No 10 Downing Street

Historic Building in The West End

Image by Will Jones Lonely Planet

The official office of British leaders since 1732, when George II presented No 10 to 'First Lord of the Treasury' Robert Walpole, this has also been the prime minister’s London residence since refurbishment in 1902. For such a famous address, No 10 is a small-looking Georgian building on a plain-looking street, hardly warranting comparison with the White House, for example. Yet it is actually three houses joined into one and boasts roughly 100 rooms plus a 2000-sq-metre garden.

The street was cordoned off with a rather large iron gate during Margaret Thatcher’s time, so you won’t see much. After an IRA mortar attack in 1991, the stout wooden door was replaced with a blast-proof steel version (which cannot be opened from the outside). Also living on Downing St are the Chancellor of the Exchequer at No 11 and the government's Chief Whip at No 12 (although the current one is at No 9).