Mark Conroy is also a TV presenter, actor, author, and comedy writer, which means that all of these skills come together to entertain and inform groups of people who visit London. He is also a fluent French speaker, supporting the team of Blue Badge Guides to deliver guided Westminster tour experiences in different languages.
Elana explained that with the recent roadmap announcement and the prospect of larger events now being planned in the near future, discussions between her and Mark explored the possibility of bringing the fascinating story of Westminster alive to visitors.
Mark affirmed the unique appeal of Westminster to corporate and incentive groups. Westminster is the heart of everything in the capital, Mark noted, with over a thousand years of history, both the old and new. Westminster Abbey, which Church House Westminster overlooks across Dean’s Yard, has been the site of coronations including Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, royal weddings including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. If we go back in time, William the Conqueror was crowned in the original building on Christmas Day in 1066!
Near Westminster Abbey is St Margaret’s Church, the church for politicians. The latter having a rather large impact in the area, as across the road is the Palace of Westminster. The building has been a Royal residence for 900 years, but today the home of government: the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Mark highlighted the option of a guided tour of the building following the route that the Queen’s procession pursues during the annual State Opening of Parliament.
Outside the building, Parliament Square contains the statues of the great and the good, including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and more recently a lady added to the collection, Millicent Fawcett, a suffragist who pursued the vote peacefully.
Cross the road and you find St. James’s Park, a beautiful expansive green space, that will bring you to Horse Guards Parade, where the daily changing of the horse guards take place. Mark alluded to Trooping the Colour, a ceremony that takes place in that famous square in June every year, attended by the Royal Family, in celebration of the Queen’s official birthday.
Elana commented that the story of Westminster links back intrinsically to Church House Westminster’s history, when the Houses of Parliament used the venue for large parts during the war, with Churchill, the PM at the time, delivering some of his most renowned speeches in the Hoare Memorial Hall.
Church House Westminster was of course built to house the Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England. Elana explained that the Queen would address the Synod at its inauguration, which is a unique royal link for the venue.
What options are available to organisers to offer a unique and engaging Westminster experience to their event attendees?
- A bespoke experience, based entirely on the group’s interest, size, and schedule.
- Private walking tours in smaller groups with a number of guides speaking a number of languages.
- A themed walk. Mark shared the exciting news that he is currently working on a Royal Westminster tour for corporate groups.
- Exploring specific buildings with an interior visit, going behind the scenes.
- Currently, and in line with guidance, virtual tours offer an interactive alternative. These tours use live presentations, photographs, clips, and videos to bring a building or area alive.
Contact Mark Conroy for more information and to arrange guided Westminster tour experiences, quoting Church House Westminster.