The Palace of Westminster is a fascinating place, and remains so even for those who have spent years working in it. As such, it is little wonder that visits to the Palace are so popular.
Given the nature of the activities that take place within it, the Palace of Westminster is effectively a public building, even if considerations relating to safety and security mean that it is not subject to wholly unrestricted access. Members of the public are free to enter the Palace in order to attend functions and events to which they have been invited, and can also enter, without invitation, in order to seek to meet their elected representatives, and to observe the proceedings of both Houses of Parliament from the public galleries.
Members of the public can also visit the Palace as part of a guided tour. Such tours do not operate constantly, as parts of the tour route must close whilst one or both Houses of Parliament are sitting. During periods when Parliament is sitting, tours can take place at the following times:
- Monday: 9.00am-12 noon
- Tuesday: 9.00am-10.00am
- Wednesday: 9.00am-10.00am
- Thursday: No tours permitted
- Friday: 3.30pm-5.00pm
Further information on when Parliament will be sitting and when it will be in recess can be found here.
If you would be interested in a tour of the Palace of Westminster, or about visiting Parliament generally, please feel free to enquire with our Westminster office. The relevant contact details can be found on the Contact page.
Further information can be found on Parliament’s website: https://www.parliament.uk/visiting/
How to book a free tour of Parliament
We can assist constituents as well as local schools, colleges and other organisations with booking a tour of the Palace of Westminster.
Any tour booked through our office will be free of charge.
We can either book a private guided tour of the Palace for up to six guests. These tours are only able to take place on the morning of either a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday when Parliament is sitting and are led by a member of our office. Guests will be provided with a full tour of the Palace of Westminster, which will last for approximately 60 – 75 minutes, and include the Chambers of both Houses of Parliament, the State Rooms in the House of Lords, Central Lobby, St Stephen’s Hall and Westminster Hall.
Alternatively, for larger groups or those wishing to visit Parliament on a Friday or during periods in which both Houses of Parliament are in recess, we can arrange tickets for an Inside UK Parliament tour provide by Parliament’s Visitor Experience Team. These tours are led by a professional tour guide and last for approximately 75 minutes. Inside UK Parliament tours include the Chambers of both Houses of Parliament, the State Rooms in the House of Lords, Central Lobby, St Stephen’s Hall and Westminster Hall. To enquire about either of these tours, please write to our Westminster office, including your name, full address and postcode, and we would be happy to assist you with booking a tour. The relevant contact details can be found on the Contact page.
How to book a commercial tour of Parliament
During recess periods, the Palace is also open to commercial tours. These are tours that visitors must pay for and cannot be booked by your local Member of Parliament. For further information and to book a commercial tour, please visit Parliament’s website at: https://www.parliament.uk/visiting/.
If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, rather than pay for a commercial tour, it is advised that you contact your local MP who can arrange tours free of charge.
How to book a specialised tour of Parliament for schools, colleges and other education providers
Parliament’s Education Service operates the Visit Parliament programme, which gives up to 40,000 students each year the opportunity to visit the Palace of Westminster. Visits are designed for students aged seven to 18 and include an education tour followed by a workshop run by Education Service staff. Further information about the Education Service can be found through the following link: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/
Education tours are different from private tours or Inside UK Parliament tours, as they are designed to reflect the National Curriculum and focus on the role of Parliament as a legislative body, rather than on the building itself. On their way around the Palace of Westminster, students learn about the characteristics of each of the three parts of Parliament – the Commons, the Lords and the Monarch – and discuss the difference between Parliament and government. They also find out about the process of passing a bill through Parliament, and have the chance to ask questions about how Parliament works.
To enquire about booking one of these tours, please call the Education Service on 020 7219 4496. Understandably, these tours are extremely popular, and it is advised that such tours be booked well in advance.
If you have any questions, or would like any assistance with enquiring about the Visit Parliament programme, please do contact our Westminster office using the contact details provided on the Contact page.
How to book tickets for Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs)
Members of Parliament each receive an allocation of four tickets for PMQs each month, which we can book on behalf of constituents.
When booking tickets for PMQs, we can often also arrange for you to have a private tour of the Palace of Westminster, which will take place before PMQs and begin by 9:30am.
To book PMQs tickets, as well as a tour, please write to our Westminster office using the contact details on the Contact page, including the full names of each person wishing to attend, as well as your address and postcode.
However, please be advised that there is often a waiting list for PMQs tickets, so it is unlikely these will be available to book at short notice.
How to book tickets to watch regular proceedings in the House of Commons or House of Lords
In order to book tickets in advance to watch proceedings from the public galleries of the House of Commons or the House of Lords, please write to our Westminster office using the contact details on the Contact page, including the full names of each person wishing to attend, as well as your address and postcode.
Unlike PMQs, there is no waiting list to book tickets to watch regular proceedings in both the Commons and the Lords. Therefore, tickets can often be booked at short notice.
When booking tickets to watch proceedings from the public galleries, a private tour of the Palace of Westminster can often also be arranged, which will take place before Parliament sits for the day. Information on tour times for each day of the week while Parliament is sitting can be found at the top of this page.
Members of the public can also enter Parliament and visit the public galleries, without contacting their local Member of Parliament. However, please be advised that without booking tickets in advance through your local Member of Parliament, there is a risk that you may arrive to find that there are no available tickets remaining.
For more information about visiting Parliament without booking in advance, please see: https://www.parliament.uk/visiting/