Westminster Abbey is one of Britain’s most iconic religious sites in the United Kingdom, based in the City of London and close to the Palace of Westminster (where Britain’s government sits).
A visitor’s guide
Westminster Abbey has played host to hundreds of historically defining moments, including the coronation of almost all the British monarchs and the royal weddings of several members of the Royal Family, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, Princess Anne, Princess Margaret and even Queen Elizabeth II herself.
If you want to see the most celebrated sites of London during your next trip, Westminster Abbey is not to be missed.
History of Westminster Abbey
The original abbey was known as ‘St Peter’s Abbey’ and began construction under the rule of King Edward the Confessor between 1042 and 1052.
The modern site as we now know it to be was reconstructed in 1245 by King Henry III, who had selected the site for his burial after his death, and would be finished during the reign of Richard II.
Since then, monarchs and governments have added to its grand facade and expanded the abbey as their needs increased. It now includes galleries and a school and attracts millions of visitors each year.
What to see
Westminster Abbey is a place steeped in 700 years of history, particularly royal history, and has been the spot for some of British history’s defining moments since its construction. br You can attend a service and hear the beautiful choir perform hymns, or take a stroll around Abbey gardens, which it has been said have been cultivated for over 900 years.
Stroll along the Cloisters, take a look at the Coronation Throne (which has been used by all monarchs crowned in the abbey), see Poet’s Corner – where icons of British literature and theatre are buried including Shakespeare, Dickens and the Bronte Sisters, or visit the grave of the unknown warrior.
You can even see the effigies of monarchs who are buried at the Abbey, including Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Charles II.
The Abbey is open from Monday to Saturday to all visitors and is conveniently located in Westminster.
The closest tube stations are St James’ Park or Westminster (both accessible via the Jubilee, District or Circle Lines).
For those travelling by train, London Waterloo and London Victoria are both less than a mile away from the abbey.
On-site there are plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as pick up some souvenirs.
The enviable location in the heart of London makes Westminster Abbey a must-stop on your next tour around the city.