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Westminster Abbey

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A visit to Westminster Abbey is a must for all fans of the British royal family and the history of the United Kingdom. Since the Middle Ages, this historical church has hosted coronation ceremonies, as well as state funerals and weddings. The spectacular architecture of the church combines styles from a wide variety of eras.

Anyone who plans a visit to the historic Westminster Abbey, should book tickets in advance and ideally combine them with other attractions of the British capital.
Klaus KainzBy Klaus Kainz
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Tickets

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Westminster Abbey Tickets with Audio Guide
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London Pass

Combine your trip with access to other top attractions in London and save money with the London Pass.
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London: The London Pass® with 90+ Attractions and Tours
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7 tips for visiting the Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey | Photo: Paul Hudson - CC-BY 2.0
1
Use the multimedia guideThere is a free multimedia guide on site in English, British Sign Language (BSL), French, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. The English-language version is voiced by Oscar winner Jeremy Irons. Don't forget your headphones so as not to disturb other guests. Alternatively, you can download a compact version of the guide on iOS and Android on your phone.
The London Pass
2
Save money with the London PassThe admission price for Westminster Abbey is also included in the London Pass. So if you plan to visit other attractions in London, like London Eye, the Tower of London or the London Transport Museum, you can save money by buying a London Pass.
3
Take a guided tourThose who want to learn more about this church, which is steeped in history, should consider taking a guided tour with the church servants. It lasts about 90 minutes and is conducted in English for up to 20 people. Typically, tours depart four times daily between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm. Caution: Guided tours are not included in the normal ticket prices and must be paid extra.
4
Don't forget the treasuresFor an additional fee, visitors can visit the Diamond Jubilee galleries in the church's triforium, where the Treasures of Westminster Abbey are on display. These treasures include various pieces dating back to the 14th century, including part of a medieval altar, as well as more recent exhibits, such as Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage certificate.
5
Pay attention to the house rulesThe church is a place of prayer and guests are asked to keep quiet accordingly. There is a separate entrance for visitors to the church.
6
Visit a church serviceInterested in religious music in a beautiful setting? Maybe the service with choir in the evening (Evensong) would be something for you. Admission is free, but there is often a line at the west entrance 30 minutes beforehand. So be there early for a good seat.
7
Come to the ring of the bellsChurch bells ring at least once a month. Find out in advance if there is a chance to hear them ring on the day of your visit.
Westminster Abbey | Zaymuel Unsplash

The amazing history of Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a church unlike any other. After all, it tells of over a thousand years of history of the British royal family.

Origins in the Middle Ages

Already in the 10th century there was a church on the present site of Westminster Abbey. It would become the symbol of the English nobility when Edward the Confessor had the church rebuilt in a Romanesque style in 1042. The construction work was completed a week before his death and the penultimate Anglo-Saxon king of England immediately became the first nobleman to be buried in the church. More than 3,000 important historical figures of Great Britain from all fields, including culture, science and politics, would find their last resting place here.

A church with special status

In reality, Westminster Abbey is neither an abbey nor a cathedral. It is called Abbey because it was originally a monastic church of the Benedictines, and the Abbot of Westminster was an influential figure in the House of Lords. After Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539, the church was granted cathedral status - this saved the building from demolition. The Catholic Mary I gave the building back to the Benedictines, who promptly had to vacate the field after her death by orders of her Protestant successor, Elizabeth I. The Benedictines were forced to abandon the building. She gave the church the status of Royal Peculiar, with which it is directly subordinate to the monarchy and not to a bishop. Until today this special status has been preserved.
Westminster Abbey interior | Herry Lawford CC BY 2.0

A place of kings

Ever since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all subsequent English coronations have taken place and continue to take place in Westminster Abbey, most recently the coronation of Charles III and his wife Camilla on May 6, 2023. Construction of the building as we know it today, however, did not begin until 1245, and over the centuries it has been increasingly expanded and restored - most recently in 2013. The church has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Poet's corner | 14GTR CC BY-SA 4.0

Grand ceremonies in Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is not only a coronation church, but also the venue for the wedding ceremonies of the British royals, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and Kate Middleton and Prince William. Funeral services are also held here, for example for Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

Spectacular architecture

Westminster Abbey is a spacious church with quite a few side chapels as well as monuments and memorials in Poets' Corner, the Lady Chapel and the nave of the church. Lovers of science and literature are sure to find the burial places of personal heroes here. Guests can also see the Coronation Chair, where kings and queens have been crowned for 700 years, the chancel, the Pyx Chamber built around 1070, the Chapter House and the gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the church accessible for disabled persons?

Westminster Abbey is wheelchair friendly, although people in wheelchairs should use the north entrance, that is where the ramp is located. The multimedia tour is available in sign language. Assistance dogs are allowed. Special accessibility requests will be answered at visitor.experience@westminster-abbey.org. Read more.

How long does a visit to Westminster Abbey take?

A guided tour lasts about 90 minutes, double the time is recommended if everything in the church and the Jubilee Galleries are to be viewed. However, there is no time limit and thus no need to rush. Read more.

Can I take photos of the church?

Yes, but without flash and tripods. Only during masses photography is fundamentally prohibited. Read more.

Is it possible to eat at Westminster Abbey?

The Cellarium Café serves breakfast and lunch. Read more.

Can I bring my dog?

Except for assistance dogs, no animals are allowed in Westminster Abbey. Read more.

General information

opening hours

Opening hours may vary depending on the month and season, but in general Westminster Abbey is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. On Saturdays between May and August, Westminster Abbey is open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, and between September and April from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. On Sundays, the church is open for services only. The Diamond Jubilee galleries usually close half an hour earlier.

address

Westminster Abbey
20 Deans Yard
Westminster
London SW1P 3PA

website

Official site: https://www.westminster-abbey.org

tickets

Adults pay £29 for tickets, adults aged 65+ and students pay £26. Children and young people under 18 are allowed into the church for £13. Children under 5 are free. The price for the Diamond Jubilee Galleries is another £5. A guided tour costs £10. A family ticket for an adult plus a child is available for £29. People with disabilities do not have to pay for admission and are allowed to take one accompanying person each.

how to get there

The closest National Rail stations to Westminster Abbey are London Victoria and London Waterloo. The nearest London Underground stations are Westminster (served by the Jubilee, District, and Circle lines) and St. James’s Park (served by the District and Circle lines). Buses which stop nearby include routes 11, 24, 87, 88, 148, 211, and 761.
Klaus Kainz
Written byKlaus KainzAs a studied historian, Klaus is not only interested in historical sights, but also in their fascinating backgrounds. For TicketLens, he gets to the heart of the most interesting information about attractions and travel destinations.
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