You know those really annoying people who say they would rather spend money on experiences than buy loads of stuff, just after you’ve bought a YouTube-worthy haul of make-up in Boots? Sometimes they have a point.*
That’s why for the last few years my brother and I have chosen to I.O.U. a day out rather than give our Mum a gift on Mother’s Day.
The I.O.U. for Mother’s Day this year was for a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament, so that’s why we paid a visit to one of London’s most historic buildings a couple of weeks ago (somehow it’s taken us four months to coordinate schedules and deliver our promise, but better late than never I say).
You have a few options available to you if you’d like to visit the Houses of Parliament. You can either book an audio tour, book a guided tour or contact your MP in advance to arrange a tour through them.
We went with the guided tour and my expectations were high. There’s a steep £25 admission fee – always a shocker when most of London’s buildings and museums are free to enter – but it was worth every penny.
We were escorted by a blue badge guide who answered every random question thrown his way with confidence and who really brought the history of the place to life. His repertoire of Dad jokes was second to none, and his topical ‘we may have left Europe but please stay to the right’ comment won me over from the start.
The tour takes you through buildings of various ages. Some parts are 1000 years old whilst others are relatively new, rebuilt after numerous fires and bombings.
Other highlights included standing inside the
House of Commons and the House of Lords. Oh, and the fact that photos are banned and therefore I didn’t have to go off on a mumbled rant about how much I hate the selfie stick.
All of us enjoyed the tour and we left with a better understanding of the history of Parliament. And once again we stood amongst tourists who’d travelled from afar, and marvelled at the fact that when abroad we visit all the tourist attractions, yet in our own city we rarely do.
*I’ve always been more of an experience kinda person but what can I say, I’m a sucker for beauty products.
P.S. I know that’s a photo of Big Ben and not the Houses of Parliament…