Day of Churches: St. Pauls and Westminster Abbey

14 Mar

On Saturday I decided to do a solo tour of St. Paul’s and then walk to Westminster Abbey by way of the Thames.

St. Paul’s is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, mostly thanks to it’s massive dome. The Cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren just after the Great Fire of London (1666) destroyed the previous church. The current cathedral has been standing for almost 400 years. It suffered some minor damage during the air raids of WWII but otherwise remains in tact. Prince Charles married Diana there, another reason it is well-known.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Winston Churchill had soldiers surround the rooftops around St. Paul’s during the war specifically to spot and attempt to prevent bombings in the area. They also served to put out smaller bombs that burst into flames on impact.

St. Paul's Cathedral, the dome.

St. Paul's Cathedral, entrance

Unfortunately, there’s no photography inside. There are beautiful mosaics on the ceilings and even though there are no stained glass windows it works. There is simplicity in the cathedral which makes it even more beautiful.

About a block from St. Paul’s was a cute candy store.

A sweets shop down the road from the cathedral

The weather was great on Saturday. It was the fourth day of sun in a row, a ray feat for London. My walk to Westminster took me down Fleet Street.

Now, Fleet Street was on my list of to-do’s because my favorite musical is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It is a tale of revenge and love, it is bloody so it’s not for the faint of heart and stomach. But the music is fantastic (Stephen Sondheim, a true musical genius) and I do recommend it.

Fleet Street itself was a nice walk, even though there was nothing to commemorate Sweeney (which was a surprise, since the show is quite successful).

A few buildings on Fleet Street. A closer look...

I must go here at least once before I leave.

A pub on Fleet Street

A statue at the entrance to Fleet Street

Royal Court of Justices

Royal Court of Justices

Royal Court of Justices

My walk continued along the Thames.

The view along the Thames

The newer area of London and St. Paul's Cathedral to the left.

Cleopatra's Needle

The London Eye

World War II Memorial with a quote from Winston Churchill

Parliament as the sun sets

Big Ben is technically the name of the bell which strikes the hour, not the actual clock.

There were a bunch of protestors across the street from Parliament, mostly anti-war.

Parliament with the Eye in the background

Unfortunately, Westminster was closed when I got there. But I still got to see the outside. Prince William will marry Kate there next month.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

A few grotesques around the doors

The doorways reminded me of Notre Dame

Westminster is very similar to Notre Dame in terms of architectural style

Statues above the main entrance

I walked a bit further before taking the Tube back to campus. It was a long day but I saw a lot and the walk was just what I needed to clear my head.

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