Located squarely in the center of Inner London, and boasting a population of over a quarter of a million residents, the city of Westminster can trace its origins back to the 5th century during the Roman depopulation of what is now known as Central London. In those times it was merely a trade settlement and continued to be so until around the 11th century, when King Edward The Confessor built a palace and an abbey in that location, quite literally transferring the seat of the government to Westminster, where it remains to this day. Very little is left of the original abbey today, except for the foundations and the church, which continues to be known as Westminster Abbey.
Because of its long history, Westminster boasts a registry of over 11,000 buildings that are historically important, including Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, the Royal Albert Hall and many others. As the seat of the British government, the House of Lords and the House of Commons meet in Westminster Palace, which houses 1,000 rooms, among other facilities, some of which include 8 pubs subsidized by British taxpayers.
In October 1814, Westminster made history by being the site of one of London's greatest disasters when 2.5 million pints of beer spilled out of the Horse Shoe Brewery and flooded a large number of homes in the area, destroying many of them and claiming 9 lives.
Westminster is also the home of Britain's iconic Big Ben, which is the nickname given to the clock tower of Westminster Palace. The melding of Westminster and London didn't start until the 16th century, when London started expanding and homes were built in the fields between both cities. This growth continued rapidly until the intermediate villages were absorbed, giving way to what is now known as Greater London. Even so, Westminster continued to be a borough of London until 1965, when it officially became the City of Westminster, which also absorbed smaller surrounding locations such as Soho, Pimlico, St. James, and others. Today, Westminster offers visitors a myriad of delightful sights and points of historical interest, which is why a visit to London should definitely include this place.