Lambeth Palace, built in the 13th century, has been the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his family for 800 years. Today it is also the center of his ministry, an events venue, and home to the Lambeth Palace Library, which is the second-largest religious library in the world after the Vatican.
Visitors can enter the palace by prebooking a guided tour, which explores the rooms, chapels, and crypt. Volunteer tour guides discuss the in-depth history of the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the architectural history of the palace, with its intricate stained glass, vaulted chapels, and other features. The palace’s exterior is included on many historical and architectural walking tours of London.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Lambeth Palace is ideal for history and architecture enthusiasts.
- The palace is open to the public via prebooked tours only.
- Admission is free for visitors under 17 years old.
- A small on-site gift shop sells palace guidebooks and other souvenirs.
- The palace is accessible to wheelchair users and has one wheelchair available to borrow during a guided tour.
How to Get There
Lambeth Palace is located on the south bank of the River Thames in central London, across from the Houses of Parliament. The nearest tube station is about a 15-minute walk from the palace. A number of buses—including C10, 507, 77, 344, and 3—run to the palace from Waterloo, Victoria, and Vauxhall stations. Driving and parking in central London are not recommended.
When to Get There
Interior tours of the palace are held on weekdays year-round, though must be booked in advance online. The palace garden is open in the warmer spring and summer months. A number of seasonal events are held at the palace throughout the year, such as the annual North Lambeth Parish Fete in June; check the website for a current schedule.
Garden Open Days
The Lambeth Palace gardens are open to the public on the first Friday of the month from April through September. The manicured garden, founded in 1197, stretches across more than 10 acres (4 hectares). It is home to native English plants as well as species from all over the world, reflective of the wider Anglican communion. Visitors are treated to entertainment and refreshments from 12pm to 3pm. Entrance is free for children, and dogs are welcome.