Downing StreetCraigEasy to get to? ★ ★ ★Good for kids? ★ ★ ★Value for money?n/aWorth a visit? ★ ★ ★303
I would make a brilliant Prime Minister. And I'm not just saying that to blow my own trumpet (I don't even own a trumpet). The first thing I would do is knock down every building that has gone up since the war, and then I'd open up the Port of London again and bring back the trams. Unfortunately I've left it a bit too late to start a political career, because if you want to become a politician these days then you need to slave away as an MP's office boy for five years. That's how David Cameron started out -- by sucking up to Norman Lamont, and making sure that his tea was constantly topped up with whiskey. I'm being serious! There are pictures of him as a spotty schoolboy holding Norman's briefcase as he trundles out of a Treasury meeting. So that's what I'm doing today... I've bought myself a box of economy tea bags and I'm off to Downing Street to see if the Prime Minister needs a new tea boy.
There are a few things that you need to know about the Downing Street door before you try and get inside. Firstly, it's not made of wood. It's actually a bullet-proof, black slab of armoured steel, so the chances of you shoulder-barging it down are zero. Not even a tank could put a dent in that thing. And secondly, it hasn't got a letterbox. So you can't squeeze yourself in disguised as a petition. And thirdly, there are about fifty million machine gun policeman with twitching fingers just waiting to shoot you (and they will). And you'd have to scale a twenty foot iron gate as well (that's enough to stop me getting inside on its own -- it would take me half-an-hour just to climb that!) So basically what I'm saying is: don't bother trying to infiltrate the headquarters of our country's leader, because you've got no chance. That place is a fortress. Just stare through the gate like everyone else.
There's not a lot to see. If you look down the far end of the road then you can just about make out the famous front door on the righthand side. You need to look for a door with an iron arch and a lamplight across the top. You are viewing it from a very shallow angle, but if the PM did happen to come out then you would easily see him. It's too far away to throw any tomatoes at him, though (believe me, I've tried).
If you hang around long enough then you might see a few famous faces flashing their badges at the gate. You can see plenty of newsreaders popping in and out of here, because there's a bank of cameras down the street where they do all their interviews. I've seen a few cabinet ministers as well.
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Have you been here? Are you going? Got any questions?
I have been to London 20 times, in the early times I walked to the number 10, stood 2 meters from the door, said good morning to the Bobby. The times have changed since, on my next visit the street was chained up, I did tell the very nice guard at the gate about the good old days.
Yeah, it was only relatively recently that Maggie put a gate across the front. I would have been old enough to walk down there myself, but unfortunately I never did. I missed my chance.
From the author: “The good thing about this book is that I have genuinely been to all of these places myself. And I don’t just regurgitate the same old spiel that you find in 95% of guidebooks. It’s not the kind of book where I just tell you the address, how much it costs, and leave it at that. I have explored every single one of these attractions myself. You’ll find info about opening times, prices, the recommended time required at each attraction, example itineraries, a guide to using the buses and trains… and plenty more.”