Westminster: London's calling

Westminster: London's calling"I like it in the city when two worlds collide. You get the people and the government. Everybody taking different sides." So sang Adele in her hit song Hometown Glory. The superstar could well have been singing about Westminster, often considered the melting pot of Central London where people of all colours, creeds and occupations head to on a daily basis. For this is where the vast majority of London landmarks are situated - from the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. Of course, with such prestigious properties on the list, you might already be wondering if you can possibly afford a home in Westminster. Fortunately, the area has a thriving residential population. Provided you don't choose a property with a name prefaced by the word 'Westminster', you should be fine. Take a look at our handy guide below to see if this is the area for you.

Residential paradise

For an area known primarily for its tourism, Westminster has a surprisingly large residential population. Properties range from small flats above shops right up to £3,000 per week penthouses with glorious views over the Thames and some of the aforementioned landmarks. A large proportion of the demographic is made up of the traditional London working class community, especially with the council and Peabody Trust estates at the back of Westminster Abbey and off Millbank. But on the other hand, you'll also be neighbours with the Queen. So it's really quite a mix of people.

Rental prices range from £295 to £2,495 per week according to Foxton's Estate Agents, with the average standing at around £660 per week.

History

We'd be doing Westminster a disservice if we did a feature without discussing its history. As an area that has served as the seat of government for almost a thousand years, it has been home to politicians, singers, royalty and storytellers of celebrity status. If you're a history buff and like to get out and about a bit at the weekend, you'll not find a finer place to live. With everything from the Abbey to the Cathedral, there's more than enough to explore. 

Geographically, it's important to say that we're discussing the area around these two landmarks, rather than using the term City of Westminster, often used to describe districts as far from the centre as Marylebone and Paddington. However, the residential areas are still supervised by the City of Westminster Council, which has recently been working particularly hard to make the district friendly for senior residents and the vulnerable and disabled. Recent improvements have included a playground for the elderly and a commitment to respite services for carers for those who are disabled.

Things to do

Needless to say, with its position at the heart of London, Westminster is a hive of things to do. A typical, if expensive, day might start with a visit to the Strand near Charing Cross station, in order to get the shopping done before the crowds get in. Premises are usually open by 9am on a Saturday morning, but things start getting busy pretty quickly. Once you can take no more of the crowded aisles, take a stroll along the footbridge next to Charing Cross station - where you'll find one of the best views in London - before meandering across the South Bank for an ice-cream if it's sunny, or a coffee if it's not. This is the home of the capital's famous London Eye and boat tour but you don't need to be a tourist to want to come here as there's always something fascinating going on. Street performance artists congregate around the green area next to the giant ferris wheel - everything from human statues to fire breathers and people who can balance bottles on their noses. Smashing stuff.

After dropping into an eatery on the bank of the River Thames (Wagamammas if you want to sit down, Eat for those who'd prefer to walk along) it's time to get cultured up. There's a plethora of free art galleries in the Westminster area so drop into one of those if you fancy yourself a Van Gogh expert or just enjoy looking at pretty pictures. You'll also find the rather excellent London Transport museum in the vicinity, which has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity following the Tube's 150th birthday celebration in January. However, if it's politics you're after, there's no better place for it than Westminster. Get over to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament for an education on how the country is run like no other.

With the sun setting in the west, it's time to seek dinner. Westminster is full of pubs offering decent food at a very reasonable price. Make sure you get there for half five and choose from the pre-theatre menu if you're planning to make a show. These can get quite busy so we recommend scouring the back streets for a quiet one if you prefer a more serene atmosphere.

That done, it's time for a quick drink. There's only one choice here really - Gordon's Wine Bar. Stunning views of the city and a great selection of the world's finest wines, ranging from reasonable Californian beverages all the way up to the most outrageous Bordeaux prices you can imagine. I'll drink to that.

Never a dull moment

Westminster is a pulsing vibrant place - there's a reason this bubbling hub has attracted people from across the four corners of the planet. The atmosphere is simply incredible and there's always something going on. Whether you're into your history, art or simply enjoy taking it all in, living in Westminster is a fantastic choice.

Published 26th April, 2013

© 2013 Estates IT Limited

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"I like it in the city when two worlds collide. You get the people and the government. Everybody taking different sides." So sang Adele in her hit song Hometown Glory. The superstar could well have been singing about Westminster, often considered the melting pot of central London where people of all colours, creeds and occupations head to on a daily basis. For this is where the vast majority of London landmarks are situated - from the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. Of course, with such prestigious properties on the list, you might already be wondering if you can possibly afford a home in Westminster. Fortunately, the area has a thriving residential population. Provided you don't choose a property with a name prefaced by the word 'Westminster', you should be fine. Take a look at our handy guide below to see if this is the area for you.

Westminster: London's calling

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