St Paul’s vs Westminster Abbey
Like Westminster Abbey St Paul’s offers colour, history and monuments, though not the same quantity or antiquity as St Paul’s last build was completed a mere 300 years ago compared to Westminster’s 1, 000 year history.
However St Paul’s is much less crowded, is crowned with exceptional ceilings and offers treats in high places such as the Whispering Gallery (indoors, 30m high) and the Golden Gallery (outside 85m high).
The Jesus Chapel, also known as the American Memorial Chapel, behind the High Altar. This chapel honours US servicemen who died in the European theatre of the Second World War.
The Whispering Gallery
Beyond and below the cross a circular balcony is visible in the distance. This is easy to access via a flight of spiral stairs and is known as the Whispering Gallery – word has it that if you whisper somewhere in the hemispherical roof chamber then another person some distance away (e. g. 25m/75ft) can hear you. True, but. . .
Whispering at a distance does work but only under under specific conditions:
a) put your head near the wall, facing the direction of the person you wish to communicate with.
b) Whisper, do not speak low, or high. Whisper! Sibilance rules, the frequency is vital.
c) it doesn’t work if there are people close to the wall between you and the recipient.
ps. the little holes in the walls every few metres have no connection to whispering. They are bases for annual checks on dome integrity by laser beam.
St Pauls upper gallery
The panoramic but less-than-awesome vista from the upper gallery of St Paul’s is 528 steps up, golden exercise that’s for sure. There’s a Stone Gallery at the 53m high point.
In the photo across the river on the South Bank is the popular, free Tate Modern art gallery, joined to the North Bank by the Millennium Bridge. To the left of the far side of the bridge is a partially concealed circular white building. That’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
The view west will take in the London Eye and Houses of Parliament.
Nelson’s tomb in the crypt. He made the long journey home pickled in brandy after winning the battle of Trafalgar but sadly dying in the process. No, he didn’t die of alcohol poisoning.
St Paul’s cafeteria, where some Oriental tourists are still getting to grips with innovative western eating tools.