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The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
It lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the heart of the London borough of the City of Westminster, close to the historic Westminster Abbey and the government buildings of Whitehall and Downing Street.
The Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom; "Westminster" has become a metonym for the UK Parliament, and the Westminster system of government has taken its name after it. Its Clock Tower, in particular, which has become known as "Big Ben" after its main bell, is an iconic landmark of London and the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and an emblem of parliamentary democracy.
The Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
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The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. The abbey is a Royal Peculiar and briefly held the status of a cathedral.
Westminster Abbey is a collegiate church governed by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, as established by Royal charter of Queen Elizabeth I.