Looking for things to do in Westminster London? I’ll show you this iconic London neighbourhood, and its essential sights, landmarks, and attractions to tick off your London sightseeing list.
If you’re planning on visiting London, you’ve just got to spend some time around Westminster! This is the iconic London neighbourhood, is filled with all of the essential sights, landmarks, and attractions to tick off your London sightseeing list.
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Westminster is the government area near Buckingham Palace. There are so many important buildings and things to see here.
As this is a major area for tourists, it is easy to reach, safe to get around, and offers plenty of great places to eat, drink, and shop.
Here is a complete list of all the best Westminster things to do, from must-see London landmarks to some of the city’s best nightlife – there is so much happening in this exciting area.
Where is Westminster & How to Get There
Westminster is a popular borough in Central London. It is an area along the banks of the River Thames, part of the city’s West End. As Westminster is such a central area, it can easily be reached by underground.
Westminster station is between St. James Park and Embankment. The station is serviced by the Circle, District, and Jubilee lines.
Top 16 Westminster Attractions
Anyone visiting London will be sure to find themselves in Westminster at some point, as this is where some of the most important attractions can be found.
Wondering what to do in Westminster? Here are the top places to visit in Westminster London that you just can’t miss out on.
You can’t visit London without taking a classic photo with Big Ben. The Big Ben area is always buzzing with activity, and will likely be your first stop in Westminster.
Big Ben is the iconic striking clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster.
Big Ben is actually the nickname of the big bell used in the tower – although we now use the name to refer to the entire tower.
Big Ben is easily recognisable from a distance, but it is even more beautiful up close. Admiring the fine details and evident history of this building is a real thrill.
Try to time your visit on the hour so that you can hear this magnificent clock tower loudly striking its bell.
Snap a picture, and admire one of London’s favourite landmarks from different perspectives.
Currently covered in scaffolding, maintenance of the bell tower began in 2017 putting to a stop to the glorious hourly chimes of the bell until 2021.
Tours tend to be sold out for up to 6 months in advance so be prepared to wait awhile. Due to the refurbishment of Big Ben, tours have been suspended.
Pro London travel tip | Try visiting the Houses of Parliament during the evening when the palace is all lit up. This is one of the most beautiful things to see in London.
Nearest tube station | Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster is where the two houses of the UK parliament meet. Also known as the house of Parliament, this is one of the most important buildings in the country.
Despite its role in government, the Palace of Westminster is a stunning building to simply admire from the outside. As this building is joined to Big Ben, you will be sure to pay it a visit.
Take a walk around the architecturally impressive palace and marvel at its grandeur. You can also enjoy amazing views of the Palace of Westminster from the opposite bank of the Thames.
If you are interested in the historical and political importance of the building, you could take a guided royal Westminster tour. This will provide some excellent insight into some of London’s most important landmarks.
Parliament Square can be found just next to the Palace of Westminster. This iconic square has a large green area in the middle, as well as twelve famous statues of notable people. One of the most well-loved of these is the Mahatma Gandhi statue.
This is a good place to relax a little, and soak up the energy of Westminster. You will most likely pass Parliament Square while walking between attractions here, so it is definitely worth taking some time to check out.
If you are after the top things to do in the Westminster area, Westminster Abbey has to be on your list. This massive gothic church is possibly the most important religious building in the UK.
Westminster Abbey has seen sixteen royal weddings and all of the coronations of British monarchs.
This is a building with huge historical significance. Westminster Abbey is also the burial site of some of the most prominent figures in British history.
You can enter and take a walk around this insanely beautiful church to take in its fine details.
Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are within easy walking distance of each other, so be sure to check these both out while in the neighbourhood.
The official royal residence in London, Buckingham Palace is a must for anyone to see while visiting this city.
Can you even say that you went to London without trying to get a photo of the iconic Queens Guard?
Try to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace if you really want the ultimate experience here. This prestigious ceremony takes place at 11:00 on weekdays, and 10:00 on Sundays.
Seeing Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard is one of the most necessary things while in Westminster. Just be aware that it can get really busy here during the guard change.
White Hall & the Horse Guards Parade
The Palace of Whitehall was once the main residence of the English monarchs before most of it was destroyed by a fire. In fact, Whitehall was once the largest palace in Europe!
The palace is an impressive sight to behold – full of historical significance.
In front of Whitehall is the Horse Guards Parade. This is a big parade ground where many annual ceremonies are held.
Try to time your visit at 10:30 on weekdays, and 9:30 on Sundays to watch the changing of the Queen’s Life Guard. This is a great display put on by the horse-mounted guards.
This display is a lot less crowded than the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and there are also no rails. If you want to get up close to the action, then this would be the guard change to watch.
When in Westminster, London, Trafalgar Square is another essential stop. This public square in central London has been a significant landmark since the 13th century.
