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Pop up event in London for Hendrick's Gin. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

The Gin Craze, and London’s Long History With “Madam Geneva”

London has been enjoying a Gin Renaissance in recent years, with over 20 new distillers appearing in the capital, and pubs and bars throughout the city declaring themselves Gin Palaces. You many even have enjoyed a tipple of the juniper-infused drink yourself in recent months. If so, you were probably imbibing a form of London Dry. 

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Covid-19 Guidance for Tour Guiding

In these uncertain times, people considering taking a guided tour in London and beyond may understandably have concerns about their health and safety. But with the UK’s professionally qualified and highly trained Blue Badge Tourist Guides, you will be in extremely capable hands.

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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.

Visiting The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in London

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew make a wonderful day out away from the hustle and bustle of central London.
Learn 5 new things from Blue Badge Guide Patricia Gentry on:
* How the gardens evolved from hunting grounds to a private royal pleasure garden, and then into a public garden for all to appreciate
* Kew Gardens’ largest champion tree
* The ‘Loneliest Bachelor in the World’
* The smallest of all royal palaces in England
* How Kew Gardens became a clearinghouse for rubber seeds and saved the Amazon Rainforest

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Vivienne Westwood at King's College London in 2008. Photo Credit: © FormerBBC via Wikimedia Commons.

London: The Geography of Fashion & The Couturiers of the King’s Road in Chelsea

For many visitors to London, the King’s Road in Chelsea is synonymous with the delights of shopping. These days, it’s not unlike most other shopping streets, if a bit more upscale. However, from the 1960s to the 1980s, it really was THE place to shop in London. I’ll be looking at three important, but very different, designers from the last 60 years who started their careers in Chelsea and whose fashion influence is still felt today.

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History of Harrods Department Store in London

As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I have noticed that visitors are always very excited to be shown around Harrods department store in London. The very name conjures up images of luxury and quality. Due to its history, clientele, location and former royal patronage, it is the most well-known department store on the planet.

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The View from My Front Door. Photo Credit: © Steve Fallon.

The View from My Front Door: Open Sesame

It’s time. Slowly and with resolve, I close my bedroom window upstairs and walk down the steps into the hallway. It’s been a while. I open the front door. The world is at my feet. But like so many around me and around the world, I look to the left and to the right and I wonder: Is this what I want? In almost four months I’ve seen acts of human kindness positively overflowing, enough to fill that half-empty glass many times over.

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Spitfire in front of St George's Royal Air Force Chapel of Remembrance Biggin Hill. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

Five Top Battle of Britain Sites to Visit in London

This summer marks 80 years since the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over southern England. This was a fight for Britain’s survival against a Nazi Germany that had conquered much of western Europe in just a few short months. With the fall of France in June, Britain expected a German invasion, and one was indeed being planned under the codename Operation Sealion. However, for the invasion to be successful the Germans first needed to control the skies over Britain – they needed to destroy the Royal Air Force.

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English Sunday lunch with roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. Photo Credit: © Jeremy Keith via Wikimedia Commons.

Six Great English Dishes other than Fish and Chips!

If you fancy sampling some traditional English dishes the next time you’re able to visit London, try one or more of these staunch favourites!

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Exploring London through a virtual tour_Whitechapel Gallery. Photo Credit: © Pepe Martinez.

Exploring London By Taking A Virtual Tour With A Blue Badge Tourist Guide

Lockdown has been pretty devastating for London Blue Badge Tourist Guides, as you can imagine. However, rather than sitting at home polishing up our shining badges waiting for the clients who were never going to arrive, we decided to bring London to the world.

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Steve, niece Tsivia Leah, Bill & Beulah. Photo Credit: © Steve Fallon.

The View from My Window: My Old Man (Part 2)

I’m looking out the window to the street below. One of those annoying yappy dogs is dragging its owner on an exceptionally long leash. Everything about it bugs me, including its colouring (which, by the way, matches the oblivious owner’s hair). `That dog has a brown head and a black body,’ I hear a voice say. I jump and turn but see no one. But I know who is speaking.

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Selfridges Bag. Photo Credit: © Selfridges.

Yellow Bags Are Back – London’s Selfridges Department Store Reopens After Lockdown

In 1906 Harry Gordon Selfridge came to London and spent £400,000 opening up Selfridges department store. He was bored with retirement and, having risen from being a stock clerk to partner at Marshall Fields in Chicago, he was looking for a new challenge. He positioned his shop at the then unfashionable western end of Oxford Street, calculating correctly that the newly opened Central Line on the underground would bring customers to his store near Marble Arch and Hyde Park.

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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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