There are a number of free guided tours of Parliament available to constituents - these are detailed below. There are also opportunities to visit Parliament to sit in on debates in either of the two chambers or listen to Select Committee hearings that are open to the public.
Democratic Access Tours
Tours are free of charge and open to UK residents. Guides accompany visitors on the 75-minute tour and explain the work of UK Parliament and its relevance today, outline how the working spaces are used, set out ways to get involved and engage with the democratic process, and highlight some of the dramatic history of the Palace of Westminster.
The visitor tour route includes the Chambers of both Houses, the State Rooms in the House of Lords, Central Lobby, St Stephen’s Hall and Westminster Hall. When the Houses are sitting, the full tour route may not always be available and can be subject to last minute changes or cancellation due to parliamentary business.
The maximum size for a group is 15 per guide. If your group exceeds this size, it will have to be split between different tour groups starting at different times (tours usually depart at 15-minute intervals). You can find further information regarding tours on Parliament’s website, here.
Elizabeth Tower Tours (Big Ben)
Recently, Elizabeth Tower was reopened to the public and tours have been resumed. Tickets are released at the start of each month and MPs have a period of around two weeks in which to book constituent tours before tickets go on sale to the public. Tickets are bookable three months in advance.
Please note that MPs will only have a yearly allocation of 8 tickets, so you may be added to a waiting list if there is lots of interest in these tours.
You can find out more information about tours here.
Each MP’s allocation is only 4 tickets per month and demand always exceeds supply. We have a long waiting list for tickets, but would be happy to add your name to this list. We will then get in touch with you when you reach the top of the list.
Please note that tickets are not required for general debates in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords, they are only required for PMQs (which are on Wednesdays). On sitting days other than Wednesdays, you can come to Parliament (via the Cromwell Green entrance) and wait for entry to either Chamber on the day. It's worth checking the 'What's on in Parliament' section of the Parliament website for details of all the debates and Select Committees happening that day.
You are welcome watch Select Committees when they are in session, which is usually on a Monday afternoon, all day on Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday morning. Typically committees briefly meet privately before opening up the public gallery.
To watch a committee session, you do not need a ticket. If the committee is meeting in the Palace of Westminster, you should arrive at the Cornwell Green Entrance. You should arrive at the Portcullis House visitor entrance for committees meeting there. There will always be someone there to show you where to go.
You can find out more information about the function of different committees and when they are scheduled to meet here.
If you would like to arrange a tour for your school, you can do this directly on Parliament’s website. Please find more information about this here: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/uk-parliament-education-centre/
If you would like to bring a large group of students or have accessibility needs, do please get in touch with the office and we will try and assist you.