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May at Westminster Abbey

May brings news of exciting events and activities as we look forward to summer. From more tours, talks and family days as part of our Fraternité season to our Chorister experience day.

We have also announced our special summer season entitled ‘Creation’ – from yoga sessions in College Garden and open air theatre in Dean’s Yard to after hours music in the Cloisters!

Read on to find out more about what is happening at Westminster Abbey in the month ahead.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.



Fraternité Tour: French footprints in British history

Location: The Abbey
Date: See below
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Tickets: £10.00

Journey through collaboration and conflict as we delve into the intricate French links woven throughout Britain’s history.

Join a guide to explore the complex historical relationship between France and England and examines the intricate French links woven throughout Westminster Abbey’s history, exploring four distinct connections from various time periods in this ever-evolving relationship.

Through a history marked by collaboration and conflict, the tour covers key points such as the Abbey’s French-inspired architecture and historical figures with French connections, like Anne Boleyn. As well as delving into the impact of France on the poets of the First World War and France’s crucial role in the American Revolution, shaping the course of world history as we know it.

Available dates

  • Thursday 9th May
  • Saturday 11th May
  • Tuesday 14th May

What you need to book for this event

  • General admission to the Abbey

How to book

  1. Select your preferred date(s) and time(s) from the list above.
  2. You will be transferred to the Westminster Abbey ticket website. Select your chosen date and time (the time slot must be before or the same time as the tour time slot) and select your general admission tickets.
  3. You will then be prompted to book tickets for the Fraternité tour, if available.

If you would like to look around the rest of the Abbey during your visit then we recommend you do so before you take part in the tour. This is to allow you enough time to see as much as possible.

Additional information and restrictions

There is a maximum of 15 people per tour.
Children under the age of 15 will not be permitted on this tour, please see our family pages for information and events to explore this theme as a family.



Abbey choir boys
some photos for brochure

Chorister Experience Day

Location: The Abbey
Date: Saturday 11th May
Time: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Tickets: Free (booking required)

Find out what it’s like to be an Abbey chorister, ideal for boys aged 6 – 8.

Our choristers enjoy an outstanding education at the Abbey Choir School, coupled with specialist musical training and the wealth of performance opportunities which come with being a member of the Abbey’s world-famous choir.

Come behind the scenes at our Chorister Experience Day to find out more. A love of singing and an enthusiasm for music are all that is required; no formal training is necessary.

The day will include the opportunity for boys currently in Year 2 or 3 to:

  • Join the choir in a rehearsal
  • Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Abbey
  • Sing in the world-famous Abbey Choir at Evensong
  • Take home a certificate and goody bag

*Places are free, but booking is essential.




Fraternité Talk: Lilies and Roses – The Tudor Court and France

Location: St Margaret’s Church
Date: Thursday 16th May
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Tickets: £10.00

Join Alison Weir and Sarah Gristwood in conversation as they explore the dynamic relationship between the courts of Tudor England and Renaissance France.

Historians Alison Weir and Sarah Gristwood delve into the intricate dynamics between the courts of Tudor England and Renaissance France, exploring the interplay of warfare, rivalries, and alliances alongside the grandeur of events like the Field of Cloth of Gold. They’ll also discuss the influential roles played by female monarchs, including the career of Anne Boleyn within the French court, during this era dominated by powerful queens.
Additional information

You are welcome to attend Evensong at 5:00pm before the talk (seating by 4:45pm)
Doors will open at 6:00pm.
The talk will begin at 6:30pm.
This will be followed by an audience Q&A from 7:15pm.
Alison and Sarah will stay for a book signing until 8:00pm.

Books by both authors will be available for purchase.




Fraternité Family Day: The Bayeux Tapestry and Beyond

Location: The Abbey
Date: Saturday 18th May
Time: 10:00am – 2:00pm
Tickets: Included in the price of admission

Explore how the drama of 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, shaped the future of Westminster Abbey.

In 1066, William the Conqueror led the Norman Invasion of England, defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings and was crowned King at Westminster Abbey. Explore these momentous events in a day of stories, puzzles, craft and mind-blowing history.

Your own Bayeux Collage

The story of 1066 was memorably told in the Bayeux Tapestry. Choose your own character from the Tapestry and, using craft and collage materials, create a brand-new scene, exploring who they are, what they got up to in 1066, and what their superpower might be!

  • Time: 10.00am – 2.00pm

William the Conqueror story tour

Did Edward the Confessor promise the throne of England to William of Normandy, or was that just a rumour? Was King Harold shot by an arrow through the eye, or is that just a tapestry-maker’s fantasy? Why did William the Conqueror choose Westminster Abbey for his coronation and why did the day end in a riot? Explore all this and more in a family story tour, bringing to life the dramatic events of 1066, and the ways in which the Norman invasion changed English history.

  • Time: 11.00am

Age suitability

Activities are suitable for children aged 3+ and younger children are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult throughout their time at the Abbey.

Toilets and baby changing facilities are available in the Cloisters.





On truth telling and storytelling

Location: The Nave
Date: Thursday 23rd May
Time: 6:30pm – 7:45pm
Tickets: Free (booking required)

Canon Dr Paula Gooder, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, gives the annual Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lecture.

The Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lectures are given in memory of Dean Eric Symes Abbott (1906-1983), who was at various times Dean of King’s College London, Warden of Lincoln Theological College, Warden of Keble College Oxford, and Dean of Westminster. The Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Fund was endowed after his death by his friends to provide for an annual lecture on spirituality and pastoral theology.

