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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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The Palace of Westminster official guide book

The Palace of Westminster official guide is the ultimate keepsake of your visit to the Houses of Parliament.

Priced at only £6, the beautifully illustrated pages are packed with stories and information about one of the world’s most famous buildings.

Purchase the guide

Available in English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish, the guide can be purchased from Parliament’s shops at Westminster, the online shop and when buying tickets for tours.


From its origins before the Norman Conquest through to the present day home of the UK Parliament, discover more about the fires, plots, trials, wars and personalities which have shaped the building.

The guide features all of the rooms on the visitor tour route and contains over 170 striking images and illustrations. These include reproductions of some of the finest works of art from the Parliamentary Art Collection and fascinating historical records from the Parliamentary Archives.

The guide is divided into four sections:

  • History: Find out how this former royal residence has evolved over 1,000 years into the working Parliament building that stands today.
  • The Tour: Discover each of the rooms and their connections and more about the customs and rituals of the Lords and the Commons and what happens at the State Opening of Parliament.
  • Heritage: View the vivid designs of many of the wallpapers, tiles and pieces of furniture and learn how the building is carefully conserved and maintained.
  • Timeline: Follow a chart showing the major events and dates in the Palace’s history from the time of King Canute to the opening of Parliament’s newest building, Portcullis House. 


The guide was written by staff from Hansard who record parliamentary business. They have drawn upon the rich experience of those who understand the Palace of Westminster best of all; the people who look after the buildings and the treasures they hold, and those who support the work of the UK Parliament.

Purchase the guide online

Palace of Westminster: official guide

Purchase the guide online

Big Ben guide book

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

Big Ben guide book

Contact information

Houses of Parliament Shop

  • 12 Bridge Street, Parliament Square
  • London SW1A 2JX
  • Phone 020 7219 3890
  • Fax 020 7219 3866
  • Email