Westminster Overview

The City of Westminster, an inner London borough which also holds city status, covers a large part of the centre of capital – from the ancient political district of Westminster to most of the West End and key districts in West and North West London.

We previously outlined these areas – including Victoria and Pimlico, Covent Garden, Marylebone, Maida Vale and Fitzrovia – in a number of location-specific area guides.

Here, we explore the City of Westminster in more detail – with a particular focus on the area that has made Westminster one of the most recognisable places on the planet.

The beating political heart of the UK, Westminster – a historic district within the City of Westminster - is also a cultural and tourist hotbed home to some of the world’s most iconic buildings.

When people think of Westminster, they will almost certainly think first of the Houses of Parliament, a wonderfully evocative Gothic revival building and Westminster Abbey, where all British monarchs have been coronated since William the Conqueror in 1066.

Westminster’s visitor attractions and historic landmarks make it one of London’s busiest areas for tourists. In fact, Westminster holds the claim to fame of being central London’s only UNESCO World Heritage site – made up of the aforementioned Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, as well as the 12th century St Margaret’s Church.

It also encompasses other landmarks in the wider area such as 10 Downing Street, St James’s Park, Green Park and Buckingham Palace. Across the Thames, meanwhile, is the start of the South Bank, where the London Eye and the London Aquarium draw in the hordes.

It also encompasses other landmarks in the wider area such as 10 Downing Street, St James’s Park, Green Park and Buckingham Palace. Across the Thames, meanwhile, is the start of the South Bank, where the London Eye and the London Aquarium draw in the hordes.

Additionally, Westminster plays host to the University of Westminster (with around 20,000 students) and Westminster School, a public school with notable alumni including Andrew Lloyd-Webber, A. A. Milne, Nick Clegg and Sir Christopher Wren.

Home to approximately 250,000 people, the City of Westminster provides easy access to some of London’s finest green space – from St James’s Park and Green Park to Regent’s Park and Hyde Park – all ideal locations for walking, cycling and other recreational activities. What’s more, despite playing host to some of London’s most high-profile landmarks, shopping districts and night-time entertainment spots, it’s also a very residential borough.

As well as stylish mansion flats, luxury blocks of apartments, Georgian and Elizabethan abodes, the City of Westminster also has a strong lineage of social housing – from Grosvenor Estate and the Peabody-owned Horseferry Road Estate to the Millbank Estate close to Tate Britain.

Our directors say…

“Covering a large swathe of Central London, from St John’s Wood in the north to Pimlico right on the banks of the Thames, the City of Westminster is the most diverse, eclectic and popular borough in London – with the Westminster district itself a particular standout.”

The travel breakdown

Transport links in the City of Westminster are superb, with fast and easy access between its various locations and other parts of London, too.

London Underground, National Rail and bus services are on offer wherever you look, while taxis, Ubers, bikes and walking are other ways of getting around with ease.

In the heart of Westminster, St James’s Park Station (Circle and District Line) and the huge, modern, stainless steel and concrete-dominated Westminster Station (Circle, District and Jubilee Line) offer the most convenient route to all the major attractions

Three things you must do in Westminster:

Stand outside Buckingham Palace, the London home of the Queen, and take in the visual splendour of the official London residence of the UK's sovereigns since 1837 – time it right, too, and you can witness the famous Changing of the Guard.

Visit Westminster Abbey to explore one of the world’s most richly historic and culturally important buildings. Guided tours are on offer.

Enjoy modern Indian cuisine in a former library at The Cinnamon Club, a restaurant full of inventive takes on classics, signature dishes and well-judged tasting menus.

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