The heart of contemporary British Politics is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area around Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster (more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament), and Parliament Square was designated as Conservation Area in 1987. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of the outstanding universal architectural, historic and symbolic significance of this group of buildings and spaces.
Parliament Square Gardens is an English Heritage Grade II registered garden of Special Historic Interest and retains its important role in Britain’s heritage as part of the ceremonial route between Westminster Abbey and Westminster Hall. The original design was by Sir Charles Barry to provide the new Houses of Parliament with a better setting following the fire of 1834 which virtually destroyed the medieval Westminster Palace. Barry also designed the Houses of Parliament, which was expanded from the Westminster Palace to include eight acres along the Thames. The resulting neo-Gothic buildings were completed in 1852. The Clock Tower, housing Big Ben, was finished in 1858 and the gardens were laid out in 1868.
Following significant bomb damage during the Second World War, Grey Wornum was commissioned to redesign the square as one central garden island. His design comprises a square lawn, paved walkways and formal paths, with seats on the northern and western edges.