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We had planned a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral for the last part of our stay in London but its famous dome was almost inescapable as we explored other parts of the city.

sky line view of St. Paul's Cathedral dome
Photo above - The dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, as seen from one of the bridges traversing the Thames River.

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Like so many tourist sites in London no photography is allowed inside the Cathedral.
At the very top of the St. Paul's cathedral
Photo above: The very top of the dome of St. Paul's, Cathedral. The outside gallery in this photograph is 530 steps up from the Cathedral floor, it is assessable to tourist.

The dome is actually composed of an inner shell and an outer shell. The interior shell, as viewed from with in the cathedral, is decorated in murals. The outer and inner shell are wooden framed, the outer shell is clad in metal.

Looking up in to the dome of St Paul's Cathedral I see two levels of railing, one railing is at the base of the dome but the other is high above, at the very top. Imaging myself looking over that top railing, almost in the very center at the top of the dome, leaves me with a feeling of foreboding. Discovering the stairway that will take us up to the first railing at the base of the dome (the Whispering Gallery), we start our winding ascend.

Two hundred fifty nine steps later we are at the Whispering Gallery. Here we are provided a closer view of the domes painted mosaic and, looking over the railing, a breathtaking view of the floor below. The gallery encircles the base of the dome as does seating, the slightly winded me, opts for the seat while my son waits patiently.

"Did you hear that?" my son ask with a rather surprised look on his face. I listen, a eerie whisper, I can not quit make it out, perhaps it is "say something". I chuckle to my self, put on a straight face and say to my son "are you hearing voices?".

The Whispering Gallery receives its name from the special acoustics here, two people standing on opposite sides of the dome can literally have a conversation by "Whispering" to the dome.

The west entrance of St. Paul's cathedral
Photo Above - The entrance to the Cathedral.

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Information on this page comes form my July, 2006 visit to England
This page last updated September 2006