Westminster Abbey has played host to 26 royal weddings and 38 coronations. It’s the final resting place for hundreds of Great Britain's legendary figures.
Outwardly, Westminster Abbey may appear an austere work of architecture, with its twin medieval gothic towers and pointed spires. But step through the North Door and you’ll find yourself immersed in centuries of rich and ornate history. The original structure dates back to 1245 when it was rebuilt over Edward the Confessor’s 1042 abbey. The abbey’s haphazard construction progressed slowly through famine and revolution, culminating in a sacred space where the great ages of humanity come together.
It would be almost sinful to rush through the abbey, so try to set aside at least half a day to explore its many treasures. Visualize the 38 kings and queens who have perched high on the Coronation Chair. Many of them now lie forever in the tombs in the Nave. Reflect on the stirring words of Sir Winston Churchill, whose memorial lies near the West Door. At the poppy-wreathed Grave of the Unknown Warrior, pay your respects to the fallen British soldiers of World War I. Join lovers of literature in Poets’ Corner, where giants of English literature, such as William Shakespeare, T.S. Elliot and Dylan Thomas, are buried.
Venture into one of the abbey’s oldest areas, the 11th-century vaulted undercroft of St. Peter. Now a museum, its exhibits include royal effigies, death masks and clothing. Afterwards, follow in the footsteps of monks throughout the ages by taking a meditative walk in the College Gardens.
Attending a service at the abbey can be a memorable highlight of your London visit, however, popular services, such as Christmas, require an advance booking. A free, detailed audio tour is available at the North Door and guided tours are also available. Do remember, photography is not permitted in the abbey and the interior can get very cold in winter.
Westminster Abbey is located in central London, next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The abbey is open to visitors every day except Sundays, when worship services are held. The nearest Underground stations are St. James’s Park and Westminster.
This family-friendly London hotel is located in the historical district, just steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes.
Located in Kennington, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tate Britain, The Oval and Houses of Parliament. Big Ben and London Dungeon are also within 1 mile (2 km).
Located in City of Westminster, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Covent Garden Market and King's College London. Royal Opera House and London Coliseum are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Lambeth, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. The Vaults and Jubilee Gardens are also within 5 minutes.
Located in Lambeth, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Florence Nightingale Museum, The Vaults and Imperial War Museum. Old Vic and Southbank Centre Book Market are also within 10 minutes.
Located in City of Westminster, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Buckingham Palace, Victoria Palace Theatre, and St. James Park. Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are also within 15 minutes.
Located in City of Westminster, this boutique hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Nelson's Column, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and National Gallery. Trafalgar Square and London Coliseum are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Belgravia, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Victoria Palace Theatre, Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. Big Ben and Sloane Square are also within 1 mile (2 km).