Today we joined a 75-minute guided tour through one of London’s landmarks—the houses of  Parliament in Westminster Palace! Tours can be booked through the website Self-guided audio tours come at £18.50 per adult, guided tours ring up at £25.50. However, if that is too expensive for you, there is good news: for some reason the parliament offers the exact same package for free. If you want to make use of it, you have to contact your local member of parliament (MP). It is at this point that we owe a big shoutout to our local MP, Rt Hon Keir Starmer, who is now Brexit shadow secretary. One email was enough and our visit was immediately scheduled. Think of Brexit what you will, but if he manages Brexit only half as efficiently as these tour bookings, the UK has nothing to fear.

Back to our tour: our guide was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. He told us interesting anecdotes about the queen and history of the building and had an answer to every obscure question anyone from our group asked. At the outset, we were told photography is strictly not allowed except in the entrance area. So, the photos that you see were drawn before the tour started. Afterwards, we were shown many galleries, including the Queen’s dressing room. Apparently the Queen comes to the parliament a few times in a year, but an enormous room bigger than a medium-sized London apartment is reserved for her so that she can prepare to administer the official opening ceremony of each term in the parliament. She will use the room to put on her blue robe and equipment, such as a ceremonial mace. Another fun fact is before Queen arrives, the route that she is going to walk on will be paved with a special blue carpet, to demonstrate the royalty.

It is also worth noting that the palace is equipped with plenty of seating: benches, chairs, stools, thrones—they have it all! However, the palace enforces the extremely questionable policy that seating is off limits for all visitors. So, visitors should bring enough endurance to stand throughout the 60-90 minutes tour. Or, alternatively, bring a foldable chair and get rich by charging visitors that are about to collapse.


導賞團可在網站www.parliament.uk預訂。語音導賞的費用為每位成人18.50英鎊,而真人導賞團為25.50英鎊。太貴?好消息:只要向所居轄地的議員(MP)報名,便能參加相同但免費的導賞團!本地議員Rt Hon Keir Starmer(現職英國脫歐的影子秘書)十分幫忙,他們甫收到我們的電郵便旋即替我們報了名參觀。假設英國脫歐後,如他閣管理英國脫歐的效率及上此一半,英國似乎就沒有什麼需要擔心了。




Categories: History 歷史