St Paul's Cathedral opens new South Churchyard
This new peaceful space in the grounds took three years to complete at a cost of 3.8 million pounds.
The Churchyard is based on the outline of the medieval Chapter House that was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and has been designed as a peaceful and contemplative open space for visitors.
The project is part of a £40 million campaign to clean and restore Sir Christopher Wren's famous 17th century building, which is one of the best known landmarks in London.
The fundraising campaign is due to be completed in October 2008 to mark the 300th anniversary of the laying of the final stone on the Dome's lantern.
A further £1.8 million needs to be raised if work is to continue on the North Side of the building.
The new gardens are laid out using the footprint of the Chapter House and Cloister of the Medieval Cathedral and are specially designed to allow the disabled access.
The stonework within the gardens is made using the same Purbeck stone as the remains of the medieval building that lie four feet below.
Martin Stancliffe, Surveyor to the Fabric, said: "We discovered the remains of the Chapter House lying underground and we used the lay out to create the garden on top of it. In doing so we can create a lovely garden and help people understand the early history of the pre-fire Cathedral that existed before Wren's building."
The Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said "We are very grateful for the support of all our donors in making this next phase of the 300th anniversary project possible. It's wonderful that we are opening this beautiful outside space to visitors so that they can enjoy the area and its magnificent views of the Cathedral."