MAY 05,2013 - MAY 05,2013 (1 DAYS)
St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern and Bankside.
Start: St. Paul tube station.
End : London Bridge tube station.
Weather: If your first half day is grey and gloomy and the other half is brighter and more smiling - opt for this itinerary.
Distance: 3 km. Most of time is spent inside the sites themselves.
St Paul's Cathedral is the UK's major cathedral and setting for many state occasions including royal weddings. Being the cathedral of the capital city, St Paul's is officially the spiritual home of Great Britain. The dome is the masterpiece of the building, erected after the Fire of London. Designed by famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren, the current cathedral was completed in 1708, after the Great Fire of London ruined Old St Paul’s in 1666. During the construction of the dome and galleries, architect Wren was wrenched up and down in a basket at least once a week to inspect the work in progress. By the time work was completed in 1708, Wren was 78 years old and watched on as his son placed the last stone in position. The injunction on the memorial tablet over Wren’s grave in the crypt – ‘Si monumentum requiris, circumspice’ (if you are expecting this monument, look around you) – has inhibited more than it has encouraged.
The cathedral has always been associated with significant British events, including the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, as were the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria and the 80th birthday service for Queen Elizabeth II.
OPENING TIMES: Mon to Sat 8.30 - 16.00 (last entry). Guided Tours at 11.00, 11.30, 13.30 & 14.00. PRICES: On the door: 15 GBP (Adult), 6 GBP (Child), 14 GBP (Concessions), 36 GBP (Family), FREE (Under 5s). Free admission for London Pass holders.
Note: Photography is not allowed inside the cathedral.
The cathedral miraculously survived the Blitz in World War II when most of the surrounding area was flattened by German bombing raids. It consequently served to act as an inspirational symbol of British strength in the nation's darkest hours.
With your entrance ticket, head inside and pick up your audio/video guide, available in nine languages. You’ll tour the cathedral on your own, listening to the audio commentary and using your touch screen for historical events and information about the significance of the cathedral throughout English history.
The Cathedral Floor:
You can take part, free, as a visitor in the Sunday service and be impressed by the ground floor and the Nave:
We go up the steps and enter the cathedral through the west portico. The first breathtaking view that visitors encounter when they enter the cathedral is from the Nave, which is the long central section of the cathedral that leads to the dome. This is the only place you can watch and take photos - without paying the pricey admission fees. This is the public and ceremonial space, designed for congregations at large services.
All Souls Chapel - North Aisle. To the left of the entrance is the All Souls Chapel, which is currently dedicated to Lord Kitchener and the military servicemen who died in World War I. Lord Kitchener was the Field Marshal who restructured the British Army during World War I:
St. Dunstan's Chapel - head up the main steps, and enter (like the former chapel) on the left-hand side. Inside you'll find the queue to buy tickets but keep to the left and you can enter St. Dunstan's Chapel for free at any time. This is open for prayers all day but is well-frequented by visitors too. As its name suggests is dedicated to St. Dunstan, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 959. The chapel has some appealing features including two mosaics: one an adaptation of a fresco by the famous Italian painter Raphael, and the other is a memorial to Archdeacon Hale, a 19th century English churchman who operated in London;
Heading down the nave you can see, on both sides, the unusual semi-circular recesses, which break up the aisles on both sides. It is said that they had been placed here with the intention to convert these recesses into lines of chapels for individual private worship and prayer. These recesses are, for the most part, now used to house the tombs and shrines of the past military heroes of Great Britain.
