Westminster is an area of Central London, within the City of Westminster. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, southwest of the City of London and 0.5 miles (0.8 km) southwest of Charing Cross. It has a large concentration of London`s historic and prestigious landmarks and visitor attractions, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and much of the West End of London.
Historically a part of Middlesex, the name Westminster was the ancient description for the area around Westminster Abbey – the West Minster, or monastery church, that gave the area its name – which had been the seat of the Government of England for almost a thousand years. Since its construction in the mid-19th century, Westminster has been location of the Palace of Westminster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The name Westminster was historically used to describe the area around Westminster Abbey–the West Minster, or monastery church, that gave the area its name–which has been the seat of the government of England for almost a thousand years. The name is also used for the larger City of Westminster which covers a wider geographical area; and, since 1965, has included the former boroughs of St Marylebone and Paddington.
The historic core of Westminster is the former Thorney Island on which Westminster Abbey was built. The Abbey became the traditional venue of the coronation of the kings and queens of England. The nearby Palace of Westminster came to be the principal royal residence after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, and later housed the developing Parliament and law courts of England. It can be said that London thus has developed two distinct focal points: an economic one in the City of London; and a political and cultural one in Westminster, where the Royal Court had its home. This division is still very apparent today.