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The location of the most important political events in Britain, the Palace of Westminster and its clock tower, better known as Big Ben, have dominated British life since the eleventh century. Londoners and visitors can watch parliamentary debates from the galleries before walking along the Thames to the famous abbey next door.
An enduring symbol of the British capital and political life, the Palace of Westminster was a royal residence until the sixteenth century, before its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture became home to the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
Although parliament is opened with a speech from the Queen, tradition dictates that she does not access the other parts of the building in order to maintain a strict separation of powers!
Adjoining Parliament, the famous clock tower, officially called the Elizabeth Tower, is known around the world as Big Ben, in tribute to engineer Benjamin Hall who commissioned the casting of the impressive 14-tonne bell.
While important renovation work will deprive Londoners of its distinctive daily chimes until 2021, it nevertheless continues to ring at important events.
Next to the Palace, Westminster Abbey is arguably the most famous religious building in London.
A must-see destination for anyone who wants to walk in the footsteps of British sovereigns, this abbey, consecrated in the 11th century, traditionally hosts royal weddings and coronations.
In addition to its spectacular Gothic architecture, history buffs will also enjoy the abbey's royal necropolis where the most famous English monarchs are buried, including Queen Elizabeth I, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
Literary pilgrims can pay their respects to the writers and playwrights laid to rest in Poets' Corner, located in the South Transept.