The North Quire Aisle contains the sculpture Mother and Child by Henry Moore (who is commemorated in the crypt):
In the north aisle, indeed, almost filling the north aisle in the Cathedral Floor, is the massive memorial to the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, the British commander who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815:
Another notable tomb on the cathedral ground floor is that of Major-General Charles George Gordon, a British army officer and administrator who died in combat in 1885. His tomb is often covered in flowers by those wishing to pay their respects to General Gordon:
South Quire Aisle is on the right hand side beyond the dome area. This aisle contains the effigies of two Bishops of London and also a marble effigy of John Donne. Donne was a Dean of the cathedral and one of Britain's finest poets, who died in 1631. It is one of the few effigies to have survived the Great Fire of London. He was an English poet and Dean of St. Paul’s from 1621 to 1631. Donne’s tomb here is by far the best preserved. It is one of the few tombs to survive the destruction of the old St. Paul’s in the Great Fire of London in 1666:
The Quire is at the east of the cathedral's cross-shape and the continuation of the nave beyond the dome area at the east of the cathedral. This is where the choir and the priests sit during services. The quire was the first part of the cathedral to be built. The choir stalls on both sides are worth a close look, they were carved by Grinling Gibbons, a master woodworker who was frequently called upon by Wren. And pause to watch the wrought-iron screen separating the altar from the aisles. They were created by Jean Tijou, who was also responsible for the magnificent gates at Hampton Court Palace.
The Grand Organ was installed in 1695 and has been rebuilt several times. It is the third largest organ in the U.K. It is one of the cathedral’s greatest artifacts:
At the far end of the Quire you can see the High Altar. Originally, the cathedral had a simple, large Victorian marble altar and screen, which were damaged by a bomb in World War II. The present high altar dates from 1958 and is made of marble and carved and gilded oak. It features a magnificent canopy based on a sketch by Wren:
The Apse at the east end of the cathedral, behind the High Altar. This chapel is called the Jesus Chapel but also known as the American Memorial Chapel. It honors American servicemen and women who died in World War II, and was dedicated in 1958. Almost 30,000 Americans gave their lives while on their way to, or stationed in, the UK during World War II. It is kept in front of the chapel's altar:
All of their names are recorded in a roll of honor that is on display in a glass-encased book next to the chapel’s altar, where a page is turned everyday so different names are displayed:
A flight of steps leads down into the cathedral’s crypt, with its memorials, tombs and monuments of important Brits like Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. It occupies the whole area under the cathedral and contains the tombs of many notable figures, including the painters Constable, Turner and Reynolds and the scientist Alexander Fleming. Under the south aisle lies the simple tombstone of Sir Christopher Wren. The sarcophagi of Wellington and Nelson may also be seen. Nelson's coffin was made from the main mast of the French flagship "L'Orient".The Nelson monument has allegorical reliefs representing the North Sea, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Nile.
AS we said this crypt is now used to hold the tombs and memorials to prominent figures from British history. Here, is the tomb of the cathedral’s architect, Sir Christopher Wren. He was buried here after he died in 1723 at the age of ninety-one.
Nearby is the tomb of the famous landscape painter, J. M. W. Turner:
Nelson's Tomb. Lord Nelson was famously killed in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and buried in St Paul's after a state funeral. He was laid in a coffin made from the timber of a French ship he defeated in battle.
The black marble sarcophagus that adorns his tomb was originally made for Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor during the reign of Henry VIII.
One of the famous military heroes buried in the crypt of St. Paul’s is Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington:
On the Crypt wall there is a bust memorializing Lawrence of Arabia, a British officer who raised and led an Arab rebel force against the Ottoman Empire across the Middle East. He played very important role in the liberation of the Middle East from the Turks:
The Crypt also contains a large scale model of Wren's second proposed design of St. Paul's, called the Great Model. A more recent addition to the Crypt is the Chapel of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), which was dedicated in 1960.
