This summer, for the first time, plebs will be permitted to take tea in the Palace of Westminster. The constitutional cuppas are an add-on to the excellent 75-minute tours offered by Blue Badge guides on Saturdays throughout the year and on weekdays during the summer opening period when Parliament is in recess.
The tours start by following the route taken by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament and include a peek at both the Commons and Lords chambers as well as the Central Lobby, Members' Lobby and the 900-year-old Westminster Hall. They’re richly anecdotal and strongly recommended.
We’re not in a position to vouch for the tea, but the menu encompasses both traditional offerings (egg mayo or smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches) and Monster Raving Loony Party-style concoctions (lemon curd and chive on a mini bagel). At £25 on top of the cost of the tour, it doesn’t come cheap. But formal afternoon tea tends to be pricy wherever you get it; it’s a luxury meal, a bit of fun, rather than a source of nutrients or energy. And the setting for this particular repast is rather special: the Pugin Room in the House of Commons, which comes complete with views across the Thames and maybe even a whiff of political intrigue.
Tea tours must booked by phone: 0844 847 1672.