Attend debates

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.

Question Time

In both Houses, the busiest time is during Question Time. In the Commons it is Prime Minister's Question Time. Free tickets are necessary to ensure entrance, and are only issued to UK residents who contact their MP or a Lord to request them. Overseas visitors and UK residents without tickets can queue but will only gain entrance if there is space after ticket-holders.

Other debates

Tickets are not required at other periods and there is a public queue for both UK residents and foreign 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

MPs also debate outside their main chamber in Westminster Hall, in adjournment 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.

Sitting times

House of Commons - main Chamber
  • Monday: 2.30pm-10.30pm
  • Tuesday: 11.30am-7.30pm
  • Wednesday: 11.30am-7.30pm
  • Thursday: 9.30am-5.30pm
  • Sitting Friday: 9.30am-3.00pm
Westminster Hall
  • Tuesday: 9.30am-2pm
  • Wednesday: 9.30am-11.30am & 2.30pm-5pm
  • Thursday: 2.30pm-5.30pm
House of Lords
  • Monday: 2.30pm-10pm
  • Tuesday: 2.30pm-10pm
  • Wednesday: 3pm-10pm
  • Thursday: 11am-7.30pm
  • Sitting Friday: from 10am-close of business

NB: Please note that all finishing times are approximate. These times do not apply during recess, when neither House is sitting.

Related information

Question time

Find out more about Question Time and how Parliament works.

What's on

Find out what's going on in Parliament

Bills before Parliament


Browse a list of all Bills currently before Parliament and keep up to date with their progress. Also find amendment papers and other Bill documents, and sign up to an email alert or use our RSS feeds.

Watch Committees

Committees, made up of MPs or Lords, examine issues in detail such as new legislation or topics like the economy. Watch democracy in action by attending a public committee session.