Dinosaurs And Destruction at the Crystal Palace
Most Blue Badge Guides, when conducting a tour of London, will give priority to what people can see. Occasionally, however, they will mention a building that has been lost to fire, bombing or development. One such is the Crystal Palace, originally found in Hyde Park.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Walks & Tours
There is no better time to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park than spring or summer. The Park opened fully in April 2014 and has since welcomed millions of visitors. It covers 560 acres and people visiting can enjoy the beautiful parklands, idyllic riverside lawns, giant climbing walks and intricate fountains.
A View From Above: 10 London Rooftop Bars And Restaurants
Who doesn’t love a great view? And even better if there’s good food and/or classic cocktails to go with it. As you take a break from sightseeing for refreshment and relaxation, let your Blue Badge Tourist Guide help you seek out the most stunning vistas across London. With an ever-increasing number of steel and glass skyscrapers heading for the heavens in the financial district, the area known as the City of London is a great place to start.
Celebrating the Chinese New Year in London
The wonderful Christmas lights in Central London are coming down, and red lanterns are beginning to appear around Soho and in particular Chinatown. This is part of the celebration for Chinese New Year which is also known as the Spring Festival. This year it falls on the 28th January, the first day of spring in the lunisolar calendar.
Why London Has The Best Literature Tours In The World
If you’re a fan of literature, there’s no better place to visit than London. Book a tour with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and walk in the footsteps of authors like William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Charles Dickens. The city has preserved its history so well in places that you can still feel the source of the writers’ inspiration.
Pearly Kings And Queens On The Streets of London
As well as the important buildings and monuments, Blue Badge Tourist Guides have to be aware of distinctive characters on the streets of London. None are more distinct than the Pearly Kings and Queens who dress up in the ‘colourful’ costumes and raise money for charity. In fact, a Pearly costume is usually made from black and white materials, with occasionally a brightly coloured scarf (as on this photograph) or feathers adorning a pearly hat or cap.
One of the most popular items in the British Museum in London is the Rosetta Stone. It is rather unremarkable. It is the height of a child, cracked at the edges, lacking colour, and with inscriptions on only one side. There is little beauty in it, and the inscriptions are boring decrees – yet it is maybe one of the most famous stones in the world. For over 20 years it became the focus of a race to crack a code of strange pictures and shapes and in doing so uncover the life of Ancient Egypt.Read more
Of all the European capitals, London is arguably the one with the greatest architectural variety, be it residential, commercial or public buildings. What adds to the impression of an incessantly ‘creative kaleidoscope’ is the juxtaposition of old and new, of a mediaeval church next to a 21st century glass building or a Roman ruin in the middle of a 1970s Brutalist development.Read more
Which hobby is loved by 1 in 6 British adults and generated revenues of £5.5 million in 2016? No, not fishing or horse riding, but old cars, buses, vans and lorries. Yes, petrolheads, according to the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, are doing their bit for the economy, and London is right at the forefront of the movement.Read more
Mother’s Day is fast approaching – let our knowledgeable and entertaining Blue Badge Tourist Guide reveal the origins of the festival and introduce some beautiful ideas for treating her on Mother’s Day. Mothers’ Day is often confused with Mothering Sunday; an old Christian tradition when believers visited their “mother” church on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Domestic servants were given a day off to do this, usually with their mothers – often the only time a family could reunite all year.Read more
One of the most overlooked and yet fascinating galleries in London is the National Portrait Gallery. If you’re interested in British history or would like to check up on 20th century faces, the National Portrait Gallery is a great destination. Often overlooked, it sits behind the National Gallery but has a completely separate identity. The National Portrait Gallery holds around 200,000 portraits of people from diverse backgrounds who have all been chosen for their great achievements or aristocratic connections. See some of the most famous people of the last 500 years of British history.Read more
In 1824 the House of Commons agreed to pay £57,000 for the art collection of the wealthy banker John Julius Angerstein. His 38 pictures became the core of a new national collection. Great encouragement came from another collector, Sir George Beaumont, who donated 16 paintings to the new gallery and in 1838 the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square finally opened its doors.Read more
The official title of the Houses of Parliament is the New Palace of Westminster. The name reminds us that the earliest Parliaments were consultations between the King and his closest followers, together with representatives of the Church, held at his London residence. The Houses of Parliament combine spectacular architecture with a fascinating history. Located next door to Westminster Abbey and inextricably linked to it by history the Houses of Parliament are an intriguing place to visit.Read more
With a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. You would need many years – maybe a lifetime – to look through this unequalled treasure trove so what better solution than hiring a Blue Badge Tourist Guide to select and explain some of the exceptional artefacts on display.Read more
Ian Fleming created the character of 007 whilst living in London and his novels are filled with references to London. Subsequent filmmakers took Fleming’s character and have developed him into the super spy we know today, and along the way set many of their iconic filming locations in London.Read more
Southwark is a borough in South London that has much to offer visitors. The areas of the South Bank and Bankside are situated by the River Thames and have been a particular draw for many visitors. You can stroll along the banks of the Thames any time night or day to enjoy the scenic views, go to the theatres, art galleries, enjoy the street entertainment, seasonal fairs or dine al-fresco.Read more
Tate Modern is the jewel in the crown of modern art galleries in London. It holds the nation’s collection of modern art from 1900 to the present day. With 5.7 million visitors it is in the top ten most visited museums and galleries in the world. The collection holds masterpieces of international and British modern art. From Picasso’s “The Three Dancers”, to Dali’s “Autumnal Canibbalism”, to Rothko’s “The Seagram Murals”, to Duschamp’s “Fountain”, to Parreno’s “Anywhen”, Tate Modern is a one stop shop for modern art lovers.Read more
English and British Monarchs have lived in and around London for over a thousand years in a variety of palaces; some still standing, others long-gone. But the area now known as ‘Royal London’ has consistently been at the heart of royal life, with regal residences at Westminster, Whitehall, Buckingham and St James’s Place and at Clarence and Carlton Houses.Read more