Explore St. Paul’s Cathedral’s dome, a stunning creation by Christopher Wren. 

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

Towering over London, it’s a symbol of great architecture and history. 

Built from 1675 to 1711, it’s an iconic part of St Paul’s Cathedral, known for its fantastic design and engineering. 

Its intricate beauty and engineering marvel make it a must-see landmark.

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

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What Makes the Dome So Special?

St. Paul’s Cathedral, a key landmark for tourists and faith followers, captivates visitors in London.

Its exceptional aesthetic appeal is timeless and ever-engaging.

The cathedral’s rich history and stunning design rank it among London’s most renowned attractions.

The dome was built between 1675 and 1711, and it’s praiseworthy because making such a magnificent dome within such a short time isn’t easy. 

Structure and Appearance

The Dome is the highlight of the cathedral for several reasons. 

The round and magnificent structure of the dome gives the cathedral its iconic and royal look. 

The Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral is to the building what icing is to a cake; it’s what makes it stand out.

“Let’s explore the dome’s exterior and interior structure and design.

  • St Paul’s Cathedral dome structure

The Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is adorned with an elegant lantern that allows natural light to enter the Cathedral.

The exterior is adorned with beautiful sculptures and decorated with elements like wrought-iron railings, urns, and fences.

The dome has a triple-shell design with lead on the outside, supporting the inner dome and a concealed brick cone. 

Influenced by Renaissance and Baroque styles, the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral has inspired many artists and architects.

  • St Paul’s Cathedral dome inside

The interior of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is famous for its grandeur and majestic architecture.

It boasts a magnificent nave, detailed artistry, and towering, vaulted ceilings that evoke awe and admiration.

If you wish to explore the dome closer, a stairway offers access to the Whispering Gallery, higher levels and the dome. 

William Holman Hunt’s painting “The Light of the World ” is notable inside the dome.”

Significance of the dome

The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral holds significant value for several reasons:

  • The Symbol of Resilience: The current dome, the fourth to top the cathedral, replaced the one destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. 

Hence, it stands as a symbol of hope in London. 

  • Religious Significance: The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral represents the connection between the divine and earthly beings, a common theme in religious architecture. 

The height of St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome also represents the high aspirations of St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul’s Cathedral dome view

St Paul’s Cathedral dome is known for offering beautiful panoramic views of London.

Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of iconic London landmarks such as the river Thames, Tower Bridge, and the Shard from the St Paul’s Cathedral dome.

Interesting Facts About St Paul’s Cathedral Dome 

While the St. Paul’s Cathedral dome is one of the city’s famous attractions, there is much we still do not know about it. 

Here are some intriguing facts about the dome: 

The Actual Dome Took 35 Years to Build

The Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral was built between 1675 and 1710 under Christopher Wren, who served as the architect and surveyor of the dome.

The construction of St Paul’s Cathedral Dome involved the use of materials such as timber, brick, and lead coverings.

The dome is constructed to ensure durability and weather resistance.

St Paul’s Cathedral Used to be the Tallest Building in London for 253 Years

The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral increases the total height of the building to 365 feet (111 meters).

This used to be the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1963.

Today, St Paul’s Cathedral dome remains to be one of the tallest in the world. 

You Can Climb to the Dome

Visitors must take around 528 steps to reach the Golden Gallery, the highest point accessible at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Best Way to See the Dome

Here is the best way to see the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral:

  • Start from the Cathedral floor and explore the interior.
  • Now head to the stairway and ascend it to access the Whispering Gallery and enjoy its unique acoustics.
  • Proceed to the Stone Gallery and continue climbing the Stone Gallery, an external walkway around the dome’s exterior.
  • Now, reach the Golden Gallery after the final ascent and enjoy the highest and most beautiful city views as your reward.
  • Descend after soaking in the city views, explore the exterior grounds and witness the finesse of architectural details from all angles.
  • You may also consider guided tours to explore and learn more about the dome, the Cathedral and the rich history of both.

Touristy Things to do at the Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral

Here are some must-do touristy stuff at the Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Climb the dome at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Climbing around 530 steps isn’t easy, but as they say, the best views come after the hardest climbs.

Ascend the top of the St Paul’s Cathedral dome to enjoy the city views.

St Paul’s Cathedral Galleries

There are three galleries in the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral: The Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery, and the Golden Gallery, and visitors should explore them.

Admire the Paintings on the Dome 

The massive fresco of The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt is a key element of the dome.

There are not multiple paintings, but this St Paul’s Cathedral dome painting is worth seeing.

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FAQs about the St Paul’s Cathedral Dome

1. Can visitors go inside the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral?

Visitors can go inside the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and enjoy the details of the interior, see the famous painting by William Holman Hunt, and enjoy views.

2. How many paintings are there inside the St Paul’s Cathedral dome?

There is a single painting inside the St Paul’s Cathedral dome by William Holman Hunt, and it is titled “ The Light of the World.”

3. Is the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral the largest in the world?

The St Paul’s Cathedral is the largest dome in a church in England.

The largest church dome in the world is atop the St. Peter’s Basilica.

4. How many steps must I take to climb the St Paul’s Cathedral dome?

Visitors must climb around 530 steps to reach the top, but the views are worth it.

5. Is it worth climbing the St Paul’s Cathedral dome?

Climbing the St Paul’s Cathedral dome is worth it, considering the Galleries and views from the top.

Image: Ianvisits.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