Visit the famous Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster ©robertsharp/Flickr

If I say “Palace of Westminster”, everyone knows I am talking about the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom. The outstanding palace is with no doubt one of the most representative and best-known landmarks of London. It is also one of the most photographed buildings of the capital city. The palace got its name after the nearby Westminster Abbey which is also a major visitor attraction of London.

The breathtaking building was constructed in Perpendicular Gothic style, being a famous example of the respective architectural style. If you are in London, you can not miss to visit the Palace of Westminster which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Its main tower, the Elizabeth Tower is known as “Big Ben” (the main bell of the tower) which is also one of the best-known tourist attractions of London.

Construction

The fantastic building of the Palace of Westminster dates back in the Middle Ages and it used to serve as a royal residence. From the 16th century, it also served as the seat of the two Houses of Parliament. Unfortunately, in 1834 a significant part of the palace was destroyed by fire, including the two Houses of Parliament. As the architectural style used during the 1840–1870 reconstruction they chose Perpendicular Gothic style. The beautiful palace has three major towers: the Victoria Tower, the Central Tower and the Elizabeth Tower which is well-known due to its main bell, the Big Ben.

The Palace of Westminster ©robertsharp/Flickr

 

The Big Ben

One of the most important tourist attractions and best-known landmarks of London is the Big Ben. It is actually the Elizabeth Tower’s main bell’s nickname. The beautiful clock tower is known as “Big Ben”. It was completed in 1858. Since then the tower became one of the best-known landmarks of both the capital city and England. In spite of being a world-wide famous tourist attraction, it is not open for foreign visitors, only for United Kingdom residents. But don’t worry, you can still make fantastic photographs of the exterior of the tower.

The Big Ben ©ymmat/Flickr

The interior of the palace

Spread on its four floors, the gorgeous palace contains more than 1.100 rooms. There are offices, bars and dining rooms on the building’s ground floor. The main rooms, including the libraries, the lobbies and the debating chambers can be found on the first floor. Finally, there are following offices and committee rooms on the top-two floors. Some of the major rooms are the following: the Royal Gallery, the Queen’s Robing Room, the Westminster Hall, the Lords Chamber, the Commons Chamber, the Prince’s Chamber and so on.

The Palace of Westminster as a visitor attraction

As I already mentioned it, the Palace of Westminster is one of the most significant and most representative landmarks of London. Along with the Big Ben, it is also one of the most photographed attractions of the city. United Kingdom residents can gain admittance inside the palace, but foreign visitors can not. Although, it still remains one of the most popular visitor attractions of London.

The Palace of Westminster, view from the London Eye ©Keith Roper/Flickr

 

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