Special Coronation events announced
Friday, 24th March 2023
Visitors to Westminster Abbey this summer will be invited to walk in their socks on the Cosmati pavement, one of Britain’s greatest medieval art treasures and the place of coronations for over 700 years, as part of celebrations for the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort, which takes place at the Abbey on Saturday 6th May.
Church and crown tour
A special programme of events has been announced today including a new guided tour: Crown and Church, which will take place after the Coronation. It will reveal the Abbey’s royal links, tell stories from coronations past and present, visit the Coronation Chair, and allow access to the Cosmati pavement, which can normally only be viewed from the bottom of the High Altar steps.
It will be the first time in living memory that the Abbey has invited visitors to walk on the Cosmati pavement where the Coronation Chair will be placed for the crowning of HM The King on Saturday 6th May.
Places on our Church and Crown tour are now sold out, but you can see a complete list of events on our events page.
About the Cosmati pavement
The Cosmati pavement is an intricate mosaic floor of marble, stone, glass and metal in front of the High Altar which was commissioned by Henry III, and completed in 1268 as the glittering adornment of his Abbey. It is where coronations have taken place ever since.
Abbey experts will guide the tour, which will explain the history and significance of the Cosmati pavement. Small groups of ten will be taken onto the floor with everyone asked to remove their shoes to help protect its surface. The tours will run on selected days from 15th May to 29th July and cost £15, plus Abbey entry.
Second to none in its detail, intricacy and complexity, the Cosmati pavement is the best surviving example outside Italy of a rare type of mosaic stonework known as ‘Cosmati’ after the Italian family which created it. The pavement was hidden under carpet and thus away from public view from the 1870s until a two-year programme of conservation work was completed by the Abbey in 2010. It was covered with special carpet at many previous coronations including those of Elizabeth II in 1953 and George VI in 1937 but will be on display at the forthcoming coronation.
Scott Craddock, Head of Visitor Experience said:
“The Coronation will be a joyous and significant moment for the nation, and for Westminster Abbey. We hope that our special programme of events and digital resources gives everyone an opportunity to join in with the celebrations.”
The Abbey’s special programme of events for the coronation also includes:
A new exhibition in the Chapter House explaining and illustrating the key elements of a coronation service and its historic artefacts. From Tuesday 11th April. Included in Abbey entry.
A tea fit for royalty including a selection of savoury items, Earl Grey scones and delicious cakes. Served at the Cellarium Café and Terrace from 21st March until 31st July. £32.50.
Themed evenings on selected Wednesdays each month with collaborative poetry creation, craft, music, dance and costumed interpretation. Themes include Monarchy (17th May), Modern Britain (21st June) and Music (26th July). Included in Abbey entry.
Family events and Coronation Club
Crown making, storytelling and tours for all the family. On selected Saturdays and during school holidays. Included in Abbey entry.
A series of free online videos for use by schools, youth groups and families designed to inspire children aged 7 – 11.
More about coronations
Discover more about the history of coronations and see a full range of behind the scenes videos, news and long read articles.