BeiBei Wang performing at Chinese New Year party

A Visit to the Foreign Office

14th May 24

Written by Caspar, Y5

In March 2024, C and E from Year 5 went to visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in Westminster. The Foreign Office is responsible for representing and promoting British interests worldwide.

It is located near 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister (Rishi Sunak) lives. They visited the former India Office, the largest quarter of the Office.


The Foreign Office was designed by Sir Gilbert George Scott who also designed the Houses of Parliament.  The Foreign Office opened in 1868 as a finished building. However, it had been open before then for 80 years. In the 1900s, only men were allowed to be diplomats. A diplomat is a person appointed by a national government to conduct negotiations and maintain political and social relations with other countries).


There are 4 sections in the Foreign Office: The former India Office (the one we visited, the oldest and the grandest), the Home Office, the Foreign Office (how can there be a Foreign Office in a Foreign Office?!) and the former Colonial Office.

We were shown around by Sarah Lingard OBE, who is Deputy Director, Delivery, Projects & Consultancy – what a long job title!


Rooms we visited

There are two main rooms we visited: The Map Room and The Locarno Room. First, the Map Room. As you can guess, it contains all the maps you could think of! They are kept in thin but long boxes with golden engravings in them. In fact, this room used to be the Colonial Office when Britain had an empire.

Next, the Locarno Suite. It is used for meetings frequently and we were lucky enough for it to be empty so we visited it. The first room of this suite is called The Locarno Room. It is a very large meeting room in which the Foreign Secretary David Cameron sometimes gives speeches to visitors. There are two other beautiful rooms in the suite which are the Dining Room and the Conference Room.

[The podium in Durbar Court]

End of the tour

At the end of the tour, we met an FCDO Senior Press Officer who asked us some tricky questions which were usually interview questions for the jobs in the Foreign Office. It is going to be a while before E and I are able to apply for even the easiest jobs here, although I am sure our ability to speak Mandarin (thank you KW) will make us good candidates! After that we left and discovered some undercover security workers, or at least that’s what they told us.

You can do a virtual tour of the FCDO here or keep an eye out of the annual Open House London when many beautiful public buildings, including the FCDO are open to the public.

A final thank you to Sarah Lingard for giving us this amazing opportunity!

Get in Touch
Fulham Palace Road, London W6 9ER