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Situated in the heart of London, right next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey holds the secrets to all the major royal events of the past 1000 years. No visit to the capital would be complete without setting foot in this majestic building.
Most recently known as the venue of the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Westminster Abbey has witnessed 16 royal marriages and 38 coronations. The first was the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, and the current head of state Queen Elizabeth II was crowned here in 1953.
Stepping through the North Door, you’ll enter a world filled with centuries of rich history. The building as you see it today has grown and changed over time, moulded by the projects and schemes of successive rulers. Its construction began in 1245 on the site of St Peter’s Abbey, on the orders of King Henry III who wished to be buried in this location. Elements of the original Saxon abbey still form part of the current structure, such as the 11th century vaulted undercroft of St. Peter. This houses the Abbey’s museum displaying an interesting collection of royal effigies and historical treasures, including the funeral saddle, helm and shield of King Henry V.
You’ll need to allow at least half a day to discover the burial sites of legendary figures such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and William Shakespeare, pay your respects to fallen British soldiers at the poppy-wreathed Grave of the Unknown Warrior, and reflect on the stirring words of Sir Winston Churchill whose memorial can be found near the West Door. Explore the beauty of the art work that decorates the interior of the abbey, from the complexity and subtlety of the Cosmati Pavement in front of the High Altar to the magnificent stained-glass windows, via the 13th and 14th century wall paintings of the Apocalypse and the Last Judgement.
Westminster Abbey is open to the general public from Monday to Saturday, although it will close during the commemoration of national events and on royal occasions. On Sundays, it is open for worship only, and attending a service can be a memorable event. However, popular services will require advance booking. Be aware that you are not permitted to take photos in the abbey.
The nearest Underground stations are St James’s Park and Westminster.
Want to be certain to make the most of your visit at Westminster Abbey? Here are some popular things to do that will help you:
For even more activities, examine our London things to do page.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St. Thomas' Hospital and Houses of Parliament. Westminster Abbey and Coca-Cola London Eye are also within 1 mile (2 km). Vauxhall Station is 8 minutes by foot and Lambeth North Underground Station is 16 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. Jubilee Gardens and The Vaults are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station and Lambeth North Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge and Coca-Cola London Eye. Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are also within 15 minutes. Lambeth North Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 8 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Buckingham Palace, Victoria Palace Theatre, and Apollo Victoria Theatre. St. James Park and Westminster Abbey are also within 10 minutes. St. James's Park Underground Station is only a 3-minute walk and Victoria Underground Station is 7 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market, Piccadilly Circus and London Dungeon. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 5 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Florence Nightingale Museum, Imperial War Museum and The Vaults. Southbank Centre Book Market and Lambeth Palace are also within 10 minutes. Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes by foot and Waterloo Underground Station is 11 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Victoria Palace Theatre and Apollo Victoria Theatre. Buckingham Palace and St. James Park are also within 15 minutes. Victoria Underground Station and London Victoria Rail Station are within a 5-minute walk.