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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. There is the receding hairline (or ‘high forehead’ as the actor David Mitchell puts it in the BBC comedy series Upstart Crow) and the Van Dyck beard. This is a successful man, well-dressed in expensive clothes, someone who has established himself in the booming Elizabethan theatre world.

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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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The Royal Family: Prince Louis Arthur Charles. Photo Credit: © British Monarchy.

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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Agatha Christie's The MouseTrap 65th anniversary sign. Photo Credit: © Mousetrap London.

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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Four Inns of Court: Middle Temple Hall as viewed from the south. Photo Credit: © David Iliff via Wikimedia Commons.

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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Saint Pancras International Station: Tracey Emin Neon Sign, I want my time with you. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

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.

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Runners at London Marathon - View of Big Ben. Photo Credit: © London & Partners.

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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Trooping The Colour

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.

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