Christmas holidays are the best times to visit those churches that pull off the festival spectacularly. We are referring to all the basilicas and churches that offer impressive decorations, lively Christmas carols, and an ambiance that invokes the right fervour in you…
It was Edward the Confessor who first concentrated English power at Westminster. But for years, the space at its heart – Parliament Square – has been an unsatisfactory urban muddle at the heart of London. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Big Ben – or more properly the Elizabeth Tower – was the most-photographed building in Britain in 2017. However, at present, it is not a space calculated to inspire, impress or delight. A visit involves jostling along crowded pavements and being corralled between unsightly security barriers. The wide roads are busy with fast-moving traffic; step back to admire the architecture and you risk being crushed by a bus or lorry. But there is hope. …Continue reading »
Parliament gets through more than 750,000 throwaway coffee cups, 125,000 plastic bottles and 335,000 sachets of condiments every year, Westminster bosses revealed today.
Chiefs plan to “drastically” curb the culture of single-use plastics across the estate by next year in a huge clampdown inspired by Blue Planet II.
It includes axing plastic carrier bags in gift shops and plastic cutlery and straws in cafes and bars, in moves to “virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics” from the Commons and the Lords.
From this summer, plastic bottles of mineral water will no longer be on sale – immediately removing 125,000 items from its yearly waste haul.
Instead, there will be more water dispensers across the Unesco World Heritage Site.
Parliament will stop buying non-recyclable disposable cups, instead opting for a compostable alternative.
It currently disposes of almost 753,000 coffee cups each year but they cannot be recycled due to the plastic coatings which make them watertight.
Ministers, businesses and civic leaders have launched a massive crackdown on plastics since David Attenborough’s iconic Blue Planet II series last year, highlighting the affects of plastics on the oceans.
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.
Theresa May likes to avoid awkward rows at all costs: that much we already know. Today’s papers carry two stories showing this: she is said to be abandoning plans to give a Brexit speech just in case it causes further divisions in her Cabinet, and is also racking up what The Times estimates is a £230 million bill by delaying the refurbishment of Parliament.
Both the Cabinet and Parliament are dangerously unstable, with chunks falling from them every day. The latter, though, has been here a long time, is one of the most famous buildings in the world, and attracts vast numbers of tourists. Philip Hammond and Greg Clark don’t raise quite so much interest, oddly.
The Conservatives are keen to push back the decision on the works until after the 2022 general election because they are worried that taxpayers will be angry about the huge bill that it will incur.