These tours are offered free-of-charge and I was invited along to find out what it was like to literally feel and touch aspects of the building and some of its contents.
The Tactile Tours follow a route covering Westminster Hall, Central Lobby and the chambers of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Visitors get the opportunity to explore various tactile objects before the tour starts. This is where visitors can arrange to be met by their friendly staff to help them get a real feel and sense of the building and its history.
Times and availability: Tours run between 10-12 times per year, usually late on Friday afternoon, and last approximately 120 minutes.
I took the opportunity (with permission) to film some of the tour in Westminster Hall (the only part of the tour where photography is permitted). You can find this on YouTube if you click here.
Although I have included subtitles I have not been able to audio-describe, so I can tell you the film begins with an image of the House of Commons; an internal view of Westminster Hall; it shows some architectural model pieces being handled; hands exploring a relief image of the Palace of Westminster; a larger tactile wooden model with Braille information being explored by one of the visitors on the tour - with his commentary. There are several sounds that are played after this. The first is of the chiming of the bells of Westminster - with their well-known tune punctuated at the end by Big Ben; a few words about the tour, followed by the sound of the Division Bell, and finishes with an image of the House of Lords.
I can promise you an interesting, informative and entertaining two hours. For details about the tour and how to take it, please visit the following link for Visiting Parliament.
Or call: 0207 219 4496