Westminster Abbey

Things to Do in London

Photo Image of Westminster Abbey
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos


The formal name for this living, working, royal church is the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster. It has been, since 1066 when its first royal coronation was held, the location of crownings, weddings and funerals of the monarchy. Because Westminster Abbey is a functioning religious institution, it is necessary that you check when you are planning a visit to learn if any areas (or the entire abbey) might be closed from public visitation.

Designed in the Gothic style, Westminster Abbey boasts two towers that distinguish it among the London cityscape. It is more than a thousand years old, a spectacular historic church. It’s a popular attraction in London, accessed easily by two Underground stations, namely Westminster and St. James’s Park.

More than just a large old church, this is a venerable burying ground, with some of its 3,300 bodies interred under the floor of the building. Tribute tombstones and statuary are works of art in their own right. Some 17 kings and queens lie at rest here, together with writers, scientists, composers and actors like Sir Laurence Olivier. Other notable people interred here are: Charles Darwin (interesting that an evolutionist ended up in a church!); Isaac Newton; Stephen Hawking (a recent addition); Samuel Johnson and Geoffrey Chaucer; Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose “The Lark Ascending” is often played at funerals), and George Frideric Handel; and Mary, Queen of Scots. An utterly fascinating place to see in London.

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