The speaker

This year’s speaker, Dr Paula Gooder, is one of today’s best known New Testament theologians, a scholar and teacher, and is a Licensed Lay Reader in the Church of England.

As Chancellor of St Paul’s, she is responsible for growing and leading the Cathedral’s expanding theological and learning programme, a major part of its Christian mission and outreach.


Places are free but should be booked in advance.





Notre Dame de Paris, The Augmented Exhibition

Date: 7th February – 1st June 2024
Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Location: Chapter House
Tickets: Included in the price of admission (booking required)

Immerse yourself in the history and spectacle of Notre Dame de Paris in the UK’s only location for this world touring interactive exhibition.

About the exhibition
Explore the story of the French gothic masterpiece, Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) from its earliest origins in the 12th century and its illustrious 850-year history to its painstaking restoration following the devastating fire of 2019.

This exhibition is an immersive and interactive journey through Notre Dame’s past including the lavish wedding of King Henri IV, the glittering coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the 19th century construction of Notre-Dame’s iconic spire of Viollet-le-Duc, which was tragically destroyed by the fire. The skill, artistry and vision over the ages of its architects, craftsmen and builders, and the 21st century experts who are bringing it back to its former glory are brought to life in the show.

Upon entry you will be given a HistoPad™—a portable, touch-screen tablet to show you key moments in Notre-Dame’s history and restoration. Accessible to all ages and levels of technological savvy, it is in 13 languages and includes a virtual treasure hunt for children, and onboard selfie studio.

The HistoPad™ tour will take place in the Abbey’s 13th century Chapter House and envelope you in a multi-sensory experience—including audio of the cathedral’s organ and tolling bells, a full-size replica of one of the structure’s famed chimera statues, and a projection of one of Notre-Dame’s iconic rose windows, which survived the fire.

Created by digital heritage specialists, Histovery, in collaboration with Rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris, and supported by L’Oréal Groupe.

Ticketing information

The exhibition is free but you will need to book a slot when purchasing your tickets to the Abbey.
Exhibition tickets are released in conjunction with Abbey tickets, up to two months prior.






Charles II was born on 29th May 1630 at St James’ Palace, son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. He fought alongside his father against Oliver Cromwell’s forces throughout much of the English Civil War. He escaped to the continent before his father was beheaded on 30th January 1649. In 1650 he landed in Scotland and was crowned King of Scots at Scone on 1st January 1651 but his attempt to regain the English throne failed when Cromwell defeated him at the Battle of Worcester. Charles was on the run for several weeks (hiding in an oak tree at one point according to legend) before making his remarkable escape to France. Cromwell died in 1658 and his son Richard resigned leaving the way clear for the restoration of the Charles to the throne. The Great Plague in 1665 and the Great Fire of London the following year overshadowed his reign. Charles was a great patron of the arts and founded the Royal Society.


In 1662 Charles married Portuguese infanta Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV (she is buried in Portugal). They had no children but Charles had 13 children by various mistresses.


Charles rode into London on 29th May 1660 to popular acclaim. Due to the lengthy preparations and the fact that a new set of regalia had to be made for the occasion, as the previous set had been melted down during the Commonwealth period, his coronation did not take place in the Abbey until 23rd April 1661. The cost was over £12,000. Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, was at the ceremony and detailed the service in his diary. This coronation was the last time the traditional procession from the Tower of London took place. It was the first time that tiered seating was constructed in the transepts so that the congregation could see the ceremony. Previously a specially built raised ‘theatre’ of wood had been built in the lantern for the ceremony and the monarch had to ascend steps to the throne.

*Coffins in the Stuart vault in the south aisle of Henry VII’s chapel
This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library
Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster






Taking centre-stage in Rory’s extensive collection of signature silk scarves – this collection celebrates the 400th of the publication of William Shakespeare’s 1623 First Folio.

This design features references to the First Folio’s publication date, Shakespeare’s birth and death years, and his portrait, as well as figures dressed in Elizabethan costume, and recurring motifs in the plays, including a rose, crown, dagger, skull, and quill pen.
Published seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the First Folio includes 36 of his plays, thanks to the hard work and dedication of two of his friends and fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who gathered the plays together.
If they had not committed to collecting the work for the book, modern day experts on Shakespeare’s life and work have stated that half of all of his plays (including Macbeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Tempest, and Antony and Cleopatra) would have been lost forever.

  • Measures: 90x90cm
  • 100% silk
  • Made in Italy

Rolled edges






Sundays throughout the year

Held on Sundays at 5.00pm, these popular 30-minute recitals are given by visiting and the Abbey’s own organists and feature a wide range of music to suit all tastes.

Admission is free, tickets are not required.



Worship. Picture: Andrew Campbell




Westminster Abbey has been a place of worship since the tenth century and we still hold services every day.

Everyone is welcome to worship with us; services are free of charge and most do not require a ticket.





It costs over £14 million a year to maintain the Abbey, and we do not receive any funding from the Church, the Crown, or the Government. The drastic reduction to our income caused by the Covid pandemic is putting our priceless heritage at risk.

You can support the work of the Abbey, and preserve over 1,000 years of history, by becoming a member of the Abbey Association. From just £40, membership benefits include free entry to the Abbey and Galleries, exclusive member events and tours and discounts in our shops and the Cellarium Café and Terrace.





Since our founding by Benedictine monks, hospitality has always been at the heart of the Abbey. We have held royal weddings, State Occasions, and every coronation since 1066.

You can now hire an historic space for your next corporate event.

Why not host a dinner or reception in one of our unique heritage spaces, set within the Abbey grounds – and offer your guests a private tour of the Abbey?

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