On March 3rd 2011, St Paul's Cathedral celebrates its 300 year anniversary marking its completion. However, this is actually the fourth cathedral to stand on this site since 604 AD and the magnificent domed building has played host to some important British events such as the jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria.
The funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and the Duke of Wellington also occurred here and the tombs of great British pioneers such as Sir Alexander Fleming (who discovered penicillin) and Sir Christopher Wren, the architect responsible for St Paul's cathedral are found in the famous crypt.
Many visitors to London have St Paul's as top of their agenda because of the historical, architectural and religious factors that it offers and it was recently voted the Attraction Provider of the Year by UKinbound Awards 2011.
The cathedral floor is host to many features including; three chapels, a nave, Wellington and Nelson's monuments, stunning stained glass windows, a grand organ, and William Holman Hunt's painting The Light of the World.
After exploring the cathedral floor, visitors can ascend the stairs up into the dome and depending on how far they climb they will encounter three galleries; The Whispering Gallery, The Stone Gallery and The Golden Gallery. Perhaps the most famous of the three is the Whispering Gallery which is found after a journey of 259 steps and was given its name because a person can be heard by someone else on the opposite side of the wall which is over 100 feet away.
Next is the Stone Gallery which is 109 steps further and provides a break before the final ascent taking the total number of steps to 528 and into the Golden Gallery. This is the top of the dome and visitors can enjoy far-reaching views over London taking in sights such as the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern and the River Thames.
The building is still used as a place of worship and with the Christian celebration of Easter fast approaching there are many services planned on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day. Self-guided trails for children will also be part of the celebrations to ensure that all visitors are kept entertained.
London will be become a focus point in 2011 with the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29th April and the Olympic games and the Paralympics are not far in the future. Therefore the announcement that London has been named as Destination of the Year was especially pleasing for Visit London, the official visitor organisation for the capital. Sally Chatterjee, their chief executive officer stated 'we are looking forward to showing a global audience why London remains the most visited international destination on earth." Whether a trip to London is planned around these forthcoming events or to simply learn about and experience this great city, a trip to St Paul's will help every visitor to understand London's historical, architectural and religious history.
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