Thirty-five students made the long journey to London to visit the Houses of Parliament and learn about the history of our democracy. On the way, we stopped off at Oxford Ice Rink and spent an afternoon on the ice, learning new skills. Star performers include Megan Edwards, who discovered that she could in fact ice skate, despite telling all the staff that she could not!
Arriving in London, we enjoyed a Chinese banquet in the heart of London’s Chinatown. The staff at Wong Kei’s made staff and students feel very welcome and ensured that we left with full stomachs after a huge amount of tasty Chinese food. After this, we were taken for a trip on the London Eye, the famous London landmark. As it was night-time, London was ablaze with lights and it was thrilling to see the capital laid out before us. We spotted famous landmarks such as Canary Wharf, the Palace of Westminster and the Wembley Stadium arch. Despite some students (and staff!) being afraid of heights, everyone loved this part of the trip.
We spent the night in a youth hostel near St Paul’s Cathedral. The sound of chiming bells from the famous cathedral kept many of us awake. Eventually students fell asleep, but not before keeping staff awake for far too long into the night!
The next day, students were woken early and, after a hearty breakfast, we made our way to the Palace of Westminster for a tour of the Houses of Parliament. We were able to see inside the House of Commons, and stand where famous names from the past, such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, once stood. We learned about the history of parliament from its beginnings in the 1200s to modern-day stories of campaigners such as the Suffragettes. We also visited the Great Hall and stood on the same spot where statesmen such as Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela have addressed Britain’s parliamentarians.