I Want a Picture-Perfect White Christmas in London
In December our thoughts turn to Christmas. We think about our family, friends, Christmas cards, food (lots of it!) and presents – will Santa pass by this year? Also, just as important, the reason for Christmas: the birth of Jesus. But what we also think about is the weather – will it snow? This question set me thinking – why do we feel Christmas isn’t really Christmas if it doesn’t snow?
The Black Sailors of Georgian London
Inspired by the new exhibition “Black Greenwich Pensioners” at the Old Royal Naval College (which at the time of writing I have yet to visit), my mind recently turned to Britain’s Black seafaring past, particularly to the time Britain was most actively involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the enslavement of Africans, a time which loosely coincides with what we refer to as the Georgian age (1714-1837).
Guiding Teenagers Around London
Blue Badge Tourist Guides conduct many different types of tours, from individual families to large groups, and each type requires different skills to be successful. Here, Olga Romana shares her experiences of guiding student groups.
I have worked with students my whole life!
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.
Because I’m a Londoner: From Postman to Blue Badge Tourist Guide
This is part of a series of articles written by London Blue Badge Guides who used to be key workers in our capital city. First up is Neil Parker, who worked for 30 years as a postman before becoming a tourist guide.
I qualified as a London Blue Badge Guide in 2013 and now, as my mates from the post would say, ‘I’m paid to be me!’ At least I was until March 2020 when Covid-19 arrived. This got me thinking, what was life like for my mates in the post? So, after it reopened, I went to the pub to find out.
Introducing Millie the Blue Badger Cartoon
Hello Internet! I’m excited to introduce myself to you as one of the newly hatched Blue Badge Tourist Guides! While I’d already been guiding for a number of years, it was only in 2020 that I finally qualified as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide…
Posts in: Beyond London
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.Read more
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.Read more
Half an hour’s journey out of London’s King’s Cross train station on the line towards Cambridge gets you to the world’s first garden city, Letchworth. A new town designed on visionary principles 100 years ago, it is now a delightful time bubble and a showcase of the Arts and Crafts architectural style. There haven’t been many garden cities since, but Letchworth’s influence on urban planning around the world has been immense.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides are used to standing in front of statues and telling their groups about the people portrayed in them. The subjects of these statues are far more likely to be men, with only about ten percent portraying women – and most of those are of royalty, such as Queen Victoria. Britain has produced a large number of successful female writers but there are very few monuments to commemorate them.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know about television series and films because these do so much to encourage visitors to come to London and the United Kingdom. The most popular series on mainstream television in recent years has been Downton Abbey which was filmed at the home of the Earl of Carnarvon in Hampshire, Highclere Castle.Read more
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.Read more
The world will be watching next spring when Prince Henry of Wales KCVO, familiarly known as Prince Harry, marries the American actress Meghan Markle. With interest on both sides of the Atlantic, the royal wedding will be held on Saturday, 19th May 2018 not at Westminster Abbey in Central London where Prince Harry's brother Prince William, Duke of Cambridge was married, but at St. George's Chapel.Read more
The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the west of England and is a popular place for tourists to visit. It is full of charming English towns and quaint villages built using honey coloured stone. Driving through the traditional rolling English countryside is a treat in itself and is more enjoyable when accompanied by a Blue Badge Tourist Guide.Read more
The new Jane Austen ten pound note was unveiled for the first time at Winchester Cathedral on 18 July this year, the 200th anniversary of her death. The much-loved novelist was buried at the cathedral largely because of the influence of her brother Henry, who was an Anglican priest. Her epitaph was composed by another brother James who wrote of her ‘extraordinary achievements of mind’ but famously forgot to mention that she wrote Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.Read more
For a recent City of Oxford Tour, the group leader expressed an interest in visiting C.S. Lewis’s home. The Kilns is not on the tourist trail but an Internet search and a few emails led to a visit being arranged. We were shown around by Rachel, a young English woman who had lived in California and had the accent of a valley girl.Read more
There are thousands of World Heritage Sites recognised and listed by UNESCO, but there are very few as intriguing, enigmatic and awe-inspiring as Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world, the best-known prehistoric monument in Britain if not in Europe. A stone circle, built almost 5,000 years ago, it still inspires with its size and construction methods. Visitors have to travel to Wiltshire to experience it but it is a journey well worth doing.Read more
The sixth and final series of the popular costume drama starts airing in the United Kingdom, at 9pm on 20 September. It will be made up of eight episodes and a Christmas special to be broadcast on Christmas Day. The series will span the years 1925 to 1927, with the Crawley family and their servants facing an uncertain future.Read more
The Forth Bridge has just been announced as a new UNESCO world heritage site in Britain and the 6th in Scotland. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker from Frome, Somerset, the rail bridge, which is 2,529 metres (8,296ft) long and 100 metres high, was the largest cantilever span in the world when it opened in 1890.Read more
RAF Northolt is perhaps best known in the modern context as being the location where Diana's body was flown back to England by the Prince of Wales in 1997 and for being the base for Typhoon fighter jets on security duty during the 2012 London Olympics. However the base is 100 years old in March 2015 (older than the RAF!) and was originally set up as an operation base for Royal Flying Corps units to defend London against Zeppelin air raids.Read more
As Salisbury Cathedral prepares for a bonanza year of events to celebrate Magna Carta's 800th anniversary, work has begun on the new Chapter House exhibition. The new Magna Carta exhibition will see the Chapter House and Cloisters transformed into an interactive space that will set the document in its historic context. It will be an immersive visitor experience with digital media displays, artefacts, interactive stations and video to bring the story of King John and his barons to life.Read more