What an action-packed time we had in London with the Adlington Cub Scouts!
After setting a new world record for Cubs getting up (5am for the leaders and 6am for the Cubs) we took the Tube to Westminster. Considering there were hundreds of thousands of protesters there on the Saturday, we fortunately arrived in the eye of the Brexit storm and things were quiet both inside and outside of Parliament.
Our tour commenced in Westminster Hall which was built around 1099 and is the oldest part of the building; the rest dates from 1834 as most of the medieval Palace was consumed by fire. It was in Westminster Hall that Charles the First was tried, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.
The word awesome is bandied about too much, however, it’s the only way to describe the Palace of Westminster: everywhere we looked there were giants of Britain’s history looking back at us, depicted in paint or stone, and set within the gothic splendour of the Palace itself.
From Westminster Hall we walked through St Stephen’s Hall and on into Central Lobby where the world’s cameras descend to interview Parliamentarians. A left turn took us past the Whips’ offices and another right turn into the Library where we sat to listen to Elizabeth, our guide’s, stories about the building and how Parliamentary votes take place. We then went into the House of Commons Chamber itself, which was spectacular, although we all thought it looked much smaller in real life!
Directly opposite the green lined House of Commons is the red House of Lords where we met a delegation of Ghanaian dignitaries who proudly told us the carved mahogany was also from Ghana.
Being VIP Cubs we were met by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and Chorley MP, who answered our tough questions including: “where do you make the HP Sauce?”, “do you like marshmallows” and “what time is our lunch please?”. We then enjoyed a mug of hot chocolate in the cafeteria and recharged our batteries for more serious sightseeing!
Our next port of call was Downing Street to say hello to Boris, on to Trafalgar Square and along Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace where we were very excited to watch a motorcade flash by. We were sure it was the Queen who’d heard ASJ Cubs were in town!
After a picnic in Hyde Park and toured the Natural History Museum before heading back to Gilwell Park for a well-deserved dinner and songs by the campfire!
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