I got my father in law in the Christmas secret Santa the year and got him a coach trip to the houses of parliament, and I also got tickets for myself and Helen so we could join him. The coach pick up point was in Beaconsfield Old Town, which I chose because it was the last one, so would minimise time on the coach and mean no early start.
Despite a traffic jam on the way we were at the Royal Saracens Head in time for a coffee. The Coach was on on time but a hundred yards down the road opposite the pub. We boarded and were pleased to find we had front row seats, numbers 1, 2, and 3. We set off but no sooner had we got going it was announced that we were stopping at Beaconsfield services, a jewel among service stations. As well as the usual Starbucks and McDonald’s there was the odd shop and even a pub.
The M40 soon became the A40 and an hour later we were dropped off just beyond parliament Square, after negotiating the London traffic. The weather was get and there was a cold wind to boot, so we headed into the visitor entrance. There is airport style security, which given the travelling I had been doing recently was a bit tedious. We were lucky enough to d find a table in the cafe, and whiled away an hour while we waited for our allotted time slot.
The tour starts on the great hall which has been used for special ceremonies, speeches and lying in state. There was a special exhibition for a competition for a proposal to build a memorial to the Holocaust, and another about the latest art piece to be added to the house. The piece is to commemorate women in parliament and the circles of glass light up depending on the tide.
We gathered at the allotted area for the tour to start, whilst our tour guide told us the rules about no phones or taking pictures. The guide was very informative and we started at the Lord’s end and finished in the Commons. It was well worth it, I would so it again and just walk around myself if I had visitors. The tour took longer than expected but we still had time for a coffee before catching the coach back.
Traffic was quite heavy on the way back. We had a great day and I would return again.