Westminster Abbey vs St Paul’s Cathedral

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its majestic dome, stands proudly amidst the city’s skyline, a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its architects. 

Its intricate carvings, stunning mosaics, and awe-inspiring Whispering Gallery all contribute to its status as an architectural masterpiece.

On the other hand, Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a beacon of religious and cultural significance. 

Founded in the 11th century, it has served as the coronation church for British monarchs since 1066 and is the final resting place of numerous monarchs.

Its Gothic spires, stained glass windows, and Poets’ Corner, where literary legends find eternal repose, make it a must-visit for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike.

Our article aims to provide an insightful and engaging exploration of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. 

Tickets

While Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral are free for worshippers, tourists must purchase tickets to tour the churches. 

Here are the tickets and ticket prices for both the churches.

St. Paul’s Cathedral ticket 

The general admission ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral costs £21 for all Adult visitors (18 to 64 years). 

Senior citizen tickets (65 to 99 years) and tickets for students with valid ID cost £18. 

Children between 6 to 17 years need to pay £9 for the entry ticket. 

Infants below 6 years enjoy free tickets to St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Westminster Abbey tickets

The entry ticket to Westminister Abbey allows you to visit the iconic landmark via general admission.

The simple entry ticket for the tour is £27 for adults (17 to 64 years). 

Senior Citizens (65 to 99 years) and Students with ID can get the tickets for £24.

Children between the ages of 6 to 16 also get tickets for a discounted price of £12. 

Infants below 5 years enjoy free entry. 

Tickets to Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral 

We understand that Westminster Abbey vs St Paul’s Cathedral isn’t an easy choice. 

With this combo ticket, you won’t have to make that choice by visiting both attractions together on the same day!

The London Pass and the Go City London explorer pass are also great ways of sightseeing around London, especially these two buildings in question!

Location of Westminster Abbey 

This heritage building is in the City of Westminster in London, England. 

Specifically, it is situated in the heart of Westminster, just west of the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and the famous Big Ben clock tower. 

The abbey stands on a site that has been a place of worship for over a thousand years, with its distinctive Gothic architecture making it a prominent landmark in the city. 

Its address is 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom.

Westminster Abbey is situated near the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the River Thames, offering a central location with other nearby attractions. 

Location of St. Paul’s Cathedral 

This magnificent church is located in the heart of London, England. 

Specifically, it stands on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in London. 

The exact location of St. Paul’s Cathedral London is St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom. 

The financial district and attractions like the Tower of London and the Millennium Bridge surround St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Opening time

St. Paul’s Cathedral timings are 8.30 to 4 pm, Monday to Saturday for sightseeing.

Doors open at 8.30 am on all days, Monday to Saturday, except on Wednesdays. 

On Wednesday, it opens at 10 am. 

Closing time on all days (Monday to Saturday) is at 4.30 pm, with the last entry for sightseeing at 4 pm. 

Westminster Abbey is open every day of the week.

But, Westminster Abbey London hours vary depending on the day. 

Monday to Friday, the abbey is open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.

On Saturdays, it is open from 9 am to 2 pm, while on Sundays, the abbey is only open for religious services.

Features – Westminster Abbey vs St Paul’s Cathedral

Westminster Abbey, steeped in centuries of royal history, serves as the coronation church and a final resting place for luminaries. 

St. Paul’s Cathedral, on the other hand, impresses with its remarkable dome and resilient spirit. 

Join us as we delve into the unique characteristics, historical significance, and captivating stories behind these iconic structures.

Features of St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral, a true masterpiece of architecture and a symbol of London’s resilience boasts many remarkable features that leave visitors in awe. 

Majestic Dome

The cathedral’s crowning glory is its breathtaking dome, one of the largest in the world.

 Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the dome reaches a height of 111 meters (365 feet) and offers stunning panoramic views of London from its Golden Gallery.

Whispering Gallery

Ascending the Whispering Gallery inside the dome is a unique experience. 

This circular walkway allows visitors to whisper against the wall, which carries the sound to the opposite side, creating an intriguing acoustic phenomenon.

Intricate Interior

Step inside St. Paul’s Cathedral and a lavishly decorated interior will greet you. 

The soaring arches, ornate carvings, and stunning mosaics contribute to its grandeur. 

The intricate detailing is a testament to the craftsmanship of the artists involved.

Crypt

Beneath the cathedral lies a crypt that houses the tombs of many notable individuals, including Sir Christopher Wren.

