I've been to London a number of times and always admired Westminster Abbey from the outside. I was, quite frankly, reluctant to pay the £36 family rate to finally enter the abbey and see it from the inside. But as I was with my young daughter on her very first trip to Europe, decided to suck it up and create a memory. Boy am I glad I did.
We spent a couple of hours walking through the interior listening to Jeremy Irons audio tour (included in your entry rate). We admired the Gothic architecture that dates back ~1000 years to the Normans. Saw the coronation chair and the spot where Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1952. Saw the tombs of various kings and queens of Britain and other giants of both British and World History - Sir Issac Newton, Charles Darwin and the like. In poets' corner - Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Jane Austen, etc... Memorials to Winston Churchill, FDR, countless British military heroes and the tomb of the unknown soldier.
The awe that's inspired standing in the same room with history and the curiosity it inspired in my daughter alone was well worth the cost of admission.
Warning: the Abbey is freezing, at least it was when we visited in December. It's neat and I'm not much into religious monuments being an agnostic, but the best thing about it was the Poet's corner where all my English hero-writers are memorialized from Jane Austen to the Bronte sisters.
Do yourself a favor and get the audio guide. It'll explain everything in (sometimes excruciating) detail but you'll get a full sense of the Abbey and it's purpose.
My partner somehow learned about the Christmas Carol Service at Westminster Abbey. It's a free event, however tickets must be ordered and it is a first-come first-serve process. On the opening day (18 November), we got our tickets booked early, and they were "sold out" by mid-day.
I am so glad we got our tickets, because (despite the horrible weather on 23 December) to be in the Abbey at night was exciting enough, yet to then have a beautiful service of carols, 16th Century Latin hymns and stories made the night magical.
I really enjoyed the part where each person helped their neighbour light their personal candle, and the lights in the Abbey were dimmed. It took you back to the days when all they had were candles.
Next year: be sure to get those tickets before they go!
The Abbey was absolutely incredible! The artistry is truly magnificent and very impressive. It's really hard to describe the centuries of hard work and craftsmanship that have gone into this historic church. I really enjoyed seeing the tombs and memorials of past royalty. My wife especially loved the Poets Corner, home to Chaucer, Elliot, Kipling, Austen, Dickens, and many many more. No trip to London is complete without visiting Westminster Abbey, even at £18 a person.
Westminster Abbey is beautiful! It is full of gothic architecture, which My wife and I love! When you look at the details of a building like this and look at our modern architecture you can see how it declines as time passes. It is pretty crazy that you have to pay a fee to get in, but it is so worth it! Wish I can go back and visit soon... If you go to London, make sure to stop by and see the beauty of this place!
Friends from the US were coming for a visit in London and we couldn't go without showing them the Westminster Abbey not only from the outside but also from the inside. We haven't seen it inside either, so it was a first impression for everyone. No words to describe the interior, something magnificent that you don't see every day.
Full of history and absolutely beautiful! We were lucky enough to get in to see the choir perform. There weren't any photos allowed inside, but I was able to sneak in a couple selfies to try to capture the grandness of it all. I would love to do the audio tour next time.
Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!! What a great place... Lots of history here and is very picturesque. London must see...
Westminster Abbey: where kings and queens have been coronated since 1066, where William and Kate got married, where many of England's greats (kings, queens, nobles) have been laid to rest (Elizabeth I, Mary, etc.)
Stand in awe of it's majesty and historical significance. Pretty crowded when we went. No pictures inside.
TOMBS AND MEMORIALS GALORE!! =X
Okay, so the Westminster Abbey is much more than what is stated above. There's so much history within these walls, and is absolutely breathtaking.
I WASN'T SUPPOSE TO BE HERE
The boyfriend and I made plans last minute to spend a day in London, because flying standby on a flight from Paris to SFO would be damn near impossible. So, we decided to take our chances to the Heathrow airport in London (turns out we had a much better chance). The boyfriend lived in the UK for a year, so he knew exactly where to take me. Thank goodness because I wasn't prepared (I usually have a list of things I want to see and do).