Today, it is a vibrant and busy place – with some important statues and monuments to check out.
Some of the must-see monuments here include Nelsons Column, the lion sculptures, and statues of many important historical figures scattered around the square.
The fountains at Trafalgar Square are also iconic, and worth taking a picture in front of.
Trafalgar is also famous for its mass of pigeons that descend onto the square. If you are interested in London history and architecture, take some time to slowly walk around here, noticing the many buildings, plaques, statues and monuments around the square.
South Bank is an exciting hub along the River Thames. South Bank is basically a riverside walkway that passes some of the most notable sights and cultural attractions in London.
Taking a walk down the dynamic area will reveal the true charm and beauty of London.
As South Bank is situated along the river, you get some seriously fantastic views here. The views of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster are particularly good. You will also pass the iconic London Eye.
Besides the landmark sites, South Bank is loaded full of cool bars, restaurants, and places to hang out.
Some notable institutions include the Southbank Centre, The Southbank street food market, National Theatre, and BFI Film Theatre.
There are also some classic London pubs here. Visiting Southbank is ideal during the evening, as this is when the place really starts to come alive.
Whether you just enjoy the passing views from a bench or stop into one of the top restaurants here, you will be sure to create a memorable experience.
READ MORE | BEST LONDON WALKING TOURS
The London Eye
This massive observation wheel along the banks of the Thames is the ultimate attraction if you are after views of London. The London Eye is an essential part of the city’s skyline, and has become a necessary stop for anyone visiting the city.
A full revolution on the wheel will take 30 minutes – giving you enough time to soak up the best views you could possibly get over Westminster and beyond.
As this is the largest observation wheel in the world, it is a very popular attraction. Be prepared for crowds when visiting and I do mean CROWDS.
Check out this fantastic London sightseeing tour that includes a ticket to the London Eye.
Walk across Westminster Bridge to marvel at one of the city’s greatest structures. This bridge crosses over the Thames, connecting Westminster with Lambeth.
Walking over the bridge is one of the top Westminster activities for those seeking great views and iconic architecture.
The bridge is an important piece of London, and is easily recognisable. While walking along the bridge, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the riverbanks.
Things to do near Westminster Bridge include popular attractions like the London Eye, South Bank, Westminster Palace, and Big Ben.
READ MORE | THE TOP HISTORICAL WALKING TOURS IN LONDON
Number 10 Downing Street
Westminster is the government hub of London, and number 10 Downing Street is the most important address around here.
This is the official residence of the British prime minister. Since 1902, every prime minister has lived right here.
You cannot access 10 Downing Street, as this is a seriously high-security residence. You can pass the gates at Downing Street though to grab a peek at this famous address.
The simple black door may not look like much from the outside, but it holds plenty of political significance.
St. James’s Palace
Although Buckingham Palace is the most popular royal attraction in Westminster, St. James’s Palace is actually the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom.
This regal building is the home of many members of the royal family. It has seen many important events throughout history.
Unfortunately, the palace is closed to the public. Those that want some insight into the inside of this spectacular building can visit the active Chapel Royal which is open to everyone.
St. James Park
Located in the middle of all the best things to do in Westminster lies a beautiful green space. This is St. James Park. While you are sightseeing in the area, be sure to visit St. James’s Park for a peaceful break.
The park has a lovely little lake – home to many waterbirds (including pelicans). There are trees, lawns, benches, and flowerbeds, making this a truly beautiful place to be. You could have a picnic under the trees, feed the ducks, or just enjoy the fresh park air.
Tate Britain is a historic gallery is Westminster – dating all the way back to 1897. If you are after a good fill of arts and culture, then this would be the ideal place to visit.
Being the oldest art gallery in London’s Tate network, you can see some seriously impressive works on display.
The gallery is one of London’s free attractions, and is loaded full of artistic gems. Wandering between the famous paintings and exhibitions at Tate Britain will be an unforgettable experience for any art lover.
READ MORE | BEST LONDON SIGHTSEEING TOURS
Westminster Millenium Pier
What is there to do near Westminster Bridge? Visit the Millennium Pier of course!
This pier on the north bank of the River Thames is close to Big Ben, and always buzzing with activity. When in Westminster, be sure to pass along the Millennium Pier.
The pier is great to walk along and enjoy some spectacular river views. This is also the place to go if you want to do a Thames River cruise, as the boats depart from the pier.
A cruise like this is loads of fun, and it offers one of the absolute best perspectives of Westminster.
If you are sightseeing around the Westminster borough, you will be sure to pass the Mall. Not to be confused with a shopping centre, The Mall is a long road connecting Buckingham Palace with Trafalgar Square, passing Admiralty Arch.
