Westminster Abbey: “Home to the unique pageant of British history”
For anyone interested in British history, Westminster Abbey is a must seeLondon attraction. Although still an active church,Westminster really feels more like a memorial to Britain’s great figures than a place of worship. Religious imagery is much less noticeable here than in most European cathedrals.
What is noticeable at Westminster is the incredible amount of famous rulers, artists, and intellectuals they have managed to pack into a common space (large as it may be). The official Westminster Abbey website describes the cathedral as, “home to the unique pageant of British history.” As the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Laurence Olivier, I think this statement is wonderfully fitting. The abbey also features memorials to William Shakespeare, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen, and Oscar Romero (who are all burried elsewhere, but recongized here).
The main downside to Westminster is the steep cost. An adult ticket is £16 pounds. It is unfortunately a necessary and common evil in pricey London. But, on the bright side, admission does include a very informative audio guide narrated by Jeremy Irons. Another minus, is that photography is not permitted inside the abbey (even without flash). So, if you do visit this amazing landmark, be sure to take mental pictures of the beautiful architecture and high-profile departed.
If you’d like to see Westminster without paying the heavy entrance fee, you can go there as a worshiper free of charge. You can’t wonder around the building and you’ll miss most of the famous tombs. That being said, Saturday and Sunday Evensong and Sunday Sung Eucharist are beautiful musical services that even the nonreligious can thoroughly enjoy. Check the Abbey website for date and times http://www.westminster-abbey.org/worship/daily-services?SQ_CALENDAR_VIEW=day&SQ_CALENDAR_DATE=2012–
By: Joanie Jockel