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
After walking through London's shopping area, past the Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, we found ourselves in front of the beautiful Westminster Abbey. After buying our tickets and getting our headphones and device for the audio tour, I stood still, looking around to take in what I was about to walk through. The ceilings were high, and the architecture was as beautiful as can be. I took a deep breath in and smiled, I am so blessed to be here!
As you make your way around the Westminster Abbey, there will be a handful of names/people you'll recognize, and an even bigger handful of names/people you will not recognized. But you're here for the experience, so take the time to appreciate the beautiful tombs and memorials. My favorite memorial had to have been Isaac Newton's (it's the nerd in me). I ran up to his memorial and stared at it for a good 3-5 minutes to take in the beautiful artwork. Oh, and take some time to look down because there are memorials and tombs beneath your feet as well! It was a little creepy knowing that I was walking over someone's tomb. =X
My visit here was definitely worth my time because of all the history that has made it's home inside this massive work of art. There's so much to see, and so much to appreciate and learn about. Please, take your time in here and don't rush through it!
This was the highlight of my short trip to London. Totally fascinating to me to learn the rich history behind the Abbey. Amazing piece of British history. We have nothing like this in the States.
We took the self guided audio tour, which is good if you like to go at your own pace. We didn't know about the Verger led tour, I would have rather done this one. Next time.
Learning about the Kings and Queens, Priests, and others that have been laid to rest here, well it was truly fascinating. I spent a good 2 hours walking around each and every corner, listening to the audio over and over again, and then I retraced my steps a couple times, just to visit it again. We were treated to the choir at the end of our tour, and to learn about the school, it's pretty impressive.
Admission was £18, and afterward someone had given us a tip to go during mass hours, and you won't have to pay admission.
What an amazing place. I would highly recommend that you spend the extra 3 pounds and get the verger tour. You will get amazing behind the scene access that the regular admission will not allow. For instance you will see the inner part of the Abbey where the monks would sit and where the queen has her seat...amazing you can see her pillow.
For me to see all of the monuments and all of the kings and queens buried here is priceless. I would highly recommend.
The place itself is amazing. With a student card, you can enter for just 15 pounds, and you get to see the tombs of Isaac Newton, Darwin, and King Henry inside. You also get a full audio tour with what you pay to enter. The tour itself in total takes about 1.5 hours, so I would recommend your coming here early as the place does get quite crowded. On Thursday especially, this place is only open to visitors from 2-3:30 PM, leaving you hardly any time to waste. I was impressed by the kind of investment into this abbey and the fact that it is home to history greats such as Newton, Handel, Clementi etc. Highly recommend you to not only visit the outside but also come in to see the inside abbey and the cloisters.
Got thrown out because i was taking a picture without knowing it was forbidden. The vicar yelled at me instead of being calm, everyone was looking at me, he was yelling at me still. Anyway I told him to take another tone, as I was paying, he didn't need to be so mean. He still yelled, I told him to go f*** himself , I asked for a refund and got the hell out, oh sorry I mean they threw me out.
Anyway i got to keep my picture, but it's blurry because that stupid and disrespectful man jumped me from behind.
Cool visit, very short for me like 5 minutes after waiting 30 outside.
Those five minutes were great , very cool abbey , shame I only saw a bit of it .
Walking through Westminster abbey on the self guided tour allowed me to fully comprehend the magnitude of this building. Besides holding weekly services, this is the final resting place to some very important figures in British history.
The church is absolutely gorgeous and its no wonder its been the backdrop for some of the most famous British events-coronations, royal weddings and funerals.
Tip: if you're wanting to save around £18, visit during mass hours.
