The Lost Palace

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Queen Mary’s steps, that would have once lead down to the river

Me and the kids haven’t done that much this summer holidays, as I’ve been recovering from my surgery (still another 6 1/2 weeks official recovery, although apparently in 2 1/2 weeks time I will be able to play competitive sports, which always makes me laugh because I couldn’t before!). I’d spotted The Lost Palace at The Banqueting House at the beginning of the holiday but there was no way I could have done it then and even at the end of the holiday now, I was pushing myself a little – although it was mainly the stairs on the Golden Jubilee bridge on the way home that made me puff). The Lost Palace is an interactive audio tour of the lost palace of Whitehall. The only bits of the palace that survive today are The Banqueting House and a wine cellar under what is now the Ministry of Defence but it was once the biggest palace in Europe.

The tour takes about an hour and you walk around with this device, a bit like an unlit wooden torch and you touch various ‘burnt’ things around Whitehall and it tells you stories about things that happened in that area. I listened to the children’s version (so I was in sync with what my kids were to listening to) and it was rather good (I think the children’s version was probably a lot more fun). You do have to be prepared though to look a little odd as you’re waving this wooden thing around in public!

Girl Lacer (nearly 13) liked it, Boy Lacer (nearly 11) liked it at first but got quite bored about 45 minutes in. I think younger children may have also not found the experience that entertaining and very sensitive younger children may find it a little upsetting, with talk of fire and chopping people’s heads off. But it certainly was a fun way to see a part of London that we don’t normally go to and if it sounds like something you might be into, it’s on until 4th September.

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