Visiting Westminster Abbey
This post is an overview of Westminster Abbey tours, with tips on how to get here and tips for discounts on tickets, with a tip on how to get in for free! Famous the world over, Westminster Abbey has seen over 16 royal weddings (Wills and Kate, anyone?), is the burial location of 17 monarchs, has held globally watched events (such as the funeral of Lady Diana Spencer), and is also home to the United Kingdom’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. One of the jewels in London’s crown, Westminster Abbey is a must-visit for history lovers and those who enjoy a touch of royalty!
TIP: Full access to Westminster Abbey is free with the purchase of the London Pass. There are also other combo tickets offered by bus companies that will provide you discounts. Read our full post that compares the various tourist attraction discount passes.
Be sure to check out our tour of Westminster!
Westminster Abbey is located in the City of Westminster on the western bank of the River Thames, nearthe Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. Due to its central location, it is within walking distance to many popular London attractions. The closest Underground Station is Westminster, which is served by the Jubilee, Circle and District lines. It is also near the Embankment station, which is also serviced by the Bakerloo and Northern lines. Bus routes include the 3, 11, 148. We recommend using this Google map for directions to Westminster Abbey from anywhere in London.
As Westminster Abbey is an active church, opening hours and entrance fees differ depending whether you are visiting as a tourist or a worshiper. Tourists must pay a fee to enter, whilst worshippers may always visit for free!
- Weekdays: 9:30 – 15:30 (Please note that these times are subject to change)
- Saturdays: 9:30 – 13:30
- Sundays: No sightseeing allowed on Sundays. However, this is subject to change as the Abbey is a working church and monument.
- £20.00 for adults
- £17.00 for concessions (60+ and students on production of valid student ID)
- £9.00 for children between 6-16
- £40.00 Family (2 adults and 1 child)
- £45.00 Family (2 adults and 2 children)
- FREE for under 5 and under
(Prices differ for large groups and school visits, so please refer to the Westminster Abbey website if either distinction applies to you)
For those who intend to visit many different tourist sites in a short time, it’s advisable to consider purchasing a tourist pass such as the London Pass. This ensures that you receive a ticket at a discounted price AND you can skip the entrance lines–a major advantage, particularly during the busy summer months. Other companies that offer similar discounted or prepaid tours include Discount London, Viator, and Golden Tours.
On the contrary, visitors who attend Westminster Abbey for worship are allowed to do so for FREE. This does not allow visitors access to all the tombs, monuments, or the Abbey Museum, but a seat in the nave gives guests a taste of the majesty and history this church holds.
- Weekdays: Typically at 7:30, 12:00, and 17:00, however hours are subject to change daily.
- Saturdays: 8:00, 9:00, and 15:00
- Sundays: Worship services held throughout the day. Check the Westminster Abbey website for most up-to-date hours.
Insider Tip: For those who do not have the time or interest in attending a full worship service, we suggest that you visit Westminster Abbey for the Evensong, which typically lasts between 30-60 minutes and features the choir. Evensong services are usually the later services, starting at 15:00 or 17:00.
- Dress Code: As Westminster Abbey is a place of worship, visitors are asked to “show sensitivity in the way they are dressed”. The Church requests that clothing be modest and that gentlemen refrain from wearing hats whilst inside
- Photography and Mobile Phones: No photography or filming is allowed in the Abbey. However, as a visitor, guests may take photos of Cloisters and College Garden. Mobile phones should be silenced and stored away at all times.
- Bag Checks: No large luggage, rucksacks, or suitcases are allowed inside. Charing Cross and Victoria Station both have luggage storage facilities if required.
