Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament is an old, Gothic, government building at the north bank of the Thames River in Westminster, London. The Palace is made up of the House of Commons, which is the lower house of Parliament, composed of commoners, guilds, and tenants; and the House of Lords, which is the upper house of Parliament, composed of nobles, life-peers or royal appointees, and clergymen, as well as the Parliament of Ireland. Both Houses form the bicameral Parliament of the UK.

The Houses of Parliament is a complex structure of 1,100 rooms, 100 staircases, and 3 miles of corridors; the most distinguishing outside features are the 3 towers marking the Houses of Parliament. These are Victoria’s Tower at the southwest end, which is a square tower flying either the Union Flag or the Royal Standard; St. Stephen’s Tower, which is the central tower and the shortest; and the famous Clock Tower at the northwest end, which is known for housing the Big Ben.

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From the towers, check out the rooms where the legislators work. The Lords Chamber, found at the southern part of the Palace, is well-furnished and filled with red benches on all three sides; the Commons Chamber, situated at the northern end of the Palace, is not as richly decorated, while the benches are green. In their respective chambers, legislative work is distributed among the officials.

Not far from the two House Chambers, you'll find Westminster Hall, which is the oldest room of the Palace; here, ceremonial activities such as coronation banquets are held. Non-partisan debates also occur here, while the officials steer away from volatile topics when sessions are held in the Hall.

The Houses of Parliament is one of the most popular tourist attractions to see on your London breaks, and is the most iconic monument of the city.

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