UK residents and overseas visitors may watch debates for free on current issues or proposed new laws in both Houses by visiting the public galleries.
The galleries are open to the public when the Houses are sitting (meeting), which is from Monday to Thursday and on Sitting Fridays, with differing times for each House. The galleries are not open during recess, when neither House is sitting.
In both Houses, the busiest time is during Question Time. In the Commons it is Prime Minister's Question Time (PMQs). Free tickets are necessary to ensure entrance, and are only issued to UK residents who contact their MP or a Member of the House of Lords to request them. Overseas visitors and UK residents without tickets can queue but will only gain entrance if there is space after ticket-holders.
Tickets are not required at other periods and there is a public queue for both UK residents and overseas visitors - outside the Cromwell Green visitor entrance. A wait of one or two hours is common (although it's usually less for the House of Lords).
Westminster Hall debates
The House of Commons also sits in the Grand Committee Room just off Westminster Hall. Visitors are welcome to attend Westminster Hall debates.
Lords public gallery
Visitors to the Lords public gallery will be directed to a separate queue by the Cromwell Green visitor entrance. No tickets are issued, although be aware that Question Time in the Lords is the busiest period.