Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Day 6 – Covent Garden and Houses of Parliament

Visiting the world’s first democratic Parliament? What about the first law court or the place a King was sentenced to death? All of this awaited us this morning as we woke up to a stereotypically grey British day, ready for our first trip to London.

It was difficult not to feel an immense sense of excitement; traveling along the Thames, past the home of James Bond, Battersea Power Station, and the towering and imposing structures of Whitehall and the London Eye on our way toward London’s glittering West End and Covent Garden. It was almost poetic that we passed the impressive Waterloo Station moments before pulling up outside the theatre, currently showing Mamma Mia ready to disembark the coaches and head toward London’s most popular market.

Famous for previously selling apples to many of London’s inhabitants, the square today celebrates street performers, food markets, and one-off products produced kerbside by some of London’s most impressive market traders and artists. Of course, many of us are left with Apple products of a different kind as the square celebrates some of London’s most iconic shops.

After absorbing the finest of London’s culture, it was time to take a short walk along the river embankments past the iconic revolving sign of ‘New Scotland Yard’ alongside the memorial gardens of the Ministry of Defense toward the Palace of Westminster which, in a word, was magnificent.

Walking through Parliament Square was like reliving history; seeing the large statues, notably of Churchill, brought home the significance and importance of this place in British Democracy and made us feel truly part of history and a global community.

The parliament tour was both beautiful and informative. Touring the different houses and understanding the unique traditions of the world’s oldest parliament, such as that of Black Rod, left us feeling amazed about the role of the past in influencing the freedom and justice we enjoy throughout the world.

After a unique photo opportunity in Victoria Tower Gardens it was back to Cranleigh for an amazing evening of activities and sport.