The Great Model is so called after the enormous wooden model Wren had made, and which still survives. It does not represent Wren's first thoughts, nor does it reflect the Cathedral as built; but it does appear to show what Wren would have liked to build, if he had not been subject to the opinions and wishes of the Dean and Chapter. The quality of the joinery is superb, and it is adorned with exquisitely-worked cherubs' heads, flowers and festoons. As originally completed, some of the detail was sumptuously gilded, and there were tiny statues on the parapets, which are thought to have been Wren's first commissions to Grinling Gibbons:
The Crypt from the Cafe':
The climb to the galleries: The stairs are pretty narrow (and majority of them are spiral). There is a warning sign for those with claustrophobia. In order of climb, the three main galleries are the Whispering, Stone, and Golden galleries:
No visit to St Paul's Cathedral would be complete without the climb to the galleries and dome. There are 259 steps leading up to the Whispering Gallery, which runs round the dome at a height of 33m above the ground. It is so called because of its remarkable acoustic properties, which make it possible to hear even a whisper across the dome's total width of 35m. From here visitors can see Thornhill's paintings in the dome and gain a breathtaking impression of the size and proportions of the nave below. The Whispering Gallery is a circular walkway halfway up the inside of the dome. The Whispering Gallery gives you a magnificent view of the cathedral:
From the Whispering Gallery a further 117 steps lead up to the Stone Gallery round the outside of the dome:
The views from the Stone Gallery, which runs around the lower edge of the dome, are of course spectacular. This one is looking across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate:
View from the stone/outer gallery across the Thames to the Tate Modern:
Southwark Bridge from the Stone Gallery:
Paternoster Square, from the Stone Gallery:
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre from the Stone / Outer Gallery:
For the fit or ambitious, you can climb 530 steps to the Golden Gallery, an observation platform atop the dome of the cathedral. It is the smallest of the galleries and runs around the highest point of the outer dome. From there you can look out over the modern skyline of the city of London and panoramic views of the capital. It is 166 steps above the Stone Gallery. From both of these galleries there are superb views of London. The ball on the top of the lantern will hold ten people.
The Shard from the Golden gallery:
The Millennium Bridge from the Golden gallery:
The three curving galleries lead up to the Dome - at 111.3 m. high, it is one of the largest in the world and one of the best viewing points in the City. St Paul's is built in the shape of a cross, with a large dome crowning the intersection of its arms:
Looking up to the famous dome of St. Paul’s you can see the paintings by the English painter, James Thornhill, depicting the climax moments of St. Paul’s life.
On the cathedral’s floor directly below the center of the dome is a Latin inscription on a circle of black marble, which reads: “SUBTUS CONDITUR HUIUS ECCLESIÆ ET VRBIS CONDITOR CHRISTOPHORUS WREN, QUI VIXIT ANNOS ULTRA NONAGINTA, NON SIBI SED BONO PUBLICO. LECTOR SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE OBIIT XXV FEB AETATIS XCI AN MDCCXXIII.” It translates in English as, “Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument - look around you. Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 91.” (see above on Wren's tomb in the Crypt):
Surrounding the imposing dome of St. Paul’s are arches with mosaics from the end of 19th century:
Gardens surrounding St Paul's Cathedral. Opening hours: everyday from 6.00 to 20.00 in the summer and 6.00 to 16.00 in the winter, unless a special event or service is taking place, in which case the garden may be closed.
The churchyard of St Paul’s is a restful albeit public thoroughfare. There are benches where you can sit and enjoy the sun, watch the squirrels and/or people, and study the beautiful carvings and sculptures that decorate the exterior. Take photo of the imposing cathedral from a bench in the surrounding gardens, which have a pretty rose garden and a range of interesting plants and trees (including plane and walnut).
Look out for the granite memorial inscribed with “Remember before God the people of London 1939-1945”. The quote was used by Churchill but actually written by Sir Edward Marsh in relation to WWI. Memorial to the people of London who died in the blitz 1939 — 1945. This commemorates the 30,000 Londoners who died in air raids. Cut from a single block of limestone:
A statue of John Wesley stands in the northwest corner of the churchyard. Erected in 1988, it is a bronze cast of Manning’s early 19th century marble statue to be found at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster:
Nearby, in the cathedral’s north-east churchyard, a plaque marks the location of St Paul’s Cross:
Looking around outside, behind the Cathedral in St. Paul’s Churchyard, you will notice a statue with a gilded representation of St. Paul at the top:
The gardens were formed in 1878 when the ancient burial grounds of St Paul's, St Gregory by St Paul’s and St Faith the Virgin under St Paul’s were combined.
