Search Results

Blog Posts

Tutankhamun Exhibition London At Saatchi Gallery - Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

To celebrate the upcoming centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of the young Egyptian Pharoah, the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharoah exhibition runs at the Saatchi Gallery in the Duke of York HQ until 3 May next year.

Read more

Celebrating English Writer George Eliot 200 Years After Her Birth

Blue Badge Tourist Guides are used to standing in front of statues and telling their groups about the people portrayed in them. The subjects of these statues are far more likely to be men, with only about ten percent portraying women – and most of those are of royalty, such as Queen Victoria. Britain has produced a large number of successful female writers but there are very few monuments to commemorate them.

Read more

American Football in London - NFL Games in London

Blue Badge Tourist Guides often have to take sporting parties around during the course of their work. Visiting cricket and rugby teams bring groups of supporters with them while golfing tours are a mainstay of the industry. American football has now arrived in the capital with the National Football League playing four matches in the NFL London games series. Every NFL team apart from the Green Bay Packers has now played at least one competitive game in London.

Read more

William Blake In London - Largest Exhibition Opens at Tate Britain

A phrase which many Blue Badge Tourist Guides use, particularly when taking people outside London, is ‘England’s green and pleasant land.’ It comes from William Blake’s famous poem Jerusalem which is often sung as a hymn on patriotic occasions, most recently at the Last Night of the Proms, the series of classical music concerts held every summer at the Royal Albert Hall.

Read more

10 Facts About Highclere Castle Featured In Downton Abbey TV Show

Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know about television series and films because these do so much to encourage visitors to come to London and the United Kingdom. The most popular series on mainstream television in recent years has been Downton Abbey which was filmed at the home of the Earl of Carnarvon in Hampshire, Highclere Castle.

Read more

Notting Hill Carnival 2019

The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street festival in Europe and originated in 1964 as a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. Taking place every August Bank Holiday weekend in the streets of London W11, the Notting Hill Carnival is an amazing array of sounds, colourful sights, and social solidarity.

Read more

50 Years After The Famous Beatles Abbey Road Crossing Photograph

It was around 11:30 in the morning of the 8th August 1969 when Iain MacMillan took a photograph of John, Paul, George and Ringo crossing the most famous pedestrian crossing in London – and probably the world. This was in Abbey Road just outside the studio where the Beatles made their records. It remains one of the most iconic album covers of all time and is imitated by around half a million people every year.

Read more

Tower Bridge In London Celebrates 125 Year Anniversary

Every Blue Badge Tourist Guide in London knows the difference between London Bridge and Tower Bridge – but not all their clients do. London Bridge is on the site of the original Roman crossing of the River Thames. Rebuilt several times, the current London Bridge was opened by the Queen in 1973 when the previous one proved not strong enough to carry the heavy traffic crossing it.

Read more

Swan Upping: Counting the Crown’s Swans On The River Thames

Since time immemorial, the Vintners’ and Dyers’ companies, livery companies of the City of London, have shared the ownership of mute swans on the River Thames, along with the Sovereign. During July, the Queen’s Swan Marker, accompanied by the Vintners’ Swan Marker and Dyers’ Bargemaster, spend five days travelling 79 miles along the Thames.

Read more

Attending Royal Ascot And Exploring Windsor Castle

The highlight of the summer horse racing calendar is undoubtedly the Royal Meeting at Ascot, attended every day by Her Majesty the Queen. At the time of writing (late May) there were still some tickets available from £37. This year’s Royal Ascot will be held on 18th to 22nd June 2019.

Read more

11 Restaurants For Brunch In London

There’s no doubt that going to brunch can be the highlight of a great weekend. Like with many culinary traditions, the origins of the meal called brunch aren’t entirely clear. Some food historians suggest it may have sprung from huge feasts held in England after a hunt. (We do know that the word first appeared in print in an 1895 Hunter's Weekly article.) Others think it may relate to the big meal Catholics would have after mass.

Read more

Stanley Kubrick Exhibition At The Design Museum In London

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides usually have a working knowledge of film releases and locations, particularly anything to do with those highly successful franchises Harry Potter and James Bond. However, the director Stanley Kubrick, who began life in the Bronx and ended up living in Britain, could never be pigeon-holed or defined by a franchise.

Read more

Memorial At Westminster Abbey For Major John Andre - An Officer, A Gentleman And A Spy

Westminster Abbey has over 3,000 burials and memorials within its precincts, commemorating royalty, poets, scientists, politicians, musicians and more. Booking a Westminster Abbey Tour with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide is a great way to learn about some fascinating features in the church that may go unnoticed by most visitors.

Read more

Fish And Chips: A British Love Affair

Think of classic British food, and you probably think of fish and chips, one of the most popular and famous national dishes. What you may not know is that the origins of the dish stretch beyond our shores. The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th-century in either Belgium or France – there are differing opinions – and fried fish was introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has been a royal residence for over 300 years and is now the London home to Prince Harry, Prince William, Catherine Middleton and the young Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Although their residence is private, a large part of Kensington Palace is open to the public to explore the lives of past royal residents, and visit the historic rooms that have shaped a nation. Below you'll find 10 top facts about Kensington Palace.

Read more

London Is The Perfect Summer Destination

Summer is always a spectacular time of year to visit London and the rest of the United Kingdom. This year is no exception and here are five great reasons to visit over the next few months.

Read more

Where To Find The Best Ice Cream In London

Touring London is a great way to top up your step count and burn off calories. So why not reward yourself for all that hard work? Blue Badge Tourist Guides know where to go for the tastiest treats, and nothing beats ice cream on a warm day. In no particular order, here are some of the best ice cream shops in the capital, tried and tested by this Blue Badge Tourist Guide (well someone had to do it).

Read more

Leonardo da Vinci In London - 500 Years On From His Death

This year marks 500 years since the death of the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci in May 1519. Although he was born in the heart of Tuscany in Italy, Leonardo had a profound influence on art the world over. You can see evidence of this right here in London. Leonardo's image features in mosaics decorating the National Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. We are also lucky to have several works in London by the great master. These display not only his creative genius but also his intellect and huge appetite for knowledge.

Read more

Vincent van Gogh And Britain Exhibition At Tate Britain Museum In London

London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides often take their groups around the city's art galleries and are trained to be familiar with the works of major painters. One of these is Vincent van Gogh. Many of us know a few famous facts about the Dutch post-Impressionist -- he only sold one painting during his life; he cut off his ear and later committed suicide. Brilliant artist, unstable person is the general view of Vincent van Gogh.

Read more

10 Events During England’s Summer Social Season

"The Season" always fascinates visitors to England. An endless whirl of summer events where it's just as important who to be seen with as to actually have fun. We asked Sophie Campbell, Blue Badge Tourist Guide and author of The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season to give us her unique perspective on this most English of traditions.

Read more

A Game of Thrones - Based On A True Story(?)

All around the world, fans of the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones eagerly await the eighth and final season airing later this month. Season seven left everyone on the edge of their seats, with the fate of Westeros hanging in the balance and many questions left unanswered. Will Cersei get her comeuppance? Who will triumph in the ultimate showdown between the living and the Night King, his deathly hoard of wights in tow? And, err, what happens when loved-up Jon Snow and Daenerys the Dragon Queen find out that she’s actually his aunt?

Read more

Best Places To Stop And Catch Your Breath Along The London Marathon Route

The London Marathon starts and finishes in two of London’s most beautiful areas. The starting point is a wide-open expanse of grassland lined by historic houses and cottages on the edge of the pretty village of Blackheath itself. The London marathon route then winds its way past some of our most recognised historic sites, and some of its newer attractions, before finishing near to Buckingham Palace on The Mall.

Read more

A Tale Of Three Paintings – Where To Start At The National Gallery In London

When visitors come to London’s National Gallery it is an overload to the senses. There are so many styles, so many characters, so many stories. There is too much to take in! Well, let me tell you where you might start…. As the famous song says… ‘Start at the very beginning…!’ When entering via the modern Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery you are introduced to some of the earliest paintings.

Read more

7 Sites Connected To David Bowie In London

Blue Badge Tourist Guides in London are expected to know their history and knowledge of the major sites associated with popular singers is now also a part of our job. For example, sites connected with the iconic singer David Bowie in London have joined the famous pedestrian crossing used by the Beatles in Abbey Road as places to visit.

Read more

St Patrick’s Day in London

March will see the feast days of two of the UK’s patron saints: St David of Wales on the 1st and St Patrick of Ireland on the 17th.  St David’s day will see a banquet in the evening at the Guildhall and attended by Mayor of London. St Patrick’s Day, on the other hand, will see a huge procession from Green Park to Trafalgar Square on Sunday the 19th starting at noon and an event in the square that will go on all day.

Read more

Parallels With The Queens of England And Scotland On Our Screens

This year in 2019, we are enthralled with two stunning films about three Queens who ruled England and Scotland between the 16th and 18th Centuries: the Scottish Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I in ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ and Queen Anne in ’The Favourite.’

Read more

5 Romantic Things To Do in London

You don't have to wait for Valentine's Day to plan a romantic day or  vacation in London. You also don't need to limit yourself to traditional romantic gestures such as cards, flowers, chocolates and candlelight dinners while in London. You can create a more memorial experience by exploring and experiencing the best that London has to offer with your significant other.  With this in mind, below are 5 suggestions of romantic things to do in London.

Read more

3 Famous Fires That Altered The London Skyline

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides often talk about the construction of new buildings when they conduct their tours. However, this is often preceded by destruction, the most common cause being fire. They start as small acts of carelessness and end up altering the London skyline.  Below are three famous fires in our history stand out.

Read more

The Best View of Greenwich And Off-Beat Places In London's Docklands

Where is the best view in London? There are many contenders. Some would say the view of the Houses of Parliament from Lambeth Bridge, others the sight of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the City of London from Waterloo Bridge.

Read more

5 Famous Cats in London

A themed walking tour for the family around London can be great fun with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Guides can use great creativity to design a tour to match your needs and interests as part of our Specialist Tours. Here is an example: Does your family love cats? Let’s go on a feline-themed walking tour in search of famous cats in London.

Read more

Celebrating the Chinese New Year in London

The wonderful Christmas lights in Central London are coming down, and red lanterns are beginning to appear around Soho and in particular Chinatown. This is part of the celebration for Chinese New Year which is also known as the Spring Festival. This year it falls on the 28th January, the first day of spring in the lunisolar calendar.

Read more

I Am Ashurbanipal Exhibition at the British Museum in London

The British Museum is truly a world museum with collections ranging from Africa, Oceania and the Americas to The Middle East, Ancient Greece and Rome to Asia and back to Britain and Europe.

Read more

‘The Favourite,’ the latest film about a British Monarch, but who was Queen Anne of Great Britain & Ireland?

‘The Favourite’ is an unconventional period comedy set in early 18th century England. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, it hits our British screens on 1st January 2019.

Read more

Stand Up For Handel - The Hallelujah Chorus

Christmas is upon us and many people – both locals and visitors – will go either to a church or concert hall to experience a performance of the Messiah written by George Frederick Handel, which is a highlight of the festive season. The Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and soon came to London.

Read more

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

For many Londoners, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting ceremony along with carol singing marks the start of the countdown to Christmas. This year the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree was officially lit on 6 December by the Mayor of Westminster, the Norwegian Ambassador and the governing Mayor of Oslo.

