British coronation sites to visit today

Discover seven sites where the coronations of British monarchs took place – each worthy of a royal walk

Abbey and gardens
Published: May 29th, 2022 at 6:17 am
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Westminster Abbey in London is synonymous with the coronations of our kings and queens, but several other locations have but used for the crowing of our monarchs throughout history, from Winchester's Old Minster and the Stone of Scone at Scone Abbey in Perth, to the site of the Owain Glyndŵr Centre in Machynlleth.

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Today, many of these crowing sites can be visited – and one of the best ways to experience them is on foot. Here are seven of the best coronation sites, each with its own regal ramble.

Best coronation sites to visit

Westminster Abbey, London

Wide angle exterior architecture view of famous historic door entrance
Trace Queen Elizabeth II’s five-mile coronation procession around Westminster Abbey/Credit: Getty

Since 1066, every English monarch (except Edward V and Edward VII) has been crowned here. For a royal ramble, retrace Queen Elizabeth II’s five-mile coronation procession route: Westminster Abbey, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, St James’s Street, Piccadilly, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Haymarket and The Mall to Buckingham Palace.

Old Minster, Winchester

Cathedral in town
Winchester Cathedral was the site of Edward the Confessor's coronation/Credit: Alamy

Edward the Confessor was crowned here on 8 June 1042. The Old Minster was demolished in 1093 and it was replaced by Winchester Cathedral, although a brickwork outline of the Old Minster site still exists in the cathedral grounds today. Follow Keats’ Walk for a four-mile stroll along the Itchen to St Catherine’s Hill.

Bath Abbey, Somerset

Abbey and gardens
Explore Bath Abbey then climb one of the town's surrounding hills/Credit: Getty

A floor stone in Bath Abbey commemorates Edgar the Peaceful’s coronation here on 11 May 973. Our current coronation ceremony is still based on this event. Take the National Trust’s three-mile ‘Walk to the View’ route, starting at the Abbey and through Bathwick Meadow, to see the town’s famous Georgian skyline.

Scone Abbey, Perth

Abbey building
A replica of the crowing stone now stands beside the Stone Abbey/Credit: Getty

Between 1124 and 1651, the Scots crowned 13 of their kings and queens on the Stone of Scone at Scone Abbey; a replica of the stone now stands beside the abbey, while the real stone can be seen in Edinburgh Castle. Follow the Friar’s Den Walk to explore the site, and look out for resident red squirrels and rare hawfinches.

Canterbury Cathedral, Kent

Cathedral in town
Canterbury Cathedral was the site of King Harthnacnut's coronation/Credit: Getty

King Harthnacnut – first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, 28 times removed– was crowned at this site on 18 June 1040, in an earlier building. Admire the glorious colours of the stained-glass window depicting the Queen’s 1953 coronation and King George VI’s 1937 coronation. Use the six-mile circular George and Dragon Stour Valley and Canterbury Trail to explore historic trails and water meadows beside the River Stour.

Owain Glyndŵr Centre, Machynlleth

Building in town
Owain Glyndŵr Centre stands on the site of Owain Glyndŵr's 1404 coronation /Credit: Alamy

After leading a revolt against Henry IV, Owain Glyndŵr was crowned Prince of Wales in 1404 – the last native Welshman to hold the title. The ceremony took place on the site where the Owain Glyndŵr Centre – first built in 1460 – now sits. Take a regal circular stroll from the town’s clock tower to Dyfi Bridge, returning along the Afon Dyfi and Afon Dulas.

Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire

Gardens, flower display, cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral bathed in summer sun/Credit: Getty
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Henry III was hastily crowned, aged nine, in St Peter’s Abbey – now Gloucester Cathedral – on 28 October 1216, before his full ceremonial coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1220. A stunning stained-glass window in the south aisle commemorates the event. Explore the Norman nave and the vault above the quire – a masterpiece of design with its orchestra of angels. Take Westgate Street to nearby Alney Island Nature Reserve beside the River Severn, home to orchids, dragonflies and waders.

Authors

Simon Whaley
Simon WhaleyAuthor, writer and photographer

Simon Whaley is a Shropshire-based author, writer, and photographer.

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