Westminster Abbey is one of the most iconic buildings in the whole of London. It has played a central role in the history of the city, and coincidentally, is situated near the city center. Naturally, those of us on the AIFS London summer program were dying to explore this great building and take in its history.
AIFS provided us with the opportunity to have the famous British high tea in Westminster. This was one of the first activities for us on the program to get to know each other, and we were able to do it in the beautiful confines of a medieval church. For those of you who don’t know, high tea consists of small finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and an assortment of pastries. And of course, it also comes with copious amounts of English tea. All of which is beautifully served on fine china.
This was such a fun way to spend the afternoon, getting to know the people on the program and indulging in a sugar high that would last for hours. After tea, a group of us decided that we wanted to go back to Westminster as soon as possible to explore the church even more. So, a few days later after our class got out, we ventured back to Westminster and payed the rather hefty fine to get in and explore some more of the Abbey.
We all thought that we would spend an hour at the Abbey, maximum, little did we know that we would be there for over two and a half hours. The church is filled with stunning architecture, interesting history, and the tombs of some of the most famous people that have ever walked the earth. Within five seconds of walking in we found ourselves looking at the tombs of Isaac Newton and Jane Austin. We saw the royal burial place of the great Queen Elizabeth I and her bitter rivals Mary Queen of Scots and Bloody Mary (Mary I). King Henry VII was laid to rest in the church as well as princes, princesses, and queens dating back hundreds of years back into England’s history.
It was incredible to be standing in a place of such importance and surrounded by the remains of some of the most renowned people to have ever walked the earth. College students are not always interested in spending a day learning history- but Westminster made it fun and enjoyable for all of us.Even though Westminster is one of the first places in London I was able to explore, I have no doubt it will be one of my favorites.
So if you ever get the chance, drink up the tea and look at the architecture that surrounds you; it is worth every moment and every penny. I can’t wait to explore more of what London has to offer with the friends I am making this summer.