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The Houses of Parliament
2 days - by Coach

Price from £139.95 per person*
Departures from 5th Aug 2017 to 9th Dec 2017

Single person supplement : £30.00 per person

Everyone knows what Parliament looks like – from the outside. Viewed from Westminster Bridge, it's the number one establishing shot for any film that's set in London, used in everything from James Bond to the Daleks.

Now here's your chance to see SW1A 0AA as only MPs normally see it, from the inside. On this visit we open up the inspection panel and look in on the machinery of government with a revealing tour through the gilded meeting rooms and portrait–hung debating chambers of the Palace of Westminster. Feel a thousand years of history living, breathing and working all around you as you tour the Lords Chamber, the Commons, The Queen's Robing Room, Westminster Hall and the Royal Gallery.

Includes transport, 4 star accommodation, dinner, breakfast and free time in London.

This tour is organised and operated by Omega Holidays plc ABTA V4782 ATOL 6081

  • Return coach travel from your chosen local departure point
  • Overnight stay at a 4 star hotel within 20 miles of Central London with 3–course dinner and full English breakfast
  • Visit to the Palace of Westminster on Saturday with self–guided audio tour
  • Free time in London on Sunday
  • Services of an Omega coach driver / tour representative
  • VAT at 20%

Saturday After a morning pick–up in your local area we travel by coach to central London for your guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. Walk the same halls and corridors as the Prime Minister under the stony gaze of her marble–statued forbears. Explore the august committee rooms overlooking the Thames, where once the noxious 'Great Stink' made government work impossible and forced legislation to clean up the river.

 Big Ben, 1858

A very curious history...

The first Parliament buildings at Westminster were put there by the Normans. By Victorian times the old medieval Parliament was in a sorry state and a creaking fire hazard, but despite numerous dire warnings from the caretaker nothing was done, and many of the original buildings burned down in a catastrophic fire in 1834 (the painter JMW Turner watched this fire and painted several pictures of it). King William IV immediately offered to donate Buckingham Palace as a replacement, because he didn't much like the place, however the Honourable Members weren't keen on it either and new premises were built instead at the cost of millions.

The rebuilding was done in the Gothic Revival style popular at the time. It might easily have been done in the equally popular Neoclassical style, like many London buildings including the British Museum, but the recently–rebuilt White House in Washington DC (burned down by the British in 1812) was done out in the Neoclassical style and the Honourable Members therefore saw it as somewhat too republican and revolutionary for conservative England. So in Victorian times 'Victorian values' meant going Gothic.

 Turner, 1835

The construction work was overseen by Sir Benjamin Hall – probably the original 'Big Ben'. This moniker was afterwards given to the 13.5–ton bell in the clock tower (itself called St Stephen's Tower). The first bell, a 16–ton monster, cracked immediately. The second bell, hauled up 200 feet over 18 hours, lasted just two months before it cracked as well. This time they just patched it, which is why Big Ben has a slightly off–tone to this day. The clock is generally accurate to within one second per day, although in 2015 some weights were removed from the pendulum because it was running seven seconds fast.

Not many people know this, but the famous Big Ben chimes are derived loosely from part of Handel's Messiah, and there are even words that go with the chimes, engraved on a plaque in the clock room:

'All through this hour
Lord be my guide
And by Thy power
No foot shall slide'

The famous four–sided clock face is the largest in the world. The clock tower (St Stephen's Tower) was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012.

Sunday After a full English breakfast we'll drop you off in the centre of town where you can enjoy some free time to explore those famous monuments, museums and historic sites that in London are practically one street in any direction. If you'd rather do some shopping in the capital, then just take a short hop on the Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge and you'll find Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Or head two stops in the other direction (change at Green Park for the Jubilee line) and you've reached Bond St and Selfridges. Rendezvous at the coach in the early afternoon for the journey home.

Here are some example hotels or similar ones that we use for this break, actual availability may change with the travel date you choose.

Some hotels have an additional supplement per person, as shown below. Supplements are stated for the break (not per night)

4* hotel within 20 miles of Central London,
We take good care with our coach route planning, and then allocate a good quality 4* hotel to each coach. Our route planning is completed about two weeks before departure, so up to that date it is not possible to say which of our selection of hotels you will be staying in. However, for your information, the hotels featured below have previously been allocated to this tour on a regular basis and will be used for future departures. For more information please click on the 'more details' link to the left of the page.


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