From Royal Residence to the Parliament
The Palace, originally a royal residence since the Middle Ages, played host to the first Parliament of England in 1295. Eventually, the monarchy moved out but the Parliament continued to meet there. A devastating fire broke out on 16th October 1834 and reduced large areas of the great institution to ashes.
The magnificent Gothic palace that we see today is often referred to as the New Palace and was designed by Charles Barry after the fiery disaster. He constructed a splendid edifice along the outlines of the original palace and incorporated parts of the Old Palace that had survived the fire.
A Regal Attraction
The Palace is indeed a palace and a large one at that. It’s easy to get lost in the sheer grandeur of its architecture as well as the classic paintings, elegant frescoes, stately carvings, stained glass, ceremonial metalwork and imperial furniture within. Therefor, a visit to the legendary 1000-year old Westminster Hall, which has survived two world wars and three massive fires, is an absolute must.
Of course, sometime during the day, you might just want to get a peek at how the British government works too.