St Paul’s was founded in 604. However, the present building, the fifth on the site, dates from 1675

It is the second largest cathedral in the world, after St Peter’s in Rome.

Construction did not start until 10 years after the Great Fire, which destroyed the previous structure. This earlier building, begun in 1087, took 200 years to build and was even bigger than the present building, which took 35 years to complete.

The cathedral is the most famous work from London’s greatest architect, Sir Christopher Wren (who is buried in it.) However, the building is not exactly to the Royal-approved design. Wren submitted 3 different designs for it before his 4th version was eventually agreed. He then assembled large screens around the construction site to hide development, and proceeded to build the cathedral to a design different again from that which had been approved.

In 1981, the wedding of Charles and Diana took place here.

Other famous people who are buried in St Paul’s include Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, whose monument took 56 years to complete.

Read about other historic churches of London and London’s historic burial grounds.

Visit St Pauls on the city walk and self-guided bus tour.

click to view map and street view