Houses of Parliament
- House of Lords
London SW1A 0AA
TfL Fare Zone 1
The Chamber of the House of Lords is on the southern side of the Houses of Parliament.
The hall is 45 ft (13.7 metres) wide and 80 ft (24.4 metres) long. In the upper part of the hall is a viewing gallery, above which are large, arched, stained glass windows and allegorical frescoes depicting religion, chivalry and law. At one end of the Chamber is the gold Canopy and Throne where the Queen sits. The Sovereign is entitled to attend the House of Lords at any time but in reality she only attends the State Opening of Parliament.
Spiritual Lords & Temporal Lords
The main body of the Chamber is furnished with three blocks of wooden pews (benches) upholstered in red. On one side sit Members of the Spiritual Lords and opposite them are the Temporal Lords. In the middle are the Cross-benchers.
The Spiritual Lords encompass archbishops and bishops of the established Church of England and members of the nobility who are affiliated with the Government party.
On the Temporal side are the Lords Temporal who comprise the nobility who have affiliations with the Opposition party. Peers with no political affiliation sit on the cross-benches opposite the Woolsack.
The Woolsack is in front of the Throne. It is a backless/armless settee upholstered in red and stuffed with wool. The Woolsack symbolises the wealth and power of Britain. In Medieval times England’s wealth came from the production and processing of wool. By tradition the Woolsack was always stuffed with English wool but following World War II bomb damage, the new Woolsack was stuffed with wool from the Commonwealth countries of Australia and New Zealand as a symbol of Commonwealth unity.
In front of the Woolsack is another red cushion on which sit the Law Lords.
State Opening of Parliament
Before the annual State Opening of Parliament the Queen goes to The Robing Room. She is dressed for the occasion with the Imperial State Crown. The crown is normally part of the Crown Jewels on display in the Tower of London.
At the Opening the Queen reads a speech written for her by the Government outlining the Government’s legislative agenda for the next parliamentary sittings. The Members of the House of Commons are not allowed entry to the Lord’s Chamber but can watch from outside the bar at the back of the Chamber.
UK residents and overseas visitors can book tickets for these early evening fully guided tours focusing on the art and decorative arts of the House of Lords. Comprehensive information on times, tickets and how to book is available going to Web: House of Lords Tour
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster (Parliament) website has an excellent downloadable map showing the layout of the different parts of the Parliament as well as Public transport options Web: UK Parliament Map & Transport
TfL Fare Zone 1 Transport for London Journey Planner
To find the best way of getting to the House of Lords, visit the Tfl Journey Planner.
- By Underground
Westminster Station Circle, District Line and Jubilee Lines
- By Bus
Many buses pass the Houses of Parliament. A list of these buses is on the website of the Palace of Westminster - UK Parliament Map & Transport.
- By Open Top Bus Tour
Do not forget that Visitors can use their ‘Open Top’ sightseeing bus ticket to travel to 10 Downing Street and visit Horse Guards, The Banqueting House and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben precinct.
Google Map - Houses of Parliament