Impressive Access and Soon to be even better - Visit on Disabled Access Day
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Walking Aid
This review is specifically about my visit to St Paul's Cathedral on Disabled Access Day 2019. Historic building dating from 1710, with excellent access.
Transport & Parking
There are a number of accessible buses that stop outside or very close to St Paul's. The closest tube station is St Paul's, but it is not step free. The nearest step free tube stations are Blackfriars, this will involve going up Ludgate Hill, and Farringdon, which if you go via Smithfield Market, you can have a flat route.
The main entrance is at the cathedral's West End, where there are 24 steps with a handrail to get to the entrance. The step free entrance is in the south churchyard. It's signposted but the entrance is not obvious, see photo. If you are standing facing the main entrance, the step free entrance is on the right hand side. If you are coming from the Millennium Bridge, when you approach St Paul's, you are directly facing the south side where the step free entrance is. There is step free access via the lift to the cathedral floor and crypt. There is also step free access to the quire, by a user-operated chairlift on the north side, or alternatively 3 steps. Later in 2019, 2 permanent ramps and a staircase with handrails, will be built on the north side of the cathedral, which will then become an additional public entrance to the cathedral. When I visited I saw the model and pictures for this, see photos. I had a special tour round the cathedral and crypt area by Ann. She was amazing as I learnt so much about the history and architecture of the building. She pointed out things that I might not have noticed otherwise and she had lots of fun facts and anecdotal stories. She showed me the best place to view the interior of the dome and we also went behind the cordon and sat in the quire stalls, which was very special indeed. On the way round we also talked about access. The cathedral offer touch tours for people with visual impairments and she showed me the Henry Moore statute, which is one of the statues featuring on the touch tour. They also offer BSL tours. There’s an induction loop on the cathedral floor and crypt. They offer braille and large print booklets for services. Assistance dogs are welcome. When I visited the cathedral was busy, but it is also spacious so it’s easy to find a quiet spot away from the crowds and noise. There is also lots of seating in the nave. In the nave look out for the grating on the floor, see photo. In the crypt the lighting levels are a bit lower and some of the floor is uneven due to memorials or mosaics flooring. They have had ramps fitted so the crypt is step free. Overall given the age and listed status of the building St Paul’s is a fabulous example of how historic buildings can be accessible.
Recently their accessible toilets in the crypt have been upgraded, see photo. They are spacious with grab rails and emergency cords. There is step free access via a lift.
Staff were so welcoming and helpful. Nothing seemed too much trouble. Sout out to Ann, who took me on the tour.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
Thank you St Paul’s for hosting Disabled Access Day events and your ongoing commitment to improving disabled access.