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Whitehall is shorthand for the civil service and the administrative function of government. It is also, of course, a street, whose name migrated from a contiguous royal palace – for a while, the largest in Europe. With adjacent streets and precincts, this slice of London between Trafalgar Square and the Palace of Westminster is the most historically significant half mile in England. 

There is here also one of the country's finest concentrations of architecture. The Houses of Parliament, Inigo Jones's Banqueting House, George Gilbert Scott's Foreign Office, the shadow of Whitehall Palace and many others, both grand and surprisingly domestic. Their historical and political context provides as much interest as the buildings themselves. 

The area has been at the centre of English political life for a thousand years – the execution of Charles I, Churchill watching the Blitz from a rooftop, the poll tax riots… the list is endless. Even now, discussions and decision-making which will affect us all will be taking place behind the walls as we look at them. 

Led by an art historian, the primary focus is the architectural significance of the buildings and their changes over time. Monuments, curiosities and odd survivals are part of the mix. But the history of a nation (and of an empire) is woven into the physical fabric: commentary will touch upon events past and recent, politics and people historical and contemporary. 

Start and finish

Westminster Underground Station, 9.45am & 5.15pm.


£185, including refreshments and lunch.

More information about Culture Days gift vouchers.

Group size

Maximum 15 participants.


Walking: about four miles.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?


We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.

Map: London Days.