Six Towers Inside the Tower of London
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.
New NHS Nightingale Hospitals
At no time in recent history have we appreciated the NHS and medical staff more than in our current crisis. Doctors, nurses and public health specialists are working flat out to save our nation. Not alone in their endeavours; we are seeing the army and teams of construction workers build new hospital facilities out of conference centres in London, Manchester and Birmingham. These new hospitals are being called Nightingale Hospitals. So, what’s behind the name?
Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides, members of Guide London/Association of Professional Tourist Guides are acting in the best interests of visitors and locals alike by restricting our work in line with the latest advice from Public Health England. Furthermore, most tourist attractions, including museums and galleries and many pubs and restaurants, are closed. This is because the UK government has advised against all inessential travel as they work to contain COVID-19 and minimise community spread.
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge – London’s Most Famous Poem
Blue Badge Tourist Guides in London need to have a working knowledge of some of the famous writers and poets associated with the city: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, William Blake, and Ben Jonson, all of whom made London their homes for at least part of their lives.
Centenary of the Imperial War Museum in London
The year 2020 marks the centenary of London’s Imperial War Museum, a site exploring the history of conflict from the First World War through the present day. Located south of the River Thames at Lambeth, the museum’s compelling exhibits help us appreciate what life was like during wartime, both for the military and for civilians.
Where To Stay In London – An Insider’s Guide To London Neighbourhoods
Landing the accommodation just right for you is integral to your London experience, and there’s no shortage of choice. But just because London is a city that never sleeps doesn’t mean it doesn’t go to bed: rooms in sought-after hotels can be booked solid. There are some fantastic hotels around – whatever the price tag – but and always book plan ahead.
Did you know that the word museum means a “Temple to the Muses”, all of whom were female? The British Museum in London is a museum of world history, but all too often that history has ignored half of the world. This is true even though women have wielded power in a variety of ways. In ancient Greece, Aristotle believed it was the natural order of things for women to be subordinate to men, that men were more virtuous, brave and intelligent. He also believed that men’s blood was hotter than women’s blood! Well, on both counts, he was wrong of course.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
The famous film director Alfred Hitchcock lived half of his eighty years in London and half in America. He was born in the East End of London in Leytonstone into a family of shopkeepers and fans of his work can see several memorials to him in the area. The house in which Hitchcock was born is long gone and has been replaced by a garage but they do have a plaque on the wall commemorating him as well as several nearby places named after him.Read more
To celebrate the upcoming centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of the young Egyptian Pharoah, the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharoah exhibition runs at the Saatchi Gallery in the Duke of York HQ until 3 May next year.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides are used to standing in front of statues and telling their groups about the people portrayed in them. The subjects of these statues are far more likely to be men, with only about ten percent portraying women – and most of those are of royalty, such as Queen Victoria. Britain has produced a large number of successful female writers but there are very few monuments to commemorate them.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides often have to take sporting parties around during the course of their work. Visiting cricket and rugby teams bring groups of supporters with them while golfing tours are a mainstay of the industry. American football has now arrived in the capital with the National Football League playing four matches in the NFL London games series. Every NFL team apart from the Green Bay Packers has now played at least one competitive game in London.Read more
A phrase which many Blue Badge Tourist Guides use, particularly when taking people outside London, is ‘England’s green and pleasant land.’ It comes from William Blake’s famous poem Jerusalem which is often sung as a hymn on patriotic occasions, most recently at the Last Night of the Proms, the series of classical music concerts held every summer at the Royal Albert Hall.Read more