One of my very most favorite mommy school field trips was to visit St. Paul's. Before we actually went inside for a proper visit we had been to the grounds loads of times, we had even stepped inside, but we were waiting. Waiting for them to re-open the roof access so we could climb all of those steps and see out over London. Finally towards the end of April we did it. We went in, took the tour and climbed up to the tallest balcony, way up under that golden statue. And it was fabulous. I think St. Paul’s is one of the most spectacular cathedrals in the world. It holds a special spot in my heart. I think it was my first cathedral love way back when. I remember going there a few years back when Jeff and I visited London without the kids and being taken away by it’s beauty all over again. Amy and I went to evensong and marveled at the mixture of music and beauty. We read through The Invisible Woman (if you haven’t read it, you should) and thought about all the invisible work that goes into these pieces of art and about the cathedrals we are trying to build.
I just love it and was so excited to share that love with Hazel and Charlie (and Peter who captured this awesome stealth video:
The family audio tour was top notch. It kept the kids totally engaged and instructed them with little facts that they were to use to “dazzle their grown up.” I loved listening to the guide too and learning all the little details. I felt like I was in school again, and that always feels good.
After the audio tour we did the long walk up 500 plus stairs to the whispering gallery (where you can stand on one side and whisper around the dome to a friend on the other side) an then to the first balcony and then to the very tippy top. The view kept getting more and more spectacular as we got higher and higher. At one point on the way up you can stand right at the top of the inner dome and look down to the cathedral floor through a little window. I remember doing that as a child and being mesmerized by how high up I was. I think my kids really liked that part too.
After St. Paul's we walked across the Millennial Bridge to do some Mudlarking on the shores of the Themes. We got this idea from a children’s guide book and the kids have been BEGGING to do it ever since. During Victorian times poor street children, called ‘mudlarkers’ were sent out to search the bed of the Themes for treasures during low tide to help support their families. Apparently you can find some pretty amazing treasures still if you’re lucky. We read that people are still finding old roman coins, or old rusted out and calcified muskets or daggers. We didn’t find anything worth anything but the kids felt like they unearthed great treasures. They found some water worn broken china, sea glass, rusted out metal pipes and an ancient wheel from a metal shopping cart. Weird, I know, but the kids loved every muddy minute of it.