The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben

No trip to London is complete without a visit to the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben - home to the Houses of Parliament

Gothic Spires of the Palace of Westminster with Westminster Bridge in the Foreground
Gothic Spires of the Palace of Westminster with Westminster Bridge in the Foreground cc licensed photo by _gee_

The Houses of Parliament and their famous the Clock Tower, properly called the Palace of Westminster, are probably the single most recognized landmark in all of London. In fact the 316 foot high Clock Tower, which is commonly refered to as Big Ben after the nickname of it's heaviest bell, is famous throughout the world. The giant bell chimes each hour while four smaller bells chime every 15 minutes.

The site of the Palace of Westminster has a rich history going back nearly 1000 years to the 11th century. While it originally served as a royal residence it has been the location for meetings of the Parliament of England since 1295. In 1834 a huge fire broke out and destroyed the majority of the complex. Two Chambers where quickly repaired in order to be used by the Houses of Lords and Commons by February of the following year. After debating different designs for rebuilding the palace it was finally decided to stay with a convservative Gothic style. Rebuilding was completed in stages between 1840 and 1870. Palace of Westminster and the famous Clock Tower were again damaged heavily by a total of 14 different bomb strikes during the course of World War II, however everything was again rebuilt and repaired after the war.

During your visit to Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) you can enjoy viewing and photographing the impressive architectural details and you can enjoy the Tower Gardens, a park that runs along the Thames River next to the Palace.

Public tours are available on Saturdays and during the Summer Opening. Tickets are required. For more information see Parliamentary Tours for overseas visitors

There are many other attractions within easy walking distance of Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster). Some of these include Saint James's Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and the Westminster Cathedral. These attractions can be nicely combined into a memorable one or two day walking tour.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK

Phone: 020 7219 3000

Official Website: The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben (Houses of Parliament)

Directions

Tube Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Circle, District and Jubilee LineWestminster2 Minutes
Northern and Bakerloo LineCharing Cross14 Minutes
Victoria LineVictoria19 Minutes

How to get to The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben (Houses of Parliament) by Tube

From Westminster Station you will exit onto Bridge St. right across from Big Ben.

From Charing Cross Station walk west on Strand then bear right at Trafalger Square and head south along Whitehall St.

From Victoria Station walk east along Victoria Street.

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Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5Palace of Westminster Star Rating

5 Star Rating Received a wonderful school tour from a guide named ‘Sophie’ who was interesting, informative and patient. Really made the trip a brilliant experience (in spite of being unable to visit the House of Commons)

Allstoriesrtrue 24601 - 16 days ago

5 Star Rating 5 STARS! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 AMAZING. --- The weather was beautiful making for a great visit to the Palace of Westminster. This place along with Big Ben should be on your sightseeing list. Even though Big Ben is currently under construction, you can still see the clock. The Palace of Westminster is such a beautiful building with so much history - makes for really beautiful photos. Highly recommend the visit.

Phat Kat - 18 days ago

5 Star Rating Not included in London pass, but totally worth the visit. The palace is monumental, with great public access including the main hall and both houses of parliament. The self guided audio book tour may very well be the best in London. Especially for Americans, the history of both the site and parliament itself well be cheeky and entertaining, and you'll have stories (and innuendos) for days. Be sure to preorder tickets, which you can pick up at the palace entrance itself, rather than the ticket office a few blocks away.

Nicolas Holthaus - 20 days ago

5 Star Rating Brilliant Day Out! yet again... visited this place more times than i can remember. Great place to take guests/tourists that you have or visitors staying, a lot of history and remarkable architecture to take in!

Adam West - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Brilliant day out. Staff very friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. This is a beautiful building and well worth a visit. We also booked a cream tea which was delicious and, despite the cold, went out in to the terrace to take photos of London.

barbara otto - 1 month ago

Video


Enjoy this interesting look inside the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster and learn about its fascinating history and construction

Photo Gallery

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