Westminster Abbey

Setting for every Coronation since 1066 and for numerous royal weddings

Westminster Abbey London

Westminster Abbey: over one million visitors a year

Westminster Abbey official website

Westminster Abbey is England's main religious building. Originally built in Saxon times in the 7th century, its real importance dates from 1065 with Edward the Confessor setting up his throne here.


Since that time Government has always been centred on Westminster, with commercial activity centred on the City of London to the east.


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Westminster Abbey history

The present church was begun by Henry III in 1245. By the 16th Century in Tudor times, Westminster Abbey had become the setting for coronations, royal marriages and funerals.

Every year Westminster Abbey welcomes over one million visitors and is very much part of the standard tourist trail complete with large coach parties. It should be remembered the Abbey is very much a working church. It is closed Sundays for worship and restrictions are regularly applied ad hoc in response to religious events.

Every monarch since William the Conqueror, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII who were never crowned, has been crowned in the Abbey.


The first documented coronation here was that of William the Conqueror in 1066, the most recent was that of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953. The decision to televise the coronation of the present Queen in 1953 made it possible for the general public to witness the ceremony in its entirety for the first time.

The Benedictine monastery at Westminster was dissolved in 1540 as part of the impact of Henry VIII's creation of the Church of England breaking away from the Catholic Church. Since then Westminster Abbey has just performed the role of church.


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Westminster Abbey - opening times and location

Opening times

Westminster Abbey is usually open to visitors from Monday to Saturday throughout the year. Opening time is 9.30am and closing time 3.30pm on Wednesdays there is late opening to 6pm.


Westminster Abbey is a fully working church and subject to closures at short notice, so please check opening times on their website (link at top of page) prior to visiting.


On Sundays and religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas, the Abbey is open for worship only. However, all are welcome and it is free to attend services.


Westminster Abbey closes for visiting one hour after the published entry closure time, so it is recommended you give yourself plenty of time.



Westminster Abbey is located on Parliament Square facing the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The London Eye, 10 Downing Street, London Dungeon and Churchill War Rooms are major London attractions within 5 minutes' walk. Buckingham Palace is a 10 minute walk across St James's Park.


Nearest Underground Station

Westminster Underground Station is on the other side of Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey. Trains on the Circle, District and Jubilee Lines stop at Westminster.


Hop-on, hop-off buses & river services

All of London's hop on, hop off sightseeing buses have stops at Westminster Abbey.


Westminster Pier is on the other side of Parliament Square by Westminster Underground Station and is one of London's busiest river service piers with many services including the very popular service to the Tower of London.


Westminster Abbey - tickets and queues

Westminster Abbey garden London

Open Monday to Saturday: Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is one of London's main visitor attractions, the busiest time of all for visitors is July and August but it is busy at all times.


Long entrance queues are a normal sight on arrival.


Best times for independent visitors is to be there for opening before the tour groups and school parties start arriving.

On Wednesday afternoons the Abbey is normally open until 6pm - this is not well publicised and for many the best part is that no groups or tours are allowed inside at these extended hours.

Audio-guides are free with your individual entry tickets. Audio guides are available in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese as well as English.

Ticketing is straight forward with concessions for children and seniors and no discounting, including on-line.

You can purchase your tickets in advance on-line where you have to stipulate your visit date.

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Westminster Abbey & London's attraction passes

Railways 2 for 1 Promotion - The railways 2 for 1 entrance promotion is valid at Westminster Abbey with the printed voucher and a qualifying railway ticket. However, the promotion is only for the walk-up tickets with the longest wait times.

The London Pass - Westminster Abbey is supported by London's most popular attraction pass, for full details follow the banner link below,

London Pass

Around Westminster Abbey

Westminster London Self Guided Walk Map

Westminster Self Guided Walk

Westminster Abbey is at the heart of a small district that contains lots of London's A1 attractions. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye are just some of the “Must Sees” within a few minutes' walk.


Although very short, you could do the walk in well under an hour without stops at an easy pace, most people will take a day or more, there is so much to see, do and be diverted by.

Westminster Self Guided Walk - full details


Westminster Palace and the Elizabeth Tower or Big Ben

Westminster Abbey stands to one side of Parliament Square. On the other side sits an equally fine building Westminster Palace, commonly known as the Houses of Parliament.


Westminster Palace is where the British government meets to manage Britain's political affairs. The most famous part of Westminster Palace is The Elizabeth Tower, more commonly known simply as Big Ben after the name of the famous bell, an iconic image of London.

When parliament is sitting after dark, a light shines from the top of the Elizabeth Tower. For obvious reasons, security is out in force.


It is possible to arrange tours, visit debates in the chamber, even climb the Elizabeth Tower. However don't expect just to turn up and walk in. For UK residents going through their own MP it is much easier than for foreign visitors who can only tour during the summer opening with tickets purchased in advance.

On the green area in the centre of Parliament Square there are normally political protesters of one sort or another with placards and sometimes tents.


This central area is not solid earth, if a vehicle strayed onto the green there is a chance it may fall into the London Underground line below.


Westminster Palace and Saint Margaret's Church

Saint Margaret's Church stands between Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and is commonly called “the parish church of the House of Commons” on account of it being so handy for politicians on the other side of the road.


Saint Margaret's Church is impressive in its own right, a lot of visitors enter mistaking it for Westminster Abbey next door.


The reason why two such great churches are adjoining is that Westminster Abbey was originally a Benedictine Abbey.

Discover great value at:

London Eye - Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel (fast track tickets available).

The Shard - Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top.

St Paul's Cathedral - Cathedral of the Diocese of London famous dome & venue for royal weddings.

Westminster Abbey - Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.

Tower of London - Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history.

Madame Tussauds - See wax statues of the most famous people in the world (fast track tickets available).

London Dungeon - The creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon (fast track tickets available).

Hampton Court Palace - Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds.

The London Zoo - World class zoo in the centre of London (fast track tickets available).