Read more

William Shakespeare's Globe Theatre In London Comes Of Age

Besides the usual well-known places such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are sometimes asked to include in their tour a visit to sites such as William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Read more

P. G. Wodehouse To Be Honoured At Westminster Abbey, Britain’s National Church

Read more

8 London Christmas Markets

Looking to get into the festive spirit while also shopping for some unique Christmas gifts? Then consider visiting one of London’s Christmas markets. From large German Christmas markets such as Winter Wonderland and the South Bank to smaller Christmas fairs, these 8 markets are perfect for your Christmas shopping needs.

Read more

Skating in London – 5 Open Air Ice Rinks To Enjoy Over The Christmas And New Year

Christmas festivities in Central London usually start with the putting up of Christmas lights in the major shopping areas. But nowadays, the laying out of ice rinks in popular tourist attractions makes the visitor experience much more fun. Here are 5 places where you can enjoy skating in London with amazing scenic views.

Read more

The World's Most Famous Radio Broadcast Delivered by King Edward VIII

On the evening of 11 December 1936 King Edward VIII, having reigned for only 327 days, informed the world that he had abdicated in favour of his younger brother, who became King George VI. In his famous broadcast from Windsor Castle he said to the world: “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Read more

Pantomime – A Traditional British Christmas Treat For All The Family

Would you like to go to a theatre where you were allowed to shout back at the actors on the stage? The opportunity to do so comes between November running all the way through Christmas until the start of the New Year when Pantomimes take place in many village halls and theatres across the United Kingdom.

Read more

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.

Read more

5 Reasons To Visit London During The Christmas Holidays

Christmas is a magical time of year to be visiting London. There are spectacular decorations everywhere and people are generally in a festive mood. Here are some of our favourite seasonal experiences which are all great reasons to visit London during the Christmas holidays.

Read more

History of Armistice Day – 100 Years Since The Great War Ended

Blue Badge Tourist Guides taking groups around London and throughout Britain at this time of year will often be asked by visitors about the red poppies which British people are wearing. These commemorate those who were killed in the First and Second World Wars and in other conflicts, the United Kingdom has been involved during the last century. The poppy appeal raises around £50 million every, the money going to service charities.

Read more

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Red Poppy Flower

Each year,  millions of red poppy flowers are distributed across the United Kingdom leading up to Remembrance Sunday. Held on the second Sunday each November, Remembrance Sunday commemorates the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. With that in mind, below are ten things you might not know about the red poppy flower.

Read more

King Henry I of England, The Forgotten Monarch

There have been eight kings of England called Henry and maybe the least well known was the first to hold that name. King Henry I of England was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and, as such, would not have been expected to come to the throne. Nevertheless, when his brother, the little-loved William Rufus died in a suspiciously convenient hunting accident in the New Forest, Henry was ready to quickly claim the crown and dashed up to London for a quick coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Read more

Top 10 Things To See In London's Royal Parks

London is blessed with numerous green parks and gardens, most importantly the eight main Royal Parks, from the central London Parks of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park and Green Park to those further out such as Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Greenwich Park. These are often called “London’s Lungs” and are a green haven for Londoners and visitors alike.

Read more

The National Army Museum In London

The newly opened National Army Museum in Chelsea area of London tells the story of the British army over the past 400 years. It is felt that many people know little about what the army does, let alone the soldier’s real experience now or in the past. The museum seeks to bridge the gap between the army and British society.

Read more

6 Quirky & Historic London Pubs

At the last count there were around 7000 pubs in London. Of course all of them are individual and have their own style. But of all of these, where are the pubs that have something about their history or atmosphere that sets them apart?

Read more

Faces Of The Bard - What Did Shakespeare Look Like?

Most of us think that we know what this most famous poet and playwright William Shakespeare looked like. Our image of him comes from the portrait in the First Folio of his plays, a rather mediocre woodcut by Martin Droeshout, which nevertheless gave a fair likeness, according to his contemporary, friend and rival Ben Jonson.

Read more

Bloomberg Building & London Mithraeum Museum

London is growing skywards. With the high rental price for offices and a lack of space in the ‘square mile’ of the old City of London going up is the only practical alternative. Because of the soft clay in which London was built the maximum height of a skyscraper in the city used to be around 600 feet (200 metres) but new technology allows architects to design buildings – such as Enzo Piano’s The Shard – which are around 1000 feet (300 metres) high with further high rise structures being built and planned for the future.

Read more

Visiting The Postal Museum In London

The Postal Museum was the only finalist in the 2018 Museum of the Year shortlist to be located in London. Although the postal service has been operating for 500 years, The Postal Museum in London only opened its doors in its present form a year ago in Phoenix Place near the Mount Pleasant sorting office, where modern postal vans can still be seen dispatching mail.

Read more

Up Close With Yeoman Warders aka Beefeaters At Tower Of London

As Blue Badge Tourist Guides we often take our clients into the Tower of London as much as – or more than – any other building in London. With this in mind, it is important to develop a good relationship with those who live and work there. In the case of the Tower of London, these are the famous Yeoman Warders, commonly but unofficially known as ‘Beefeaters’.

Read more

300th Anniversary of William Penn's Death

This year sees the three hundredth anniversary of the death of William Penn and London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are conducting tours themed on the great Quaker and one of the few individuals to have an American state named after him – Pennsylvania. The name comes from that of the Penn family combined with the word ‘sylvania’, which means ‘woodland’. There is also an English village of that name which tour groups pass through when returning from one of the most popular day trips from London to Bath and Stonehenge.

Read more

Royal Babies – Joy, Hope & Stability

On 23rd April 2018, Prince Louis Arthur Charles was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital located in the Paddington are in London. This is a most auspicious date, as it is the Feast of St George, patron saint of England. It is also traditionally the birthday of our most famous writer William Shakespeare.

Read more

London’s Longest Running West End Theatre Shows

London's Blue Badge Tourist Guides often have to take groups to West End theatre shows and, even if they do not do this regularly, it is a good idea to know what is running in Theatreland in order to advise people. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to see which were the longest running shows on the London stage. I wonder if we are now reaching the stage of the permanent play - as much a part of the London tourist scene as the Changing of the Guard.

Read more

Exploring London's Four Inns of Court & The Royal Court of Justice

Rising elegantly above the River Thames halfway between the Tower of London and Big Ben is the Temple. Inner and Middle Temples, and beyond them Lincoln’s and Gray’s Inns make up the four Inns of Court. Here are time-forgotten havens of shady courtyards, scented gardens, and spooky gas-lit passageways. For hundreds of years, lawyers in their chambers and courtrooms have beavered away, crafting and refining the Common Law.

Read more

Tracey Emin LED Sculpture At Saint Pancras International Station in London

People entering the interior of Saint Pancras can now see a new LED sculpture by Tracey Emin, a twenty-metre message in bright pink saying “I want my time with you.”  Emin is a notorious and controversial modern British artist, whose most famous work is probably her bed, which she put on display at the Tate Gallery surrounded by empty vodka bottles and used condoms.

Read more

Trooping the Colour - A Royal Birthday Parade

Many of us would love to have a birthday parade with marching bands and soldiers perfectly turned out displaying their marching skills.

Read more

The birth of London's Museum Quarter in South Kensington

South Kensington in London is synonymous with museums. Three of our best known national museums can be found here: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, known affectionately to many as The V&A.

Read more

Filling The Most Famous Empty Space In London - Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth

Blue Badge Tourist Guides who take their groups through the British Museum will often stop to point out some massive Assyrian sculptures before moving on to the nearby Parthenon Marbles. These represent the half-lion half-man figures guarding the entrance to the royal palace of King Ashurnasirpal the Second and were built in the ninth century BC. Now they can point out a modern version of the same creatures made from date syrup cans standing right in the centre of London – on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square.

Read more

A Starter's Guide to London Football

London is a city in the love, yes truly, madly, deeply in love with football!  We are of course talking here of the game us Brits know of as football. Not futbol, not association rules, and absolutely, definitely, 100%, not soccer. In our game the ball is round, the officials are referees, the offence is the attack, periods are called halves and the fans eat pies with brown sauce, ketchup and scolding-hot meat of mysterious content. And yes, London loves it!

Read more

A Chapel Fit For A Royal Wedding - St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

The world will be watching next spring when Prince Henry of Wales KCVO, familiarly known as Prince Harry, marries the American actress Meghan Markle. With interest on both sides of the Atlantic, the royal wedding will be held on Saturday, 19th May 2018 not at Westminster Abbey in Central London where Prince Harry's brother Prince William, Duke of Cambridge was married, but at St. George's Chapel.

Read more

Take A Walk On The Wildside And Discover Top 10 Things To See In London's East End

Think you've seen all there is in London? Well, think again! Just step east over the border from the Financial City and you'll find another world of contrasts reflecting the waves of immigrant workers who have passed through over the centuries. My top ten list of things to see in London's East End will take you on a journey of atmospheric Georgian and Victorian streets, bustling markets, great nightlife, and some historic villains. Enjoy!

Read more

Top 10 Things to See at the Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum presents London's greatest collection of military arms and hardware. Famed for its tanks, aircraft, and weapons, the museum also reveals and reflects on the rich personal tales and first-hand accounts of British and Commonwealth involvement in 20th and 21st Century conflicts all around the world. Visit the Imperial War Museum with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide to discover their stories and touch the hand of military history.

Read more

Top 10 Reasons Why A Tour of Tate Britain In London Should Be On Your Bucket List

The art-loving and generous founder of the Tate, sugar magnate Henry Tate, collected contemporary British art. He knew what he liked; pictures (some say sentimental) that told a story, animal subjects, and landscapes. He bought works by Millais, Stanhope Forbes, and Luke Fildes, displayed in his own gallery at Park Hill. However, intellectuals sneered at his taste. Resolved to found a public gallery of British art with his own pictures, the gallery finally opened in 1897.

Read more

10 Facts About William Blake And The Poem Jerusalem

Most English people are familiar with the song Jerusalem which is a kind of unofficial national anthem for England - as opposed to God Save the Queen which is the official anthem for the United Kingdom as a whole. The words were written by the poet and painter William Blake, one of the great English eccentrics, a born and bred Londoner.

Read more

Top 10 Things To Do In Notting Hill

The neighbourhood of Notting Hill in London today is a vibrant, exuberant and colourful reflection of its heady, diverse, rich and multi-cultural past. An eclectic mix of people, places and attitudes give this affluent and fashionable area a unique vibe, combining both the bohemian and the traditional. International financial traders rub shoulders with artists, musicians and writers in the many coffee shops, bars, and restaurants or behind handsome stucco-fronted pillar-porched houses, pretty mews dwellings and of course, regular flats.

Read more

Ahead of the Pack: 6 of London's Top Dogs

Chinese New Year has arrived and as London celebrates the Year of the Dog with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia, my thoughts turned to this city's longstanding love affair with man's best friend, the dog. There's a lot of puppy love in the Great British capital - a phenomenal 200,000 dogs and counting call London home.  That's almost twice the size of the population of Reykjavik! 

Read more

Top 10 Interesting Facts About Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 at Portsmouth and was one of the first world superstars both in his own lifetime and ever since. He was recognised not only in Great Britain as a great writer but abroad, particularly France and the United States where he travelled extensively. He emerged as a writer in a stratospheric way in 1836, with Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist.