St. Paul Cathedral from the Festival Gardens (S.E to the cathedral). The statue is of Poet John Donne:
The Cathedral was completed during the reign of Queen Anne and there is a statue of her in the west- front of St. Paul's:
West facade of St. Paul:
St. Paul from the North-West (Paternoster Square):
From the South-West:
South Front of St. Paul:
From the South-West (near the Information Office):
St. Paul from the South-East:
The new Paternoster development master-planned by Sir William Whitfield, who also designed the deferentially stone-clad Juxon House at the south-west corner, was completed in 2004 by the arrival of the resurrected Temple Bar. The Temple Bar, which now guards the passage between St Paul's and Paternoster Square. Temple Bar, a Wren designed stone archway that once stood on Fleet Street to mark the westernmost extent of the City's influence, was rebuilt at the cathedral side entrance to the square in 2004:
Do not miss this modern sculpture east of Paternoster Square, near the St. Paul:
Paternoster Square (north-west to St. Paul) was flattened during the Blitz, now redeveloped and home to the London Stock Exchange and big names in banking
The main monument in the redeveloped square is the 23m. tall Paternoster Square Column - a Corinthian column of Portland stone topped by a gold leaf covered flaming copper urn, which is illuminated by fibre-optic lighting at night. The column was designed by the architects Whitfield Partners and also serves as a ventilation shaft for a service road that runs beneath the square. It is sometimes referred to as the 'pineapple':
The uncharacteristically bland sculpture by Elizabeth Frink, Paternoster – Shepherd and Sheep (1975), serves to confirm the difficulty of measuring up to Wren’s great building.
Originally St Paul’s was pressed around by housing and the shops of the book and print trade, above which rose much of the upper screen walls, cornice line, towers, drum and dome. This was a building whose rich detailing could be appreciated close-to, but the whole could be seen only from a distance. The surrounding buildings, devastated during the Blitz of the Second World War, were replaced by the more open, traffic-free Paternoster precinct of 1962–7, following the masterplan by Lord Holford. This was largely demolished (one small block survives above St Paul’s Underground Station) and replaced after protracted discussion, the inhibiting intervention of Prince Charles, and the forging of an unholy alliance between market forces, architectural political correctness and sentiment: this is a no-win site.
We leave the St. Paul's Cathedral - heading to the South Bank. This is the Firefighters Memorial, presumably sited just outside St Paul's because of the events of the night of 29 December 1940:
We'll cross the Thames over the Millennium Bridge. On leaving St Paul's make your way to the south side of the cathedral, Cannon Street. There is a Tourist Office here (wealth of data) and close by a wide pedestrian thoroughfare descending down to the River Thames. Head southeast on St. Paul's Churchyard and turn right onto Godliman St. Turn left onto Queen Victoria St. Turn right onto Peter's Hill and continue onto Millennium Bridge.
Along Peter's Hill:
The southern end of the bridge is near the Globe theatre, the Bankside Gallery and Tate Modern.
