Skip to main content

Interactive sessions

Our Learning Officers will guide your students through an engaging, interactive session, to learn more about the Abbey as a place where faith lives and history happens. All from the comfort of your classroom.

The coronation of kings and queens has taken place at Westminster Abbey since 1066. What lies at the heart of this ancient ceremony and its rituals? Have coronations always gone to plan? What does it feel like to witness this historic event? Pull up a chair and hear tales of sleepy kings, stealthy picnics and one naughty cat in this behind the scenes guide to the Coronation.

Links: History, British Values.

Suitable for: KS1,2,3

Duration: flexible but typically between 30-60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Photograph of replica regalia in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries

Edward the Confessor’s death sparked one of the most momentous episodes in British History; the Norman Conquest. Edward’s reign is seen as the end of Anglo-Saxon rule in England but was it in fact the beginning of Norman rule? Weigh up the evidence for yourself, examine Edward’s shrine and see if you can discover more about the man behind the myth.

Links: History, RE

Suitable for: KS2, 3

Duration: flexible but typically between 30-60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Manuscript showing illustration of Saint Edward the Confessor

Life at Westminster Abbey changed forever on the 16th January 1540. Find out about the community of monks who lived here until early Tudor times and discover the impact of Henry VIII’s Reformation on this great church using rarely seen objects from our museum.

Links: History

Suitable for: KS2, 3

Duration: flexible but typically between 30-60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Tudor manuscript

Elizabeth’s reign began and ended at Westminster Abbey where she was crowned and buried. Amidst the pomp and ceremony of her coronation tensions ran high. Some watching would prove disloyal whilst others would stand by her throughout her long reign. How did Elizabeth wield her power and patronage? Find out through an examination of the monuments and portraiture in our collection.

Links: History

Suitable for: KS4

Duration: flexible but typically between 30-60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I

Visiting a church can be overwhelming - there is so much to look at, listen to and try to understand. What are the key Christian beliefs and how are they represented in churches? Put your detective skills to the test and de-code mystery objects from Westminster Abbey to learn about Christian belief and worship.

Links: RE

Suitable for: KS1, 2

Duration: flexible but typically between 30-60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Image of Last Supper on the High Altar in Westminster Abbey

Christian worship has taken place at Westminster Abbey for one thousand years. Find out more about key Christian beliefs and practices and have your questions ready for a live Q+A with one of our team of priests. Does God exist? How does Christianity account for suffering? What happens at a baptism? Who wrote the Bible? Don’t be shy! We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Links: GCSE RE

Suitable for: Upper KS3, KS4

Duration: flexible but typically between 30-60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Photograph of candles being lit in Westminster Abbey

Costumed video conferences

Portrayed by skilled storyteller Will Ewart, meet characters from Westminster Abbey’s past. Your students will be able to travel back in time and explore key elements of 1,000 years of British history from the people who were there.

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of one creation of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. This grave holds the body of an ordinary soldier from the First World War; a soldier whose story is shrouded in mystery. Was he a conscript? A volunteer? How did he die? What of his family back home? And how did he come to be at the Abbey, buried amongst the kings? 

One man who can shed light on this is Padre Railton, the First World War priest who was struck by the idea of bringing a fallen soldier to be buried at the Abbey. Meet him as he talks about his experience in World War I, and how his idea came into reality.

Links: History, RE

Suitable for: KS2,3

Duration: flexible but typically 60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Photograph of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior (close up) in the nave of Westminster Abbey

For much of its 1,000-year history, Westminster Abbey has been a place of pilgrimage. As part of the Benedictine tradition of hospitality, the Abbey’s monks welcomed pilgrims, many of whom had travelled hundreds of miles to worship at the Shrine of St Edward.

Make your own pilgrimage to Westminster Abbey, to meet Brother Ralph, one of those monks. With his guidance your pupils will explore medieval life and discover why pilgrimage is so important to so many people.

Links: History, RE

Suitable for: KS2,3

Duration: flexible but typically 60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Illustration of Benedictine monks within Westminster Abbey

For as long as anyone can remember, England has been ruled by a king or queen wielding absolute power and governing with a God-given right. But in this year of 1649, all that is about to change. With the King, Charles I, imprisoned and sentenced to death, your pupils are invited to join Cromwell and be a part of that change.

What are the ties that bind this nation together? What values do your pupils believe to be most important for their wellbeing and prosperity? Be warned – they are likely to be challenged when debating these values.

Links: History

Suitable for: KS2,3

Duration: flexible but typically 60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Photograph of memorial to Oliver Cromwell in Westminster Abbey

It is 1st January 1066 and King Edward the Confessor lies upon his deathbed. Harold Godwinson, perhaps the most powerful man in the kingdom, ponders the fate of Anglo-Saxon England as no one knows who will next take the throne.

But one thing is certain; there is a long list of claimants. Can your pupils help Harold choose the next ruler of England? And could their choice signal the end of an era – the time of the Anglo-Saxons?

Links: History, RE

Suitable for: KS2,3

Duration: flexible but typically 60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Manuscript illuminated letter of King Harold

The year is 1953 and Peter Dimmock has the task of filming the biggest event of the century: The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

This is the first time a coronation has been broadcast live, for the world to watch and Peter needs your pupils to help him answer one simple question: what makes a coronation? Using clues found within Westminster Abbey, and piecing together guidance from ancient manuscripts, they will uncover the centuries-old secrets that transform a prince or princess into a king or queen.

Links: History, RE

Suitable for: KS2,3

Duration: flexible but typically 60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Photograph of staging for the 1953 coronation ceremony on Elizabeth II

Take your pupils on a voyage of discovery with one of the Tudor era’s most famous explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh. Plot your course carefully though, as the patronage Sir Walter enjoyed with Queen Elizabeth I has been replaced with the doubt of James I. How might Sir Walter regain royal favour in this year of 1617? Should he embark upon another journey to try and discover the fabled city of El Dorado? Or is it possible his adventuring across the globe has not been as successful and glorious as some may have thought?

Links: History

Suitable for: KS2,3

Duration: flexible but typically 60 minutes

Cost: Free of charge if booked for the Autumn Term 2020

Stained glass window showing Sir Walter Raleigh

Guided virtual tours

Our existing programme of tours is still available – virtually! Select the theme from our Primary or Secondary programme and we can guide your class round using our virtual tour.

Our KS1-3 virtual guided tours bring the Abbey straight to your classroom. With stories and humour, to capture their imagination, our Learning Officers guide you round the Abbey. All our usual themed tours are available – virtually! See the unique sights such as the Coronation Chair and the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, and also learn about Christian beliefs and key features of a church in the place where faith lives and history happens.

Suitable for: KS1, 2

Duration: Flexible but typically 60 minutes.

Cost: Free if booked for the Autumn term 2020

Photograph of the nave including the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, which will be visited during guided virtual tours for primary

Our range of KS3, GCSE and A-Level virtual guided tours led by our expert Learning Officers will complement and enrich your teaching. Through questions and investigations, we guide your students through the Abbey – virtually! See the unique sights such as the Coronation Chair and the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, and also learn about Christian beliefs and key features of a church in the place where faith lives and history happens.

Suitable for: KS3, 4 and 5

Duration: Flexible but typically 60 minutes.

Cost: Free if booked for the Autumn term 2020

Photograph of High Altar and Cosmati Pavement, which can be viewed in many of the Guided virtual tours for secondary students

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

Twitter logo Tweet this