Monday, 21 September 2015

London: A Tourist In My Own City

Mr R and I had a day off together recently. Sometimes you are so busy running around your own city you forget to take the time to be a tourist.  We took some time today to have a trip into Central London. The weather was not the best, that annoying slight rain kept up all day but never dampened our spirits.
Check out the smile, you can see he doesn't get out much!!
We were invited to meet a journalist that I got to know on my recent press trip to Mexico City for a private tour of the Palace of Westminster.  The Palace of Westminster is better known as the home of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for the last 500 years.

We took photos in the two areas we were allowed but sadly we couldn't photo all the House of Lords and House of Commons, the Queen's throne and other well known images we are familiar with from watching the news and Prime Minister's Question Time.

The Queen's seat in the House of Lords shone so brightly as it has recently been renovated and covered in real gold.  The actual rooms in both houses seem so much smaller than when you see them through the eyes of the television cameras.

We entered through Westminster Hall, completed in 1099 and has hosted state occasions and feasts over the years.  It is customary for monarchs to line in state here after their deaths and occasionally Prime Ministers, for example Winston Churchill.
St Stephen's Hall connects Westminster Hall and the Central Lobby.  
There are some very fine statues including one that caught my eye (my Twitter name is @Walpolegirl and the town of Walpole NH is named after this gentleman's family.
The Central Lobby is in the middle of the corridors to the House of Lords and the House of Commons and is somewhere you could arrange to see your MP when the House of Commons is sitting. Unfortunately, as I have already said, we could not take photos in the Central Lobby or beyond.

It was such a privilege to be shown around by my journalist friend who has worked there since the early 1970s and whose passion is so refreshing allowing us to learn so much and have a really great experience.

A few photos follow outside the Palace:
We had half of a plan to take a trip on the London Eye if the weather would behave but unfortunately it didn't.  We will put it off now until the grandchildren are in London with us and we can all have a go.
We wanted to go to the Maille mustard shop in Piccadilly and despite the weather we walked.  We saw the two giant pointing fingers on the traffic island at Trafalgar Square by Mexican sculptor Rivelino which will be available to see until 31 December 2015 to commemorate the Dual Year of the UK and Mexico.
We treated ourselves to some seasonal Black Truffle and Chablis mustard - I am not really a mustard person but I really love this one with the presence but not overpowering black truffle.
A quick beer then a late lunch in our favourite Chinese restaurant in China Town before we braved the rain again.

Before we knew it it was time to head back to St Pancras station, have a sit down and a cup of coffee and wait for our train home.  My feet hurt and I was tired but really enjoyed being a tourist for the day in London!
I want to thank my friend Jerry for his tour of the Palace of Westminster and all his knowledge that came with it.


  1. Wowsers, what a great experience! Thanks for sharing Heidi :)
    Janie x

    1. It was a pleasure to see where it all happens - next time I see either of the Houses on TV I will look at them differently!

  2. Wowsers, what a great experience! Thanks for sharing Heidi :)
    Janie x