Mr D and I recently decided it was about time we visited Westminster Abbey. I have lived in London for eight years but had still never seen one of London’s most popular tourist destinations. This had to be remedied.
Before I tell you all what it was like, let’s get outfit details out of the way. It was rather chilly that day so I was wearing a red 50s cardigan, vintage men’s Givenchy trousers, a 60s tartan cape, vintage brogues, cap from Oasis, and bag from The Leather Satchel Co. The cape is a favourite of mine – it was a gift from Mr D, and because it is a lightweight wool, it is perfect for in-between seasons.
Now to the Abbey. I didn’t like it. Beyond that, it actively repelled and angered me. Which is why there are no pictures – I didn’t think it was beautiful, I thought it was awful.
I have only ever felt this way at one other tourist attraction, which was seeing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. They are meant to impress people, but it instead made me so sad and angry that this kind of ostentatious wealth was being flaunted during a time when people were dying from poverty.
Similarly, the Abbey is enormous and over-the-top – filled with carvings and altars and gilding and colossal artworks. And, most of all, it is filled with graves for those who could afford to buy their way into the place, or who lent some kind of status by association. You would not recognise most of the names there, because they were not chosen based on merit and achievement, but money and power. For some reason this makes it worse when you get to the famous Poet’s Corner and see people who really DID do things worth remembering, being held up like a kind of trophy. It was all unspeakably vulgar.
I can’t really explain why I had such a strong reaction to it all, but it seemed to me the deepest hypocrisy that a religion which extolls virtues such as humility and charity should have created this vast shrine to wealth and power. I really couldn’t recommend it as a London attraction worth seeing in any shape or form. Save your money and go see one of the many fabulous and free museums in London instead.