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Backstage Westminster

Starts at:

St. John's Church at Smith Square and Lord North Street (SW1P 3HA), Westminster


45 minutes

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Join Henry Adeane, senior civil servant and forgetful whiskey enthusiast, for a jaunt around the seat of British government. Take in a millennium of history as you tread the same streets as Westminster’s greatest heroes and its many villains. Hear tales of achievement and triumph, deceit and skullduggery, botches and blunders, even as your guide struggles to contain a blunder of his own.

You’ll explore hushed backstreets where politicians plot, mandarins machinate, and the tourists rarely reach. You’ll see the government departments of Whitehall with an insider’s eye as Henry strips away the myths, cuts through the grandeur, and uncovers the true stories of government.

You’ll also travel hundreds of years back in time to meet a 17th century street urchin, wade through epic amounts of horse manure, and saunter along Victorian London’s best-known gay cruising spot.

Tips & Hours

  • You can take this Detour at any time.

  • This Detour briefly stops inside a small alcove within Westminster Abbey. If you begin before 3:30pm, you’ll be able to enter and appreciate that stop. However, one can also take the tour after 3:30pm. It is also an enjoyable walk at night.

  • This Detour finishes outside a pub frequented by prime ministers, politicians and civil servants. If you’d like to drop in for a drink then make sure you’ve a few pounds in your pocket.