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The City of Westminster is one of the best boroughs in London. Packed with classic sights, grand architecture, dazzling memorials and intriguing museums, it’s a must-see district for London visitors. The best way to explore is on foot – and we have created the best Self Guided Westminster Walking Tour to help you find your way to the top attractions.
Free Self Guided London Westminster Walking Tour
London is massive in just about every way: size, history, and culture. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the numerous sights around the city, we think it is best to focus sightseeing on specific neighborhoods.
In this Self-Guided Walking Tour of London we detail the most iconic neighborhood, the City of Westminster.
The bite-sized district is fun to explore – and with our Free Walking Tour Westminster London, you can easily route your way to the best sights.
London Westminster Sights
Westminster is an ideal place to begin self-guided London walks. In fact, we think it is the first district visitors should explore when they arrive in the city. Beginning your London sightseeing with a Westminster Walk allows you to see the highlights of London, as well as get your bearings.
We organized our Self-Guided Walking Tour of London into an easy-to-follow walk that passes by the top London attractions.
Some of the most famous sights that we include in the Self Guided Walking Tour London Westminster Route are Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Parliament and the Thames Riverside. We also feature a few of the best museums to visit in the district.
Plus, at the end of the post, we highlight where to eat in Westminster – featuring a few quintessentially British food in London.
There are enough Westminster sights to see to fill an entire day of London sightseeing – but the Walking Tour of Westminster itself takes just a couple of hours.
Self-Guided Walks in London Westminster Borough FAQs
London is a well-organized, flat city – so it’s easy to see the sights on foot. Sidewalks are wide, people are courteous and signs are clearly displayed – all of which make a Self-Guided London Tour in Westminster a fun way to visit the top attractions.
What Info is Included in the Walking Tour Westminster?
Our DIY Westminster Walking Tour of London features the must-see sights in the district. For each sight along the route, we include a brief description, helpful information and useful tips.
Is There a Westminster London Walking Tour Map?
Yes! To help visitors get from sight-to-sight on our Westminster London Self-Guided Walking Tour, we have included a link to Google Maps for each location.
To use the links during your Self Guided Westminster Walk, you will need WiFi. We share tips about the best options for WiFi abroad – as well as other things you will need for you walk – later in the article.
Additionally, at the end of the post, we provide a useful Walking Tour of London Map (which can be printed!).
How Many Sights are there in the Self-Guided Walking Tour London Westminster Route?
In our Walking Tour of Westminster, we include more than 20 sights along the walk – and offer more sightseeing suggestions within the district, too.
Some of the attractions on our Westminster London Walking Tour self guided route can be entered – and some require a ticket. You will need to determine whether or not to visit the attractions based on your time, interests and budget.
It is also important to note that some of the sights featured in our Self-Guided Walking Tour London Westminster District are technically outside the boundaries of the Westminster Borough. However, due to the close proximity, we include them in our Walk of Westminster for the best sightseeing route.
Are There Guided Westminster London Walking Tours Free?
Yes, there are free walking tours in London led by local guides. Visitors who are looking for a Guided Free Walking Tour London can use one of the many companies that provide the tours.
Just be aware that guides of Free London Walks expect – and likely deserve – monetary compensation. And, if you are paying a tip, then it is not really free!
Travelers can also opt to join a paid guided tour of Westminster – some tours even include entry into the Westminster Abbey. Find details here.
On the other hand, self-guided walking tours – without a guide – are an excellent way to get acquainted with the city! We offer our London Walking Tour Self-Guided completely free of charge. Simply use this free London Walking Tour to route your way through the Westminster district to the highlighted sights.
Whether you are budget savvy or just like touring at your own pace, we are sharing how to tour London on your own in our self-guided walk.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Free London Walking Tour so you can easily access it on your Vacation to the UK!
Self-Guided Walking Tour London City of Westminster
Begin your self-guided London walking tour in one of the city’s most cherished parks: Hyde Park.
#1 Hyde Park
MAP. Hyde Park marks the beginning of your Westminster London Self Guided Walking Tour.
Hyde Park, one of the Royal Parks in London, was established in 1536 by Henry VIII as hunting grounds. The park opened to the public in 1637. Since then, it has been the site of exhibitions, duels, demonstrations, rock concerts and the London Winter Wonderland Christmas Market.
The park is crisscrossed by walking paths, has two ponds, several statues and numerous memorials (including the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in the center of the park).
On the west end of the park is Kensington Palace (which can be entered for a fee). Marking the northeast corner of the park is the grand Marble Arch and, on the southeast corner, is the Wellington Arch.
Make your way through Hyde Park from west to east, ending at the Wellington Arch.
Pro Tip: Hyde Park is huge! Visitors short on time can limit their exploration to the southeast corner, where there are fountains, statues and the Rose Garden.
#2 Wellington Arch
MAP. The Wellington Arch was completed in 1830 to celebrate the British victories during the Napoleonic Wars. It has been moved and statues have been switched out, but it still stands as a triumphant arch.
For a small fee, it is possible to go inside the arch.
#3 Buckingham Palace
MAP. Buckingham Palace is a must see sight that features on all of the best Self Guided London Walks.
Built in 1705, the Royal Family has resided in Buckingham Palace since 1837, when Queen Victoria moved there from James’s Palace. The grand size – 355 feet by 393 feet with 775 rooms, including 78 bathrooms – is more impressive than the architectural design.
Pro Tip: Buckingham Palace is open to visitors, but only on certain dates and tickets should be purchased in advance.
#4 Queen Victoria Memorial
MAP. You don’t have to go far to see the next sight on our Self Guided Tour London Westminster Walk, because right in front of the Buckingham Palace gate is the grandiose Queen Victoria Memorial.
Facing The Mall (the road that leads from the palace to Trafalgar Square), the Queen Victoria Memorial honors the British Empire. Featuring Queen Victoria in marble, the memorial also includes the Angel of Justice and the Angel of Truth.
#5 Changing of the Guard
MAP. A highlight for many tourists is the renowned Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard. During the ceremonious shift change, the red-coated soldiers with their tall furry hats parade to and from the palace grounds.
Visitors may want to time their visit to coincide with the Changing of the Guard, which is free to watch. For more information, go to the official site.
Note: The next four sights on our London Westminster Walking Tour are seen on a detour to the south of Buckingham Palace. The route circles back around to the palace. Therefore, travelers short on time (or not interested in the sights listed), can simply continue from Buckingham Palace to St. James’ Park, which is #10 on our list.
#6 The Queen’s Gallery
MAP. Housing artwork from the Royal Collection, The Queen’s Gallery is an exceptional museum at Buckingham Palace. The ever-changing rotation of exhibits are open to the public, but a ticket is required for entry.
#7 The Royal Mews
MAP. The Buckingham Palace Royal Mews is the central hub of transport for the Royal Family – including everything from cars to carriages.
Visitors can tour the Royal Mews (with a ticket) to get a peek at the luxurious coaches that are used for ceremonies (including the grand Gold State Coach that is more than 260 years old).
#8 Little Ben Clock and Victoria Palace Theatre
MAP. Small and way less famous than Big Ben (which we see later on the Walking Tour in Westminster), Little Ben is a free-standing, cast iron clock tower that stands in front of the Victoria Palace Theater. The clock dates to the year 1892 and is featured on the National Heritage List for England.
Victoria Palace Theatre – a London West End theater – was built in 1910 and is a Grade II historic building. Originally, it was known for hosting variety shows, but now is best known for musicals.
#9 Westminster Cathedral
MAP. Not to be confused with Westminster Abbey (which we visit later in our walk), the Westminster Cathedral is a stunning red-and-white brick neo-Byzantine church.
Built in the late 1800s and opened in 1903, the Cathedral serves as the Mother Church for the Catholic Church of England and Wales. The massive church – one of the largest in the world – features ornate chapels, intricate mosaics and marble columns.
No ticket are required to go inside. Visiting the Cathedral is one of the free things to do in Westminster London!
#10 St. James’ Park
MAP. Lining the south side of the The Mall thoroughfare from Buckingham Palace nearly all the way to Trafalgar Square is the pleasant, peaceful and pretty St. James’s Park. It is the oldest of the 8 Royal Parks.
