Houses Of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament remain a very important part of England’s political affairs and, indeed, those of the entire United Kingdom (which comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). When the Parliament of the United Kingdom meets, it is done in either the House of Lords or the House of Commons, making up the official Houses of Parliament. The opulent Westminster Palace (as the Houses are also known) is located in the heart of London, on the banks of the River Thames, creating a gorgeous spectacle for locals and visitors. It is also right next to Big Ben and close to Westminster Abbey.
Big Ben - Houses of Parliament early morning sky
After hasty plans to reconstruct and rebuild the Westminster Palace, the parliamentary chambers were ready by February 1835. There was enormous competition over who would rebuild the Houses of Parliament and, out of 97 proposals, Charles Berry was the successful candidate. He chose an ornate Gothic style, which has proven to create an unforgettable spectacle along the Thames. Augustus Pugin was responsible for the plush interiors. Today, the Houses of Parliament are listed as a Grade I building (since 1970) and are part of a World Heritage Site, as deemed by UNESCO in 1987.
The grounds of Westminster Palace are characterised by several smaller gardens, which are closed to the public, providing a private retreat for parliamentarians. The College Green is another of the Houses of Parliament’s gardens which is commonly used for television interviews. Inside, the building has 1 100 rooms, four storeys, 100 staircases and 4.8 kilometres (or three miles) of passageways.
Because these buildings and the Clock Tower are such an iconic part of English tourism, they are frequented by national and international visitors all through the year. For residents of any of the countries making up the United Kingdom, access is granted by their local member of parliament. For these ones, guided tours are conducted. Alternatively, visitors can queue to get in, but access is very limited and there is no guarantee of success.
For more information, please view: http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/