Sir Edward Leigh MP has welcomed the news that the current plans for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster are to be reviewed. Planning applications currently being considered would involve the demolition of a Grade II*-listed building on the parliamentary estate that is in perfectly usable working condition – plans which have been condemned by architects, preservationists, and environmental consultants.
Vast and sprawling, with dozens of hidden chambers and corners, the Houses of Parliament are tricky to navigate even for veteran pass holders.
But there’s one dedicated team who, between them, have everything covered – and they are hiring new members.
The visitors services team are responsible for showing everyone who comes to Parliament around the UNESCO World Heritage site – from A-list celebrities to school trips.
HuffPost UK caught up with Amy Treble, one of their operations managers, whose career in the Commons began as a tour guide, as her department prepares to recruit 28 new visitor engagement assistants.
“When you start out in the job, it can be a little bit daunting because you have to figure out where all the different rooms are, all the different routes, where the step-free access is [for disabled visitors],” she said.
“I remember being so totally overwhelmed when I first started, and then someone asked me to go and do an escort by myself. I thought I couldn’t do it, but then you do it and it’s great and you realise that you can.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, with a legacy dating back more than 1,000 years, Westminster Abbey is among London’s most historic landmarks. The Gothic church is best known for hosting headline-grabbing events involving the British royal family, such as the Queen’s coronation, Princess Diana’s funeral, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
A tour of Westminster Abbey is like taking a walk through British history. Explore independently with an audio guide, on a tour led by a verger (church official), or with a private guide. Tickets include access to all the main areas of the church. The London Pass also grants access to Westminster Abbey.
Things to Know Before You Go
Booking in advance will help you avoid waiting in long lines.
Big Ben bonged for the last time on Monday before falling silent for the longest period in its 158-year history – and what a history.
Big Ben bongs for the last time on Monday before falling silent for four years – the longest period in its 158-year history.
The Elizabeth Tower, home to the Great Clock and the world’s most famous bell, is undergoing a £29million restoration.
The bell will be paused until 2021 to keep workers safe. But it will still ring out on New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said: “Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project.
“The public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021.”
England’s rich and long history is well-presented and well-preserved in these historic sites in the country.
10. Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle, located in the city of Kent, is the 10th most visited historic site in England. The castle, as it is known today, was built in 1119 AD on islands in a lake formed by Len River. The site where the castle sits, however, has been important since as early as 857 AD, when it held a wooden structure owned by Leed, a Saxon chief. In 1976, the castle was opened to the public and in 2009, it received 646,801 visitors. Leeds Castle was once home to an aviary from 1980 to 2012, however, the foundation closed it for budgetary purposes. Today, tourists can make their way through the on-site grotto and maze, play a round of golf, and visit the dog collar museum.
You don’t have to be a religious person to appreciate the majesty of Britain’s many cathedrals. All of them are significant in British history and each contains historical relics such as the tombs of kings and statesmen.