5 Rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London

5 Rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London

A landmark of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most visited attraction and it never fails to leave visitors in awe. There are many rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London from a stand alone entry ticket with full access to all floors to private guided tours so you get to know of its history from a knowledgeable source. However, for great value for money tours, you could always combine a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral with a visit to other landmarks in London. In addition, you could purchase the London Pass for over several days so you could explore London at your own pace.

Whichever way you choose to learn more of St Paul’s Cathedral, the following 5 rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral have been carefully selected to enhance and add value to your visit.

Entry ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral

5 rewarding ways to experience St Pauls Cathedral | A glimpse of the interior of St Paul's Cathedral. The nave where the choir sits on both sides.
A glimpse of the interior of St Paul’s Cathedral. The nave where the choir sits on both sides | Image: georgina_daniel

Enjoy this famous landmark of London with a discounted entry ticket. This ticket gives you access to the Cathedral floor and its crypt, its three galleries, affording you panoramic views over London.

This option is suitable for visitors who wish to explore this beautiful Cathedral at their own pace. Nevertheless, 2 to 3 hours is recommended for a rewarding and immersive experience.

Buy entry ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral from Get Your Guide here

Combining St Paul’s Cathedral with other attractions in London

1 | Explore London on foot

Explore the City on foot and learn of London’s history. See 30 of London’s landmarks including the 1400 year old St Paul’s Cathedral.

This walking tour begins in Green Park, London and will take you through about 30 landmarks in London including:

Buckingham Palace | Trafalgar Square | Big Ben | Downing Street | Westminster Abbey | Whitehall | Houses of Parliament | London Eye | Shakespeare’s Globe Theater | London Bridge | Southwark Cathedral | The Shard | HMS Belfast | Square Mile | Tower Bridge | Tower of London

Your final stop is St Paul’s Cathedral where your guide will leave you to explore the Cathedral at your own pace. Entry to St Paul’s is included in this tour price

This tour takes approximately 6 hours and requires good footwear.

2 | St Paul’s Cathedral + London Eye + Tower of London + Thames River Cruise

Join this full day tour of London city which will take you on a historic journey of London – from Tower of London, Greenwich and St Paul’s Cathedral. Marvel at the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, explore Greenwich on foot, enjoy the marvelous panoramic views over the city from the iconic London Eye. As well, learn more of London while on a cruise of the famous River Thames.

This tour includes admission to the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. As always, when on a London tour, wear appropriate footwear.

3 | Westminster + St Paul’s Cathedral Walking tour

This comprehensive walking tour takes you through the popular area of Westminster in London. Learn much from your knowledgeable guide before arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral where the tour guide leaves you to explore the Cathedral at your own pace.

Entry to St Paul’s Cathedral is included in this tour and is provided by our Trusted Partner, Viator, a Tripadvisor company.

4 | Enjoy London on a London hop-on hop-off bus tour

Design an itinerary on London and explore the city at your own pace with one of these great value for money hop-on hop-off bus experiences. Hop-on and hop-off as much as you like between six different bus routes for the duration of your ticket and explore on foot with free walking tours. See Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, London Eye, Tower of London, and much more with this offer. This offer is subject to T & Cs as it depends very much on whether your purchase is for 24, 48 or 72 hours.

5 | Enjoy London with over 80+ attractions with The London Pass

Access over 80 attractions and one day of hop-on hop-off bus tour with this highly recommended discounted London Pass. Valid for the selected duration of 1 to 10 days (from first activation), the London Pass comes with a guide book packed with helpful tips, and maps, making this selection one of the many rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London.

Recommended read: 7 key benefits of the London Pass and what to expect when you buy one!

For more experiences in and around London + UK – view the following posts

Scotland | Timeless Travel Steps
Discover London
Greenwich in one day
History of Britain | Timeless Travel Steps

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Kensington Palace – Why you should visit this 18th century historical gem

Kensington Palace – Why you should visit this 18th century historical gem

Kensington Palace – A Royal Residence

These days, Kensington Palace is the royal residence for the young royals, who are the direct descendants of Queen Victoria. The Palace is the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was the former home of late Princess Diana. The Palace has a long history of being a residence for the British Royal Family since the 17th century when King William III and Queen Mary II took residence just before Christmas of 1689.

A little background to Kensington Palace

The building was originally a 2-storey Jacobean mansion in the village of Kensington which the Royal couple purchased in the summer of 1689. They then enlisted Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) to design and build a palace that was fit for a King & Queen. A few additions were made to Kensington Palace during the reign of King George I like the Privy Chamber and the Cupola Room. The mural on the walls of the King’s Grand Staircase was painted by William Kent during this period also (more on this below).


