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Top 10 London Department Stores

While there are many brilliant attractions and tourist destinations to enjoy in London, some people are more than happy to come to the English capital for the shopping opportunities. There are many great department stores that are known around the world and if you are looking for guidance in knowing where to shop, here are the top 10 London department stores.

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4 Reasons to Attend London's Embankment Summer Market

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Butterfly Dome at 2016 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

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London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2016

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14 Garden Sculptures from 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The 30 gardens at the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show are the main attraction.They draw you in with their grand design, fantastic colours and most are magical and inspiring.  In total, there are 17 show gardens, six artisan gardens, and seven fresh gardens which showcase the best of garden design and landscape.

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500 Years of Records at the UK Parliamentary Archives

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12 Illuminations from Lumiere London Festival 2016

Lumiere London is a new lights festival produced by Artichoke and supported by the Mayor of London. Bringing together some of the world's most exciting artists working with light, Lumiere London transforms many of London's most iconic streets and building in the West End and King's Cross area. The festival is completely free to attend and was launched on Thursday, 14th January 2016 and will run through Sunday, 17th January 2016. Below are 12 of the illuminations viewed in the West End area for Lumiere London 2016.

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Selfridges 12 Zodiac Inspired Christmas Windows

Major department stores in London give their shop windows a makeover in December to celebrate the festive Christmas season and become retail theatre.  The unveilings are highly anticipated and people often queue for hours waiting for the moment that stores like Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason unveil their Christmas masterpieces.

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8 Christmas Trees Across London

Christmas trees, Christmas lights and festive decorations are seen all across London during December.   It makes the city extremely inviting in the late afternoon and evening for shopping and exploring.  Featured below are 8 Christmas trees across London during this festive season.

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2016 London Calendar With 63 Major Sporting & Cultural Events

London welcomed nearly 18million international visitors in the last 12 months, and this number is expected to increase.  Many visitors come to see the artwork and cultural artifacts at major museums like the British Museum, National Gallery and Natural History Museum.  Others are interested in exploring major attractions like the Tower of London, Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court Palace.  However, an increasing number are visiting London for international sporting and culture events.

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12 Places To Go Ice Skating In London During Festive Season

With the festivities leading up to Christmas in full swing, there are now plenty of opportunities to try ice skating in London. These are some of the popular venues where you can hire skates and have some fun!

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New Winter Trail for Christmas at Kew Gardens

Did you know that Kew Gardens was home to one of the very first decorated Christmas trees in England? It was Queen Charlotte in the 1790s who dressed branches in one of the largest rooms at Kew Palace, and when the tree was lit and all aglitter, the whole court gathered round.

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London 2012 Legacy & Developments For Rio 2016

27 July held a nostalgic frisson for many Blue Badge Tourist Guides. Three years ago Danny Boyle’s diorama of all things British upped the ante for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.  Rio, on the other side of the equator, now has one year to go.

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Rugby World Cup 2015 – The Return Of Home Crowd Advantage

For London 2012 guides, there is now a definite sense of deja vu about Twickenham Stadium. Hospitality suites? Media centres? Opening ceremonies? Closing ceremonies? 18 September sees the opening game at Twickenham of the 8th Rugby World Cup when England takes on Fiji.

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11 Facts About Westminster Abbey

One of the more popular landmarks to tour in London is Westminster Abbey.  In fact, each year, over 1million visitors explore this magnificent church with over 1000 years of heritage, taking in all the building's rich history on their own or with a qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guide.  Below we highlight eleven facts about Westminster Abbey.  

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'Big Push' from School Trips Site for World War One Walks

World War One Walks have now found a natural home on the homepage of School Travel Organiser. “Plenty of teachers found Blue Badge tours a natural fit for their geography and sports history courses in the run-up to 2012.  We’re hoping we can repeat something like that with the Great War,” says Stan Medland, a World War One Walks committee member.

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Blue Badge Tourist Guides Win Award for Houses of Parliament Guided Tours

The Houses of Parliament Visitor Services Department working in conjunction with Tour Guides Limited and their extended team of Blue Badge Tourist Guides recently won the Best Company or Venue Offering Guided Tours at the recently held 2015 UK Group Travel Awards.  

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The Original Judy Dench* - Blue Plaque Unveiled at Horse Guards Hotel

Commander Mansfield Cummings, founding father of the Secret Service, has at last received his Blue Plaque. It was unveiled Monday 30 March, with your correspondent in attendance, not, as I had anticipated at the site of the Cummings’ 1923 death – corner of Melbury Road and Addison Road, W14 – but the site of the first proper SIS office and workshop on top of the National Liberal Office, aka Horse Guards Hotel.

