Hello everyone! I’m back today with a wee bit more of St. Paul’s Cathedral. There was so much from our time there that I wanted to share with you that I decided to break it up into two posts. And since tonight I watched a documentary about St. Paul’s I’m feeling particularly inspired to blog about it. Last post focused on the main floor and the dome, but today we’re headed down to the crypt! The subterranean level houses a chapel and hundreds of monuments to important British subjects, as well as the cafe, where we had a tasty lunch and tea surrounded by marble statuary.
Of notable importance is the resting place of Christopher Wren, the brilliant architect who designed St. Paul’s. He is buried under a slab of plain black marble right underneath this plaque on the wall. The Latin inscription reads “If you seek his monument, look around you.” Mom and I admire him greatly and a visit to him was tops on our list. I was also adamant about finding the burial place of J.M.W. Turner, who is one of my favorite painters. You will be seeing some of his work in upcoming blog posts on the National Gallery.
Here is the lovely chapel area in the crypt. While we were on the tour, we had to visit the crypt right away because there was a wedding about to start down there and the tour guide wanted us to see the highlights. Later in the day Mom and I went back to explore at our leisure.
Also buried here are poet William Blake, author John Donne, painter Benjamin West, portraitist Joshua Reynolds, scientist Alexander Flemming,naval hero Admiral Lord Nelson, and nurse Florence Nightingale – all of whom have touched my life in some way and it was a very humbling experience to stand surrounded by these great figures from history. And there were many more whose stories I didn’t know.
This monument to Prime Minister Melbourne was particularly beautiful. Two Scriptures are inscribed on the bottom panels – “Until the day break and the shadows flee away” and “They that dwell under His shadow shall return.”
At 5pm every day St. Paul’s has Evensong, to which the general public is invited. Mom and I decided to stay until the cathedral closed for tourists and then attend the service. I’m so glad that we did because it was a beautiful experience to worship in this glorious cathedral where Evensong has been sung for hundreds of years. It is a precious memory that I will carry always that for a few moments we ceased to be tourists and were simply worshipers of God with the residents of London.
And just when I thought the cathedral could never be more beautiful, we ended Evensong, with the choir’s last chord echoing in the air, and we turned around to see the sun’s afternoon rays streaming through the windows. It was like heaven came down and merged with the cathedral. The picture can’t do it justice, but you can see that the sun’s light hits on the cross sculpture leaning out of the column and it was breathtaking.
Mom and I were very reluctant to leave the cathedral, but we still had one more spot to visit here – and that was the cathedral steps. We sat here, watching the people and the pigeons strolling about, and we knitted together in the afternoon sun. I sang to myself the words to “Feed the Birds” and thought about the Bird Woman feeding the birds on the steps of St. Paul’s in Mary Poppins.
It was a lovely way to end our wonderful day here.
Then we were off to acquire dinner. We were close by a pub that I had found on Instagram several months before and it was high on the list of places I wanted to see in London.
This is Mr. Fogg’s House of Botanicals. There are several locations, all themed around the fictional hero Finneas Fogg and his travels around the world. This one is inspired by the imaginative explorations that Fogg might have made in building a botanical collection, as many British aristocrats did in the 1800s.
The decor is amazing and the menu and drinks are inspired by botanical themes as well.
I dearly wanted to sneak a menu home – isn’t it beautiful? Mom and I don’t drink alcohol, but they had a nice selection of mocktails for us to indulge in with our food.
The one on the left is grapefruit and rose syrup with soda water. The one on the right is “Gardens of Babylon”, a libation of Seedlip Garden 108 with cucumber, broccoli, spinach, pineapple, apple, basil, raspberry, and fresh lemon juice. Both were exquisitely delicious. After seeing so many beautiful pictures on their Instagram account, it was very exciting to be able to visit in person and enjoy drinks, food, and a coveted table (it was Saturday night) while taking in the awesome botanical/steampunk decor.
On our way back to the Tube station, we passed by this enticing window.
We walked in to discover a bakery and tea shoppe!!
Armed with tea and croissants, we headed back to the hotel room to enjoy our treats and relish the beautiful memories we had made and all we had experienced in the heart of London.
Blessings to you,