A visit to Westminster Abbey in London is a walk in the footsteps of kings, queens, poets and scholars. Over 1,000 years of English history abide in this church and the history and artifacts contained here impart the seriousness of it’s mission and the high esteem in which this beautiful Gothic structure is held by all of England.
History of Westminster Abbey
Started by Benedictine monks in the mid-10th century, the Abbey has been the royal coronation church of England since 1066 and is the final resting place for many English monarchs. The current church was rebuilt by Henry II in 1245 in the Gothic style, and still holds worship services daily. It’s iconic facade has become the very definition of a London landmark.
Visiting Westminster Abbey
Between the variety of architecture, artwork, stained glass, books, gardens, chapels, and museum, a visit to Westminster Abbey can be as in depth as you’d like to make it. But even a short tour should allow time for some of the following highlights.
The Nave: The abbey’s nave is England’s highest, and contains the grave of the unknown soldier, and a bust of Winston Churchill. The stained glass in the west window dates from the 1700’s.
The Cloister: The great cloister was used by monks for meditation and exercise. These were rebuilt after the fire of 1298.
Chapter House: Chapter House sits in the east cloister. This lovely octagonal space is one of the largest of its kind, and boasts a tile floor dating from the 1200’s.
Henry VII Chapel: Also know as the Lady Chapel, it is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in the world. Don’t miss it’s fan vaulted roof, carved pendants, stained glass windows and many statues.
The abbey is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. There is a fee to visit the abbey, but attending worship is always free of charge. Special guided tours are available as well as audio tours. The Verger-led tour is an especially popular option. Parking is not available on site, but the abbey is within walking distance of Underground stations at St. James Park and Westminster.
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We also offer car parking facilities charged at an additional fee. (Must be Pre-Booked)
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