Westminster - Visit the Heart of London
Westminster was originally dubbed with its name through the area around Westminster Abbey. The word Minster of course, referring to Church (and West, the location) Through this, the area has seen growth from its origins dating back to the original coronations of kings and queens of England. The name also refers largely to what is known as the City of Westminster, the area itself big enough within population, township rights and landmarks to consider itself its own entity.
Naturally, when visiting Westminster the first thing you're going to want to do is undertake in some sight-seeing. With the Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the West End of London there is much to see and do! The West End of London also contains some of the cultural hot spots for visiting theatres, undertaking tours of the historic area and indulging in some shopping.
Westminster Abbey is one of the world's most recognised buildings. Situated along the River Thames its light show at night is instantly acknowledged by tourists and scholars across the globe for its deep history amongst the monarchy and the vast amount of coronations that have given the church its popularity. Formally known as The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, the church has been standing since 616 and has been acknowledged by architects as a great feat in gothic architecture for its time. It was founded in this position, as a fisherman on the River Thames claimed to have spotted a vision of St Peter on the site in which the abbey now stands.
The coronations of kings and queens at the Abbey began officially and formally in 1066, with King Harold and William the Conqueror – since this time (with a few rare exceptions as Edward V and Edward VIII were never coronated) all royalty have been crowned at this specific spot.
For this reason, most kings and queens of England have also been buried in this spot, making it a great site for tourists and students who are keen to learn and enrich themselves in some British history.
Nearby too, there are several famous graves of poets who have situated themselves within Westminster close to the abbey due to Geoffery Chaucer starting a trend when he was buried near his apartment, causing other poets to congregate and follow suit.
Buckingham Palace is another great sight for tourists. Anything to do with the Queen seems to be high on the list with tourists, and seeing this great building is not only a fun sight to witness (with the coldstream guards and their incredible ability to never move) it's also an incredible feat of architecture and another place with a great history.
With a country whose political system is based around the running of a Monarchy, the Buckingham Palace has been the quarters for the royal family through many generations. While the palace is not the only weekday home for the Queen and the Prince of Wales, it still becomes an exciting sight when the British flag is flying proudly in the air, and you know the Queen is home.
Trafalgar Square is another fascinating sight to visit while spending time in Westminster. Situated at the heart of London this area is symbolised trough its landmark Nelson's Column. The Column draws not only tourists, but with the tourist status of the area, there is a high demand for shopping as well as a known movie premiere site that draws crowds of thousands with each new release and red carpet event. This column has also become another incredibly well known sight amongst the world's familiar landmarks, and is often used within a film to identify the location with London. Westminster is proud to hold this piece of art, as it not only shows the heart of London, it also encourages the locals in the area with many museums and galleries to show the heart of cultural diversity and arts.
With so many landmarks scattered across the area, there is a lot of sightseeing to do – not to mention a lot of events to see and undertake! There is an annual Christmas ceremony which is held at Trafalgar Square with the lighting of the Christmas Tree; New exhibits at the museum of the Abbey showcasing parts of the Royal family which have been bequeathed to the Abbey after their deaths, as well as historic tours in some parts; and celebrations every year at Buckingham Palace for the Queens birthday – an event of which usually encourages many pop bands to take part and show their affection for the royal family. It has also become a time for fundraising which is always well looked upon, and encourages green living through the principles of the Prince of Wales.
With so many sights and exciting new events taking place every day, it's hard to take in all of Wesminster in one day. In order to gain the full experience, a weekend trip, or possibly even a week long trip is required. Be sure to check out some hotels within the area. There is a large range of hotels depending on your budget, starting from £90. Be sure to check out the page detailing these hotels, where they are and what facilities are the best for you!
Westminster is a great location to visit while in London. With so many events, so much rich cultural history that is so fascinating you'll find yourself lost in it, it's definitely a must-do trip. The history is just one aspect, but the mindblowing architecture as well as the amazing local arts facilities are enough to keep anyone of any age and any interest keen. Westminster is a pivotal area of London, it has all the landmarks and all the interest you'll ever need on your next trip!