As part of an on-going initiative to promote and raise awareness of British Values, some of the KS4 students were given the opportunity to spend a day in London. Students were taken on a tour around the capital city and spent the day visiting some of the most important historical landmarks and structures fundamental to British Culture.
It was an early start which saw the team leave Paragon Station at 8:23 and arrive at a hectic Kings Cross for 11:25. From here a short tube ride took us to Tower Hill Station where the day got into full swing and students were given their first taste of some of the history so deeply embedded in our culture.
The historical Tower of London became our first destination and provided plenty of opportunities for taking photographs (selfies included) with the Tower of London forming the backdrop. The team walked the perimeter of the historic castle and students engaged staff with questions concerning some of the notable monarchs who contributed to the heritage of the building, such as: Henry 8th, William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart.
The next stop was the River Thames and a sightseeing cruise aboard an open top boat. Thankfully the weather was perfect for this time of the year and everybody was able to take full advantage of some of the sites the cruise had to offer. Passing between the piers, a live commentary pointed out and narrated on a number of famous London landmarks and structures which included: The Tower Bridge, Big Ben, The Globe Theatre, The Shard (Europe’s tallest building), The London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.
If a cruise down the Thames wasn’t enough to bring the sites of London into view, a ride on the London Eye – which offers views of a twenty-five mile radius – certainly was. Some of the team were a little anxious when it came to boarding the 135 metre high observation wheel but once on-board it didn’t feel like the capsule was moving at all. Those who had doubts about taking the ride soon put their protests aside when London opened up around them into a panorama of vast cityscape. To see some of the landmarks from such a height had something special about it and students took to matching up images on their 360 degree viewing cards to the real buildings below.
The team then headed across to the 4D Cinema where they engaged their senses in a live action video of the city, which included 3D footage of London from various heights and angles. A special touch came when snow began to fall in the video and the audience actually got to feel the snow fall against them.
After lunch, the rest of the day was spent strolling through the city with a view to clock as many places of interest as possible. A light shower fell just after noon but didn’t seem to break anybody’s spirits as we headed toward Whitehall where we passed by Downing Street. As part of Aspire’s push on sharing British values, the students were able to put into context some of the recent lessons they have undertaken on Democracy and Parliament. We then moved onto Buckingham Palace which provided another opportunity for photographs (and selfies) and gave the students the opportunity to show off their knowledge on the Monarchy.
The day wound down with a leisurely stroll around Covent Gardens and an evening meal which gave everybody time to reflect on their experiences of London. The train journey back to Hull gave plenty more opportunity for reflection and it became clear that every person who went along for the journey came away with lasting memories and a richer understanding of what it means to be British.