A Walk Through Westminster


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by airynfaerie on March 22, 2010

Notably, one of the most famous churches in all of Europe is that of Westminster Abbey. More formally known as The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster,this striking Gothic church has been the place of hundreds of historic ceremonies over the centuries.

When you visit London, this abbey will be one of the more popular sites to see, and luckily it's located quite conveniently near the Parliament building, Downing Street, and Big Ben. Besides the Royal gardens surrounding the area of Buckingham palace, this area of the city was one of my favorites. The open space of intersections and graveled malls for walking, the vast area near Westminster Abbey allows visitors an excellent view of the concentrated area of the city where so many historic and recent activity has happened.

As you walk up towards the abbey from across the street in Parliamentary Square you'll see a large statue of Winston Churchill standing proudly over the lawn. Look at him with the government building behind to get an idea in your mind about the political side of the nation, but then turn to immediately see a large cathedral behind you and grasp how closely intertwined religion was with the politics for so many years.

Founded in the 600s according to tradition, and the original stone abbey built in the 1000s, this abbey went through various changes through the years from the Romanesque / Norman style, to the Gothic, with additions of cloisters and towers, facades, and a narthex added all the way into the 19th century. Many coronation and royal wedding ceremonies took place here and many royals are buried in the abbey's tombs. More recently, this church was where the funeral for Princess Diana took place.

As a visitor to the church, you'll have to pay an admission charge that is one of the highest fees I've paid for a church visit in all of Europe. With this admission ticket, though, you'll have access to most of the grounds including the interior highlights of the decorated transepts, altar, St. Edward's Shrine, Great Cloisters and Chapter House. Henry VIII's Lady Chapel and the Pyx Chamber. Also, several other sites are included, like the College Garden ( a lovely manicured walk-about garden in the back), and the St. Caterine's Chapel Garden. There is also a museum for relics and a closer look at the Abbey's history which admission is included in your ticket price.

Before leaving, check out the gift shop for souvenirs and as you walk back out into the lawn, try to grasp the significant happenings that these walls have witnessed.

• www.westminster-abbey.org
• 20 Dean's Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA
• 020 7222 5152
• Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm, Wednesday
9.30am - 7.00pm, Saturday 9.30am - 2.30pm
• Admission £15.00 (discounts for children, families, groups)
Westminster Abbey
20 Dean's Yard
London, England, SW1P 3PA
+44 (20) 7222 5152

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