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Visit Westminster Abbey ahead of the royal wedding

Published: Wednesday 24th of November 2010

Westminster Abbey has been chosen as the venue for next year's much anticipated royal wedding between Prince William and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton.

The pair announced their engagement earlier this month, which was followed by a flurry of anticipation about both the date and the venue.

This week, it was revealed that the nuptials will take place on April 29th - which has now been declared a public holiday - and the ceremony is to be held in Westminster Abbey.

News of the service is likely to entice visitors to the UK's capital from all over the world and it looks like Westminster Abbey will be top of the list of London attractions to visit during their stay.

And although the royal wedding will be at the front of people's minds as they explore the abbey, the old building has many interesting features and stories of its own.

It has long been an important location for the British monarchy, with coronations held at the church since 1066. 17 kings and queens have also been laid to rest here, so there is much history to be found for those with an interest in the royal family.

When it comes to the building itself, its gothic structure is known around the world and visitors to this London attraction will not fail to be impressed by its towering spires and stunning stained glass windows.

Construction of the church began in 1245 when Henry III was on the throne, but it took many more years before the abbey was completed.

Over the course of five centuries, work was carried out, new chapels added and old ones rebuilt, with the West Towers the final section of the building to be completed in 1745.

If you choose to visit Westminster Abbey while in London, you will find that the beautiful architecture is worth the visit alone - its Gothic vault is the highest in England and narrow aisles only serve to make it appear taller still.

But Westminster Abbey has a connection with more than just the royal part of Britain's history. Many famous people are buried or commemorated here, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and Martin Luther King.

Perhaps one of the most striking graves in the abbey is that of the Unknown Warrior. The body of an unknown soldier was transported from France in 1920 to be buried in the church on November 11th.

Herbert Ryle, the Dean of Westminster, composed the inscription for the tomb stone to honour the memory of those who died in the Great War.

A wreath is still placed on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior on Armistice Day each year and it serves as a memorial to all the men who gave their lives while fighting for their country between 1914 and 1918.

Westminster Abbey is open to visitors every day of the week, so regardless of when you are in London you should be able to find time to come and see this historic and spectacular church.

Anyone who wants to worship at the abbey can do so by attending one of the daily services, or for a particularly special visit, you may want to plan ahead and attend one of the special events.

With Christmas fast approaching, there will be a range of advent services throughout December, in addition to some carol services that often prove highly popular.

Entry into the abbey is priced at £15 for adults, although you could find that you save money by purchasing one of the multi-entry tickets available from Leisurepass. Not only will this gain you entry to Westminster Abbey, but you can also choose from more than 50 other London attractions to visit during you stay - all with the same ticket.
 

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