City of Westminster

Many of London's most famous attractions are in this district, like Houses of Parliament with Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. It is connected by the other side of Thames via the Westminster Bridge and to other parts of England from Victoria Station. Westminster is where you can find most of the old monuments. We came to this area several times, both at daytime and after dark.

Houses of the Parliament with its legendaric clock tower Big Ben. It was completed
in 1858. It houses the British government and is one of the world's most recognizable government buildings.

The Clock Tower, more famous as the Big Ben.

Big Ben and London Eye.

Houses of Parliament with Big Ben and Westminster Bridge over Thames.

Big Ben and Portcullis House (left), that houses offices and meeting rooms from the parliament and is built to withstand a terrorist attack.

Victoria Tower. What most people don't know, is that this actually is the
tallest of the parliament towers at 102m, while Big Ben is just 96m. It was even the world's tallest non religious building upon completion. But I think Big Ben is more famous because of its perfect clock and its central position.

Westminster Abbey. Probably the world's most famous abbey. It was completed as early as in 1269.

Celebritites like Henrik V, Elisabet I, Isaac Newton and Lady Diana are buried here.
As a royal church, it has hosted many famous weddings.

It is built in a mixed style with both Gothic and Classical elements. Remains and memorials of 3 300 persons,
including the memorial to the Unknown Warrior, are inside the abbey. I use to think about it as a church
and not an abbey and may be that is not so strange since no monks have lived there since the 16th century.

Westminster Cathedral. Honestly I must admit that me and my friends thought that this was the same as the the Westminster Abbey (thinking that "abbey" was just
the name) until we managed to find it with help from a very nice old man.
Then I was impressed since it looked taller and much more beautiful than I expected. Compared to the abbey it is very new (completed in 1903). A wedding had just been taking place when I took these pictures.

The architect John Francis Bentley made a grand tour of Europe to get inspiration for the design. 125 different kinds of marbles from 23 countries on 5 continents are used in the cathedral!

Residential building opposite from Westminster Cathedral, built in the same style as the cathedral.

The environment just west of Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

The boys' choir school at the backyard of the abbey.

Buckingham Palace. The famous capitol building and the residence of the queen. The current building was
completed as late as in 1914, but the palace has been home to sovereigns since 1837.

The State Rooms of the Palace has paintings from world famous artists, but we didn't go inside
Buckingham Palace since I have heard it is not worth the money.

The gate to The Mall, the road that leads to Buckingham Palace.

The changing of the guards. We saw that event twice. At first, we hurried without reason to get there until 11. The 2nd time we just happend to be there bya coincidence, but ironically it was much bigger than. Someone said it was the birthday of the queen this day because of queen's carriage escorted by horses
was passing, but that was wrong.

Victoria Station. The largest train station in London. Our bus from Standsted stopped at an annex to this station, so this is the area where we got off after arrival. Despite that, we didn't see the main building and its facade until several days later. The worst thing about this station was that it costed unbelievable £5.50 to store
each bag, so we had to carry around with 5 bags
the last day because even if we had been rich it would be just too much!

This is the commercial annex where our bus arrived. Its atrium has a pretty interesting architecture with a "hanging fountain" and it is integrated with the world outdoors.

After our arrival was the first and only time we took a taxi. The taxi was one of the newer black ones with classical design. We found the huge space, including 4 seats and space for the bagage in the backseat very useful.

These office buildings where also in the Westminster area. The one that reminds of Metlife Building in New York is the 29-story Portland House(102m). The one with glass was still under construction.

Here you can see the new bus type that will replace the old dubble decked "Routemasters".

I think this is terribly sad, not only because that the dubbledeckers are symbols of London,
it is magnificent to get up to the 2nd floor and look above the streets of London. Fortunately,
about 80% of the dubbledeckers where still left. They say that the new buses are better for
the environment and are much safer, but I think it would be possible to produce dubbeldecker
buses that also are driven by natural gas.

Big Ben (and The Eye) after dark. The shot was taken the first night after the arrival.