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Abbey opens to visitors after longest closure since 1953 Coronation

Tuesday, 7th July 2020

Abbey opens to visitors after longest closure since 1953 Coronation

Visitors will be welcomed back to Westminster Abbey this weekend, Saturday 11th July, after four months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic – the longest period of time it has been closed to visitors since preparations for HM The Queen’s coronation in 1953.

As a royal church with a central role in the nation, the Abbey has been welcoming visitors for hundreds of years as well as being a place of worship offering services daily. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. It is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country and has the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint, St Edward the Confessor, at its heart.

The Abbey will initially be open for visiting on Saturdays and on Wednesday evenings, with a limited number of timed entry tickets available solely through advance booking online.

Visit England has awarded its official kite mark, ‘Good to Go’, to the Abbey in recognition that it is following government and industry best practice guidelines to maintain the highest standards of protection through cleanliness and social distancing.

The Abbey opened for private prayer on 15th June and began public worship again on Sunday 5th July. There are now 22 services weekly. We are currently limiting the size of congregations to maintain social distancing, and there is never any charge to attend services. The return of visitors is vital for the future of the Abbey, as it is entirely self-funding, receiving no support from the Church, State or Crown.

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It’s a privilege to live and work here – the Abbey really is the heart of the country and its history.

Martin - The Dean’s Verger

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