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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Walks & Tours

There is no better time to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park than spring or summer.  The Park opened fully in April 2014 and has since welcomed millions of visitors. It covers 560 acres and people visiting can enjoy the beautiful parklands, idyllic riverside lawns, giant climbing walks and intricate fountains.

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Marking the Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign

There’s a Turkish saying that one disaster is better than 1,000 pieces of advice. Whatever myths created about it in the last 100 years, Gallipoli was a disaster. The Turks won. Gallipoli was the British Empire and France trying to knock Germany’s ally Turkey out of World War One, thereby reducing the pressure on the Allies’ eastern front. As the historians say, “Gallipoli was launched almost casually, into a void, and was doomed to fail.”

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Gay Scandals & Queer London

On a recent education and training session, we met in Piccadilly Circus near the Shaftesbury Memorial and the statue of Eros. Fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Martin Harvey who led the session started off by talking about "meetings", apparently we were in the ideal meeting place! The only challenge for us initially, was that he was talking in another language – "Polori". Once translated, we understood it was the gay version of Cockney Rhyming slang which facilitated secret communications. So we started on the route from Piccadilly through Soho to Chinatown.

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Exploring Brixton

Angela Morgan, our London Blue Badge Tourist Guide for the Brixton walk in December, definitely has the street cred for a walking tour of Brixton, being familiar with not only the people of the area but the kind of fruit, veg, fish and meat you can buy in the market.  We had a great lesson in sweet potatoes, yams, akee and even breadfruit, which was transported on the Bounty by Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian to feed the slaves who were ancestors of many of the current occupants of the area.

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10 Iconic Photo Locations in London

For visitors to London who want to document their trip through photography for sharing on social media or with family and friends back home, here are 10 iconic photo locations around the city. 

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Pancake Day in London

If you are looking for a quintessentially British event in February then you must witness Pancake Day racing.  The old religious festival of Shrove Tuesday is when Christians ate a rich meal using butter and sugar before beginning the fast of Lent.  This day always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9.  This year, Shrove Tuesday will take place on 17th February.

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London's Year Of The Zeppelin

In commemorating of the centenary of the First World War, much of our attention has been focused on the soldiers that fought and died in foreign lands in what was described as a war to end all wars. Simon Rodway’s walking tour from Holborn to Liverpool Street on 11 November  2014 made us look at the events closer to home – the deadly menace that was the Zeppelin air ships that flew almost silently over the London sky in 1915 wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting Londoners below by launching the first of many incendiary bombs here in London and other parts of England. It was to be known as the Year of the Zeppelin. The catastrophe that befell London lasted 20 minutes but our walk would take a little longer.

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The London Eye Is A Top 10 Tourist Attraction

Although it is one of the more recent additions to the array of tourist attractions available in London, the London Eye has become one of the most prominent attractions in the city. The London Eye is a massive Ferris Wheel which is located on the South Bank, right on the River Thames. The London Eye is still something referred to as the Millennium Wheel and over the years it has had a number of different names due to the sponsor of the wheel at the time.

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Top 7 London Museums

There is no shortage of excitement and interesting places to visit while in London, but there is also a great deal of culture. If you are looking to expand your horizons or you are keen to find out more about the world that we live in, you will find that the top London museums will provide you with fascinating insight into the world around us.

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Christmas at Kew 2014: A Glittering New Trail

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December in London

London is a buzz of excitement during the entire month of December.  As by the end of November, most of the major shopping areas have their Christmas lights and shop windows decorated. The remainder turn on their lights early December when there is typically a party in the street as the lights are ceremonially turned on by a celebrity or two! 

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8 Ways to Enjoy London At Christmas

London is a great destination to visit all year round, but there is something magical about the city at Christmas time. The Great British weather doesn’t have too many fans but the crisp nature of a clear Winter’s Day is a thrilling sight (as long as you are properly wrapped up) and there is no shortage of great Christmas London attractions.

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4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London

When it comes to important locations around the world, you cannot go wrong with following guidance from UNESCO, THE United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation. The organisation has listed a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are places that are deemed to be of particular cultural or physical importance.

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London: The Lord Mayor's Show

While there are many popular and well-established events in London, The Lord Mayor's show is one of the best of the annual events held in the English capital. The event can be traced back to the 16th century and the Lord Mayor is the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the historic centre of the wider metropolitan area.

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World War One Walks plans Commemorative ‘big push’

The Blue Badge Tourist Guides' World War One Walks committee is organising more than a dozen events around the middle of November, which will recall the 1914-18 Home Front in London, Windsor, Manchester and Birmingham.