Read more

Churchill War Rooms: The Nerve Centre of Resistance

The recent release of the Winston Churchill movie, Darkest Hour has brought one of London's most popular tourist attractions into even sharper focus. The movie, in which Gary Oldman brilliantly captures the look, mannerisms and voice of Britain's great wartime leader, is largely set in the Churchill War Rooms.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About The Changing Of The Guard Ceremony

Elite soldiers from 5 infantry and 2 cavalry regiments have been guarding the Monarch since 1660. These 7 regiments are called the Household Division. The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace and St James Palace is a time honoured symbol of the British monarchy and a great example of British pomp and ceremony.

Read more

10 Things That May Surprise You About London's West End - Theatreland

London is a "world class" city on many levels, and attracts visitors for a wide variety of reasons, and none more so than for its theatrical reputation, credentials and concentration of West End theatres, known as "Theatreland." Today there are well over sixty theatres both large and small located in a fairly tight geographical area.

Read more

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle - A Thoroughly Modern Royal Marriage?

For some it came as a surprise that Prince Harry of Wales should choose Meghan Markle, an American 'commoner', as his bride, for others who know Prince Harry well, then maybe less so.

Read more

The British Library in London: The World's Collective Memory

London is the link that unites all of us who were rocked in the soft cradle of the English language or first slept on its comfortable cushions at a later age. Our shared language is the tie that binds everyone reading this, and the capital is our tongue's birthplace. At its heart is the British Library, which automatically receives a copy of everything published in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Read more

The New American Embassy in London is Now Open

Blue Badge Tourist Guides, when they conduct a tour of London, often take the time to show their groups buildings and places which remind them of their own countries. This is a way of connecting with the group and makes them feel at home -even though they may be thousands of miles from where they actually live.

Read more

King Henry VIII And His Six Wives: What Happened To Them And Why?

Despite his long reign, King Henry VIII is remembered mainly for two things: for marrying six wives and for setting in motion a chain of events that would lead to England’s break with the Catholic Church and the start of the English Reformation.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About The Cotswolds, An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the West of England

The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the west of England and is a popular place for tourists to visit. It is full of charming English towns and quaint villages built using honey coloured stone. Driving through the traditional rolling English countryside is a treat in itself and is more enjoyable when accompanied by a Blue Badge Tourist Guide.

Read more

The Queen Of Crime, Agatha Christie in London

Who is the best-selling writer in history after Shakespeare and the Bible? The answer is Agatha Christie who was born in Devon in 1890 but whose stories often feature London and who wrote what is the capital’s (and the world’s) longest-running play The Mousetrap, which is still playing at Saint Martin’s theatre sixty-five years after it opened. One of the original cast was the late Sir Richard Attenborough, who was paid partly with a share of rights from the play. These were never expected to be worth much but later in his career he was able to sell them to help finance his film about the life of Mahatma Gandhi starring Sir Ben Kingsley.

Read more

5 Fun Ideas for New Year in London

The end of December through January is a fun time to be in London.  Christmas may have passed but the atmosphere is still quite festive and there are loads of events to ring in the New Year and get you excited about the start of the year.   Below are some of the major events and activities to entice you to plan a visit to our fair capital London -  recently ranked #1 on the list of the world's best city for 2018.

Read more

Winnie The Pooh & Paddington - Britain's Best Loved Bears

Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to keep up with the latest cinema releases in order to make their tours relevant and up-to-date. One of the most interesting and popular films to come out this year was Goodbye Christopher Robin, the story of the creation of our best-loved bear Winnie the Pooh.  His position though may be threatened by Paddington, created by the late Michael Bond and also the subject of a recent film Paddington 2 which is currently doing good business at the box office.

Read more

A Dickens Of A Christmas in London

More than anyone else, Charles Dickens invented the British Christmas with A Christmas Carol, his story about Ebeneezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. This book was first published in 1843 and has been adapted for stage and screen many times. Now a new film and exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum London celebrate this famous story.

Read more

25 Years Since Windsor Castle Fire

One question Blue Badge Tourist Guides always seem to be asked when they take groups to Windsor Castle is “where did the fire take place?” It took place twenty-five years ago this month on 20 November 1992 on the Queen and Prince Philip’s forty fifth wedding anniversary during what the Queen later referred to as her “annus horriblis”, when the marriages of three of her children came to an end and the oldest royal home was engulfed in flames.

Read more

National Football League (NFL) International Series In London

Here in London we feel very privileged to have hosted the National Football League (NFL) games now since 2007, known as the International Series. At first it was just one game each year. The Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium on October 28, 2007. The Giants defeated the Dolphins 13–10 in the first regular season NFL game held outside North America. The first 40,000 tickets sold out for the game in the first 90 minutes of sales, and mainly to British and other Europeans.

Read more

5 Posh Shops on St. James's Street in London

Since 1661, St. James's Street in London has been a go to destination for luxury retailing. Many of the posh shops on the street originally catered to the clientele from some of London's best-known gentlemen's clubs on the same street, including Brooks's, the Carlton Club and White's.  Now St. James's Street in London is world famous and a go to place for top of the range products and services offered with traditional English flare. With that in mind, below are 5 of the posh shops on St. James's Street in London.

Read more

Meeting The Raven Master at Tower of London

A group of Guide London Blue Badge Tourist Guides recently had the privilege of going “behind the scenes” at the Tower of London, on a warm, witty and informative tour hosted by Chief Raven Master, Chris Skaife. Below is an account of the tour.

Read more

Britain's Changing Money

The new £10 is the second plastic or polymer note issued by the Bank of England and features a portrait of Jane Austen. It follows the introduction of the first polymer note in September 2016, a fiver with a picture of Winston Churchill and an extract from his famous speech: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat, tears and toil.’ The new twenty-pound note, with a portrait of a young J. M. W. Turner and a version of his painting of the Fighting Temeraire in the background will be released in March 2020. As yet no decision on a polymer fifty-pound note has been made and who would feature on it.

Read more

Tracing The Tower Of London Poppies

Who can forget the wonderful site of the 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies by the artist Paul Cummins filling the moat of the Tower of London and cascading down the walls and over the drawbridge area three years ago? Created to represent every British fatality during WWI and to remember the 100 years since the outbreak of war ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, grew daily, aided in a small way by many Blue Badge Tourist Guides who helped to plant some of them.

Read more

Sandycombe Lodge - J.M.W. Turner's Thames House Re-Opens

Sandycombe Lodge, the Thames-side villa designed by J. M. W. Turner, has now been re-opened to the public, following a £2.4 million conservation programme. Built in Twickenham in 1813, it was a peaceful retreat for him and he lived there with his father until 1826. Using Turner’s sketches, a William Havell drawing of 1814, architectural evidence and paint analysis, the Turner’s House Trust has returned the house to its original form and decoration as closely as possible.

Read more

Remembering Diana, Princess Of Wales

Twenty years after her death, the newspapers are full of memories and memoirs of people who came into contact with Diana, Princess of Wales. One of the most iconic figures of our time, Princess Diana was a much-loved woman who struggled to fit into the British Royal Family and ended up doing more to divide the royals from the British people than anyone since Oliver Cromwell.

Read more

Two Hundred Years Of The Parthenon Marbles At The British Museum

The year 2017 marks the bicentenary of the exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum. The artefacts were removed from the Athenian Acropolis in 1801 and 1802 by Thomas Bruce, seventh Lord Elgin British Ambassador (1799–1803) to the Ottoman Empire. The sculptures were commissioned in the fifth century BC as part of the rebuilding of the City of Athens ordered by the statesman Pericles following the successful war against the Persians.

Read more

Harry Potter Is Twenty Years Old

The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997 with a hardback print run of just 500, each of which is now worth £40-50,000. Since then the seven Harry Potter books have sold nearly 500 million copies and the eight films based on these books have grossed £6.5 billion, making J K Rowling the world’s richest author with a fortune of around £600 million.

Read more

Jane Austen Banknote Unveiled at Winchester Cathedral

The new Jane Austen ten pound note was unveiled for the first time at Winchester Cathedral on 18 July this year, the 200th anniversary of her death. The much-loved novelist was buried at the cathedral largely because of the influence of her brother Henry, who was an Anglican priest. Her epitaph was composed by another brother James who wrote of her ‘extraordinary achievements of mind’ but famously forgot to mention that she wrote Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.

Read more

Where To Shop Like A Proper British Gentleman

Any self respecting chap, on a trip to Blighty (what we Brits call Britain) will want to avail himself of the necessary accoutrements to show his chums back home how to style themselves properly. The purpose of the blog post is to point out a few tips on how this can be done and where to source said necessaries. Of course, your Blue Badge Tourist Guide will be able to help further.

Read more

African & Caribbean War Memorial Unveiled at Black Cultural Archives in London

Next to the Black Cultural Archives, the ceremonial unveiling of the African & Caribbean War Memorial took place in Windrush Square Brixton on 22 June – Windrush Day. The date and location of the memorial fixed one key historical event in peoples’ minds, the arrival of SS Empire Windrush in 1948 carrying 498 men and a few women from the Caribbean.

Read more

47 New Blue Plaques for Iconic Musicians & Venues

To celebrate BBC Music last month the BBC Local Radio stations and Asian Network in England teamed up with the British Plaque Trust to unveil forty-seven historic Blue Plaques celebrating iconic musicians and venues.

Read more

Visiting The Kilns - Home of C.S. Lewis

For a recent City of Oxford Tour, the group leader expressed an interest in visiting C.S. Lewis’s home. The Kilns is not on the tourist trail but an Internet search and a few emails led to a visit being arranged. We were shown around by Rachel, a young English woman who had lived in California and had the accent of a valley girl.

Read more

British Royal Family Celebrates House of Windsor Centenary

On 17 July 1917, King George the Fifth declared that 'all descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria, who are subjects of these realms, other than female descendants who marry or who have married, shall bear the name of Windsor.'

Read more

Charlie Chaplin Blue Plaque Unveiled in South London

Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest stars of early cinema, has been honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque at his former London home in Glenshaw Mansions on Brixton Road in Kennington. The blue plaque was unveiled by the British comedian and Chaplin admirer Paul Merton, Chaplin’s granddaughter Kathleen, a singer, was also present with her seven-year-old son.

Read more

The Thames Tidewater: A New Tunnel Under London

What – not another one? Yes, but not an election. This time it’s a tunnel – another one under London, from west to east and this one is less in the news because it is all about our waste. After London’s population doubled between 1840 and 1900 Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s literally ground-breaking tunnel, his great Intercepting Sewer, saved London from the Great Stink of 1856.

Read more

Handel's Water Music Manuscript on Display at Foundling Museum

As Chairman of the Royal Society of Musicians, I am delighted that one of our treasures, the oldest surviving score of Handel’s Water Music, will be displayed in the Handel Gallery at the Foundling Museum (7 July – 6 October 2017) to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first performance on 17 July 1717.

Read more

Shop London: An Insider’s Guide To Spending Like A Local

A new book titled Shop London: An Insider’s Guide To Spending Like A Local will be of interest to those seeking to discover unique shops in London. Written by Emma McCarthy, the deputy fashion editor of the London Evening Standard, the Shop London book handpicks more than 200 of the most talked about, tucked away and unique retail spots in the city, exploring both destination shopping areas, as well as specialist boutiques from homeware to children's wear.

Read more

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.