Those visiting London should certainly stop by Westminster Abbey, a famous church, where many of the English nobility are buried at, including Elizabeth and Mary, the Black Prince, and others. The tour guide gives a wonderful history of the people buried here, and even provides a softer and more human side of King Edward of Braveheart fame. The Duke of Wellington has a monument here also, and even Cornwallis, the general who lost the American Revolution! There's a monument here for him, but no one talks about him ^)^ Westminster Abbey is a holy place, but also a wonderful site of history, timelessness, and the past come alive!
TAKE THE VERGER TOUR.
That's my main thing to say about Westminster Abbey. I've been many times over the years and twice have taken the Verger tour. It's a few extra ££ and only runs a few times a day, but WOW. You get to see so much more and you get to learn a lot too. Take some time to wander on your own as well, but those Vergers know their stuff and you'll get access to places the regular public crowds don't get to go.
Another tip: if you don't have the time or the extra money for a tour, come for a service. Even if you're not religious, you'll be able to sit down and enjoy the beauty of the place. I really enjoy the Evensong services. Beautiful music in a beautiful place.
A gorgeous, glorious accretion of wealth and display of power - Westminster Abbey is definitely a "don't miss" and best visited earliest in the morning before hordes of tourists descend upon the place.
It's not terribly well ventilated and despite the soaring ceilings, gets warm and stuffy - and feels a bit claustrophobic as everyone nudges and bustles around trying to listen to their audio tour device while gawping at statues, ceilings and memorials.
Try to get there out side of peak tourist season or peak visiting hours and you may find it a more relaxing, rewarding experience.
Very Gothic in structure, with all of the columns, intricacies, gargoyles... Do I sound like an architect yet? Because that's about all of the terms I know. Nonetheless, it's beautiful and a must see.
The self- guided tour is a must. If you're paying 16-20 pounds, you need a little guidance for this enormous church. It's expensive, but very much worth it. Plan to spend a few hours here. There is so much to see, and you don't want to miss any of it.
Lots of famous Kings, Queens, authors, and other English people are buried here. My favorite part was Poet's Corner, where many famous authors are buried. As an aspiring writer, this impressed me just as much as the tombs for royalty.
No photography allowed (unless you can get away with it!). They watch you like a hawk, so beware if you are able to sneak a picture. Those English don't mess around with their history!
Be a tourist, check it out. Even if you're not a history buff (as I am not), you will be enamored with the beauty of the Abbey.
My boyfriend and I visited Westminster Abbey with our London Pass. We arrived about thirty minutes prior to opening and joined a long queue. Mercifully the queue moved quickly as soon as the doors opened.
I can't imagine that the abbey is never not busy, but once the large tour groups began to arrive (about an hour into opening) it was chaos. Hands down, this was the busiest and most congested place that we visited in London.
The abbey has a great audio tour. It's filled with information. Tip- when using it, pick a quiet spot and stand still, look at the object after. There were so many people using the audio tours and not paying attention. I was constantly having other visitors bumping into me. The floor is uneven in many places, so in general, pay close attention to your surroundings.
The Abbey itself is amazing and awe-inspiring. It is so ornate that it is quite an overwhelming experience.
We were let down a bit as we didn't realize that a lot of the famous names on the "tombs" are not actually buried at the Abbey. Some very famous people are, but a lot are not. It's not very clear who is and who isn't. I wish that I had read up on the Abbey prior to visiting and knew what to expect.
Overall, this is a London must-do. Go prepared to deal with the crowds and allow yourself two hours to full explore the abbey.
The building itself is spectacular on both the historical and architectural levels.
We got in with a London pass, but the cost (without one) is ~ 18 pounds per adult, which is fairly steep.
The queue, on a Monday morning just at the 9:30 a.m. opening time, was about 30 minutes long. Inside, you shuffle through in a sort of tourist conga line, without much opportunity to pause and reflect. The audio guide is good, but they don't always display the numbers prominently at the points of interest.
I only gave 4 stars as I had a much better experience touring the cathedral 20 years ago.
It is a pity they don't allow photography inside, but I can sympathize with this (I'd get sick of people violating the 'no flash' rules if that were allowed).
