London Houses of Parliament

The Home of Government in the UK. During much of the year you can queue to watch the debate from the ‘stangers gallery’. Or you can take a tour.

The Houses of Parliament were built in 1840 on the site of the old Palace of Westminster, which was destroyed by fire, the Houses of Parliament is the largest building erected in England since the Reformation.

When Parliament sits, a flag flies from Victoria Tower by day, and by night a light in the Clock Tower burns above the famous Big Ben.

Address: Parliament Square, SW1

Watching Parliament in action: For admission to hear debates join the public queue for the Stranger’s Gallery outside St. Stephen’s Entrance.

The Strangers’ Gallery is open to the public when the House is sitting, which is usually: 14.30 – 22.30 or later on Mondays, 11.30 – 19.30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11.30 – 18.30 on Thursdays; and 09.30 – 15.00 on sitting Fridays (see the website for a list of sitting Fridays)

Tours: throughout the year, people who are resident in the UK can organise a tour via their local MP. The MP can usually arrange for them to take a tour in English or another language. Tours are generally available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and on Fridays – all day if the Commons are not sitting, late afternoon if they are.

During parliaments summer recess, both houses are open to UK and non UK residents. The the summer recess lasts from the end of July until the end of September (for dates, see the website below). Tours start every few minutes and last 75 minutes. Visitors see the historic building, including the chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Opening times: Vary during the summer, with different times for different months. For up to date information see the website.

Admission charges apply for tours: Adults £7.00, Concessions £5.00 (for over 60s, those in full time education and in possession of a NUS card, children 16years and under), Family ticket – £22.00 (party of four, including two children under 16).

For further information, visit the website:

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