Houses of Parliament Tour Review
We arrived at the gates of the Houses and I was totally in awe of the buildings. The grandeur is truly breathtaking and I am huge fan of intricate, old buildings steeped in glorious history and Parliament did not disappoint. Having the opportunity to get up close to the buildings is in itself it a great experience but combined with a visit inside the workings of central government is even more insightful.
Given the importance of the buildings security is tight and it is very much like airport, with bag and coat checks so be ready. Once inside you are lead into Westminster Hall, where you will be able to collect an audio kit and you will then be left to follow the tour at your own pace.
The audio tour walks and talks you through all the major rooms highlighting all the points of interest, taking in both Houses of Parliament and various rooms and details in between. Like most audio tours the tour is broken up into a various numbered sections and the tour was a great mix of facts, information and little snippets of insight and what life would have been like at the time when certain historical events took place. As this is a family tour, I think this combination was a much needed mix, to ensure that the children’s attention is retained and all of our youngsters including our teenage young leaders really enjoyed the tour and it was definitely pitched at the right level. At each point there is ample opportunity to listen and explore once the commentary has finished so you can explore or just move like our group did.
The tour starts at Westminster Hall and has a very Harry Potter Great Hall feel to it, I loved watching the children’ s reactions as they listened to the details and pointed out things to one another. Photography is only allowed in the Westminster Hall and St Stephen’s Hall which s a shame as there were so many points in the tour when we learnt something that I think would’ve been really interesting to photograph and with a building with so much history there are many points that you will wish you could have taken pictures.
The highlight for me was actually being inside the chambers of the Houses of Commons and House of Lords, the rooms are so much smaller then the appear on TV and its surreal to be stood in the place where all the bills, legislation and political decisions which impact us all are taken. I found the microphones hanging around the seating, and the practical information of how things operate in real life in the houses the most interesting. There are so many little snippets about the tour that I could share but these mean so much more once you are actually in the buildings listening, and taking in all the sights first hand.
Overall, I loved the tour and think it has so much to offer both children and adults alike. It is one of the experiences which should be on the bucket list for everyone as its important to showcase the history and political importance that the political system holds in our lives. Making our children well rounded means we need to provide them with as many different experiences as possible.and this is something very unique and offers adults and children an opportunity to see one of the UK’s greatest institutions first hand. Highly recommended! I think the tours are finefor children 7 and over and the length, information and detail contained within is pitched at the right level.
Further information about the tours that are available can be found here with details of times, dates and costs..