The Great West Doors

As you approach St. Paul’s Cathedral, you’ll be greeted by the imposing Great West Doors, intricately carved with biblical scenes. 

With their remarkable craftsmanship, these doors set the tone for the grandeur that awaits within.

Features of Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cornerstone of British history, is renowned for its rich architectural splendor and significant features. 

Gothic Architecture 

Westminster Abbey’s awe-inspiring Gothic architecture is a sight. 

The soaring pointed arches, intricate stone tracery, and magnificent stained glass windows exemplify the medieval style, transporting visitors back in time.

Coronation Chair 

One of the most iconic features of Westminster Abbey is the Coronation Chair, dating back to 1300. 

This ancient wooden chair has witnessed the coronation of British monarchs for centuries and is steeped in regal tradition.

Poets’ Corner

A literary haven within the abbey, Poets’ Corner is the final resting place of renowned poets, writers, and playwrights.

The corner also pays homage to literary figures with memorials and commemorative plaques.

Royal Tombs and Memorials

Westminster Abbey is the burial ground for numerous British monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and King Henry III. 

The abbey is adorned with memorials and monuments dedicated to notable figures, including scientists, politicians, and artists.

Cloisters and Gardens

The abbey’s tranquil cloisters and gardens offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling city. 

These serene spaces feature beautiful stone archways, lush greenery, and ornate details, providing a quiet oasis for contemplation.

Westminster Abbey vs St. Paul’s Cathedral – which has the best features?

Westminster Abbey vs St. Paul’s Cathedral – which has the best features
Image: SangHyunPaek from Getty Images Signature (Canva), Juergen Sack from Getty Images Signature (Canva)

Comparing the features of Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral is subjective and ultimately depends on individual preferences and interests. 

Both landmarks offer unique and captivating aspects that make them extraordinary in their own right. 

If captivated by the royal history and literary figures, Westminster Abbey’s rich heritage and Poets’ Corner might hold greater appeal.

On the other hand, if architectural marvels and panoramic views are exciting, St. Paul’s Cathedral’s majestic dome and Whispering Gallery could be more captivating.

Both landmarks have features that make them must-visit destinations for history enthusiasts, art lovers, and architecture admirers alike.

Ultimately, the “best” features depend on individual interests.

Things to see

Each site offers a wealth of historical, architectural, and cultural treasures, making them unforgettable destinations.

These are beautiful attractions for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in British history and heritage.

These are some highlights and must-see attractions within St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. 

Things to see in St. Paul’s Cathedral

Here are some of the things to see in St Paul’s Cathedral

The Dome

Marvel at the breathtaking dome, climb to the Whispering Gallery for a unique acoustic experience and ascend further to the Golden Gallery for panoramic views of London.

The Crypt

The Crypt
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

Explore the underground crypt, which houses the tombs of notable figures, including Sir Christopher Wren and Admiral Lord Nelson.

The High Altar

Admire the ornate High Altar and the beautiful altarpiece that serves as the focal point of worship.

The American Memorial Chapel

Pay a visit to the American Memorial Chapel, dedicated to American soldiers who lost their lives in World War II, offering a serene space for reflection.

The Great West Doors

Take in the grandeur of the Great West Doors, beautifully carved with biblical scenes, as you approach the cathedral.

Choral Services

Choral Services
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

Attend a choral service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to experience the enchanting sounds of the cathedral’s renowned choir.

Things to see in Westminster Abbey

When touring Westminster Abbey, here are some things to see: 

The Coronation Chair

Witness the Coronation Chair, a symbol of the British monarchy, and learn about the traditions and rituals associated with coronations.

Poets’ Corner

Explore Poets’ Corner, the final resting place and commemoration site of famous writers, including William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Charles Dickens.

Royal Tombs

Pay tribute to British monarchs at their final resting places, including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and King Henry III.

The Chapter House

Admire the Chapter House, a circular structure featuring intricate medieval architecture and a stunning vaulted ceiling.

Cloisters and Gardens

Enjoy the serene atmosphere and ornate architectural details by taking a peaceful stroll through the abbey’s cloisters and gardens.

The Great West Front

Marvel at the impressive Great West Front of Westminster Abbey, adorned with sculptures and intricate stone carvings.

Evensong 

Attend a mesmerizing Evensong service featuring the abbey’s world-renowned choir and beautiful choral music.

Expected crowd

St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its splendid dome and rich history, draws many visitors year-round. 

