Security information


To ensure that Parliament remains a safe and accessible place for those who work within and visit Parliament, we have implemented a range of security measures. Please take note of them before and during your visit.

Visitors are admitted on condition that they will allow themselves and their belongings to be searched. 

Search and screening

Airport style searches are in place at the Houses of Parliament. Please leave plenty of time to pass through security. You should expect this to take at least 15 minutes. At busy times, which are unpredictable, the delay will be longer. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons the queue can exceed 45 minutes. Please dress appropriately for the weather.  

Personal defence equipment is not permitted and UK law prohibits the carrying of certain self-defence items which are lawful in other countries. Any visitor found in possession of such items – e.g. flick knives, butterfly knives and personal defence sprays – is liable to be arrested. 

In addition, the following items are not permitted on the parliamentary estate and will be confiscated:

  • Sharp items e.g. knives (including Swiss army knives) scissors, cutlery and screwdrivers
  • Paint spray
  • Padlocks, chains and climbing gear
  • Items that make a noise (e.g. whistles)
  • Banners, placards and flags
  • Liquids that are not in sealable containers

Visual guide to items prohibited in Parliament (PDF PDF 472 KB)

If you require sharp items for medical reasons, please seek advice from a member of the security team as soon as you arrive.

You may also be subject to secondary searches once inside the parliamentary estate.

When you are ready to leave the parliamentary estate you will be able to retrieve any confiscated items from the entrance at which you were screened.

Items that have not been retrieved the same day will be taken to Hallkeepers Lodge where they will be kept for up to 3 months and then disposed of.

Bags and bicycles

Please restrict the size of bags brought to Parliament as there are no facilities for storing or leaving bags or other personal items. Commercial left luggage facilities are available nearby at Charing Cross, Victoria and Waterloo stations.

Folding bicycles, luggage and other items that are larger than 550 mm x 360 mm (approximately the size of airline cabin baggage) will be refused entry unless authorised in advance. Non-folding bicycles may not be brought on to the parliamentary estate. The nearest bicycle rack is on Millbank.


Animals other than assistance dogs are not permitted entry.

Inside the building 

You are required to wear the visitor pass issued to you and must return this when you leave. You should not leave bags or personal items unattended.

Security cameras

CCTV cameras, alarms and other security technologies are in operation across the parliamentary estate. Please read the Parliamentary Security Camera Policy for further information.

Further security information

Members of our security and visitor services teams will be available on your arrival, and throughout your visit, to assist you and answer any questions.

For further information about security, please contact

The Palace of Westminster guide book

This beautifully illustrated guide book is a highly readable account of one of the world’s most famous buildings and home to the UK Parliament.

Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower guide book

This book tells the story of the iconic tower, Great Clock and bell which became known as 'Big Ben'. Contains over 130 images and illustrations.