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Jimi Hendrix photo at Sanctum Soho Hotel. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

At Home With Jimi Hendrix – Exploring The London Lodgings Of A Rock And Roll Icon

Fifty years ago this month, we lost one of the greatest musicians of all time. Jimi Hendrix died in Notting Hill, on 18 September 1970.

Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on 27 November 1942 in Seattle. He became “Jimi” only later. He had a diverse lineage with African-American and Native American roots. His grandmother Nora was said to be one-quarter Cherokee. Early 20th-century photos reveal her fine features, which bear a striking resemblance to those of her grandson.

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Anna Targett conducting a virtual tour. Photo Credit: © Anna Targett.

Virtual Tours – A Creative Way Of Guiding

A virtual tour is so much more than an on-screen stroll…

Professional tourist guides are using their imaginations to show so much more detail than when guiding on the street. What at first seemed an uphill mountain to climb…. creating tours for a small screen …. has developed into a quiet revolution – and a creative one.

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

Remembering The Blitz On London

On the afternoon of 7th September 1940, 350 German bomber planes attacked London, devastating the docks area and killing over 400 people. The day became known as Black Saturday and marked the beginning of a bombing campaign – the Blitz – that terrorised the city for eight months. Around 20,000 Londoners were killed. Eighty years on from Black Saturday, Blue Badge Tourist Guide Ruth Polling explores how remnants of that period can still be seen in London today.

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National Portrait Gallery: Portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ, 1981. Photo Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Princess Diana in London

Lady Diana Spencer, who would have turned 59 this summer, made a huge impact on British life. She helped modernise the monarchy, and her death in 1997 shocked the institution to its core. Diana also made history in other ways: She was the first woman of English birth to marry the heir to the throne in 300 years, and the first royal bride to have had a job. Here we take a look around some of the sites in London with connections to the late princess.

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Sculpture representing Africa on exterior of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, London. Photo Credit: © Angela Morgan.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Offering Virtual Tours During Open House London Weekend 2020

It’s got to be one of London’s best-loved events: from the arrival of the eagerly awaited annual catalogue and the feverish planning of visits, to that autumn weekend when the city flings open its doors to citizens and visitors. Yup, it’s Open House – time for Londoners to get up close and personal with buildings they normally can’t access.

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A digital collage created by portrait artist Nathan Wyburn of 200 NHS workers, created as a 'thank you' to the key workers during the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic. Photo Credit: © Nathan Wyburn via Wikimedia Commons.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Plan Campaign To Thank NHS Staff

Over these past few months, many of us in the United Kingdom have been feeling particularly grateful for our National Health Service (NHS). The phrase national treasure has perhaps never seemed more appropriate. Founded in 1948, the NHS is a publicly funded and largely free system providing health-care to Britons from cradle to grave. It has touched all of our lives at some point – a cherished part of British life. Many will remember the celebratory tribute paid to the NHS and its incredible staff as a highlight of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

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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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