The City of Westminster is a city in moniker only, as it has been for centuries. The oddly-named borough contains many of the capital’s most popular sites, but there are also a few hidden gems left to discover. Here are some fascinating facts about this thriving, lively area:
- The Crowned Portcullis
A crowned portcullis appears on both the logo for the Houses of Parliament and the City of Westminster. The symbol itself harks back to Tudor times, but has been modernised by the Victorian architect Charles Barry, who rebuilt Parliament. The portcullis icon was only signed off as the official badge for Parliament by the Queen in 1996. There is no portcullis on the coat of arms for the City of New Westminster in Canada, as they opted for a grizzly bear instead.
- Named to avoid confusion with St Paul’s?
Reputable sources have claimed that the title ‘Westminster’ comes from the requirement to distinguish the area’s Abbey from the ‘east minister’, namely St Paul’s Cathedral. This is the stance of Westminster Abbey itself, as well as the Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phase & Fable. ‘Minster’ is normally used to denote monastic churches, and St Paul’s was never a monastery, so there is some dispute as to why it has acquired this label.
- It’s larger than you may think
As central as the City of Westminster is, only eight boroughs have a larger population; which will hardly come as a surprise. Somewhat more unexpected is how far north the area reaches, as the same borough which houses Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Somerset House also stretches to parts of Kilburn.
- Tour guides may conceal the truth
London’s tour guides are a mine of information, but can also perpetuate myths on occasion. A prime example is when you look at the Coco Chanel lampposts which dominate the area. So many ‘experts’ assure visitors that the French fashion icon’s ‘double C’ is branded on these lampposts h fashion icon’Chanel lampposts scattered around tn.so stretches to parts of Kilburn. Somewhattmi, but this is simply not the case. There is some truth to the rumour; as the second Duke of Westminster did indeed embark on an affair with Chanel, but the lampposts were installed in the 1950s-long after the two had gone their separate ways. In fact; the ‘CC’ stands for City Council.
- Westminster Weddings
Westminster Abbey is well known for administering the nuptials of the rich, famous and gifted. Old Marylebone Town Hall is a particular favourite of rock stars, including Chrissie Hynde, Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Liam Gallagher (twice). Historically, the phrase ‘Westminster weddings’ meant the joining together of two characters of ill repute, but (hopefully) times have changed since then.
- London’s oldest blue plaque
Westminster has the city’s oldest blue plaque, which is dedicated to Napoleon III. Iimes have changed since then.avourite of rock stars, including Chrisst is the only blue plaque to have been unveiled whilst the subject (Napoleon) was still alive. In fact; he had six whole years to admire it before passing away in Chislehurst, south London. At the nearby Imperial Arms pub he is remembered in a kids’ menu entitled the ‘Little Napoleon’.
There is so much to see and do when you venture into the capital, so you have to formulate a detailed plan of action if you are to make the most of the experience. Remember to book a hotel in advance so that you have somewhere comfortable to stay, and make reservations for restaurants which may take your fancy. Some leading eateries can be fully booked months in advance, so act quickly if you want to avoid disappointment.
At the Piccadilly London West End Hotel, the accommodation is second to none, and the service impeccable. All rooms-from the Premier Single to the Club Double-are fully furnished with the latest amenities such as widescreen televisions, tea and coffee making facilities and air conditioning. Super-fast internet broadband is completely free of charge, and super comfortable double beds provide the ultimate in luxury and relaxation.
High quality bedding and warm toasty duvets mean that you will sink into a deep, uninterrupted sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. If you want to pamper yourself and really make the most of your weekend away, then why not book a beautiful Club Room?
Every suite comes with the benefit of even more added extras, including complimentary fruit, beverages on arrival and mineral water, as well as plush, cushion-soft bathrobes and snuggly slippers. If you have a preferred newspaper of choice then this will be delivered to your door on a daily basis.
So, if you want to celebrate a special occasion or simply need to get away from it all then call 020 7871 6000 and make a reservation at the Piccadilly London West End Hotel.