An excellent and perhaps slightly more unusual perambulation.
It meant a lot to me to be able to take Lily to the Palace of Westminster – the building and the tour are not party political and focus instead on the history of the Estate the history of British democracy and the mechanics of the political system (there is no mention of current personnel, personal politics or brexit during this visit – or indeed this review.) Our visit included an opportunity to see inside the chamber of the House of Commons and the chamber of the House of Lords, Westminster Hall, Central Lobby and the Royal areas of the House of Lords including the Robing Room and Throne Room. Visiting all of these areas is only possible when parliament is in recess and you can find information about this on their website (although as a rough guide recess tends to fall during standard school holidays).
The level of access offered is very generous and it was thrilling to be able to show Lily the Queen’s Throne, the statue of Winston Churchill (with one polished shoe following decades of MPs rubbing his foot for luck) and the places where the Prime Minster and the Leader of the Opposition stand in the commons chamber. There is a pretty comprehensive audio guide included in the ticket price of around £20 for adults. Tickets are sold online only and are timed. This perambulation included the opportunity to see many nationally significant paintings, objects and places. Westminster Hall alone is pretty astonishing.
Access to the Westminster Estate is strictly regulated by the Police and all visitors experience airport style security including the scanning of all luggage (and all prams). Once inside the visitor route has level access throughout, with the exception of a rather grand staircase in Westminster Hall. I carried Lily in her pram up and down these stairs with the assistance of niece and nephew. Although I have since learned that had we asked, there is a level access option available. The front-of-house team were chatty and encouraging, and I even managed to discreetly feed Lily during our visit. There are many sitting opportunities during this perambulation, all with wonderful scenery and things to look at. Even though we visited during peak tourist season (August Holiday) no part of the building was crowded and it was possible to perambulate in a very leisurely manner. Lily particularly enjoyed looking at the decorated ceilings, the collection of murals and the statues.
I didn’t change Lily during this perambulation so I am afraid that I cannot comment on facilities, although I did notice visitor toilets at the back on Westminster Hall (where you will also find a little gift shop). We visited for around an hour and a half and travelled to Westminster via tube. Westminster Station is exactly outside and has level access from the District, Circle and Jubilee lines. To get in to the Palace you need to use the visitor entrance opposite Westminster Abbey (St. Stephen’s Entrance).
Changing facilities N/A
Baby feeding facilities (including seating) *****
Enjoyable Perambulation ****