After 15 years of major refurbishment, the iconic St Paul's Cathedral is revealed in all its glory. Juxtaposed against angular office buildings in the City of London, the Catholic-style dome of this magnificent Protestant cathedral was green-lit as a steeple until Sir Christopher Wren stuck to his guns and snuck his original designs through.
The very first St Paul's Cathedral was made of wood and built in 604AD but was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. The current incarnation took 35 years to build and was completed in 1711 as the world's first Protestant cathedral. The comprehensive refurb has seen the Portland stone interior, detailing on Corinthian pilasters and golden Byzantine mosaics restored to their original beauty. Climb 163 steps into the dome to the Whispering Gallery, which runs around the dome's interior and is named for the unique acoustics which allow you to whisper into the dome's wall and be heard perfectly by someone at the other side of the gallery. Head even higher to the Stone Gallery at the base of the dome, and higher still up 271 steps to the Golden Gallery, the highest point of the dome with an open-air space for fabulous panoramic views around London.
Venture underground to St Paul's crypt to see the famous figures who lie here. The most eye-catching tombs belong to Sir Christopher Wren, Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. If you're around at 1pm daily, you'll also get to hear the 17-tonne 'St Paul's Bell' tolling from one of the baroque towers.
Adult entry to St Paul's Cathedral is £16 and £7 for children aged six to 17 and slightly cheaper if you purchase your tickets online. The admission price allows entry to the cathedral floor, crypt and three galleries in the dome (Whispering, Stone and Golden - open 9am to 4.15pm) as well as 20-minute introductory talks, 90-minute guided tours and multimedia guide hire. To visit St Paul's Cathedral, the closest Underground station is St Paul's tube station and from here it's a two-minute walk.