History, art and culture

Discover Britain's Greatest Political Leaders

Today (7th May 2015) the citizens of the UK go to the polls to vote for their next Government. Britain has a long tradition of choosing strong leaders to run the country - and visitors to the capital can learn more about some of its greatest political leaders as they discover the top London attractions and explore the city. Winston Churchill at the Churchill War Rooms Head for Westminster and explore the Churchill War Rooms - the original Cabinet War Rooms which were the base for Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and his Government during the Second World War. Prime Minister (twice), army officer, artist and Nobel Prize-winning writer, Churchill is revered as one of the greatest-ever Britons. Visitors to the Churchill War Rooms can learn about every stage of his life and career, but the highlight for many is the Transatlantic Telephone Room in which he held regular conversations with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Entry to the Churchill War Rooms is included with the London Pass. The Duke of Wellington at Apsley House Famously known as 'Number 1 London', Apsley House was the home of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington (1769-1752), following his victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. Prime Minister from 1828 to 1830 and again briefly in 1834, Wellington enlarged and enriched Apsley House with a magnificent art collection which can now be enjoyed by visitors. Works by Goya and Rubens, plus mementoes from the Iron Duke's military career are among the highlights. Entry to Apsley House is included with the London Pass. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey at Hampton Court Palace Lord Chancellor and chief minister for 15 years, Cardinal Wolsey (1473-1530) was England's most powerful man during the reign of Henry VIII - with the sole exception of the King himself. In 1514 Wolsey acquired Hampton Court Palace, transforming it into a home of such magnificence that it eclipsed Henry's own palaces. Despite many subsequent works, one of the best surviving parts of Wolsey's Hampton Court is Base Court, the vast outer courtyard he built to house his guests. Entry to Hampton Court Palace is included with the London Pass. Margaret Thatcher at the Imperial War Museum Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was the 'Iron Lady' people either loved or hated. Her hard-line approach made Mrs Thatcher a rich source of satire for TV's Spitting Image - an iconic 1980s British comedy show using puppet caricatures of celebrities. The increasingly and hilariously ruthless puppet Thatcher was a regular character on the show, and now visitors to the Imperial War Museum can see this version of Britain's only female Prime Minister in all its comical glory. London Pass holders receive a free guidebook when visiting the Imperial War Museum. Mrs Thatcher's caricature puppet is not the only amusing political story to be found on the London Pass - the Imperial War Museum is home to a morale-boosting plywood figure of First World War Prime Minister David Lloyd George clutching munitions under each arm! Or why not visit the National Portrait Gallery and see the infra-red portrait of controversial Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell which was deliberately over-painted with an image of one of his political rivals?

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