Skip to main content

Security information

To keep Parliament safe for everyone, we have security measures you need to follow when you visit

Search and screening

You and your belongings will need to go through airport-style security before entering Parliament.

The wait time to get through security is up to 30 minutes on average. At busier times, like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, the average time is 45 minutes.

The queue starts outside the building so dress for the weather.

Illegal items

It’s illegal in the UK to carry certain self-defence items which are allowed in other countries.

You will be arrested if you are found carrying:

  • guns
  • knives with a blade over 7.7cm (3 inches)
  • flick knives
  • butterfly knives
  • personal defence sprays

Restricted items

If you have any of the following items when going through security, you will need to hand them in and collect them when you leave from the entrance at which you were screened:

  • knives including Swiss army knives
  • scissors and cutlery
  • screwdrivers and tools
  • padlocks, chains, and climbing gear
  • whistles and items that make a noise
  • banners, placards and flags
  • political or offensive slogan materials including clothing
  • open liquids or semi-liquid foods with the exception of baby milk or food 

Visual guide to items prohibited in Parliament

Other items may be held during your visit. Items not collected on the day will be taken to the Lost Property Office.

If you have sharp items for medical reasons, please speak to a member of security when you arrive.

You may also be subject to secondary searches once inside the Parliamentary Estate.

Once you’re inside

Once you have passed through search and screening, you will be given a visitor pass to wear. This must be worn visibly at all times throughout your visit to Parliament and allows you to move freely in public areas, i.e. the tour route, public galleries, Westminster Hall, St Stephen’s Hall, Central Lobby and the Committee Rooms and corridors.

If your business at Parliament takes you outside public areas you must be escorted by a passholder at all times.

You should expect to be challenged by security staff or other passholders if they cannot see your pass or who is escorting you.

Armed police officers are a visible presence both inside and outside Parliament. If you are bringing children or others who may feel unsettled at the sight of guns, please ensure they are aware of this in advance.

Security cameras

Security measures including security cameras are in use 24/7 across Parliament.

Read our Security Camera Policy for further information or contact the Serjeant at Arms or Black Rod’s Office.

Serjeant at Arms Office: 0207 219 3030
Black Rod’s Office: 0207 219 3332
Metropolitan Police officers working in Parliament wear Body Worn Video cameras. For more information, visit the Metropolitan Police website [external link].

Contact us

You will encounter security officers throughout the building who will be happy to assist you during your visit. Our visitor staff will also answer any questions you may have.

If you have any questions about security in relation to your visit, contact

Access information

Bags and bikes

There are no cloakrooms, so you need to keep your belongings with you at all times.

Luggage larger than 60cm x 40cm is not allowed.

You are permitted to bring a fold-up bicycle but you will need to keep this on your person at all times as there is no storage facilities.

Non-folding bicycles are strictly not allowed. The nearest bike racks are outside 7 Millbank.


Only assistance dogs are allowed into Parliament.

Contact us

If you have any questions about access, contact


Palace of Westminster Official Guide

This beautifully illustrated guide is packed with stories about one of the world’s most famous buildings.

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