How to avoid the £15 entrance fee at St. Paul’s

LONDON – Before Kate Middleton tied the knot, she had the option of getting married in St. Paul’s Cathedral, as Princess Diana did years before (1981). She chose Westminster Abbey in the end, perhaps because it can seat a lot more people. But to be honest, there’s something special about St. Paul’s and as I sat there today, I thought, you know, I wouldn’t mind getting married here one day.

I know, fat chance of that. I’d probably have to convert first, oh and have a fiance willing to make an honest woman out of me.

But as with sooo many tourist attractions in London, St. Paul’s has an entrance fee. It’s £15 and that’s a lot. And if you’re like me and not rolling in the dough, you want to cut costs and still see the best of London. A part of me thinks it’s a bit odd to charge money to see a religious edifice. Surely you shouldn’t have to pay to worship or to feel close to God? But as the sign says at St. Paul’s, it takes £7 million per year to keep St. Paul’s running year round and so they welcome donations and charge an entrance fee.

But, there is a way around it! St. Paul’s is actually a working Cathedral meaning it does daily services so it’s not just a tourist attraction or a venue for special events such as the Jubilee. If you want to attend their worship services, you can and you don’t have to pay! So worship is for free, which is how it should be.

My friend and I decided to pop by today and listen to an organ recital. We arrived at 4:40 pm for a start time of 4:45 pm and we still got a good seat. In fact, it wasn’t that full, which I liked. The recital lasted half an hour and it was very good. I worried that it would be a bit gloomy, as organ music can be, but the music was refreshing and uplifting.

St. Paul’s recently underwent a refurbishment and it looks stunning. My photos don’t do it justice. There was a lot of gold that sparkled in the sunlight that was streaming through the large, ornate windows. As you sit there, you feel inspired, in awe and impressed with the architecture and the attention to detail. There is so much to grab your attention as the music fills the air. The arches, the floor, the chapels, the dome, the woodwork. All of it has been meticulously created. It’s simply beautiful and you must go see it for yourself.

As an interesting fact, the St. Paul’s Cathedral that you see today is the fifth Cathedral that has stood on the site since 604 AD and was built between 1675 and 1710 after it’s predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

If you want to take a good photo, cross Millennium Bridge and head towards the Tate Gallery. Turn around and take this shot. I love the view.

What were your thoughts when you went to St. Paul’s?

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8 thoughts on “How to avoid the £15 entrance fee at St. Paul’s

  1. You really want to know?? Well, I am so grateful for you for posting these stunning images as I don’t remember the grandeur of the cathedral at all. The nostalgia of it all – I was 18, visiting a guy in London, eyes for him and only him. All I remember is whispering sweet nothings to each other around the Whispering Gallery. The romance did not progress, but he is still a friend and I treasure my St Paul’s memory. Now I am keen to attend an organ recital there. Sounds wonderful!

  2. Very cool! I don’t remember paying when I went there a few years ago, but the tour was quite a blur! So, just for fun… I have found your blog to be quite “lovely” and nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog” award. Go to blog.joytours.com to check out the rules! Congrats on all your success!

  3. This is so beautiful! That does seem like a bit much and especially for a religious institution but I imagine it would take a lot to keep it going. I am hoping to make my first Europe trip in 2013 and will definitely be utilizing all of your great tips! -L

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