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

ISCA Visit Houses of Parliament and The British Museum

After hearing that the ISCA group was travelling into central London to visit the mother of all parliaments, it seemed that every other tour group in England decided to join us. Not surprising really, as the sunshine was glorious, the skies were blue and it was a perfect day to visit some of the most famous sights in England’s capital city.

While some groups took a scenic stroll along the south bank of the river, taking the opportunity to photograph the Palace of Westminster in its prime location between the Lambeth and Westminster Bridges, other groups participated in the classic British pastime of queuing to begin their guided tour of Parliament. And thanks to some excellent tour guides, the ISCA students learned oodles of interesting tidbits about the history of Britain’s centuries-long tradition of debate, discussion and lawmaking. The students were also treated to the distinctive peals of Big Ben ringing throughout the visit and were able to see the interior of Westminster Hall, dating back to the Norman Conquest.

The crowds surrounding Parliament had increased in size and density as the ISCA groups emerged into blazing sunshine, ate their lunches, then boarded the coaches for the short journey across London to the iconic British Museum.

A truly world-class tourist attraction, the British Museum offered far more in the way of treasures and exhibits than could be seen in a single visit, so each member of the ISCA family chose their favourite periods of history to investigate, ranging from the ancient Egyptians and the Rosetta Stone, to the ancient Greeks and the Parthenon Friezes – also known as Lord Elgin’s Marbles. Some campers decided to enjoy a few moments respite in the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, the largest covered public space in Europe.

The final stop on today’s tour was to stroll through the streets of London’s West End theatre district – past the site of the War Horse production that students will see later in the camp – to visit the entertainment and shopping destination known as Covent Garden. Once again the crowds had gathered in the warm afternoon sunshine to watch the street performers, enjoy a refreshing ice cream and browse through the souvenir shops.

As the ISCA groups boarded their coaches along the Kingsway, they left London having experienced some of the capital’s most popular sights on one of the busiest days of the year. The prospect of a later wake up for Sunday’s on-campus day allowed the students to go to bed safe in the knowledge that they could rest and recuperate following two days of intensive touring.