This is a typical itinerary for this product
Pass By: Parliament Square, London England
Stop At: Westminster Abbey, 20 Dean's Yard Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3PA England
Visiting only on Saturdays, you’ll be able to visit the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as many of the other beautiful halls and chambers in which the laws of Great Britain are decided. Along the way, you’ll learn the unique stories, traditions and lore of one of Europe’s oldest constitutional monarchies and see how the past and present combine to create a society that is both fiercely modern and deeply steeped in history.
Your day begins with skip the line entry into Westminster Abbey, the most serene time to see Britain’s most cherished church. With roots dating back over 1,000 years, this Gothic masterpiece is the traditional coronation site and burial ground of kings and queens, along with national heroes like Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and William Wilberforce. On your visit, you’ll learn from a local expert guide how the British monarchy helped shape the country’s conversion to democracy, as well as a few interesting tidbits about Winston Churchill, one of the only non-royals to ever lay in state in the Abbey after his death.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Stop At: Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square, London SW1A 0AA England
Then it’s on to Parliament. While most people see it with an audio guide, you’ll be shown around by a tour guide who has spent years studying the facts and events that really immerse you in the story of this amazing building. The tour begins in the oldest part, Westminster Hall, which has been hosting state functions for nearly 1,000 years and is one of the finest surviving examples of medieval timber architecture in the world.
Beneath the titanic timbers of 600 ancient oak trees, you’ll learn about the history of the building, how it was almost lost to fire numerous times, and how it keeps reinventing itself to accommodate new generations of royals and politicians. You’ll also peek into the room where the Queen dons her crown and ermine-trimmed cape before she officially opens the sessions of each new parliament before heading inside the Chamber of the House of Lords, one of the most impressive rooms in the Palace. Inside, you’ll learn how people become peers based on their expertise in fields like sports, medicine, and technology.
Next, you’ll head into the engine room of British democracy; the Chamber of the House of Commons, where Britain’s elected Members of Parliament come to face off (literally) over how to run the country. Here you’ll see the lines that may or may not have spawned the phrase ‘toe the line’, and learn about the centuries-old ceremonies that keep this modern legislative body firmly connected to its ancient past - including why this is the only room in England that the Queen is not allowed to enter.
After learning some of the highlights of the building’s history, including a failed terrorist attack in 1605 that the British still celebrate today (ever hear of Guy Fawkes Night?), you’ll head into two of the most unique rooms in the building: the Division Lobbies. It’s in these rooms that, according to a tradition that dates back to Ancient Rome, opposing sides gather before a parliamentary vote, the ‘Ayes’ in one room, the ‘Noes’ in another, and are then counted as they leave.
As you stroll these halls, you are literally walking in the footsteps of men like Henry VIII and Winston Churchill. History, legend, lore, and a lot of pomp and circumstance mix and mingle as you take in nearly one thousand years of history from one of the best guides in London.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Pass By: Take Walks, London England