Open House

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Open House London takes place every year and gives the public the chance to see inside over 800 architecturally significant buildings which are not generally freely open to all.

This year's Open House London weekend takes place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September 2014 and the Houses of Parliament will again be taking part.   

Portcullis House - Saturday 20 September 2014

Opening Hours

Between 10am to 5pm with last admission at 4.30pm. To avoid disappointment we suggest arriving by 4pm in case of queues.  

What you see and do

Attend one of the following talks in the Attlee Suite:

  • ‘Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower’ presented by the Clock Mechanics and Catherine Moss, Elizabeth Tower guide (at 10.30am and 1.30pm)
  • ‘A Day in the Life of Portcullis House’ presented by Simon Mansfield, Service Delivery Manager, Portcullis House (at 11.30am and 2.30pm)
  • ‘The Design and Construction of Portcullis House’ presented by Patrick Nee, Architect, Michael Hopkins & Partners (at 12.30pm and 3.30pm)

Other activities:

  • Meet the Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower team
  • Visit the Michael Hopkins & Partners (architects) staffed display stand
  • See the ‘Parliamentary War Memorial' art display
  • See the Estates display ‘Maintaining the Parliamentary Estate’
  • View some of the Parliamentary Works of Art collection in the first floor corridors
  • View the Boothroyd Room and discover how committees work
  • In the Thatcher Room see textile conservation work and meet members of the Curator’s Office
  • In the Macmillan Room meet staff from Visitor Services, House of Lords Information Office, Parliamentary Archives and Parliament’s Education Service, and find out more about the work of these departments
  • Visit the Debate cafeteria for refreshments

Westminster Hall - Sunday 21 September 2014

Opening Hours

Between 10am to 5pm with last admission at 4.30pm. To avoid disappointment we suggest arriving by 4pm in case of queues.

What you see and do

Take a tour:

  • Guided tour of the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft (every 20 minutes, booking essential on arrival)
  • Guided tour around Westminster Hall and learn more about the architecture of the Hall which dates from 1097 and its many uses over the years (every 20 minutes)
  • Guided tour especially designed for families with children that includes Westminster Hall, St Stephen's Hall and Central Lobby (at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm)

Other activities:

  • Explore Westminster Hall, St Stephen's Hall and Central Lobby
  • Meet the Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower team
  • Try the new 'Explore Westminster Hall' app to get a close up view of the 14th Century hammer-beam roof and to have fun taking a 'selfie' with King Charles I 
  • Chat to the City & Guilds of London Art School about the conservation work they are carrying out in Parliament
  • See the Estates display ‘Maintaining the Parliamentary Estate’
  • Visit the Jubilee Cafe and Shop - the cafe offers light meals and hot and cold drinks and the shop has a wide selection of beautiful and exclusive products inspired by different aspects of Parliament

All tours are on a first come, first served basis as there are no advanced booking facilities.

We recommend downloading the 'Explore Westminster Hall' app before visiting.  

Open House London

Open House London aims to raise awareness of great buildings and invites people to understand, explore and appreciate architecture in London. 

More information can be obtained from Open House London (external website)

Security information

Big Ben

To ensure that Parliament remains a safe and accessible place for those who work within and visit Parliament, we have implemented a number of security measures. Please take note of them before and during your visit.

Explore Westminster Hall app

Westminster Hall app

Download the free Explore Westminster Hall app to meet Charles I, discover the hidden features of the Hall and see the famous roof as never before.

Virtual tours

Can't visit Parliament in person? Why not climb the Elizabeth Tower, have a look around the Commons or visit the House of Lords library with this series of online tours.