On the 5th May, our Family Learning English group enjoyed a visit to Parliament. With so many historical sights to see in London and a coach booked, we took the opportunity to see as many as we could.

Our trip started from the Children’s Centre at 9.00 am, as parents armed with buggies, babies and enough provision to last a week clambered on the coach! 
A quick stop for services and we were straight into Westminster for midday. With buggies loaded and children refreshed, we walked and walked and walked, taking in the historical monuments and buildings.

Up the Mall, quick past St James Palace, ‘ooh’d’ and ‘aah’d’ at the horses standing guard, past the Royal Mews and St James Park. We doffed our hats at Nelson, standing proud on his column, marveled at the roman numerals on the Admiralty Arch, peered through the gates at Downing Street and Buckingham Palace and gawped at big statues everywhere.

With no time to spare we sped up the pace to get to the Houses of Parliament on time for our tour. This, as parents said, was an amazing experience. So much history to share, to see and learn about.

Our tour guide whisked us around. Through many chambers and corridors, where many a famous person tread before us. Shoes were quickly swopped for comfortable slippers. We looked around the Commons Chamber and the Lord’s Chamber and stifled giggles as the children (our future politicians!) clambered on to the benches in the Commons Chamber!

We learnt about the work of both the Houses of Parliament. From there, we saw the splendid Westminster Hall and followed in the footsteps of the Queen and previous Monarchs at the State Opening. We certainly felt like Royalty for the day!

Our tour concluded and we all descended on the Parliament gift shop. Laden with fridge magnets and mementos of our wonderful day we quickly marched back to the coach. We made ourselves comfortable and snoozed all the way back, to home sweet home…..

Our children were an absolute credit to us all. They certainly did Balsall Heath Children’s Centre and Birmingham proud, with their wonderful behaviour and putting up with parents who wanted to explore just a little more and take just one more selfie! 
They created some lovely memories for us all; with little Kian learning and practising his favourite word of the day “Wow” time and time again. Little Anya, practising her ‘MP sitting skills’ in the Commons Chamber. Little Adam smiling happily through the day, Jayden needing the toilet at the gates of Buckingham Palace! Umar, Ismael and Hamzah in their cool sunglasses, posing happily for photos and Fatima wanting to explore London on foot!

The visit was timely, with the General election coming up in June. The group are looking at democracy and the importance of using their voting rights. We will continue to build on this work over the next few sessions.

Hafsha D Shaikh