Right now, Frank’s Cafe is quaking in its boots as a hot new rooftop destination enters the fray. It doesn’t serve cocktails (tragically). But it does serve up stunning views over London, plus a chance to goggle at some gorgeous gothic stonework and grimacing gargoyles. Westminster Abbey is opening its rooftops to the public for the first time ever this summer, in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee festivities, and it sounds like an incredible opportunity to soak up the sights and stories of this much-loved thirteenth-century building.
What’s the catch? Well, the price tag is a seriously hefty £70 for a 60-minute tour, which would buy you an abundantly boozy night on the tiles at one of London’s more established rooftop spots. Still, you can’t put a price on history, and Westminster Abbey has that in spades. It was the coronation spot of choice for Norman kings, survived a bombing by the suffragettes in 1914, and is now a beloved tourist hotspot and a reminder of London’s medieval heritage.
Westminster Abbey’s rooftop will be open twice a month from June to August on selected Fridays and Saturdays. The abbey’s clerk of the works and head of visitor experience will guide a group of ten people round the space. Visitors have to be over 18, physically fit enough to climb steep flights of stairs, and will need a serious head for heights to survive this vertiginous experience. Sadly, tickets sold out within hours of the opening being announced, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for another chance to see London’s skyline from a storied new perspective.