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Houses of Parliament

Delve into British politics at this historic complex, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The Palace of Westminster, more commonly known as Houses of Parliament, is at the heart of U.K. politics. Take a self-guided audio tour or a guide-led tour to view the many remarkable sections, chief among them the Norman-era Westminster Hall and its hammer-beam roof.

The first palace was erected here in the 11th century, though only a few small sections of that structure survived a devastating fire in 1834. Embark on a tour to get inside the vast Westminster Hall, one of the oldest surviving sections of Parliament. Most of the rest of the palace is neo-Gothic in style and dates back to the mid-19th century.

Step inside the red-benched House of Lords, home to more than 750 peers who debate and vote on various matters. The tours also includes entry to the lower house, the House of Commons, where the 650 Members of Parliament elected by the British public sit.

Explore the Robing Room where the queen dons here ceremonial gear before entering the House of Lords. Look for the exquisite artworks by distinguished Scottish artist William Dyce that adorn this space. Tours also lead guests to the Royal Gallery, the Prince’s Chamber and the Members’ Lobby among other spaces. Finish your tour in style with afternoon tea in a riverside terrace for an additional fee.

To the north end of the complex is Elizabeth Tower, which contains the massive bell popularly known as Big Ben. Limited tours of the tower are available to U.K. residents only, so overseas visitors will have to make do with admiring the iconic structure from outside. Return to take photographs of Big Ben at night when the clock faces are illuminated.

Find the spectacular Westminster Abbey just west of the complex. This building is noted for its exceptional stained-glass windows and imposing Gothic architecture.

The Houses of Parliament are on the northern bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster. To come here, ride the Tube to Westminster Station. Book and pay for your tour online in advance to ensure access.

Make the most of your time at Houses of Parliament. Here's a list of some of the most popular things to do:

For even more activities, peruse our London things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Houses of Parliament


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Top Houses of Parliament Hotel & Accommodation Deals

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Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.

    The Strand Palace Hotel
    The Strand Palace Hotel

    The Strand Palace Hotel

    372 The Strand, London, England
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market, Piccadilly Circus and London Dungeon. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 5 minutes.

      Park Plaza London Waterloo
      Park Plaza London Waterloo

      Park Plaza London Waterloo

      6 Hercules Road, London, England
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Florence Nightingale Museum, Imperial War Museum and The Vaults. Southbank Centre Book Market and Lambeth Palace are also within 10 minutes. Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes by foot and Waterloo Underground Station is 11 minutes.

        Marlin Waterloo
        Marlin Waterloo

        Marlin Waterloo

        111 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Imperial War Museum, Westminster Bridge and Sea Life London Aquarium. Coca-Cola London Eye and Big Ben are also within 15 minutes. Lambeth North Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 8 minutes.

          DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Westminster
          DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Westminster

          DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Westminster

          30 John Islip Street, Westminster, London, England
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Tate Britain and Houses of Parliament. Westminster Abbey and Big Ben are also within 15 minutes. Pimlico Underground Station is 10 minutes by foot and Westminster Underground Station is 13 minutes.

            Park Plaza County Hall London
            Park Plaza County Hall London

            Park Plaza County Hall London

            1 Addington Street, London, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. Jubilee Gardens and The Vaults are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station and Lambeth North Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.

              Park Plaza London Riverbank
              Park Plaza London Riverbank

              Park Plaza London Riverbank

              18 Albert Embankment, London, England
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tate Britain, The Oval and Houses of Parliament. Sea Life London Aquarium and Parliament Square are also within 1 mile (2 km). Vauxhall Station is 8 minutes by foot and Lambeth North Underground Station is 16 minutes.

                St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
                St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

                St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

                54 Buckingham Gate, London, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Buckingham Palace, Victoria Palace Theatre, and Apollo Victoria Theatre. St. James Park and Westminster Abbey are also within 10 minutes. St. James's Park Underground Station is only a 3-minute walk and Victoria Underground Station is 7 minutes.