Westminster Abbey is not only one of the main religious establishments in London, but also a historic place that predates back to 7th Century England of Anglo-Saxons. The real story of the abbey traces back to the year 1065, which was when the King of England ‘Edward the Confessor’ set up his throne there. Since then, governance has been concentrated on the City of Westminster and the commercial activity on East London. The present building predates to 1245 to 1272, which was when Henry III of England decided to rebuild the Gothic abbey in all its glory.
By the late Tudor Period in 16th Century, the abbey started to stage coronation ceremonies, royal marriages and burials. The abbey held the crowning of each monarch except for Edward V and Edward VIII since then. The first coronation to have documented in the city was of William the Conqueror (1066), and most recently Queen Elizabeth II (1953) which was telecasted for the public. The Benedictine monks used to practice meditation in the abbey until the Catholic Church was dissolved once Henry VIII created the Church of England. Since then, the abbey has been performing the role of a working church that is the Collegiate Church of St. Peter.
Each year, millions of people visit Westminster, as that is a part of tourist trials comprising of coach parties. The church stays open from Mondays to Saturdays from 09:30 am to 03:30 pm, but up to 06:00 pm on Wednesdays. During Sundays, the church stays closed, and if religious events are around the corner, the church closes on short notice. So do check the schedule before paying a visit to the place in your private walking tours of London.
Landmark attractions nearby the abbey comprise of Big Ben, the giant clock on Elizabeth Tower, the Houses of Parliament, 10 Downing Street, and London Eye. When you go there, walk slowly but steadily, and make it a point to visit London Dungeon, Winston Churchill’s ‘War Rooms’, and Buckingham Palace nearby St. James’s Park. Note that the Abbey is one of the main tourist hubs in London city, which stays the busiest during July to August apart from entertaining crowds all year. The best times for individual visitors to reach the abbey is prior to when the school parties arrive and before group tours become fashionable at the place. Ticketing is straightforward and concessions are available for children and senior citizens, but you can expect long entrance queues there. The best way to ensure you get a coveted entry is to book tickets online in advance.
The Westminster Abbey stands tall on the side of the Parliament Square and across the Houses of Parliament. The place is the meeting point of British democrats who discuss the political scenarios of post-Brexit Britain from there. The popular most part of the abbey is the ‘The Elizabeth Tower’, which is often mistakenly called as the ‘Big Ben’ owing to the clockwork at the top. When the parliament is in house, the tower illuminates indicating the ongoing session to visitors. The security would be in charge but you could still come aboard and listen to the chamber discussions apart from climbing the monumental tower in London.
However, you still need to get permissions from the respective Member of Parliament if you are a native. For the foreigners, touring the tower in summertime is much easier provided the tickets are purchased well in advance. There are protesters holding placards usually on the pastures of the Parliament Square, and at times in tents. Natives may be able to recollect the skeptics of an England post-Brexit marching towards the Parliament Square.
Thousands of people, who favored United Kingdom staying as a part of the European Union, marched in the city that took a detour via the central London prior to a rally commencing in Parliament Square. Many people carried the placards reading, “Exit from Brexit” holding high the British flag. There were democrats too visiting the grand occasion, which went in vain, because the inevitable separated Britain from EU. Nevertheless, this opened a new chapter to the abbey’s long list of historic events, which would go on change the economic landscape of Britain in the years to come.
Standing amid the abbey and Houses of Parliament is the Saint Margaret’s Church, which is accessible for politicians across the road. Plenty of visitors trail what is often referred as the “the parish church of the House of Commons” and many visitors enter the church mistakenly even today. The main reason as to why that happens is because the abbey was once the Benedictine Abbey.