The correct name for the Houses of Parliament is the Palace of Westminster, which was built in 1040 by Edward the Confessor.

The Palace of Westminster was the main royal residence in London until Henry VIII moved to Whitehall, nearby.

The present building dates from the 1800’s and took 20 years to complete. It was built by Charles Barry, who is buried in Westminster Abbey.

It is the largest Gothic building in the world – there are over 1,000 rooms and two miles of corridors in it. In the centre stands Westminster Hall, the only part of the original building that survives.

Many great treason trials have taken place in Westminster. In 1305, Braveheart was sentenced to death here and in 1606 Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to blow up Parliament, met a similar fate.

It is possible to visit the public gallery of the Houses of Parliament for free (although you will have to pass security checks and may have to queue a while).

See Big Ben on the Royal walk

click to view map and street view