Of all the capital’s diverse, dynamic and welcoming boroughs, there’s little doubt Westminster is an essential, truly iconic destination.
Featuring a range of famous landmarks, millions of visitors flock here every year to see highlights such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and The Cenotaph, but there’s also an array of smaller, lesser-known attractions that are really worth checking out. Featuring many of London’s finest restaurants, parkland and cultural spaces, it’s fair to say there really is something for everyone. It was in 1881 that the first parliament was summoned to meet here. Belonging to the historic borough of Middlesex, Westminster as it’s known today was formed in 1965 by incorporating Paddington and St. Marylebone. Now, along with its incredible historic architecture, it’s also home to a superb collection of galleries, museums and theatre venues.
Must-see Westminster Attractions:
1) Big Ben
If you’re visiting Westminster for the first time, you’re pretty much duty-bound to visit Big Ben. Because, the fact is, no matter how often you’ve seen it in pictures or on the television, nothing quite prepares you for its true majestic glory when up close and personal. Being able to take in its finer details is really a special experience and, of course, an amazing photo-op. Be sure to time your arrival well, though, as you won’t want to miss those legendary, on-the-hour chimes.
2) Buckingham Palace
One of London's defining and most recognizable sights is Buckingham Palace, which, again, radiates such splendour it really has to be seen to be believed. Whilst there you’ll want to catch the changing of the guard if you can. This happens once a day, and although it’s an incredible spectacle in itself, these battalions have a genuine military function, making this an encounter that, once seen, isn’t easily forgotten.
3) St. James Park
Right at the heart of Westminster, this luxuriant, tranquil greenspace seems a million miles from the clamour and bustle of Central London. Boasting incredible gardens, fountains and statues, it’s spread over an epic 23 hectares and features a year-round rosta of exclusive outdoor events. It’s also home to an abundance of wildlife, including squirrels, swans and even pelicans, who were introduced to the park in 1664. Put simply, the perfect place to while away a lazy, care-free afternoon.
4) Trafalgar Square
Yet another must-see, Trafalgar Square really does deliver an awe-inspiring combination of history and architecture. A significant landmark since the 13th century, this is a vibrant, exciting part of the city, its monuments every bit as impressive as you’d expect. There’s Nelson’s Column, of course, and the amazing Landseer lion sculptures, plus a range of important historical figures, their statues overlooking all points of the square. The fountains are another impressive feature, making this an unmissable part of anyone’s itinerary.
Food for thought:
Our top spots to dine in Westminster:
The latest from celebrity-chef Marco Pierre White, this Leicester Square-based eatery has proved wildly popular with both locals and visitors. This is probably because it does simple, straightforward food like steak, pasta and pizza, but with the artfulness associated with this world famous gourmet.
M Victoria Street
This offers diners two choices that dictate where in this stylish restaurant you’ll be seated. So, do you choose M Raw or M Grill? Raw will see you sampling outstanding Japanese and Peruvian food served on small plates from an open kitchen, whilst Grill serves up a delicious and wide range of finely-cooked meats. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Here you’ll find next-level Spanish cuisine served in an effortlessly cool environment. The emphasis is on rich, luxurious dishes that take the classics and turn them into something thoroughly indulgent. So, if the thought of freshly-cooked tortilla infused with truffle and manchego cheese sounds like something you might enjoy, this could be the perfect place for you.
Le Comptoir Robuchon
For some of the best French food anywhere in town, look no further than Le Comptoir Robuchon. The menu consists of classics like caviar, foie gras, lobster and beef, and, of course, desserts to die for. The dining room is sophisticated and elegant, and the wine list, as you can probably guess, is in a league of its own.
If it’s fine British cuisine you’re after, LSQ Rooftop offers a remarkable seasonal menu and views that’ll take your breath away. What’s great about this ever-popular restaurant is the sheer variety of dishes on offer, including exceptional vegan and vegetarian fare. It’s also worth noting that its signature cocktails have only boosted its reputation as a dynamic, high-end dining experience.
Even in a part of town as up-market as this, Miro Mayfair is considered seriously classy. The menu consists of large or small sharing dishes inspired by Asain, European and South American cuisine, making this superb eatery easily accessible but also entirely unique. With a bespoke collection of rare and vintage cocktails, this is somewhere that prides itself on setting trends rather than following them.
Within close proximity to a series of excellent transport links, Westminster is extremely well connected to the rest of London, mainly via the Jubilee, Circle and District lines. Effective bus and cycle routes are a staple, ensuring outstanding quality of travel throughout the borough and beyond, all year round.
Education and Business:
Westminster enjoys a broad range of excellent schools, colleges and universities, including Imperial College London, St Paul’s and the University of Westminster. Its central location also makes it extremely popular with a vast number of political, financial and media services, who combined have made it the beating heart of London’s business community.