Westminster Abbey Museum

Housed in the magnificent vaulted undercroft beneath the former monks' dormitory, the museum is one of the oldest areas of the Abbey, dating back almost to the foundation of the Norman church by King Edward the Confessor in 1065.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Abbey's collection of royal and other funeral effigies. This collection includes the effigies of Edward III, Henry VII and his queen, Elizabeth I, Charles II, William III, Mary II and Queen Anne.

Later wax effigies include a striking likeness of Horatio, Viscount Nelson wearing some of his own clothes and another of the famous Prime Minister William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, modelled by an American lady called Patience Wright. During recent conservation of Elizabeth I's effigy a unique corset dating from 1603 was found on the figure and is now displayed separately.


Look out for…

  • Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Dr. Samuel Johnson and Charles Darwin were buried in the church’s grounds
  • The Abbey’s history is made up of famous Kings and Queens, as well as renowned poets and priests – even heroes and villains were embroiled in its past!
  • Memorial for Isaac Newton in Scientists corner
  • Westminster contains impressive statues and monuments from the Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus to the grave of the unknown warrior
  • The Little Cloister which leads to the College Gardens, the oldest garden in England, where the clergy staff live

Did you know?…

  • In 2011 it was the venue for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton
  • It’s been the nation’s Coronation church since the crowning of William the Conqueror in 1066
  • The current reigning Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on King Edward’s Chair, along with every monarch since 1308
  • There are 450 tombs and monuments in the Abbey
  • The Chapter House has one of the oldest doors dating to 1050
  • If you look closely, the walls are littered with schoolboy graffiti from the 1700s-1800s

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All information is drawn from or provided by the museums themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.