Exploring the impressive St Paul’s Cathedral with kids is both fun and educational. In this post, we’ll give you tips to make the most of your visit when bringing the little ones for an exciting day of discovery amidst the stunning spires and history-rich stone walls.
Ticket prices and family discounts
We visited St Paul’s Cathedral on a sunny Saturday morning, taking the tube to St Paul’s station, which is just a few minutes walk from the cathedral. A family ticket is £50 (2 Adults + 2 or 3 Children), which is around £10 cheaper than buying 4 individual tickets. Children under 6 go free.
Tip: If you convert your ticket to a donation (at no additional cost), it will become an annual pass valid for 12 months! This is excellent value if you’re a Londoner or plan to visit St Paul’s several times within a 12-months period. Note that your ticket can not be converted to an annual pass if you use 2-for-1 National Rail discount or Tesco Clubcard vouchers.
National Rail 2 for 1 discount tickets for St Paul’s Cathedral
This offer is for two admission tickets for the price of one walk-up adult ticket, which is currently £23. If you need to buy two children’s tickets in addition, it would bring the total to £43, which is less than a family ticket (£50). However, these 2-for-1 tickets cannot be converted to annual passes.
These discount tickets can only be pre-booked online through the National Rail website. When you visit you will need to show a train ticket to London for each person within a 2-for-1 pair.
Note that for some ticketing scenarios, it can be better value not to use the 2-for-1 offer. The 2 for 1 offer is for two individual admission tickets only and the annual passes, tours and special event tickets are not eligible. It cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.
Discounts using Tesco Clubcard vouchers
Tesco Clubcard voucher codes are validated on arrival only, not online. Just bring your code with you on the day, no need to book. Vouchers can be used as part or full payment against the walk-up individual and family admission tickets only. Note that these tickets can not be converted into annual passes for free, like the regular tickets.
Check our discount ticket page for more tips on saving money on London attractions.
Visiting St Paul’s Cathedral with Kids
The first thing that struck us when entering the cathedral was the sheer size and beauty of it. The dome is breathtaking, and the stained glass windows are stunning. There are also many statues, paintings and monuments to admire. We decided to start with the crypt, where you can see the tombs of famous people like Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of the cathedral, and Admiral Nelson, the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Tip: Multimedia guides are included in the ticket price at no additional cost. In addition to information about the history of the church, kids can also enjoy quizzes, activities and interactive games using the devices. Our 6 and 10-year-olds really enjoyed these guides, and it made it easier for us parents to keep them engaged throughout the visit.
Tip: Pick a day with a clear sky. Making the effort to climb all the steps to the top, only to be surrounded by fog will be a big disappointment.
The Crypt and main floor
The crypt was very interesting, but also a bit dark and spooky for our youngest one, who is only 2 years old. He got a bit scared by the sound of the organ and the dim lighting. So we quickly moved on to the main floor, where there was more space and light. There we enjoyed exploring the different chapels and aisles and learning about the history of the cathedral from the multimedia guides that are included in the ticket price.
The Whispering Gallery
The highlight of our visit was climbing up to the dome. There are three levels that you can access: the Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery.
The Whispering Gallery is 257 steps up from the main floor, and it’s famous for its acoustics. You can whisper something on one side of the dome and hear it clearly on the other side. It’s a lot of fun, especially for kids.
The Stone Gallery
The Stone Gallery is another 119 steps up from the Whispering Gallery, and it offers a great view of the city from outside the dome. You can see landmarks like the Shard, the London Eye and Tower Bridge. It’s also a good spot to take photos and selfies.
The Stone Gallery is an excellent place to bring kids, but keep an eye on them at all times.
The Golden Gallery
As you can see from the image we took below, the staircase is very narrow and steep going up to the Stone Gallery.
I’d advise against taking young children all the way to the top, even if you’re using a baby carrier. The stairwell is quite narrow, and there are spots with low ceilings.
The Golden Gallery is the highest level that you can reach, at 528 steps up from the main floor.
As already mentioned, it’s not for the faint-hearted, as the stairs are narrow and steep, and the gallery is very windy. But if you make it there, you will be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of London that is worth every step.
We were lucky to have a clear day, and we could see as far as Wembley Stadium and Windsor Castle. As you can see from the images, there isn’t a lot of space on the top viewing platform and it gets busy.
