Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the House of Parliament, is a gothic building consisting of the House of Commons and the House of Lords (the two parts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom).

The story of the Palace of Westminster started in the middle-ages when it was used as a royal residence. The English, and later the Parliament of the United Kingdom gathered in the spot for the first time in 1295. In October of 1834, a massive fire destroyed the old palace, which had served as the House of Parliament since 1512. Only the Westminster Hall survived the fire, as well as St. Mary’s Chapel and the Jewel Tower (built during the 14th century to protect and keep jewels and gold). Soon after the fire, a new building was erected, which maintained the style and the function of the old royal ceremonial residence.

The new palace spreads over an area of eight acres, mostly overlooking the river Thames, with 285 meters of the building’s wall being just next to the river itself. Around 100 ideas were proposed for the design of the new building, but it was the idea put forward by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin that was finally accepted. In 1847, the building was finally completed, with its 1200 rooms, 11 gardens and 2.1 kilometers of hallways.

The ground floor is occupied by offices, dining rooms and bars; the first floor houses the main rooms of the Palace, including the debating chambers, the lobbies and the libraries. The top-two floors are used as committee rooms and offices. The Sovereign’s Entrance is located at the base of the Victoria Tower, is the starting point of the royal rooms (this includes the Royal Staircase, the Norman Porch, the Robing Room, the Royal Gallery and the Prince's Chamber) which end in the House of Lords where the ceremony takes place.

The breathtaking facade is dominated by the gold-plated peaks and statues of English kings who all overlook the river Thames. The Victoria Towe, the biggest and highest tower of the building, is situated in the southwest corner of the palace, and it keeps the copies of all the laws that the parliament has ever suggested and accepted. The north side of the Palace is where the famous Big Ben is located.

Ticket price for Westminster Palace
Regular ticket price: £ 25
With a guide: £ 28
Reduced ticket price: £ 21 (with guide £ 23) - for students
Reduced ticket price: £ 12 - for children aged 5 to 15
Opening hours of Westminster Palace
Although the palace is one of the main attractions of the city of London, it is possible to visit it only on Saturdays or during the months of July and August. You can get tickets on the same day you choose to visit, but we definitely recommend that you come earlier and avoid the crowds, ie the long wait.
Saturdays: 09:15a.m to 4:30p.m
July and August:
Mondays from 1:15p.m to 5:30p.m
Tuesday to Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you would like to witness a meeting of the Parliament, you can go to Saint Margaret Street between Monday and Thursday, and sometimes on Friday. Witnessing a debate is allowed between October and July and we definitely recommend doing this on your next visit to London.

Mondays and Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m to 10:30 p.m
Wednesday: 11:30 a.m to 7:30 p.m
Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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