Five Top Battle of Britain Sites to Visit in London
This summer marks 80 years since the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over southern England. This was a fight for Britain’s survival against a Nazi Germany that had conquered much of western Europe in just a few short months. With the fall of France in June, Britain expected a German invasion, and one was indeed being planned under the codename Operation Sealion. However, for the invasion to be successful the Germans first needed to control the skies over Britain – they needed to destroy the Royal Air Force.
Six Great English Dishes other than Fish and Chips!
If you fancy sampling some traditional English dishes the next time you’re able to visit London, try one or more of these staunch favourites!
Exploring London By Taking A Virtual Tour With A Blue Badge Tourist Guide
Lockdown has been pretty devastating for London Blue Badge Tourist Guides, as you can imagine. However, rather than sitting at home polishing up our shining badges waiting for the clients who were never going to arrive, we decided to bring London to the world.
The View from My Window: My Old Man (Part 2)
I’m looking out the window to the street below. One of those annoying yappy dogs is dragging its owner on an exceptionally long leash. Everything about it bugs me, including its colouring (which, by the way, matches the oblivious owner’s hair). `That dog has a brown head and a black body,’ I hear a voice say. I jump and turn but see no one. But I know who is speaking.
Yellow Bags Are Back – London’s Selfridges Department Store Reopens After Lockdown
In 1906 Harry Gordon Selfridge came to London and spent £400,000 opening up Selfridges department store. He was bored with retirement and, having risen from being a stock clerk to partner at Marshall Fields in Chicago, he was looking for a new challenge. He positioned his shop at the then unfashionable western end of Oxford Street, calculating correctly that the newly opened Central Line on the underground would bring customers to his store near Marble Arch and Hyde Park.
Guide London Launches Virtual Tours of London
Building on the success of its live broadcast series showcasing London’s culture, history and tourist attractions, Guide London which represents the membership of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides has launched a new London Virtual Tour.
I believe in ghosts. Not the chain-rattling, shroud-clad nebulae that float in and out of Shakespeare’s plays and Dickens’ stories. I’m referring to people who have `moved on’ but still come back for a visit, who can talk and walk with you. Souls… Spirits… Whatever we want to call them, it’s impossible to have lived in a place like Hong Kong like we did for a dozen years and not believe in them. Just impossible.Read more
Like all of us, I’ve found lockdown hard. As usual at the start of the year, I was preparing for the new season with info-gathering and reorientation walks, but this all came to a shuddering end in mid-March. I live in suburbia, so that’s not really much use to me as a London guide.Read more
Perhaps the most obvious place to see animals in London is at London Zoo, the world’s oldest scientific zoo. But did you know you can see more creatures great and small by travelling across the capital? Next time you’re able to visit, see just how many animal sculptures and objects you can spot in this great city.Read more
On 8th May 2020, we will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), when World War II came to a conclusion. The war had been long, exhausting and involved a rollercoaster of highs and lows, militarily, politically, economically, socially and emotionally. I have chosen six objects that can be seen in London to tell the tale of some of these events. Each is on display at either the Imperial War Museum (in Lambeth, south London and free to visit) or the Churchill War Rooms (in central London, £23 for a standard adult ticket).Read more
I’m helping my husband, Michael Rothschild, re-arrange the window boxes in our bedroom upstairs. I do the lifting, not the nurturing; my thumbs are black. Two doors to the east scaffolders are erecting staging across our neighbour’s roof. Yet another loft conversion is in progress. The workmen are Polish.Read more
London is a port city, and Britain became great because of its navy and ability to trade across the globe. The capital’s wealth is built upon that sea trade. There are reminders of London’s maritime history everywhere. In Trafalgar Square, we commemorate the 1805 victory (and the death) of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. At Tower Hill, we remember the 36,000 merchant mariners lost at sea with no known grave. And the Museum of London Docklands examines the triangular trade in goods, sugar and slaves, upon which so much of the city’s wealth was built.Read more
I’ve taken my cue from an erstwhile neighbour – Alfred Hitchcock was born just up the road in Leytonstone – and I’ve moved to the rear window. I’m in search of the colour purple. But instead of the lilac that coyly shows its first blush this time of year through the satin-white of the magnolia tree and the billowing chartreuse of the willow, I’m getting a Phoenician purple that would have turned Queen Elizabeth I, who banned the royal colour from her court, apoplectic.Read more
What could be more quintessentially English than afternoon tea? This is often one of the top items on London visitors’ itineraries, but many are unsure of where to go or surprised by how expensive it can be.
I’ve been enjoying and writing about the afternoon tea ceremony since I first moved to London nearly 30 years ago. How times have changed! The landscape has grown, both in terms of price range and creativity of menus. Restaurants and hotels have become more imaginative with themed teas, such as the Mad Hatter Tea at the Sanderson Hotel and the fashion-orientated Pret-a-Portea at the Berkeley.
My husband, Mike Rothschild, thinks I’ve been staring out the window for too long now and suggests a bit of exercise. But our lovely lady, Vicky Park, is off-limits, I pout. `Let’s go to the Olympic Park,’ he suggests. So off on our bikes to the big green space just east of us we go, with Mike, my own personal optimist trying to keep my head above water as I struggle to submerge, wallowing in the black ink of despondency. I’ve been cooped up way too long watching the world sink from my window.Read more
Time is weighing heavily as I sit at my window, sewing. Yes, buttons. Has it really come to this? Every once and awhile I’ll lean forward to wave or nod to a friend or a passing acquaintance. The window washer, the Baptist preacher, the local councilwoman, the `kids’ next door (who are now adults) … We know everybody. But truth be told, it didn’t get off to a good start. My husband Mike Rothschild and I moved into this house in Bow in East London at the end of the first year of the new millennium. Almost immediately we flew to the USA to visit family before returning to begin a massive renovation of our new home.Read more
The Tower of London, the capital’s most popular tourist attraction has been a palace, fortress, prison, mint, armoury, jewel house and home to both Beefeaters and ravens. When it was built in the 11th century by Norman invaders from France, the Tower of London resembled little more than a wooden shed on a hill surrounded by a garden fence. But over the following centuries, the castle grew and grew, so that the complex that we call the Tower of London is in fact made up of 21 different towers. Here are some fascinating stories behind a few of them.Read more
I’m standing in the bathroom on the upper floor – you really don’t have to know what I’m doing –looking wistfully through the chartreuse-coloured cascade that is the weeping willow at the bottom of our garden and across the canal to Victoria Park. It is `just spring when the world is puddle-wonderful’ as American poet E.E. Cummings once put it, and we can no longer enter it. Like pints after work and an evening at the theatre, our beloved park is just a memory. It’s encaged by tall iron gates.Read more