The imposing Westminster Abbey has stood by the River Thames for more than 700 hundred years. Memorials throughout the Abbey commemorate the lives of monarchs, statesmen, soldiers, poets, priests and heroes. Many of whom rest beneath the floors or inside elaborate tombs within the church. Westminster Abbey is the stage investing British Kings and Queens who receive the blessing of the church and regalia of a monarch during their Coronation Ceremony.
Thousands of tourists and worshipers pass through the doors of the Abbey every year.
Great North Door
Tourists queue outside the Great North door of Westminster Abbey waiting to be admitted to the Nave.
Cameras at the ready they snap photos of the ornate doors and selfies outside the church.
You will have to rely on your memory to describe what you have seen inside as cameras must be put away once you pass the doors.
From the Abbey to the Cloister
You will leave the Abbey with your head full of names, dates, inscriptions and memories of the ornately decorated interior.
Tourists who have completed their tour pass through a small door near Poet’s corner into the corridor that leads to Cloisters and Chapter House.
The square cloister was once part of a monastery that served the Abbey. At the heart of the Cloister is a simple garden with a bright green lawn.
The perfectly mowed green lawn of the cloister is known as the Garth. It beckons as you stroll along the corridors.
The purpose of the Garth was to give the monks somewhere to rest their eyes and contemplate the thoughts in their minds as they walked around it.
The Cloister, Westminster Abbey, London, UK
The Chapter House
The octagonal Chapter House, dates back to the 1250s. The monks who lived at the Abbey met at the Chapter House each day to read a chapter from the rule of St Benedict.
The walls are adorned with paintings trimmed in gold that depict scenes from the Apocalypse and Last Judgement. Many of the paintings have faded or worn away with time.
If you look up you will see a series of beautiful stained glass windows. The windows have been replaced many times since the 1300’s. Some of the current windows were updated after the Abbey was damaged by bombs in WWII.
The vestibule of the Chapter House contains the oldest door in Britain. The door dates back to the 1050s. The door is rumored to have been built for King Edward. Edward was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England who ruled from 1042 to 1066. He is the only English King canonized by the Catholic Church. The King became known as St.Edward the Confessor after his canonisation.
Great West Door
The Great West Door of the Abbey leads to the tomb of an unknown British soldier near the start of the nave.
The figures above the Great West Door are a 20th century addition to the Abbey. Queen Elizabeth unveiled the figures of the 10 Christian Martyrs in 1998.
The ten martyrs are:St Maximilian Kolbe, Manche Masemola, Janani Luwum, Grand Duchess St Elizabeth of Russia, Martin Luther King, Óscar Romero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Esther John, Lucian Tapiedi, and Wang Zhiming.
Getting to Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is a short walk from the Westminster Tube Station.