Westminster Abbey has a long history with England, and its tours take visitors through centuries of royal history.
Westminster Abbey is one of the UK’s most famous landmarks and perhaps the country’s most famous church. Westminster Abbey is a predominantly Gothic abbey church located directly opposite the Houses of British Parliament and Big Ben. Here, one can hear Big Ben chime every hour in the heart of London.
Another thing that makes Westminster Abbey so special is that it is the traditional coronation site of British kings and queens as well as the burial place of English and later British monarchs. Visiting Westminster Abbey is definitely one of the top things everyone should do on their first visit to London.
Westminster Abbey background
Originally the abbey was a Benedictine Catholic monastic church, then it was a Catholic cathedral. But later the Anglican Church split from the Catholic Church during the reign of King Henry VIII and the Catholics were driven out. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned for a long time, he was renamed the Church of England “Royal Particular” and was directly responsible to the English monarch.
Although there was a much older church on the site found in the 7th century, the current church was built in 1245 by King Henry III. For those interested in medieval England, plan a trip to England with the Medieval England Festival in Sussex and see the past come to life.
Visit of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is open to the public almost daily. But remember, this is a living and active church. Therefore, some areas are sometimes closed to the public and the opening hours are reduced according to its schedule.
- Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (last entry)
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Last admission)
- Sunday: Open to services
Admission fee: About. £ 24 ($ 32) per adult (£ 10 per child 6-17) ($ 13)
Guided Orchard Tours
You can also enjoy a guided tour of the orchard. With these tours one can see special parts of the abbey that one would not be able to see otherwise. Attractions here include the Tomb of St. Edward the Confessor (which is not accessible to general visitors). You can also see the Poet’s Corner, the royal tombs, the Lady Chapel and the nave.
Tours are limited to just 10 people and are only offered in English. While general admission tickets to the abbey can be purchased in advance online, the shore visit can only be booked upon arrival at the abbey. When booking tickets for the Abbey, try to book the entrance slot 30 minutes before the tour starts.
- Limit: Orchard tours are limited to only 10 people
- Times: Tours take place at 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Monday to Saturday
- Cost: For a visit to the Orchard, it is the entrance fee to the abbey plus £ 10
Group Visits To The Abbey
There is also the option for private tour groups (as well as school or university groups). These tours are welcomed up to 20 visitors and must be accompanied by a Blue Badge Tourist Guide.
Blue Badge Tour Guides offer specialist private tours in over 30 languages and charge extra fees. Normally, we reserve a Blue Badge tourist guide, then we reserve tickets for the abbey.
- Languages : Blue Badge tourist guides are available in over 30 languages
These can be booked through Guide London or the British Guild of Tourist Guides.
Its importance for coronations and burials
The English tradition (and after the union of the English and Scottish – British crowns) of crowning their monarchs here dates back a thousand years. The tradition began with William the Conqueror in 1066 in the site’s former abbey.
Prior to this there was no fixed coronation site with Bath, Canterbury, Winchester and Kingston-Upon-Thames being the sites of earlier coronation ceremonies. Since then, there have been 38 coronations and 16 royal weddings at the abbey.
- First coronation: William the Conqueror in 1066
- Most recent crowning: Queen Elizabeth II June 2, 1953
- Number of crowns: 38 English and British coronations
- Weddings: 16 royal weddings since 1100
- Burials: More than 3,300 people were buried at the abbey
Many people are buried at the abbey. In fact, since 960 AD, more than 3,300 people have been buried here, including at least 16 monarchs, 8 prime ministers, the unknown warrior and many British actors, poets, etc. notable. Some have even nicknamed it “Britain’s Valhalla”.
Some of the big names of those now buried at the Abbey include Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, George Eliot, DH Lawrence, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare.
The Abbey is at the very heart of London and has long been the heart of the nation. Next time in London, be sure to pop into this church linked to the British monarchy.
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