Guide to verger-led tours of Westminster Abbey:
Guided tours last approx. 90 minutes and include the Shrine (containing the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor), the Royal Tombs, Poets’ Corner, the Cloisters and the Nave. The tour costs £5.00, which is charged in addition to the entrance fee. Verger tours are limited to 20 people per tour, and operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Summer (April – September) Tour Times:
- Monday-Friday: 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 14:00, 14:30
- Saturdays: 10:00, 10:30, 11:00
- Winter (October – March) Tour Times:
- Monday-Friday: 10:30, 11:00, 14:00, 14:30
- Saturdays: 10:30 and 11:00
Reviews of the verger tours are consistently excellent. Visitors comment that the tours are “nothing short of excellent” and “undoubtably the best money we spent in our 5 week UK visit” (TripAdvisor). The vergers who work at Westminster Abbey are extremely knowledgable and passionate about the church, and do a remarkable job of sharing that with visitors. Guests who are curious about Westminster Abbey should not visit without taking a tour led by a verger.
Guide to audio tours of Westminster Abbey:
These tours can be downloaded onto your iPhone or Android before your visit, and come in 11 different languages. This is a great option for those who would prefer to pick and choose their content, and have the chance to refer back to it later. Click here to download the Westminster Abbey app for audio tours.
Like the verger-led tours, the Tripadvisor reviews of the audio tours of Westminster Abbey are also generally positive. Many visitors praise the quality and quantity of information provided. However, the quantity of the information available via the audio tour is much less than the verger tours. Some guests complain that there were only 2 sentences for certain stops. Yet, for those short on time or who prefer the freedom to only visit certain areas of Westminster Abbey would likely enjoy the audio guide more.
Furthermore, for those who are unable to visit Westminster Abbey, the Church also has an excellent Virtual Tour on their website.
Though a visit inside Westminster Abbey is a must for any first time visitor to London, there are also many things to see outside and around the church. Fortunately, we offer many tours that feature Westminster Abbey and thus inform guests on the history of the outside of the building, as well as the surrounding area.
- Westminster Walking Tour: Our Westminster tour, unsurprisingly, focuses specifically on the area around Westminster Abbey. The tour is 2.5 hours and ends near Westminster Palace, which is adjacent to Westminster Abbey.
- London All-in-One: This is an extensive, 6 hour tour that begins in Green Park, and then continues on to cover other attractions nearby such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, in addition to Westminster Abbey.
If you don’t have time for one of our spectacular tours, we also offer a self-guided tour of the area around Buckingham Palace (which features Westminster Abbey, amongst many other attractions).
Westminster Abbey holds tombs, graves, monuments, memorials and statues. There is a plethora of things to see inside the Abbey, but to give you an example of the calibre of those who are celebrated therein, here is a (very!!) small list of some of those who are buried inside the Abbey.
- George Frederic Handel – Composter
- King Edward III – King
- King Charles II (no effigy exists but a life size wax statue made after his death is still on display in the Abbey Museum!) – King
- Lawrence Olivier (the last person to be buried in the Abbey, as of this post) – Actor
- Charles Dickens – Author
- Queen Elizabeth I (her original funeral effigy can be found in the Abbey Museum) – Queen
- Rudyard Kipling – Author
- Charles Darwin – Scientist
- Mary, Queen of Scots (Not originally interred here but moved in 1612, by her son King James I) – Queen
- Isaac Newton – Scientist/Physicist
In addition to the several esteemed figures who are buried at Westminster Abbey, there are also many memorials to other people of significance. Some of whom include:
- Benjamin Disraeli – Prime Minister
- Winston Churchill – Prime Minister and war time leader
- George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) – Author
- Oscar Wilde – Author
- William Shakespeare – Author
- Sir Walter Scott – Author
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt – US President
- Alexander Pope – Satirist and Poet
- Martin Luther King Jr. – Civil Rights Leader and Reverend
- Captain James Cook – Explorer
- John Keats – Poet
- Trafalgar Square
- Changing of the Guard
- Big Ben
- Buckingham Palace
- 10 Downing Street
- The Palace of Westminster
- The Churchill War Rooms
- The Horse Guards
- St. James’s Palace