Well worth seeing, but expect a crowd.
Breathtaking. Could have spent a full day here if I'd had the time.
Must see attraction and well worth the money! Got to see the burial sites of Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens, just to name a few....
We got into Westminster Abbey with our London Passes. The line outside looked long, but took all of 10 minutes. And inside it was crowded, but fascinating.
Entry includes an audio tour. This tour was quite thorough (in all we spent about 2 hours here), but allowed us to easily choose what to listen to, when we wanted. I felt that I was given access to every part of the Abbey I wanted to see, and was given information and told stories about these parts. My feet started to ache many points along the way, and I was almost always able to find a seat or a place to lean. Meaning, the site is aware of its visitors' needs, and is not stuffy about people leaning on the walls.
Warning: The lines for the bathroom are long. Be sure to keep the printed ticket they give you as certain attractions within Westminster Abbey are technically outside of it and you'll need to show the ticket to get back in.
Total bummer: No pictures allowed! I so wanted a picture in Poet's Corner but was unable to take one.
Westminster Abbey is a beautiful, historical church with the most incredible architecture.
During our short visit to London I knew that we were arriving too late on Saturday afternoon to visit the church and that the church was closed on Sunday for services. Luckily, I read in my Rick Steves Travel Guide that there is a free 30 minute organ performance every Sunday at 5:45pm that is open to the public.
We weren't able to see as much of the church as I would have liked, but we were able to sit in the nave of the church and admire the pretty stained glass and altar as we listened to the most amazing organ performance. Did I mention the entry was free?!?! By attending the organ performance we were able to avoid the hefty 18 pounds entry fee.
As much as I would have loved to have seen the gardens and museum at Westminster Abbey I felt that the organ performance was very special. See Westminster's music schedule: westminster-abbey.org/mu…
Why did it take me so long to get here? I guess that when you live in a city with no expectation of a time period, it's easy to keep putting 'tourist' visits off. I finally made it here with friends who were visiting from New York.
The queues were not bad at all, it probably took about 5 minutes to get inside. We picked up audio tours and started our walk around the abbey. It's a surprisingly large space with the usual layout and lots of nooks and crannies with interesting stuff in it. I especially love Newton's tomb and the tombs of Mary I and ELizabeth I, half sisters so close to each other in death while in life they held such opposing religious views.
Parts of the Abbey are quite small and can get crowded, so probably not always suitable for anyone with claustrophobia!
It is fascinating, absolutely steeped in history and very well explained on the audio tour.
Absolutely phenomenal landmark!! We took another private tour and this was just the way to go! See the final resting places of Queen Elizabeth I and her sister Queen Mary. See the tomb of Mary Queen of Scots. See the place where William and Kate married! And where every single King or Queen of England has been crowned since 1066!! History doesn't get much better than this!!
What I didn't like: it costs 18 pounds to get in. As in, about $25. Students fortunately are $23. Whoo hoo....and no photos allowed, unfortunately.... in my opinion, I would have rather skipped the London Eye and just saved it for the Abbey. If I come back to London, I'm coming back for the abbey- it's like walking in centuries past and glimpsing the most important figures back then.
The highlights: the lovely architecture. As a young girl, I had a fascination with Queen Elizabeth I because well...how many queens or empresses did so well on the throne? You could see her, her half-sister, and Mary Queen of Scots here. I didn't know as much about Richards, or Edwards, or Henry the 7th, so the audio recordings were actually really cool/informative in these cases.
I really liked how they had a poet's corner as well, even if they weren't buried at Westminster.
There's a garden that's only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays or something like that, so check the website because times and openings change depending on the season.
Don't forget to check out the abbey museum, the gift shop, the pyx, and the room not too far from it containing well-preserved original art (you can see the gold paint on there) and tiles from back in the day.
Planning: facing Big Ben, to your right is the Abbey. Take about 30min with Big Ben, and about 1.5hours to 2hours with the Abbey.
