London Neighbourhoods: Things to Do in Westminster
From art to politics, here's some great things to do in Westminster
As the political beating heart of the English capital, it follows that Westminster is one of the most important neighbourhoods in the UK. With Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament standing proudly (and frequently visited by tourists), there's a few other fascinating things to do in Westminster that go beyond the quintessential shot of Big Ben.
Houses of Parliament
If you take the tube to Westminster tube, emerging from the underground station is nothing short of magical as the Houses of Parliament slowly come into focus. This grand, imposing structure is the heart and soul of British politics and every day massive decisions about the future of the country are made. While security has tightened up exponentially in recent months, you can join a guided tour if you book early enough. Don't forget to take the quintessential tourist shot in front of Big Ben, which stands over the main hub.
This gigantic Gothic church is one that has dominated public imagination, with events such as Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding taking place here and capturing the hearts of people all over the world. Every year, more than a million people pass through its doors and pay homage to its long history and stunning architecture - out of place now in modern, metropolitan London. With over 700 years of service steeped in its halls, famous British figures such as Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Darwin and Dr. Samuel Johnson are buried here. London Pass holders receive free entry to Westminster Abbey.
Westminster borders the River Thames, the main artery of the English capital. There's no better way to see London than to hop onboard a Thames River Cruise as many of the city's landmarks line the riverbanks - starting off at Westminster Pier, you'll be able to see the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, Shakespeare's Globe and more along the water. With four different hop on and hop off locations, you'll be able to take your time and really get to know London both by boat and on foot. London Pass holders are eligible for a free 24 hour hop on hop off boat tour pass.
Step into the past at the Churchill War Rooms, the basement headquarters for Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his war cabinet. Created in the wake of World War One, the lights were first turned on just a week before Britain declared war on Germany in World War Two. Over one hundred meetings were held here to decide the fate of Britain's military strategy and now it serves as an exhibition following Britain's involvement in the war as well as Churchill and his legacy. London Pass holders receive free entry to Churchill War Rooms.
While you might not be able to freely explore Buckingham Palace, the Queens Gallery will take you into its vicinity to see the royal collection of artwork. The Gallery isn't big enough to hold the wide collection of the royals' artworks and 450 pieces are rotated here, with special dedicated exhibitions to exceptional artists such as Canaletto.