The north end next to the City of London School below St Paul's Cathedral. The bridge alignment is such that a clear view of St Paul's south façade is presented from across the river, framed by the bridge supports. The Millennium Bridge, officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge, is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians crossing the River Thames in London, linking Bankside with the City of London. It is sited between Southwark Bridge (more to the east) and Blackfriars Railway Bridge (more to the west). Construction of the bridge began in 1998, with the opening in June 2000. It is a 325m steel bridge linking the City of London at St. Paul's Cathedral with the Tate Modern Gallery at Bankside. The bridge is a pedestrian only suspension bridge built for the year 2000 celebrations. It became famous due to the fact that the walkway swayed so much it was deemed unsafe and shut down. The bridge had reopened and offers a rigid platform to cross the River Thames without the noise of traffic. The view is always magnificent from both sides and photogenic. Walking the opposite direction, in night time, from the South Bank to the City of London is a marvelous experience with all the lights up and down the river, and with the lighted cupola of St. Paul's in front of you. St. Paul at dark:
The Millennium Bridge at sunset:
The view of St Paul's Cathedral; from Millennium Bridge:
View of St. Paul's Cathedral from across Millennium Bridge to the south:
View of the North Bank - from the Millennium Bridge:
View of St. Paul from the Tate Modern grounds:
On the other side of the bridge is the Tate Modern Art Gallery situated on Bankside. Tate Modern displays the Tate collection of international modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present day.
Opening times: 10.00–18.00, Sunday – Thursday, Last admission and ticket sales to special exhibitions is at 17.15. 10.00–22.00, Friday – Saturday, Last admission and ticket sales to special exhibitions is at 21.15.
Seven main points on the Tate Modern:
1. Its historic. Built after World War II as Bankside Power Station, it was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of Battersea Power Station. The power station shut in 1981; nearly 20 years later, it opened as an art museum, and has enjoyed spectacular popularity ever since. Opened May 2000. The gallery attracts five million visitors a year to a building intended for half that number. There are some historic pieces in the building. Monet's Waterlilies and a couple of Picasso's adorn the walls. Not a lot of places in the world where one can see something of that magnitude.
2. Its unique and different - nothing similar to this project - either in London or around the globe. Well, the truth is that there are more and more places in the world imitating Tate Modern's idea. Everytime you visit the Tate - you'll find something different. The Tate Modern is quintessentially a London/UK experience. Tate Modern is more than just an art gallery. The amazing space of the Turbine Hall - has housed a succession of installations which have caught the imagination of the public. Thanks to its industrial architecture, this powerhouse of modern art is awe-inspiring even before you enter. In the main galleries themselves, the original cavernous turbine hall is still used to jaw-dropping effect as the home of large-scale, temporary installations.
3. It is popular and professional. The gallery attracts five million visitors a year to a building intended for half that number. Beyond, the permanent collection draws from the Tate’s collections of modern art (international works from 1900) and features heavy hitters such as Matisse, Rothko and Beuys – a genuinely world-class collection, expertly curated.
4. It is free. The best thing about the Tate Modern is that it is free to get in. That means you can pop in a quick browse and not be worried about getting value for money on an entrance fee. Hard to complain about anything when there is no investment asked of you. There is a voluntary donation bin at the entrance where they ask for a modest £4 donation.
5. Its location. It is convenient. In the middle of everything. One doesn't have to go out of the way to visit the Tate Modern as its essentially convenient to and within any path to any other tourist site in London. It sits on the South Bank of the Thames adjacent to the Globe Theater and directly across the Millennium bridge from St. Paul's Cathedral.
6. Its future. It is ambitious. the Tanks, so-called because they occupy vast, subterranean former oil tanks, will stage performance and film art. As for the rest of the extension, a huge new origami structure, designed by the Swiss-Jewish Architects Herzog & Meuron (who were behind the original conversion), will gradually unfold above the Tanks until perhaps 2016
7. It is breath-taking. If nothing else, its a nice place to catch your breath and take a break from the weather. And here' we start. The 6th floor balcony also offers a very nice view of the London skyline. The first thing we suggest you to do is climb to the restaurant, prepare your camera and take astonishing pictures of London from the balcony or through the cafe' windows.
There are also stunning views down inside the building:
The galleries group artworks according to movement (Surrealism, Minimalism, Post-war abstraction) rather than by theme.
