AFTERNOON TEA AT ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

GUYS I WENT TO HOGWARTS!

(Except not really. Except I kinda did.)

The lovely Ed lured a handful of bloggers over for afternoon tea and a promise of a behind-the scenes tour of the cathedral.

And once I’d realised that the tour included a visit to the Divination/DADA/Ravenclaw Tower staircase from several Harry Potter films… well. I obviously said a massive YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Partly cos I’m a massive Harry Potter geek. Also because I’ve lived in London for 2 and a half years and I’d never been to the Cathedral. And my Grandad was a vicar. And I studied History of Art for A-Level…

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So first of all, let’s talk about the zoom on my camera (again). ISN’T IT AWESOME?

Second of all, let’s talk about the fact that you’re not meant to take any photos from inside the cathedral.

And then let’s talk about the fact that I’m a rebel and broke all the rules. I’m sorry. I am really really sorry.

But LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL IT ALL IS. I just couldn’t resist.

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OK yeah I’m a bad person. Moving on…

We set off on our Guided Tour of the more secretive areas of St Paul’s.

FUN FACT: all the parts we visited are actually available for anyone to view. You just have to book yourself in at the front desk and pay an extra £8 on top of your entry.

And trust me, it’s SO worth it!

We saw the original design-paintings for the mosaics in the Dome. We saw the cathedral from the very top of the nave. We also walked past the library, but couldn’t go in this time cos the librarian wasn’t around. Sigh.

We did peer in through the keyhole though (seriously) and it looked AMAZING. Lots of wood, classic leather-bound books, old globes… I mean, it was basically Dumbledore’s office.

And if you’re STILL not convinced that it was actually Hogwarts I visited, care to explain how come this statue was stood RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

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We also visited the Great Model room.

It holds the plans and drawings for the cathedral, as well as a perfectly scaled model of it, made of wood and plaster. It was originally constructed by Christopher Wren (the architect) to show how everything fitted together and how it would look on completion.

The detail on it is absolutely incredible and it even has tiny little model human figures, which helps process the size of it.

It actually has a hollow interior as well, that was put in place so that King Charles II could stick his head inside it and get a feel for how big it would be!

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^ Let’s play Where’s Angela!

(I actually didn’t notice her small face in this until yesterday when I finally got round to editing these photos. She’s basically a photobomb ninja.)

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THE STAIRCASE.

I squealed. Sophie squealed. We skipped down the stairs as happy as clams, pretending we were witches…

And then Ed had to go and mention that the stairs are actually only supported by about one and a half inches of stone from the step beneath it. And that the only reason they’re perfectly safe and held in place is because of the ingenious way they’re stacked.

So yeah. I stopped skipping at that point.

And walked down really carefully and really slowly. Because I’m a scaredycat. But that’s OK cos by then it was time for tea.

And cake always makes me feel better!

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The lovely team from The Restaurant at St Paul’s greeted us with glasses of delicious English sparkling wine jazzed up with a touch of elderflower and apple juice.

And then we sat down a total feast!

Sandwiches: smoked salmon, egg & cress, cucumber & cream cheese and ham & mustard. All of them were perfectly fresh and stuffed with filling. The salmon was (as always) my fave but I also really liked the egg one!

Next, we moved on to scones: one plain and one fruit each, freshly baked and served with proper Cornish clotted cream and an amazing home-made rhubarb jam.

We finished off with a fab selection of cakes, including a mini lemon meringue pie, a raspberry cheesecake and a slither of Bakewell Battenberg cake. I think it’s actually one of my absolute favourite afternoon teas in London so far.

The restaurant is small but light and airy, with super-friendly staff and a great menu. It’s not even that pricey either. I looked it up on the website and our whole meal, including our glass of sparkling wine and unlimited refills of hot tea, is actually only £16 each.

A total bargain considering we all left stuffed to bursting!

Just as well St Paul’s provides a very handy way of working it all off really…

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Huff and puff your way up 300+ steps and you’ll find yourself right at the very top of the Dome.

It’s (obviously) scarily high. But it’s SO worth the climb. I’d love to see it on a sunny day. Blue skies could only improve it, don’t you think? Perfectly marvellous views all the way round!

We also went to the Evensong service which was incredible. The choir is superb and the whole thing felt utterly magical.

In fact, the whole trip was a delight and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. Whether you’re religious or not, I insist you book yourself in for an afternoon at St Paul’s!

 

*I was a guest at the Afternoon Tea.
As always, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t blog it! :)

Disclaimer: you really shouldn’t take photos in St Paul’s!