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

Address: London SW1A 0AA, UK

Phone: 020 7219 3000

Official Website: Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating Great historical aesthetics all round, very exciting experience. Close to the city, easy to reach and see. Very calm and cool atmosphere. The Palace of Westminster is where meetings of the Parliament of the UK are held and is located in England. Commonly known as Houses of Parliament after the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two chambers which occupy the building. It was built in 1016, rebuilt in 1870 and later. The architects were Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin.
SuperJ 1240 - a month ago

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4 Star Rating One of the main attractions of London, known throughout the world. The Palace of Westminster is one of the symbolic buildings of the capital of Great Britain. The attraction is located in the very center of the city, on the north bank of the Thames in Westminster. The palace was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Impressive details and magnificent architecture. The Palace of Westminster was only seen from the outside.
Yeiva - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating Probably the most famous site in London, aside from Buckingham Palace. The tour was great and explained the history of both houses and Parliament's power in relation to the monarchy. One bonus thing was hearing Big Ben strike 12 in the courtyard outside the tour entrance, past the security checkpoint. Really neat experience and great staff!
Stephen Boyd - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating Great tour of the Houses of Lords and Commons. Full access to both Chambers and the Palace of Westminster. Booked the tour online and enjoy a full morning exploring this iconic building. Unfortunately no photography allowed in the Chambers.
PG25 - a month ago

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5 Star Rating I had the unique opportunity to visit thanks to an invitation from a friend, whose relative is an MP. I'm profoundly grateful for the experience. Must see! In such a place, you feel overwhelmed by the immense and grand history surrounding you. P.S. I found surprisingly good coffee at the cafe for a very reasonable price, a shocking highlight of the day!
Oleksandra Bohdashkina - 2 months ago

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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 Palace of Westminster 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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