The Palace of Westminster – which includes the Houses of Parliament (House of Lords and House of Commons) and Big Ben – is a wonderful mish-mash of styles, dominated by neo-Gothic buttresses, towers and arches. It looks much older than it is: the Parliament buildings were designed by Charles Barry and created in 1860 to replace the original Houses of Parliament, destroyed by fire in 1834. The compound contains 1,000 rooms, 11 courtyards, eight bars and six restaurants (for use by staff, MPs, Lords and their guests), plus a small cafeteria for visitors. Of the original medieval palace, only the Jewel Tower (open by separate admission) and the ancient Westminster Hall remain.
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