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"Home to the Archbishop of Canterbury" Southwark and Bankside Tip by Trekki

Southwark and Bankside, London: 28 reviews and 38 photos

  March: Keep the promise - halve poverty by 2015
by Trekki
  • March: Keep the promise - halve poverty by 2015 - London
      March: Keep the promise - halve poverty by 2015
    by Trekki
  • Lambeth Palace from Victoria Tower Gardens - London
      Lambeth Palace from Victoria Tower Gardens
    by Trekki
  • Tower of St. Thomas Hospital - London
      Tower of St. Thomas Hospital
    by Trekki
  • Lamebth Bridge - red (Lords' colour) - London
      Lamebth Bridge - red (Lords' colour)
    by Trekki
  • Westminster Bridge - green (Commons' colour) - London
      Westminster Bridge - green (Commons' colour)
    by Trekki

In the middle of Albert Embankment, a bit tucked behind the street, is Lambeth Palace, home to the Archbishop of Canterbury when he is in London. And this since more than 700 years. In the Anglican Church, which separated from the Roman Catholic one following the dispute about divorce under Henry VIII, the Archbishop of Canterbury (The Most Revd. And Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams since 2002) is the Primate of All England, the highest bishop of England. The palace can be visited, but by (written) appointment only. From what I have read on their website it must be well worth it. The library, being the principal library of the Church of England, for example holds many treasure books about the history of the Church and all are available to read for free. In a way, Lambeth Palace holds the same status like the Vatican, but has a different attitude, more free and liberal. Women are allowed to be priests and since 2006 women are also allowed to become bishop.
When I was there, no visits were possible though, as the march Keep the promise – halve poverty by 2015 was processing to the palace when I reached Lambeth Bridge. That’s why I also don’t have more photos of the exterior. Inside the palace premises, in the former parish church St-Mary-at-Lambeth is the Museum of Garden History, but it was closed for renovation when I was there. It only opened recently for the pre-season days and is fully open to the public from Jan. 2nd, 2009 on. Next year the garden of Lambeth Palace is also open to the public on 3 days in summer (see the event section in the website below).

Some fascinating side notes: the location of Lambeth Palace (as London home to the Archbishop of Canterbury) is intended here: next or on the other side of Thames river to the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey as the Archbishop is member of the House of Lords as well. That’s why the palace is located opposite of the southern part of Houses of Parliament (the Lords’ side) and that’s why Lambeth Bridge is painted red (photo 4), while Westminster Bridge (on the northern side of Houses of Parliament, the Commons’ side, photo 5) is painted green. In the old days, when there were no bridges, the Archbishop got on the other side of the river by horseferries – that’s why the road on the west from Lambeth Bridge is called Horseferry Road.

Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
51°29’42,11’’N; 00°07’14,08’’W

Address: Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU
Directions: Lambeth Palace, east of Palace of Westminster. Tube station: Westminster (exit 3) (District, Circle, Jubilee Line).
Phone: +49 - (0)20 7898 1200

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 14, 2008
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