London’s oldest religious building
With its origins going back over a thousand years to 970 AD, Westminster Abbey can lay claim to being London’s oldest place of worship, as well as the traditional place for the coronation and burial of English monarchs. Our London Bus Tour stops here to let you marvel at this living testament to British history.
Hailed as ‘one of the most perfect buildings ever erected in England’
The moment you step inside and gaze up at the fan-vaulted roof, the criss-crossing arches and enormous stained glass windows, you won’t quite believe how grand and stunning it all is. Everywhere you look you’re greeted by a veritable treasure trove of paintings, mosaic pavements, textiles and other precious objects from across the centuries.
The glorious history of Westminster Abbey
Benedictine monks first built a stone monastery on this site in the 10th century. In 1245 Henry III then began transforming the Abbey into the Anglo-French gothic masterpiece we see today. Various monarchs who followed him carried on developing it, which explains why Westminster Abbey is now such a fascinating and subtle mix of architectural styles.
Other interesting facts about Westminster Abbey
- Westminster Abbey has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066 and for numerous other royal occasions, including sixteen royal weddings
- 3,300 people are buried or commemorated here, including 17 monarchs and significant figures in history such as: Oliver Cromwell, Sir Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, Geoffrey Chaucer and Sir Laurence Olivier
- Every year Westminster Abbey welcomes over 1 million visitors
- The tombs and memorials are the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom.
- Nearly one hundred statues of saints still remain in niches around the walls