The city of Westminster is home to much more than the Houses of Parliament, with many hidden gems dotted around the city within our capital you probably haven’t even heard of, let alone visited.
The Jewel Tower
Hotels near Westbourne Terrace are the best choice when exploring Westminster, and the first stop on your list should be The Jewel Tower. This three-storey high tower was once part of Westminster Palace, and is one of the oldest surviving parts of the original medieval building. It was built way back in the 1300’s, and was used as a royal treasure vault up until 1512, hence the name ‘The Jewel Tower.’ You can explore the old home of the King’s private collection of jewels. If you are looking to stay in a luxury spot close to the Jewel Tower, the Park Grand Hotel London puts you almost on the door step!
Charles I statue
An extraordinary reminder of bygone times, the King Charles I equestrian statue was hidden underground for 40 years due to fears of a royalist insurrection by a paranoid government. Remarkably, after being hidden under the orders of Charles I himself, the statue survived and was placed on the middle of a traffic island in Westminster in 1676, where it has remained ever since. Many are unaware of the history behind the statue when they walk past it every day.
Napoleon was here
Westminster is home to the city’s oldest blue plaque, which was dedicated to the legendary Napoleon III when he lived at number 3 King Street in Westminster. The plaque dates back to 1848 and is a surprise to many when they learn of its existence, as many weren’t even aware the famous Frenchman lived here. Indeed, Napoleon was only here due to being exiled from France, and it could be seen as strange that he was given a plaque to commemorate his dwelling here whilst he was still alive.
The most powerful court in the land can be found in Westminster. Middlesex Guildhall is the supreme court of the United Kingdom, and can be located on the south-west corner of parliament square. It’s free to enter too, meaning if you fancy buffing up your court knowledge or are just interested to see what the highest court in the land looks like, then head on over and pay it a visit the next time you stay with us at the Park Grand Hotel London.
Grave of a Nazi dog
Wait, what? This is one of the stranger secrets of Westminster, as well as well as one of the saddest or funniest, depending on your sense of humour. Giro the terrier was brought to Britain by Leopold von Hoesch in 1932, who was a German Ambassador at the time. Not only unfortunate in the sense of having a Nazi owner, poor old Giro chewed through a cable in the back garden of 9 Carlton House Terrace (the German Embassy at the time) and died of electrocution. Devastated by the loss of his pooch, Hoesch buried Giro and fitted a mini-tombstone which can still be seen today, although it had to be moved from its original location for building work in the late 1960s.