Read more

John Constable Exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

John Constable (1776 – 1837) came from the country to the capital, portrayed a calm, unchanging England and was devoted to one woman, whom he waited for, married and then mourned when she died from consumption after bearing seven children in nine years.

Read more

The Redevelopment of the Art Deco Hoover Building in London

Coaches usually take one of three roads into/out of London - the M3, the M4 or the M40. I was coming back to London along the last recently and talked about football (soccer to our American visitors) as we passed Wembley and the Battle of Britain as we passed RAF Northolt and between the two I gave a mention to Art Deco architecture as we passed the Hoover Building.

Read more

The Early Days of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II is head of state of the United Kingdom and fifteen other countries. She is also a woman, a mother and was once a girl. Yet throughout her life all of that has come second to providing the symbolic value millions of people placed upon her.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About Street Art In London

There's a revolution happening in London. But it's not a political one, or even a social one. Far away from the headline-dominating machinations of governmental Westminster and the bright lights of the glitzy west end theatres, an artistic revolution has been gathering pace in the East End of the city. Into this atmospheric, edgy neighbourhood come the artists, often incognito, to adorn the walls with their creative, talented, sometimes controversial works.

Read more

15 London Sites for American History Buffs to Visit

They may have to travel across an ocean to get here, but for Americans in London, home is never that far away. Britain and the United States have a long shared history, and there are many sites in London associated with America. They reflect the close political, cultural and military ties between the two countries. The term "special relationship," often used to refer to the Anglo-American friendship, was first coined by Britain's wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, whose mother was American.

Read more

French Novelist Émile Zola Exiled in London

London, has (or had) a reputation for housing members of the international awkward squad. One exile was the French writer Émile Zola who arrived at Victoria Station on 19 July 1898 without any luggage or knowledge of the English language. He spent his first night at the Grosvenor Hotel and later moved to the more modest Queen’s Hotel in Norwood.

Read more

Royal Gifts At The Summer Opening Of Buckingham Palace

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the most travelled sovereign in British history, undertaking more than 250 overseas visits during her 65-year reign. During 2016 alone, The Queen carried out over 300 official engagements the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. An important part of these occasions is the receiving or exchanging of gifts, the subject of the an exhibition at this year's Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.

Read more

10 Locations For Discovering William Shakespeare’s London

William Shakespeare. Revered throughout the world as one of the greatest playwrights, Shakespeare wrote some of the best known and best loved words in the English language. Over 400 years on, these words still have the power to question, console, illuminate and inspire us today.

Read more

9 Major Sites Along London's River Thames

At 215 miles long and neatly dividing London between North and South, the River Thames is the silvery thread that provides continuity for a City that is always changing. The sinuous loops and eccentrically named reaches provide the focus for some of London's greatest sights.

Read more

Top 10 Tips For An Insider’s Tour Of St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. The unmistakable Dome and the beautiful west towers dominate the skyline of the City. Designed by one of our greatest architects, Sir Christopher Wren, and completed in 1711, St Paul’s is London’s cathedral and embodies the spiritual life of British people.

Read more

Top 10 Things To See In London's Multicultural Brixton

Brixton is one of London’s most diverse and exciting neighbourhoods. It is bit of a hidden gem tucked away south of the river Thames and less than 3 miles from Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. Known for its Caribbean heritage and referred to as London’s Harlem by the US actor Will Smith, immigration has been a theme in Brixton’s history that defines its character as well as its cultural diversity.

Read more

The Rosetta Stone at London's British Museum – Uncovering the Secrets of Ancient Egypt

One of the most popular items in the British Museum in London is the Rosetta Stone. It is rather unremarkable. It is the height of a child, cracked at the edges, lacking colour, and with inscriptions on only one side. There is little beauty in it, and the inscriptions are boring decrees - yet it is maybe one of the most famous stones in the world. For over 20 years it became the focus of a race to crack a code of strange pictures and shapes and in doing so uncover the life of Ancient Egypt.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About London’s Modern & Contemporary Architecture

Of all the European capitals, London is arguably the one with the greatest architectural variety, be it residential, commercial or public buildings. What adds to the impression of an incessantly ‘creative kaleidoscope’ is the juxtaposition of old and new, of a mediaeval church next to a 21st century glass building or a Roman ruin in the middle of a 1970s Brutalist development.

Read more

Places in London For Petrolheads To Explore

Which hobby is loved by 1 in 6 British adults and generated revenues of £5.5 million in 2016? No, not fishing or horse riding, but old cars, buses, vans and lorries. Yes, petrolheads, according to the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, are doing their bit for the economy, and London is right at the forefront of the movement.

Read more

History of Mother's Day & 3 Things To Do In London on Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is fast approaching – let our knowledgeable and entertaining Blue Badge Tourist Guide reveal the origins of the festival and introduce some beautiful ideas for treating her on Mother’s Day. Mothers’ Day is often confused with Mothering Sunday; an old Christian tradition when believers visited their "mother" church on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Domestic servants were given a day off to do this, usually with their mothers - often the only time a family could reunite all year.

Read more

10 Reasons to Visit The National Portrait Gallery, London

One of the most overlooked and yet fascinating galleries in London is the National Portrait Gallery. If you’re interested in British history or would like to check up on 20th century faces, the National Portrait Gallery is a great destination. Often overlooked, it sits behind the National Gallery but has a completely separate identity. The National Portrait Gallery holds around 200,000 portraits of people from diverse backgrounds who have all been chosen for their great achievements or aristocratic connections. See some of the most famous people of the last 500 years of British history.

Read more

10 Things That May Surprise You About Works of Art at The National Gallery, London

In 1824 the House of Commons agreed to pay £57,000 for the art collection of the wealthy banker John Julius Angerstein. His 38 pictures became the core of a new national collection. Great encouragement came from another collector, Sir George Beaumont, who donated 16 paintings to the new gallery and in 1838 the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square finally opened its doors.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About The Houses Of Parliament

The official title of the Houses of Parliament is the New Palace of Westminster. The name reminds us that the earliest Parliaments were consultations between the King and his closest followers, together with representatives of the Church, held at his London residence. The Houses of Parliament combine spectacular architecture with a fascinating history. Located next door to Westminster Abbey and inextricably linked to it by history the Houses of Parliament are an intriguing place to visit.

Read more

Top 10 Things To See At London's Victoria & Albert Museum

With a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects, London's Victoria & Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. You would need many years – maybe a lifetime - to look through this unequalled treasure trove so what better solution than hiring a Blue Badge Tourist Guide to select and explain some of the exceptional artefacts on display.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About James Bond

Ian Fleming created the character of 007 whilst living in London and his novels are filled with references to London. Subsequent filmmakers took Fleming’s character and have developed him into the super spy we know today, and along the way set many of their iconic filming locations in London.

Read more

10 Interesting Places To See When Visiting London's South Bank And Bankside In Southwark

Southwark is a borough in South London that has much to offer visitors. The areas of the South Bank and Bankside are situated by the River Thames and have been a particular draw for many visitors. You can stroll along the banks of the Thames any time night or day to enjoy the scenic views, go to the theatres, art galleries, enjoy the street entertainment, seasonal fairs or dine al-fresco.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About Tate Modern

Tate Modern is the jewel in the crown of modern art galleries in London. It holds the nation's collection of modern art from 1900 to the present day. With 5.7 million visitors it is in the top ten most visited museums and galleries in the world. The collection holds masterpieces of international and British modern art. From Picasso's "The Three Dancers", to Dali's "Autumnal Canibbalism", to Rothko's "The Seagram Murals", to Duschamp's "Fountain", to Parreno's "Anywhen", Tate Modern is a one stop shop for modern art lovers.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About Royal London

English and British Monarchs have lived in and around London for over a thousand years in a variety of palaces; some still standing, others long-gone. But the area now known as ‘Royal London’ has consistently been at the heart of royal life, with regal residences at Westminster, Whitehall, Buckingham and St James’s Place and at Clarence and Carlton Houses.

Read more

Top 10 Objects To Surprise You At The British Museum

The British Museum is the most visited museum in London. Visitors from all over the world are drawn to the museum to see with their own eyes world-famous artefacts, such as the Rosetta Stone or the Parthenon frieze, artefacts that might have only be seen in school or art books. They also come to experience other cultures, because after all the British Museum is the museum of the world for the world. But for the discerning visitor a scratch beneath the surface of all the "celebrity" objects can reveal some real surprises. Here is my list of such surprises.

Read more

Top 10 Things to See at UNESCO World Heritage Site Stonehenge

There are thousands of World Heritage Sites recognised and listed by UNESCO, but there are very few as intriguing, enigmatic and awe-inspiring as Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world, the best-known prehistoric monument in Britain if not in Europe. A stone circle, built almost 5,000 years ago, it still inspires with its size and construction methods. Visitors have to travel to Wiltshire to experience it but it is a journey well worth doing.

Read more

10 Things That May Surprise You About Sherlock Holmes

No fictional character has been portrayed more often on stage and screen than Sherlock Holmes. Fans flock from all over the world to see the locations where he lived, worked and brought justice to Victorian London. The BBC’s Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman has only increased his popularity.

Read more

America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

The art of 1930s America tells the story of a nation in flux. Artists responded to rapid social change and economic anxiety with some of the 20th century’s most powerful art – brought Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930 together now in this once-in-a-generation show. 45 truly iconic works paint an electrifying portrait of this transformative period.

Read more

Top 10 Reasons to Visit London's Royal Borough of Greenwich

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Greenwich provides the perfect day out for visitors wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of Central London. A short journey down river from Central London, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is home to six museums, stunning historic architecture and a wonderful range of shops, markets, pubs and restaurants.

Read more

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art. Renowned artists including Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko were among those to live through the fateful events of 1917, which ended centuries of Tsarist rule and shook Russian society to its foundations.

Read more

Top 10 Facts About London Rock "N" Roll

London is one of the world’s leading cites for a number of reasons and one of them is the diversity of musical talent that has lived, worked and played in the city. Our London Rock "N" Roll Tour takes you to some of these key locations and your knowledgeable Blue Badge Tourist Guide will relate some of the larger than life antics that occurred in this musical city.

Read more

11 Major Museum Exhibitions in London for 2017

Contributing to London as a cultural mecca are 200+ museums, many of which can be explored with a knowledgeable Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Each has permanent collections as well as major exhibitions to help draw in visitors. Highlighted below are 11 major museum exhibitions happening in London during the 2017 calendar year.

Read more

Top 10 Facts about London's Canary Wharf and Docklands

The Port of London has changed beyond all recognition in the past four decades. Once the docks teemed with men and ships from all over the world, now all is transformed and a new and vibrant area has grown up with commerce, stylish housing, fashionable shops and restaurants. Here are my Top Ten Facts about London’s Docklands.

Read more

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court is a magnificent palace, standing on the banks of the river Thames, just a short drive from London. It has everything. The palace is a harmonious blend of Tudor and Neo-Classical architecture set in glorious gardens. And there is history, lots of it, from Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII to William and Mary. Its rooms are packed with splendid paintings. There is something for everyone, kids included and here are 10 of my favourite reasons to visit Hampton Court Palace.

