Visit London Blog » houses of parliament http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:54:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Free Day Out For Families in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39045 Family outside Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Guest post by Laura Porter

The South Bank is always a great destination for families. It’s traffic-free, has wide pavements, fantastic views of iconic London landmarks, and there’s always lots going on that costs nothing. Here’s a plan for a free day out with your family.

Start by the EDF Energy London Eye where you can look across to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The nearest tube station is Waterloo.

Once you’ve taken some snaps let the kids play in Jubilee Gardens. As well as the green open space to run around safely there is also a playground for under 11s. (Be aware that bikes and scooters are not permitted at Jubilee Gardens.)

 Jubilee Gardens

Between The London Eye and Southbank Centre you’ll find lots of street performers vying for your attention. My daughter likes to take some coins to give to her favourites.

I know there’s a carousel here but we normally finds something more interesting at Southbank Centre, whether it’s a free event in the Royal Festival Hall (where there’s also a cafe and toilets), the summer garden on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall or a free festival alongside the river. There’s also the singing elevator (JCB Glass Lift) in the Royal Festival Hall and the skateboarders under the building to watch so you’ll always find something to entertain.

Carry on walking along the South Bank and you’ll soon reach Gabriel’s Wharf where there are often sand sculptures on the beach to admire. Head into Gabriel’s Wharf and there are some well-priced cafes (and more toilets).

Ten minutes further along the riverside walk and you’ll reach Tate Modern. There are many floors of modern artworks to admire and you only need to buy a ticket for special exhibitions. The river level cafe is incredibly family-friendly with a buggy park at the back, plenty of high chairs and a kid’s menu (and kids eat free when an adult buys a meal). Paper placemats and crayons are brought to the table for families too.

If you’d prefer a view from higher up go to Level 3 and from the balcony you can look across to St. Paul’s Cathedral and The City. There’s another small cafe on this level too, and, of course, more toilets. (Hey, anyone who’s travelled with children will appreciate this advice!).

Many people choose to continue along the South Bank past Shakespeare’s Globe and, maybe, onwards to Borough Market but my best tip is to cross over the Millennium Bridge (pedestrian only) and go into The City. You can walk from Tate Modern to St Paul’s in just ten minutes so it really is closer than you think.

Tip for kids: As you cross the bridge see if you can spot any love locks (small padlocks) attached to the sides.

If you check the tide tables in advance, under The City of London side of the Millennium Bridge is a great spot for mudlarking. There are steps to reach the river foreshore and it’s rarely muddy on this side so you can check the surface for old clay pipes and bits of pottery.

Afterwards, walk towards St Paul’s and on your left you’ll find the City Information Centre where you can pick up free trails, including one specifically for children which includes stickers. It has a few routes to try so let the kids choose the one that interests them.

Or, if it raining and you don’t want to wander far, the Museum of London is five minutes away from the other side of St Paul’s. This free museum is great for families and has two floors of exhibits to explore.

Museum of London

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

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London Video of the Week: London in 1927 and 2013 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/london-video-of-the-week-london-in-1927-and-2013/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/london-video-of-the-week-london-in-1927-and-2013/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:06:56 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38227

Compare the live footage of London in 1927 and 2013 in this fascinating video. The images of London in 1927 were captured by cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene who travelled across the UK with his new colour film camera. BFI recently restored these images.

Film-maker Simon Smith followed in Friese-Greene’s footsteps, providing a recent view of London landmarks like Tower Bridge, Peter Pan’s Statue, Big Ben and the Houses of ParliamentPetticoat Lane Market, Hyde Park and the River Thames.

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London Video of the Week: Sunrise Over London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/london-video-of-the-week-sunrise-over-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/london-video-of-the-week-sunrise-over-london/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:44:42 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38190

Using a GoPro camera attached to a mini-helicopter, photographer Ben Chan has captured London at dawn as the sun rises over the city. Keep your eyes peeled for Tower Bridge, City Hall, the River Thames, the EDF Energy London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

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Valentine’s Day Treats in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/valentines-day-treats-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/valentines-day-treats-in-london/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:07:37 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37537 If you’re seeking a unique way to say ‘I love you’ to your special someone, here are a handful of Valentine’s Day treats to sweeten up your loved one.

Houses of Parliament Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea
Combine a love for British history with a love for British tradition this Valentine’s weekend. Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner, then the next day continue on into the weekend with a guided tour around the Houses of Parliament. Follow this grand occasion with afternoon tea in the elegant Pugin Room, overlooking the River Thames. The tour will take you into both the Commons and Lords’ Chambers. Saturday 15 Feb. The tour and afternoon tea are priced at £41.50. This offer is also available on 1 Feb, 8 Feb, 22 Feb and 1 Mar.

Fortnum and Mason Hamper
Treat you loved one to a touch of class with the Be My Valentine hamper from the traditional London store, Fortnum & Mason. The hamper is filled with a Marc de Champagne box of fine chocolates, Amber Rose body lotion, luxury bath truffles, and a bottle of personalised Fortnum’s rosé Champagne. Hamper priced at £100.

