Tag Archives: Political

Visiting the Houses of Parliament

Westminster Hall

Visiting the Houses of Parliament

 

There are any number of ways of visiting the Houses of Parliament and it‘s best to visit the website to find out the latest times and prices, but if you’re a UK citizen you can arrange a tour through your local MP.

http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/tours-of-parliament

Entry is through the Cromwell Green visitor entrance where you will have to go through a series of airport-like security checks. There aren’t any luggage lockers and they recommend that you only carry a small bag. Continue reading

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A Palace and a Parliament

The Houses of Parliament

A Palace and a Parliament

 

When King Canute started to build a home for himself in Westminster back in 1016 I don’t suppose for one minute that he thought it would become a place known throughout the world a thousand years later, and in a way he would be right because there’s nothing left of what he, or his successor, Edward the Confessor, built.

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Around Parliament Square

Parliament Square

Around Parliament Square

 

There are any number of places where a visitor can start a tour of Westminster, but I’ve chosen Parliament Square, not least because of its proximity to two of London’s most famous landmarks – the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

To visit both landmarks will involve some planning and a considerable amount of time to do them justice, but visit them you must (check out my page on Visiting the Houses of Parliament).

The location of Parliament Square is busy with traffic as well as an obvious magnet for tourists, and if that doesn’t make it busy enough, it’s also a magnet for demonstrators who come here to protest outside parliament about anything and everything.

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City and Borough of Westminster

Piccadilly Circus

City and Borough of Westminster

 

London has 31 Boroughs, 1 City (The City of London), and Westminster, which is both a Borough and a City.

Whereas the City of London became the legal and financial powerhouse of London, Westminster became the religious, royal and political centre.

This is the home of Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament, but it’s also the place to come for entertainment, shopping and culture in places like Piccadilly Circus, Oxford St and Trafalgar Square. I guarantee that you’ll run out of time – or steam – or both, before you’ve even scratched the surface. Continue reading

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Arundells

Arundells

On the West Walk of Salisbury’s Cathedral Close is the former home of British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.

The house is open to the public, and although its history goes back long before ‘Ted’ Heath moved here in 1985, there’s only really one reason that people come here to visit, and that’s to see where Sir Edward Heath KG MBE spent some of the happiest moments of his life.

From a fairly ordinary background, Ted managed to make himself an extraordinary life. He worked his way through university into the corridors of power and eventually to leader of the Conservative party, a post he held from 1965 until 1975.

In 1970 he became Prime Minister and for the next four years struggled to contain the demands of the trade unions, curtail The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the aspirations of Margaret Thatcher – although he did manage to take Britain into the European Economic Community in 1973.

He probably won’t be remembered as one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers, but he had many attributes, and even though my politics were different to his, I always thought of him as a warm and compassionate human being. Talking to the volunteers around the house I don’t think I was alone in thinking that.

Looking back, I think that maybe his political views weren’t conservative enough for his fellow party members, and not far enough to the left to embrace the working population.

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Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth Hoe

The Hoe is one of the first places people head for on their first visit to Plymouth – and for good reason. This large open public space has one of the most fantastic views of any city in the country.

The views stretch out across The Breakwater and Plymouth Sound into the English Channel, and from Devon’s South Hams coastline in the east to Cornwall’s Rame Head in the west.

‘Hoe’ is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘High Ground’, and although it isn’t that high above sea level it still affords commanding views, such as those that can be had from the colonnaded Belvedere near West Hoe.

Built on the site of a previous camera obscura, it was completed in 1891 at the end of a decade that saw the Hoe change from farmland to a city park.

Below it is a former bull ring that is now a memorial garden for various veterans’ associations from WW2 onwards.

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