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Boasting beautiful architecture and wonderful history, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most recognisable religious landmarks in Great Britain. The surrounding area has numerous parks, museums and galleries, and evenings promise a magnificent choice of entertainment and restaurants to enjoy.
The original St Paul’s, or Old St Paul’s, was built by the Normans after a fire destroyed the previous church in 1087. Subsequently, the Great Fire of London in 1666 left Old St Paul’s completely ruined inside, after which a decision was made to build a completely new cathedral in its place. This task was assigned to Sir Christopher Wren in 1669, who had already overseen the rebuilding of more than fifty churches after the fire. The new St Paul’s Cathedral was consecrated in 1697, with the actual work being completed in 1708.
A visit to St Paul’s Cathedral itself is awe-inspiring. Visitors can either take a guided tour or use the new touch-screen multimedia guides to explore the magnificent building. Bravely venture down to the Cathedral’s crypts to see the tombs of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Stand on the spot where Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, or listen to the 1695 organ which Mendelssohn once played. Be sure to test the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery, and climb up to the Golden Gallery to enjoy truly breathtaking panoramic views of London.
About a six-minute walk away is the London Museum, a modern museum home to well over a million exhibits. Walk through London's history from the great fire of 1666 to the present day. View historic pieces and precious books, mock streets and vintage cars, including the Lord Mayor’s State Coach.
Walk for about eight minutes and you’ll find the Bank of England Museum, where you can see ancient gold bars and vintage money while learning the history of the biggest bank in the UK. Find out about bank note design too, and the methods used to defend the bank over the years.
There’s a great variety of eateries in and around the area. Enjoy an authentic taste of Mexico in Burrito Mama's if you’re on the go, or Wahaca if you would prefer to sit and eat.
Grab a coffee and a pastry at Alchemy, with its seasonal blends of coffee and lunchtime snacks. For a bit of a difference, try Burger and Lobster, a cocktail bar where you can get yourself either a burger, lobster roll or whole lobster, all served with fries and salad for just £20.
At just an eight-minute walk away, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a replica of the Shakespeare's 16th-century theatre, offers a huge range of plays performed in the open air, come rain or shine. Wrap up warm and dry and enjoy.
For ideas on activities in the capital check out our blog or our page for things to do in London.
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