When in Westminster you can text the word "toilet" to the number
80097 to find the location of the nearest publicly available toilet.
The service by Satlav costs 25 pence (around 50 cents).
Skip the Line: Buckingham Palace Tour
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Westminster Abbey is a glorious building
and you will find much there to enjoy. If you are a fan of England's
history, most of the country's monarchs and many of its noted citizens
are buried here.
If you like "pomp and
circumstance", stop by the
Horse Guards on Horse Guard Row to see
their "Trooping of the Color" and "Beating Retreat" ceremonies each
June. For a photo of
the ceremony, click
At other times you may catch the unit practicing their routines
in the Parade Grounds.
The Tate runs a
boat that connects the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and stops at British Airway's
London Eye. The boat runs every 40 minutes. Click
here for more information.
This section of our London City Guide describes the best places to
visit in Westminster. Click the links to go directly to a specific
place or just read the page below to explore this section of London
St. James's Palace,
The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms,
Tate Britain Art Museum, 10
Hyde Park Corner, St. James's Park
Originally a townhouse owned by the Dukes of Buckingham, the
residence evolved into the palace that is the principal home of the
British Monarchy. Buckingham Palace is surrounded by ornate, black,
wrought iron fences and gates emblazoned with gilded, royal
Most tourists are attracted to the Changing of the Guard ceremonies
that take place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. The event
starts at 11.30 AM and lasts about 45 minutes. The ceremony,
officially called the "Guard Mounting", does not occur during
extremely wet weather. During the autumn and winter, Guard Mounting
takes place on alternate dates. See the official government site for
details about the event and its schedule can be found at the
official website of the
During the summer, when the Royal Family takes up residence in
Scotland, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open for public
viewing. Information on touring can be found
here. The State Rooms
bear evidence that it is “good to be a Royal” and are an interesting
tour. In addition, you may want to see the Royal Mews, which were
once the Queen’s Stable and now serve as the transportation center
for the Royal Family.
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Park, St. James's Park
Take a walk-by of the Palace on your trip down the Pall Mall to
Buckingham Palace or during a walk through Green Park or Saint
St. James's Palace, the Senior Palace of the Sovereign, is not open to the Public but is a building that
exudes history and deserves a walk-by. Built in the early sixteenth
century for Henry VIII, the somewhat modest Palace was the home to British monarchs
for over three hundred years. It still houses some of the Royals but
has been replaced by Buckingham Palace as the Official Residence of
Religious services in the Chapel Royal are open to the
public between October and Easter.
St. James contains the official Royal Offices of the Duke and
Duchess of Cambridge (HRH Prince William and Kate)
If you have an interest in World War II, a stop at Churchill-Cabinet
War Rooms (including the Churchill Museum) is a must. The museum,
which is part of the War Rooms complex, chronicles Churchill's life
and focuses on his "finest hour" as Prime Minister during World War
The Cabinet War Rooms are a "moving" attraction. The appearance of
this underground complex understates its importance to World War II,
as Churchill and his ministers made many crucial decisions regarding
the war strategies for campaigns in Europe and Northern Africa in
The rooms are small, bleak, and perfectly preserved.
The Map Room
and the Cabinet Room were the main centers of action. The
Transatlantic Telephone Room (once a broom closet) contains a simple
desk with a single telephone that connected London to Washington,
DC. The telephone was connected to a computer (for scrambling the
call) that was so large it was housed in the basement of Selfridges’
Department Store on Oxford Street.
official web site of the
Churchill War Rooms and Museum for visitor information.
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Westminster Abbey evokes thoughts of pageantry and royalty. The
Abbey's grounds were the site of the coronation of William the
Conqueror in 1066 (William and the Normans were the victors at the
Battle of Hastings where they defeated the English Saxons in October
of 1066). With the exception of two monarchs, every King or Queen of
England was crowned in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
magnificent structure we see today was built from the thirteenth to
the sixteenth centuries. It was designed as a church for the Royals
and the national site for the coronations and burials of monarchs,
as well as royal weddings (most recently the 2011 marriage HRH
Prince William and Kate Middleton ( William's parents,
Princess Diana) and HRH the Duke of Wales, were married at Saint
Paul's Cathedral in 1981)).
The architecture of Westminster Abbey is stunning and the building
has several notable sections. Be sure to buy a good quality
guidebook that describes the highlights of the building or purchase
one of the pamphlets describing the Abbey that are for sale near the
entry. Tours for individuals or families are available, as well as
audio guides. Check on both at the Information Desk.
Take some time for an examination of the exterior of the Abbey. A
fine view of its flying buttresses is visible from the Cloisters.
The Abbey's Museum is, also, quite interesting.
Over three thousand people are buried in the Abbey but the focus is
on the graves of royalty and the famous. See Westminster's
Poets' Corner for the burial sites of many of England's literary
greats including Chaucer, Johnson,
Dickens, Browning, Hardy, Tennyson, and Kipling. Also, buried here
musicians such as Handel and Purcell. Scientists include Newton,
Darwin, and Lord Kelvin.
The number of monuments in Westminster Abbey is overwhelming
but these statues and markers are incredibly interesting and
reveal much about the history of the United Kingdom. Reserve
some extra time to explore this incredible source of history.
You will undoubtedly find many plaques and tombs that will
capture your attention.
Be sure to see the stunning Lady Chapel, its tombs and its noted
fan-vaulted roof. The Lady Chapel was built at the request of Henry
VII who provided the funding for this beautiful addition. Finally,
don't miss viewing the beautiful, octagonal Chapter House in the Cloisters.
Visit Westminster Abbey's
official web site for information
on opening hours and other information of interest to visitors.
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The Houses of Parliament in Westminster (often called the Palace of
Westminster) are one of the most striking sights in London.
Containing the Houses of Lords and Commons, Parliament is where
national laws are made in the United Kingdom.
The buildings of Parliament are intricately detailed and you should
take some time examining this delightful architecture. The famous
clock tower at the end of Parliament houses the bell Big Ben (and at
thirteen and a half tons, it is big) that has become one of the most
familiar symbols of the London and the United Kingdom.
Historically, Parliament was the site of the royal palace of Edward
the Confessor and his successors. Its architecture evolved through
the ages but was redefined after a calamitous fire in the nineteenth
century when it was rebuilt in the gothic architecture that we see
Tours of Parliament for non - UK citizens are available only during
the “Summer Opening” (when Parliament is out of session). To find
out the dates and times you can tour Parliament, see the official
website of Parliament for more details on visiting. In addition,
the Parliament website includes an interesting online tour of
Consider approaching Parliament from Whitehall where you will pass
through the heart of British Government buildings and the venerable
home of the Prime Minister at Ten Downing Street. Be Forewarned, you
cannot see much of Number 10, due to security measure currently in
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Follow Millbank south from Parliament and you will come to Tate
Britain, an art museum that holds a large collection of British art
ranging from the sixteenth century to the present. Works by Blake,
Bacon, Constable, Gainsborough, Hockney, and Turner are among the
highlights of the collection.
Information on visiting hours and special exhibitions can be found
Tate Britain web site..
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