THE HIGHLIGHTS AT Houses of Parliament

Take a tour on interesting The Houses of Parliament which is also known as the Palace of Westminster. It has been a site of government for more than 900 years. The oldest surviving part of the building, Westminster Hall, was built in 1097 on the site of a Saxon palace. The first parliaments took place in the 13th century and the current building was built after an accidental fire in 1834. On the exterior of the Victorian building are statues of Saxon kings reminding us of the palace’s ancient roots.

Houses of Parliament Highlights

Norman Porch

The grandest entrance to the Palace of Westminster is the Sovereign's Entrance beneath the Victoria Tower. It was designed for the use of the monarch, who travels from Buckingham Palace by carriage every year for the State Opening of Parliament.

Queen's Robing Room

The Queen's Robing Room (usually referred to simply as "the Robing Room") lies at the southern end of the ceremonial axis of the Palace and occupies the centre of the building's south front, overlooking the Victoria Tower Gardens.

Royal Gallery

Lords Chamber

The Sovereign's Throne and its gilded Canopy dominate the ornate Lords Chamber.

The Chamber of the House of Lords is located in the southern part of the Palace of Westminster. The lavishly decorated room measures 13.7 by 24.4 metres (45 by 80 ft). The benches in the Chamber, as well as other furnishings in the Lords' side of the Palace, are coloured red. The upper part of the Chamber is decorated by stained glass windows and by six allegorical frescoes representing religion, chivalry and law.

The Lobbies

Westminster Hall

the oldest existing part of the Palace of Westminster, was erected in 1097 by King William II ('William Rufus'), at which point it was the largest hall in Europe.

Houses of Parliament Facts

The clock tower of the Houses of Parliament is known as Big Ben. Big Ben refers to the 13 and a half ton bell that chimes on the hour.

It was cast at the Whitechapel foundry, not far from the Tower of London.

It is the same foundry that cast the Liberty Bell for Philadelphia in 1752. The tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne.

Houses of Parliament History

The Houses of Parliament are split into two; the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the former housing the elected members of parliament and the latter consisting of peers of the realm. After a fire in 1834 the building needed some repairs and the present building, designed by Sir Charles Barry, was completed in 1860. The foundations of Westminster Hall at the rear of the House of Commons date back to the 11th century and it was here that the trials of Guy Fawkes, Charles I and Sir Thomas More took place.

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