Candy Cakes
Sweet treat experts Candy Cakes in Baker Street have a heart-obsessed selection of cupcakes available in a variety of flavours: two Chocolate Passion, two First Love, two Red Velvet Valentine, one Strawberry Love, one Caramel Kiss and one Mocca Chocca Love. Box of nine priced at £21.55.

Godminster Heart-Shaped Cheese
Not all Valentine’s Day idea need to be sweet treats. For something truly original, take a look at the heart-shaped Godminster cheese pictured above. It will be available at department stores Harrods and Selfridges in vintage organic cheddar and organic brie flavours.

Veuve Clicquot Rosé and Marshmallows
Take your Valentine to any Aubaine restaurant in London during February and you could treat them to the gentle effervescence of Veuve Clicquot Rosé paired with three light lemon meringue marshmallows (pictured above). The experience is priced at £15.

Other Valentines Day ideas:
The Lyttleton restaurant at the The Stafford by Kempinski in St James is laying on a special Valentine’s afternoon tea including Pacific oyster-caviar and Laurent-Perrier Champagne for £42.50 per person.

It’s Chocolate week at Barts in Chelsea from 6 to 14 February. Alongside a number of love potions and alcoholic aphrodisiac cocktails, there will be chocolate fountains, chocolate face painting, cupid style fancy dress, romantic two-person sharing cocktails served in giant teapots, and Barts home brewed and handmade rum filled chocolates.

Asian restaurant and bar, Bam-Bou in Fitzrovia, has invited psychic counsellor, Susie Johns, to offer lovers one-on-one readings on the 4, 11, 18 Feb. The 15-minute reading and a Love Potion cocktail are priced at £25 per person.

More Valentine’s Day ideas

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Best Bus Routes for Sightseeing in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/best-bus-routes-for-sightseeing-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/best-bus-routes-for-sightseeing-in-london/#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:00:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=27625

London’s famous double-decker buses are an ideal way to see the city if you’re on a budget. Buy a Travelcard for the day and take a self-guided city tour on London’s best bus routes. These four cover most of the major sights in the city. Their routes are described from west to east and the return journey passes the same sights in reverse.

Number 74
Starting in Putney, this route travels past London’s museums hub in South Kensington where the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum sit side by side. It then passes luxury department store Harrods and the boundary of one of London’s largest green spaces at Hyde Park Corner. You can catch a glimpse of The Dorchester hotel just after, followed by the famous haunt of public rhetoric – Speaker’s Corner at Marble Arch. The final stop is Baker Street, home to both the Madame Tussauds wax figure museum and the Sherlock Holmes Museum, at the site of the fictional detective’s residence.

Number 9
The number 9 is one of only two routes operating the old-style Routemaster buses on part of its route. Leaving from Hammersmith, it passes Kensington Palace (you’ll have to get off to see it) followed by the beautiful Royal Albert Hall and the monument to Queen Victoria’s husband which sits opposite it. Like the number 74, the 9 passes the museums in Kensington, Harrods and Hyde Park corner. It takes a different route afterwards to visit St James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square, The Savoy hotel and arts and cultural centre Somerset House.

Number RV1
The RV1 is a favourite route for us here at VL Towers! Despite being a single decker, it still passes through some of the best parts of London, giving you a great cultural tour of the city. Soak up some shops and street theatre at Covent Garden before taking the RV1. Hopping on it will take you to the South Bank where you’ll see the London Eye and Royal Festival Hall. The London Bridge stop is metres from the London Dungeon and City Hall is the next sight on the route, which crosses Tower Bridge to finish up at the Tower of London.

Number 24
The 24 sets off from Camden Town which offers alternative fashion and food. The bus then heads to the more mainstream Leicester Square in the centre, calling in at Trafalgar Square and Horse Guards Parade. The political heart of London is next as the bus passes Parliament Square where you’ll find Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as well as the nearby Westminster Abbey where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in 2011. The final site is the city’s policing headquarters at the iconic New Scotland Yard building.

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London Video of the Week: Freerunning Around the South Bank http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/london-video-of-the-week-freerunning-along-the-south-bank/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/london-video-of-the-week-freerunning-along-the-south-bank/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:32:33 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35830

Freerunner Kie Willis leaps, jumps and somersaults his way around the South Bank in this thrilling video. Keep your eyes peeled for the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.

 

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Houses of Parliament Tour http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/houses-of-parliament-tour/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/houses-of-parliament-tour/#comments Thu, 22 Aug 2013 15:29:21 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35229
This week, some members of the visitlondon.com team were treated to a private tour around the Houses of Parliament. And what a treat it was! The team share their highlights…

“I loved hearing about the antics of King Charles I, such as when he stormed into the House of Commons, and the rules and traditions that have been created as a result of things he did during his reign. It was really interesting seeing the warrant for his death on display, signed by the 59 Commissioners, including Oliver Cromwell!”
Lauren Manning, Client Services Manager

“So many highlights! Westminster Hall was beautiful and so majestic; it’s incredible that it’s 900 years old. It was sobering to stand in a room where people like William Wallace and Guy Fawkes had been tried, and where huge figures such as Winston Churchill had lain in state. I also loved the tiny working Post Office – but then, I guess ministers receive a lot of mail…”
Louise Maher, Marketing Manager

“For me (an Aussie in London) the Houses of Parliament is one of the most interesting buildings in the capital. It’s architecturally magnificent and I always enjoy walking past it. I’ve always wanted to see inside and it was so impressive. I loved hearing about the history and why a monarch can’t enter the Commons and that the Speaker is the only person who lives in the building. I thought the House of Lords was spectacular with the red and gold. A visit inside the Houses of Parliament should go to the top of the list of things to do in London!”
Tamara Sperling, PR Manager

“I didn’t realise visitors were allowed inside the Houses of Parliament so I was really excited to have a look around. I wasn’t disappointed, it was one of my favourite things I’ve done in London! There’s so much amazing history, but I think my favourite thing was getting a behind the scenes view of the Lords’ Chamber and the House of Commons – they’re so much smaller than they look on television! It was also really interesting hearing about how many old parliamentary traditions have remained intact.”
Stacey Crosskill, Social Media Manager

The Houses of Parliament run guided tours in Spanish, Italian, French, German and Russian, as well as English, and are open throughout the year, including Christmas. Book tickets

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What’s On This Weekend. 2-4 August 2013 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/07/whats-on-this-weekend-2-4-august-2013/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/07/whats-on-this-weekend-2-4-august-2013/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:35:45 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34905 This weekend really highlights the best of British – whether you’re admiring the skill of top sportspeople, learning about the history of British democracy or stepping back into an iconic 20th century era, you can’t fail to be inspired.

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Prudential RideLondon

Enjoy a fantastic free family festival of cycling this weekend, thanks to Prudential RideLondon. Festival activities are split over two days: on Saturday you can see famous female cyclists in the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix or take part in the family-friendly FreeCycle, while Sunday gives you the opportunity to see some of the world’s best cyclists at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycle classic. There are also free festival activities happening throughout the weekend. To see the full range of cycling-related festivities on offer, visit our Prudential RideLondon event page. 3-4 Aug

The Kenwood House Summer Garden Fete

Celebrate almost 100 years since Lord Iveagh donated the magnificent Kenwood House to the nation at a 1920s garden fete held in the building’s grounds on Hampstead Heath. Lots of vintage fun will be on offer at the free event, including horse and cart rides, Charleston workshops, rag time music and opportunities for afternoon tea in the garden. The fete runs between 11am and 5pm on both days. 3-4 Aug

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Comes to Trafalgar Square

Before it sails 40,000 miles around the world, the 70ft GREAT Britain yacht will be displayed in Trafalgar Square, allowing you to admire the new design Clipper Race yacht and meet the crew. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest sailing race, which sees 12 purpose-built yachts from different countries racing around the globe in eight stages. This is a fantastic chance to view the UK yacht at close range before it sails from St Katherine’s Dock on 1 September – and best of all it’s free! 1-4 Aug

The Houses of Parliament Summer Opening

See inside one of the world’s most famous buildings at the Houses of Parliament summer opening, during which time you can take a 75-minute tour behind the scenes of British democracy with a Blue Badge guide. You’ll learn about the 900-year-old Palace of Westminster, pivotal moments in British history and how Parliament works today. If you’d like to learn more about the building’s incredible art collection, you can book a specialist tour. Adult tickets are £16.50. Until 5 Oct

The Essex Military Vehicle Trusts’ Military and Flying Machines Show

See WWII aircraft, including Spitfires and Hurricanes, at this 40s-themed military show at Damyns Hall Aerodrome. As well as flying displays and static exhibitions of military vehicles, there will also be a vintage funfair, military re-enactments, kid’s activities and vintage inspired musical acts. Tickets start at £8 for adults and £20 for families. 2-4 Aug

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London Video of the Week: Beautiful London by Chris Brooker http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/07/london-video-of-the-week-beautiful-london-by-chris-brooker/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/07/london-video-of-the-week-beautiful-london-by-chris-brooker/#comments Fri, 05 Jul 2013 11:09:18 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34427

We love this gorgeous time-lapse/hyper-lapse video by Chris Brooker. The film took three weeks to make and consists of more than 15,000 still images.

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London Video of the Week: Pepsi Max & Dynamo present Bus Levitation http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/06/london-video-of-the-week-pepsi-max-dynamo-present-bus-levitation/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/06/london-video-of-the-week-pepsi-max-dynamo-present-bus-levitation/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 09:00:22 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34280

Magician Dynamo has found a novel way of sightseeing in London – by levitating! We wouldn’t recommend this form of travel for most visitors, but you can see lots of London’s best landmarks on a regular London bus tour.

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