Number 10 Downing Street, London

Number 10 Downing Street, London (must see)

10 Downing Street, or simply “Number 10”, is the official residence and the office of British Prime Minister. It has been UK's no. 1 address for almost 300 years. The building contains over 100 rooms and was once three separate houses, now combined. A private residence in which the Prime Minister's family lives is on the third floor and their kitchen is in the basement. The other floors contain offices and numerous conference and reception rooms. There is an interior courtyard and, in the back, a terrace overlooking a half-acre garden. The Cabinet Room is separated from the rest of the house by soundproof doors.

The famous black front door is actually made of reinforced steel, rather than wood as most people may erroneously believe. This door has no keyhole and can only be opened from the inside, for which purpose there's always a doorman on duty. Speaking of that, the expression “In the hot seat” literally originates in Downing Street. A large black chair in the entrance hall of Number 10 is the seat previously used by the nightwatchman. This chair has an underneath drawer which, back in the day, was filled with hot coal to keep the guy on duty warm during long, cold night hours. The lamp above the door, the lion door knocker and the black and white floor in the entrance hall are also the iconic features. They were all added under the premiership of Lord Frederick North between 1770 and 1782.

Just as many other London properties, Downing Street suffered damage during WWII. On 14 October 1940, a bomb falling nearby hit the kitchen and state rooms. In 1991 another – mortar attack perpetrated by IRA – shuttered 10 Downing Street again. A reminder of that attack is the splinter stuck in the plasterwork upstairs, left untouched.

The walls of the Grand Staircase are lined with portraits of every British Prime Minister in chronological order. During his years as prime minister, Tony Blair had six plaster bees commissioned in the window frames in one of the drawing rooms upstairs. Under Mrs. Thatcher, there was a little model roof thatcher built into one of the door frames. None of this, however, is open to a public eye, as the entry to Number 10 is strictly forbidden to the general public for security reasons. Only staff and authorized personnel are allowed in.

*** Harry Potter Movie***
Contrary to what many habitually perceive in their every-day life as solely the home and office of the British Prime Minister, the number 10 Downing Street is also where, according to the first chapter of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” is a portal between the wizarding world and the muggles world, through which leader of the U.K. can occasionally communicate with the Minister for Magic.

It is also here that the magician Kingsley Shacklebolt operate undercover as a protector of the Prime Minister in a war against the evil magical forces led by Lord Voldemort. Apparently, there is more to this place than meets the eye…

Tip:
Recommended as part of a much wider visit to Whitehall and Westminster as a whole.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of London, England within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Number 10 Downing Street on Map

Sight Name: Number 10 Downing Street
Sight Location: London, England
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: City Orientation Walk   Harry Potter Walk in London  

Walking Tours in London, England

Create Your Own Walk in London

Create Your Own Walk in London

Creating your own self-guided walk in London is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Covent Garden Walk

Covent Garden Walk

During this self guided walking tour around Covent Garden areas you will have a chance to visit such famous and interesting London attractions, as National Gallery, London Coliseum, London Transport Museum and many others. Don't miss your chance to explore the best of the Holborn and Covent Garden areas.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
South Bank Walk

South Bank Walk

Situated south of The Thames river, the South Bank is an ever-changing and always lively area at the heart of London’s cultural scene, and home to world-class arts venues like Shakespeare Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, and the Southbank Centre. Dotting along the tree-lined riverside walkway are also food markets, restaurants, and historic pubs and cafes.

Take this self-guided walk to...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km
Harry Potter Walk in London

Harry Potter Walk in London

The arrival of Harry Potter books, followed by tremendously successful Hollywood adaptation, has made London even more popular now with the Harry Potter fans all over the world. The list of attractions in the city associated with Potter’s journeys includes both, newly-invented as well as some long-standing locations. To follow in the footsteps of the young wizard and his friends in the British...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 km
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

Shopping is a must-do London experience!! From street markets to Victorian arcades and from snobbish Sloane Square to busy Oxford Street, there are a host of shops available which depict this vibrant city through their merchandise. Whether looking for something uniquely English as souvenir for yourself or as a gift for friends, you will find great inspiration in the shops featured on this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

London emerged as a humble settlement on the outskirts of the great Roman empire in the 40s AD. Originally known as Londinium, it was only the second incarnation of that village that survived. The first one burned to the ground at the hands of local tribesmen. In the course of two millennia since, London has evolved progressively first to become the capital of the Roman province of Britannia, then...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Beatles London Walking Tour

Beatles London Walking Tour

Though all four members of the Beatles heralded from Liverpool, it's pretty fair to say that they were based in London – the centre of the UK’s recording and entertainment industry. Since early in their career, it had become obvious that they had to be as close as possible to their manager's NEMS Enterprises office, Abbey Road, as well as to the BBC and the beckoning world of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km

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London Souvenirs: 20 Distinctively British Products for Travelers

London Souvenirs: 20 Distinctively British Products for Travelers

Most visitors to London consider shopping as part of their must-do London experience. From street markets to Victorian arcades to snobbish Sloane Square to busy Oxford Street, there are a host of shops selling items which typically represent this vibrant city. Whether you are shopping for souvenirs...