Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords sit in the sumptuous Palace of Westminster, a neo-Gothic confection dating from the mid-19th century. The House of Lords can be visited via the ‘Strangers’ Gallery’. The intricate Gothic interior led one of the architects, Augustus Pugin (1812–52), to an early grave from overwork.

The House of Lords contains Lords Spiritual, linked with the established Church of England, and Lords Temporal, who are both appointed and hereditary. Currently, there are about 800 lords who are eligible to take part in the work of the house. The majority are life peers.