One of London’s most popular and most visited tourist attractions, Parliament Square links many of the capital’s iconic buildings. The square is ringed by Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Court, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and features 12 statues of famous world leaders and historical figures.
First designed in 1868, Parliament Square is a sweeping green space surrounded by some of London’s most important landmarks and government buildings. Used by tourists as a place to relax or as the ideal location for photoshoots, the square is also a frequent site of protests and demonstrations. In addition to the world-famous monuments that surround it, Parliament Square features 12 statues of important figures throughout history, from leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln to influential activists like Mahatma Gandhi and Millicent Fawcett.
Given its proximity to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and world-renowned landmarks, Parliament Square features on dozens of tour itineraries, from hop-on hop-off bus and private tours to history-themed small-group walking tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The square is patrolled by Heritage Wardens (who wear distinctive uniforms and can assist with various sightseeing queries) 24 hours a day.
- Following bombing damage sustained during World War II, Parliament Square was renovated in 1948 and now features a grand lawn and various walkways.
- It is forbidden to feed pigeons or other birds on Parliament Square; dogs also must be kept on leashes.
- As the square is level and includes paved walkways, it is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
As one of Central London’s most important hubs, Parliament Square is accessible by numerous forms of transit. Via the London Underground, take the Circle, District, or Jubilee line to Westminster Station. The area is also served by many bus lines, including the 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 148, 159, 211, and 453, and can be reached on foot, by bike, or by car.
When to Get There
Parliament Square is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Be mindful that protests for or against various government actions and policies are often held in Parliament Square; it is best to avoid the area during particularly large or impassioned demonstrations.
Protests at Parliament Square
Protest has been an essential part of Parliament Square’s legacy. From multiyear Iraq War rallies to climate-change demonstrations and marches both for and against Brexit, the square has long been one of the city’s liveliest forums for public debate and dissent.