Competing in beauty and fame with St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey is the oldest in London. Located next to Parliament and built in the Gothic style, this Anglican temple is famous for being the site of the coronations and burials of the monarchs of the United Kingdom.
In addition to the tombs of various Kings and their consorts, we can also find inside the tombs of different characters from scientists such as Isaac Newton to writers such as William Shakespeare.
You can take this guided tour of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to see the best of both monuments.
The History of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey was built on the site of a shrine built on the spot where a fisherman on the Thames had a vision of Saint Peter.
It was built around the year 1050 when the Pope ordered its construction to King Edward the Confessor as penance for not making a promised pilgrimage.
It was initially built in Romanesque style but was later remodeled in Gothic style.
It could have been destroyed in the time of Henry VIII although it was finally saved and in subsequent centuries it has undergone various reforms such as the construction of the towers on the west side in 1722, which are a symbol of Gothic.
Since 1066 all the kings of England (except 3, including Henry VIII) have been crowned here by the Archbishop of Caterbury. In addition, there have also been weddings, such as that of Prince Gullermo with Kate Middleton as well as the funeral of his mother, Lady Di.
What to see in Westminster Abbey
The first thing to do when you visit this abbey is stand in front of its doorway.
From there you can admire its façade with its two imposing towers that make the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris come to mind for many.
Once you enter inside, every corner will amaze you.
It is worth paying the entrance fee to see it and enjoy its grandeur and the history that lies within its walls.
Inside we can find the Throne of Saint Edward, which since the Middle Ages has been used to crown the Kings of the United Kingdom.
Another of the interesting places in Westminster Abbey is the Poets’ Corner where we can find the tombs of different geniuses of literature such as Charles Dickens and especially William Shakespeare. Isaac Newton, William Turner and Charles Darwin are also buried in the abbey.
Inside we also have to highlight the Lady Chapel, a splendid chapel thanks to its ceiling and the choir stalls; the cloisters, dating from the 13th and 14th centuries; the Chapter House and Collage Garden, the impressive garden that is also the oldest in London.
You can find more information on the official website of Westminster Abbey.