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.
Royal Babies – Joy, Hope & Stability
On 23rd April 2018, Prince Louis Arthur Charles was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital located in the Paddington are in London. This is a most auspicious date, as it is the Feast of St George, patron saint of England. It is also traditionally the birthday of our most famous writer William Shakespeare.
London’s Longest Running West End Theatre Shows
London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides often have to take groups to West End theatre shows and, even if they do not do this regularly, it is a good idea to know what is running in Theatreland in order to advise people. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to see which were the longest running shows on the London stage. I wonder if we are now reaching the stage of the permanent play – as much a part of the London tourist scene as the Changing of the Guard.
The Bethlem Royal Hospital better known as Bedlam was set up in 1247 as Europe’s first centre dedicated to the treatment of psychiatric illness. It has moved between various locations in London – including at the building that is now the Imperial War Museum.Read more
The Shoes: Please And Pain exhibition will look at the extremes of footwear from around the globe, presenting around 200 pairs of shoes ranging from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate designs by contemporary makers.Read more
Commander Mansfield Cummings, founding father of the Secret Service, has at last received his Blue Plaque. It was unveiled Monday 30 March, with your correspondent in attendance, not, as I had anticipated at the site of the Cummings’ 1923 death – corner of Melbury Road and Addison Road, W14 – but the site of the first proper SIS office and workshop on top of the National Liberal Office, aka Horse Guards Hotel.Read more
28 successful candidates from the 2013-2015 London Blue Badge Course were presented with their badges by the Reverend David Stanton, Canon of Westminster at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey on Thursday 16 April.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
A new exhibition at Tate Modern will showcase the work of Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979) who was a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde and became the European doyenne of abstract art.Read more
Powerful, beautiful and inventive, the Victorian era was a golden age for sculpture. Tate Britain’s exhibition Sculpture Victorious celebrates some of the most astonishing and lavish works produced in this groundbreaking period.Read more
At a time when Britain will be engaged in the democratic process of an election, the Victoria & Albert Museum will examine the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection.Read more
There’s a Turkish saying that one disaster is better than 1,000 pieces of advice. Whatever myths created about it in the last 100 years, Gallipoli was a disaster. The Turks won. Gallipoli was the British Empire and France trying to knock Germany’s ally Turkey out of World War One, thereby reducing the pressure on the Allies’ eastern front. As the historians say, “Gallipoli was launched almost casually, into a void, and was doomed to fail.”Read more
On a rather dreary and wet day, two dozen Blue Badge Tourist Guides met in the foyer of the National Theatre for a “behind the scenes” tour. We were split in two groups, all dressed in fetching high viz jackets. Even before we set off our little band was buzzing with excitement, as we were promised a goody bag full of information leaflets on our way out.Read more
On a recent education and training session, we met in Piccadilly Circus near the Shaftesbury Memorial and the statue of Eros. Fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Martin Harvey who led the session started off by talking about “meetings”, apparently we were in the ideal meeting place! The only challenge for us initially, was that he was talking in another language – “Polori”. Once translated, we understood it was the gay version of Cockney Rhyming slang which facilitated secret communications. So we started on the route from Piccadilly through Soho to Chinatown.Read more
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by India’s Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday 14 March in Parliament Square. In attendance was Prime Minister David Cameron, the popular Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan and Gandhi’s grandson, the former governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi.Read more