Definitely not ideal to bring toddlers or young children, but tweens and teens will be fine. Our 10-year-old really enjoyed it, but we did not bring our two youngest kids all the way to the top.
Conclusion: A great family adventure
We spent about three hours in total at St Paul’s Cathedral, and we had a wonderful time. It was a great way to learn more about London’s history and culture and to enjoy stunning views. We highly recommend it for families with kids, as long as you are prepared for some climbing and walking. There are also some facilities that make your visit easier, such as toilets, a cafe, a gift shop and a cloakroom where you can leave your bags and coats.
Is climbing up St Paul’s Cathedral safe for children?
Based on visiting with our own children ages 2, 6 and 10, the two first levels are safe for children of all ages, as long as you are careful and follow some precautions (see list below). Climbing to the top level (The Golden Gallery), we only recommend for children older than 9 years old.
- First of all, you should always hold your child’s hand when climbing or descending the stairs, as they can be slippery or uneven.
- Second, you should avoid carrying your child on your shoulders or back, as this can make you lose balance or hit your head on low ceilings.
- Third, you should keep an eye on your kids at all times, especially in the galleries where there are railings, but with quite big gaps in between.
- Finally, you should respect your kids’ limits and preferences and take into consideration how far their legs can carry them. If they get tired or scared, don’t force them to go further or higher. There are plenty of things to see and do at lower levels as well.
Resources for families visiting St Paul’s Cathedral
Multimedia Tour for Kids at St Paul’s
First things first, swing by the guiding desk inside the cathedral to pick up the interactive multimedia guide (included in the ticket price). Wave your ticket with pride and collect your nifty gear – a lanyard for wearing your trusty phone-sized guide around your neck and a pair of headphones to keep the peace. No need to worry about disturbing others.
The tour itself is a bit like a treasure hunt, split into sections that correspond to different areas of the cathedral. Each section starts with a little movie that sets the scene and gets you in the mood. But there’s more than just watching – interactive activities and cool things to see and do are around every corner.
Here’s the exciting part – you won’t just skim the surface; you’re going deep! Explore all five levels of the cathedral, uncovering its hidden stories and marvels. It’s like a journey through time right in the heart of London.
Worried about languages? Fear not! You’ll find this tour in English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Take your pick, and let the adventure begin!
And to sweeten the deal, there are quizzes, activities, and interactive games that’ll make the cathedral’s ancient history come to life. This is the way to learn while having a blast.
St Paul’s Cathedral Children’s Trail
Workbooks and Family Trails on a variety of Cathedral-related topics are available to download from St. Paul’s website, which can help you make the most of your visit and keep the kids entertained while they explore. Examples of these are the “Resurgam: St. Paul’s Cathedral” following the Great Fire of London and “Faith the Cat Audiobook,” which tells about hope and resilience.
Several children’s trails are available, free to download from St Paul’s website:
- Out of the Fire! Activity Trail
- Young Explorers Map
- Sacred Space Family Trail
- Sacred Art Family Trail
In the Sacred Space Family Trail, families will follow the trail to explore the sacred spaces of the cathedral. The Young Explorer’s Map can also be used to find the various animals around the cathedral.
Out of The Fire! Activity Trail
There are free guided Fire Tours during the anniversary of the Great Fire of London. These tours are proper for both adults and children. Bring a pen so your kids can fill in the answers and do the word search and colouring pencils for the pictures. When your family completes the trail, the children will receive a free sticker in the shop and there is also a competition to win a trip to St. Paul’s for their class or family.
When you are done inside, the trail continues outside in the south churchyard, where you can see the floor plans of the Cathedral before the Great Fire of London.
The learning library holds numerous films and activities for young people, you can just download the colouring sheets for the younger visitors that will inspire them to colour while actually following the trails.
The Sensory Sound Tour was designed specifically for children and young people with special needs and disabilities. Nobody will miss out on discovering the wonders of this great cathedral as all children are specially accommodated. After watching the Sensory Sound Tour, you can also download the Marvelous Mosaics activity sheet for them to complete at home.
This will entice them to go back and review and discover again. St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its majestic and world-famous dome, is an awe-inspiring feature of London’s skyline. As time goes by, there will always be more to this masterpiece than its iconic facade, the children know this, and they will surely come back for more.