Booking policies and procedures for public guided tours

What dates can I book?

If a date is not showing on the tour booking form it will be for one of these reasons:

  • All tours are subject to availability. Tours are popular and can become fully booked. 
  • Tour booking windows are opened quarterly, so dates far in advance cannot be booked;
  • Tours are not available everyday. Tours do not operate when parliament is in session; this is normally Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tours will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only when parliament is in recess. The exception is the February and December recess when tours will not operate as the building will be closed to the public;
  • The parliament is closed to the public on Sundays, so guided tours do not operate on Sundays;
  • Major parliamentary events that involve the use of the Debating Chamber or substantial parts of the building can also mean that tours will not operate;
  • Tours can be altered or cancelled at short notice. The demands of parliamentary business take priority and as a result tours can be cancelled.

What times are available?

Tours depart at set times. These times are subject to availability as each tour departure time can take a maximum of 20 visitors and parliamentary business or events could result in alterations to tour departure times. 

In the case of parties of 1-9 visitors they should indicate their first and second preference of tour departure times in case the first choice is unavailable. If you have no preference for tour time select "anytime suitable". 

In the case of groups of 10 or more they should indicate whether the morning or afternoon suits them better. We will then confirm which times are available. Groups that exceed 20 visitors may have to split across several tour departure times as each tour departure time cannot exceed a total of 20 visitors.

How do the half hour and one hour tours differ?

Half hour tours

  • We can offer half hour tours to groups of 10 or more visitors. This tour will usually include a visit to the floor of the Debating Chamber.
  • These tours provide an insight into the work of the Scottish Parliament and information about the Parliament building.
  • Tours are conducted by Scottish Parliament Guides in English.
  • Tours must be pre-booked and generally operate at set times.

One hour tours

  • This is a longer version of the tour and usually includes a visit to the floor of the Debating Chamber, the Garden Lobby and a Committee Room. 
  • These tours provide detailed information about the work of the Scottish Parliament and about the Parliament building and art collection. 
  • Tours are conducted by Scottish Parliament Guides in English. Handsets are available free of charge to visitors on guided tours which provide a tour commentary, suitable for adults, in various languages. We recommend handsets for use on one hour tours only.
  • Tours must be pre-booked and generally operate at set times.

Information about language handsets

Tours are conducted in English. Handsets are available free of charge to visitors on guided tours which provide a tour commentary in various languages. We do not recommend handsets for children as the content is designed for an adult audience. We recommend handsets for use on one hour tours only. The guide will conduct the tour in English and hold up a card displaying which number should be pressed on the audio guide at various points along the route.

How will you use my e-mail address?

If tour spaces are available we will send a booking confirmation to this e-mail address. If spaces are not available we shall e-mail you to let you know.

How will you use my phone number?

We will only use your phone number  to contact you if there is an alteration to visiting arrangements, for example, a cancellation or a change to timings. We may also use your phone number to confirm your attendance in advance of the visit and on the day of the visit if you have not registered for your tour by the time indicated on your confirmation e-mail/letter.