Westminster Abbey | World Heritage Site

Westminster Abbey, London
Westminster Abbey - © Christine Matthews

Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous landmarks in London and a popular place to visit for tourists. With a long distinguished history the Abbey forms part of the World Heritage Site (WHS) along with Westminster Palace and St Margaret’s Church located close by in central London. The church still has active worship today and plays a major role in important events in the UK. For visitors, it is a fascinating place to visit filled with history and culture making it one of the most iconic attractions in London.

Overview


Westminster Abbey is a famous church located in central London well known as the coronation church and the last resting place for a number of British monarchs. The Abbey forms part of the World Heritage Site in the heart of London and offers visitors an interesting place to visit filled with history, character and synonymous with the UK. The church in its present form started back in 1245 and is among the most significant Gothic buildings in the UK, at the centre is a medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint.

The history of the building stretches back to the 10th century when Benedictine monks came to the site and established the practice of daily worship here. Today there is still daily worship services practiced at the church. The Abbey has been the scene of the coronation beginning in 1066 and has become synonymous with the coronation of British monarchs since then.

Inside the buildings there are a range of paintings, textiles, artefacts and stained glass evident and is also the place where some of the most influential people from the UK have been buried over many years. The memorials and tombs form the most significant collection of monumental sculpture in the UK.

The Library and Muniment Room contains an ever more important and increasing number of archives, manuscripts and printed books. There is a wealth of information here providing in depth research and an insight in to the long history of the Abbey.

The Abbey is seen an inspirational masterpiece of architecture of the 13th to 16th centuries and is one of the best examples of Gothic design in the UK. The church is Royal Peculiar under the jurisdiction of a Dean and Chapter and is subject only to the Sovereign making it unique and differentiating it from other cathedrals and parish churches.

There have been a number of Royal weddings at the Abbey including the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana back in 1981, which helped increased its profile among overseas visitors. The abbey was also the venue of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011. For visitors the church is open to visit from Monday to Saturday and there are audio tours available and guided tours for those wanting more of an in depth tour.

The present building dates back to the reign of King Henry III, there are approx 600 monuments and memorial statues in total along with a number of gravestones. There are in total over 3,300 people buried at the church, there is the shrine of St Edward the Confessor and the tombs of a number of kings and queens throughout history and a number of significant military memorials. The Abbey has been used for centuries as the final resting place for people who are deemed to have achieved greatness in a many areas in life including science, politics, literature and religion.

With such a rich history lied in to the life and times of the United Kingdom over many centuries the Abbey offers a unique experience for visitors to learn more about UK history, events and culture. The Abbey attracts many visitors each year these include tourists and many visitors that come to the daily church services.


How To Get There


Westminster Abbey is located in the City of London, the central location makes it accessible by public transport.

By Car:

Car drivers need to be aware finding cost effective car parking in central London can be difficult with steep car parking charges. The car park near Victoria Tower offers disabled bays and there are some disabled parking spaces in Great Peter Street and Smith Square. There are a number of parking restrictions in place and visitors travelling by car need to also factor in the cost of the London Congestion Charge that the site falls under.

Alternatively car drivers can park in car parks or street bay parking further away from the area and take a bus or taxi in.

By Train:

The train stations located close by are London Victoria, London Waterloo and Charing Cross which are between 15 to 20 minutes walk away.

By Bus:

Local bus services stop close by to Parliament Square in Victoria Street (located opposite the Houses of Parliament) and towards Trafalgar Square, in Whitehall. All buses in London are now accessible for wheelchair users.

By Tube (Underground):

The closest Tube station is St James's Park, a short walk away. Westminster station is also close by and is linked on the Circle, District and Jubilee Underground lines. The Tube stations at Victoria and Waterloo are all within a 12-15 minute walk.

By Foot:

Those travelling by foot can use Westminster and Waterloo bridges located close by to access the Houses of Parliament. Whilst the Golden Jubilee pedestrian bridge (Formerly the Hungerford Bridge), connects the South Bank area with Victoria Embankment.


Contact Details



Address:
Westminster Abbey
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3PA
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7222 5152

Fax: +44 (0)20 7233 2072

Website: Westminster Abbey


Facilities and Information


Facilities:

Opening Times:

The Church is usually open around the year from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays and other religious days in the year, the church is open for worship only not tours.

The usual opening times are:

From 09.30 to 16.30 (with last admission at 15.30)

Further Information:

Admission Fees:

Adults: £15.00 approx

Children: £6.00 approx

Concessions: £12.00 approx

Family Ticket: £30.00 approx

Entry for the above includes a free audio guide each.

Group Rates:

Adults: £12.00 approx

Concessions: £9.00 approx

Children: £6.00 approx


Map



View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Westminster Abbey Map


Tips & Other Considerations


There may be some variations on the opening hours of attractions depending on the time of year and other factors. Visitors are advised to double check before going to ensure any attractions and place of interest is open and avoid disappointment.

When travelling follow safety tips & remain alert and aware of your surroundings and environment. Ensure your belongings in particular your wallet/purse and valuables are hidden away from public view (particularly at tourist attractions & places with crowds). If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to central London you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Note that central London does have no entry roads, bus lanes, traffic restrictions birth temporary and long term and car drivers are advised to drive with care and exercise caution. Use the Route & Journey Planner for door to door directions for car and public transport journeys.

If you are looking for local car parking in central London, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. Car parking rules are rigorously enforced and any infringement of the rules can result in vehicles being fined, clamped or towed away. The rules & regulations can be complex if you are not sure it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.


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