Political London

The Mother of Parliaments is just one part of a sprawling government complex in which the architecture of power is on full and dramatic display

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National parliament buildings are rarely recognised outside their home country but in the Houses of Parliament and its iconic clock tower of Big Ben, the UK seat of government occupies one of the most famous buildings in the world. That it was once a royal palace and that it deliberately mimics the language of Gothic religious architecture exposes the triumvirate of church, monarchy and state on which England’s political system was established. It is this relationship that is at heart of the architecture found throughout Westminster. Accordingly Parliament Square and Whitehall form the spine of an extraordinary complex of government buildings whose architecture was and is specifically conceived to symbolise the concept and configuration of power. The result is one of the most monumentally dramatic sequences of buildings and spaces in the country as all the facets of architectural and public realm design – ranging from statuary and ornament to massing and scale – are deployed to create a stirring urban theatre in which the political story of Britain over the past one thousand years is told.

 

Highlights:

  • Houses of Parliament

  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office

  • Banqueting House (Whitehall Palace)

WALK START LOCATION:      Westminster tube station (Exit 4) / Map

WALK ENDS: Trafalgar Square

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ALL WALKS KEY:

STYLES / PERIODS Featured

GO   GOTHIC / PRE-

         MEDIEVAL

 CL    CLASSICAL

MO   MODERN /

        CONTEMPORARY

1   BIG BEN / PARLIAMENT

2   BRITISH MUSEUM

3   BUCKINGHAM PALACE

4   GHERKIN

5   LONDON EYE

6   OLYMPIC PARK

7   ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

8   SHARD

9   TATE MODERN

10  TOWER OF LONDON /

      TOWER BRIDGE

11  TRAFALGAR SQUARE

12  WESTMINSTER ABBEY

LANDMARKS Featured