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Parliament Summer Tours

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
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Afternoon Tea in the Houses of Parliament
houses of parliament, tour

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside Parliament? Usually all we see is a lot of bickering politicians on the telly, but if you want to gain proper insight, then the best way is by taking a tour. Normally 'Blue Badge' guided tours of The Houses of Parliament are on Saturdays, but up until the 31st August, you can take a summer tour, which gives you access all week round (excluding Sunday).

Tickets are 16.50 or 14 concessions; for every paying adult, one child under 16 goes free (otherwise it is 7).

It was William Rufus, the son of William the Conquerer, who made the first mark when he started work on Westminster Hall in 1097. Unfortunately much of the original parliamentary architecture was destroyed in a fire in 1834, so what you can see now is mostly from the nineteenth century.

That does not, however, take away from the grandiose furnishings. Starting the tour in the Queen's Robing Room you will see a magnificent fireplace designed by Edward Barry. Made of different coloured marble, it depicts scenes of St. George fighting a dragon, and St. Michael overcoming the Devil.

Next stop is the Royal Gallery, which is used for important receptions, dinners, and ceremonies; the walls are line with portraits of monarchs such as Richard I and Edward III.

The opulent room in Parliament is The Lord's Chamber: solid brass gates, a sea of red leather, panelled ceilings, and sixteen statues of barons and bishops. This is where the sovereign, Lord's, and Commons meet.

Other rooms you will visit include the Prince's Chamber, Central Lobby, and Commons Chamber. Talking about the Commons, do you fancy afternoon tea?

As an additional extra (19.95), you can book to have afternoon tea in the Houses of Commons. How does this sound? Salmon marinated in citrus, lemon curd mini bagels, egg mayonnaise sandwiches, sultana scones, jam and cream, and to finish off, Valronha chocolate.

Afternoon tea is available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with time slots at 2pm, 3.45pm and 5.15pm.
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Why? Learn about history and politics
When: Until 31st August
Phone: 0844 847 1672
Where: Houses of Parliament
Cost: 16.50 adult, 14 concessions, free/7 under 16s
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