The road is closed to traffic on the weekends, and it plays a big role in many ceremonial occasions and the London marathon.
As the Mall passes so many important sites in Westminster, you will definitely want to walk (or cycle) along it. Take note of the Union Jack flags proudly positioned along the neat rows of trees alongside the road.
Unusual Things to do in Westminster
Not all Westminster tourist attractions involve London’s typical landmarks. Here are some more unusual things to do while visiting this area of the city.
Kayak on the Thames
If you aren’t going to do a Thames River cruise on a boat, you could always opt for something a little bit more adventurous.
Kayak tours down the Thames are available around the House of Parliament every day. These offer a totally unique perspective of the many Westminster landmarks while allowing you to enjoy a bit of outdoor fun.
Visit a Dungeon
The London Dungeon may be a well-known stop on the Westminster attractions map, but exploring an old dungeon is still a pretty unique thing to do.
Located along South Bank, this fully immersive attraction allows you to travel through 1000 years of history with a number of interactive shows and live actors.
You will get to learn all about the gory and dark history of London gallows at this fun attraction. This is something that the whole family can enjoy.
I have visited the London Dungeon and it exceeded my expectation with being inactive, engaging and fun. I highly recommending visiting the London Dungeon if you are exploring Westminster.
Climb Westminster Cathedrals Bell Tower
When exploring Westminster Cathedral, you could take the experience to new heights by climbing up the bell tower. Not many people add this bit while in the cathedral, but it is definitely worthwhile.
You will get unbeatable views from the four different balconies up here. There is a lift up to the 7th-floor tower, so it can be easily accessed by everyone.
Harry Potter Sightseeing Tour
Between the many Westminster museums, landmarks and tourist attractions they are a number of Harry Potter sights!
If you are a fan of the wizarding world, you could take a themed tour of this part of London. There are many film locations found around Westminster, and walking between them is loads of fun.
The Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms are where Winston Churchill and his cabinet sheltered during WW2.
You can take a tour of the war rooms to discover all kinds of artefacts and interesting displays around this iconic period in London’s history.
If you are interested in war history and politics, then this is an attraction not to miss out on.
Things to do in Westminster London at Night
Westminster is an exciting place to explore throughout the day, but there is also plenty of fun to be had at night!
Whether you are after some classic pubs or vibey nightclubs, here are some of the best things to do in Westminster after dark.
All of the main Westminster sights and attractions are lit up by floodlights at night. Seeing these places at night offers a beautiful perspective of London’s top places of interest.
You could take a walk past Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster, the London Eye, and all the rest.
One of the best perspectives for these sites is from South Bank. Not only will you get incredible views of the attractions, but you will also pass a number of great bars and restaurants along the way.
Floating Comedy Club
The Boat Show Comedy Club can be found on a refurbished paddle steamer next to the London Eye. This is a fun experience for anyone looking for a few laughs along the popular Westminster riverside. You can enjoy a few drinks in this unique and hilarious atmosphere.
Want to dance and party into the early hours of the morning? There are some great nightclubs around Westminster that will be sure to keep you moving. Heaven is a legendary nightclub, famous for its gay club nights, massive dance floor, and many years in the London nightlife scene.
READ MORE | THINGS TO DO IN LONDON AT NIGHT
Bars Near Westminster Bridge
Westminster is full of excellent bars and pubs to suit all kinds of people. Westminster Bridge is the perfect starting off point, with plenty of the area’s best bars being found around here. Here are some fantastic bars in this area:
Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden
A lovely rooftop bar that is the perfect place to watch the sunset. You get fantastic views over South Bank below and can enjoy the garden atmosphere.
British pubs don’t get much more classic than this Greene King gem. The Albert is a grade-II listed pub with a Victorian charm to it. Those after classic pub grub and the perfect setting for a few pints will love The Albert.
Rooftop St James
Another fantastic rooftop bar overlooking Trafalgar Square. Rooftop St James is the perfect place to soak up the London skyline during clear warm evenings. There is delicious food on offer here too.
St. Stephens Tavern
A classic ale house serving a wide range of craft beers. As this pub is opposite the Houses of Parliament, it is a favourite destination for London politicians.
The Red Lion
A Westminster favourite near the river. This pub is the perfect place to stop for a few drinks, a bite to eat, and a typical London environment. The Red Lion is a well-known establishment in Westminster, popular with tourists and locals.
Final Thoughts on What to do in Westminster, England
No trip to London would be complete without spending some time in Westminster. This area of the city is a central hub of activity, landmarks, and iconic attractions. Some of the biggest sights and activities in London can be found here.
Whether you want to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, hear the strike of Big Ben, tour Westminster Abbey, or ride the massive London Eye, it can all be done within Westminster.
If you are planning a trip to London, then be sure to follow this guide to help you experience some of the city’s most important points of interest.
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