The now semi-regular opportunity to see inside the richly decorated Speakers House within the Houses of Parliament is returning and will run through most of the summer.

The State Dining Room in Speaker’s House (c) UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Speaker’s House can almost be described as a Palace within a Palace, as it’s exceptionally richly decorated and is both the private home of the Speaker of the House of Commons and a suite of state rooms used for events away from the main Parliamentary buildings.

The tours were an idea of the current Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who wants to open up more of the estate to the general public, with the first tours taking place in 2022.

Tours start in Westminster Hall, where you’re supplied with radio headpieces to wear, so the tour guide can talk without shouting to be heard, then a walk around the outside into a courtyard where the stone entrance to Speakers House leads up a grand staircase to the main staterooms.

A lot of the tour was about looking at the decorations and learning about the role of the speaker and how the rooms have changed over the years. The State Bedroom was created for an old tradition that a new monarch spent the night there before their coronation. These days it’s just used to house a big bed. An entire room for a bed just to be looked at.

King Charles III didn’t spend the night here.

The Crimson Drawing Room (c) UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The tour I went on was fascinating partly for the parliamentary history but as much because the Speakers House had never been open to tours and is also rarely seen in the press.

The public tours last around 75 minutes, including the Grand Staircase, Crimson Drawing Room, State Dining Room, and State Bedroom.

This year also marks 75 years since the Commonwealth of Nations was established. A new exhibition (included in your Speaker’s House tour ticket) features archival documents, photographs and past and present gifts, many of which have never been put on display before. They tell the story of the Speaker’s and UK Parliament’s diplomatic relationship to other Commonwealth countries and its significance around the world today.

The tour starts and finishes in Westminster Hall which you are welcome to explore afterwards, along with having tea in the undercroft cafe if you want.

  • General tickets: £20
  • Young person (16-24): £12
  • UK armed forces: £12
  • Essential Companion: Free

You can also buy a guidebook for £6.

Tickets are on sale from here.

The tours run between the following dates:

  • Easter recess: Saturday 30th March – Saturday 13th April
  • Summer recess: Saturday 27th July – Saturday 31st August

Note – photography is NOT allowed during the tour except when in Westminster Hall, and they advise that while there’s no explicit age limit, the tours are aimed at people aged over 16.

All profits from these tours will go to the Speaker’s Art Fund, which supports arts and educational projects with a focus on increasing understanding of Parliamentary democracy across the UK.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with:

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Home >> News >> London Ticket Alert