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To many the sound of the name of Whitehall automatically evokes the image of the British Government.

Indeed, the Houses of Parliament are at one end of the road running north from Parliament Square. But there's much more along this major London artery than the Palace of Westminster, home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The name of this famous London street derives from the original Palace of Whitehall, home to royalty and its ministers for centuries until destroyed by fire in 1698. Fortunately for today's visitors The Banqueting House, completed in 1622, survived.

Still used today for official receptions, the 17th century building is a remarkable work of art inside and out. One of the most outstanding examples of Italian Renaissance Architecture in London, the view from the street is spectacular.

As spectacular as the exterior may be, the interior is no less worth a visit by the London visitor. Inside, there are dozens of paintings, decorative items and furniture from the period and later. Visitors can also enjoy lunchtime concerts of classical baroque while they dine.

Nearby are the beautiful Whitehall Gardens. Hosting several memorial sculptures, including one of the famous Gordon of Khartoum, the setting is a pleasant oasis within bustling London. Parts of the destroyed Palace of Whitehall can still be seen, including the wine cellars.

Further along can be found; The Admiralty, the Ministry of Defence building and Horse Guards Parade. Be sure not to miss the two mounted Horse Guards, bedecked in colorful uniforms capped by plumed helmets. If you are lucky enough to be visiting in June, be sure to arrive in time to see the "Trooping the Colour" ceremony held to celebrate the Queen's Official Birthday.

Continuing the military theme, Trafalgar Square merits a visit where you can see the statue of Lord Nelson in the plaza built to honor his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. At least, you could if it weren't atop a column 53m (174 ft) high.

Fortunately, you won't need binoculars to get a good look at the four bronze lions at the base. Designed by the renowned Sir Edwin Landseer, the large sculptures constitute some of his best work.

There are several other outdoor sights, including the Cenotaph. Designed to commemorate the fallen of WWI, the empty tomb is the site of a Royal ceremony held in November to honor them.

A recent addition to Whitehall is the excellent Churchill Museum. Used by the famed statesman during WWII to house war planning activity, the Cabinet War Rooms and other areas have been completely restored to the period.

Visitors to the museum can see Churchill's private living quarters within the War Rooms and there are dozens of memorabilia about. The £13.5 million ($24 million) Churchill Project has accurately depicted the scenes the British leader and his aides would have seen and lived with.

At the end, Whitehall becomes Parliament Street. Visitors can see Big Ben and (by prior arrangement) view debates from the public galleries of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Tours are available for two months during the summer when Parliament is out of session, or "not sitting", as the British say.

Whitehall is easy to reach via the Tube (the London Underground, i.e. subway). Exit at Westminster to start your tour of this historic street.

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House of Parliament - Parliament Square - Palace of Westminster - House of Commons - House of Lords - Palace of Whitehall - The Banqueting House - Italian Renaissance Architecture - Whitehall Gardens - Gordon of Khartoum - The Admiralty - The Ministry of Defence - Horse Guards Parade - Trooping the Colour - Trafalgar Square - Lord Nelson - The Battle of Trafalgar - Sir Edwin Landseer - Cenotaph - Churchill Museum - Cabinet War Rooms - Churchill Project - Parliament Street - Big Ben - London Underground - The Tube

Page Updated 11:07 AM Saturday 7/12/2014