Take a Virtual Tour of Westminster Abbey


London's iconic Westminster Abbey is now available to tour via Google Street View.

Skip the queues and £20 ($26) entrance fee and enjoy the digital views of one of the most notable religious buildings in the UK.

Those just looking for a spin around the sanctuary can access the imagery through Google Maps. History buffs and anglophiles, meanwhile, can start their excursion on the official Westminster Abbey website, where each click unearths new treasures (in detail), like the Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, the High Altar, and the Coronation Chair.

A navigation menu lets viewers jump straight to a place of interest; click on the blue-and-white information points to read more, see photos, and watch videos.

"Kings, queens, statesmen, and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes, and villains—the Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history," the website said.

But not everyone can afford the time or money it takes to be one of the one million-plus visitors who explore the 700-year-old building every year. Which is why photography firm Striking Places worked with Google Street View on the project. Over four months last year, Striking Places conducted five shooting sessions inside Westminster Abbey, where photography and filming are allowed only between 7 and 9:30 a.m. on Thursdays.

"We have been pondering how to extend to young people and others, who cannot, for the time being, visit the Abbey, something of the experience available for our many visitors," Westminster Abbey Dean John Hall said in a statement. "I am delighted that this new collaboration will enable people from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo and beyond to see and learn so much more than previously about the magnificence and significance of this great and beautiful church."

Google's Street View tour happens to coincide with Westminster Abbey's own project: Construction of a new museum and gallery—The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries—in the medieval triforium. Originally designed to house dedicated chapels for various saints, the gallery has been hidden from the public for 700 years. Soon, it will be put on display, highlighting unseen relics from different periods of history.

Once the project is complete, Striking Places will return to capture the triforium, extending the tour to include the new Jubilee Galleries.

"This beautiful collection highlights the splendor of Westminster Abbey, the value of Street View publishing, and some truly exceptional imagery on the part of the photographer," Charles Armstrong, Street View product manager, said in a statement. "We're delighted to see and support awareness for such powerful content."

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