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Westminster Abbey Services | Daily Prayer, Choral Services, Special Services & More

Westminster Abbey is a London church that hosts coronations and other important national festivities. Except for Edward V and Edward VIII, every British monarch has been crowned in the abbey since William the Conqueror. In addition, the Westminster Abbey is also a functioning church that holds regular free-to-attend services. Here is everything you need to know about Westminster Abbey services.

What comprises of the Westminster Abbey services?

Westminster Abbey services are quite popular amongst people of faith, especially because of the cultural and historical importance of Westminster Abbey. If you are interested in attending services at Westminster Abbey, you may do so free of charge. Listed below are the different services at the abbey that you can attend.

Westminster Abbey Services
  • Evensong: It follows the traditional structure in The Book of Common Prayer and includes choral music from the Anglican musical tradition, such as psalms, canticles, anthems, biblical readings, and prayers.
  • Morning Prayer: It is a short service including psalms, scripture readings, and prayers. On weekdays, it begins at 7:30 AM and on Saturdays, at 8:40 AM. To attend the Morning Prayer, you will need to enter through the Great West Door.
  • Holy Communion: According to Common Worship, this is a Word and Sacrament service in which the Holy Scriptures are read, prayers are offered, and bread and wine are received as Jesus Christ's flesh and blood.
  • Evening Prayer: Psalms, readings from Holy Scripture, and prayers are used in this service, which follows the traditional form in The Book of Common Prayer. The evening prayer is held at 5 PM on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
  • Sung Eucharist: The Holy Scriptures are read, a sermon is spoken, prayers are offered, and bread and wine are received as the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Evening Service: Readings, prayers, music, and an address make up this informal service. If you are planning to attend Westminster Abbey Services for the first time, this should be the best one to start with.

Other services at Westminster Abbey

People travel from all over the world to attend Westminster Abbey services. Here are some other services that you can attend at Westminster Abbey.

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Choral Services

For almost a thousand years, sung prayer has been offered essentially every day in Westminster Abbey. During the school year, the world-famous Westminster Abbey Choir sings daily services, with visiting choirs filling in when the Abbey Choir is on break. The music sung encompasses the amazing complexity and variation of the Anglican choral heritage, ranging from Gregorian chant from the first millennium to current music.

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Special Services

Annual festivals, memorials, and remembrances are just a few of the special services held at Westminster Abbey. Many are held on behalf of a national or international organization, the church, or the Royal Family. If you are visiting London, keep an eye on the church schedule to catch one of these beautiful special services.

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Our Lady of Pew

A little enclosure or chapel is referred to as a 'Pew'. Under Our Lady of Pew, the abbey offers mass and retreats to honor the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary. While it was once a self-contained rectangular recess chapel of the 14th century, today, the Chapel of Our Lady of Pew serves as the entrance to the Chapel of St John the Baptist and is located off the north ambulatory.

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Organ Recitals

Every Sunday afternoon, Westminster Abbey hosts an organ recital. These free 30-minute concerts feature a diverse spectrum of music and feature the abbey's famous Harrison & Harrison organ. If purely religious services aren’t your cup of tea, this special event is made for you.

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Edwardtide

Catholics commemorate the life of St Edward the Confessor, King of England from 1042 to 1066 and the re-founder of Westminster Abbey, on Edwardtide. St Edward was canonized in 1161, and people still flock to his shrine to worship in October of every year.

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Advent and Christmas

At Westminster Abbey, Advent and Christmas are special times. Westminster Abbey hopes to accommodate as many worshippers as possible to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ every year. There will be a variety of music and family events, and the abbey will be open to tourists for much of the Christmas season.

Visiting Westminster Abbey services

Attending any service at Westminster Abbey is completely free of charge. On their Sunday services, the abbey takes a collection that is usually donated to nominated organizations and charities, for which you are welcome to contribute. You can check out their service time calendar to know the service schedules as well. 

However, if you wish to explore the abbey along with attending a service, you may have to buy yourself a ticket. Make sure to check the service schedules and pre-book your Westminster Abbey tickets to make the best of your visit.




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Frequently asked questions about Westminster Abbey services

Can I attend a service at Westminster Abbey?

Yes, you can attend a Westminster Abbey service.

Can I visit Westminster Abbey for private prayer?

You can go to Westminster Abbey for private prayer. This is free of charge as well.

Do I need to pay to attend a service at Westminster Abbey?

No, you don’t have to pay to attend Westminster Abbey services.

What are the timings for Westminster Abbey services?

Westminster Abbey services begin from the morning and go on well into the evening. You can look at their schedules here

How to enter Westminster Abbey for a service?

You can use the Great West Door to enter Westminster Abbey for the services.

Do I need to follow a dress code for attending services at Westminster Abbey?

Yes, since Westminster Abbey is a religious institution, you need to dress in an attire that doesn’t reveal your shoulders and knees. You can be refused entry if your attire isn’t appropriate.

Can I speak to a chaplain at Westminster Abbey?

Yes, you can speak to a chaplain at the Abbey. These services are subject to availability. You can approach an abbey marshal to help you.

Is Westminster Abbey a part of the Church of England?

Westminster Abbey is neither a parish church nor a cathedral. However, it still plays a significant role within the Church of England. It is instead called “Royal Peculiar”, a status given to the abbey during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. 

Can I visit Westminster Abbey as a part of the clergy?

Yes, you can visit Westminster Abbey as a part of the clergy.