Westminster Abbey

© Andrew Brackenbury
Westminster Abbey, Westminster Saturday February 23 2013 0:00
The cultural significance of Westminster Abbey is hard to overstate, but also hard to remember as you're shepherded around, forced to elbow fellow tourists out of the way to read a plaque or see a tomb. Edward the Confessor commissioned a church to St Peter on the site of a seventh-century version, but it was only consecrated on 28 December 1065, eight days before he died. William the Conqueror subsequently had himself crowned here on Christmas Day 1066 and, with just two exceptions, every English coronation since has taken place in the abbey. Many royal, military and cultural notables are interred here, including Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Poets' Corner is the final resting place of Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Browning. Henry James, TS Eliot and Dylan Thomas have dedications. In the Abbey Museum, you'll find effigies and waxworks of British monarchs, among them Edward II and Henry VII, wearing the robes they donned in life. The 900-year-old College Garden is one of the oldest cultivated gardens in Britain and a useful place to escape the crowds. An ongoing refurbishment revealed the restored Cosmati Pavement to the public in spring 2010, but the abbey has ambitious plans to create improved visitor facilities and a new gallery. Its popularity can only have increased since the wedding in April 2011 of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
Venue name: Westminster Abbey
Contact:
Address: Broad Sanctuary
London
SW1P 3PA
Transport: Tube: Westminster/St James's Park