If you want to experience all of the iconic imagery of London in just one afternoon, Westminster is your ideal destination! The ornate Houses of Parliament and the Elegant Westminster Cathedral sit adjacent to each other while Winston Churchill’s statue and the Lions at Trafalgar Square are just blocks away. Listed below are the top 10 sights in Westminster to ensure a fun filled and captivating day in the heart of bustling London.
- Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament
Take stroll past London’s most iconic timepiece with a trip to the houses of Parliament and Big Ben. From Parliament square you can observe The meeting place of the house of Commons and the House of Lords. Visitors are even welcome to take a tour or watch debates and committees at the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben however has fallen silent for major repair work expected to last until 2021, so you will enjoy the iconic view without the bongs marking the passage of time.
- The London Eye
The London Eye is the tallest Ferris Wheel in Europe with a total height of 135 metres. The wheel has 32 passenger capsules, one for each Borough in London, and each capsule takes up to 25 passengers. Make sure to bring your camera as the view from the top of the eye encapsulates not only Westminster, but all of London and beyond! The Eye is open seven days a week. Weekdays starting at 10am and weekends at 11am.
- Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Changing the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, takes place outside Buckingham Palace from 10.45am and lasts around 45 minutes, with the actual handover taking place at 11am.The Guard is changed every thirty minutes during the summer (April 1 to Sep 30) and every hour during the winter (Oct 1 to Mar 31).
- Winston Churchill Statue
Winston Churchill took his place outside of the houses of parliament after sculpture Ivor Robert-Jones captured his likeness in 1973. While the statue is imposing enough from the front, mosey to the back of it to watch the former prime minister look sternly on to the houses of parliament and Elizabeth Tower.
- The UK Supreme Court
Another Building at the center of UK politics is the supreme court. The building, Located on Little George Street was constructed between 1906 and 1913 by scottish architect James S Gibson. Come marvel at the medieval-style gargoyles that protect the building and watch over the country’s highest court. The court also provides daily tours for those wanting a closer look at the world of English judges and barristers.
- St. James Park
This 90-acre park, acts as a little slice of nature away from the hustle and bustle of london life. St. James is the oldest Royal Park in London, and features tranquil lake that is a wildlife sanctuary for ducks, geese, and swans. Make sure to bring your camera as certain parts of the park ensure for a beautiful view of Buckingham Palace and The London Eye.
- Westminster Abbey
First opened in 1090 Westminster Abbey has been the sight of weddings, funerals and gatherings of royalty and commoners alike. From the coronation of William the Conqueror right up to the Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the cathedral has served as an important location for british public. Below the hallowed floors of the cathedral lies the burial grounds of Queen Elizabeth the 1st, Mary Queen of Scots, Charles Dickens,Sir Isaac Newton, and most recently Stephen Hawking. Countless more artifacts can be seen at the Cathedral, and feel free to stop in for a service in the morning as the historic building is still an active Church!
- Trafalgar Square
Located in an active public square in the heart of Westminster, Trafalgar Square commemorates 1805’s battle of trafalgar with a huge column topped by Admiral Horatio Nelson and flanked by four large bronze lions. Trafalgar Square is a wonderful backdrop for the city of Westminster, and a great spot to take advantage of the proximity of cafes and shops surrounding the monument.
- The National Gallery
Only steps behind Trafalgar Square is The National Gallery. An important gallery not only to london but the rest of the world, The National houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The permanent home of Monet Van Gogh, and Michelangelo’s work, the National Gallery ensures fun for the most refined art buff to the casual observer.
- The Jewel Tower
Located on Abington Street, the Jewel Tower is fairly unassuming from the outside considering the priceless jewel it holds within its stone doors. The Jewel Tower is the only 14th-century surviving element of the royal Palace of Westminster which once housed Edward III. Known as the ‘King’s Privy Wardrobe’ the building stored the monarchs personal treasures and subsequently the treasures of his successors. Today, the Jewel Tower is home to a great deal of royal objects and historical artifacts.