Westminster, the heart of Central London

The City might be the oldest part of the capital, and the place where some of the biggest and oldest companies in England are based, but it is truly Westminster that most people think of when they hear the name of London.

The City of Westminster has the status of a borough. It lies just to the west of the City and it was created after the administrative reform of 1965. While there are just a few thousand people permanently living in the City, Westminster has a rather high population density – even when one takes into account how much of its territory is actually covered by open green spaces and public landmarks. There are 233 292 people permanently living in Westminster today, or 11 000 per square kilometre. Westminster is also home to some of the most recognisable sights in London today.

Westminster – a brief description

One of the most popular and nicest districts in the modern day City of Westminster is of course Belgravia. The place is famous mostly for its high-class residential developments, in their majority detached and semi-detached houses, as well as for the many embassies that are concentrated here. Those are mainly to be found around Belgravia Square. The area is often called “one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the world”.

Charing CrossCharing Cross is of course another very notable location. You will come by its name whenever you look up any place in London, because it is accepted that distances in the capital are measured from the eponymous train station. Thus Charing Cross Station is, in addition to a major transport hub of the capital, the main terminus and heart of London as well.

The area around Aldwych, a short one-way street that is less than a kilometre away from Charing Cross, is also considered to be pretty exclusive. There are not many residential developments here, but Aldwych area is home to the Northbank business improvement district. The concentration of popular landmarks here is higher than in any other place in Westminster. Popular sites include the Novello and Aldwych theatres, India House, the High Commission of India in London, the Waldorf Hilton, and the Bush House, King House, Melbourne House and Strand House – former headquarters of BBC World Service, now part of the King’s College’s campus.

Moving to the north west, one is going to come across the district of Bayswater. It is primarily a residential area with population density that exceeds 17 500 people per square kilometre – higher even than the average for Westminster. Bayswater is considered being probably the most cosmopolitan place in London, home to prominent Greek, Russian, French, American and Brazilian communities among others. The Whiteleys Shopping Centre, St Sophia’s Cathedral and the Opus Dei headquarters in London are among the main points of interest here.

Every big city in the world seems to have its own Chinatown, and London does not make an exception to that rule. The capital’s Chinatown is located within the premises of the city of Westminster, even though originally it was located in the East End. As one can easily deduce, it is home to a large number of Chinese shops and restaurants, supermarkets, souvenir shops and stand and many other Chinese-run businesses. It is a busy area that is really popular with tourists, and we recommend you to drop by if you have a few spare hours in London wondering what to do.

Covent Garden MarketAnother place that you should not miss under no circumstances is of course Covent Garden. The area is famous for its market, but also has a long history and beautiful architecture to boast about. The Royal Opera House, the Covent Garden Square, Theatre Royal, the London Transport museum are just a few of the major landmarks that you are going to have the chance to see here, and that is only the beginning. Street performances have been popular here at least since the 1660s when they were described by Samuel Pepys.

Famous residents

The list of people who are connected in some way or another to Westminster is quite impressive. Some of the most famous names include:

  • Edmund Kean
  • Bert Norris
  • Lloyd Owen
  • Keith Scott
  • Jack Whitehall
  • Anne Hegerty
  • Celia Wade-Brown