Westminster is one of London’s most famous areas, noted for housing the seat of the UK government and a number of other fascinating sights for tourists and locals alike. Let’s explore some of the key history of Westminster behind this dynamic district.
Major Sights in Westminster
Westminster has one of the highest concentrations of landmarks and tourist attractions in all of London, and also striking is the sheer variety of the attractions on offer here. The most famous of these include:
The Palace of Westminster
Once a palace, now the UK’s Houses of Parliament – the Palace of Westminster looms large beside the River Thames and includes both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It was first constructed in the 11th century, and was for around 400 years the main residence of the Kings and Queens of England. A fire in 1512 destroyed much of the complex, after which it became the home of the English Parliament. There are regular opportunities to explore the building, offering guests at the Park Grand London Kensington hotel a day trip a little out of the ordinary. The building’s large bell, known as Big Ben, is also a significant feature of this structure.
The primary residence and administrative centre of the UK’s monarch, Buckingham Palace hosts dignitaries from around the world as well as the famed Changing of the Guard. The state rooms open each summer for visitors, but even during the winter months there is plenty for those staying at a Park Grand London Kensington Hotel to enjoy.
Westminster Abbey has been the site of coronations and royal weddings for almost a thousand years. Hosting 16 royal weddings since 1100, this beautiful abbey is one of London’s most beautiful sites – and well worth a visit for all guests at the Park Grand London Kensington.
A Brief History of Westminster
In addition to these major tourist sites, Westminster itself has been a major part of London since around the 11th century, when Edward the Confessor began rebuilding the church now known as Westminster Abbey. With the rise of the Normans from 1066 onwards, the building took on even greater significance (following William the Conqueror’s coronation) and other major areas of administration began to build up around it in the intervening centuries.
Westminster has its own Tube station, and is home to most of the UK’s significant government ministries, known collectively as Whitehall. The area also includes a large public school. Westminster was once known as an independent ‘city’, until the Reformation of the 16th century changed all that. The rich/poor divide was felt quite strongly in the Westminster area during the Victorian era, during which the district cleared its slum dwellings and began a process of conversion into a more upscale neighbourhood with a number of listed buildings and social housing opportunities close at hand. Today however, it remains closely linked to governance and royalty, with overlaps between the two.