Visiting Wesminster Abbey was high on my list when I first visited London years ago. It was as stunning as I imagined, from all those times I had seen this Gothic Abbey on whatever forms of media since the 1970s. This was the cathedral where Royal Weddings had occurred for 1,000 years, as well as the burial site for many notable royals, poets and national figures. Westminster Abbey was magnificently constructed in Gothic style, has witnessed ten centuries of history and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. All the more reasons for anyone to visit!
Westminster Abbey’s first recorded origins date back to the 960s, when it was created for a community of Benedictine Monks by Saint Dunstan and King Edgar. Over the centuries the Abbey was reconstructed in the Gothic style starting in the 13th century, with the two Western towers constructed from 1722-1745. As with the majority of cathedrals that I have visited in Europe and the United Kingdom, it had taken centuries to build.
While I walked the interior of Westminster Abbey, I looked all around, up and down just to absorb it all in that one visit. What intrigued me the most were the memorials and graves beneath the floor stones that I was walking over. Many notables including kings and queens prior to the late 1700s were buried within the Abbey floors, as well as Oliver Cromwell, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
Westminster Abbey has more stories to tell and I could spend hours writing about it. There is a such a significance to this site which symbolized centuries of monarchy, religion and power from the 11th century. It had evolved through 1,000 years intertwining history of the church, monarchy and state. Westminster Abbey is an extraordinary place to visit, just to walk through its arched cloisters and absorb ten centuries of England’s history.
If you plan on visiting as a tourist and not attend services, I strongly suggest ordering your ticket online. I had done that on my visit and it was time saver, as the que to get in can be quite long.
- For visitor information and tickets: Westminster Abbey Official Site
Westminster Abbey is still an active church with daily services that anyone can attend, free of charge.
- For more service information: Worship & Music
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