Non-trivial tour guide and travel advisor Daryna Venger

Westminster + National Portrait Gallery

Start from the grand Buxton Memorial Fountain — the best view of the Parliament Building in London! It is one of the most iconic buildings in the United Kingdom and has been standing here since the 11th century. We will figure out which details to look out for to determine that this is Gothic Revival architecture, find out why you can’t die in the Parliament building, who is sitting on a wool bag in it, where the Parliament has parking, and why you don’t have to leave the building to get a haircut, drink beer, or even swim! We will discuss the most interesting buildings in the district — the first private bank, the archive of the parliament, and the ancient gold and foreign exchange reserve! We will take a closer look at the church where members of Parliament are married and the building of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (the court is located in the Middlesex Town Hall, which it shares with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council).

In the second part of the tour, we will get to the residence of the Conservative Party and understand why it looks like a fairy-tale stove, find out where the UN had meetings during WWII, and how BBC filmed the coronation, in which pub the same etiquette is expected from a guest as is from a guest of the queen. We will walk through the secret courtyard of Westminster Abbey, understanding where to buy the abbot’s cassock and where the street is completely it has been preserved since 1726. There is so much history here that it is impossible to take into account everything — on the one hand, the house of Lawrence of Arabia, on the other, the church that was designed because of the chair overturned by Queen Anne!

In the second part of the tour, we will visit the National Portrait Gallery — an extensive collection of portraits of historically important personalities, including monarchs, politicians, writers, artists, and actors. We will see a queen without teeth who’s fixated on her appearance, a court astrologer who has become a real Renaissance celebrity, pirates with the queen’s earrings,s and evil sadists in power! The portraits are beautifully decorated and allow you to look into the lives and personalities of these people. The collection includes works by the greatest portrait painters in history, such as Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and John Singer Sargent.

The third part of the tour will be opened for us by the Horse Guards Parade — this is a large ceremonial square adjacent to the historical Horse Guards building. It has a rich history dating back to the 17th century when King Charles II ordered the construction of horse guards building to house his cavalry. We will discuss and see the elements of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Horse Guards building, you will be able to see soldiers in their traditional uniforms and their wonderful horses, take traditional tourist photos, and look into the windows of the Prime Minister. We will see a monument to the women heroines of the Second World War, the Ministry of Defense, Internal Affairs and Finance, and the meeting room of the Cabinet of Ministers. We will be able to take a photo of Sherlock (with Cumberbatch) for the screensaver, at the famous Scotland Yard and discuss the history of the founding of the paid police.

At the end of the tour, we will go to Gordon’s Wine Bar for lunch — it has been quenching the thirst of wine lovers for more than 130 years. Located close to Covent Garden and London’s Theatreland, this hidden gem is just a short walk from Trafalgar Square between Charing Cross and Embankment stations. Gordon is known for its history — one of the queens got proposed in this bar. With walls covered with old photographs and newspaper clippings about historical events, you can take a step back in time, escape from the hustle and bustle, and enjoy a huge selection of award-winning wines and great food in a vaulted cellar lit by candles and old oak barrels filled with sherry and port. The menu offers more than 15 different cheeses, a selection of sausages, as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes.