London Houses of Parliament.

MAY 09,2013 - MAY 09,2013 (1 DAYS)

History

Houses of Parliament:

One of the most beautiful and amazing buildings in the world. If you love history, visit Houses of Parliament, you can not get much nearer to history than this.

Map: excellent map in: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/facilities/maps/colmap1.pdf

Tips and warnings: You are not allowed to sit down inside the houses, so if you have a problems walking, do not go.

Orientation: Visitors should go to the Cromwell Green visitor entrance to Parliament. All visitors will be subject to a security scan and bag search. Upon leaving security, visitors will enter Westminster Hall where they should proceed to the top of the stairs at the end of the Hall, turn left and keep going until they reach Central Lobby. Here, you sit and wait for your entry turn. Central Lobby is the central point in the Palace between the House of Lords and House of Commons - the 'crossroads' of the Houses of Parliament.

The Parliament Square: see below  - in the end of this trip.

Nearest Underground Stations: Westminster (3 minute walk), St James's Park (9 minute walk).

Entrance for the Public: Cromwell Green (visitors) / St Stephen's Entrance, roughly in the middle of the building's western front:

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The Sovereign's Entrance, at the base of the Victoria Tower, is located in the south-west corner of the Palace and is the starting point of the royal procession route.

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Members of Parliament enter the building through the Members’ Entrance in the northern part of the west façade.

1. Victoria Tower
2. Queen's Robing Room
3. Royal Gallery
4. Prince's Chamber
5. Lords' Chamber
6. Central Lobby
7. Commons' Lobby
8. Commons' Chamber
9. Noes Lobby
10. St Stephen's Chapel
11. Westminster Hall.

Attend Debates: (Part of the text - taken from the formal web site of the Houses of Parliament). 

Spare time to sit in an afternoon or morning parliamentary debate. It is really thrilling to be in these places, chock full of tradition. visitors may watch debates for free on current issues or proposed new laws in both Houses by visiting the public galleries. The galleries are open to the public when the Houses are sitting (meeting), which is from Monday to Thursday and on Sitting Fridays, with differing times for each House. The galleries are not open during recess, when neither House is sitting.

Sitting times:

House of Commons - Main Chamber:

Monday: 14.30 - 22.30, Tuesday: 11.30 - 19.30, Wednesday: 11.30 - 19.30, Thursday: 9.30 - 17.30, Sitting Friday: 9.30 - 15.00.

House of Lords:

Monday: 14.30 - 22.00, Tuesday: 14.30 - 22.00, Wednesday: 15.00 - 22.00, Thursday: 11.00 - 19.30, Sitting Friday: 10.00 - close of business.

Westminster Hall:

Tuesday: 9.30 - 14.00, Wednesday: 9.30 - 11.30 & 14.30 - 17.00, Thursday: 14.30 - 17.30.

Tickets are not required at other periods and there is a public queue for both UK residents and foreign visitors - outside the Cromwell Green visitor entrance. A wait of one or two hours is common (although it's usually less for the House of Lords).

Question Time:

In both Houses, the busiest time is during Question Time. In the Commons it is Prime Minister's Question Time. Free tickets are necessary to ensure entrance, and are only issued to UK residents who contact their MP or a Lord to request them. Overseas visitors and UK residents without tickets can queue but will only gain entrance if there is space after ticket-holders.

Security:

Airport style searches are in place at the Houses of Parliament. Leave plenty of time to pass through security. Expect this to take at least 15 minutes. At busy times, which are unpredictable, the delay will be longer. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons the queue can exceed 45 minutes. This security check is like an airport; remove coat, belt, watch etc. the following items are not permitted on the parliamentary estate and will be confiscated: Personal defense equipment, Items that make a noise (e.g. whistles), sharp items (including Swiss army knives, scissors, cutlery and screwdrivers) paint spray/padlocks, chains. In the Debates/Committees rooms/galleries you enter ONLY with your own clothes (no mobile, camera, bag, book etc').

Photography: No photographs allowed inside the parliament but you can take photographs of the Great Hall.

Guided Tours:  An expert guide accompanies you throughout 100 minute tour through the House of Lords and House of Commons. Tour highlights include: Grand Committee Room, Queen’s Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Prince’s Chamber, Lords Chamber, Moses Room, Central Lobby, Members’ Lobby, Aye Lobby, Commons Chamber, St Stephen’s Hall, Westminster Hall. Specialist themed tours are also available. The tours are on Saturdays and on selected weekdays during Parliamentary recesses including Easter, summer and Christmas. when the houses are devoid of politicians. Professional guides take you through the buildings. You need to book the tour in advance. Guided tours in English start every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day. Guided tours in Spanish, Italian, French, German and Russian start at set times on all opening days. Adults: £16.50, Concessions (students, over 60s and members of the UK Armed Forces): £14. Individual bookings can be made: Online on the ticketmaster website - http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Houses-of-Parliament-tickets/artist/107973

By telephone on 0844 847 1672 (calling from the UK) and by telephone on +44 161 425 8677 (calling from outside the UK).