Read more

Christmas at Kew 2016: As Twilight Falls, The Magic Begins

Now in its fourth year, the new 2016 winter trail is inspired by the gardens themselves, as the trees, temples and glasshouses of Kew are playfully lit and all aglow. Enter between two giant Christmas trees festooned with ribbon and wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour. Follow the path between a carpet of light gently swaying like blossom and stop for a moment of reflection at the scented Fire Garden inspired by Five Gold Rings from The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Read more

World's Largest Lego Store Opens in London

The world's largest Lego store opened on 17th November in Leicester Square. The London flagship has been two years in development and features a life-size tube carriage made out of 637,903 Lego bricks. In total the creations on display are made from 1.7 million bricks and together weigh five tonnes.

Read more

Natural History Museum Diplodocus Going On Tour

Read more

Ava Gardner Honoured With Blue Plaque On Her London Home

Read more

The Charterhouse Museum & Cafe Opens in January 2017

Read more

Top 10 Facts About The City Of London

Read more

10 Reasons To Visit Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms

The Cabinet War Rooms are the actual wartime headquarters of Winston Churchill, combined with a large museum devoted to his life. Housed in the basement of the magnificent Treasury building, the War Rooms are the actual conference and communication rooms used by Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff during World War II. In 2005, an extensive museum was added documenting the long and eventful life of Sir Winston Churchill.

Read more

Sheep Drive Over London Bridge

Read more

New Blue Plaque for Robert Owen - the Father of the Co-operative Movement

Read more

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection Exhibition at Tate Modern

Read more

Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

Read more

10 Facts About Top Ranked Oxford University

Read more

Top 10 Facts About The Beatles In London

Read more

10 Top Things That May Surprise You About Harry Potter’s London

Read more

Top 10 Facts About Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. It is located about an hour from central London and visitors can see the sumptuous State apartments, the spectacular display of heraldry in St George’s Chapel and even take a peek at the Royal residential apartments.

Read more

Bank of England Launches New Plastic £5 Notes

Read more

Judges Service at Westminster Abbey Begins the UK Legal Year

Read more

London is the Place to be for University Students

Read more

Visiting The Jewish Museum London

Read more

Portrait of the Artist Exhibition at The Queen's Gallery

Read more

London Wins 2 Tourism Awards from Condé Nast Traveller

Read more

The London Blue Badge Tourist Guide Who Sailed The World

Read more

Abstract Expressionism Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

Read more

Picasso Portraits Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

Read more

Wifredo Lam Exhibition at Tate Modern

Read more

Totally Thames Festival 2016

Read more

South Africa - The Art of a Nation Exhibition at British Museum

Read more

350th Anniversary Events for the Great Fire of London

Read more

Beatrix Potter's London Display at Victoria & Albert Museum

Read more

The British Museum Announces Most Successful Year Ever

Read more

The Camera Exposed Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

Read more

Film4 Summer Screen At Somerset House: 4 - 17 August

Read more

National Portrait Gallery - BP Portrait Award 2016

Read more

Record Visitor Figures for New Tate Modern Switch House

Read more

Top 10 Facts about the Tower of London

The Tower of London located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London is a top 10 London tourist attraction. Visitors are mainly drawn to the Tower of London to see the spectacular display of The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection and still regularly used by Her Majesty The Queen.

Read more

4 Reasons to Attend London's Embankment Summer Market

Read more

Touring Buckingham Palace During The Summer Opening

The Summer Opening at Buckingham Palace in 2017 will be from Saturday 22 July to Sunday 1 October. Visitors will see the 19 magnificent State Rooms, which provide the setting for ceremonial occasions and official entertaining. All rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.

Read more

MG - The Poor Man's Porsche

Read more

David Hockney Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

Read more

Elytra Filament Pavilion at Victoria & Albert Museum

Read more

Butterfly Dome at 2016 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Read more

9 Facts About The Queen's House Celebrating 400th Anniversary

Read more

Black Chronicles Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

Read more

British Painter Joseph Mallord William Turner On New £20 Notes

Read more

Colour & Vision - Through The Eyes Of Nature Exhibition at Natural History Museum

Read more

Statues of 6 American Presidents in London

Students and fans of American politics will be pleasantly surprised to find that dotted across London are seven statues of six American presidents. These can be discovered on a guided tour of London with a knowledgable Blue Badge Tourist Guide but I have highlighted below.

Read more

London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2016

Read more

Tate Modern's Switch House Opens 17 June 2016

Read more

Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition at Tate Modern

Read more

Rolling Stones Exhibitionism Exhibition at Saatchi Gallery

Read more

Engineering The World Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

Read more

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.

Read more

Sunken Cities - Eqypt's Lost Worlds Exhibition at British Museum

Submerged under the sea for over a thousand years, two lost cities of ancient Egypt were recently rediscovered. Their story is told for the first time in what is expected to be a blockbuster exhibition at the British Museum – Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds.

Read more

Processional Route for 2016 State Opening of Parliament

Each year, Queen Elizabeth II takes part in the State Opening of Parliament. The event "marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen's Speech sets out the British government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

Read more

New Projects at Windsor Castle & Palace of Holyroodhouse

Royal Collection Trust is investing £37 million at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse to deliver major improvements for visitors. A series of projects, collectively known as Future Programme, will transform the way visitors are welcomed, interpret the buildings in new ways, create dedicated new Learning Centres, and open up new spaces to the public.

Read more

Sicily Culture & Conquest Exhibition at British Museum

The Sicily Culture & Conquest exhibition is currently on display at the British Museum. Sicily has been shaped by waves of conquest and settlement by different peoples over 4,000 years. Since the 8th century BC, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans all settled or invaded the island, lured by its fertile lands and strategic location.

Read more

English Heritage Celebrates 150th Anniversary of Blue Plaques

In 1866 the Blue Plaque scheme was founded by the Society of Arts and so this year they celebrate their 150th anniversary. Now managed by English Heritage, London's blue plaques are handmade in Cornwall by the Ashworth family. The first blue plaque was awarded to the poet Lord Byron in 1867, but his house in Holles Street, was demolished in 1889 – today it is the site of John Lewis department store.

Read more

Her Majesty The Queen Open Land of the Lion at ZSL London Zoo

Read more

Visiting the Royal Academy of Music Museum

Read more

Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age Exhibition at Tate Britain

Read more

Cambridge University Library Celebrates 600th Anniversary

Read more

UK Pavilion from Milan Expo 2015 Finds New Home at Kew Gardens

Read more

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

Read more

Fashioning A Reign: 90 years of Style from the Queen's Wardrobe

Read more

Maria Merian's Butterflies Exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Read more

500 Years of Records at the UK Parliamentary Archives

Read more

Guide London Visits Westminster City Hall

On Friday 26 February 2016, Guide London which represents the members of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides visited Westminster City Hall. Chair Steven Szymanski and Branch Councillors Ruth Polling and Dolly Collins and Guidelines editor Tina Engström were delighted to be invited to Westminster City Hall to meet the Lord Mayor Christabel Flight and Councillors Jacqui Wilkinson and Nickie Aiken.

Read more

6 Events To Mark The 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s Death

In the theatre we have already seen A Winter’s Tale starring Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench and later this year Romeo and Juliet starring Sir Derek Jacobi and Lily James is on at the Garrick. Branagh is also involved with Film London creating new commissions for the anniversary which will include The Hungry, a UK-Indian co-production – a contemporary retelling of Titus Andronicus – as well as short films by all-female directors, animations and a BBC documentary.

Read more

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.

Read more

British Library Acquires Kenneth Williams's Archive

The British Library has announced the acquisition of the personal archive of Kenneth Williams, including 43 personal diaries and approximately 2,000 letters spanning his entire life and career from the age of 18 until his death in 1988.

Read more

Looking For England's King Richard III

Last November, fellow London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Tim Hudson and Jo Hoad organised us one early morning for an outing to look for the body and hear the story of Richard III at Bosworth and Leicester.  Richard was the last king of England to die in battle, the last Plantagenet monarch and, after a short reign of just over two years, died calling out "Treason! Treason!" not, as Shakespeare has it, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"

Read more

Artist Subodh Gupta Exhibits When Soak Becomes Spill At Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum has unveiled When Soak Becomes Spill, a major new installation by leading Indian contemporary artist Subodh Gupta.  

Read more

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

Using the work of Monet as a starting point, The Royal Academy of Arts landmark exhibition Painting The Modern Garden: Monet To Matisse examines the role gardens played in the evolution of art from the early 1860s through to the 1920s.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Guide to Enjoying Christmas & New Year In London

London offers a variety of ways to keep you entertained over the festive season. Here are some of the best tips from Guide London to help you make the most of the capital over the next few weeks.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Palace of Westminster Visitor Services Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

The Palace of Westminster is synonymous with politics in the United Kingdom and has seen some of the most momentous events in the history of the country. From the ill-fated 1605 Gunpowder Plot to speaker William Lenthall's defiance of King Charles I in 1642 and from suffragette Emily Davidson hiding in a ventilation shaft in the building to the inspirational "We shall fight on the beaches" Winston Churchill speech delivered to the House of Commons on 4 June 1940.

Read more

The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson Exhibition at The Holburne Museum

Interested in comic art?  Then consider organising a Bath tour with one of our Blue Badge Tourist Guides and be sure to check out the High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson exhibition at Holburne Museum of Art. 

Read more

Dutch Artists In The Age of Vermeer Exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery

Launching on 13th November 2015 at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace is a new exhibition titled: Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer.

Read more

Crystal Sceptre Given To The City of London by King Henry V On Display At Guildhall

  From 24 October 2015 until 3 December 2015, the Crystal Sceptre given by Henry V to the City of London in grateful thanks for their help in loaning him money for the Battle of Agincourt will be on show at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

Read more

The 800th Lord Mayor’s Show in London – 14 November 2015

The 800th Lord Mayor’s Show in London will be held on Saturday 14 November 2015 and starts at 09.00 with a river pageant. The Lord Mayor will be travelling to the City in a flotilla of traditional Thames barges and small boats, including the famous QRB Gloriana. Tower Bridge opens in salute at 09.25 and the new Lord Mayor alights at HMS President ten minutes later.

Read more

The Bejewelled Treasures Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum will launch The Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection exhibition on 21 November 2015.  Spectacular objects, drawn from a single private collection, will explore the broad themes of tradition and modernity in Indian jewellery. 

Read more

Jean-Etienne Liotard Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts is showcasing an exhibition on the work of Jean-Etienne Liotard who was an artist in great demand across Enlightenment Europe and beyond.

Read more

All Change On The South Bank – Brutalism Revisited

The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery on the South Bank are now closed, preparing for a two-year refurbishment, and will re-open in 2017, which is exactly 50 years since they first opened in 1967-8. They are immune from listing status, unlike the Festival Hall, which is Grade 1 and the National Theatre is Grade 2 listed.

Read more

London’s Tourism Boom Continues

London’s tourism boom has continued during the second quarter of 2015, with the city welcoming a record 5.1 million international visitors between April and June this year, 6% more than the same period last year, according to the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey (IPS).

Read more

James Bond: Facts, Figures & Fun

Promotions for the new James Bond film Spectre is near fever pitch, so thought we'd provide some fun facts and figures about the British Secret Serice agent created by writer Ian Fleming while living in sunny Jamaica!  

Read more

James Bond 007 Quiz - 20 Questions on the Books & Films

With the new James Bond 007 movie Spectre starring Daniel Craig set for release on 26 October, we thought we’d put together a quiz.  Specifically, below are ten questions each about the James Bond 007 books and films.  How many will you answer correctly?  

