Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tea at the House

During the summer when everyone is on their holidays a number of venues in London open their doors for us to visit. The last couple of years my venue of choice has been Buckingham palace. This year I chose to go to the Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, especially after I saw they were doing a trip which included afternoon tea in one of the rooms overlooking the Thames.
I haven't even been inside as was a little fascinated to see what it would be like. All visits are timed which allows a guide to take a manageable number of people around in an orderly way, as even though the MP's are on holiday the rest of the workforce are still going about their daily routine.
The building is beautiful with all its ornate carvings and is a work of art. Designed by Charles Barry the building is now Grade 1 listed. ( for those interested in reading some more here is some history on this iconic building) After going through a number of security checks I was granted access into the grounds leading into the Great Westminster Hall. This is one of the few places that you can take photo's, the stain glass windows were beautiful and very big!..
The tour takes you through St Stephens Hall, into the Central Lobby, Robing room, Royal Gallery and House of Lords before crossing back through the Central Lobby to the Commons Corridor, Members lobby and House of Commons Chamber. The tour was fascinating, wall to wall history throughout, stunning artwork and architecture.
3 things fascinated me, how small the House of Commons and the House of Lords are. That when watching PM questions, the MPs aren't always leaning back in their seats asleep, speakers are built in the backs of the seats so that they can hear everything!! And the different and various commemorations in the great hall are honoured as brass plaques on the floor, including Guy Fawkes, Nelson Mandela receiving and replying to the state, the Queens 3 jubilee commemorations, Queen Mum and Winston Churchill lying in State.
After the tour I was taken to the Pugin room, through the library for some afternoon tea. The room overlooked the Thames and was named after the interior designer who decorated a number of rooms through the Palace.
The tea was lovely, a mixture of sandwiches, mini deserts and scones complete with cream &
jam. The sandwiches were small in size (each one was slightly bigger than a canape) but they were sufficient. The sandwiches were: Ham with chilli jam; smoked salmon 
and cream cheese; and chicken, with peppers and avocade guacamole.  The sweets consisted of sultana scones with jam and clotted cream; valrhona chocolate delice and a lemon meringue shot. Although it did not look like a lot of food, it was beautifully  presented and actually very filling. The Pugin Room itself is stunning as were the views from the window. Tea was topped up frequently and the service was superb.
I thoroughly recommend the tour & the tea... Quintessentially British. 

1 comment:

mrsmsmeanderings said...

Sounds like fascinating place to visit - and the tea looks gorgeous! x

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tea at the House

During the summer when everyone is on their holidays a number of venues in London open their doors for us to visit. The last couple of years my venue of choice has been Buckingham palace. This year I chose to go to the Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, especially after I saw they were doing a trip which included afternoon tea in one of the rooms overlooking the Thames.
I haven't even been inside as was a little fascinated to see what it would be like. All visits are timed which allows a guide to take a manageable number of people around in an orderly way, as even though the MP's are on holiday the rest of the workforce are still going about their daily routine.
The building is beautiful with all its ornate carvings and is a work of art. Designed by Charles Barry the building is now Grade 1 listed. ( for those interested in reading some more here is some history on this iconic building) After going through a number of security checks I was granted access into the grounds leading into the Great Westminster Hall. This is one of the few places that you can take photo's, the stain glass windows were beautiful and very big!..
The tour takes you through St Stephens Hall, into the Central Lobby, Robing room, Royal Gallery and House of Lords before crossing back through the Central Lobby to the Commons Corridor, Members lobby and House of Commons Chamber. The tour was fascinating, wall to wall history throughout, stunning artwork and architecture.
3 things fascinated me, how small the House of Commons and the House of Lords are. That when watching PM questions, the MPs aren't always leaning back in their seats asleep, speakers are built in the backs of the seats so that they can hear everything!! And the different and various commemorations in the great hall are honoured as brass plaques on the floor, including Guy Fawkes, Nelson Mandela receiving and replying to the state, the Queens 3 jubilee commemorations, Queen Mum and Winston Churchill lying in State.
After the tour I was taken to the Pugin room, through the library for some afternoon tea. The room overlooked the Thames and was named after the interior designer who decorated a number of rooms through the Palace.
The tea was lovely, a mixture of sandwiches, mini deserts and scones complete with cream &
jam. The sandwiches were small in size (each one was slightly bigger than a canape) but they were sufficient. The sandwiches were: Ham with chilli jam; smoked salmon 
and cream cheese; and chicken, with peppers and avocade guacamole.  The sweets consisted of sultana scones with jam and clotted cream; valrhona chocolate delice and a lemon meringue shot. Although it did not look like a lot of food, it was beautifully  presented and actually very filling. The Pugin Room itself is stunning as were the views from the window. Tea was topped up frequently and the service was superb.
I thoroughly recommend the tour & the tea... Quintessentially British. 

1 comment:

mrsmsmeanderings said...

Sounds like fascinating place to visit - and the tea looks gorgeous! x