Going on a tour - guidance for visitors with autism
Tours of Parliament are available every Saturday and on most weekdays during parliamentary recesses when neither the House of Commons nor the House of Lords are sitting.
Tours can be really busy during the summer. The bookings team can inform you when there are quiet periods. If the tour might be too long for you, do please ask when you book if it is possible to split your visit across 2 or more days.
Tours can also be booked through your local Member of Parliament (MP).
Eating and drinking is not permitted during the tour.
You are only allowed to take photographs in certain areas (Westminster Hall and St. Stephen’s Hall).
These areas are signposted and you can ask a Visitor Assistant if unsure. There are two types of tours you can choose from when visiting Parliament.
1. Going on an Audio (Self-Guided) Tour
With option one, an audio tour, you can go at your own speed, wearing earphones connected to an audio player that tells you about the work, art and history of Parliament.
Once you have purchased your ticket and passed through security you arrive in Westminster Hall. The Visitor Assistants will politely ask you to show them the ticket to ensure you go on the correct tour.
You will be directed to the desk to collect your headset and audio player. The staff at the desk will ask you what language you would like your tour to be in.
You will also get a map showing you the numbered stops in order.
If you need help along the way, or want any further information, there are plenty of Visitor Assistants in every room. You can request a quiet space if necessary as sometimes it can be busy.
At the end of your tour please hand back the audio player and headset to the desk in Westminster Hall.
The tour takes around 60 to 75 minutes. If you would like to take a break from the tour and rest in a quiet area you can ask a Visitor Assistant who will help.
2. Going on a Guided Tour
With a guided tour, you will be in a group with other people. Usually groups are made up of 25 visitors. The tour guide will be leading the group and will tell you about the work, art and history of Parliament.
This picture is taken inside the House of Lords and it is where you will listen to stops 11 and 12 on the audio guided tour.
Once you have purchased your ticket and passed through security you arrive in Westminster Hall. The visitor assistants will politely ask you to show them your ticket to ensure that you go on to the correct timed tour. They will direct you to the place where your tour will start. It is helpful if you can remember the time as you will be called to join the timed tour on your ticket. All tours leave with the guide from Westminster Hall. You will stay with the guide for the duration of your tour and you can ask them any questions you may have.
The tour will finish in Westminster Hall and takes approximately 90 minutes. If you would like to take a break from the tour and rest in a quiet area you can speak to the tour guide or a Visitor Assistant.
After your tour has finished you have several options. You may want to use the toilets, shop and café (see Story 3).
Once you leave Westminster Hall, you turn left and go up to the turnstile exit, where you push to exit through it. If you are not sure about the turnstile exit you can push the green button on the right hand side and the policeman can take you around the side exit.
You can either keep or leave your visitor badge and lanyard hanging up on the stand with the others, just before this exit.