Curiosity

This Part Of Westminster Abbey Will Open To The Public For The First Time In 700 Years

The area gives tourists a beautiful view from 70 feet above the church's floor!

Millions of people visit Westminster Abbey, the storied landmark church in London, every year. However, there is one part of the church that has been off-limits to visitors for 700 years.

Located 70 feet above the building’s floor, the area known as the triforium had previously been used for storage, but will soon open to the general public for the first time. It will be reborn as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. The new space is expected to open June 11.

triforium westminster photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

“It will be the highest point that members of the public can get,” Susan Jenkins, curator of the project, told Conde Nast Traveler. “It lets you appreciate the abbey and some of its most historic elements … And it’s breathtaking.”

A new tower was built in order for guests the access the space. According to Westminster Abbey, the renovation project cost just upward of $32 million and is the biggest project done at Westminster Abbey in more than 250 years.

Window Cleaning Takes Place At The New Triforium At Westminster Abbey
Getty Images | Leon Neal

In addition to giving guests a new vantage point of the church, an exhibition there will tell the story of Westminster Abbey using 300 objects arranged in four themes: Building Westminster Abbey, Worship and Daily Life, Westminster Abbey and the Monarchy and The Abbey and National Memory.

Some of the artifacts that will be on display include a 17th-century coronation chair for Mary II, an altarpiece from Henry III’s reign and the marriage license of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Here’s what a view from the new space looks like:

triforium photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

Last month, Westminster Abbey announced that the late Stephen Hawking will have his ashes interred in the church in June, just days after the new galleries open.

“It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists,” the Very Reverend John Hall, dean of Westminster, said in a press release. Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are among the legendary British scientists to be buried there.

Westminster Abbey
Flickr | Mark Ramsay

Have you ever been to Westminster Abbey? Even if you have, it looks like a new trip may be in order to see the new space — which, ironically, is actually very old!