The grounds used to be marshland, but now provide open space and benches for Londoners and tourists to play, picnic and rest.
In addition to seeing the flower gardens and lake, park visitors can walk along part of the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk (more info here), cross the Blue Bridge for fantastic views and try to spot one of the famous resident pelicans.
Pro Tip: After seeing the park, exit on the north side to The Mall. Visitors can cross The Mall and walk north on Marlborough Rd to get a glimpse of St. James’s Palace. It was built in the 1530s and served as the royal residence prior to Buckingham Palace. The nearby St. James’s Square is another pretty place to see on the north side of The Mall.
#11 The Mall
MAP. The Mall is the road that connects Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square. Lined with the colorful Union Jack (the national flag of the United Kingdom), the road is the site of ceremonial processions.
Walk northeast on The Mall (the opposite direction of Buckingham Palace) to the Admiralty Arch, which is the next stop on our Westminster London Walking Tour route.
#12 Admiralty Arch
MAP. At the east end of The Mall, the Admiralty Arch marks the entrance into Trafalgar Square. The arch was built in 1912 and dedicated to Queen Victoria.
Ceremonial processions often begin under the arches and proceed down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. For many years, the Admiralty Arch was used for government offices, but it has now been transformed into a luxury hotel.
#13 Trafalgar Square
MAP. The expansive Trafalgar Square was built to celebrate the victory at The Battle of Trafalgar. Now, it is a gathering place for tourists, street performers and artists.
The famous London square is home to many sights and monuments – including Nelson’s Column, The National Gallery and St.-Martin-In-The-Fields Church…all of which we detail next in our Self Guided Walking Tour of London Westminster.
#14 Nelson’s Column
MAP. The focal point of Trafalgar Square is Nelson’s Column, which was built to honor Admiral Horatio Nelson, who is credited for the victory in the Battle of Trafalgar (although he died in the conflict).
The monument was built in the 1840s. Sitting at 169 feet tall, the base is guarded by four lion statues and features bronze reliefs that tell the story of the battle.
#15 The National Gallery
MAP. One of the best London museums, The National Gallery displays artwork from the 13th to 20th centuries. The museum was founded in 1824 and displays more than 2,300 works of art. The collection includes masterpieces by van Gogh and da Vinci (among many other masters!).
The best part is that the museum is completely free to visit!
#16 St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church
MAP. Situated on the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square is the quaint St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church. The church was built in 1724 and is known for helping the homeless.
The Crypt houses a café that serves affordable food and there are regular concerts at the church to raise funds. It is free to enter!
Pro Tip: North of Trafalgar Square is Leicester Square, the well-known entertainment district in the city. London Chinatown is also nearby and worth a detour if time allows.
#17 Whitehall London
MAP. Whitehall is the main road that connects Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square. Home to numerous government entities, the name Whitehall is often used to refer to the United Kingdom government as a whole.
In addition to the many government offices that line Whitehall, there are several interesting sights and monuments along the road – which we highlight next in our Self Guided Tour of London Westminster.
#18 Horse Guards Building & Household Cavalry Museum
MAP. Built in 1753, the Horse Guards Building houses the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
The Household Cavalry Museum sits on the grounds and is open to the public (ticket required). At 10:50am (or at 9:50am on Sundays), crowds gather around the entrance to watch the changing of the guard.
#19 10 Downing Street
MAP. Number 10 Downing Street is the official residence and office of the Prime Minister. Although impossible to get close to, it’s fun to look through the gates and past the coppers for a glimpse.
#20 The Cenotaph and Whitehall Memorials
Several statues stand in the center of the Whitehall roadway. From north to south, the statues to look for are George Duke of Cambridge, Earl Haig Memorial, the Women of World War II and the Cenotaph.
The Cenotaph (MAP) is a prominent war memorial that is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, World War II and other British conflicts.
Just south of the Cenotaph is a grand archway, called the King Charles Street Arch, that leads onto the historic and architecturally rich King Charles Street.
At the far end of the short street is the Churchill War Rooms Museum, which are part of the Imperial War Museum. MAP. The underground War Rooms were built in the 1930s and were used throughout the war by Churchill and visitors can see the well-preserved bunker with a ticket.
