The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula is situated inside the grounds of the Tower of London, just behind Tower Green, where they set up the chopping block. The headless bodies were then carried inside the Chapel for burial by the altar. It's quite a thing to hear a church service inside, just twenty feet from the graves of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and the Earl of Essex.
The chapel is quite simple-looking inside (certainly when you compare it to Henry VIII's spectacular chapel at Hampton Court), but it's the bodies buried within it, and the history associated with it, that make it one of the most important buildings in England.
Craig has attended this service himself, and he thinks that is well-worth doing simply to see inside the Chapel. Read his review of the church service on his blog, so you can see what it is like. (Feel free to ask him some questions.) You might also like to read his review of the Tower of London as well.
The congregation is chiefly made up of people who live inside the Tower precincts, and relatively few members of the public seem to attend. When Craig went it wasn't exactly busy inside, but that is also part of its charm -- it's much more intimate, and you can really appreciate the music. It is also one of the very few ways in which the public can see inside the chapel, because it's usually only accessible through a Yeoman Warder Tour.
Important note: Whilst it is free to attend the service at the Chapel, you will need to buy an entry ticket if you intend to see the rest of the Tower as well. In order to get free entry you need to approach a member of staff at the main gate, and then tell them you'd like to attend the church service. They should let you through. You can then walk to the Chapel yourself. But remember... you are only supposed to attend the service! After that you need to leave. If you want to see the rest of the Tower then you're supposed to pay. It is important that you arrive shortly before the service is due to start as well, because they won't let you in for free if the church service is still an hour away.
If you enjoy this service then you might like to attend the Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral. Or how about the service at Westminster Abbey? Check out our page of religious events in London for some more ideas.
Craig’s review – “It's amazing how many places you can get into for free by pretending to be religious — St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court... and now the Chapel Royal at Tower of London. If I knew London sightseeing was so cheap for christians I would have converted ages ago. It must be one of the perks — not only do you get entry into heaven, but you get free entry into… continued”
Twilight Tour at the Tower of London – 18 Nov 2018 to 14 Apr 2019 (Sun only) – See the Tower of London after dark, and be led around the grounds by a Yeoman Warder as he tells you all the stories
Hear a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London – 21 Apr 2019 – The HAC will be firing a 62-gun salute at Gun Wharf by the Tower of London, to mark Her Majesty the Queen's 93rd birthday.
62-gun salute to mark the Queen’s Coronation – 2 Jun 2019 – The HAC will be firing a 62-gun salute by the Tower of London, to mark the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation in 1953.
62-gun salute, to mark Prince Philip’s birthday – 11 Jun 2019 – The HAC will be firing off a 62-gun salute by Gun Wharf at the Tower of London to honour Prince Philip's 98th birthday.
Guided tour of Wren’s best churches – Every Tue and Thu – This guided walk will look at the outside of St Pauls Cathedral and at a selection of Christopher Wren's finest City churches
Evensong Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral – Every day – If you attend a choral Evensong service at St Paul's Cathedral then you can see a small part of the Cathedral for free.
Evensong Mass at Westminster Abbey – Every day (except Wed) – You can enjoy a choral Evensong service at Westminster Abbey, which combines a traditional mass with a choir.
Look for more religious events taking place in February
Here are some more free events in London if you want a cheap day out