Head to London for the State Opening of Parliament

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The State Opening of Parliament is one of the biggest political events of the year and a great example of the pomp and ceremony that many have come to associate with the UK.

All sorts of archaic rituals mark the occasion, such as the door of the House of Commons being slammed in the face of Black Rod – a symbol of the chamber’s independence.

But the core of the event is the Queen reading out a speech written by ministers that outlines the government’s agenda for the year ahead.

While visitors can’t enter parliament for this part of the proceedings, you can witness some of it firsthand, as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will take part in a procession between Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster.

Every year, throngs of spectators line the streets along The Mall, Whitehall and around Parliament itself, so why not join the crowds and try to see the monarch for yourself?

The State Opening of Parliament had been set to take place in May, but obviously, the calling of a snap general election in June means this has had to be cancelled.

So we’ll have to wait and see when this event next takes place.

In the meantime, there’s always the option of booking a tour of the Houses of Parliament, where you can walk down the corridors of power and set foot in the debating chambers for yourself.

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It’s a fascinating insight into how the country is run and a chance to learn about the history of this remarkable building.

How to get there

The Houses of Parliament are easily accessible via public transport.

Users of the London Underground should alight at Westminster Station, which is served by the District, Circle and Jubilee lines.

Alternatively, overground rail users can get off at Victoria, Charing Cross and Waterloo, which are about 20 minutes away on foot.

Plenty of buses stop in the vicinity of the Houses of Parliament, with the 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77A, 88, 109, 159, 184, 211, 453 and 511 also stopping close by.

We should point out that roads are closed for the royal procession, which means we’d recommend not bringing the car.