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Formal Gardens at Sissinghurst Castle. Photo Credit: © Oast House Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

Sissinghurst – An Intriguing England Garden

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.

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Maurizio Seveso, The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, Maurizio Patti. Photo Credit: © Maurizio Patti.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Make Canterbury Pilgrimage in Aid of Beirut

On Tuesday the 4th August, I was watching the news when suddenly the announcement “breaking news” from Beirut appeared on the screen. A huge explosion had destroyed most of the harbour and districts around it. I was shocked and horrified. Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by terrible images. But this one stayed in my mind and it was rekindled by a Zoom meeting with a Beirut family. I was petrified by their description. No hospitals, no homes, no schools in a country already torn apart by previous wars, the current pandemic and a gigantic financial crisis. At that moment I thought I had to do something.

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St Paul's Cathedral in London. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

Some Favourites From St. Paul’s Cathedral in London

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most famous landmarks, its majestic dome visible from many parts of the capital. This architectural masterpiece – a symbol of London’s strength and resilience – and has been the site of many historic occasions, including royal weddings and state funerals. It is a working church and a place for quiet reflection, but there are also many wonderful things to see inside on a visit. Blue Badge Tourist guide Patricia Gentry shares just a few of her favourites below.

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Pablo Fanque, the first black circus proprietor in Britain at Astley's Amphitheatre in 1847. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrating Black History Month in Britain With Circus Stories

October is Black History Month in Britain. It is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about people, places and objects that help tell the story of the Black presence in Britain – those whose names are not well known, and events that included people from Africa and the Caribbean who can help to inform the narratives of British history.

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Painting of John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I. Photo Credit: © Wellcome Library Gallery via Wikimedia Commons.

Halloween History: Attitudes to Sorcerers and Witches in the Elizabethan and Stuart Courts

To put it mildly, attitudes towards witches and sorcerers in the Elizabethan period were confusing and often contradictory. While Bloody Mary (reigned 1553 – 1558) was vicious in her treatment of witches, Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603) had a more ambivalent relationship to this subject. After all her mother, Anne Boleyn had been accused of being a witch because of a malformation of her left hand, which appeared in the form of an extra finger. Elizabeth, as a strong female ruler, may not have been happy about hunting down the fair sex, therefore, and accusing those who might be innocent of any crime.

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Ildi Pelikan at Windsor & Eton Brewery. Photo Credit: © Ildi Pelikan.

A Hidden Gem in Windsor: The Windsor & Eton Brewery

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.

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Rolling Stones store on Carnaby Street in London. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

Rolling Stones Store Opens On Carnaby Street in London

It is often said that if you can remember the ’60s, then you were not really there. Well, I can remember them and, in particular, the outlandish clothes we wore, like bell-bottoms and floral shirts – and this was just the men. Male fashion led the way then and was celebrated with songs like Dedicated Follower of Fashion, a big hit for the Kinks. Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know their modern history as well as what happened centuries ago.

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Jimi Hendrix photo at Sanctum Soho Hotel. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

At Home With Jimi Hendrix – Exploring The London Lodgings Of A Rock And Roll Icon

Fifty years ago this month, we lost one of the greatest musicians of all time. Jimi Hendrix died in Notting Hill, on 18 September 1970.

Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on 27 November 1942 in Seattle. He became “Jimi” only later. He had a diverse lineage with African-American and Native American roots. His grandmother Nora was said to be one-quarter Cherokee. Early 20th-century photos reveal her fine features, which bear a striking resemblance to those of her grandson.

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Anna Targett conducting a virtual tour. Photo Credit: © Anna Targett.

Virtual Tours – A Creative Way Of Guiding

A virtual tour is so much more than an on-screen stroll…

Professional tourist guides are using their imaginations to show so much more detail than when guiding on the street. What at first seemed an uphill mountain to climb…. creating tours for a small screen …. has developed into a quiet revolution – and a creative one.

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Imperial War Museum London - Weeping Windows Poppies Tour. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

Remembering The Blitz On London

On the afternoon of 7th September 1940, 350 German bomber planes attacked London, devastating the docks area and killing over 400 people. The day became known as Black Saturday and marked the beginning of a bombing campaign – the Blitz – that terrorised the city for eight months. Around 20,000 Londoners were killed. Eighty years on from Black Saturday, Blue Badge Tourist Guide Ruth Polling explores how remnants of that period can still be seen in London today.

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National Portrait Gallery: Portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ, 1981. Photo Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Princess Diana in London

Lady Diana Spencer, who would have turned 59 this summer, made a huge impact on British life. She helped modernise the monarchy, and her death in 1997 shocked the institution to its core. Diana also made history in other ways: She was the first woman of English birth to marry the heir to the throne in 300 years, and the first royal bride to have had a job. Here we take a look around some of the sites in London with connections to the late princess.

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Sculpture representing Africa on exterior of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, London. Photo Credit: © Angela Morgan.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Offering Virtual Tours During Open House London Weekend 2020

It’s got to be one of London’s best-loved events: from the arrival of the eagerly awaited annual catalogue and the feverish planning of visits, to that autumn weekend when the city flings open its doors to citizens and visitors. Yup, it’s Open House – time for Londoners to get up close and personal with buildings they normally can’t access.

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