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Places (POIs) visited during this tour

Place #1
Distance: 0.81mi
Map Pin
Westminster Pier, London SW1A 2JH, UK
POI 1 Tour Image
Let's Get Started
Welcome to Historic America & UCPlaces’ audio walking tour of London. We’re glad you could join us! I’m Aaron Killian, your guide (but I also respond to professional history nerd). This is the part of the tour where I fit in my shameless plug for our websites (www.historicamerica.org & .ucplaces.com) and invite you to use #historicamericatours on social media while traveling alongside us today.

Now that you’re outside the station and beside the Portcullis House. Look across the street and find the statue of Queen Boudica riding her chariot. This is our first stop.


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Place #2
Distance: 0.42mi , Attraction : Statue
Map Pin
Westminster Pier, London SW1A 2JH, UK
POI 2 Tour Image
Boudiccan Rebellion
You should now be situated near the statue of Boudicea – a Celtic Queen standing atop a chariot drawn by rearing horses. Closeby are the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the River Thames. What a great place to begin our tour!

 Let’s get started by going back to the beginning of London itself. A time before London became the global hub you see today. London was founded beside this mighty river, the Thames, nearly 7,000 years ago! More precisely, the first prehistoric settlers built settlements on this land 7,000 years ago. The name London derives from the Roman settlement of Londinium – established here about 2,000 years ago.

 The initial Roman settlement only lasted about twenty years, thanks to the woman depicted in the statue before you. She was a proud and noble woman; Boudicea, queen of the Iceni. Boudicea’s husband Prasutagus ruled the Iceni as an ally of the Romans. He died in the hope that his daughters might rule his kingdom, but the emperor of Rome had other plans. The Romans annexed the Kingdom of Iceni, took all the departed king’s property, flogged the proud Queen Boudicea, and abducted her daughters. Queen Boudicea would not let such cruel treatment stand! She united the Iceni with other tribes suffering under Roman rule and led a revolt. Her army first burned the Roman colony of Camulodunum. With Camulodunum in flames, Boudicea turned her rebels toward Londinium. The Roman governor hastened to defend his city, but faced with Boudicea’s oncoming force he had no choice but to abandon Londinium. Boudicea’s army defeated the Roman rear guards and sacked Londinium and the town of Varulamium to boot. As further retribution for Rome’s cruelty & imperial overreach, Boudicea’s followers killed an estimated 80,000 Romans and local collaborators during the revolt.

 The tide turned, however, when the Roman governor eventually caught up with Boudicea. Although her forces outnumbered his, superior Roman tactics won the day. With her army vanquished, Boudicea did not live to see the end of her rebellion, dying either by illness or suicide depending on which historical account you believe.

 Boudicea’s Revolt shook Roman control of Britain to its very core and nearly convinced the emperor to give up the island all together, but with Roman rule firmly restored following her defeat, the island continued under Roman occupation for three more centuries.

 This bronze statue of Boudicea in her war chariot pays homage to both her bravery and British patriotism. It was built by sculptor Thomas Thyncroft over the course of twenty years during the reign of Queen Victoria. Unveiled here in 1902 shortly after Victoria’s death, the statue has been a fixture at Westminster Bridge for over a century. In the statue, Boudicea rides into battle, accompanied by her two daughters, ready to avenge the wrongs committed against their family. Sharp scythes jut from the chariot’s wheels to cut down any Roman soldier daring to oppose the queen. Ironically, the chariot portion of the statue is built according to Roman models.

 It is also no accident that this monument dates to the Victorian Era. The statue was envisioned by Queen Victoria’s husband Albert as “a throne upon wheels.” He likely hoped the statue would evoke parallels between this ancient British warrior queen and his wife Victoria. After all, Boudicea’s name meant “victorious woman” in the language of the ancient Britons. Unfortunately, Albert died while his tribute was still under construction, and Queen Victoria did not live to see the statue erected. In fact, Thyncroft himself did not live to see that glorious day! He died 17 years before the money was finally raised to cast and install the statue. A year later in 1903 a poem by 18th century poet and Anglican hymn writer William Cowper, was added to the right side of the statue’s plinth to celebrate the great queen in verse as well as bronze.

 Once you’ve had a look, crossover to the southside of Westminster Bridge for a staggering view of the city that rose atop the ashes of Londinium.


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Tour itinerary stops | Additional places you'll see on this self-guided tour

Map Pin Place 1 Let's Get Started
Map Pin Place 2 Boudiccan Rebellion
Map Pin Place 3 Westminster Bridge
Map Pin Place 4 Parliament Square
Map Pin Place 5 The Cenotaph
Map Pin Place 6 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s House
Map Pin Place 7 Banqueting House
Map Pin Place 8 The Horse Guards’ Parade
Map Pin Place 9 Trafalgar Square
Map Pin Place 10 The National Gallery

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