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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
They may have to travel across an ocean to get here, but for Americans in London, home is never that far away. Britain and the United States have a long shared history, and there are many sites in London associated with America. They reflect the close political, cultural and military ties between the two countries. The term “special relationship,” often used to refer to the Anglo-American friendship, was first coined by Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, whose mother was American.Read more
London, has (or had) a reputation for housing members of the international awkward squad. One exile was the French writer Émile Zola who arrived at Victoria Station on 19 July 1898 without any luggage or knowledge of the English language. He spent his first night at the Grosvenor Hotel and later moved to the more modest Queen’s Hotel in Norwood.Read more
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the most travelled sovereign in British history, undertaking more than 250 overseas visits during her 65-year reign. During 2016 alone, The Queen carried out over 300 official engagements the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. An important part of these occasions is the receiving or exchanging of gifts, the subject of the an exhibition at this year’s Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.Read more
William Shakespeare. Revered throughout the world as one of the greatest playwrights, Shakespeare wrote some of the best known and best loved words in the English language. Over 400 years on, these words still have the power to question, console, illuminate and inspire us today.Read more
At 215 miles long and neatly dividing London between North and South, the River Thames is the silvery thread that provides continuity for a City that is always changing. The sinuous loops and eccentrically named reaches provide the focus for some of London’s greatest sights.Read more
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. The unmistakable Dome and the beautiful west towers dominate the skyline of the City. Designed by one of our greatest architects, Sir Christopher Wren, and completed in 1711, St Paul’s is London’s cathedral and embodies the spiritual life of British people.Read more
Brixton is one of London’s most diverse and exciting neighbourhoods. It is bit of a hidden gem tucked away south of the river Thames and less than 3 miles from Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. Known for its Caribbean heritage and referred to as London’s Harlem by the US actor Will Smith, immigration has been a theme in Brixton’s history that defines its character as well as its cultural diversity.Read more
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