Old St. Paul's Tours and Activities
Old St. Paul’s
Old St. Paul’s Cathedral might look out of place nestled in the Wellington suburb of Thorndon, surrounded by multistory offices and modern apartment buildings—but this heritage-listed edifice was there long before any of them. Built in 1866, the beautiful and impeccably preserved Gothic church was constructed from native timber.
Though it no longer holds Sunday services, Old St. Paul’s remains Wellington’s oldest Anglican church. After a long battle to prevent its demolition in the 1960s, the building is now managed by Heritage New Zealand, who open the church to visitors almost every day of the year. Its impressive interior houses an interactive exhibition, “Read This Building,” that details the building’s construction.
Old St. Paul’s is a popular stop for Wellington sightseeing tours, including shore excursions. Guided tours of the cathedral are available for a small fee.
Things to Know Before You Go
Entry to the church is by donation.
The Old St. Paul’s gift shop sells locally made souvenirs; all proceeds go toward preservation work on the cathedral.
Brochures about the church’s history and architecture are available in a number of languages.
Old St. Paul’s is wheelchair accessible, though some aisles may be too narrow for motorized chairs.
How to Get There
The cathedral is centrally located in Wellington, a block from the New Zealand Parliament Buildings and a roughly 5-minute walk from Lambton Quay. If you’re traveling by bus or train, get off at the interchange/railway station and head north up Mulgrave Street.
When to Get There
Old St. Paul’s is open during normal business hours except on most public holidays and when there is a private function. Visit on a sunny day—you can take a picnic and relax on the cathedral’s leafy grounds before or after your tour.
Old St. Paul’s Unique Architecture
Old St. Paul’s Cathedral is a classic Gothic Revival church and is known in particular for its grand interior design. The cathedral is built from rich brown native timber; in the building’s nave, the timber has been curved into huge arches, like the hull of an old wooden ship. The church is lined with stained glass windows and features a bold stained glass triptych behind the altar.
Tours and Activities to Experience Old St. Paul's
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