Visiting London’s Westminster Abbey

When you attempt to photograph something as massive as London’s Westminster Abbey, you are going to have a few decisions to make.  As you can see, I decided to use my wide-angle lens in order to stay relatively close to the Westminster Abbey to keep some of the intricate details.

The downside of that decision is the distortion found at the edges of my photograph.  Trust me, when you stand in front of this majestic building, everything is perfectly symmetrical.

The other thing that bummed me out is that there is no photography allowed inside the Westminster Abbey.  WAH!

Highlights of Westminster Abbey

  • Westminster Abbey is usually open to visitors from Monday to Saturday throughout the year. On Sundays and religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas, the Abbey is open for worship only. All are welcome to services.
  • In spite of the fairly steep entrance fee (Adults £16), massive swarms of people are likely to be encountered.  Go early, if you can!
  • Your ticket price includes a free audio tour narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons.  This will allow you to travel the Westminster Abbey at your own pace.
  • The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.
  • The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.
  • In the north aisle of the chapel is the tomb of Elizabeth I and her half-sister Mary I. In the south aisle are monuments to Mary, Queen of Scots and Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Here also is the vault where Charles II, William III and Mary II and Queen Anne lie, although none of them has a monument. George II, the last monarch to be buried at the Abbey, is interred in a vault below the central part of the chapel.
  • In Poets’ Corner, you will find the final resting place of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Charles Dickens.  You’ll also find monuments to John Milton, Shakespeare, William Blake, and you’ll even find the grave and monument of George Frederic Handel.
  • Be prepared to be completely awestruck at every turn of the head.  There are magnificent details, tombs, memorials, statues, sculptures, and ethereal spaces everywhere.

In my humble opinion, Westminster Abbey belongs on your “must see” list when you visit London, England.   A walk around the interiors of Westminster Abbey will have you steeped in more than a thousand years of history.  Nowhere in America can you come close to such a feat.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Visiting London’s Westminster Abbey”
  1. Judy Mate' says:

    In June, 1997, when I was there, we attended Evensong @ Westminster, about 5 pm. It was wonderful! The men/boys choir took their places and sang hymns, along with a short sermon by the Rector.
    I actually sat in the same chair [up in front, right under the speaker’s podium], where Hillary Clinton sat when she attended Princess Diana’s funeral, in August of 1997, only two months later.
    Suggest people also go to St. Paul’s and, if possible, walk up the gazillions of stairs to the top. Wonderful photo ops up there! Smile

    • David Porter says:

      Judy, thanks for sharing your love of Westminster Abbey. I bet the sound of the choir sounded amazing as it bounced around in that mammoth space. We visited St. Paul’s Cathedral as well. However, we didn’t have time to climb the “gazillions” of stairs.

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