First constructed in the 11th century, the often rebuilt Palace of Westminster is a vast and imposing Gothic masterpiece on the Thames River that mainly houses the proceedings of British Parliament. All the more enticing, the adjacent Big Ben (named after the gentlemen who installed the bells that chime from within) is the most recognizable clock in the world, with an hourly cadence around which British life, both in work and celebration, centers. Unless you've been to London, you'll probably want to spend some time soaking in these iconic structures, even if it's from the perspective of the nearby Victoria Tower Gardens or the equally frenzied Westminster Bridge.
First off, tourists from outside the UK are only allowed a paid tour (about $25 USD) on Saturdays and during summer break, which runs from August to September. This is definitely something to keep in mind during the off-season when you're looking to saunter around all 1,100 rooms like you own the place; chances are you won't even be getting in the door. Also, if you're an international visitor, you'll not have an opportunity to enter Elizabeth Tower to see Big Ben up close and even getting a chance to view Parliament in action may necessitate a pre-booking of more than six months and even then you may need to clear time in the itinerary for security checks.
With all of the obstacles to overcome, the most adventurous part of the Palace of Westminster may be in getting in. We suggest finding a good viewpoint from which to ogle it and then moving on to a more manageable pursuit.