & its otherworldly ambiance. 

Try to visit before noon to avoid the latter crowd, which grows as the day progresses. There is Evensong at 5 pm on weekdays, which is a huge crowd-puller. 

If you want to avoid crowds, then it is best to skip the high points of the weekly worship and services.

Check out the timing of Mass and various other popular services that include choral music and signing, such as Sung Eucharist.

FAQS about Lent and Easter at St Paul’s Cathedral:

1. Can you attend Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London during Lent and Easter? 

Everyone is welcome to participate in any St. Paul’s Cathedral London services. 

2. How long is Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral? 

Timings vary for services, mass, and events at St Paul’s Cathedral, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes.

3. What is the Easter Service at St Paul’s Cathedral?

There are several Easter Services at St Paul’s Cathedral, including the Easter Day Dawn Eucharist, the first service offered and the Easter Day Eucharist, the final.

4. Are services at St Paul’s free?

Yes, the services are free and unticketed at St Paul’s Cathedral during Lent and Easter.

5. Is St Paul’s Cathedral worth visiting during Lent and Easter?

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is particularly worth visiting during Lent and Easter due to its historical and spiritual significance blend.

Lent and Easter services, such as the Palm Sunday Procession and Easter Day Sung Eucharist, provide deeply moving spiritual experiences. 

Additionally, special events like concerts and exhibitions add to the appeal. 

The combination of solemn services, historical exploration, and cultural events makes St. Paul’s Cathedral a compelling destination. 

Image: StPauls.co.uk

About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore