Westminster Abbey, truly one of the most beautiful buildings that London has to offer, was established as a place of worship in the 10th century when Benedictine monks first arrived at the site. The Abbey is steeped in history and walking around you will find, amongst others, important wall paintings from the 13th and 14th Century such as the Apocalypse and the Last Judgement. In front of the High Altar you will find the Cosmati pavement, laid in 1268 on the orders of Henry III, a beautiful example of the Gothic style and workmanship of that time.
The Abbey museum also displays many items of interest including England’s oldest altarpiece, a 13th century Westminster Retable, the most important surviving example of panel painting from that era. The brasses in Westminster Abbey depict the history of costume and armour across different eras, and thankfully survived the dissolution of the monasteries in 1530 when most brasses were melted down.
The stunning stained glass windows, some of which (although boarded) were blown out in 1940, look down on the final resting place of 17 of our monarchs along with other historically significant men and women such as: Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Benjamin Britten, The Bronte Sisters, Martin Luther King, William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. If you look closely at Henry VII’s tomb you will see small numbers stamped on the grille. These were put there during the Second World War, when many of the Abbey’s treasures had to be moved to safety. The numbers enabled the staff to re-assemble the tomb when it returned to Westminster Abbey after the war finished.
There is so much more to learn and see at Westminster Abbey, so ensure that you plan sufficient time to really appreciate this marvellous building. More information on times and prices can be found on Westminster Abbey website.
Our Concierge team at the Rembrandt Hotel has more information and tips on the beautiful sights of London. They have shared some of their most popular tips and answers on our website; you can check them out here.
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