From the World Heritage inscription for Westminster Abby and St. Margaret’s Church:
The Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church lie next to the River Thames in the heart of London. With their intricate silhouettes, they have symbolized monarchy, religion, and power since Edward the Confessor built his palace and church on Thorney Island in the 11th century AD. Changing through the centuries together, they represent the journey from a feudal society to a modern democracy and show the intertwined history of the church, monarchy, and state.
The Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church continue in their original functions and play a pivotal role in society and government, with the Abbey being the place where monarchs are crowned, married and buried. It is also a focus for national memorials of those who have served their country, whether prominent individuals or representatives, such as the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The Abbey, a place of worship for over 1000 years, maintains the daily cycle of worship as well as being the church where major national celebrations and cultural events are held. The Palace of Westminster continues to be the seat of Parliament.
Westminster School can trace its origins back to 1178 and were re-founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1560. It is located around Little Dean’s Yard.
The iconic silhouette of the ensemble is an intrinsic part of its identity, which is recognized internationally with the sound of “Big Ben” being broadcast regularly around the world.
The Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church together encapsulate the history of one of the most ancient parliamentary monarchies of present times and the growth of parliamentary and constitutional institutions.
In tangible form, Westminster Abbey is a striking example of the successive phases of English Gothic art and architecture and the inspiration for the work of Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin on the Palace of Westminster.
Westminster is London. When you think of London you think of Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abby. In addition to the abbey you can also enter parliament, which is something I did back in 1999 when I visited London. If I had to list one thing everyone should do if they only have a brief layover in London, it is to visit Westminster.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.