London – Westminster Abbey

Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series 🙂 I’m finally sharing about our time in London, but if you missed any Paris posts, I’ve linked them below. Jon and I took a morning train from Paris to London, and as soon as we got off the train, I had an immediate feeling of relief. I’m not sure if it was hearing/seeing everything in English or what, but I felt instantly at home in London. It reminded me of NYC in a lot of ways but cleaner, older, and with a palace. We took the tube from the train station to our hotel and it was a very quick journey.

Jon and I were in London from May 25th – 29th and just missed the Platinum Jubilee from June 2nd – 5th. When I was planning our trip back in January, the Jubilee never crossed my mind. It was cool going before the Jubilee because the city was all decorated and festive. The city didn’t seem that crowded, but on our last full day, the area around Buckingham was starting to get shut down and chaotic, so we couldn’t get close to the gates or see the changing of the guard. I’ll share more about that in a future post, but wanted to give some context if you notice the city looking extra patriotic 🙂

Jon and I stayed at Common Page8 hotel in Trafalgar Square/Covent Garden and I thought this was an excellent location to be. It was near so many great restaurants, tube stations, and walkable to sights too. Our room was very comfortable and chic, but the smallest of the three hotels we stayed at. We weren’t in the room most of the day so it wasn’t an issue. One thing I noticed about the UK/Paris is there aren’t any outlets in the bathroom. This made it hard to blowdry/straighten my hair but I managed. I guess the US likes to live dangerously having an outlet right above the sink.

By the time Jon and I got settled into our hotel, we were starving! We walked to 7Dials Market, a trendy food hall similar to Chelsea Market in NYC, to grab a bite before our excursion. Truffle Burger caught our eye and we indulged in some truffle fries and The Truffle Burger (beef and bacon patty, raclette cheese, crispy onions, fig jam, and truffle mayonnaise). This meal was delicious and very filling! We enjoyed the London food scene so these posts might cause hunger 😉

Jon and I then headed to Westminster Abbey, one of the sites I was most excited to see in London. I thought the Abbey was open late on Wednesdays, but that is for the service and not to wander around, so we only had about an hour to tour the Abbey. We skipped the audio tour and went at our own pace using the map. We didn’t get a chance to see any of the newer Diamond Jubilee galleries, but we enjoyed walking through this iconic church.

Edward the Confessor built the Abbey in the eleventh century, but Henry III expanded it later on. This is where the British monarchy has been crowned since 1066, where Queen Elizabeth II and Phillip, and Kate and William got married, and hosts many royal funerals. Seventeen monarchs are buried here including Edward the Confessor, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Henry III, Henry IV, and Henry V.

The nave is ten stories high, the tallest in England.

The Grave of the Unknown Warrior commemorates those who died in WWI and is the only grave that cannot be walked on in Westminster Abbey. Even Kate Middleton had to walk around this on her wedding day.

Sir Isaac Newton is buried here along with other famous scientists and poets.

The choir used to be where the monks would chant their services back when Westminster Abbey was a monastery.

The Coronation Spot where every coronation since 1066 has taken place. This is also where the royal weddings and funerals take place.

Some of the tombs surrounding the Shrine of Edward the Confessor.

Tomb of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary I (Bloody Mary). Only Queen Elizabeth is depicted on the tomb, and holds an orb symbolizing her rule over the whole world.

Lady Chapel of King Henry VII.

Tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots. Poor Mary was beheaded by Elizabeth I because she thought she was planning an assassination attempt against the Queen. Mary’s son, James I, became King after Elizabeth I died and had his mom buried in Westminster with her head sewn back on.

The peaceful Great Cloister where it started downpouring.

The oldest door in England.

The last sight before exiting Westminster Abbey is the Coronation Chair used since 1308 by all but two monarchs.

While we were viewing the Great Cloister it down poured and I was worried that we’d have to walk home in the rain, but once we exited it was absolutely perfect outside! Elizabeth Tower was finally done with construction and it looked so beautiful! We even had a second for an uninterrupted picture.

Jon and I were pretty full from the truffle burger, so we decided to have ice cream for dinner because there are no rules on vacation 🙂 I got recommended Milk Train and I was very interested in this candy floss cone. It looked cool, but it made it hard to eat the ice cream so I won’t be ordering cotton candy on my cone again. This ice cream shop reminded me a bit of my beloved Milk & Cream Cereal Bar in NYC.

We were a bit tired from all the steps we walked in Paris and the travel day, so we called it an early night and watched YouTube videos about the Tower of London so we could get a better idea of what we would be seeing the following day. This video was especially entertaining! Also if you love the Rick Steves guide books, he has so many Youtube videos about different cities and countries, and they are so relaxing to watch! They’re super cheesy, but equally informative and I’d highly recommend watching some before your trips. Stay tuned for the Tower of London coming up next 🙂


Posts in my Paris and London Anniversary series:



28 thoughts on “London – Westminster Abbey

  1. I love, love, love the up close and personal tour of Westminster Abbey, Lyssy. I’ve seen it on television, of course, but TV does not capture the grandeur of it the way you did. Mike and I would love to see the abbey in person! Now for that video – yes, it was kind of goofy, but also kind of intriguing. Can’t want to find out if you saw ghosts when you visited. I’m anxiously awaiting your next post.

    1. Thank you!! Seeing it in person is so special and being able to walk in the Monarchs footsteps is pretty neat. I hope you guys can get to London and see it yourselves one day 🙂 It’s amazing how many different videos there are on Youtube. We watch a lot of food tour videos before we go places too.

  2. Thanks for a wonderful look at Westminster Abbey. It is magnificent. I’ve only seen the outside. All the dead people might be a little creepy.😄 You always find the best places to eat and cause hunger with the photos.😋

    1. So glad you enjoyed the tour 🙂 It is a little strange knowing that you are walking over dead people… I had a lot of good food recommendations for London that will be sprinkled in these posts 🙂

    1. Thank you!! Haha yes the burger was incredible, and ice cream definitely challenging. At least it wasn’t too hot and melting all over my hands haha

    1. We definitely saw a lot in a few days! We will definitely be going back one day to see more 🙂

  3. You are right Lyssy. London is like a comfortable old friend. We always enjoy our visits there and have been there 6 times including our honeymoon, when we foolishly tried to drive in from the airport. Westminster Abbey and the areas around it are so interesting to tour on foot as is the whole South Bank to Tower Bridge. That candy floss cone is ridonculous. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    1. That is a great description of London! Wow 6 times, that is awesome! I can imagine trying to drive in London, I would’ve been helpless without the signs on the sidewalk saying which way to look before crossing the street. We walked around Westminster and the area around after on our first night and it was a great intro to London! Ridonculous is right! 🙂

  4. The massive scale of the Abbey is revealed with your photos of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. The Grave looks tiny compared to the surrounding structure. I’ve never seen flags displayed in a sanctuary before; a nice touch, but I’m not a fan of the sculptured depictions of those buried in the caskets. Creeps me out a little. I’d prefer something more understated and flat in the floor instead. Any idea who the figure lying above the globe above Isaac Newton is meant to represent? If I could read Latin maybe I wouldn’t wonder 🙂

  5. It is so grand and beautiful inside the Abbey! I think St George’s Chapel in Windsor had the flags too, but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures in there. The caskets are a bit creepy, I agree that I’d rather be in the floor. It is Urania (the muse of Astronomy) for his accomplishments in astronomy. I wonder what it would be like to be that smart!

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