Read more

Frank Auerbach Exhibition at Tate Britain

Tate Britain has launched an exhibition featuring Frank Auerbach (b 1931, Berlin), a British artist who has made some of the most vibrant, alive and inventive paintings of recent times. Often compared to Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud in terms of the revolutionary and powerful nature of his work, his depictions of people and the urban landscapes near his London studio show him to be one of the greatest painters alive today.

Read more

6 Exhibitions To Look Forward To At Victoria & Albert Museum In 2016

The Victoria & Albert Museum established in 1857 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design and houses a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. This vast collection is stored and displayed in a number of buildings over 12 acres of land in the South Kensington area of London, with over a third of a mile in circumference. These objects along with a wide range of exhibitions make the Victoria & Albert Museum one of the more popular tourist attractions in London.  Below we highlight six upcoming exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  

Read more

Blue Badge Tourist Guide Brian Harlock Is Sailing Around The World

On Sunday, 30 August we gathered with tears in our eyes and hankies at the ready to wave off our friend, colleague and now officially super-hero, Brian Harlock, on the greatest adventure of his life – the 10th Clipper Round the World Race. Over the next 11 months he will sail as part of the crew (The Warriors as they are known) on board Mission Performance, one of twelve 23-metre yachts, on a route that covers 9 countries, stops at 14 ports, covers 6 continents, and involves 6 ocean crossings and 40,000 nautical miles. During this time they are likely to get through 561,600 tea bags and 10,200 loaves of bread (baked on board by the crew) and they will use over 1,000 wet wipes per week! Those of you who visited him on board before he sailed will understand the importance of the wet wipes!

Read more

11 Downton Abbey Facts, Figures & Fun

The sixth and final series of the popular costume drama starts airing in the United Kingdom, at 9pm on 20 September.  It will be made up of eight episodes and a Christmas special to be broadcast on Christmas Day. The series will span the years 1925 to 1927, with the Crawley family and their servants facing an uncertain future.

Read more

28 Facts, Figures & Fun About Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s Longest Reigning Monarch

Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest reigning monarch in British history, having broken Queen Victoria's record on 9 September. To commemorate this, a special photographic Long To Reign Over Us exhibition is currently on show at Buckingham Palace (until 27 September 2015) and Windsor Castle (until 27 January 2016).  Each of the displays celebrates The Queen through a selection of photographs from 1952 to the present day. The images include official portraits and photographs of Her Majesty undertaking visits in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth, as well as those capturing informal family moments.

Read more

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.

Read more

The Fabric of India Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

The Fabric of India exhibition will be the highlight of the Victoria & Albert Museum India Festival and will explore the dynamic and multifaceted world of handmade textiles from India from the 3rd to the 21st century.

Read more

The World Goes Pop Exhibition at Tate Modern

Whaaam! Pop! Kapow! This is pop art, but not as you know it. Tate Modern is ready to tell a global story of pop art, breaking new ground along the way, and revealing a different side to the artistic and cultural  phenomenon.

Read more

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.

Read more

London Triathlon 2015: 8-9 August

After last year's successful event, the London Triathlon is back for 2015 and is expecting a record number of triathletes to take part. The race sees top sportsmen compete alongside total novices and a variety of distances are on offer to suite all abilities. Participants can choose from Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic and Olympic Plus waves, and can also compete as part of a team relay. The event takes place at the site of the 2012 Olympics. 

Read more

Old Bailey and Newgate Prison Archives Goes Online

1.9m legal and criminal documents have been collated from the records of institutions such as the Old Bailey and Newgate Prison held by the National Archives.

Read more

Notting Hill Carnival 2015: 29 - 31 August

First held in 1964 as an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival, the Notting Hill Carnival has remained true to its Caribbean roots, bringing a spirit of diversity to London. When it first started, around 500 people attended the Caribbean festival.  Today, the carnival attracts lots of people to London, and continues to grow in popularity. Expect some 50,000 performers, nearly 40 sound systems and more than 1 million spectators over the bank holiday weekend.  

Read more

New UNESCO World Heritage Site for Britain

The Forth Bridge has just been announced as a new UNESCO world heritage site in Britain and the 6th in Scotland. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker from Frome, Somerset, the rail bridge, which is 2,529 metres (8,296ft) long and 100 metres high, was the largest cantilever span in the world when it opened in 1890.

Read more

5 Reasons To Visit The Royal Academy of Music Museum

Below are 5 reasons why the Royal Academy of Music Museum in London is a must for music lovers! 

Read more

Queen Elizabeth II To Become Longest Reigning UK Monarch in September

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch in the United Kingdom on 9 September 2015, the Tower of London have announced a new art installation with a series of images and animations featuring the letter Q to be projected onto the Tower for seven days.

Read more

DNA Inspired Art Takes Over London

21 DNA-inspired double helix sculptures have appeared across London as part of Cancer Research UK’s campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Francis Crick Institute, a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation due to open in 2016.

Read more

Rolling Stones Exhibition at Saatchi Gallery

In April 2016 the Saatchi Gallery will host the Rolling Stones exhibition Exhibitionism which will cover their 50-year history through more than 500 articles.

Read more

Ai Weiwei Exhibition at Royal Academy

From 19 September to 13 December 2015 the major artist and cultural phenomenon Ai Weiwei takes over the main galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts with brave, provocative and visionary works. 

Read more

Pottermania Coming To The West End As Rowling Says Play On The Way

The boy wizard is coming to the West End in a show likely to be the hottest ticket of 2016. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open at the Palace Theatre next summer.

Read more

Victory Over Japan Day 70th Anniversary Plans Announced

The Ministry of Defense has announced plans for the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day taking place on 15 August 2015.   Working in collaboration with The Royal British Legion, the commemorations will take place in Central London. 

Read more

Film4 Summer Screen Returns To Somerset House

Film4 Summer Screen returns to the iconic courtyard at Somerset House in London from 6–19 August for 14 nights of open-air film screenings.

Read more

Cornelia Parker's One More Time Unveiled at St Pancras

Cornelia Parker's One More Time was unveiled recently at St Pancras International station as the inaugural artwork in Terrace Wires, billed as "the fourth leg" of London’s rotational public art spaces alongside the Fourth Plinth, Serpentine Gallery and the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

Read more

Celts Art And Identity Exhibition at British Museum

This autumn the British Museum, in partnership with National Museums Scotland, will stage the first British exhibition in 40 years on the Celts. Celts: Art And Identity opens at the British Museum on 24 September and will draw on the latest research from Britain, Ireland and Western Europe.

Read more

Dragons To Return To The Great Pagoda At Kew Gardens

It was one of the jewels in the crown of Georgian London: a building so unusual that a suspicious public were unconvinced it would remain standing when it was built in 1762.  Designed at the height of the 18th century craze for Chinoiserie, The Great Pagoda at Kew was famously adorned with 80 brightly coloured wooden dragons. The eye-catching dragons were the talk of the town for 20 years, before disappearing in the 1780s, rumoured to be payment for the Prince Regent’s gambling debts.

Read more

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.  

Read more

40 Years And £7Billion To Repair Houses of Parliament

London’s iconic Palace of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament is in need of  repairs that could take as long as 40 years and cost taxpayers £7 billion if the MPs refuse to temporarily decamp elsewhere, according to a recent report conducted by Deloitte.

Read more

Safari Camp At ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo has petitioned to build nine wooden cabins next to the lion enclosure which will allow visitors to stay overnight – and fall asleep to the sound of roaring.

Read more

'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.

Read more

Transport for London Launches Night Tube

Visitors to London will be pleased to hear that Transport for London will launch a night time tube service starting the early hours of 12 September. Thereafter, there will be a round-the-clock service on Fridays and Saturdays on Jubilee, Victoria, and most of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Read more

Kew Garden News: New Waterlily Species Found

A new waterlily species has been found on a plant-hunting expedition in a remote spot in Kimberley, Western Australia. As plant-hunter Carlos Magdalena investigated the waterlily, it became clear this was not the first time the species has been encountered by Kew Garden experts. 

Read more

Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers or Not?

It is too soon to claim that the common ancestor of dinosaurs had feathers, according to research by scientists at the Natural History Museum, Royal Ontario Museum and Uppsala University. 

Read more

Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust Exhibition at Royal Academy

From a basement in New York, Joseph Cornell channelled his limitless imagination into some of the most original art of the 20th century. Cornell hardly ventured beyond New York State, yet the notion of travel was central to his art. His imaginary voyages began as he searched Manhattan’s antique bookshops and dime stores, collecting a vast archive of paper ephemera and small objects to make his signature glass-fronted ‘shadow boxes’.

Read more

Audrey Hepburn Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

Currently at the National Portrait Gallery is a fascinating photographic exhibition on the life of actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). 

Read more

Serpentine Pavilion 2015 Designed By Selgascano

The Serpentine Gallery unveiled its 15th annual summer pavilion on 22 June brining a touch of Glastonbury to Kensington Gardens in the form of a giant multi-coloured tent.

Read more

Kenneth Branagh's Five-Play Season at The Garrick

Sir Kenneth Branagh has announced a whirlwind season of five plays at the Garrick Theatre, created by his own theatre company in a tradition dating back to actor-managers. 

Read more

An American President in Ealing

The Little Ealing History Group publishes  An American President in Ealing: The John Quincy Adams Diaries 1815 to 1817 The Little Ealing History Group has published a unique local history book based on the diaries of John Quincy Adams, a leading nineteenth-century American statesman and diplomat.

Read more

Frames in Focus Exhibition at National Gallery

The Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames exhibition marks the first in a series of exhibitions at the National Gallery which will explore specific frame types; bringing together 30 exquisite examples of this distinctive style of frame associated with Venice and the Veneto.

Read more

Soundscapes Exhibition at National Gallery

Soundscapes (8 July – 6 September 2015) is part of the National Gallery Inspires programme of exhibitions. Drawn from the National Gallery collection, the exhibitions take a fresh view of National Gallery paintings. Soundscapes has commissioned musicians and sound artists to select a painting from the collection and compose a new piece of music or sound art in response. Immersive and site-specific, the experience encourages visitors to ‘hear’ the paintings and ‘see’ the sound.

Read more

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.  

Read more

Windsor Tourist Guides Wins Tourism Award

Windsor Tourist Guides Ltd, run by Guide London/Association for Professional Tourist Guides member Amanda Bryett, has won “Best Overall Walking Tour in Britain” awarded by CIE Tours International.  The company who run round Britain coach tours, mainly for the American market, ask their clients to rate every aspect of their tour. The Windsor town walk achieved a client satisfaction rating of 93.5%.  

Read more

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015

Since 1769, famous artists, aspiring professionals and amateurs have submitted their work for the event of the summer - the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. It is the world’s oldest open-submission exhibition that had famous artists such as Reynolds, Constable and Turner; amateur artists such as Winston Churchill (1955) showing off their talents at this prestigious event. This is a popular event with an annual 200,000 people visiting the exhibition.  

Read more

London Welcomes 17.4 Million International Visitors In Another Record-Breaking Year

London welcomed more international visitors than ever before in 2014. The city’s cultural attractions and world-class sporting events proving irresistible draws for millions, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey (IPS).

Read more

Crossrail Place: An Exciting New Garden at Canary Wharf

It is not often that the name of Sir Norman Foster is associated with gardening. He is more well known for being the architect behind the Gherkin (he is thought to hate the nickname and prefers 30 St Mary Axe), the British Museum Great Court, City Hall and Wembley Stadium. But gardens?  No, not really until the opening of Crossrail Place in early May. 