#21 Parliament Square Garden
MAP. The small, green grass Parliament Square Garden offers visitors a unique vantage point of some of the most iconic Westminster sights – including Big Ben, Parliament (called the Palace of Westminster) and Westminster Abbey.
Just look at the famous London sights now; we route to a better vantage point of them later in the Self Guided Westminster Tour.
The square, which is worth taking a quick walk around, is ringed by trees and statues of prominent politicians, including Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela.
Note: From Parliament Square, walk to Westminster Abbey – perhaps stopping at St. Margaret’s Church (MAP) on the way. Founded in the 12th century, the Church is free to enter and well worth popping in to see the interior.
#22 Westminster Abbey
MAP. The iconic Westminster Abbey is a magnificent church with soaring Gothic spires, more than a thousand years of history and a strong royal connection.
Sixteen royal couples, including Will and Kate, have said their vows at the Abbey and the next to be crowned will celebrate their Coronation at Westminster Abbey, as has every other king and queen since 1066.
There is a fee to enter and tour Westminster Abbey – and it is best to buy tickets in advance.
However, visitors can go inside for free for a service (check the official schedule), which is how we visited the beautiful church.
#23 Victoria Tower Gardens South
MAP. One of the small Royal Parks that sits along the riverside, Victoria Tower Gardens offers one of the better views of the Palace of Westminster – and is a nice place to rest your feet during a Westminster tour of sights.
In addition to seeing Parliament, visitors can take in the view across the Thames River and seek out artwork and a famous memorial.
Find the Burghers of Calais statue by Auguste Rodin on the south side of the Palace of Westminster. The statue commemorates the Hundred Years War between England and France during the Middle Ages.
In the center of the park is the colorful Buxton Memorial Fountain. The octagonal memorial celebrates Britain’s abolishment of slavery in 1834 (but it wasn’t built until 1865, the same year the US abolished slavery).
#24 Tate Britain
MAP. Opened in 1897 as the National Gallery of British Art, the Tate Britain is one of the highly touted art museums in London and one of the largest in England.
The artwork displayed at Tate Britain features works by British artists, as well as contemporary art. General admission into the museum is free!
Note: We only recommend walking to the Tate Britain Museum if you plan on visiting. If you are not visiting Tate Britain, continue from the south end of Victoria Tower Gardens across Lambeth Bridge.
#25 Lambeth Bridge
MAP. There has been a Thames River crossing at the site of the Lambeth Bridge since the 1800s (when there used to be a ferry that shuttled passengers, horses and carriages from one bank to the other).
The bridge that straddles the river today dates to 1932 and is marked by obelisks at either end topped with pinecones.
Cross the bridge to the east side of the River Thames and follow the pedestrian riverside Albert Embankment path north. This route provides the best view of the next sight on our London Westminster Walking Tour: Palace of Westminster.
#26 Palace of Westminster Parliament Building
MAP. Officially known as the Palace of Westminster, the Parliament building has been the center for British government for the past 900 years. The Westminster Palace (along with Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret’s Church) are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Two of its 1,100 rooms are used by the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Palace of Westminster also houses rooms for committees, libraries, dining halls and bars (like Stranger’s Bar) that can be used by Members of Parliament, staff and their guests.
Visitors can go on a tour of the building (ticket required) or interested visitors can attend a session for free. Find out more on the official website.
#27 Westminster Bridge
MAP. The Westminster Bridge was built in the mid-1700s and stands today as a landmark in London.
Before using the bridge to cross back into Westminster, walk to the north side of the bridge for an epic London view that encompasses Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament.
Now, continue your DIY London Tour of Westminster and use the bridge to cross back over the river…and enjoy one of the best views in the city as you stroll across it toward Big Ben!
#28 Big Ben
MAP. The four-faced clock tower, which is often referred to as Big Ben, is actually called Elizabeth Tower. The largest of the five bells inside the tower is named Big Ben – and it rings on the hour.
The neo-Gothic tower was built in 1859 and stands 316 feet tall. Today, the bell tower is an iconic symbol of London and a UNESCO site.
