Waltham Abbey Church

Admire the exquisite Norman architecture of this medieval church, which dates back more than eight centuries.

Waltham Abbey is one of the most iconic structures in Essex. Inspect its sturdy Norman architecture and learn about its links with the great King Harold, who is believed to be buried in a tomb on the grounds. 

Visit this intriguing historic site, which has been a place of worship since the seventh century. King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, founded a monastic house here in the 11th century, but this was later demolished to make way for the current structure, which was completed around 1150.

Note the Romanesque design of the church with its arched windows and red-tiled roof. Enter through the large portal to see the majestic interior, which features ornate ecclesiastical treasures, imposing columns and various differently shaped windows. The large central nave allows plenty of space to look around and is imbued with a serene ambience. 

Look for the mosaic diamond pattern on the ceiling and the grand arches on each side of the nave. Pick up a free short leaflet that explains the history behind the various sections. The abbey also sells guidebooks that offer a more detailed description of the church’s features and history.

Wander around the scenic gardens past streams and green meadows. Don’t miss the tomb of King Harold II, a king best known for losing the monumental Battle of Hastings. Some scholars suggest he was buried here after his mother offered the Normans Harold’s weight in gold for his body, while others claim he was buried at sea. 

Peruse the intriguing trinkets and souvenirs in the charming shop located in the abbey’s cellar. 

The church is open to visitors daily from morning until late afternoon. It is free to enter. Alternatively, attend a Sunday service. 

Waltham Abbey stands just to the south of Cornmill Stream in the heart of the village. There is a parking lot on-site.

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