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Exclusive Houses of Parliament Tour with Guided Visit & Skip the Line Westminster Abbey Tour

Step into the heart of the British democracy with the only fully-guided visit through Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. You'll hear the Parliament's epic story as you see the rooms and antechambers that forged the British empire and continue to set its course in the 21st century.

Visiting only on Saturdays, you’ll be able to visit the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as many of the other beautiful halls and chambers in which the laws of Great Britain are decided. Along the way, you’ll learn the unique stories, traditions and lore of one of Europe’s oldest constitutional monarchies and see how the past and present combine to create a society that is both fiercely modern and deeply steeped in history.

Your day begins with skip the line entry into Westminster Abbey, the most serene time to see Britain’s most cherished church. With roots dating back over 1,000 years, this Gothic masterpiece is the traditional coronation site and burial ground of kings and queens, along with national heroes like Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and William Wilberforce. On your visit, you’ll learn from a local expert guide how the British monarchy helped shape the country’s conversion to democracy, as well as a few interesting tidbits about Winston Churchill, one of the only non-royals to ever lay in state in the Abbey after his death.

Then it’s on to Parliament. While most people see it with an audio guide, you’ll be shown around by a tour guide who has spent years studying the facts and events that really immerse you in the story of this amazing building. The tour begins in the oldest part, Westminster Hall, which has been hosting state functions for nearly 1,000 years and is one of the finest surviving examples of medieval timber architecture in the world.

Beneath the titanic timbers of 600 ancient oak trees, you’ll learn about the history of the building, how it was almost lost to fire numerous times, and how it keeps reinventing itself to accommodate new generations of royals and politicians. You’ll also peek into the room where the Queen dons her crown and ermine-trimmed cape before she officially opens the sessions of each new parliament before heading inside the Chamber of the House of Lords, one of the most impressive rooms in the Palace. Inside, you’ll learn how people become peers based on their expertise in fields like sports, medicine, and technology.

Next, you’ll head into the engine room of British democracy; the Chamber of the House of Commons, where Britain’s elected Members of Parliament come to face off (literally) over how to run the country. Here you’ll see the lines that may or may not have spawned the phrase ‘toe the line’, and learn about the centuries-old ceremonies that keep this modern legislative body firmly connected to its ancient past - including why this is the only room in England that the Queen is not allowed to enter.

After learning some of the highlights of the building’s history, including a failed terrorist attack in 1605 that the British still celebrate today (ever hear of Guy Fawkes Night?), you’ll head into two of the most unique rooms in the building: the Division Lobbies. It’s in these rooms that, according to a tradition that dates back to Ancient Rome, opposing sides gather before a parliamentary vote, the ‘Ayes’ in one room, the ‘Noes’ in another, and are then counted as they leave.

As you stroll these halls, you are literally walking in the footsteps of men like Henry VIII and Winston Churchill. History, legend, lore, and a lot of pomp and circumstance mix and mingle as you take in nearly one thousand years of history from one of the best guides in London.

Experience Includes

  • Entrance to Westminster Abbey
  • Entrance to Houses of Parliament
  • Fully guided tour inside Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey
  • Headsets
  • Immerse yourself in the living history of British democracy with stories, facts, and anecdotes from your expert guide.
  • Small Groups of 25 people

Experience Excludes

  • Food & Beverages
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel Pick-Up/Drop-Off

Departs

May - October

Departure location

This tour meets at the "Winston Churchill" statue, Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX.

Duration

3 hours 45 minutes

Additional information

  • Small Groups of 20 people until January 2020. Groups will increase to 25 people from March 2020.

Terms & Conditions

  • You will receive a voucher for this experience. Please read it thoroughly.
  • Itinerary subject to change.
  • Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Please note that the tour meeting time is 15 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no shows after tour commencement or departure.
  • This tour has a maximum capacity of 25 guests.
  • Note: The Westminster Abbey is subject to closure during special celebrations/festivities, including the Easter ceremonies. If this occurs during your visit, we will run an alternative itinerary that includes and explanation of the Abbey from the outside.
  • Photographs not permitted inside Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament.
  • Please note that for security reasons bag searches will take place at Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament.
  • Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate guests with mobility impairments, wheelchairs or strollers on this tour.
  • Comfortable walking shoes recommended.
  • Cancellation Policy: A full refund will be given on cancellations made more than 72 hours prior to tour commencement. Cancellations received within 72 hours prior to the tour are non-refundable. We will, however, do our best to reschedule you for another tour. Please note, this is subject to availability and price changes.
  • Tours depart precisely at the scheduled tour start time. If you show up late or cannot find the meeting point, for any reason, refund requests are not honoured per policy. For most tours, it is not logistically possible to join the group after it has started.