London is home to amazing pieces of architecture with spectacular views.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most iconic structures. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century and consecrated in 1708 after the original was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, this cathedral was the site of pilgrimages, tourists and daily masses for thousands of people. Along with the cathedral floor, there are three other floors visitors can access: the Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery.
Two-hundred fifty nine steps and 90 feet above the cathedral’s floor is the Whispering Gallery. It received its name because if someone were to whisper at one gallery end, someone on the other end would hear it.
Up another 119 steps, and located outside the cathedral, is the Stone Gallery with views of London 364 feet above the ground. The last leg is another 152 steps and a staggering 606 feet above the city. The views are breathtaking on a clear day. I am proud I ascended all 530 steps to the top and walked back down.
Another building I was lucky enough to ascend is known by many names: the Gherkin, the Pickle, London’s Phallus, 30 St. Mary Axe and countless others. This is one of London’s most beautiful modern constructions. It was completed in 2003 and stands on the site of the old Baltic Exchange, that the Irish Republican Army bombed in 1992. On Feb. 8, I attended a jazz concert on the 39th and 40th floors that were 590 feet above the city of London.
From that height, many of London’s iconic landmarks were reduced to chess pawn size. It was here I learned a fun fact about St. Paul’s Cathedral; it is a protected view. A building cannot be built that would obstruct its viewing. London is a city that truly loves its history, and I will never get sick of its beautiful views.