Westminster Abbey is world famous and is known as "the church of the Royal Family", as it has been the pantheon of the monarchs and the site of their coronations since 1066.
I advise you to buy your ticket online and in advance or you will face terrible waits at the box office. There are three main ways to access the Abbey, I summarize them and tell you the details so you can choose which one is the best for you.
Get to know Westminster Abbey and Big Ben with a specialized guide.
If you want to complete the experience with a guided tour and also visit the Houses of Parliament -where Big Ben is located-, this is your option.From $ 50 at Hellotickets
The best thing to do when you visit Westminster Abbey is to take the opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament. To do this, the best thing to do is to book in advance the guided tour of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and not have to waste time in the long queues that form daily to access two of the major points of interest of the capital.
This guided tour will entitle you to a 4-hour guided tour of the UK's history in capital letters. You will enter the fascinating Westminster Abbey to see, among other wonders, its Coronation Chair, the 900-year-old University Garden and Poets' Corner, and the Houses of Parliament, home of the famous Big Ben and the meeting place of the British government, with its famous House of Commons and House of Lords.
The tour starts at 9:15 a.m. at Westminster Abbey, specifically at its gift store, 'Westminster Abbey Shop', as the starting and ending point of the tour.
Why I like this option: touring the main points of interest of a city together with an expert guide always elevates the experience to another level. With this tour you will learn the context, details and much of British culture through two of its great religious and political icons.
Recommended if... you want to know a little more about the history and details of two of the great symbols of the British capital.
The best attractions of the city, at a special price
If in addition to visiting Westminster Abbey you are planning to see the inside of other London attractions, the London Pass will save you time and money during your trip.From $ 90 at Hellotickets
As a major attraction that is, Westminster Abbey is included in several of the tourist passes you can buy to see London while saving time and money. If you are going to travel a minimum of 3 or 4 days to the British capital and want to see several of its points of interest, without a doubt, this is the option that I recommend the most.
Tickets, not only to access Westminster Abbey, but for the vast majority of London attractions, are paid and quite high prices, and long queues can exhaust your patience. If you feel like considering this option, I have written a detailed article on London Pass with all the information you need to know.
The Explorer Pass is the ideal option to discover the essentials of London in a minimum of 4 days and add to your experience the visit to some of its most fun attractions, especially if you are traveling with children, such as the London Eye, the Madame Tussauds wax museum or the intriguing themed tours of the London Dungeon, among others. In this tourist pass the price varies according to the number of attractions you want to visit.
In summary, we compare the options
Learn about Westminster Abbey and Big Ben from a specialized guide
If you want to complete the experience with a guided tour and also see the Houses of Parliament, this is your option.
The best attractions of the city, at a special price
If you are planning to visit Westminster Abbey and other London attractions, with the London Pass you will save time and money during your tripFrom $ 90 at Hellotickets
What you should know about Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey opening hours
Westminster Abbey is generally open daily from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm, while on Wednesdays, for example, it is open until 6 pm.
However, the hours to see some of its interior areas vary and the opening of the doors of the Abbey may be changing as it is a church in use.
A bit of its history
As a key place for the British Royalty, here took place, for example, the coronation of the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, and the funeral of the Princess of Wales. In addition to its original gardens and four cloisters, in the heart of this impressive temple, its High Altar, rest the remains of kings and queens of the Middle Ages as Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, and monarchs such as Mary Queen of Scots and Henry VII.
Throughout its nave of 31 meters, we find art treasures, the most important collection of monumental sculpture in the United Kingdom and the 'corner of the scientists', where illustrious names such as Issac Newton and Charles Darwin are buried. Meanwhile, its South Aisle holds one of its most celebrated areas, the 'poets' corner', with the tombs of unforgettable names such as Charles Dickens or Rudyard Kipling.
The history kept in the walls of this religious building of Gothic style is really fascinating. Located in the center of political and religious power in England for over a thousand years, the district of Whitehall and Westminster, the long queues are already part of the monumental set of Westminster Abbey. Today, it is visited by more than one million tourists every year.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
Westminster Abbey is a working church, so remember to dress appropriately (or bring a scarf to cover shoulders and necklines).
How to get to Westminster Abbey
Located in the heart of London, there are many ways to get to Westminster Abbey, being the most convenient by public transport in the city.
- Subway: The nearest subway stations to Westminster Abbey are Westminster (Jubilee, District and Circle Lines) and James's Park (District and Circle Lines).
- Bus: There are many bus lines that lead to the door of Westminster Abbey. In the useful official Transport Of London website you can find them all. Also, all the tourist buses, which you can access thanks to a London Pass, make stops at Westminster Abbey.
- Train: London Victoria and London Waterloo are the best options to get to Westminster Abbey by train.
- Bike: There are several bike routes that take you to the center of London. In the same website 'Transport for London' you will find the most comfortable and safe ones.
Some services available at Westminster Abbey
- Admission for wheelchair users and their companions is free of charge as not all of the Abbey is accessible.
- Tours adapted in Braille for the blind and visually impaired are available upon request.
- The Abbey is also adapted with a hearing loop system for the hearing impaired.
- It is possible to enter with a baby stroller and they even offer a route designed for the little ones (in English).
- You can have a quick snack and a coffee in their 'Kiosk' or have lunch or even dinner in their 'Cellarium Café and Terrace'.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
Take the opportunity to get to know Abbey's surroundings: the River Thames and the London Eye.
Other points of interest in the vicinity of Westminster Abbey
The important area where the formidable Westminster Abbey is located is full of other must-see places to explore during your visit to London. Next to it, just 160 meters away, is the Palace of Westminster, home of the Houses of Parliament and the legendary Big Ben.
From there you can board one of the cruises on the Thames, a good plan to rest after visiting the Abbey. This is the article I wrote about it: Thames River Cruises in London.
A little further, about 450 meters away, you can rest from your long visit to these two architectural wonders thanks to the wonderful gardens of the oldest and most beloved park in London, St James's Park, ideal to enjoy it with children.
Also take the opportunity to see the London skyline from the heights of the highest Ferris wheel in Europe, the London Eye, less than 700 meters from Westminster Abbey, or to explore centuries of the best British art in the renowned Tate Britain Museum, less than a kilometer away from the Abbey. Here is the guide I wrote about London Eye Tickets.
Frequently asked questions
Is there a dress code for access to Westminster Abbey?
Yes, keep in mind that this is a religious temple, so avoid short pants or skirts and cover your shoulders.
How do I get free access to Westminster Abbey?
Westminster Abbey is included in the London Pass, which allows you to access it at no extra cost if you have the tourist card.
Is it worth taking a guided tour or can I visit on my own?
You can visit it on your own, but there is a guided tour that also takes you to the Houses of Parliament and you will discover the history and the most important events that took place in both sites. There is also the option of taking an audio guide.
What can I see near Westminster Abbey?
You can take advantage of the visit to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye and even embark on a cruise on the Thames.