Exploring the Heart of British Politics: The Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
The Big Ben and Houses of Parliament are two of the most iconic landmarks in London. They are also at the centre of British politics. Here’s what you need to know about these famous structures:
The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, were originally built in the 11th century as a royal palace. The current Gothic Revival style building was constructed in the 19th century after a fire destroyed the original structure. The Big Ben, which is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower, was added to the Houses of Parliament in 1858.
The Gothic Revival style of the Houses of Parliament is characterized by intricate stonework, pointed arches, and ornate carvings. The clock tower, which houses Big Ben, stands 315 feet tall and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in London. The interior of the Houses of Parliament is just as impressive, with intricate mosaics, stained glass windows, and ornate decorations.
The Political Significance
The Houses of Parliament are at the centre of British politics. It serves as the meeting place for the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Prime Minister and other government officials also have offices here. The Big Ben, technically named the Great Bell of the clock tower, has become a symbol of British democracy. The bell is often used to mark important events and milestones.
Tips for Visiting
To see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben up close, you can take a guided tour or simply walk around the exterior. There are also several nearby parks, such as St. James’s Park and Victoria Tower Gardens. The parks offer great views of the structures and provide a perfect spot for a picnic. If you are interested in seeing the inside of the Houses of Parliament, there are tours available. However, you will need to book these in advance as they book up quickly!
The Big Ben and Houses of Parliament are more than just iconic London landmarks. They are also both at the heart of British politics. Whether you are interested in history, architecture, or politics, there is something for everyone to explore and learn about at these famous structures. So, be sure to add them to your London itinerary and discover the rich history and significance of the Big Ben and Houses of Parliament.
Thank you for reading and please check out our Top 10 Must-See Attractions in London while you are here.