On Friday, the 12 members of our School Council visited London in order to visit the Houses of Parliament and find out more about how our country is governed.The day began early, with everyone meeting at Durham train station at 7.15am to catch the 7.30am train to our capital city. On arriving, we caught the tube to Green Park and then walked across the park to Buckingham Palace, arriving just in time to see the changing of the guard. We then walked up the Mall to Trafalgar Square , where the children quickly spotted Nelson’s Column. We then headed down Whitehall, passing Horse Guards Parade, Downing Street (the home of our Prime Minister) and the Cenotaph.
On arriving at the house of Parliament, we made our way to the Education Centre in Westminster Gardens, where we were greeted by our tour guide. We then went into a sensory, interactive room that plunges students into an immersive environment via the use of 360° projection technology which consisted of three experiences have initially been developed: 15 minute virtual tour through Parliament and democracy’s history: The Parliament Story Virtual recreations of the House of Commons and House of Lords chambers Recreations of an historical event connected to each Chamber: the 1908 suffragettes protest in the House of Commons, and an attempt to gain access to the House of Lords chamber in 1739 by the Duchess of Queensbury.
After this we entered Parliament itself and had a tour of the Robing Room, where the Queen dresses for the State Opening of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. After such a busy morning we were then all ready for lunch in the House of Commons cafe, which had been kindly provided by Liz Twist MP.
Feeling refreshed, we all set off across Westminster Bridge for the start of our afternoon adventure – a visit to the interactive Dreamworks Shrek Experience on the banks of the Thames.Having arrived in Far Far Away Land via a 4D motion bus ride driven by Donkey, our group discovered that we had ‘accidentally’ landed on one of the witches! We then had to travel through a series of rooms, each featuring a different part of the film and character, who gave us instructions on how to escape from a crowd of angry witches and return, with the help of Shrek, back to London!
After this, we took the tube along to Tower Bridge, walked passed the Shard and after a little more sightseeing, caught the tube back to Kings Cross where we just had time for an ice-cream and to stock up with some food for the train home.
‘It was a great day, the children were so well-behaved as always and a real credit to our school. I was very proud at how sensible they were, how attentive they listened during the guided tour of the Houses of Parliament and how much energy they all had for despite such a long day.’ Mrs McDermott