Abbey to charge tourists

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The Independent Online
Westminster Abbey is to introduce a pounds 5 charge from next year to reduce the crowds of people who church leaders say are destroying its spiritual atmosphere. The charge will be introduced from March, with reduced rates of pounds 3 and pounds 2 for students and children respectively. Visitors currently have to pay to see parts of the Abbey, like the royal chapels, but entry to the nave is free.

More than 2 million people flock to the Abbey each year. A spokeswoman for Westminster Abbey said: "We have to do something to try and cut the numbers, because it is just so noisy and it is destroying the spirituality of the abbey. "Churches are there for people to worship in and they are being stopped from doing that because of the hustle and bustle and all the thousands of tourists." Worshippers going to the abbey to pray will not be charged, the spokeswoman added. The move follows the introduction of entry charges at other spiritual tourist attractions such as St Paul's Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral.