The Westminster Millennium Pier is one of the newest and busiest piers serving the River Thames as it passes through the very heart of London. As the name suggests, it was one of several piers constructed thanks to funding from the Millennium Commission, with the aim of increasing use of the river by both Londoners and tourists alike. Other piers built as part of this groundbreaking initiative include the London Eye Pier, which is situated almost directly opposite the Westminster Pier, as well as new piers at both Blackfriars and Millbank.
As well as serving as an important alighting and disembarking point for Londoners commuting by boat into Westminster, the Millennium Pier is also hugely popular with tourists. From here, you can explore the UK capital from the water, with regular river buses serving a number of the city’s best-loved attractions.
The Westminster Millennium Pier is located on the Victoria Embankment on the north bank of the Thames, right next to Westminster Bridge. It’s full address is: Victoria Embankment, London, SW1A 2JH.
Things to see and do at Westminster Millennium Pier
Westminster Millennium Pier in itself is relatively unremarkable. From it, however, you enjoy stunning views of some of London’s best-loved landmarks. Look one way and you see ‘Big Ben’ and the Houses of Westminster, seat of the British Parliament. Across the Thames, meanwhile, you can see over to the bustling South Bank, home of the London Eye.
Apart from catching a river bus or a tourist cruise from here, the Westminster Millennium Pier is also a great place to explore the Victoria Embankment, an impressive feat of engineering that helped transform the capital.
How to reach Westminster Millennium Pier
The Westminster Millennium Pier is very easy to reach and is connected by a number of different means of transport, not just by boat! Indeed, it’s so well-connected that, alongside the huge numbers of tourists alighting to explore historic Westminster or getting on to explore the rest of the capital from the water, the pier is also used by thousands of commuters each day.
So, here’s all you need to know about getting to the Westminster Millennium Pier:
- By boat: The pier is one of the main stops for Thames River Services, part of the London transport network. These are commuter services, though they do accept tourists, ad journeys can be paid for using an Oystercard. Boats pick up and alight at Westminster Pier and connect this part of the capital with St Katharine’s Docks and Greenwich. Alongside these regular services, City Cruises also operates from Westminster Pier, with regular leisure cruises between Westminster and Greenwich. Additionally, Thames River Boats offer semi-regular services to Hampton Court Palace, to the west of the capital.
- By Tube: The pier is served by Westminster London Underground Station. This is on the Circle, District and Jubilee lines, meaning it the pier benefits from excellent connections to both the east and west of London, as well as to north to Oxford Street and south-east to the vibrant financial district of Canary Wharf. It’s less than a 500 metre walk from Westminster Tube station to Westminster Millennium Pier.
- By overground train: If you’re travelling into the centre of London by overground train, then you need to get off at Charing Cross Station. From here, it’s just a short stroll down to the Thames and then a quick and easy walk along the Victoria Embankment to the pier itself.
If you plan on driving into London and then taking a boat from the Westminster Millennium Pier, then be aware that parking spaces are extremely limited. The pier is located right by the Palace of Westminster and so on-street parking is virtually non-existent. However, Q-Street Parking on College Street offers safe and secure (if pricey) parking less than ten minutes’ walk away.
Attractions to explore at/nearby Westminster Millennium Pier
Westminster Millennium Pier makes for a perfect base from which to explore not only the fascinating historic Westminster area, but also many other parts of London. Attractions within easy walking distance of the pier itself include:
- Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster: Easily-spotted from the pier, the seat of the British Parliament can be visited by prior appointment. Otherwise, join millions of others in taking a picture of the iconic St Stephen’s Tower, otherwise known as ‘Big Ben’.
- Westminster Abbey: Just across from the Palace of Westminster lies Westminster Abbey, arguably London’s most famous place of worship. Over the centuries, it has hosted numerous royal weddings, funerals and baptisms, and the abbey also serves as the final resting place of many famous Brits from years gone by. Admission fees do apply, though the abbey is open to worshipers for free when services are taking place.
- Churchill Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms: Just off Whitehall and a stone’s throw from the Palace of Westminster, this museum pays homage to the great leader of the Second World War. Many parts of the attraction have been left unchanged since this underground shelter was used as Churchill’s hidden wartime headquarters, giving a real insight into what it was like back in the 1940s.
- The London Eye: A stroll over Westminster Bridge brings visitors to the iconic London Eye. From the top of this observation wheel, tourists can enjoy spectacular views across the capital, including into the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Pre-booking is advised, though same-day tickets are usually available.
- Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden: Heading north from the Palace of Westminster along Whitehall brings you to Trafalgar Square, home of Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. From here, it’s just a few more minutes’ on foot to Covent Garden, a bustling shopping, dining and arts and culture destination.
As well as the attractions that can be found within easy walking distance of the Westminster Millennium Pier, river cruises also take tourists to a number of things to see and do further afield. Attractions that can be reached by boat from the pier include:
- Historic Greenwich: Home to the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and, of course, the Royal Observatory and the International Date Line.
- The Tate Modern: Just down river from Westminster is the artistic heart of the South Bank. Alight at the Tate Modern to enjoy one of the world’s finest collections of contemporary art as well as to explore the recreation of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre.
- Hampton Court Palace: Home to Henry VIII, this historic palace is a must-see for history fans, while its sprawling grounds also make for a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of urban London.