Heritage

Eddie Saint-Jean is an arts/culture/heritage writer and the editor of London magazine What’s Hot London? He’s a London expert who writes articles and guides about the capital’s historical and cultural attractions.


Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey by day
Westminster Abbey at night

Westminster Abbey is Britain’s most famous place of worship and has 1,000 years of history as the coronation and resting place for monarchs. Also, over the centuries a number of distinguished political figures, scientists, writers and artists have been buried here. Amongst them, Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Laurence Olivier and Stephen Hawking,

Do you know how Westminster Abbey got its name? Read my article.

The Coronation Chair

The Coronation Chair is kept in St George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey and has been used in the coronation ceremonies for Britain’s kings and queens since 1066 AD. As you can guess, it’s a priceless heritage item and one of the most well-guarded pieces of furniture in the UK (if not the world). But in 1950, some disgruntled Scottish students stole the Stone of Scone which is kept under the chair. It’s actually a Scottish stone! Taken from the Scots by English monarch Edward I in 1296. Read more here.

And did you know Oliver Cromwell refused to be ‘coronated’ in Westminster Abbey but had the Coronation Chair moved from the Abbey to Westminster Hall for the ceremony?

Read my article to find out more.

The Chapter House – The first English Parliament met here in 1257
The Pyx Chamber – the oldest room in London

The oldest room in London (the Pyx Chamber above) and the oldest door in the UK are both located in the East Cloisters section of Westminster Abbey. This door pre-dates the reign of William the Conqueror!

Read my article for more about Westminster Abbey’s history.

Around 1.5 million people a year visit Westminster Abbey. Back in 2011-2013, visitor numbers were around the 2 million mark and have dropped significantly during the pandemic. Numbers are now picking up again.

Planning to visit Westminster Abbey? Read my guide.

And look out for my series of LONDON BOOKS on the capital’s arts, culture, heritage – also nature spots and attractions.