Awesome, incredible, gorgeous, WOW!
It's not a secret that Westminster Abbey is the place where William and Kate got married :) I visited the Abbey right after their marriage, and that place got me, really love the architecture - Victorian style, classics :)
Located across from the seat of British government in Westminster, Westminster Abbey is a 'must-see' for any visitor to London. Work on this national treasure began during the reign of Edward the Confessor and quickly became the burial place of royalty. Edward the Confessor, Henry I, Edward I, Edward III, Henry VII, Elizabeth I, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots are all buried here (among many others). Many notable British poets, playwrights, explorers, and politicians also have monuments within the abbey.
Walking amongst the aisles of the abbey is akin to stepping into a time-machine. The gorgeous architecture of the abbey itself transcends the centuries, while standing inches away from 500 year-old monuments can make for a surreal experience. It is impossible to come into the abbey and not leave feeling impressed.
The entry fee is a bit steep (16GBP at last check), but well worth it as you gain entrance to the abbey, cloisters, museum, and chapter house (if open), and audio guide. The audio guide is exhaustive and is perhaps better than an actual tour guide. Definitely check out the chapter house and abbey museum, the entrances to both are located in the cloisters. The chapter house was the meeting place and records hall of the medieval monks and boasts the remains of 14th-century wall paintings. The museum is in the 11th-century undercroft and displays exhibits of medieval funeral effigies originally found in the abbey. In the spring, the College Garden (located down the corridor from the museum) is open to the public and offers a peaceful place to escape the crowds of tourists.
Gorgeous Gorgeous Gorgeous
Try to get her early for the crowds are big! You do need a chunk of time to go here if you really want to see everything, they have a sort of recorder thing that you can walk around with and guide yourself through all the sites. I do admit it can get confusing as their are still tour guides around the place. I would not recommend this for a place for big groups to go, maybe just two to three people at a time, the reason for this is because everyone goes at their own pace; there are certain parts of the abbey that once you past you can not go back! Meaning you can not go back looking for friends!
Tip: like most sites in London, there is a student discount if you present any type of student ID!
A beautiful soaring architectural wonder that our tour guide Tony barely gave a nod to on our walk through London's streets. We got thisclose for a photo op, but the true majesty awaits inside. Sigh. A reason to go back to London!
this is one of the epitomes of london culture, a great place to visit and walk arounf seeing where all the past queens and kings have been coronated or buried!
One of the most well known buildings in the entire world. The carving, intricate design, buttressed columns, gargoyles, interred heros/royalty, and some very significant and special historical items.
This is a one of a kind place. There are very few places of such significance the world over, that are still in regular use.
Pro Tip: Pay the fee and go enjoy this place. This was one of my favorite things to have stopped at while in London. The sound tour is worth it to learn the historical significance of many different parts of this place.
My favorite thing to see inside was a rickety old wooden seat that every queen and king of England has been crowned upon for hundreds of years. That is a pretty special thing.
There is a special sight around every corner, above and below it as well. It is something new at every turn.
I cant more highly suggest going here. It is well well worth a few hours to a half day at least to view this place. It is definitely special.
Touch the walls. These stones have brushed up against hundreds of centuries. Listen to the tombs. They shelter the immortality of some of England's greatest minds. Look at the vast vaulted ceilings. All forms of creativity from different corners of time come together to create a gothic temple of power. All who wander through the doors of the legendary Westminster Abbey will be spellbound by its history, its beauty, and its glory.
As part of our trip Bristol to visit Rob's family, we decided to take the Underground to London for a quick romp around town before we returned to the States. As we emerged from Westminster tube station, we landed on Westminster Bridge Street, RIGHT in front of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament). Such a breathtaking sight! We made our way to the abbey from there, only a block away from the station. If you're a student, bring your ID for a student discount! That bumped the admission price down from the £18 ($29) to £12 ($19). We opted for the tour guide phones, for an extra £3 fee. Of course, with Jeremy Irons' voice narrating the whole tour. *swoon* Each room, tomb, and historical exhibit displays a plaque with a number on it - punch the number into your tour phone, and you get a historical bit from Jeremy about that particular point of interest. You can take the tour at your own pace and visit what you want, when you want. Very convenient!