#29 River Thames Memorials and Statues
Several landmarks, statues and memorials stand on the bank of the Thames River, north of Big Ben. We are highlighting just a few of the sights to look for along the riverbank.
The Royal Air Force Memorial was erected in 1923 in memory of airmen who died in WWI. MAP.
The PS Tattershall Castle, a moored boat and now a pub, was used as a passenger ferry from 1934 until 1973. MAP.
Look across the River Thames to The London Eye Ferris Wheel. It allows passengers a birds’ eye view of the city. Already iconic, it was only built in the year 2000. MAP.
#30 Golden Jubilee Bridge
MAP. Part of the Hungerford Bridge, the pedestrian footbridges on the outside of the bridge are called the Golden Jubilee Footbridges.
Use the footbridge on the south side of the bridge – and walk halfway across to take in one of the best views in London and Westminster.
Bonus: Victoria Embankment Gardens
MAP. If you still have some spring in your step, continue your Free Self-Guided Walking Tour London north along the Victoria Embankment.
The riverside Victoria Embankment stretches from Parliament north to Blackfriars Bridge. The route is marked by beautiful flower gardens, poignant memorials and outstanding city views. Don’t miss Cleopatra’s Needle, an Egyptian Obelisk dating to 1450 BC.
Still going strong? Continue your riverside stroll and embark on a Self Guided Thames River Pub Crawl to some of the best pubs in London!
Westminster London Walking Tour Map
Use this link to Google Maps for an online, interactive version of our Westminster Walking Tour Map of Sights.
Westminster London Walking Map with Directions
To help visitors more easily get around Westminster, we created four London Self-Guided Walking Tours Maps that provide step-by-step directions from sight to sight. Use these maps for walking directions of the route outlined in our self-guided tour of London.
- Walking Tour London Map #1 Walking Directions
- Walking Tour of London Map #2 Walking Directions
- Walking Map of London #3 Walking Directions
- London Tour Map #4 Walking Directions
Where To Eat in Westminster London
If you get peckish during your Westminster walk, there are a few places where you can stop to get a bite to eat along our London Walking Tour Self Guided route.
The Laughing Halibut
MAP. A classic fish and chips shop that has been around since 1982, The Laughing Halibut is a family run restaurant – and their Haddock and Chips is excellent!
MAP. Before setting off on the best Self Guided Walking Tour of London Westminster, feast on a traditional Full English Breakfast at Regency Café. The diner is a local favorite – so expect a queue!
The English Rose Café and Tea Shop
MAP. One of the best place (and most affordable!) places for Afternoon Tea in Westminster, The English Rose Café is delightfully charming – and the scones are incredibly delicious!
More Money Saving Tips For London
Looking for more ways to save money in London? Use our detailed 3-Day London Itinerary on a Budget! We share our top tips and travel advice for how to plan your London vacation.
What You Need For Your Self-Guided London Walking Tour
Before setting off on self-guided walking tours in London, make sure you have a few necessities!
Walking Shoes for London
London is a beautiful city! Capture the city sights with an actual camera (rather than relying on your cell phone camera). We use a Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens – which takes incredible photos.
As we mentioned previously, in order to use our Westminster Walking Tour Map Links that we share for each sight, you will need an internet connection.
Many phone providers allow travelers to adjust data packages for international plans, however, we recommend travelers invest in a Pocket WiFi device. We use the GlocalMe device – and would literally be lost without it!
London Tourist Map and Guidebook
While we provide a helpful Self-Guided London Walking Tour Map, we think navigating a city is even easier (and much more enjoyable!) when you have a good understanding of the city layout and a paper map.
Day Pack and Water Bottle
It’s important to have a good day pack for your city exploration. I carry a Timbuk2 Messenger Bag, which isn’t specifically designed for travel, but I think it is perfect for city sightseeing! The crossbody bag has tons of interior pockets and is big enough for my camera, map, water bottle and other things I carry. Looking for a different style? Try the traveler bags made by Travelon.
Speaking of water bottles, we recommend carrying a refillable water bottle. The water in London is safe to drink – and there are plenty of places to fill up along the walk. Travelers can use space-saving collapsible water bottles.
London Weather Gear
London Travel Insurance
If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, consider traveling protected with coverage from a reliable company.
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