Day Six – Epic Odyssey
Today, the group is diverging in two directions. Thanks to Greg and Stacy, some of the group head off to the 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, the rest of us embark 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 spectacular architectural design of the building. Upon entering, you proceed down the ‘Boulevard’ lined by McLaren race cars and trophies, until you reach the final unveiling of the showroom, filled with their all-carbon-fiber high-performance automobiles. Truly a ‘maximum impact’ customer experience. The tour is hosted by John Allert, Group Brand Director, and Amanda McLaren, the founder’s daughter. Alan Foster, Executive Director of Manufacturing, offers insights into the workings of the Production Center and then we have brunch with Rob Melville, Chief Designer Sport Series, and Dan Parry Williams, Chief Designer Composites. The experience is amazing!
Highlights of the London Tour: Our first stop is a private tour of Parliament, which is unusually busy for a Monday. After a tight security screening process, we enter 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 have occurred in this hall, including the dramatic trials of Scotsman William Wallace (otherwise known as Braveheart) and Sir Thomas More, both of whom were condemned to death. The tour continues 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, later that evening we find out that while we were touring Parliament, the next Prime Minister of Britain was determined when the opponent to Theresa May withdrew from the race.
After the tour, we meet up with the McLaren group 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, followed by rooftop cocktails at St. Dunstan’s overlooking the Tower. We return 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).