Cover photo full
Palace of Westminster
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Houses of Parliament is made up of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and is also known as the Palace of Westminster. It has been in place since the 12th century although there has been some damage – including an attempt to blow it up – every room is full of history.
While there will always be tight security, it is possible to visit the Houses of Parliament and enjoy the majesty of one of the most important buildings in London. It will be hard to determine which is going to be the most enjoyable part of the trip, listening to the debates of the Parliamentarians, walking around the building and being amazed by the architecture, or the chance to have afternoon tea on the banks of the River Thames .
Guided ToursAll guided tours are serviced by fully qualified Blue Badge guides and will take around 90 minutes. It includes both houses and there is the chance to gain additional information. Some of the areas that are covered are:
Queen’s Robing RoomThis is the room where the Queen gets ready for special occasions. It is in this room that there is a stunning marble fireplace, paintings by William Duce that depict the chivalric virtues, and in the past, this room was used for debate by the Lords after there the building was damaged by a bomb during war.
Royal GalleryIt is here that state ceremonies and presentations are held. Some of the highlights of the room are the statues depicting former Kings including Richard I and Edward III amongst others. Daniel Maclise's paintings are displayed around the room and they showcase certain scenes such as the Death of Nelson and scenes from the Napoleonic Wars. It has been used as a court in the past, with cases such as Lord de Clifford’s and then a charge of bigamy leveled at Earl Russell.
Central LobbyJust standing in this lobby will give the visitor a taste of the grandeur and splendor of the building. With beautifully designed floors, it is the place where the entrances to the House of Lord, House of Commons, and Westminster Hall meet. Grilles still cover the windows and they have been in the palace since 1834 and were previously installed in the Ladies Room to prevent male politicians from being distracted by the women who were present in the room. They had to be taken down when suffragettes chained themselves to the grilles and have since been placed in the lobby.
Members’ LobbyIt is here that members can collect their mail and are ushered past a statue of Churchill while the door is guarded when members are seated. The arch known as the Churchill Arch was built at his suggestion and was to be a monument to those who perished in the war. He guards one side and the World War I Prime Minister, Lloyd George, guards the other.
Commons ChamberThe green seats are famous and well-known around world. In its present form, the seats have been situated in the Common Chambers since 1941. As it was rebuilt during the war, it is less grand than other parts of the building and there is a large area where the press and public can sit and watch the debates.
Statues in the PalaceThere have been statues in the House of Parliament since Victorian times and it is estimated that there are more than 300, with many showing monarchs dating back to Norman times. There are many of Queen Victoria and one has been added of the architect himself – Sir Charles Barry . Along St. Stephen's Halls, there are commemorations to Charles James Fox, William Pitt (the Younger), and Viscount Falkland. More recent additions have been Margaret Thatcher and Clement Atlee.
Tour Plus Afternoon TeaIf one decides to participate in this tour, one will be guided through the Houses of Parliament to begin with and this will either assisted with a guide or with audio . When the tour has been completed, there will be afternoon tea which will take place on the Terrace Pavilion. There are beautiful views of the river and the menu is not to be missed. There are modern savories and a wide choice of teas and coffees. Vegetarian options are available and the restaurants and cafés will have to be booked in advance, by at least 5 days.
There is also a shop where you can buy a variety of products, some designed just for Parliament. There are books, mugs, biscuits, stationery, and items for children.
Getting to the Houses of Parliament
- Tube: Victoria, Charing Cross, and Waterloo stations are a 20 minutes’ walk away, but there are buses can stop in closer vicinities of the Palace.
- Bus: the nearest bus stops are Victoria Street and Trafalgar Square.
- Car:this is not recommended as there will be a congestion charge and while there is parking nearby, it has to be booked in advance.
FeesAdults will be charge £ £25 ($38), concessions will cost £ £20 ($30) and a child's ticket is priced at £ £10 ($15). Group bookings can be made and this will reduce the price to £ £19 ($29) for adults if there are 10 persons or more.
Do you see any omissions, errors or want to add information to this page? Sign up.
Author: mekwriters. Last updated: Jan 07, 2015