To know more of the Palace’s 300-year-old royal history and secrets, you can purchase the new book by Historic Royal Palaces, Kensington Palace: Art, Architecture and Society’ which unfolds the Palace’s story from the time of its foundation to present state.


MyCityMyTown London Series on Kensington Palace

What drew me to the Palace this time was the Exhibition held in honour of 200th year of Queen Victoria’s birth, Discover the real Victoria, made in Kensington, which also coincides with my 3rd instalment of MyCityMyTown Retracing my footsteps Series

Kensington Palace: Celebrating 200th year of Queen Victoria's Birth
Kensington Palace: Celebrating 200th year of Queen Victoria’s Birth | Image: georgina_daniel

I was excited to visit this exhibition as I am a great admirer of Queen Victoria, as well as the Palace. It was a perfect opportunity as I haven’t been here for a few years, having only a faint memory of the artwork and the internal architecture of this beautiful palace.

Learn more about the exhibition and what I thought of it in my article: Victoria-An intimate look at the woman behing the crown and her childhood.

Highlights of my visit to Kensington Palace London

I will share with you the highlights of the palace visit. I have also written several other blogs related to Kensington Palace which you can read more of by clicking the links provided at the end of this post. I think a visit here should be high on one’s list because the palace itself is an architectural delight and the gardens are splendid for a rest afterwards.

1 | The Cupola Room

The Cupola Room took me by surprise. I don’t recall visiting this room on my previous visits. I was completely and utterly lost for words when I saw the elaborate designs in this room and how splendidly it was decorated. It was different to the rest of the palace rooms. Designed by William Kent (1685 – 1748), who was commissioned by George I in the mid-1720s, he was involved in every aspect of the room’s design, furnishings and decorations

The room is Roman inspired four-sided dome with a steeply curved ceiling and a Garter Star in the centre.

Kensington Palace: Cupola Room - Roman inspired four-sided dome with a steeply curved ceiling and Garter Star in the centre.
Kensington Palace: Cupola Room – Roman inspired four-sided dome with a steeply curved ceiling and Garter Star in the centre | Image: georgina_daniel

1.1 | Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World

Right in the centre of the room is an ornate musical clock surmounted on a pedestal, called the ‘Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World’ which was purchased in 1743 by Princess Augusta and was placed in this room soon afterwards. The name of the clock refers to Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome – the four great empires of antiquity. These are represented on each of the faces of the clock. I discovered that the clock’s mechanism to play music has stopped. The clock was designed by Charles Clay, a clockmaker who specialised in musical clocks in the form of miniature temples. 

An ornate musical clock, designed by Charles Clay, called the 'Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World" surmounted on a pedestal, sits in the centre of Cupola Room
An ornate musical clock, designed by Charles Clay, called the ‘Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World” surmounted on a pedestal, sits in the centre of Cupola Room at Kensington Palace | Image: georgina_daniel
Kensington Palace: Cupola Room - Walls with painted pilasters, marble chimney piece and gold gilded statues in the flickering candlelight.
Kensington Palace: Cupola Room – Walls with painted pilasters, marble chimney piece and gold gilded statues in the flickering candlelight | Image: georgina_daniel

The walls are adorned with painted pilasters, marble chimney pieces and gold gilded statues. The whole room dazzles in the flickering candlelight – pure elegance.

You can read more about William Kent here, who went on to design the King’s Grand Staircase.

2 | This King’s Grand Staircase

The King’s Grand Staircase is the first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court.

Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase - The first link to the King's State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I's court.
Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase – The first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court | Image: georgina_daniel
Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase - The first link to the King's State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I's court. There are about 45 intriguing figures here.
Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase – The first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court. There are about 45 intriguing figures here | Image: georgina_daniel

This 18th century artwork is full of intriguing characters, about 45 of them including Kent himself with his mistress. It has presented historians with a puzzle because only 12 of them could be identified from records.  This grandiose of a staircase is a “must-see” as you will be walking in the footsteps of royalty and the great and good of Georgian London, all 45 historic steps.

3 | The Ceilings in Kensington Palace

As you can imagine, there are many rooms here, such as the Privy Chamber, the Presence Chamber, the Kings Gallery, the King’s Drawing Room, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Queen’s Grand Staircase. In whichever room you are in, don’t forget to look-up, because you will marvel at some of these pretty sights 😊

Kensington Palace: The Kings Drawing Room - Don't forget to look-up! You will marvel at some of these.
Kensington Palace: The Kings Drawing Room – Don’t forget to look-up! You will marvel at some of these | Image: georgina_daniel
Kensington Palace: The Kings Gallery - Don't forget to look up!
Kensington Palace: The Kings Gallery – Don’t forget to look up! | Image: georgina_daniel

My final thoughts on my visit to Kensington Palace

In short – Kensington Palace should be on your list!

