Westminster Abbey is London’s most famous and oldest religious building, where the monarchy is crowned and the remains of the Royal Family and famous British people are buried.
The Romanesque abbey church was consecrated in 1065, having been a Benedictine monastery previously. Between 1245 and 1517 it was rebuilt in a gothic style, and during the eighteenth century it suffered an important transformation with the construction of its two main towers.
Although the abbey was seized by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, a year later, it was granted the status of a cathedral sparing it from destruction or dissolution, a fate many churches and abbeys would suffer in England and Ireland during Henry VIII's reign. This link to the British Monarchy also safeguarded the abbey from the iconoclastic attacks in 1640.
All monarchs have been crowned in the abbey following the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066. Since the fourteenth century, when King Edward I had an oaken chair made with the Stone of Destiny (a red sandstone used for centuries in Scottish coronations), all the kings and queens have remarkably used the same medieval throne.
Some of the latest events celebrated in Westminster Abbey include the 80th birthday of Queen Elisabeth II and Princess Diana’s funeral.
The outer walls of the abbey are some of the best examples of medieval architecture in London. With an impressive collection of tombstones and mausoleums of famous British people, the temple is an important landmark for the British.
There are several places of interest inside the building, all conveniently explained while you do the tour with the audio guide. These are some of the most noteworthy:
Although the admissions ticket is quite pricey, it is worth visiting to discover its impressive decoration and the architectural marvel that the abbey preserves despite the passage of time. Moreover, the audio guide that is included in the ticket will allow you to enjoy the experience even more, as it discloses interesting facts about the building's history while you explore it at your own pace.
The audio guide included in the entrance fare will come in handy to discover all the details of the abbey’s history.
Near Westminster Palace
Cloisters: every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
Abbey: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Wednesday: 9:30 am to 7 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Sunday: Closed for tourists
Adults: £20 (£18 if you get the ticket on their website before your visit)
Students and seniors aged over 60: £17 (£15 if you get the ticket on their website before your visit)
Children (ages 6-16): £9 (£8 if you get the ticket on their website before your visit)
Children (less than 6): free entry
Free entry with the London Pass.
Tube: Westminster, Circle, District and Jubilee lines.
Buses: 3, 11, 12,24, 29, 53, 70, 77, 77A, 88, 109, 148, 159, 170 and 211.