If you’re attuned to British politics or are simply interest in seeing where British democratic history has been made over the past centuries, then the Houses of Parliament and Westminster may well be on your to-do list. An attraction marketed by everyone from bus tour companies to London Hotels special offers, the area of Westminster is where parliaments meet to discuss and debate British law, and generally make headlines with controversial statements and ideologies.
In terms of visiting, it really is as easy as getting on the tube and jumping off at Westminster. Starting in the district which is home to the renowned Montcalm Hotel London and some of our favourite dining locations, the Jubilee Line provides an easy route to your destination – where you will be greeted by the sight of the Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben, standing tall and overlooking the city; chiming the hour and informing thousands of commuters and tourists of the time.
While Westminster is Southside towards the bank of the river Thames, it is well known and understood that some of the most popular hideouts for politicians are up towards the very Centre of the West End; commonly centred around the bars of Mayfair, eateries of Marble Arch and the 5-star hotels Bond Street London is home to. As such, for an immersive day in the life of a politician, take a stroll from your hotel down towards Westminster, taking in the Mall, rows of high-end shops and green spaces that line the roads.
As you reach Westminster, with its streets flooded by suits and cyclists, you can look up and take in the Houses of Parliament.
Can you actually get inside?
Typically, unless you know someone on the inside or are invited in to attend a special event, the best way to actually get inside the Houses of Parliament or Palace of Westminster are to book onto a public tour. Alternatively, free public events are regularly scheduled in the calendar which can be found online, although general consensus recommends you always book in advance if you wish to attend these.
Generally, when it comes to public events these will take place in specified areas of the buildings, with other sections cordoned off to keep the public out. We recommend checking out the deals for luxury hotel rooms surrounding the Westminster area, if you plan to make a full trip out of your stay – and you could even book onto one of the exclusive afternoon tea tours which provides your group with a tour inside the Houses of Parliament before sitting you down for a special afternoon tea with your guide.
What is there to see?
Did you know that the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, is 300m long, and took over 30 years to build?
And did you know that deep inside the building there is over 3 miles worth of passageways and corridors, connecting 1,100 rooms and more than 100 different staircases?
There is so much to see and learn about the Palace of Westminster and what goes on within its walls, and one of the best ways to appreciate this is through an audio or guided tour. Maybe they will be able to tell you why the leather seats in the Commons Chamber are all decorated in green...