Westminster Abbey is perhaps the most significant church in English History, site of the coronation of monarchs since it was founded by Edward the Confessor, and burial place of the majority of them, along with many other historical figures of note. It is first and foremost a superlative work of medieval architecture, from its soaring 13th-14th century nave, transepts and choir (all in a curiously French inspired version of Decorated Gothic) to the masterpiece of English Perpendicular, the incredibly lacy fan-vaulted Henry VII’s chapel at the east end.
The Abbey is also a treasure house of ecclesiastical art, most of it monumental sculpture on the numerous tombs and effigies of almost every date ranging from the entire medieval period through to the 20th century; a somewhat cluttered interior, crammed full of interest, there is simply nothing else quite like it, no other church contains so many monuments.
The Abbey’s monastic ranges partially survive, most notably the cloisters and superb chapter house; a short summary of the Abbey’s riches is simply impossible. The monastery itself was shut down during the Dissolution, after which the Abbey briefly became a cathedral until its diocesan rank was revoked merely a decade later. Today it is designated a ‘Royal Peculiar’ owing to its unique status.
The Abbey is a textbook in stone of British history, and thus a hugely popular tourist attraction. It currently has more limited opening hours in the post-Covid recovery period and entry is not cheap, but happily after decades of a strict prohibition against photographers the rules have now been relaxed at last and visitors are now welcome to fully enjoy this marvellous building with their cameras!
For further details (and restrictions) see below:-