Westminster Abbey, formally known as the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an iconic church in gothic style dating back 960 A.D. It is located in London, west of the Palace of Westminster and is regarded as one of the most notable religious buildings in the UK. It has long been a place for royal burials and coronations.
It’s a site that is full of history where many significant events have taken place throughout the years. More than 3,300 notable persons, including monarchs, are buried in Westminster Abbey.
More than 1.5 million tourists visit the church every year, making it one of the most popular attractions in London. But it’s also an active place of worship with daily services and Sunday sermons.
This is a visitor’s guide with information about opening hours, tickets, history as well as facts about Westminster Abbey that might be interesting to know before your visit.
|Ticket Type||Adult||Concessions (60+)||Children (6-16 years)||Families (1 adult + 1 child)|
|Fast Track Entry Online||£21||£18||£9||£21 (£8 per additional child)|
|Buy at the Abbey||£23||£20||£10||£23 (£10 per additional child)|
Ticket prices are cheaper to purchase online, rather than in the Abbey on the day, and can be purchased via the Westminster Abbey website here. Also note, tickets booked in advance online include a multimedia guide and fast track entry.
The Abbey also opens late on Wednesday nights and offers a reduced entrance fee as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, the Quire, the Lantern, and the High Altar are not accessible at this time.
Similarly, when the entire Westminster Abbey cannot be opened, tickets are also reduced and classed as a ‘Highlights Tour’.
Westminster Abbey General Admittance
- 9:30am – 3:30pm (The Abbey closes for visiting one hour after last entry)
Westminster Abbey Group Entry
- 9:30am – 3:00pm (The Abbey closes for visiting one hour after last entry)
- 10am – 4:30pm
Cellarium Cafe and Terrace
- 7:30am – 6pm
- 9:30am – 4:30pm
Westminster Abbey Shop
- 9:15am – 6:30pm
History & Information
There are over 1000 years of history to discover at Westminster Abbey, the world-renowned Gothic church found in the City of Westminster in central London.
This magnificent building is England’s most important church and has been the site of royal coronations (Queen Elizabeth II was crowned here on June 2nd 1953), royal burials (including Edward the Confessor), and royal weddings and funerals (including Diana, Princess of Wales) since 1066.
The abbey was originally founded in 960AD as a Benedictine monastery before it was rebuilt in 1065 by Edward the Confessor and again by Henry III in the 1200s. Today, over one million people visit the Westminster Abbey to pay their respects to this living, working church.
Visitors are invited in to admire Westminster Abbey’s Gothic architecture, attend one of the daily services, or to view the collection of Royal and historic relics.
Inside the abbey, you’ll find statues, inscriptions, and tablets commemorating kings, queens, actors, poets, scientists, and many more people of influence.
While the Abbey is, of course, the main feature of any visit, you should also explore the secret College Gardens located within the walls of the Abbey precinct. In monastic times the gardens were used to grow food and medicinal herbs and today they’re used as a peaceful place to relax during your visit.
The gardens are open to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon throughout the year and it’s worth taking this into consideration when organizing your visit.
Points of Interest
Found in the Nave, the coronation chair is one of the most precious and famous pieces of furniture in the world.
Found in the south transept, Poet’s Corner is a place of pilgrimage for literature lovers. You’ll find over 100 poets and writers are buried here.
The Lady Chapel
Found at the eastern end of the church, The Lady Chapel is a fantastic example of late medieval architecture.
Found at the eastern end of the church, the Royal Tombs is the final resting place of 30 kings and queens including King Edward the Confessor.
Found in the center of the church, The Quire is where the daily choral service is performed.
How to get to Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey enjoys a central London location and is found on Parliament Square opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London, SW1P 3PA
General buses stop at Parliament Square (Stop P) and you’ll need a Debit Card or Oyster Card to ride on these as they don’t accept cash.
Another option is to take one of the Hop-on Hop-off buses. They stop outside Westminster Abbey and you can purchase your ticket in advance.
The nearest underground station is Westminster Underground Station which is found on the other side of Parliament Square. Tubes on the Circle, District, and Jubilee Lines all stop at Westminster Station. From here, it’s just a four-minute walk to the Abbey.
The below sites, monuments, and attractions are all within a 15-minute walking distance of Westminster Abbey:
- Big Ben
- Victoria Tower Gardens
- Trafalgar Square
- The National Gallery
- Tate Britain
- Westminster Scholars War Memorial
- Somerset House
- Royal Opera House
- Churchill War Rooms
- St James’s Park
- Buckingham Palace
- London Eye
- SEA LIFE Center London Aquarium
Best time to visit Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey sees a large fluctuation of visitors during the summer months of July and August, particularly at weekends when you can expect to see a large queue forming outside the building. To avoid the crowds, try visiting the Abbey at opening time, this way you’ll avoid large group tours and school trips.
Another great time to visit is Wednesday afternoon as the Abbey stays open until 6 pm and group tours and school tours aren’t allowed in during these extended hours.
Facts about Westminster Abbey
- Westminster Abbey was formed by Benedictine monks during the 10th century.
- The official name for Westminster Abbey is the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster.
- During WWII around 60,000 sandbags were used to protect immovable royal and medieval tombs. The Coronation Chair was sent to Glouchester Cathedral for safety while the Coronation Stone was buried within the Abbey.
- It has been the coronation church for the English and British Monarchs since 1066 and 39 coronations have taken place here.
- Over 3,300 people have been buried or commemorated at the Abbey, including 17 British Monarchs.
- Isaac Newton, Edward the Confessor, and Charles Dickens are all buried here.
- 17 royal weddings have taken place at Westminster Abbey.
- The Abbey’s ten bells were overhauled in 1971 and are rung for major church festivals, special service, and Royal anniversaries.
- The organ was made by Harrison and Harrison and installed for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.
- Every Sunday, five separate sermons are delivered at the Westminster Abbey and cover current theological issues, religion, and world events.
FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)
Do I need to print my ticket for entry?
Tickets can either be printed or shown digitally on a mobile device.
Can I attend a church service here?
Yes if you reserve a spot in advance and arrive early.
Can I take photos inside?
Photos inside are allowed unless there’s some event taking place that restricts them. Photos shouldn’t be taken during service out of respect.
Can you get into Westminster Abbey for free?
Tourists must pay a fee to enter while worshippers can visit for free.
What is Westminster Abbey famous for?
The Abbey is one of the most famous religious buildings in the world and has served as an important role in British policial, social, and cultural affairs.
What denomination is Westminster Abbey?
It was originally built as a Catholic Church, but after the English Reformation, it became an Anglican Church.
Do I need to book my tickets in advance?
No. Tickets don’t need to be booked in advance but you’ll enjoy a cheaper ticket price if you do.
Can you wear shorts in Westminster Abbey?
Visitors are allowed to wear shorts but should remember to dress modestly since it’s a church and place for daily worship.
Do you have more questions before visiting Westminster Abbey in London? Leave a comment below!