Last updated May 2nd, 2022
If you are looking to visit the Houses of Parliament, the Information Office should be contacted beforehand. Visitors are more likely to get in quickly if they queue for the afternoon sessions. Tours are available from 7th August to the 16th September when both houses are in recess. Groups and educational visits are warmly invited. Disabled facilities are available and guide dogs are also permitted.
Note: Owing to temporary closures the times below may not accurately reflect current opening hours.
This L shaped tower dates from 1365 and is the only original part of Westminster to survive. It was principally King Edward III’s 14th Century home. The tower was built as the King’s personal jewel house and treasury. When Westminster ceased to be a Royal palace the tower became an archive for parliamentary papers. The Offices for Standard Weights and Measures are also displayed in the upper chamber. In the lower chamber the original ancient foundations of the previous Westminster can be seen. Admission fees apply.
Possibly the most famous clock face and chimes in the world, Big Ben is actually the name of the biggest bell (13.5 tons) inside The Clock Tower (320 ft) which forms part of the Houses of Parliament. Built in 1858/9 the bell was named after one Sir Benjamin Hall and when it was cast it was Britain’s heaviest bell. The clock’s four dials each have a diameter of 23 ft, the minute hands are 14 ft long and the numerals on each face are nearly 2ft high.
Westminster Abbey can be traced back to the 12th century where it was used as a Benedictine Monastery. The confessor’s shrine, the tombs of Kings and Queens and countless memorials can be seen here. It has been the setting for each coronation since 1066, and is also used for many more Royal occasions. There is also a 900 year old garden that is definitely worth a visit. It is reached via the Abbey’s Great Cloisters and offers amazing views of the Palace of Westminster.
City Cruises operates a sightseeing tour through some of London’s most prolific sights including Westminster, Waterloo, Tower Bridge and Greenwich. Available for private hire, a catering service is available for up to 500 guests. Please phone for details.
The Banqueting House, the only remaining part of Whitehall Palace, has a magnificent Ruben ceiling. It was designed by Inigo Jones for James I in 1619, for banquets, dances and plays. The palace was the backdrop for Charles I’s execution. Today, they now have two separate function rooms which are available for hire that can accommodate up to 400 guests (for a meeting) or 375 dining guests upon request. Please phone for details. Admission fees apply and concessions are available.
Renowned as being the world’s highest observation wheel, London Eye offers a spectacular view of the capital city in 30 minutes. Definitely rated as a unique experience. Last admission is half an hour before closing. It is closed on 25th December. They provide disabled facilities for the deaf and visually impaired, wheelchair ramps, disabled toilets and accept guide dogs.
The Sea Life Centres are a collection of aquariums and conservation centres that house many endangered aquatic species such as sharks and rays which can be viewed in large glass tanks.