Westminster area guide

Find the best things to do and see in central London with our guide to Westminster’s best attractions, pubs, hotels, restaurants and tours

© Andrew Thomas

Westminster is home to iconic London landmarks like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, which sit proudly on the edge of the Thames. Despite being catnip for visitors, much of this stretch of central London – the ministries that line Whitehall as well as the heavily guarded, security-gated Downing Street – is strictly off-limits. But there is still plenty to do and see around Westminster. As well as tours of these famous sites, there’s St James’s Park, which is essentially the Queen’s front garden. Between The Mall and Piccadilly also lies the genteel neighbourhood of St James’s, characterised by luxury hotels and some of London’s oldest shops.

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The best bits of Westminster

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13 awesome things you probably didn’t know about Westminster Abbey

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18 things you probably didn’t know about the Palace of Westminster

There’s more to the Palace than gunpowder plots and Brexit

16 amazing things you probably didn’t know about Big Ben
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16 amazing things you probably didn’t know about Big Ben

How much do you really know about the old bonger? 

Pet power list: Time Out’s definitive guide to the political animals of Westminster
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Pet power list: Time Out’s definitive guide to the political animals of Westminster

Paw-some amounts of power

Restaurants in Westminster

Cinnamon Club
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Cinnamon Club

There’s a gentleman’s club feel to this grand, Grade II-listed Victorian building. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Regency Café
Restaurants

Regency Café

Behind its black-tiled art deco exterior, this classic caff has operated on the quiet Westminster/Pimlico borders since 1946. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Cellarium
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Cellarium

Cellarium is useful in an area that’s a desert for decent places to eat.

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Quirinale
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Quirinale

This part of town is the epicentre of the civil service and Quirinale is busiest at lunchtime, when you’re likely to overhear diners discussing the business of government. There’s a relaxing feel to the basement dining room, which is sensitively cloaked in white and beige, and the air of bonhomie is aided by staff who aim to ensure you enjoy your stay. Cooking is traditional. Some dishes (such as our fillet of venison with shallot crust, chestnut purée and cavolo nero) lack sparkle, and the quality of produce could be improved. However, braised octopus was a good match for the crunch of Tuscan spelt enriched with tomato sauce and pesto. To finish, there are a dozen Italian cheeses and desserts such as spiced pear and almond cake with caramel ice-cream. The sizeable wine list runs the length of Italy with forays into France – a reasonable choice is offered by the glass, though prices are on the high side. In all, we felt that, rather like the politicians who eat here, Quirinale tends to deliver less than was promised.  

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Book online
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The best hotels in Westminster

Corinthia Hotel London

Corinthia Hotel London

The grand Corinthia actually spent years as government offices before its conversion to a hotel. 

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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St. Ermin’s Hotel

St. Ermin’s Hotel

Guests of the St Ermin’s are welcomed in a world of sophistication and innovative interior design. 

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs in Westminster

The Tattershall Castle
Music

The Tattershall Castle

One of the most famous floating pubs in London.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Dukes Bar
Bars and pubs

Dukes Bar

Dukes is one of London’s true classic bars.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Golden Lion
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Golden Lion

Set opposite Christie’s auction house, this august Nicholson’s hostelry cannot fail to attract a discerning suit-and-tie clientele.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
The Speaker
Bars and pubs

The Speaker

This is a real pub. No big screen. No music. No fruit machines. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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The perfect weekend in Westminster

Eat: Cinnamon Club
Restaurants Book online

Eat: Cinnamon Club

A fine-dining menu of updated rustic and regal pan-Indian dishes. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Explore: St James’s Park
Attractions Book online

Explore: St James’s Park

It was founded as a deer park for the royal occupants of St James’s Palace.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
See: Tate Britain

See: Tate Britain

Tate Modern gets all the attention but the art here is exceptional. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Tour: Palace of Westminster
Attractions

Tour: Palace of Westminster

Be a tourist for the day and get to know the heart of British politics.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars

More things to do in Westminster

Churchill War Rooms

Churchill War Rooms

Fascinating bunkers, preserved as they were in 1945.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Jewel Tower
Attractions

Jewel Tower

One of only two buildings from the medieval Palace of Westminster.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars
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