The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey BY CRISTINA OLVEIRA, EVA AND JAVIER: LISTEN TO US:

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace is where the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (House of Lords and House of Commons) meet.

The Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames.

The oldest part of the Palace still in existence, Westminster Hall, dates from 1097.

The palace originally served as a royal residence, but no monarch has lived in it since the 16th century. Most of the present structure dates from the 19th century when the Palace was almost entirely destroyed by a fire in 1834.

One of the Palace's most famous features is the clock tower, a tourist attraction that houses the famous bell, Big Ben. The latter name is often used, erroneously for the clock itself.

The palace contains over 1,000 rooms, the most important of which are the Chamber of the House of Lords and of the House of Commons.The Palace also includes committee rooms, libraries, dining-rooms, bars and gymnasiums.


Westminster Abbey has more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. It's one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country. Westminster Abbey is also the place where some of the most significant people in the nation's history are buried or commemorated. Taken as a whole the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom.