The large clock, known as Big Ben, is located in the Elizabeth Clock Tower
LONDON – HISTORY AND POLITIC: This is a palace of immense historical and cultural significance in the national life of the United Kingdom. The Clock Tower, Victoria Tower, House of Lords and The House of Commons. Most of the Palace of Westminster decoration was designed when it was rebuilt after the fire in 1834. The vision was to combine fine art and sculpture with the building´s architecture. Join a tour of the Palace and get answers to some of your questions.
A guided tour will introduce you to the buildings, contents and their history. But it is more than one tour, it is several tours to decide on inside London´s most iconic attractions. You will follow in royal footsteps, will admire artworks, and visit both the Commons and the Lords Chamber. Your guide will share stories and facts about the long history.
Gothic fantasy palace
Normally, a tour starts in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace. Your guide will give you a brief history of the building, also how and why it was constructed over hundreds of years. In the Queen´s Robing Room you will see frescoes by William Dyce, mythic symbolism and heraldic images.
The Palace was built on the site of William the Conqueror´s first palace and rebuilt in Victorian times as a Gothic fantasy palace. The result is an eight-acre jumble of buildings, courtyards, passageways and corridors. All together 100 staircases, more than 1,000 rooms and three miles of passages.
The Queen and Royal symbols
On the day of the Opening of Parliament, the Queen arrives in a state coach and goes up the 26 steps of the Royal Staircase to the Norman Porch. The name came because it was intended to house statues of Norman kings at the start of a procession of royal statues running through the building. However, the statues were never commissioned and in the 1960s busts of Prime Ministers who was members of the House of Lords was installed.
The Queens Robing Room is where, before the State Opening of Parliament, the monarch puts on the Imperial State Crown and parliamentary robes. This room is richly decorated with royal symbol and motifs.
Nickname Big Ben
The large clock, known as Big Ben, is located in the Elizabeth Clock Tower.
Big Ben is the nickname of the Great Bell – the refurbished and famous clock at the north end of the Palace. The origin of the nickname is subject of some debate. It may have been named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the installation of the Great Bell. Or named after Ben Caunt, a champion heavyweight boxer of the 1850s.
Prime Minister´s Questions
PMQs takes place in the Commons every sitting Wednesday from 12pm to 12.30pm, and is where the Prime Minister answers questions from Members of Parliament. Visitors can request access to the galleries on the day, but booking tickets in advance is highly advised.
Sitting in the Galleries of both the Commons and the Lords is free, and on the top 10 free things to do in London.
Visiting Palace of Westminster
It is possible to take a tour or watch debates at the Houses of Parliament in London. You can even enjoy afternoon tea by the River Thames.
The Palace of Westminster can only be visited on Saturdays or during July and August. Ticket cost about 20 pound for adults, less for the young ones.
The visitor entry point to the Palace of Westminster is located at 3 St. Margaret’s Street (map), just across from St. Margaret’s Church.
Some fun facts
The word parliament comes from the old French word parlement or discussion. When kings needed advice, they would summon certain people to discuss important issues.
You might associate the Parliament only with government, but it also offers a range of services like a modern workplace – mainly designed to help MPs feel more at home. These include an active hair salon, a shooting range and a gym.
There is a strict ban on all animals from entering the premises (exception of Guide Dogs). However, this certainly didn’t stop a large population of mice from once taking up residence. Some cats could be the solution.
Facts for visitors: You are welcome to watching debates and committee hearings in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
For visit and details click to the Palace of Westminster