As one of London’s top tourist destinations, it is common to encounter a considerable crowd within its hallowed halls. 

However, with careful planning and timing, it is possible to find moments of tranquility and appreciate the cathedral’s architectural marvels without feeling overwhelmed by the masses.

Steeped in royal traditions and literary heritage, Westminster Abbey also experiences many visitors. 

As the coronation church and the final resting place of many notable figures, it is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and art lovers. 

Westminster Abbey’s popularity means it, too, can be pretty crowded during peak hours.

How to choose between St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey?

Choosing between St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey can be difficult.

Both landmarks offer unique experiences and hold significant historical and architectural value. 

If you are particularly interested in British royal history, coronations, and the final resting places of monarchs, Westminster Abbey may be the preferred choice. 

It has been the coronation church since 1066 and houses numerous royal tombs and memorials.

St. Paul’s is correct if you prefer a quieter, more contemplative atmosphere.

If you appreciate magnificent domes and stunning views, St. Paul’s Cathedral’s grand dome and its panoramic Golden Gallery could be a compelling reason to visit. 

St. Paul’s is also renowned for its intricate interior, including the Whispering Gallery.

St. Paul’s Cathedral tends to be less crowded than Westminster Abbey, particularly during peak visiting times. 

This could influence your decision if you prefer a more serene experience.

Ultimately, there is no absolute right or wrong choice between St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. 

Both landmarks have their own distinct charm and allure. 

If time permits, consider visiting both, as each offers a unique perspective on London’s rich history and architectural wonders. 

Whichever you choose, it is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience.


If you are planning to visit St Paul’s Cathedral, also read about 


1. Which is better, St Pauls or Westminster Abbey?

Determining whether St Paul’s Cathedral vs. Westminster Abbey is “better” is subjective and depends on individual preferences and interests. 

Both landmarks have their own unique qualities and offer distinct experiences.

2. Why is St Paul rather than Westminster Abbey?

There are several reasons why some people may prefer St. Paul’s Cathedral over Westminster Abbey:

– St. Paul’s Cathedral is renowned for its iconic dome, one of the largest in the world. 

The stunning dome and panoramic views from the Golden Gallery offer a unique and breathtaking experience.

– The Whispering Gallery inside St. Paul’s Cathedral is a captivating feature that allows visitors to whisper against the wall and be heard on the opposite side of the dome. 

This interactive and intriguing experience sets St. Paul’s apart.

– St. Paul’s Cathedral tends to be less crowded than Westminster Abbey, especially during peak tourist seasons. 

If you prefer a more serene and peaceful atmosphere, St. Paul’s may be preferable.

3. Is Westminster Abbey older than St Paul’s?

Yes, Westminster Abbey is older than St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

The construction of Westminster Abbey began in the 11th century, with the initial church on the site dating back to the 7th century.

4. Is it worth going inside St Paul’s Cathedral?

Yes, visiting the interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral is definitely worth it for many reasons, like:

– Stunning Architecture
– Whispering Gallery
– Historical Significance
– Crypt and Tombs
– religious and Spiritual Significance

5. Why is St Paul’s Cathedral so special?

Overall, St. Paul’s Cathedral is special due to its architectural magnificence, historical significance, cultural heritage, and spiritual importance.

It continues to captivate and inspire visitors worldwide, leaving a lasting impression on all who experience its grandeur.

Are you planning to visit St Paul’s Cathedral? 

Here is a brief of all the St Paul’s Cathedral tickets to help you plan your visit.

Entry ticket: This simple entry ticket offer skip the line benefit and lets you enjoy a self-guided tour around the Cathedral. 
Buy This Ticket | Learn More

St Paul’s Cathedral + Westminster Abbey: Get the combination ticket to enter the most famous Churches in London. 
Buy This Combo | Learn More

St Paul’s Cathedral + Thames River Cruise: With this combo, you can tour the Cathedral and then enjoy a river cruise on the Thames. 
Buy This Combo | Learn More

London Pass: Visit more than 85 attractions within 2 to 10 days. You do not have to purchase individual entry tickets and get to save about 50% on admission tickets.
Buy This Pass | Learn More

Go City London Explorer Pass: With this pass, you can visit St Paul’s Cathedral and a choice of 2 to 6 attractions in London. 
Buy This Pass | Learn More

Featured Image: Westminster-abbey.org, Ben Griffiths on Unsplash

Harshita
About the author

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