Here's a treat... how about booking yourself an afternoon tea in one of the riverside restaurants at the Houses of Parliament?
It sounds almost unbelievable, but it's possible for the public to book a sitting in the elegant Terrace Pavilion -- the same place where the MPs eat during the week. (Note: It's not always in the Terrace Pavilion, because there might be parliamentary business going on).
You'll get a seasonal menu of savouries and sweets by Parliament's award-winning chefs, served up with a selection of luxury teas and coffees.
Important note: It's not possible to have the tea on it's own. You need to combine it with a tour, which costs extra. What you need to do is book yourself a Saturday tour of Parliament beforehand (at least one day in advance -- you can't just turn up and do it on the same day). And you need to book your tour time at least two hours in advance of the tea, to give you time to complete it. The tea has sittings at 2 PM and 3.45 PM.
The tour comes in two different versions: a guided tour, and a self-guided tour on a pair of headphones. Craig has tried them both and described them on his blog. Read his review of the guided tour and review of the self-guided tour before you go, to help you decide which one to pick.
If you're into luxury teas then there are plenty more to choose from. How about an Afternoon Tea at The Ritz? That really is the ultimate tea in London, but it will make a big dent in your wallet. Another option is the Tea at Fortnum & Mason (a posh shop in Piccadilly). Or maybe you could book yourself an evening meal onboard a Bateaux Cruise as it floats slowly down the Thames?
> Craig’s review of Houses of Parliament – “I love this place. I even love the politicians inside it (well, most of them). If you come to London and don't go to the Summer Opening at the Houses of Parliament then you're basically nuts. It will have been a wasted trip. It's like going to Rome and not seeing the Vatican. Or going to Amsterdam and not getting stoned. A tour of this place will make your holiday. Th… continued”
Saturday tour of the Houses of Parliament – Every Sat – The Houses of Parliament offers guided tours on most Saturdays when the MPs have returned to their constituencies.
Watch a case at the Royal Courts of Justice – Mon to Fri – Why not try something a bit different -- how about going to the Royal Courts of Justice and watching a real-life court case?
Watch a real-life court case at the Old Bailey – Mon to Fri – Watch the long arm of the law in action at the Old Bailey, where members of the public can sit in the gallery and watch a case.
Mansion House: The Lord Mayor’s Residence – Every Tue – Look inside the Lord Mayor of London's official residence at Mansion House and see the interior courtyard and famous Egyptian Hall.
Common Council meeting with the Lord Mayor – 18 Oct, 6 Dec 2018, 10 Jan, 7 Mar, 25 Apr, 23 May, 20 Jun, 18 Jul, 12 Sep, 10 Oct and 5 Dec 2019 – Attend a meeting of the Common Council at the Guildhall and see the Aldermen and Lord Mayor of London
Listen to a speech at Speakers’ Corner – Every Sun (around noon) – Visit Speakers' Corner on a Sunday lunchtime and hear orators discussing whatever they like in the name of free speech.
Listen to MPs in the Houses of Commons – 7 Jan to 18 Dec 2019 – Visit Parliament for free and watch MPs debating in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
You might like these other food and drink events in London as well
Look for more political events happening in March
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