IT’S A DOUBLE celebration for St Paul’s today, as the domed cathedral celebrates both its 300th birthday and success in hitting a £40 million restoration-fund target.

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The bulk of the refurbishment work has already been done and experts say that the interior of London’s best-loved church now looks as close as possible to how it would have looked when Sir Christopher Wren signed off on it three centuries ago.

Countless layers of dirt and grime have been painstakingly removed using, for the first time in the UK, a highly specialised technique brought in from Belgium and new lighting will reveal the cathedral to even more beautiful effect than before.

All this work will help St Paul’s, says its Dean, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, “provide a place of calm, escape, rest and reflection from the maelstrom of daily City life”.

To commemorate the occasion, there’s an Evensong service for donors to the restoration fund tonight.

This weekend is the start of Advent when St Paul’s is to hold two Procession Services, in which the Cathedral Choir move through a darkened church by candlelight.

More info and tickets here.