Saturday at the Palace of Westminster

Had a great day guiding in the Palace of Westminster aka the Houses of Parliament today. Four lovely groups who were interested and responsive. The tour lasts just over an hour, though visitors need to arrive early to clear security. It follows the Line of Route from the Victoria Tower, leading through the Lords and then to the Commons and finishing in Westminster Hall.

My favourite room remains the Prince’s Chamber. It is, at least for the palace, intimate in scale, and the perfect setting for a winter dinner party. I said as much to one group, and a man told me I should go to Broadstairs where there is pub with a restaurant not dissimilar to the Princes Chamber.

The Prince’s Chamber

This isn’t my photo as you can’t take pictures inside the palace. I found it on Google. It is a couple of years old as the paintings of the Armada have been installed where you can see red panels at the top of the wall. Still, I hope it gives you some idea.

There were lots of new security people I did not know, but just as I ended my last tour I saw Naughty Nigel walking through Westminster Hall. It is ages since I saw him. The security staff at the palace are a good bunch and I have enjoyed working alongside them over the years.

Having got up to speed with Nigel, I turned and saw Leroy toting his gun. In the past we used to start the tours at Sovereign’s Entrance. Groups would go through security while an armed policeman stood close by. Leroy was always my favourite policeman on these occasions. He would diffuse the awkwardness by beaming at the visitors and asking them for their sweets. It always raised a smile.

I didn’t see any of the sniffer dogs today, alas. They are a happy hardworking bunch and a joy to watch.

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