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St. Margaret’s St. (Westminster)
(44) 084-4847-1672 | www.parliament.uk
ATTRACTIONSeat of Government
HOURS/TIMESVaries by season and parliamentary situation; refer to website for latest schedule; Sun. and bank holidays: Closed
PRICE (ADULT ADMISSION)GBP 11.70
POPULAR TIMESSummer session (when open to overseas visitors)
RESERVE IN ADVANCEYes - for summer session
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONNo entry without reservation
HIGHLIGHTSHouse of Lords; House of Commons; Big Ben
ALLOW2-3 hours (tour is 75 minutes)
Until Henry VIII decamped to finer quarters in the 14th century, this imposing complex (also known as the Palace of Westminster) was the main residence of the monarch. After his departure, the two houses of Parliament–the House of Lords and House of Commons–moved in, making this their permanent home and the center of democratic British government. A 19th century fire ravaged many of the original structures, but their subsequent grandiose reconstruction led to the addition of the iconic Big Ben clock tower. Summer tours cover not only the two debating chambers (one for each house), but also highlights like the Queen’s Robing Room and the few remaining elements of the original palace.
GO HERE WITH
History and politics buffs; friends; kids; yourself
WHY WE LIKE IT
A great way to connect with history. Not only is the building itself rich in architectural and monarchical history, but the political history of the entire country revolves around this site.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
You can’t bring a camera inside, so be prepared to stock up on overpriced postcards in the gift shop.
GOOD TO KNOW
While UK residents can visit throughout the year for free (contact your local MP or lord to arrange a tour), or participate in paid tours during the summer when Parliament is not in session, overseas visitors can only participate in the summer tours. Also, only UK residents are allowed to go inside the Big Ben clock tower. All Parliament tours must be pre-booked; because tours fill up fast, try to book a few months in advance. You should arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled tour starts in order to have plenty of time to go through the security station. Tours for overseas visitors may be cancelled or postponed in the event that Parliament must hold an emergency session. Finally, as a fun fact, Big Ben is the bell that chimes in the clock tower, not the clock tower itself.
The US Capitol (Washington DC)
All information within this website was checked for accuracy at the time of publication. But since the world moves quickly, things may have changed. Pardon us for any errors as we strive to give you the most up-to-the-minute details!