The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, it is also known as the 'heart of British politics'.
The Houses of Parliament's oldest part is 11th-century Westminster Hall, one of only a few sections that survived a catastrophic fire in 1834. Its roof, added between 1394–1401, is the earliest-known example of a hammerbeam roof. The rest is mostly a neo-Gothic confection built by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin (1840–58).
The palace's most famous feature is its clock tower, Elizabeth Tower, aka Big Ben. Ben is actually the 13.5-ton bell, named after Benjamin Hall, who was Commissioner of Works when the tower was completed in 1858.
On Saturdays year-round and on most weekdays during parliamentary recesses including Easter, summer and Christmas, visitors can join a 90-minute guided tour of both chambers, Westminster Hall and other historic buildings conducted by qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guides in seven languages.
Bus: 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77A, 88, 109, 159 and 211
Mon – Fri: 9 am – 6.30 pm
Sat and Su: 9.15 am – 4.30 pm