Pablo Picasso, Nude Woman in a Red Armchair (1932):
Bust of a Woman, Pablo Picasso (1944):
“The Three Dancers”, Pablo Picasso (1925):
“Weeping Woman”, Pablo Picasso (1937):
Pablo Picasso, Nude Woman with Necklace (1968):
Pablo Picasso, Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle (1914):
Portrait of Henry Matisse (1908):
There is plenty to see with some amazing work dotted about the place although I find some of the modern art a bit hit and miss:
John Latham 1960:
Michaellangelo Pistoletto - Venus of the Rugs 1974:
Victor Pasmore - "Stromboli" - 1986:
Exhibition in 2010: Bolshevist and Communist Revolutionary Posters:
The Exquisite Forest. Pop-Art Video:
The café on the riverside and espresso bar on level 3 serve refreshments and light meals from breakfast to evening:
View to the north bank from the Cafe' in the 3rd floor:
We continue EASTward along Bankside (for 2 minutes) toward the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Open: Monday - Sunday. Exhibition: 9.00 – 17.30, Tours: Monday, 9.30 – 17.00, Tuesday – Saturday, 9.30 – 12.30, Sunday, 9.30 – 11.30. Tours depart every 30 minutes. Tour - Adult: 13.50 GBP.
Built on the bank of the Thames , the Globe is an impressive reconstruction of an Elizabethan theatre where many of Shakespear's plays were first performed. The wooden circular structure is open in the middle - but those who bought seats tickets have roof over their heads.
Standing means watching a performance from the yard - and therefore with one of the best views of the stage - you are not sitting. Please do not bring any items to sit on - no shooting sticks, or any sort of stool is allowed. Many plays last for up to three hours, if you are uncomfortable standing for this length of time it is possible to purchase a sitting ticket from £15.
Performances operate only in the summer. These performances are once-in-life experience with the best actors in London. There is a guided tour including the nearby Rose theatre foundations. Open all year around and beneath the Globe Theatre is the Globe Exhibition which brings Shakespeare personality, plays and times to life.
Shakespeare's company erected the storied Globe Theatre circa 1599 in London's Bankside district. It was one of four major theatres in the area, along with the Swan, the Rose, and the Hope. The foundations of the Globe were rediscovered in 1989, igniting interest in a fitful attempt to erect a modern version of the amphitheater. Workers began construction in 1993 on the new theatre near the site of the original. The latest Globe Theatre was completed in 1996. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the theatre on June 12, 1997 with a production of Henry V. The Globe is as faithful a reproduction as possible to the Elizabethan model, seating 1,500 people between the galleries and the "groundlings". The stage and the wooden hemispherical seating arrangement is breathtaking and has acoustic effects that even small objects falling have magnified sound made.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: The Shakespeare's Globe opened a second theatre - it has named its new 340 seat Indoor Jacobean Theatre The Sam Wanamaker Theatre, named after the organisation's founder, American actor and director Sam Wanamaker. Performances open to the public from January 2014, and allow Shakespeare's Globe to present plays throughout the year. The theatre has two tiers of galleried seating and a pit seating area and is predominantly lit by candles.
Get tickets early as they sell very quickly.
It is wise to hire a cushion or blanket as the seats are made of wood - or remember to bring your own.
Cheaper tickets are available in the 'pit' which is standing only.
The standing rule seems to be enforced by the staff and it is not easy. Be aware, especially on hot / wet days.
Some actors are spitting while playing...
On the other hand - If you're standing, get there early so you can be near the front and rest your arms on the stage.
You can move into some vacant seats for the second act.
There's not many bad views to be had, but if you're in it for cheap then 5 GBP gets you a standing ticket in the yard, letting you experience like contemporary crowds would have in Shakespeare's time.
The north bank from the Globe Theatre:
Continuing 2 minutes further to the east, along Bankside - you arrive to the Southwark Bridge. Southwark Bridge seen from the south bank of the Thames. Tower 42 and 30 St Mary Axe (Gherkin) can be seen above the bridge:
It is 10-12 minutes walk, along the Thames, eastward to the London Bridge Street and another 2-3 minutes southward, along London Bridge to the London Bridge Underground station.