Photography has long been banned in Westminster Abbey, but they have finally joined the other major cathedrals in London, and relaxed the ban.

(c) Dean and Chapter of Westminster

As with Southwark Cathedral and, since last year, St Paul’s Cathedral, photography is now allowed — except during the religious services.

Video recording, flash photography, extra lighting, selfie sticks and tripods are not permitted. Also, photography of children and young people is prohibited without consent of the accompanying adult.

Although photography is permitted in most of the Abbey, they are still restricting it in the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor and St Faith’s Chapel. Sadly, the ban on photography remains in place for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, which also happen to offer the most stunning view of the naive from up high.

That still leaves a lot to see, and to photograph though.

Entry to Westminster Abbey typically costs £18 per adult (plus £5 for the galleries if you want), but if you want to take photos, it might be better to consider joining the Abbey Association. That costs £40, but gets you unlimited visits for a whole year, amongst other benefits. There is also free admission for residents of the City of Westminster, using the City Save card.

And finally – next month the Abbey will be open one evening for free where you will be able to see the abbey looking very different at night.


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  1. John Ward says:

    Great to learn that photography is to be permitted once more in Westminster Abbey. I recall taking photos in the Abbey in the 1990s, so the restrictions must have been implemented only in recent years. Its unclear why there are any restrictions in the new triforium gallery museum or at the royal tombs. Even flash photography causes virtually no harm to objects or artworks contrary to what most people are told, though I find it annoying so do not mind this not being permitted.

    • ianvisits says:

      While a single flash won’t damage an item, a million flashes add up to quite a problem.

  2. Michael Ford says:

    Actually a million flashes really don’t make a problem. Any damage to pigment is caused by UV light. The amount of UV tansmitted by flash guns is minute, because they all trigger behind glass or perspex which effectively filters it out. And the majority of flash units also have inner coatings which reduce the UV levels to maintain a white light. A controlled study by the National Gallery in 1995 (one of only a few studies to exist) compared flash exposure with the effects of “ordinary” constant gallery lighting and showed almost no differences between exposure to flash v gallery lighting. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Volume 16, 1995 Photographic Flash: Threat or Nuisance? David Saunders. ISBN 1 85709 071 3. ISSN 0140 7430. More modern flash guns and flashes on phones are even less harmful.

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