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The 'Five Backpacks', a travelling US family, enjoy The Bard by Anglo-Australian street artist Jimmy C. Photo Credit: ©  Antony Robbins.

Pictures On Walls: Enjoying Street Art in London’s Lockdown

This has been an unbelievable year like no other. It has challenged all of us in so many ways. We’ve tried hard to ensure that life goes on, enjoying some of the simpler pleasures, like art and nature. But this has been a tricky time for art lovers and museum-goers around the globe. The United Kingdom is currently in a month-long lockdown, and the capital’s leading art galleries like Tate Britain and the National Gallery will close until early December.

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London Christmas Tree 2015 - Somerset House

Public Walking & Virtual Tours By London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides

In addition to offering customized private tours, many London Blue Badge Tourist Guides also conduct regular walking tours and virtual tours for groups. Joining a group tour can be a fun and affordable way to take in the sights. For locals, a walk with a knowledgeable and passionate Blue Badge Tourist Guide can reveal fun facts and hidden gems you may not have been aware of.

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The Palm House and Parterre at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in London. Photo Credit: © Daniel Case via Wikimedia Commons.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: A Place To Find Solace In Nature During Coronavirus Pandemic

As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I feel proud and privileged to introduce visitors from around the globe to the greatest and most historic botanic gardens in the world: the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site with hundreds of years of history and a key scientific research centre at the forefront of saving our planet, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew offers endless wonders for all to enjoy.

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The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey in London. Photo Credit: © David Streets.

The Final Journey Of The Unknown Warrior At Westminster Abbey

The most emotionally powerful story I tell as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide is that of the Unknown Warrior – a single British soldier who through his anonymity came to represent hundreds of thousands of British soldiers killed during the First World War.

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unveiling of the permanent Cenotaph in London at Whitehall, by King George V, 11 November 1920. Photo Credit: © Imperial War Museum.

The Story of the Cenotaph in London – Marking 100 Years

At 11 a.m. on 11th November 1920, Britain marked the exact moment two years previously when the Armistice ended the fighting of the First World War. Standing on Whitehall, King George V stepped forward to unveil a new permanent Cenotaph and join the nation in two minutes of silent reflection. This moment started the tradition of the monarch leading the nation in remembrance from the Cenotaph, which is still with us 100 years later.

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Formal Gardens at Sissinghurst Castle. Photo Credit: © Oast House Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

Sissinghurst – An Intriguing England Garden

Sometimes described as “a green and pleasant land”, it is not surprising that England boasts a host of world-class gardens that attract domestic and international visitors alike. Among the most influential of these, and under two hours from central London, is Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the ancient county of Kent. Sissinghurst gained notoriety due to the garden itself and its creators.

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Maurizio Seveso, The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, Maurizio Patti. Photo Credit: © Maurizio Patti.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Make Canterbury Pilgrimage in Aid of Beirut

On Tuesday the 4th August, I was watching the news when suddenly the announcement “breaking news” from Beirut appeared on the screen. A huge explosion had destroyed most of the harbour and districts around it. I was shocked and horrified. Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by terrible images. But this one stayed in my mind and it was rekindled by a Zoom meeting with a Beirut family. I was petrified by their description. No hospitals, no homes, no schools in a country already torn apart by previous wars, the current pandemic and a gigantic financial crisis. At that moment I thought I had to do something.

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St Paul's Cathedral in London. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

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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Pablo Fanque, the first black circus proprietor in Britain at Astley's Amphitheatre in 1847. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrating Black History Month in Britain With Circus Stories

October is Black History Month in Britain. It is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about people, places and objects that help tell the story of the Black presence in Britain – those whose names are not well known, and events that included people from Africa and the Caribbean who can help to inform the narratives of British history.

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Painting of John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I. Photo Credit: © Wellcome Library Gallery via Wikimedia Commons.

Halloween History: Attitudes to Sorcerers and Witches in the Elizabethan and Stuart Courts

To put it mildly, attitudes towards witches and sorcerers in the Elizabethan period were confusing and often contradictory. While Bloody Mary (reigned 1553 – 1558) was vicious in her treatment of witches, Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603) had a more ambivalent relationship to this subject. After all her mother, Anne Boleyn had been accused of being a witch because of a malformation of her left hand, which appeared in the form of an extra finger. Elizabeth, as a strong female ruler, may not have been happy about hunting down the fair sex, therefore, and accusing those who might be innocent of any crime.

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Ildi Pelikan at Windsor & Eton Brewery. Photo Credit: © Ildi Pelikan.

A Hidden Gem in Windsor: The Windsor & Eton Brewery

One of Windsor’s best-kept secrets is Windsor & Eton Brewery. Tucked away behind the railway arches – just minutes from the coach park and cark park in a simple, modest building – is the warmest and friendliest of breweries, with welcoming staff and a young manager who really love what they do. Ildi Pelikan describes below how she witnessed a special event on a visit to the brewery earlier this month with fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Leila Sukiur.

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Rolling Stones store on Carnaby Street in London. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

Rolling Stones Store Opens On Carnaby Street in London

It is often said that if you can remember the ’60s, then you were not really there. Well, I can remember them and, in particular, the outlandish clothes we wore, like bell-bottoms and floral shirts – and this was just the men. Male fashion led the way then and was celebrated with songs like Dedicated Follower of Fashion, a big hit for the Kinks. Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know their modern history as well as what happened centuries ago.

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