Read more

21 New Gardens take part in Open Gardens Squares Weekend

Open Garden Squares Weekend takes place in London this year with 218 hidden and little-known gardens opening to the public on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June. The gardens range from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental. They include classic London square gardens, roof gardens, community allotments, urban wildlife and ecology centres as well as the gardens of historic buildings, institutions, restaurants, schools and shops.

Read more

Fighting History Exhibition at Tate Britain

The Fighting History exhibition launching at Tate Britain in June will focus on the conflict, martyrdom and catastrophe found in history painting from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Read more

Barbara Hepworth:Sculpture for a Modern World exhibition at Tate Britain

Tate Britain will open the first major Barbara Hepworth exhibition in London for almost fifty years. Barbara Hepworth (1903–75) is most commonly associated with St Ives, Cornwall, where she lived from 1939 until her death in 1975.

Read more

Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition at Natural History Museum

The Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London explores the richness of life beneath the waves and the importance of these delicate ecosystems and includes more than 200 specimens spanning corals, fish and fossils, a live coral reef and a virtual dive through stunning imagery from the Catlin Seaview Survey. 

Read more

Whitehall Gardens in London

Spring is here and Whitehall Gardens offers an ideal place to sit awhile and enjoy the colourful spring flowers that are in bloom.

Read more

Wildlife Garden at Natural History Museum Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary

Few visitors to the Natural History Museum are aware of the ‘living exhibit’ in the grounds. However, this year, the low-profile Wildlife Garden celebrates its 20-year anniversary.

Read more

Charles Dickens Desk Saved For Nation

Although on display at the Charles Dickens Museum in Doughty Street, the desk was privately owned and although it had been passed down through the Dickens family after his death in 1870, it was auctioned for the Great Ormond Street Charitable Trust in 2004.

Read more

Bethlem Museum Of The Mind Opens

The Bethlem Royal Hospital better known as Bedlam was set up in 1247 as Europe’s first centre dedicated to the treatment of psychiatric illness.   It has moved between various locations in London – including at the building that is now the Imperial War Museum.

Read more

Shoes: Pleasure And Pain Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

The Shoes: Please And Pain exhibition will look at the extremes of footwear from around the globe, presenting around 200 pairs of shoes ranging from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate designs by contemporary makers.

Read more

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.

Read more

28 New London Guides Receive Their Blue Badges

28 successful candidates from the 2013-2015 London Blue Badge Course were presented with their badges by the Reverend David Stanton, Canon of Westminster at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey on Thursday 16 April. 

Read more

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.

Read more

Sonia Delaunay Exhibition at Tate Modern

A new exhibition at Tate Modern will showcase the work of Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979) who was a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde and became the European doyenne of abstract art.

Read more

Sculpture Victorious Exhibition at Tate Britain

Powerful, beautiful and inventive, the Victorian era was a golden age for sculpture. Tate Britain’s exhibition Sculpture Victorious celebrates some of the most astonishing and lavish works produced in this groundbreaking period.

Read more

All Of This Belongs To You Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

At a time when Britain will be engaged in the democratic process of an election, the Victoria & Albert Museum will examine the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection.

Read more

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.”

Read more

National Theatre Behind the Scenes

On a rather dreary and wet day, two dozen Blue Badge Tourist Guides met in the foyer of the National Theatre for a "behind the scenes" tour. We were split in two groups, all dressed in fetching high viz jackets. Even before we set off our little band was buzzing with excitement, as we were promised a goody bag full of information leaflets on our way out.

Read more

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.

Read more

Mahatma Gandhi Statue Unveiled in London

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by India’s Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday 14 March in Parliament Square. In attendance was Prime Minister David Cameron, the popular Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan and Gandhi's grandson, the former governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Read more

Richard III: The King in the Car Park

In the Middle Ages, Edward the Confessor, King John and Richard II were exhumed, examined and put in new resting spots. So the reinterment of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral shortly before lunchtime on Thursday 26 March, after four days of pageantry and commemoration, follows ancient tradition. 

Read more

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.

Read more

What is Luxury? Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London will showcase a What is Luxury? exhibition which will interrogate ideas of luxury today. It will address how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.

Read more

London Trail for Shaun The Sheep

The London trail for Shaun the Sheep (Nick Park – Wallace and Gromit spin off) will take place from 28 March to 25 May and will feature 60 5ft high Shaun the Sheep sculptures, decorated by celebrities and artists.

Read more

Wellington - Triumphs, Politics And Passions Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

A rarely seen portrait of the Duke of Wellington goes on view at the National Portrait Gallery as part of exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815) and illustrates his extraordinary life as a soldier and statesman. 

Read more

New Guides Seminar and Reception

It's that time of year again…A group of eager new faces came to meet us at the Unite offices for the annual New Guides Seminar and Reception on 18 March. This year was different as there is also a Mandarin course running in parallel so we had 40 trainees in total.

Read more

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. 

Read more

RAF Northolt Turns 100 Years Old

RAF Northolt is perhaps best known in the modern context as being the location where Diana's body was flown back to England by the Prince of Wales in 1997 and for being the base for Typhoon fighter jets on security duty during the 2012 London Olympics. However the base is 100 years old in March 2015 (older than the RAF!) and was originally set up as an operation base for Royal Flying Corps units to defend London against Zeppelin air raids.

Read more

APTG at the Tourism Committee

Following a report from Blue Badge Tourist Guide Victoria Herriott that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had convened a Committee on Tourism, the Association of Professional Tourist Guide (APTG) was invited to give evidence at a meeting on 27 January. This was the result of intensive lobbying by Unite-sponsored MPs following the acceptance of the motion on the Revised Professional Qualifications Directive at conference.

Read more

Richard Diebenkorn Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts will host an exhibition of the works of Richard Diebenkorn.   Revered as one of the great post-war masters in his native United States, Richard Diebenkorn is an artist whose staunchly independent career takes us from abstraction to figuration and back again.  He is described by the Washington Post as one of America’s “finest abstract painters."

Read more

Smithsonian Comes To London

One of America's most revered cultural institutions, The Smithsonian, is in talks about building an outpost on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stratford Waterfront, close to the site of the former Water Polo Arena.

Read more

Michelangelo Bronzes Discovered

Two ‘lost’ statues have been identified as original Michelangelo sculptures – and are possibly the only surviving bronzes by him, experts have claimed. The pair, which show naked young men riding panthers, are described as ‘phenomenally important’ and, if truly by the master, would solve one of the greatest mysteries in art history.

Read more

Marlene Dumas Exhibition at Tate Modern

Marlene Dumas is one of the most prominent painters working today. Her intense, psychologically charged works explore themes of sexuality, love, death and shame, often referencing art history, popular culture and current affairs.

Read more

Star Wars Exhibition at Madame Tussauds London

Madame Tussauds London is opening a new Star Wars experience in Baker Street on Saturday, 16th May.   

Read more

Eight And A Half London Bridges

On a briskly cold January morning, fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Steven Szymanski inducted an enthusiastic group into his passion for bridges on a walk that took in Tower Bridge to Waterloo, via St Magnus Martyr, the Steelyard and Bankside. 

Read more

Surrey Quays in London

Keith Harding led a group of fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guides around Surrey Quays – an area often unfairly overlooked, as it lies between Rotherhithe and Greenwich. From Greenland Pier we walked along the bank of the Thames, known as Deptford Strand. Then to Convoys Wharf, the site of the Royal Naval Dockyard since the time of Henry VIII and Tsar Peter the Great’s sojourn in the area and finally the Royal Victorian Victualling Yards.

Read more

Waterloo Sunset

My friend Phil Coppell, a Liverpool Blue Badge Tourist Guide, tells me that he took Ray Davies a member of the English rock band The Kinks on a Beatles tour some years ago. He queued up and paid for his ticket like everyone else and, during the tour, mentioned that he had originally set his song Waterloo Sunset in Liverpool but the line ‘Mersey Sunset’ did not scan and he moved it to London. He had always had a soft spot for Liverpool and said that whenever The Kinks played at the Cavern or other venues they always had a great reception.

Read more

Go Easter Egg Hunting In London

This year Easter falls early in April and many families will no doubt head to London during the break. There are several Easter Egg hunts, including the annual one at Kew, but also at more unexpected venues, like the Bank of England Museum.

Read more

Chinese New Year 2015 in London

London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest in the world outside China, starts with a small ceremonial event on Saturday 21 February, but the majority of the festivities will take place on Sunday 22 February. 

Read more

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.

Read more

Hampton Court Palace Recreates Edward VI Christening

When British Monarch King Henry VIII had his son Edward christened on 15th October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace, it was a celebration of his dynasty and its seemingly secure future. To commemorate, staff recently donned costumes – borrowed from the Royal Shakespeare Company – to join actors in a television programme recreating the christening of Henry’s longed-for heir. The BBC documentary which aired this past January was presented by Historians Lucy Worsley and Dr David Starkey and heralds a year of celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace.   

Read more

Magna Carta 800th Anniversary

As Salisbury Cathedral prepares for a bonanza year of events to celebrate Magna Carta's 800th anniversary, work has begun on the new Chapter House exhibition.  The new Magna Carta exhibition will see the Chapter House and Cloisters transformed into an interactive space that will set the document in its historic context. It will be an immersive visitor experience with digital media displays, artefacts, interactive stations and video to bring the story of King John and his barons to life.

Read more

Painting Paradise: The Art Of The Garden

Whether a sacred sanctuary, a place for scientific study, a haven for the solitary thinker or a space for pure enjoyment and delight, gardens are where mankind and nature meet. A new exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace will explore the many ways in which the garden has been celebrated in art through over 150 paintings, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts from the Royal Collection, including some of the earliest and rarest surviving records of gardens and plants.

Read more

John Singer Sargent Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was the greatest portrait painter of his generation. Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, he was closely connected to many of the other leading artists, writers, actors and musicians of the time. His portraits of these friends and contemporaries, including Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet and Robert Louis Stevenson, were rarely commissioned and allowed him to create more intimate and experimental works than was possible in his formal portraiture.

Read more

APTG Silver Jubilee Christmas Party

Guide London is the public/brand name for the Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG) and last December, about 125 of its 500 Blue Badge Tourist Guide members came to the University Women's Club for the annual Christmas Party. We started with a cocktail reception, quaffing Cranberry Gin Fizzes and White Chocolate Martinis, chatting and catching up with everyone's news. Then we enjoyed a turkey and salmon buffet meal, followed by Eton Mess and Fruit Salad.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

11 Interesting Facts About London Gas Lamps

What a treat it was to inspect gas lamps around Westminster last November with Ian and Garry from British Gas, who love their lamps. They clean and polish them, feel pain when one gets smashed by a passing truck and complained to the Royal Parks who repainted lamps in St. James’s Park without gold paint. Lamps are listed by English Heritage so if one gets knocked down, it must be replaced with an exact copy.  Below are some more interesting facts as shared by Ian & Garry while on this education and training tour for Blue Badge Tourist Guides.  

Read more

Crocker's Folly Restored

The fabulous Grade II-listed gin palace Crocker’s Folly in St John’s Wood has been beautifully restored as a restaurant and bar.  The establishment has 50 kinds of marble, Romanesque columns, cut glass chandeliers and carved mahogany. 

