Faces Of The Bard – What Did Shakespeare Look Like?
Most of us think that we know what this most famous poet and playwright William Shakespeare looked like. Our image of him comes from the portrait in the First Folio of his plays, a rather mediocre woodcut by Martin Droeshout, which nevertheless gave a fair likeness, according to his contemporary, friend and rival Ben Jonson. There is the receding hairline (or ‘high forehead’ as the actor David Mitchell puts it in the BBC comedy series Upstart Crow) and the Van Dyck beard. This is a successful man, well-dressed in expensive clothes, someone who has established himself in the booming Elizabethan theatre world.
Bloomberg Building & London Mithraeum Museum
London is growing skywards. With the high rental price for offices and a lack of space in the ‘square mile’ of the old City of London going up is the only practical alternative. Because of the soft clay in which London was built the maximum height of a skyscraper in the city used to be around 600 feet (200 metres) but new technology allows architects to design buildings – such as Enzo Piano’s The Shard – which are around 1000 feet (300 metres) high with further high rise structures being built and planned for the future.
Notting Hill Carnival 2018
The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street festival in Europe and originated in 1964 as a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. Taking place every August Bank Holiday weekend in the streets of London W11, the Notting Hill Carnival is an amazing array of sounds, colourful sights, and social solidarity.
Visiting The Postal Museum In London
The Postal Museum was the only finalist in the 2018 Museum of the Year shortlist to be located in London. Although the postal service has been operating for 500 years, The Postal Museum in London only opened its doors in its present form a year ago in Phoenix Place near the Mount Pleasant sorting office, where modern postal vans can still be seen dispatching mail.
Up Close With Yeoman Warders aka Beefeaters At Tower Of London
As Blue Badge Tourist Guides we often take our clients into the Tower of London as much as – or more than – any other building in London. With this in mind, it is important to develop a good relationship with those who live and work there. In the case of the Tower of London, these are the famous Yeoman Warders, commonly but unofficially known as ‘Beefeaters’.
300th Anniversary of William Penn’s Death
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.
South Kensington in London is synonymous with museums. Three of our best known national museums can be found here: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, known affectionately to many as The V&A.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides who take their groups through the British Museum will often stop to point out some massive Assyrian sculptures before moving on to the nearby Parthenon Marbles. These represent the half-lion half-man figures guarding the entrance to the royal palace of King Ashurnasirpal the Second and were built in the ninth century BC. Now they can point out a modern version of the same creatures made from date syrup cans standing right in the centre of London – on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square.Read more
London is a city in the love, yes truly, madly, deeply in love with football! We are of course talking here of the game us Brits know of as football. Not futbol, not association rules, and absolutely, definitely, 100%, not soccer. In our game the ball is round, the officials are referees, the offence is the attack, periods are called halves and the fans eat pies with brown sauce, ketchup and scolding-hot meat of mysterious content. And yes, London loves it!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 Season” always fascinates visitors to England. An endless whirl of summer events where it’s just as important who to be seen with as to actually have fun. We asked Sophie Campbell, Blue Badge Tourist Guide and author of The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season to give us her unique perspective on this most English of traditions.Read more
Think you’ve seen all there is in London? Well, think again! Just step east over the border from the Financial City and you’ll find another world of contrasts reflecting the waves of immigrant workers who have passed through over the centuries. My top ten list of things to see in London’s East End will take you on a journey of atmospheric Georgian and Victorian streets, bustling markets, great nightlife, and some historic villains. Enjoy!Read more
The Imperial War Museum presents London’s greatest collection of military arms and hardware. Famed for its tanks, aircraft, and weapons, the museum also reveals and reflects on the rich personal tales and first-hand accounts of British and Commonwealth involvement in 20th and 21st Century conflicts all around the world. Visit the Imperial War Museum with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide to discover their stories and touch the hand of military history.Read more
The art-loving and generous founder of the Tate, sugar magnate Henry Tate, collected contemporary British art. He knew what he liked; pictures (some say sentimental) that told a story, animal subjects, and landscapes. He bought works by Millais, Stanhope Forbes, and Luke Fildes, displayed in his own gallery at Park Hill. However, intellectuals sneered at his taste. Resolved to found a public gallery of British art with his own pictures, the gallery finally opened in 1897.Read more
March will see the feast days of two of the UK’s patron saints: St David of Wales on the 1st and St Patrick of Ireland on the 17th. St David’s day will see a banquet in the evening at the Guildhall and attended by Mayor of London. St Patrick’s Day, on the other hand, will see a huge procession from Green Park to Trafalgar Square on Sunday the 19th starting at noon and an event in the square that will go on all day.Read more
Most English people are familiar with the song Jerusalem which is a kind of unofficial national anthem for England – as opposed to God Save the Queen which is the official anthem for the United Kingdom as a whole. The words were written by the poet and painter William Blake, one of the great English eccentrics, a born and bred Londoner.Read more
The neighbourhood of Notting Hill in London today is a vibrant, exuberant and colourful reflection of its heady, diverse, rich and multi-cultural past. An eclectic mix of people, places and attitudes give this affluent and fashionable area a unique vibe, combining both the bohemian and the traditional. International financial traders rub shoulders with artists, musicians and writers in the many coffee shops, bars, and restaurants or behind handsome stucco-fronted pillar-porched houses, pretty mews dwellings and of course, regular flats.Read more
Chinese New Year has arrived and as London celebrates the Year of the Dog with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia, my thoughts turned to this city’s longstanding love affair with man’s best friend, the dog. There’s a lot of puppy love in the Great British capital – a phenomenal 200,000 dogs and counting call London home. That’s almost twice the size of the population of Reykjavik!Read more