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.

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)

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

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

Banners, placards, flags and similar items are not permitted in public meetings and may be confiscated.

You should expect to be subject to secondary searches once inside the parliamentary estate.


Please restrict the size of bags brought to Parliament as large bags or luggage are likely to be refused entry. Parliament has 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.

Inside the building 

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

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.