Read more

New Stegosaurus Skeleton at Natural History Museum

A spectacular Stegosaurus skeleton was unveiled on 4 December at the Natural History Museum in London. It is the first complete dinosaur specimen to go on display at the Natural History Museum in nearly 100 years. The 150 million year old Stegosaurus stenops is the only Stegosaurus in a public collection outside the USA.

Read more

Rubens and his Legacy: Van Dyck to Cezanne Exhibition

This exhibition will bring together masterpieces produced during Rubens' lifetime, as well as major works by great artists who were influenced by him in the generations that followed.

Read more

Waterloo at Windsor: 1815-2015 Exhibition

2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon. In celebration of the allied victory, George IV created the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle, a grand space filled with portraits of those instrumental in the victory, among them the Duke of Wellington. 

Read more

Blue Badge Tourist Guide Finalist In Beautiful South Awards 2014

The Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG) member and Blue Badge Tourist Guide Amanda Bryett who runs Windsor Tourist Guides Ltd was a finalist at the Beautiful South Awards 2014 held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton in December and won a Bronze award for Outstanding Customer Service. As a finalist Amanda now goes forward to the national VisitEngland awards 2015.

Read more

The 2012 Olympic Cauldron at the Museum of London

For all of the Blue Badge Tourist Guides who led tours around and in the London Olympic Park, one of the most frequently asked questions was 'Who will be chosen to light the Olympic Flame? How will it work on the night?' But of course, it was as much of a mystery to us, as to everyone else!

Read more

January in London

January is the best month to visit London if you are a bargain hunter.  To start, the shops have sales which usually start a couple of days after Christmas. Plus most ice skating rinks and funfairs are still open during the first week so if you missed out pre Christmas, now is the perfect time to visit as they are less crowded. Most shops and many museums open on New Years Day.

Read more

London Sculptures: Fulcrum

There are over 400 sculptures scattered across London with several in the Bishopsgate and Liverpool Street area. My favourite is a gigantic sculpture outside the Broadgate exit of Liverpool Street station called “Fulcrum” by the American sculptor Richard Serra. I am absolutely taken by it not only because of its size, and at 55 ft or 16.7m height it is sizeable enough, but because of its simplicity and elegance.

Read more

Garden Bridge in London Closer to Becoming A Reality

Lambeth Council has given the go-ahead to the proposed £175million Garden Bridge, which will span the river between Temple and the South Bank. 

Read more

4 London Restaurants with Great Views

Want take in a great view of London while dining on a delicious meal?  Then consider these four fine dining restaurants with fantastic view of London’s skyline.  

Read more

Lions in London

Lions are first mentioned in London at the Tower Menagerie in the reign of King John in 1216 and since that time they have not left the city until now.

Read more

The Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park

Members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, one of the oldest swimming clubs in the country, will swim their traditional 100-yard (91-metre) Christmas Day race in the Serpentine.

Read more

Christmas at Kew 2014: A Glittering New Trail

Read more

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! 

Read more

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.

Read more

The Loos of London

As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, finding a lavatory in London when you have a group of people desperate for some facilities and with no change to hand can be a bit difficult at times. So, let us join the campaign and ensure that everyone knows about World Toilet Day – 19 November!  And let us campaign for more free toilets.

Read more

Allen Jones Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

A new exhibition showcasing the career of British Pop artist Allen Jones, from the 1960s (when alongside peers like Hockney and Caulfield he was closely associated with the rise of Pop Art) to the present day will open at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Read more

Cairo to Constantinople Exhibition at Royal Collection Trust

There is a new exhibition titled: Cairo to Constantinople – Early Photographs of the Middle East in the Queen's Gallery at the Royal Trust Collection which follows the journey taken by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) in 1862, as he undertook a four month tour around the Middle East.

Read more

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.

Read more

Russian Avant-Garde Theatre Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

A new display in the Theatre and Performance Galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum titled Russian Avant-garde Theatre: War Revolution and Design 1913 – 1933 presents more than 150 radical designs for theatrical productions by celebrated figures of the Russian avant-garde.  

Read more

Conflict, Time, Photography Exhibition at Tate Modern

Timed specifically to coincide with the centenary of the First World War, this exhibition concerns the relationship between photography and sites of conflict over time, highlighting the fact that time itself is a fundamental aspect of the photographic medium.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

World Travel Market 2014

The Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG), the parent company for Guide London has partnered with World Travel Market for their upcoming travel and tourism conference being held at EXCEL - London on Monday, 3rd November to Thursday, 6th November.

Read more

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.

Read more

London 2014 Invictus Games: Wheelchair Rugby

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Karen Eastland, Pamela McHutchon and I had front row tickets for wheelchair rugby aka ‘the best fun you can have with your clothes’ on at the London 2014 Invictus Games. This international sporting event, held at the Olympic Park where London Blue Badge Tourist Guides now regularly giving walking tours, turned out to be a star-studded event. 

Read more

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. 

Read more

Mr Turner - The Film

Mike Leigh's film Mr Turner focuses on the latter life and career of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner played by Timothy Spall. It premiered in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Spall won the award for Best Actor and cinematographer Dick Pope received a special jury prize for the film's cinematography.

Read more

Turner Exhibition at Petworth House & Tate Britian

Joseph Mallord William Turner was not the most sociable of men but he found a true friend in George O'Brien, Third Earl of Egremont and owner of Petworth House in Sussex. The Earl was a sociable and generous aristocrat with a love of art, a large house and an open purse. Every year he had a party in the grounds of Petworth for the local community on his birthday and, when 6000 people turned up one time, he made sure they were all welcomed, fed and watered.

Read more

The Queen's Gallery Gold Exhibition at Royal Trust Collection

The Queen's Gallery Gold exhibition at the Royal Collection Trust celebrates the enduring qualities of gold, and draws on works of art from the Bronze Age to the present day. The distinctive properties of gold – its lustre and its warm yellow colour which appears to mirror the sun, its rarity and its perceived purity, because it does not tarnish, have meant that this material has always been associated with the highest status, both earthly and divine.

Read more

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.

Read more

Sherlock Holmes Exhibition at Museum of London

This year the Museum of London welcomes an exciting new exhibition, delving into the mind of the world’s famous fictional detective, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. 

Read more

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at Natural History Museum

The acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition premieres at London’s Natural History Museum each year and tours more than 60 cities in the United Kingdom and across the world.

Read more

Giovanni Battista Moroni Exhibition at Royal Academy

This is the first comprehensives exhibition in the United Kingdom of Giovanni Battista Moroni’s work.   He was one of the greatest portraits of 16th century Italy.  Famed for his gift capturing the exact likeness of his sitters, he created portraits that are as penetrating and powerful now as they were more than 400 years ago.

Read more

Anselm Kiefer retrospective at Royal Academy

In September 2014, the Royal Academy will present the first major retrospective of work to be held in the UK by Honorary Royal Academician, Anselm Kiefer.  This will be the most significant exhibition of the German artist’s work ever held in the UK, spanning his entire 40-year career and unveiling new work created in direct response to the Royal Academy’s spaces.

Read more

Wallace Collection Reopens 19 September

The Great Gallery, one of the finest collections of Old Master paintings in the world, is reopening on 19 September with a new hang following its two-year refurbishment.

Read more

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.

Read more

John Constable Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

This major exhibition titled Constable: The Making of a Master will reassess John Constable's influences, techniques and legacy to offer a new interpretation of one of Britian's best-loved artist.  Discover how great works are created as Constable's most famous masterpieces are united with revoluntary oil sketches: expressive evocations of land, sea and sky that allowed him to transfer the freshness of the outdoors into his exhibition paintings.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

London Off the Beaten Tracks

Curious about what you would experience on a driving tour with a London Blue Badge Guide?  Then watch this short video which provides insight and also imparts some information about London off the beaten tracks. 

Read more

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.

Read more

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.  

Read more

Guide London speaks to recent beneficiaries of the charity Go Make It Happen

Guide London speaks to some of the recent beneficiaries of the charity Go Make It Happen a registered charity, which aims to support young people who want to work in and build careers in the tourism profession.

Read more

Dippy at Natural History Museum in peril as museum is given £5M

The Natural History Museum has received its largest donation but a much-loved feature, a dinosaur replica, Dippy could be removed. Sir Michael Hintze gave the London museum £5m to improve galleries and aid research.

Read more

New Diamond Jubilee Carriage

For the State Opening of Parliament this year the Queen used a new 3-ton Coach created for her by Jim Frecklington, from Manly, Australia, who worked in the Royal Mews as a young man before returning home.  The coach, which is 18ft long and needs 6 horses to pull it, has taken 50 people more than 10 years to assemble. The Diamond Jubilee Coach is only the second state carriage to be built in more than 100 years.

Read more

2014 Summer Exhibition at The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show. Now in its 246th year, the 2014 exhibition continues the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.

Read more

Mammoths: Ice Age Giants at Natural History Museum

Be awestruck as huge fossils and life-size models of mammoths and their relative’s tower above you and meet Lyuba, the world’s most complete mammoth, as she takes centre stage in the Mammoth's Ice Age Giants exhibition at the Natural History Museum. 

Read more

Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty at Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum has announced that Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibition is coming to London in 2015. This is the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe.

Read more

Disobedient Objects Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

From a Suffragette tea service to protest robots, the Disobedient Objects exhibition coming to the Victoria & Albert Museum will be the first to examine the powerful role of objects in movements for social change.

Read more

Art From War at St Paul’s Catherdal

St Paul's Cathedral is preparing to display a unique piece of embroidery titled Art From Art crafted by 133 men from the UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa, who worked to create an elaborate altar frontal whilst recovering in hospitals around the UK from injuries suffered during the conflicts of WWI.

Read more

Louis Kahn Exhibition at Design Museum

The Design Museum is currently showcasing an exhibition of American architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) who is regarded as one of the great master builders of the Twentieth Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism.

Read more

Goodbye Piccadilly Exhibition at London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum has launced a new exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly – From Home Front to Western Front which will run from Friday 16 May 2014 to Sunday, 8 March 2015. A key theme in the exhibition is the acceleration of social change as a result of the outbreak of war.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Amesbury makes Stonehenge look like a new build

Archaeologists say that Amesbury where Stonehenge is located might date back to 8820 BC, making the town the longest continuously occupied settlement in Britain.

Read more

27 New London Blue Badge Tourist Guides

27 successful candidates from the 2012-2014 London Blue Badge Course, pictured below were presented with their badges by Yvonne Leach, the President of the Institute of Tourist Guiding, at a ceremony at the Founding Museum on 9 April.

Read more

Reception for new London Blue Badge Tourist Guides

On Thursday 20 March, 25 trainees attended the Association of Professional Tourist Guide (APTG) New Guides' Reception organised by Sarah Speller.  23 Trainees had been on a "How many ways are there to do a the Guard Change?" walk with Owen Joseph in the afternoon.

Read more

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.

Read more

Ruth Polling: 2014 Blue Badge Tourist Guide of the Year Award Winner

Guide London speaks to Ruth Polling, who received the London Blue Badge Tourist Guide of the Year Award (Katrine Prince Memorial Prize) at the Blue Badge presentation ceremony at the Foundling Museum on 9 April.

Read more

London more popular than Paris with 16.8million visitors

It’s official! London has welcomed over 16 million international visitors in one year for the first time in history, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. 

Read more

Other pages for consideration: