Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

A mysterious place of appeal for many centuries, which witnessed so many coronation ceremonies of British monarchs. The place is Westminster Abbey, the major national place of worship of Great Britain built in the 10th century. Formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter received its name due to location in London's area of Westminster. For several centuries, the building of the Abbey was extended until it acquired current shape of the cross thanks to the Chapel of Henry VII erected in the 16th century. One of the most ancient and valuable items in the chapel is the timber throne made for the coronation of the founder of the Abbey - King Edward I. Mysterious story occurred in the Abbey with the royal treasures. Underground dungeon kept coronation regalia and state treasury. In 1303 several monks and the abbot Uenloh took the great part of the treasure. Father Benedict, who saw the robbers in their bad deed, was killed. Abbey's guards tell horror stories that a ghost of father Benedict frequently appears in the yard of the Abbey at night-time. Probably the ghost was the one who helped to catch the robbers who were severely punished right at the door to the treasury. Just recently, researchers have discovered, that the wooden door behind which the secret royal treasure is kept, is the oldest wooden door that remained from the Anglo-Saxon to our days. Faithful people who attend the cathedral are emotionally impressed by the interior elements - colourful radiance of stained glass windows, columns and sculptures that seem to stretch up in the skies to the God.

Westminster Abbey is the place of many royal graves as well as of famous writer and poets of Britain. Lately a memorial stone was unveiled to writer, scholar and poet C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. London citizens honour major cathedral for the grand royal ceremonial events. In 1953 it witnessed coronation of Queen Elisabeth II, in 2011 the entire world was watching the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Westminster Abbey is a self-financed functioning cathedral; the admission fee (about £20 for adults) is used for maintaining the cultural heritage. On the territory of the Abbey there is a choir school. Apart from it there are arranged various cultural events, concerts and performances, you can see the program on the website. Adjacent to the abbey is St Margaret's Church that is famous for its organ. The church is located opposite the Westminster Palace.

Address: 20 Deans Yd
Opening hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sat 9:30 am - 3:30 pm, Wed 9:30 am – 6 pm, Sat Sep-Apr 9:30 am - 1:30 pm, May-Aug 9:30 am - 3:30 pm, Sun closed. On Christmas and Easter the cathedral is open only for parish.
How to reach: tube St James's Park, Westminster; bus 11, 24, 88, 148, 211.
Coordinates: 51.49941, -0.12694