Westminster is an area of central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. Westminster's concentration of visitor attractions and historic landmarks, one of the highest in London, includes the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.
Historically the area lay within St Margaret's parish, City & Liberty of Westminster, Middlesex.
The name Westminster originated from the informal description of the abbey church and royal peculiar of St Peter's, literally West of the City of London, indeed until the Reformation there was a reference to the 'East Minster' at Minories east of the City; the abbey was part of the royal palace that had been created here by Edward the Confessor. It has been the home of the permanent institutions of England's government continuously since about 1200, from 1707 the British Government - formally titled Her Majesty's Government.
In a government context, Westminster often refers to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Palace of Westminster - also known as the Houses of Parliament.
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