Day Six – Epic Odyssey
Today, the group is going in two directions. Thanks to Greg and Stacy Duffy, eight lucky people embarked in two Mercedes sedans en route to McLaren Automobile headquarters for a private tour of their design and production facility, located just 45 minutes north of the hotel. Thanks to Rolf and Barb Berg, the rest of the group embarked via luxury coach for a hosted day of tours and dining in London.
Highlights of the McLaren Tour – the first thing you notice is the amazing architectural design of the building, followed by the incredible customer presentation which has you proceed down a corridor to the final unveil of the showroom, occupied with select models of their all-carbon-fiber high performance cars. The tour was hosted by John Allert, Group Brand Director, with a walk down the Boulevard with Amanda McLaren (the founder’s daughter), then Alan Foster, Executive Director of Manufacturing, offering insights into the workings of the Production Center, followed by brunch with Rob Melville, Chief Designer, Sport Series, and Dan Parry Williams, Chief Designer, Composites. the experience was absolutely amazing!
For the London group, the first stop was a private tour of Parliament, which was unusually busy for a Monday. After a tight security screening process, we entered through Westminster Hall, which is the only remaining portion of the original Tudor castle, last used by Henry VIII. Plaques on the floor commemorate notable events that occurred in this hall, including most dramatically the trials of Scotsman William Wallace (otherwise known as Braveheart) and Sir Thomas More, both of whom were condemned to death.
The tour continued through St Stephen’s Hall, Central Lobby and Members Lobby to the Common Chamber (home to the House of Commons, the actual governing body of the British government) and finally to the very ornate Lords Chamber (home to the much less influential House of Lords).
Coincidentally, that evening we found out that during our tour of Parliament, the identity of the next Prime Minister of Britain was determined, when Theresa May’s opponent withdrew from the race. We witnessed history before our very eyes as the evening news featured Parliament as the backdrop to the stories.
After the tour, we met up with the McLaren tour participants for lunch at Novikov in Mayfair, offering a unique combination of Italian and Japanese cuisine. Then back on the bus for visits to the Eye of London, the Tower of London, and rooftop cocktails at St Dunstan’s overlooking the Tower.
We returned to the hotel tired after a full day of exploring, touring and eating, greeted enthusiastically by Oliver Beckington, the Hotel’s friendly Black Labrador (appropriately named after two bishops who once lived at Dogmersfield Park).