London Guide - The City of Westminster
London is made up of the mergence of two cities, the City of London and The City of Westminster.
Between them, these two adjoining areas are home to the majority of London's most famous buildings and tourist attractions.
The City of Westminster is considerably larger than it's smaller neighbour the City of London, covering an area of 8.3 square miles and housing a resident population of 236,000 people.
Westminster consists of 23 wards, 5 royal parks, 4 national railway stations, 27 underground ( tube / metro) stations, 10 universities, 7 bridges and more tourist attractions than one could ever hope to see in just one day.
Below is a list of some of Westminster's famous locations, followed by Westminster transport links and Westminster's prominent attractions listed by zones.
Image courtesy of Graham MaCleod, wikimedia commons.
Famous streets in the City of Westminster area are Downing Street - home of the British Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer - Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street - location of Europe's largest and most prestigious shopping area - Whitehall - location of many of the British government's official ministerial headquarters and The Cenotaph - Shaftesbury Avenue - part of London's Theatreland, Park Lane - location of Hyde Park and the world famous Dorchester Hotel - The King's Road and Carnaby Street.
Famous wards situated in Westminster are Knightsbridge - home of Harrods department store - Mayfair - home of the United States Embassy - Victoria - location of Buckingham Palace - Soho - London's red light area and part of Theatreland - ChinaTown, the West End, Covent Garden, Theatreland and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London's most prestigious post code area and location of the United Kingdom's most expensive real estate.
Famous circuses and squares within Westminster are Picadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Cambridge Circus,Leicester Square, Grosvenor Square, Berkley Square, Sloane Square and Trafalgar Square.
Prominent attractions in Westminster include The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, Nelson's Column, Marble Arch, Admiralty Arch and the British Museum.
Also situated within Westminster are the royal parks of Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park and St James Park and the royal residences of St Jame's Palace, Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace.
Image courtesy of Michael Reeve, wikimedia commons.
The city of Westminster has 7 bridges which span the River Thames within it's environs, they are:
Chelsea Bridge - road bridge.
Hungerford Bridge - rail bridge.
Grosvenor Bridge - rail bridge.
Lambeth Bridge - road bridge.
Vauxhall Bridge - road bridge.
Waterloo Bridge - road bridge.
Westminster Bridge - road bridge.
For people visiting the City of Westminster the area is served by way of 27 metro stations, 4 National Railway stations, 2 rivercrossing piers and 33 cycle share docking stations.
The metro stations around Westminster are all elemental for the user, with most of the stations named after the various attraction or street that one is visiting, except for Buckingham Palace, which uses the two stations of Green Park or Hyde Park Corner and Westminster for The Houses of Parliament and Whitehall. The whole area is covered by Travelcard Zone One, which can be purchased from metro stations, on buses, from newsagents and some hotels. The City of Westminster is accessed by way of several underground routes, so a map of the tube and map of the area is a must during a day out in this area.
For tube map visit - .tfl.gov.uk/assets/Standard-Tube-map. Click on map to enlarge.
Westminster's national ralway stations are, Charing Cross, London Marylebone, London Paddington and London Victoria.
The capital's national, intercity bus station at Victoria is also situated within Westminster.
Westminster's two rivercrossing piers are situated at Westminster Pier - next to Westminster Bridge - and Chelsea Harbour - situated near The King's Road -.
Unfortunately Westminster has an extraordinarily small number of cycle share docking stations for an area of it''s size, but they are there, it's just a matter of finding them, and their bright blue colour does make them very easy to spot.
For car drivers coming into the City of Westminster, the area is covered by the post codes of SW1, W1 and WC2.
For ease of travel I have listed neighbouring attractions into different zones, saving the visitor time and energy when trying to find their favourite must sees around the City of Westminster.
Not every attraction in the City of Westminster is listed in this article, there are way too many, so I have just used the most prominent of these attractions as a guide line.
Image courtesy of Ozeye, wikimedia commons.
Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square.
Whitehall begins at the Houses of Parliament and makes it's way towards Trafalgar Square. Around the area of the Houses of Parliament are the attractions of Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Bridge. The London Eye can be seen from here and is situated on the south side of Westminster Bridge in an area known as the South Bank.
Travelling along Whitehall one will pass the Cenotaph, Downing Street and Admiralty Arch and then come upon Nelson's Column and the Fountain at Trafalgar Square.
The West End.
From Trafalgar Square to Oxford Circus.
Travelling north from Trafalgar Square one will pass Picadilly Circus, China Town, Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Soho which includes most of Theatreland.
West of Soho is Carnaby Street which leads to the shopping streets of Bond Street, Oxford Steet ( home of Selfridges department store ) and Regent's Street. Regent's Park can be found at the north end of Regent's Street.
Travelling west from Oxford Circus takes one to the Mayfair area.
Oxford Circus to the Houses of Parliament.
Travelling east from Oxford Circus will take one to the British Museum on Great Russel Street and other shopping streets.
Travelling west from Oxford Circus one passes Grosvenor Square ( location of the U.S Embassy ), Marble Arch, Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, Hyde Park Corner and the Dorchester Hotel.
Travelling west from Hyde Park Corner takes one into Knightsbridge, home of the famous Harrods department store and if one continues from Kinghtsbridge into the Borough of South Kensington, one will find the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History and the London Science museums.
Travelling south from Hyde Park Corner one will see the attractions of The Mall, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, Green Park, St James' Palace and St James' Park. From the south east of St James' Park one will find oneself back at the Houses of Parliament.
Other London guides you may be interested in by the same author.