Experience the splendour of Westminster Abbey’s Chapter House

Address: 20 Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PA

An age-old meeting place for the Benedictine monks of London’s famous Westminster Abbey, the Chapter House remains a popular attraction that draws hundreds of visitors every year.

Located in the heart of one of the world’s most historic and impressive cathedrals, visitors are sure to be in for a treat when uncovering the rich heritage of Chapter House and the surrounding abbey.

Built by the royal masons in 1250, the Chapter House has been a meeting place for some of the most influential figures of London for more than 750 years.

Originally used by the Benedictine monks that founded Westminster Abbey, the Chapter House went on to become the central venue for the host of the King’s Great Council and the Commons, the predecessors of today’s Parliament.

Having been used as a repository of government records up until the late 1540s, the vestibule of Chapter House underwent an extensive restoration during the Victorian era under the guidance of acclaimed architect of the time Sir Gilbert Scott.

Today, it remains one of the most outstanding areas of beauty of Westminster Abbey.

Great things to see and do at Westminster Abbey’s Chapter House

Nestled away in the East Cloister of the Abbey sits Chapter House, which is one of the most architecturally stunning areas of Westminster Abbey and a true delight for lovers of history and culture to explore.

With an octagonal design that creates a unique impression upon visitors when they enter, Chapter House features a stunning vaulted ceiling and imposing central column that both draws the eye and gives a true sense of weight to the space.

The room is lavishly adorned with sculptures and paintings that draw on the heritage of the Abbey and give guests an insight into the many years and important events that have been witnessed from within the cloister.

It also contains some of the earliest and finest medieval pavings in England, as well as offering a glorious view of the later-added Victorian stained glass windows that flood Chapter House with light.

Opening hours for Chapter House

Chapter House is open to the public each day (from Monday to Saturday) between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. It is closed on Sundays. The attraction is also free to enter for all visitors.

Interesting facts about Westminster Abbey

Visitors to Chapter House will also undoubtedly wish to take a tour of their impressive and splendid surroundings that are to be found at Westminster abbey, but with such a long and rich history there are also many hidden facts that visitors might not be aware of.

Here are just some of those interesting titbits of information that could whet visitor’s appetites ahead of their trip:

1. Known to be the only surviving Anglo-Saxon door in the whole of England, the oak door that resides at the entrance to Chapter House can be dated back to the time of Edward the Confessor (between 1032 AD and 1064 AD).

2. The Abbey is a famous resting place for the great and the good of British aristocracy and luminaries of culture, but what many people might not realise is that more than 3,300 people are interred at this famous site. Such famous names as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, the Bronte sisters, Geoffrey Chaucer and John Keats are all buried here.

3. Westminster Abbey was originally built on an island, as more than 1,000 years ago, when the Abbey was originally constructed, the site was separated from the rest of London by water. The level of the surrounding land has since risen and the waters of the Thames receded after its embankment, meaning the Abbey was eventually joined by land to the rest of the English capital.

Travel and parking for Chapter House visitors

Individuals keen to drive during their time in London can make use of several nearby parking options in the vicinity of Chapter House, such as:

  • Q-Park Westminster (72 ft, one minute travel time on foot)
  • Abington Street Car Park (121 ft, one minute)
  • Q-Park Victoria (0.4 miles, seven minutes)
  • Rochester Row Car Park (0.5 miles, nine minutes)
  • Tolpuddle Street Car Park (0.7 miles, 14 minutes)
  • Trafalgar Car Park (0.7 miles, 14 minutes)

Motorists planning journeys to this busy part of central London should be aware that traffic volumes can be high throughout the day and night, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. It is therefore often prudent for travellers to plan their journeys in advance, as well as to pre-book their parking, when possible.

Underground stations and public transport

For all those hoping to avoid the stresses of driving during a visit to the English capital, the extensive London Underground network can be the perfect solution. Visitors can make use of regular Underground services to several nearby stations, including:

  • St James’s Park (Circle and District lines)
  • Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee lines)
  • Victoria Underground (Circle, District and Victoria lines)
  • Pimlico (Victoria line)
  • Embankment (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern lines)
  • Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City lines)
  • Lambeth North (Bakerloo line)
  • Vauxhall (Victoria line)

In addition, travellers can also make use of nearby overground rail services from stations including London Victoria, Charing Cross and Waterloo. Around-the-clock bus services also ensure that travellers are able to make use of local public transport options throughout the night and day, with full details of all local travel arrangements available via the Transport for London website.

Other nearby attractions

And finally, it is not just Chapter House that draws thousands of avid visitors to this busy part of central London every year, as the area also offers a vast array of other nearby attractions.

Travellers planning a London getaway might like include some or all of the following in their trip’s itinerary of great things to see and do in the local area:

  • Westminster Abbey (less than 0.1 miles, three minutes’ travel time on foot)
  • Palace of Westminster (less than 0.1 miles, two minutes)
  • Coca-Cola London Eye (0.6 miles, 13 minutes’ travel time via public transport)
  • Churchill War Rooms (0.4 miles, seven minutes)
  • The London Dungeon (0.6 miles, 11 minutes)
  • Sea Life London Aquarium (0.5 miles, seven minutes)
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London (one mile, 15 minutes)
  • The National Gallery (0.8 miles, 11 minutes)
  • Buckingham Palace (0.8 miles, 17 minutes)
  • Big Ben (0.2 miles, three minutes)
  • Trafalgar Square (0.7 miles, 11 minutes)
  • IWM (one mile, 14 minutes)
  • Jubilee Gardens (0.7 miles, nine minutes)
  • Benjamin Franklin House (0.7 miles, nine minutes)

 

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