The station was opened as Westminster Bridge on 24 December 1868 by the steam-operated District Railway (DR) (now the District line) when the railway opened the first section of its line from South Kensington. It was originally the eastern terminus of the DR and the station cutting ended at a concrete wall buffered by timber sleepers. The approach to the station from the west runs in cut and cover tunnel under the roadway of Broad Sanctuary and diagonally under Parliament Square. In Broad Sanctuary the tunnel is close to Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's church and care was required to avoid undermining their foundations when excavating in the poor ground found there. By the mid-1890s the station entrance had been incorporated into a larger building. In 1922, a new entrance and canopy was designed for the Bridge Street entrance by Charles Holden and, in 1924, he designed a plainly rendered replacement elevation for the eastern entrance on to the Embankment. These were the first of many projects by the architect for the London Electric Railway (the main forerunner of London Transport and Transport for London). The station platforms were also refurbished with new wall tiling in the green, blue, black and white tiling scheme used later by Holden on many stations of the period and still visible at neighbouring St James's Park station
The station is located at the corner of Bridge Street and Victoria Embankment and is close to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge and the London Eye. Also close by are Downing Street, the Cenotaph, Westminster Millennium Pier, the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Supreme Court. The station has cash machines, Euro cash machines, payphones, wi-fi, boarding ramps, escalators and lifts.