In our previous London video tour, we explored the modern City of London. In this tour, we’ll take you across the historic area of Westminster. Westminster is the political center of London. This is made apparent by the fact that Westminster houses the seat of the government, The Houses of Parliament, as well as the residence of the Royal Family, Buckingham Palace.
As you can see on the map Westminster can be seen as one big square stretching roughly from Mayfair and Trafalgar Square in the north to Knightsbridge in the west, and to the River Thames in the east and south. In this article we’ll expand on our video tour and take you to some famous London landmarks such as the Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and more!
Marvel at The Houses of Parliament
The Palace of Westminster and the Big Ben in London
The tour starts at the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster. This landmark is perhaps one of the most famous buildings in London, and as such it is a wonderful place to start your exploration of Westminster. The easiest way to get to the Houses of Parliament is to take the London Underground to Westminster station. Exit through the east exit and you will immediately have the spectacular view of The Big Ben, or Elizabeth Tower as it is not called, rising high above the rest of the Palace of Westminster. The beautiful Gothic structure was built in the 19th Century, although a Royal Palace has stood on this site ever since the 11th Century. Nowadays it is the home of the Parliament, whose members have been meeting on this site for hundreds of years.
Westminster Abbey and its Royal Connection
The façade of Westminster Abbey in London
Just across Parliament Square you’ll find Westminster Abbey. This impressive Gothic church was constructed almost a thousand years ago. You have to pay an entry charge to go inside, but it’s definitely worth your money to see the interior of the church. You’ll get to see the ancient Coronation Chair, which is still used for coronations (the last was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953). You can also explore the Poets’ Corner, where many literary greats are buried or memorialized, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. When you walk through the nave of the Abbey, you’ll get to literally follow in the footsteps of Prince William and Kate Middleton, who were married at the Abbey in 2011. If you want to find out more about the Abbey, check Visit Westminster Abbey in London!
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London
After your visit to Westminster Abbey, cross the square again to Great George Street. Here you’ll find some of England’s famous red telephone boxes. This is a great spot to take a picture, as you’ll get a photo of the telephone box with the Big Ben in the background. From Great George Street it’s only a short walk west along Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace. When the weather is good it’s nice to sit down at the Victoria Memorial Fountain where you can get a good view of the entire Palace, which dates back to 1705. If you want to see the famous changing of the guard, be sure to check the times in advance at the Royal Events and Ceremonies website.
Stay in a Westminster Furnished Apartment
A Furnished apartment in Westminster, London
The visit to Buckingham Palace will probably have you convinced that Westminster is one of the most stately and beautiful residential areas of London. The neighborhood’s proximity to many famous landmarks and to some of London’s most beautiful parks makes it a great place to stay during your visit to the city. And you don’t have to own a palace to be able to stay in Westminster either: we have many beautiful furnished apartments available in Westminster where you can stay in style! By staying in a furnished apartment you’ll also have the opportunity to feel what it’s like to live like a local in Westminster!
Have a Picnic in St. James’s Park
Buckingham Palace seen from St. James’s Park in London
Just east of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the oldest and one of the most beautiful of the Royal Parks: St. James’s Park. The park’s winding pathways, large flowerbeds and lovely lake make it easy to forget you’re in the middle of a bustling city. If you have the time, prepare a picnic at home in your apartment and bring it to one of the sprawling lawns in St. James’s Park. Don’t be surprised when squirrels or even exotic birds come by to see if you’ve packed anything worth eating for them! From the park you’ll also get a great view of the Horse Guards Parade, which you’ll find at the eastern end of St. James’s Park.
Start Your Daytrip at Victoria Station
When you’re staying in Westminster, it’s easy to take a daytrip outside of the city. London Victoria Station is located right at the center of the neighborhood, and offers train service to all kinds of different parts in the country. This coupled with the air terminal, bus terminuses and London Underground station make Victoria Station one of the busiest stations in the country!
Belgrave Square & Westminster’s Traditional Pubs
A traditional English pub in London
Belgrave Square just west of the Buckingham Palace Gardens is one of the most sought-after residential areas in London. The square is surrounded by beautiful white houses that were built in the 1820s. Former residents include members of the Royal Family and famous ambassadors. Many of the houses now house embassies and institutions.
An entirely different side of Westminster is the thriving pub life. The area is simply scattered with great traditional pubs that serve proper English cooking and have an array of different ales on display. End your day in Westminster by sitting down in a traditional pub like the Grenadier near Belgrave Square and ordering some great fish & chips!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour of Westminster and the famous landmarks in the area. What’s your favorite landmark in London?