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London: Big Ben and Houses of Parliament (Attractions)

London: Big Ben and Houses of Parliament (Attractions)


Nearest Station: Westminster
Address: Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Entry price: Guided Tours: Adults – £25.50, Child (5 to 15) – £11, Concessions – £21. Audio Tours: Adults – £18.50, Child – £7.50 (one free child per paying adult), Concessions – £16.
Typical opening hours: Open Saturdays throughout the year and on most weekdays during Parliamentary recesses, such as Christmas, Easter and the summer. Live tours depart every 15 to 20 minutes from 09:00 to 16:15.
Phone: 0207 219 4114
Website: www.parliament.uk/visiting/
Tickets: Buy tickets for tours directly from Parliament here. Tickets on the day are more expensive than pre-bought tickets.

The home of the UK government for over 500 years, the Houses of Parliament are world-renowned. The current building dates from the 1840s as the previous building on the site was destroyed by a large fire in 1834 – only a small part remains. The Palace of Westminster that stood on this site was also destroyed by a fire in 1512.

The most famous part of the building is undoubtedly the clock tower which lies on its northern side, largely referred to as Big Ben. However, Big Ben is actually the name of the 13.5-ton bell located inside the Elizabeth Tower. The reason behind the bell’s naming is still disputed to this day, but one likely reason is that Benjamin Hall was the commissioner of works at the time the original bell was installed.

Paid tours of the inside of the building are available and advanced reservations are strongly recommended. Tours are available on Saturdays year-round, except when Parliament is in recess - on these days Parliament is open on weekdays. The best place to check for exact opening dates and times is at www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/tours-of-parliament/.

Audio tours are also available on the same dates and are self-guided. Both sets of tours will take you inside the beautiful Westminster Hall, the Queen’s Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, the Lords and Commons Chamber, St. Stephen’s Hall and many more locations. Learn about the fascinating history, as well as how the building is used as a working location today. Buy tickets for tours directly from Parliament here.

How can I get in the Houses of Parliament for a free tour?
UK residents may contact their local MP, or a member of the House of Lords, to request a free guided tour year-round. UK visitor tours last 75 minutes and these are generally fully booked 6 months in advance. In addition, UK residents can tour the Elizabeth Tower and see Big Ben (the bell) up close by applying through the aforementioned methods – these tours are very popular and are also generally booked 6 months in advance.

The Houses of Parliament have become a trademark symbol for London and are daily staples in films, TV shows, documentaries and news programmes across the world.

Important: Please note that since mid-2017 Big Ben's tower is undergoing a 4-year refurbishment and scaffolding will be present on the clock tower - during most of this time Big Ben will not chime and tours of the bell tower (open to UK residents only) will not operate. Large parts of the rest of the Houses of Parliament building will be under refurbishment for a significantly longer period of time.

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