Did I mention how big Westminster Abbey is? Well, it is. VERY. It took us 2 hours to walk around the majority of the abbey and visit most of the points of interest. Be sure to check out the immortal tombs of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and the Shrine of St. Edward. It was such an honor to stand in the same place that every English monarch has been crowned in for over a millennium. Finally, at the end of the tour, we gazed upon the Coronation Chair near the main entrance. I felt so small when leaving the abbey, but it was wonderful to see one of the grand sites of London!
All I want to say is that it's pronounced West-MIN-ster, not West-MINI-ster.
I got yelled at for adding the extra "i" in there.
The Westminster Abbey is a must visit when you're visiting London. It's closed to visitors on Sundays because of religious services, but is open to the public the rest of the days of the week.
Built in the 10th century, the Abbey is rich in History that survived many wars and fires. Many famous people, kings, queens and other royalty are buried here including a lot of King Henrys, Richards, Elizabeths, etc.
There's a memorial for Shakespeare here and many poets are buried here as well including Geoffrey Chauncer who wrote the "Canterbury Tales." Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton are buried here as well.
The Abbey has been the site for all the coronations since 1066AD with the last one in 1953 with the current Queen Elizabeth.
The tour ends with a commemoration to the Unknown Soldier. There remains a British soldier from the first World War. Its a solemn reminder that all soldiers are never forgotten.
Again you must visit the Abbey. If you have the London Pass, the visit to the Abbey included. Otherwise. I believe it's around €16 to enter. And the audio guide is included, narrated by Jeremy Irons. He sounds British and stuff.
Of course this is an interesting place to tour. They give you phones that you listen to throughout your tour. Each section you walk through is numbered. Push the buttons on the phone to learn more of what you see.
It's a big place, and I don't have much patients to hold a phone up to my head and listen. While trying to communicate with the person I'm with. So it will get rather boring and annoying. I had a better time without the speaker!
But it was a great place to tour and say I visited!
I touched the burial crypts of kings, queens, poets, priests and scientists, tuned in to the vibe of centuries past and heads a-rolling. By "touched", I mean where it was allowed as I'm all about following rules and I surely wouldn't want to lose my head over such a trivial crime. But where else in the world can you come so close to some of the world's most notable figures? Not Arlington where everything is buried underground (google.com/url?sa=t&rct=…), not Pere Lachaise where I was chastised by a gendarme to keep away from Jim Morrison's plot (google.com/url?sa=t&rct=…), and certainly not the Al-Qarafa or City of the Dead near Cairo where most of the inhabitants are still alive (google.com/url?sa=t&rct=…).
Westminster Abbey offers a close-in viewing of the final resting place of more historical figures than anywhere else in the world. They should name a sandwich after this place it's so cool...the "Abbey Burger": "All Angus beef with lettuce, tomato and a touch of Chaucer Sauce" (has a nice ring to it, eh?), I think I'll start a chain.
Any visit to London without taking time for the Abbey would be a crime, an unforgivable sin worthy of beheading. Just ask the spirits of King Henry VIII's wives if you don't believe me. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi…
Stunner and not something I ever tire of, despite the masses.
Favorite tip is to do the kids self tour if you are with your child(ren). To do this, pick up a "tour guide" paper at the entrance, and your elementary age child will have a blast filling it out. I got myself a headset, and actually got to listen to almost the entire audio tour while the littlest one filled out her tour paper.
At the end, she was rewarded with the biggest chocolate gold coin ever for completing the tour and her eyes were so BIG seeing that chocolate.
I guess I was rewarded with a sugar coma, but I can't complain after listening to an entire audio tour. That never happens!
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