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10 London Markets

There is no shortage of attractions or options to enjoy in London, but one of the most pleasant ways to spend your time is to visit a London market. There is a wide range of London markets to choose from, ensuring that there is something for everyone, and these are the top 10 London markets.

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10 Reasons To Visit London

Given that London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, there is always a reason or excuse to visit the city. No matter what you are interested in, there will be something for you, and this is why the capital of England is regarded as one of the most important cities in the world. In fact, you may find the hardest part of a London vacation is deciding what to see and what to miss out.

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Explore London’s Olympic Park

A series of walking tours has been launched to allow Londoners and tourists from afar to hear about the history of Stratford and how it was transformed to host the world-famous London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Those who join one of these Olympic Park walking tours will take in views of the world-class sporting venues which saw the likes of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Sir Chris Hoy and Sarah Storey win gold.

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7 Additional Walking Tours to Commemorate the 1889 Dockers' Strike

Continuing on with the successful walking tours launched this past summer to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Great Dockers Strike of 1889, UNITE in partnership with The Association of Professional Tourist Guides announces a series of additional walking tours from October 2014 to March 2015. 

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Blue Badge Tourist Guides Lead Unique Walking Tours in East London

A Scottish couple down in London for the day, the Chair of Tower Hamlets Labour Party, a Sri Lankan woman attending a course in London, the UNITE officer for Tilbury dock workers and a German speaking Blue Badge trainee – all came along together with many others, including many Blue Badge Tourist Guides, to the tailor-made walking tours commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Dockers’ Strike in 1889.

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Totally Thames Festival 2014: 2 - 20 September

Be prepared for a large surprise on the Thames River at Nine Elms this September.   What surprise exactly?  Well Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman is preparing his first UK commission.  This will be semi-immersed in the Thames, and will rise and fall with the tide.   Almost certainly it will be large.  Very large.  It is closely under wraps until 2 September, when it will be transported along the Thames, and is likely to be a talking point in the up and coming Vaxhall area.  Hofman is famous for large scaled up sculptures of everyday objects.  Not surprisingly his 26-metre high inflatable “Rubber Duck” has been the focus of much attention in a variety of cities, including Auckland, Sao Paolo and Osaka.

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Open House London 2014

This year’s Open House London programme on 20-21 September sheds light on the latest contemporary architecture, from the newest completed city building The Leadenhall Building (The Cheesegrater”) by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, to Kew House, a striking transformation of a 19th century brick stables into a corteen steel façade.

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Top 10 London Attractions film

Via VisitLondon.com, a fanastic new short film showcasing London's Top 10 Attractions. These include: 1. The British Museum 2. The National Gallery 3. Natural History Museum 4. Tate Modern 5. EDF Energy London Eye 6. Science Museum 7. Victoria and Albert Museum 8. Tower of London 9. Royal Museums Greenwich (Royal Observatory Greenwich, The Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark) 10. Madame Tussauds London

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First World War Walks in Britain

A group of  London Blue Badge Tourist Guides have created a website World War One Walks and a marketing programme to attract people who are interested in learning more about the Great War through walking tours. They have committed to building this initiative across the whole country and for the full five years of centenary commemorations.

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7 Walking Tours to Commemorate the 1889 Dockers' Strike

Walking tours organised by UNITE and led by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides mark a ground breaking moment in history:  The Dockers Strike 12 August - 14 September 1889.  

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Blue Badge Tourist Guides help install ‘Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides are involved in a truly unique art installation to commemorate the start of the First World War.  More than 800,000 ceramic poppies – each representing a British and Colonial military death during the First World War - are being planted in the Tower of London’s dry moat.  When completed on Armistice Day on 11 November 2014, the art installation, titled ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, will include 888,246 poppies.

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Books About Town: Benches inspired by London & iconic books

Books about Town launched in July with benches shaped like open books popping up all over London. The BookBenches feature stories linked to London and are based on a range of iconic books from treasured children’s stories such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Peter Pan to classic adult titles including 1984 and The Day of the Triffids.

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Talking Statues: Picking up the phone to Newton

Talking Statues is a project using playwrights, actors and mobile technology to put words into the mouths of several public statues around London and Manchester. The statues will begin to talk on 19 August and in order to hear them you need to swipe your smartphone over signs beneath the statues. Actors lending their voices to statues include Dominic West as Achilles in Hyde Park, Jeremy Paxman as John Wilkes in Fetter Lane and Patrick Stewart as the unknown soldier at Paddington Station.

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