Much to everyone’s amusement we began our journey bright and early at 8:00am on a Sunday morning. We arrived safely in London thanks to the extraordinaire Australian coach driver ‘’Skippy’’, only having been interrupted by a couple of stops at some delightful service stations en route to London. After dropping off our bags at the large yet homely Royal National Hotel we proceeded to the London Dungeons.
The dungeons proved to be a fun yet frightening experience (well, only frightening for some, not to mention any names). ‘Scary’ characters from London’s historical and fictional past roamed the dungeons; figures such as Jack the Ripper, Guy Fawkes and Sweeney Todd. Upon finishing the London Dungeons we took a scenic walk along the Thames past cultural icons such as the National Theatre and The Globe until we reached a quaint Italian restaurant called Pizza Express where we dined.
The next morning after a restful night’s sleep we woke up and after breaking our fast, the first stop was the Houses of Parliament, where we were split into groups and given a very interesting tour around both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. It was poignant to see statues of the political figures we have covered in our History courses, such as Attlee, Macdonald and Baldwin. Walking into Westminster Hall, we were instantly struck by the architecture and general splendour of the place. We were then led on a tour of the Palace by one of the doorkeepers, whose job it is to facilitate the smooth running of Parliament as well as serve at state functions. Her vast breadth of knowledge helped give us an insight into the impressive historical pedigree of the Palace, while anecdotes from her time as a doorkeeper helped add a personal touch. Visiting the Palace is an experience which I would highly recommend to anyone, interested in politics or not! After completing the tour, we took a pleasant stroll through St James’ Park and past Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards up to Trafalgar Square, where we had lunch and many photo opportunities.
Westminster Abbey was the next stop, a breath-taking building with a fascinating history. Walking through it was amazing. The Abbey was full of graves and memorials of famous historical figures. Josh C especially enjoyed The Poets Corner, which featured memorials to many great literary figures such as Alfred Tennyson and W.H. Auden.
Churchill’s Wartime Bunker was also of immense interest; it was filled not only with heaps of interesting information about World War Two and the Battle of Britain but also detailed accounts of Churchill’s life and long and varied political career.
We finished the long yet enjoyable day with a visit to the west end to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal. This for many was the highlight of the trip. After an emotional journey that featured Oompa-Loompas riding squirrels and some heart-warming musical numbers we returned to the hotel.
The next day our first order of business was to visit the HMS Belfast, a fascinating ship that has played an important role in British naval history from the D Day landings to the Korean War. After looking around the ship we reluctantly returned home.
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Ulverston Victoria High School
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