Jubilee Galleries

Old Dec 12th, 2019, 02:06 PM
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Jubilee Galleries

Just back from a week in London and thought I’d post about my trip to the newish Jubilee Galleries (The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries) at Westminster Abbey

I went to the galleries on my first day in London, December 4th, after catching up with Janisj over breakfast at the Wolseley...discussing what she’d already done and what my plans were for the week. Before I knew it two and bit hours had rushed past and I had to leave for my walk to the Abbey.

I went via St. James’ park and it was a beautiful day of blue skies and solid sunshine and I came across the Abbey looking gloriously white in the daylight.

I had a window of 11:30 to 1:30 for the Abbey and 12:30 to 1:00 for the Galleries. This worked out perfectly for me...I hadn’t been to the Abbey in over 30 years, not sure why it took me so long to return but glad I did, and the Galleries was the best £5 I spent!

I used the Weston Tower stairs (there is a lift...but if you can take the stairs) to access the Galleries...and the views you get of the stained glass, buttresses and parliament are outstanding...views you would never have seen before of the Chapter House. The stairs were quiet the day I went so plenty of opportunity to take time to view and snap pics.

Once you enter the gallery you are 52 feet above the floor of the Abbey in the 13th century triforium...with wooden beams and ceiling and surrounded by a wide variety of items from wax effigies clothed in original garments to a copy of the Magna Carta, glorious robes worn by the clergy for Abbey events, replicas of the Crown Jewels and masterpieces of liturgy. For me though, the price of admission was covered by the amazing views down into the Abbey...these are the views that tv cameras show at the major events...the best for me being straight down onto the Cosmati Pavement, through the Quire to the massive front doors...this view shows the magnificence of the architecture and the sheer size of the Abbey.

Unfortunately you cannot take pictures in the Galleries...but I did sneak a shot of the above as it is so incredible. If you are thinking of an Abbey visit DO add the Jubilee Galleries. It is well worth it..

I stayed at the Devon apartment with London Perfect...great flat that I would happily rent again...my cousin rented the Cornwall next door and it is also a lovely flat and perhaps better for two people than the Devon.

Meals out:

Kitty Fishers in Shepherd Market...a favourite of mine, especially the crispy potatoes...SO good!!
Dean Street Townhouse...took advantage of the pre theatre prix fixe where you can return post theatre for dessert and prosecco
Coda at the RAH...newly reopened after a reno and looking sharp with some beautiful deconstructed chandeliers...good food and service

Weather was incredible making for a very enjoyable week...back in Toronto now and missing London already.

kmowatt is offline  
Old Dec 12th, 2019, 06:04 PM
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Fabulous TR and photos! Thank you!
starrs is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2019, 04:26 AM
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Thanks Starrs. I was really impressed with it. Had heard about it from reading another trip report so added it to my list.
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Old Dec 13th, 2019, 04:51 AM
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Thanks for the report and fabulous pictures kmowatt, on my must see list for next May...👍
geetika is online now  
Old Dec 13th, 2019, 06:35 AM
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I'm glad the Jubilee Galleries tour was as good as it was. I also hadn't been to Westminster Abbey in decades and went the last time I was in London, which turned out to be JUST before the Jubilee Galleries opened. I was so bummed to miss it. I'll be back in March and will definitely go. I don't suppose you can just do them (without paying for a full regular visit).
isabel is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2019, 06:51 AM
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Thanks Isabel. Unfortunately you have to pay for the Abbey and then add the Galleries. No separate entrance. I think the trio report focused on squares and parks is a great idea.
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Old Dec 13th, 2019, 11:16 AM
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Beautiful photos. I really want to visit the Galleries -- maybe in the Spring??

Was really terrific meeting up with you again. Yes, the time did fly by. Need to think about starting my own TR - The rest of my visit and flights home were great . . . then two days later I woke up with one hellacious sinus infection (thought it was the flu at first) and have been in bed ever since so any thought of GTGs and sightseeing and lovely meals are a distant memory right now . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Dec 16th, 2019, 10:58 AM
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I was there on Monday Dec 2. The main reason I decided to visit Westminster Abbey again was to see the new Galleries. It was worth the climb for the views. I was one of the first ones up there that day and had them almost to myself! I wasn't brave enough to take any "illegal" photos, but I really wanted to. I was most fascinated by the view out to the buttresses and line of gargoyles/grotesques lining them. I also liked the quirky mix of items on display. I took my first verger tour of the Abbey this time and really enjoyed it, plus it was a lot less crowded than my spring and summertime visits. I spent a lot of time at Westminster Abbey this trip. I attended the Advent service on Sunday Dec 1, toured W.A. on Monday Dec 2 and attended Handel's Messiah in concert there the evening of Dec 3! I loved London at this time of the year.
olympicgaym is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2019, 12:48 PM
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Do either of you who've been have any idea why photos are not allowed? Usually it's because flash damages precious artwork (and since some people are too stupid to figure out how to turn off the flash they feel it necessary to ban photos altogether). But it sounds like the photo ops here are of views out the windows. Are the guards closely watching people to be sure they don't take photos? I always respect the no photos rules but when they make no sense I'm sorely tempted.
isabel is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2019, 01:52 PM
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Isabel: I do not know the exact reason why they do not allow photos. I think they just have a blanket ban on photos inside Westminster Abbey. They do allow photos in the cloisters, chapter house, pyx chamber and other areas just outside the Abbey itself. I usually respect the no photo rules but it really was tempting, I am sure it would have just been a verbal reminder/reprimand if caught. I don't see the issue with taking photos in the Jubilee Galleries, especially of the views.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 03:04 PM
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Really not sure why there is such a ban on photography at the Abbey. I was allowed to take pictures at the George IV and Tutankhamen exhibits as long as it was without flash.
There isn’t anything saying no pictures as you climb the Weston Tower stairs and that is where most of my pictures were taken.

janisj - glad you enjoyed your “upgraded” travel on the return trip. Too bad about the infection. Hope you are feeling better.

olympic - I also really enjoyed the Abbey this trip and as you say so much quieter...no line to get in!! And London is so festive at this time of year. I go every year in late November or early December and just love it.
kmowatt is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2019, 03:10 PM
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Just a thought! The Abbey is a “working” church with services taking place throughout the day. So maybe that’s why they don’t want photography.
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Old Dec 21st, 2019, 08:28 AM
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Thanks for the great photos [even the "illegal" one] and your account of the Galleries. Sad to say I cannot remember the last time I went to Westminster Abbey; I have a sort of memory of being taken there when I was a child but that's it, and I'd never heard of the Galleries. On my list for my next visit to London.
annhig is offline  
Old Dec 21st, 2019, 02:11 PM
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And not that I "need" one, but now there's another reason to return to London and see the new/old!
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