The town is dominated by the Abbey itself, which was founded by Harold II. He was buried here after his defeat and death at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, unless you believe the story told at Chester, where he is said to have lived on for years as a hermit.
The Abbey was rebuilt in the 12th century, and has impressive Norman work from this period. There are Victorian windows by Edward Burne-Jones.
The eminent Elizabethan composer Thomas Tallis was organist here.
The old town has some pleasant buildings, including the Welsh Harp inn and 15th century Abbey Gateway.
At nearby Waltham Cross, over the border in Hertfordshire, is one of the Eleanor Crosses set up by Edward I in 1291 at the places where his Queen’s body rested on its way to be buried. The others are both in Northamptonshire, at Geddington and Hardingstone.