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How to avoid the queues
1) Arrive during off-peak hours. Arrive at the opening time or about 20 minutes before if visiting in July or August: it’s when the Abbey is least crowded. During popular summer months arriving this early just to see quite a long line snaking out already may be discouraging, but don’t worry: a couple of hours later it will be three times longer!
Tourist groups start arriving about one hour after the opening time, and the Abbey becomes overcrowded very fast. Your early arrival will guarantee a calm experience. Lunchtime is usually the busiest time of the day (just after the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace). Late afternoons are calmer, but during busy periods it may be necessary to arrive well in advance of the last admittance hour (there can be a long queue and you just won’t be in time to enter).
2) Arrive on Wednesday’s extended hours. Only those who do a bit of researching before the visit know that on Wednesday Westminster Abbey closes later, at 6pm. The best part is that only individual visitors are allowed, no groups or tours inside at these hours, so this time is really the least crowded! Come by 4pm and take your time to explore one of London’s top attractions.
3) Come as a worshipper. During church services, it is free for the public to enter the Abbey for worship. You won’t have access to tombs and monuments, but sitting in the nave during the service will give you a strong taste of the history this place holds. Worship takes place every day in the Abbey, usually four services daily at 7.30am, 8am, 12.30pm, 5pm. On Sundays there are six services at 8am, 10am, 11.15am, 3pm, 5.45pm, 6.30pm.
4) Come on the right day. Avoid coming in summer (July and August are the busiest months, be prepared to stay in line for about an hour!) and prefer winter, with the smallest visitor numbers. The wait will not take more than 5 minutes on average. Avoid religious holidays (on major holidays, like Easter, Christmas, etc., it’s not only crowded but also closed to tourists), school and public holidays. Saturday is the busiest day. Out of the weekdays Monday is the one to avoid and try to schedule your visit for a Wednesday.
Good to know
London Pass gives you free access to Westminster Abbey, but it doesn’t provide a fast lane entry: you’ll have to stand in the queue like everybody else!
Join a guided tour of the Abbey, departing throughout the day from the information desk. You’ll pay £5.00 additional charge at the entrance to be part of this 90-minute tour. Since they are limited to 20 people, you need to contact the Abbeys Information Desk on +44 (0)20 7654 4834 to book your place.
You can also book private guided tours here which is around the same price, but you’ll have your voucher in advance.
If you feel like exploring the place on your own, pick up an audio guide at the entrance, which is free with admission.
Photos and video are not allowed in the Abbey.
Dress appropriately (it is usually quite cold inside during winter!)
Photo credits to Fabio Paoleri via Flickr
Individual ticket prices
- Adults: £20.00
- Concessions: £17.00 (Over 18 students and 60+)
- Children (6 - 16 years): £9
- Children under 6: free accompanied by an adult
- Family : £40.00 (2 adults and 1 child) or £45.00 (2 adults and 2 children)
Entry for all the above includes a free audio-guide each
Tips for a few days in London
This page will give you many tips to avoid crowds in London as well as crowd schedules for top tourist attractions in order to plan your visits.
By Tube: St James’s Park (District and Circle Lines) and Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines) are the nearest stops.