Kensington Palace is one of the Royal Palaces I enjoyed visiting and the architecture in some of these rooms were mind-blowing. I would recommend that it should be on your list of places to visit in London. You can combine a visit to the Palace with a visit to the Palace Gardens and enjoy a Royal High Tea – a very popular and sell-out event!

I hope you would be inspired to visit, explore and discover the stories and secrets behind these walls.

Complete your visit to Kensington Palace with a Royal High Tea, Book your space using the link below. Only limited spaces available.

Book a visit to Kensington Palace and a Royal High Tea


Suggested Reading

Kensington Palace Gardens

200th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s Birth

Why the Historic Royal Palaces Annual Membership is good for me


Practical information on Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace: Opening times

Daily except 24-26 December.

Summer (01 March – 31 October)

Monday-Sunday: 10:00-18:00

Last admission: 17:00

Winter (01 November – 28 February)

Monday-Sunday: 10:00-16:00

Last admission: 15:00

Getting to Kensington Palace London:

London Underground and trains

High Street Kensington station (10 – 15 minute walk) – for the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines

Queensway station (10 – 15 minute walk) – for the Central line

Notting Hill Gate station (20 – 25 minute walk) – for Central, District and Circle lines

Paddington station (20 minute walk) – for National Rail

Bus

Routes 70, 94, 148, and 390 stop along Bayswater Road

Routes 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 and 452 stop along Kensington High Street

Parking

Q-Park Queensway (10 minute walk)

Euro Car Parks, Hyde Park/Bayswater Road (10 minute walk)


Ways to explore London

Buy London Explorer Pass for discounted access to attractions – great value for money city card.

Buy your train tickets from Trainline – a great user friendly App for contactless tickets

Join a tour group and learn more about the city of London from a knowledgeable guide. Take a look at the following:

London - Tours of Parks and Gardens
What activities will you do when you visit your chosen destination?
What activities will you do when you visit your chosen destination?

Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Kensington Royal Palace in London? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Have a super awesome time exploring Kensington Palace and its Gardens.

March 2021, Update

March 2021, Update


map with pin on london | ultimate guide to Tower of London
Latitude: 51° 30′ 30.71″ N
Longitude: 0° 07′ 32.66″ E

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What went wrong with the Walkie talkie building?

What went wrong with the Walkie talkie building?

Walkie Talkie aka Sky Garden

The Walkie Talkie building also known as Sky Garden  opened in 2015 and it is a great place to visit at any time of the year. Suitable for solo travellers, couples as well as for families, a visit to this iconic building should be one of London’s “must do” items.

The building’s unique design has not always been a popular one and had drawn many glances, as well as comments which continues to do so to this day. Here is a brief look at what makes the walkie talkie the talk of town.

walkie talkie building in London

What went wrong with the walkie talkie building aka Sky Garden

The Sky Garden which stands at 20 Fenchurch Street is a uniquely designed building in the heart of London’s financial district. It is also known as the Walkie-talkie building because of its distinctive curvy shape which has a heavier top to maximise floor space towards the top of the building. It is an open and vibrant place of leisure offering visitors a different kind of experience of London.

The design of the walkie talkie building

This distinctive building, designed by Uruguayan architect, Rafael Vinoly, was not always a popular building. It was once described as “inelegant, bloated, thuggish” and in 2015, it won the Carbuncle Cup, for being the worst building in London. Referred to as “The heavy top sticks out like a sore thumb and does not fit into the rest of the buildings in London’s skyline”.

Moreover, the sun reflecting off the glass façade was said to have blistered paintwork on cars and shop fronts. The temperature was said to be so high that it could fry an egg on the pavement.

In addition, the shape of the building was said to create a wind tunnel at the base so strong that it started to blow-off food trolleys and people!

The “death ray” situation was fixed by attaching sunshades to the glass panels to prevent the sun reflecting off it and wind-turbines to help reduce the wind issues associated with the downdraught.

However, to a great extent, it is still true, I think, that it does stick out and does not fit into the rest of London’s skyline and the surrounding area that has low-rise buildings.


Recommended read: 5 Reasons Why you will enjoy a visit to the Sky Garden London


How about you?

What do you think? Does the Walkie Talkie fit into London’s skyline? Do let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, would love to hear from you.

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Look forward to connecting & happy discovering London

Georgina xx


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What went wrong with the Walkie talkie building? first published at timelesstravelsteps and is regularly updated. Last update January 4, 2022

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