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Big Ben at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, England

In the Neighborhood: Your ultimate guide to London's Westminster

Home to some of London’s most fascinating buildings, Westminster offers historical places to eat, see and shop like a local in the city’s buzzing epicenter.

By Joanna Tweedy | April 20, 2023

Get a map to Westminster

Tucked between Buckingham Palace and the River Thames, Westminster’s historical streets are where you'll find Downing Street (the Prime Minister’s official residence), Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the soaring clock tower Big Ben. Among the world-famous architecture, you’ll encounter cozy pubs, upscale restaurants, shops and London’s oldest royal park. Our top tip? Bring comfortable shoes. Many of central London’s best-loved attractions are walkable from Westminster, including Leicester Square, Soho and Covent Garden.

EAT

If you're having trouble deciding where to eat, you’re in luck. This culinary hot spot offers foodies everything from traditional English fare to gourmet dining. Head to:

The Westminster Arms, a traditional English pub, where you’ll find locally sourced ingredients making up a sustainable menu of classic pub fare like fish and chips and bangers and mash. A stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament, the staff have a bell to let politicians know they need to finish up and go vote on the country’s issues.

A. Wong, a two Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant that features an inventive British twist on Chinese dishes, including delicious Shanghai steamed dumplings. Reserve your table in advance for a three-hour multi-course journey that highlights the five flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy.

With its art deco-styled exterior, The Regency Cafe, open since 1946, is perfect for grabbing a no-frills, authentic English breakfast that will fuel you for a full day of sightseeing.

SEE

Get a snapshot of London through the ages just by exploring on foot. Discover:

Just shy of 328-feet (100 meters) high and built in 1861, the Victoria Tower is the tallest tower in the Palace of Westminster.

A 10-minute walk from Big Ben, St. James’s Park is the oldest royal park in London and an urban oasis perfect for picnics.

An art-lover's must-see, the regal neoclassical Tate Britain is free to enter, and features masterpieces made in Britain. If weather and timing permits, be sure to walk across the Vauxhall Bridge for a drink at Brunswick House Café Restaurant, set in a Georgian townhouse that dates to 1758.

SHOP

Don’t leave Westminster empty-handed. Shop for souvenirs, confections or fashion at the area’s best spots:

Find vacation keepsakes at the Westminster Abbey Shop, where everything from London-inspired tree decorations to fine china teacups line the shelves.

Wander into neighboring St. James and be tempted by decadent treats from Prestat. Established in 1902, the royal chocolatier’s founding family is credited with inventing the chocolate truffle.

Cardinal Place, Westminster’s striking glass retail development, boasts great fashion and beauty stores. It's also home to around 30 restaurants that are perfect for a quick, casual bite.

Centuries-old history, modern-day politics and magnificent architecture ensure Westminster is known the world over. While visiting, explore this fascinating enclave’s social side too, where wonderful art, quirky pubs and majestic parks — plus awe-inspiring views of the River Thames — are all just a short walk away.

Joanna Tweedy is an award-winning travel writer and editor who lives in London. A former UK national newspaper travel editor, she now contributes across many titles, and specializes in writing about family travel, wellness breaks and luxury vacations.