Panorama taken from the front of the Palace of Westminster building in London. This is one of the iconic London buildings, probably one of the best known buildings on earth. The picture also shows the rear of the Westminster Abbey and Jewel Tower.
Palace of Westminster - London visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Palace of Westminster' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Greater London.
The Palace of Westminster is one of the most famous buildings in London. It stands next to the River Thames beside Westminster Bridge, Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey. It is also known as the Houses of Parliament, and contains the UK Parliament, both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It is a popular tourist attraction, though visiting must be arranged, through your MP for UK residents. Overseas visitors are only able to visit the Houses of Parliament during the summer recess.
In addition to the Chambers of Commons and Lords, the Palace of Westminster is an amalgamation of several buildings with over 1000 rooms, including libraries, conference rooms, and not a few bars. The oldest surviving part of the Palace of Westminster dates back to 1097. However, most of the Palace was destroyed by fire in 1834, and much of the present building dates from the 19C when it was rebuilt in a Gothic style. One of the most famous features is St. Stephens Tower, better known as Big Ben, though this is actually the name of the bell inside the tower and not the tower itself.
The Palace of Westminster was originally a Royal Palace, and principal residence for the monarch in London, from the time William the Conqueror (1066) through to Henry VIII when a fire destroyed a part of the building in 1529. The King then moved to York Palace. Westminster Hall, the Jewel Tower, the crypt of St. Stephens Chapel and the cloisters are the only parts of the building dating from this era. The rest was destroyed by fire in 1824. The Chamber of Commons was again destroyed by bombing during WWII.
The Palace of Westminster is a Grade 1 listed building. Combined with Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's the area is classified as a World Heritage Site. There is so much that could be said about the building and those with more interest should see the relevant Wikipedia article.
Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) celebrates the failure of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, thereby killing King James 1 and both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in one swoop, in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.