WALK LONDON's Westminster Walk takes you past London's most important seats of Royal and Political power. On this self-guided sightseeing tour you will see many of London's historic and prestigious landmarks, some dating back over a 1000 years. Most of the tourist attractions can be visited throughout the year, see the attraction guide pages.
Starting and finishing at Westminster underground station the tour passes London's top tourist attractions including Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.
For your comfort WALK LONDON's Westminster Walking tour passes many shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and places to rest.
Leisure walker: 2 hours
Power walker: 45 minutes
START: Westminster Underground: District and Circle Lines
Houses of Parliament
→ Big Ben → 10 Downing Street
→ Horse Guards → Admiralty Arch →
Trafalgar Square and Nelsons Column
→ National Gallery → National Portrait Gallery
→ Pall Mall → The Mall
→ St James's Palace → Clarence House
→ Buckingham Palace → The Royal Mews
→ St James Park → Cabinet War Rooms
→ Westminster Abbey
FINISH: Westminster Underground:District and Circle Lines
Edward the Confessor, the Saxon Monarch, built the first Palace of Westminster on this site in 1050. This World Heritage site has been in continuous use since the 11th century, as a royal palace and now as the centre of British Government. Big Ben, a top tourist attraction, is not the clock-tower but the Great Bell inside the tower that has struck every hour since 1859.
No 10 Downing Street is home and official office to the British Prime Minister. Headquarters to Her Majesty's Government it is a meeting place for the Cabinet and a venue for state events and visiting Heads of foreign Governments. The street is named after Sir George Downing, a diplomat and property developer who helped arrange the acquisition of New York from the Dutch.
Horse Guards, built
in 1753, is the formal entrance to St. James's Palace via St James's Park and headquarters to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. Watch the changing of the guard, relieved every hour daily from 10 am to 4 pm.
Only the Monarch is allowed to drive through its central archway, but tourists can walk through into the exercise ground of Horse Guards Parade.
Banqueting House is the largest surviving part of the Palace of Whitehall which was destroyed by fire in 1698. Whitehall had been expanded by King Henry VIII into the largest palace in Europe. The banqueting 'house', which contains Ruben's masterpiece celling, was designed by Inigo Jones for James I, in 1622. Banqueting House was the site
of Charles I's execution.
On the site of King Edward I's 13th century stables, Trafalgar Square was landscaped by architect John Nash for Prince Regent in 1826. Named after the 1805 naval Battle of Trafalgar, at the centre is Nelson's Column, guarded at its base by four huge lions. A popular meeting place for tourists, it is surrounded by many of London's best visitor attractions.
National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of Western European paintings in the world. From the Middle Ages to the early 20th century it includes work by Botticelli, Turner, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Leonardo de Vinci.
The National Portrait Gallery displays portraits of famous British men and women from the 16th Century to the present day.
TOURIST AND SIGHTSEEING ATTRACTIONS
Built 1536, St. James's Palace was home to the Kings and Queens of England for over 300 years. Today St. James's Palace is still residence to several members of the Royal Family and often in use for official royal functions. Since the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, the reigning monarch has lived at Buckingham Palace. The palace is not open to the public.
The Mall is the coloured road which looks like a giant red carpet running from Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace. Clarence House was built to the designs of John Nash for Prince William, Duke of Clarence. He lived there as King William IV from 1830 until 1837. Clarence House is the official London residence of HRH The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.
Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. A working palace, used by the Queen for numerous events and official receptions, areas of Buckingham Palace are opened to visitors
in the summer. Changing of the Guard, London's most popular tourist attraction, takes place on selected days through-out the year.
The Queen's Gallery, open to the public, holds art exhibitions and displays items from the Royal Collection. The Royal Mews, next to Buckingham Palace, is one of the world's finest working stables and provides a unique view into the operation of the Royal Household department which provides road transport for the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
The Churchill War Rooms, deep beneath the HM Treasury buildings, was the secret underground command and control centre used by the British government during the Second World War. Abandoned in August 1945, the complex of rooms and corridors house the Cabinet War Rooms, which have been kept as they were left, and the Churchill Museum.
Westminster Abbey, one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues today. At its centre is the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint.
Westminster Walk - Interactive Google Sightseeing Map
BIG BEN to HORSE GUARDS
START at Westminster Underground Station. Come out of the station at
EXIT 4. You will be opposite the Palace of Westminster looking at the largest four-faced
clock tower in the world. Big Ben, is not the Clock Tower, but is the largest bell inside the tower that strikes the hour.
Turn right on to BRIDGE STREET SW1 towards Parliament Square. Go straight across the busy road and turn right (before the red telephone box) into
PARLIAMENT STREET SW1.
Walk up the left-hand side of Parliament Street past Her Majesty's Treasury, the Foreign and Colonial Office and Cenotaph. You are now in WHITEHALL SW1.
Continue up Whitehall past DOWNING STREET SW1 to Horse Guards.
Walk through the arch on the left to view Horse Guards Parade and the Old Admiralty Offices. Walk back through the arch and back onto Whitehall.
HORSE GUARDS to THE MALL
Continue up Whitehall, past the entrance to THE MALL SW1
and Admiralty Arch into Trafalgar Square. Nelson's Column is guarded by
4 bronze lions, the fountains send jets of water 24m into the air.
Walk to the top of the TRAFALGAR SQUARE to The National and Portrait Galleries. Turn left and walk past the National Gallery then the National Portrait Gallery into PALL MALL EAST SW1. Continue straight on crossing HAYMARKET SW1 into PALL MALL SW1. Cross Pall Mall and turn left into WATERLOO PLACE SW1.
Walk to the end of Waterloo Place, to the Duke of York Column. Cross CARLTON HOUSE TERRACE SW1 and walk down The Duke of York Steps. At the bottom
turn right onto THE MALL SW1
THE MALL TO ST JAMES'S PARK
Walk up THE MALL SW1 and take the first road on your right, MARLBOROUGH ROAD SW1, to view St. James's Palace. Turn round and walk back down Marlborough Road and then turn right back onto The Mall.
Continue up The Mall past Clarence House, the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, to Buckingham Palace.
Walk up to Buckingham Palace past the Queen Victoria Memorial. Walk to the left of the palace into BUCKINGHAM GATE SW1.
Follow the road round past the Queens Gallery and shop in to THE ROYAL MEWS SW1. Re-trace your steps back along Buckingham Gate and cross the road into BIRDCAGE WALK SW1.
From Birdcage Walk take the 1st footpath on the left into St James's Park. Follow the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial footpath down the right-hand side of the lake, to the Blue Bridge.
ST JAMES'S PARK to WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Cross the Blue Bridge over the lake, turn right and continue down the left-hand side of the lake. Continue
straight on past the end of the lake and out of the park into HORSE GUARDS ROAD SW1
Turn right down Horse Guards Road to CLIVE STEPS and the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Continue down Horse Guards Road, at the end go straight cross BIRDCAGE WALK SW1 into STOREY'S GATE SW1.
At the end, turn left into THE SANCTUARY SW1 and Westminster Abbey.