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Days out in Westminster: Houses of Parliament

artdivision15 September 2015

Big Ben with flag of England

Every one of the luxury properties that Garton Jones’ Westminster office offers for sale or rent provides buyers and tenants with a first class London home. So why are we recommending that you view two houses in desperate need of restoration work that will cost a minimum of £3.5bn?

The prime residential property market in central London is driven by overseas investors who view the UK’s stable political and legal framework as a key reason to be confident the value of the purchases will continue to grow.

But many property owners and tenants in Westminster do not know that the Houses of Parliament are open to the public.

However, a recent report on the condition of the Grade I-listed Palace of Westminster – which contains the House of Commons, the House of Lords and Big Ben – reveals that the site is suffering major dilapidation including crumbling stonework and leaking roofs.

There is an increasing risk of “catastrophic failure” as Parliament’s mechanical and electrical infrastructure is “no longer fit for purpose”, the independent study found.

The report puts forward a range of options and costs for refurbishing the House of Commons and House of Lords, with the most expensive coming in at £7.1bn over the 32 years it could take to carry out the restoration.

Blue Badge guides

Before the builders come on site in 2020 and MPs and peers potentially relocate to temporary accommodation for six years, Blue Badge guides conduct two-hour tours of the UK’s seats of political power on Saturdays throughout the year and on most weekdays during Parliament’s summer, Christmas and Easter recesses plus Tuesday to Friday from 18 September to 9 October when MPs take part in their annual party conference.

Highlights of the tour through the House of Lords and House of Commons include the opportunity to see Westminster Hall, the Queen’s Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, the Members’ Lobby, the Aye Lobby – where MPs go to vote in favour of legislation they are debating – and St Stephen’s Hall, where statues of famous parliamentarians face one another on either side of the 29 metres x 9 metres space.

Paintings of key events in British history hand on the walls of St Stephen’s Hall, while its 10 stained-glass windows depict the arms of various parliamentary cities and boroughs.

How to buy tickets

Tickets cost £25 for adults, although discounts are available for concessions and children, and can be booked online here or in person in advance or on the day (subject to availability) from the ticket office at the front of Portcullis House on Victoria Embankment.

Visitors can extend their parliamentary experience by taking afternoon tea at the Terrace Pavilion in the House of Commons, which has great views over the River Thames.

Every central London property specialist at Garton Jones takes great pleasure in sharing our in-depth knowledge of Westminster to help vendors and landlords maximize the value of their property and assist buyers and tenants find the perfect place to live. For impartial advice on any property matter (or even to find the best places to eat in Westminster), contact Garton Jones today by calling 02038 116 297 or filling the form below.

Request available properties within Westminster

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