The Dialogue Society launched its London Trips project with an enjoyable and eye-opening excursion with a group of nine community leaders from South London. The one-day London trip aimed to explore the diverse historical and religious heritage of London through visits to important cultural, historical and religious sites. The group visited St Paul’s cathedral before walking along the South Bank, admiring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Millennium Bridge, the Central Mosque and the Tate Modern. After a visit to a range of exhibitions in the British museum, the day ended with a meal which gave the group the opportunity to discuss the sites they had seen and share what they had learned during the trip. The participants were keen to involve as many other groups as possible in the project, offering them the opportunity to better understand the historic city in which they live.
About London Trips
Dialogue Society London Trips provide participants with an opportunity to visit a range of significant cultural, religious and historic sites, sharing as a group a vivid experience of the rich heritage and eclectic contemporary life of an exceptionally multicultural city. In addition, trips include visits to relevant NGOs, think tanks and groups working on diversity and dialogue providing participants the opportunity to discuss a range of pertinent issues. These trips target Londoners who may have had little opportunity for this kind of exploration, as well as visitors from elsewhere in the UK and from abroad. The experience is intended to encourage a positive appreciation of the cultural and religious diversity that makes this fascinating city what it is and thereby contribute towards developing an appreciation for each other and the need for greater integration and cohesion. It is also hoped that it will encourage a sense of belonging and of pride among diverse Londoners.
Trips for London participants last one day, while visitors from further afield spend 2-3 days exploring the city. Groups range in size from four people to a maximum of fifteen. Trips are customised according to the interests and needs of the particular group. The focus of the trips is on visits to diverse sites of cultural, religious, historic and architectural interest as well as workshops and meetings with relevant NGOs, think tanks and groups in the city. Trips end in a de-briefing session over a meal or refreshments which gives participants time and space to discuss their experiences and to offer critical feedback on their trip.
London Trips Aims and Objectives
- To develop an appreciation of diverse cultures in a cosmopolitan City
- To explore cultural, historical and architectural landmarks in London
- To educate participants about different cultures and religions
- To develop an appreciation for diversity and need for greater dialogue and integration
- To help instil a sense of citizenship for UK participants
- To promote understanding and goodwill between various communities
Who Are London Trips For?
The trips target various types of people who may particularly benefit from interacting with different cultural and religious communities in London:
- People living in London who have had limited opportunities to explore its cultural, religious and historic sites
- People from communities that tend to be insular
- UK black and ethnic minority communities
- People who have had limited access to cultural experiences
- Mixed groups of different backgrounds, who are invited to get to know the city and each other through the trips
- Overseas groups interested in exploring British values and approaches to diversity.
During the 19th century, London was transformed into the world’s largest city and the capital of the British Empire. It became a global political, financial and trading capital and consequently a natural centre for all kinds of intercultural exchange. Today’s city (according to the European Commission’s statistical information service, Eurostat) has the largest population of any city in the European Union. And great waves of migration in the course of the 20th century have made that population ever more diverse.
A 2005 survey of the city’s ethnic and religious diversity suggested that more than 300 languages were spoken in London and that there were over 50 non-indigenous communities of more than 10,000 people. Over a third of Londoners were born outside the UK according to 2010 estimates from the Office for National Statistics. The city’s largest minorities have their roots in countries as diverse as India, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Bangladesh and Nigeria. About a quarter of the city’s huge student population comes from abroad, adding to the extensive exchange of ideas constantly occurring here (HESA, 2010). A multitude of religious faiths are represented in London’s places of worship. According to the 2001 Census, the largest religious group are Christians, followed by those of no religion, Muslims (8.5 per cent), Hindus (4.1 percent), Jews (2.1 per cent), and Sikhs (1.5 per cent), Buddhists (0.8 per cent).
London’s history has made it one of the best places in the world to explore how people of diverse cultures and religions have existed, and continue to exist, together. The trips aim to inspire interest in this fascinating story of coexistence and in the richness and the challenges that diversity can bring.
London Trip costs are subsidised by the Dialogue Society. The attendance fee payable by participants for the London Trips covers the entrance fee for sites, travel and lunch. It is a minimal amount determined by the particular itinerary and length of the trip. No additional fee is payable. For a typical one day London Trip the cost per person is £40.00.