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Visit Parliament

Home > London > Historic Houses
Published July 19th 2010
During the summer each year, the Palace of Westminster swings open the doors of democracy to us, the voters, offering a fascinating tour of the Houses of Parliament, including the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Queen's Robing Room, the Royal Gallery and Westminster Hall.

Tours run from July through to October, with most taking place during recess in August. Each tour lasts 75 minutes, which is pretty short when you consider there are ten centuries of history to cover. Still, the fully qualified Blue Badge guides are entertaining with their wealth of knowledge, and happy to take questions too.

The historic construction, parts of which date back 1000 years, was once home to the UK's royal family. The main part was designed by Sir Charles Barry and completed in 1870 after much of it was destroyed by fire in 1834. Barry's building is an exquisite example of authentic Gothic Revival architecture, and one of the UK's most photographed places.

The tour takes you onto the floor of the Commons (even the Queen isn't allowed in here, you know) and past the famous dispatch box onto which PMs of yesteryear, such as Blair, Thatcher, Wilson, Attlee, Macmillan and Churchill once banged their fists as they sparred with leaders of opposition parties.

You'll also get to visit the historic Westminster Hall, where the trial of King Charles I took place in 1649. The king was up for treason, found guilty and ended up losing his head at the tender age of 48.

The tour provides some fascinating insight into this, the mother of all parliaments, and is easily done as part of a day out in the capital.

Tickets are available online here or by calling 0844 847 1672.
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Why? It's a chance to take a closer look at the place that makes the rules that affect all our lives.
When: From July to October.
Where: The Palace of Westminster
Cost: Adults £14; 5-15yrs £6; students £9; seniors £9; family ticket (2 adults, 2 juniors) £35
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