Westminster Abbey is one of Britain’s most iconic, well-known and important buildings and is one of the greatest repositories of English history.
What is less well known is that Westminster Abbey receives no regular funding from the Crown, the Church of England or the government.
Neither a cathedral nor a parish church, Westminster Abbey was established as a ‘Royal Peculiar’ in 1560 by Queen Elizabeth I. The Abbey is outside the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Church of England and the Government. In short, this means we must seek our own financial support.
As such the entry fee that is charged for visiting supports the Abbey and the upkeep of our extensive World Heritage site. There is no charge for attending services and all are welcome.
Westminster Abbey is a living Church, part of the Church of England: where Almighty God is worshipped daily, continuing a 1400 year tradition in this place. Every day (except Good Friday and Holy Saturday) the Eucharist is celebrated at 8.00 a.m. There are twenty-eight services every week, which all are welcome to attend, whether you are Anglican (Episcopalian), or of another Christian Church or of another faith, or seeking or doubting. The Abbey’s world-famous choir often sings at one or more of our daily services.
Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s greatest churches, a designated World Heritage Site and ‘Royal Peculiar’, which means the Dean is directly answerable to the monarch. The coronation of Kings and Queens has taken place here since 1066, and many of the nation’s Kings and Queens are buried in the Abbey. Principal among them is St Edward the Confessor, King of England from 1042 to 1066, whose shrine is at the heart of the Abbey. Also buried or memorialised here are over 3,000 great men and women from almost every century of these islands’ history: statesmen and politicians, lawyers, warriors, clerics, writers, artists and musicians.
In the Abbey precincts you can visit St Margaret’s Church (the Church of the House of Commons), the Great and Little Cloisters, the Chapter House and Museum, and College Garden, the oldest garden in England. The Abbey Library and Muniments Room offer research facilities by appointment. Also here are Westminster School, strongly associated with the Abbey, and Westminster Abbey Choir School, which educates the Abbey’s choristers.