Tickets can also be purchased in person in advance or on the day (subject to availability) from the ticket office located adjacent to the Jewel Tower, opposite the Houses of Parliament.

The Great Hall: This is the only part of the inside you can take photos.

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The Central Lobby:

The Central Lobby is situated in the middle of the Palace of Westminster and was designed by Charles Barry to form the crossroads of the building. This is half way between the House of Lords and the House of Commons and is used by members of both houses. Everything to the south of it is part of the House of Lords, and everything to the north is part of the House of Commons. Central Lobby is octagonal and features mosaics of several Saints.

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File:London - The Parliament - 2779.jpg

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The Lords Chamber: The Chamber of the House of Lords is located in the southern part of the Palace of Westminster. The furnishings in the Chamber are predominantly decorated in red. The layout consists of red benches on three sides of the Chamber, with a table in the middle and the Throne at the southern end. The monarchs of England and Scotland were depicted in the original stained-glass windows by Pugin, but these were lost during the Second World War, and their 1950 replacements show the coats of arms of peers between 1360 and 1900. Between the windows are statues of the sixteen barons and the two bishops known to have been present at the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.

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The Commons Chamber: The furnishings in the Chamber are predominantly decorated in green. There are two sets of green benches opposite to each other (so that Government and Opposition MPs sit facing each other), with a table in the middle and the Speaker's Chair at northern end. The Chamber is actually quite small as there is only room for 437 MPs to sit down when there are 659 MPs in total. The current Chamber was rebuilt after the Blitz by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in relatively austere style (although it was less ornate than the Lords Chamber even before 1941). Many of the objects in the Chamber, such as the Speaker's Chair, are gifts from Commonwealth countries.

File:House of Commons.jpg

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The Speaker's Chair in the Commons Chamber:

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The Member's Lobby:

Members' Lobby sits between Central Lobby and the House of Commons Chamber and features statues of former Prime Ministers. It is an area where MPs meet informally before and after business in the Chamber.

(the following 3 images are taken from http://www.parliament.uk site).

Churchill Arch and Statue in the Members Lobby:

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Margaret Thatcher in the Members' Lobby:

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The Robing Room:

The Robing Room is where the Queen prepares for the Annual Opening of Parliament. She puts on ceremonial robes and the Imperial State Crown.

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The Royal Gallery:

The Royal Gallery is adjacent to the Robing Room. Its walls feature two large frescoes by Daniel Maclise, The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher at Waterloo and The Death of Nelson. The room sometimes hosts foreign dignitaries

Houses of Parliament Exterior:

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Cromwell Green, outside Westminster Hall, is the site of Hamo Thornycroft's bronze statue of Oliver Cromwell, erected amid controversy in 1899:

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File:Statue of Oliver Cromwell outside Palace of Westminster.jpg

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Statue of King Richard I:

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Houses of Parliament from Abingdon Street:

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Victoria Tower occupies the south-western corner of the Palace. At the top of the cast-iron pyramidal roof is flagstaff, from which flies the Royal Standard (the monarch's personal flag) when the Sovereign is present in the Palace. On all other days the Union Flag flies from the mast.

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Houses of Parliament (Victoria Tower) from Victoria Tower Gardens (photo from 2010):

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Houses of parliament from Westminster Bridge:

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Houses of parliament from Lambeth Bridge:

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The Parliament Square is a square at the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster in London. it is also the place where many demonstrations and protests have been held. It features a large open green area in the centre with trees to its west and it contains ten statues of statesmen and other notable individuals:

Northern edge of the green - David Lloyd George, UK Prime Minister 1916–1922:

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Northern edge of the green - Jan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa 1919–1924 and 1939–1948:

File:Jan Smuts monument.JPG

North-eastern edge of the green - Winston Churchill, UK Prime Minister 1940–1945 and 1951–1955:

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South-western edge of the green - Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa 1994–1999:

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In front of the Middlesex Guildhall - Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States 1861–1865:

File:Abraham lincoln memorial london 20050523.jpg

At the square's junction with Great George Street - George Canning
UK Foreign Secretary 1807–1809 and 1822–1827; Prime Minister 1827:

File:George Canning statue, Parliament Square SW1 - geograph.org.uk - 1318077.jpg

Western edge of the green - Lord Robert Peel, UK Prime Minister 1834–1835 and 1841–1846:

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Western edge of the green - Benjamin Disraeli, UK Prime Minister 1868 and 1874–1880:

File:Benjamin Disraeli monument.JPG

North-western edge of the green - Edward Smith-Stanley, UK Prime Minister 1852, 1858–1859 and 1866–1868:

File:Earl of Derby statue.jpg

North-western edge of the green - Henry John Temple, Lord Palmerston, UK Prime Minister 1855–1858 and 1859–1865:

File:Palmerston monument.JPG

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