A few days ago I had the amazing experience of visiting the Palace of Westminster to take a tour of the Houses of Parliament along with some of my fellow London University Student Ambassadors. I’m struggling to find the right words to describe the tour really. Firstly its only about an hour and a half, and though that sounds like quite a bit it isn’t nearly enough time to appreciate the sheer wealth of amazing stone work, sculpture and magnificent art work that adorn the walls and halls of this British Institution.
I was majorly disappointed that photography wasn’t allowed in most of the Palace – security reasons I suppose – as I would have loved to show all you readers just what I mean when I say that the Palace of Westminster would give most museums I have been to a rather good run for their money. So I guess all my friends who have told me to take hundreds of photographs so that they can live vicariously through me during my time in London will just have to imagine this one, or come visit for themselves.
Being a history student the experience was particularly enjoyable – putting faces (through their portraits) to names and dates, as well hearing so many interesting anecdotes and stories that you don’t find in the history books through our delightful guide. I couldn’t help but be transported back to the many hours spent in the library or at home reading my “Horrible History” books.
So to sum-up – Here are a few of my personal highlights from the tour:
1. Our delightful guide – For a woman of at least 60+, she was wonderfully spritely and quite funny too.
2. Westminster Hall – This great hall has some great architectural features – And it was the only point inside where photography was allowed ; p
3. Picturing myself in the Houses – Ok I come from a political family and am quite adamant that I have no designs of throwing my hat in the ring once my parents retire, but standing in those rooms – with their distinctly stately presence – hearing about the ceremonies and feeling the power that exudes from their existence – its almost enough to make a man reconsider…
4. Hearing about the Gunpowder Treason – One of favorite little stories from English History – and the inspirations for one of my favorite movies of all time – When our guide told us we were standing right above the cellar where Guy Fawkes was discovered I couldn’t help but recite to myself “Remember remember, the 5th of November…”
5. The Golden Throne – Sitting in the House of Lords is a magnificent Gilded Throne – A massive seat of power laid with 21 carat gold – A real spectacle to behold!
Well I hope this little teaser convinces some of you to go out and check out the tour for yourself. Trust me there is far more to behold – I’m just holding myself back from rambling on ; p
To plan a visit check out: http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/