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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vauxhall London: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Historic Neighborhood

The main attraction in Vauxhall is a building you cannot enter. Vauxhall Cross is the headquarters of the Special Intelligence Services (formerly MI6) and the employer of Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent, James Bond, often referred to simply by the number 007. The double 00 prefix indicates that Bond has a ‘licence to kill’, an invention of his creator Ian Fleming who worked for Naval Intelligence during the Second World War when the double 0 symbol indicated that a document was classified as ‘top secret.’

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Zadok The Priest: A Hymn Sung At Every Coronation in Westminster Abbey Since 1727

George Frideric Handel's Zadok the Priest has been sung at every coronation since that of King George the Second in 1727. The coronation ceremony takes place at Westminster Abbey when the incoming monarch is crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. Westminster Abbey is the royal church of the United Kingdom and stands near to the Houses of Parliament.

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Borough Market in London: A Culinary Oasis in the Heart of Southwark near London Bridge

London has many street markets that visitors can visit. Smithfield Meat Market and Billingsgate Fish Market are probably the most famous wholesale markets in the capital, but both are facing great challenges. Despite operating for centuries, they face an uncertain future, with supermarkets preferring to deal directly with their suppliers these days.

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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 which continues to bounce back with an increasing number of tourists!

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London Millennium Footbridge, also known as The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge

Officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge, this iconic pedestrian bridge gracefully spans the River Thames, connecting the Tate Modern Art Gallery to St. Paul's Cathedral, two of London's most recognizable landmarks. But to many Londoners, this bridge has another, more affectionate name – "The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge." This moniker hints at the bridge's unique history, a tale of design, engineering, and the resilience of a city that embraces its quirks.

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British Royal Family Finances: How is the Royal Family Funded?

The Royal Family of the United Kingdom is financed in a number of different ways. Its main source of income is the Sovereign Grant (the Civil List until 2012), which currently costs £86.3 million a year. This comes in the form of a grant from the government that meets the costs of the royal residences, staffing, travel and state visits, public engagements, and official entertainment.

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New Uses For Old Power Stations In London

Britain used to rely almost exclusively on coal for its electricity generation, mining it in Wales and the north and central part of England, then bringing it, usually by train, to power stations where it could be burned to heat up water that would generate electricity. Then the water was cooled down in cooling towers that can still be seen in many parts of the country.

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Queer Bankside: A History

The once-marshy neighbourhood of Bankside was previously a military garrison within the City of London limits. Museum of London archaeologists discovered Roman warehouses here during the development of the Jubilee Line. The Norsemen were here too. King Alfred’s battling with the Vikings gives us the nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge is falling down.’

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London in 48 Hours - 2 Days in London Itinerary

If you've got just two full days in London - what were you thinking? – and you want to tick off the big-ticket attractions, plan carefully and follow the sage advice of a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Better yet, hire one and have them show you what you would never see on your own on a tour of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London or even the not-so-simple-as-it-looks Changing of the Guard.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement & Updates

London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides, members of Guide London/Association of Professional Tourist Guides are acting in the best interests of visitors and locals alike by restricting our work in line with the latest advice from Public Health England. Furthermore, most tourist attractions, including museums and galleries and many pubs and restaurants, are closed. This is because the UK government has advised against all inessential travel as they work to contain COVID-19 and minimise community spread.

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Guide London A – Z: Letter T London Landmarks And Tourist Attractions

How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the Letter T? Blue Badge Tourist Guide Karen Dawson continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter T.

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Guide London A – Z: Letter S London Landmarks And Tourist Attractions

How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the Letter S?  Blue Badge Tourist Guide Katherine Alcock continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter S.

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Guide London A – Z: Letter O London Landmarks And Tourist Attractions

How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the Letter O? Blue Badge Tourist Guide Nigel Haynes continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter O.

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Guide London A – Z: Letter M London Landmarks And Tourist Attractions

How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the Letter M? Blue Badge Tourist Guide Mark Conroy continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter M.

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Westminster Abbey Burials - Famous People Buried Among Kings At Westminster Abbey

As well as being the major royal church of the United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey contains the tombs of many famous people who were not born into royalty. Over 3,000 people are buried at Westminster Abbey - many forgotten by history - but it remains the final resting place for celebrated Britons. Others who are not buried there are honoured with commemorative plaques. Below are some of the famous Westminster Abbey burials.

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Guide London A – Z: Letter G London Landmarks And Tourist Attractions

How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the letter G? Blue Badge Tourist Guide Jacqueline Stater continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter G.

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British Royals Buried At Westminster Abbey, The Coronation Church

Westminster Abbey is both Britain’s royal and its national church. No monarch has been buried there since 1760, but it was in the Abbey that the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales, took place in September 1997, her brother Earl Spencer giving a famous eulogy at this event.

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A Walk Around The London Of T.S. Eliot's Famous Poem The Waste Land

The Waste Land by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T. S. Eliot), who came from the United States but lived in England, is often called the greatest poem of the twentieth century. Its 433 lines depict the London of 1923 in the fragmented form of an abstract painting. Scenes appear like shapes without title or outline. To celebrate the centenary of the poem, I have devised a walk through The City connecting locations mentioned by Eliot. The Waste Land was published as a single entity by Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press as Eliot was associated with the artistic intellectuals of The Bloomsbury Group.

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Let’s Do London Campaign Launched By Mayor of Greater London, Sadiq Khan

The recently re-elected Mayor of Greater London Sadiq Khan has launched a ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign to promote the capital as a major world tourist destination once again. Blue Badge Tourist Guides aim to play a major part in the re-opening of tourism in London.

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19 Books By London Blue Badge Tourist Guides

London remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The city’s blue badge guides help to bring it to life and many have written or contributed to guidebooks. Here is a selection of their work:

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Some Favourites From St. Paul’s Cathedral In London

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of London's most famous landmarks, its majestic dome visible from many parts of the capital. This architectural masterpiece - a symbol of London’s strength and resilience - and has been the site of many historic occasions, including royal weddings and state funerals. It is a working church and a place for quiet reflection, but there are also many wonderful things to see inside on a visit. Blue Badge Tourist guide Patricia Gentry shares just a few of her favourites below.

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Guide London Launches Virtual Tours of London

Building on the success of its live broadcast series showcasing London’s culture, history and tourist attractions, Guide London which represents the membership of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides has launched a new London Virtual Tour.

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Jane Austen Goes To London

Although born in the Hampshire village of Steventon, the author of novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility had many reasons to visit London during her life. In fact, many of the sites Jane Austen visited served as direct inspiration for descriptions of fashionable neighbourhoods where characters such as Mrs Jennings from Sense and Sensibility live.

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Guide London Successfully Launches Live Broadcast Series During COVID-19 Lockdown

Guide London has successfully launched a live broadcast series during the COVID-19 lockdown.  Streaming live via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at 4 pm London / 11 am New York time, the series features many of the 600+ Blue Badge Tourist Guides who are members of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides.  Topics covered include British culture, history, Monarchy, and then the lighter side of London.

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The View from My Window: Still in the Still of the Night

I believe in ghosts. Not the chain-rattling, shroud-clad nebulae that float in and out of Shakespeare’s plays and Dickens’ stories. I’m referring to people who have `moved on’ but still come back for a visit, who can talk and walk with you. Souls... Spirits… Whatever we want to call them, it’s impossible to have lived in a place like Hong Kong like we did for a dozen years and not believe in them. Just impossible.

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Composed Upon Westminster Bridge – London's Most Famous Poem

Blue Badge Tourist Guides in London need to have a working knowledge of some of the famous writers and poets associated with the city: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, William Blake, and Ben Jonson, all of whom made London their homes for at least part of their lives.

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The Women of Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is definitely one of London’s must-see attractions. And you’re sure to discover new things every time you visit, especially if you go with a knowledgeable Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Among other things, the Abbey is the burial site of many of the most famous people in British history.

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Why London Has The Best Literature Tours In The World

If you’re a fan of literature, there’s no better place to visit than London. Book a tour with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and walk in the footsteps of authors like William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Charles Dickens. The city has preserved its history so well in places that you can still feel the source of the writers’ inspiration.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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British Painter Joseph Mallord William Turner On New £20 Notes

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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!"

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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.   

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Other pages for consideration: