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British Military: Guards Division War Memorial opposite Horse Guards Parade in London. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

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.

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Imperial War Museum London - Weeping Windows Poppies Tour. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

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.

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King Henry I of England. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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London Royal Parks: View of St James’s Park. Photo Credit: ©Ursula Petula Barzey.

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.

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National Army Museum: Atrium looking out to the galleries. Photo Credit: © National Army Museum.

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.

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The Black Friar Pub. Photo Credit: © By The Wub via Wikimedia Commons.

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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William Shakespeare portrait by John Taylor known as The Chandos Portrait. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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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Bloomberg Building in London.

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.

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Notting Hill Carnival. Photo Credit: © Flickr/Kathmandu.

Notting Hill Carnival 2018

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.

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The Postal Museum in London: Postal train. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

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.

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Tower of London - Yeoman Warders unveil a new working draw bridge.

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’.

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The logo for the Quaker Oats line of products. Photo Credit: © Fair use / Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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