Welcome to the Westminster Abbey website. I hope the website will give you the information you are looking for and a taste of what awaits you if you are able to come and visit the Abbey for an act of worship, or a special service, or a tour, or a lecture or one of the many other activities and events that bring people to the Abbey.
Westminster Abbey is a living Church where worship is offered to almighty God daily, as it has been ever since the year 960. There are twenty-eight services every week, which everyone is welcome to attend, of course free of charge. Some services are according to the Church of England’s 16th century Book of Common Prayer; others are in the modern language of the Church of England’s Common Worship. You will find all the details here. The Abbey’s world-famous choir sings at eight services each week during the choir term. Choral services continue out of term sung by visiting choirs. Every day the Eucharist is celebrated at 8.00 a.m., except on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. There are usually later celebrations as well.
Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great visitor attractions. 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. Over 3,000 men and women are buried or memorialised here, from almost every century of these islands’ history and international connections: scientists and engineers, statesmen and politicians, lawyers and warriors, clerics, poets and novelists, actors and musicians. Almost every day, you will be welcome to visit the Abbey and to see for yourself this beautiful church. On Sundays, entrance to the Abbey is restricted to those attending acts of worship. You can find more details about our charges for visiting and concessions and hours of opening here.
From its foundation in 960 for almost six hundred years the Abbey was a Benedictine monastery. Since 1560, when Queen Elizabeth I re-founded the Abbey after the English Reformation, our official title has been the Collegiate Church of St Peter in Westminster. The Abbey’s governing body, the Dean and Chapter, is answerable to The Queen for the mission and ministry of the Abbey.
We see the Abbey as representing Faith at the Heart of our Nation: clearly Anglican (that is both Catholic and Reformed) but welcoming other denominations and faiths as appropriate into this special space, near Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, Whitehall and the Supreme Court.
The Dean and Chapter of Westminster defines our Mission in these terms:
Whether you are able to visit the Abbey in the near future or not, you can become connected to our ministry and mission through the Abbey Association. You can support the mission through an annual gift, and receive invitations to events and information about what is happening and planned. We continue to enjoy an exciting period of development and significant change. You can find out more about the Association here.
The Choir School is located within the Abbey precincts. It offers the Abbey choristers an outstanding all-round musical, academic and general education. When they leave the Choir School, former choristers go on to outstandingly good schools. The cost of boarding and education is heavily subsidised by the Dean and Chapter so that a boy from any background with the right musical aptitude is able to join the Abbey Choir. The School was recently inspected and given the highest level of approval. You can read the report here. If you would like to learn more about the life of the School and how to apply for a place for your son, please follow the link here.
Thank you for visiting the Abbey website. I hope you will be able to visit the Abbey in person and form a connection with us. You will be most welcome. May almighty God bless you!
- The Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall
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.