April 22 – 27, 2018
The 2016 referendum on the European Union divided the United Kingdom and split traditional political allegiances, as the British population decided, after more than 40 years, to leave. It is still unclear what Brexit will ultimately mean for the U.K., politically and economically. On this six-day journey to London with New York Times experts, examine the historic implications of a historic vote.
Prime Minister Theresa May said that “Brexit means Brexit,” but what does this really mean for the British and the international community beyond? Did the voters really know what they were voting for? Does the British government have the power to begin the separation from the E.U.? And what of the impact on Europe and the strength of the union? With the guidance of Steve Erlanger, the London bureau chief of The New York Times, and other experts, meet with politicians, journalists and historians to discuss Britain’s decision to leave the E.U. and the financial, legal and social implications for Britain, Europe and the world.
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Welcome to London
Arrive in London and transfer to your hotel, in Central London. Later, meet your fellow Times Journeys travelers and some of your experts at a welcome reception and dinner.
Westminster: Seat of British Government
Join your Blue Badge Guide, a history graduate from the London School of Economics. A walking tour of Westminster takes you past the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Downing Street and into Parliament Square. Tour the Houses of Parliament and learn about the traditions and way the seat of British government functions. Join a member of the House of Lords and House of Commons to hear their views on Britain’s triggering Article 50 and the implications of being separate from the European Union. After a typical pub lunch and a pint at a local pub frequented by members of Parliament, join the queue to attend one of the debates in either the House of Commons or House of Lords. Your evening is at leisure.
City of London
Step back in time and visit the Guildhall, home of the City of London Corporation and a center of City government since the 12th century. It has seen the turmoil of the Reformation, a Queen and archbishop tried for treason and still hosts many mayoral occasions. Continue to Mansion House, the official seat of the Lord Mayor of London. As you walk through the City, admire how London has attracted global firms and banks and led to a wealth of new buildings, including the colloquially known Gherkin, Cheesegrater and Walkie Talkie. Will London remain a global center of finance and continue to need all this work space and housing if Britain leaves the E.U.? Pause for refreshments atop one of the new buildings, offering spectacular views over metropolitan London.
Conclude the day with a guided tour of City Hall on the south bank of the Thames. Designed by Norman Foster, the building is a modern and environmentally friendly structure. Attend a talk with a senior officer of the Greater London Authority to learn about housing and immigration in London, key issues that have shaped Theresa May’s belief that Britain will regain control of immigration with Brexit.
If Britain is no longer part of the European Union, how will this affect U.K. trade agreements with Europe? Where does Brexit leave Europeans living in the U.K. or British citizens living in Europe? Attend a talk on British foreign affairs, and discuss the U.K.’s trade, political and defense policies with Europe and the rest of the world. Later, have a traditional afternoon tea complete with scones and clotted cream, before joining a political historian to put British politics in context within the E.U. and global economics and politics. The evening is on your own.
Today, take a guided tour of the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal in the U.K. It is where the Article 50 Brexit Appeal was decided, ruling that Parliament needed to approve Brexit before it could begin. View the courtrooms and the magnificent Justices’ Library; a member of the staff will explain the Court’s role in the U.K. justice system. Later, tour the newly designed Magna Carta room at the British Library and explore the 800-year legacy of the document that has become the symbol of rights and freedom. A legal expert joins you for a Q. and A. on the legal impact of Brexit: Britain will no longer come under European jurisdiction, and many laws and regulations will have to be rewritten as Britain extricates itself from European law. Gather for a farewell reception and dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for individual flights home.