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Nestled into a bend on the north bank of the River Thames, Westminster is a perfect starting point for any London visitor. Whether drawn by the royal splendour of Buckingham Palace or the iconic chimes of Big Ben, no trip to London is complete without a visit to this neighbourhood.
Westminster is one of London’s most recognisable neighbourhoods, and while Londoners might scoff at – or avoid – the throngs of tourists angling to get the best selfie, it truly is a one-stop shop for visitors looking to hit London’s most iconic landmarks.
Just across from Westminster station, the Gothic Revival turrets of the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower – which houses Big Ben – draw curious eyes towards the sky. A stone’s throw away, visitors can immerse themselves in history at the 13th-century UNESCO World Heritage site, Westminster Abbey, which has held services for 16 royal weddings.
To be fully immersed in the London experience, fish and chips can be washed down with a pint of ale at one of the neighbourhood’s many pubs before continuing en route towards Buckingham Palace to pay a visit to the Queen. Weather permitting, a picnic on the sprawling lawns of St James’s Park might even be in order.
Having hit all the historical hotspots – don’t forget 10 Downing St (the residence of the Prime Minister), Westminster Cathedral and the Victoria Memorial – art enthusiasts will enjoy carefully curated exhibits at the Queen’s Gallery on the south end of Buckingham Palace and the comprehensive collection of British art dating from the 16th century at Tate Britain.
Westminster is also serviced by Victoria and Pimlico underground stations, and it’s where food-centric travellers will find delight in the varied offerings at Market Hall Victoria and delicately prepared dim sum at one-Michelin-star A Wong. Craving a sweet treat? Visitors can procure decadent pastries at Dominique Ansel, of cronut fame.
Those looking to really log miles on the health apps will also enjoy a stroll through Eaton Square Gardens and Elizabeth Street for shopping and architectural gawking. Alternatively, walks through Hyde Park or along the banks of the Thames offer greener surroundings that burst with kaleidoscopic colour when spring blooms in the capital.
A day out in Westminster can start with breakfast and end with late-night drinks, and there would still be more to see. Regardless of the itinerary, no visit to the capital would truly be complete without exploring the streets of this iconic neighbourhood.