The Palace of Westminster is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Located on the banks of the River Thames in London, the palace is home to the British Houses of Parliament and the clock tower of Big Ben. It’s a magnificent building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its glorious Gothic architecture should be viewed by all visitors to London.
One of the most striking features of the Palace of Westminster and perhaps the most iconic is the clock tower of Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower. A guided tour takes visitors up the 334 step spiral staircase. At 62 metres high, the top of the tower offers spectacular views of the River Thames and over London. Inside the Palace, take a walk around The Robing Room, which is used by Queen for the State Opening of Parliament, and explore the Royal Gallery with centuries of paintings of the Monarchs. The Lords Chamber is particularly exciting for those who follow British politics, and Central Lobby is a sight to behold, adorned with statues of Kings and Queens of England and Scotland. Leading to the Chamber is the Churchill Arch, with a statue of the leader himself at the entrance. The arch was rebuilt with bomb-scarred stone as a reminder of the ordeals of war. Some of the best views of the palace are from across Westminster Bridge. Standing by the riverbank, visitors can gain magnificent photographs and admire the impressive structure from a different vantage point. Afterwards, enjoy a boat ride down the River Thames or gain a bird’s eye view of London from the famous London Eye. Alternatively, take a walk through tranquil St. James’ Park towards Buckingham Palace, or head to Trafalgar Square where the National and Portrait Galleries await.
The Palace of Westminster is easy to reach from many London attractions. It’s 15 minutes’ walk from Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and the South Bank. Regular bus services operate throughout the area and Westminster underground station, served by the Circle, District and Jubilee Lines sits opposite the entrance. The area can also be accessed by tour boat trips which disembark at Westminster Bridge.
The Palace of Westminster is a symbol of Great Britain and has been at the forefront of crucial world politics and decisions, past and present. The New Palace was constructed between 1840 and 1870, although remnants of the Old Palace can be found in the Great Hall which was built by William II in 1097-1099. Today, the Palace is the seat of the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament which attracts visitors from all over the world each year.