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Relief Map of Former Surrey Commercial Docks

Surrey Quays in London

Keith Harding led a group of fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guides around Surrey Quays – an area often unfairly overlooked, as it lies between Rotherhithe and Greenwich. From Greenland Pier we walked along the bank of the Thames, known as Deptford Strand. Then to Convoys Wharf, the site of the Royal Naval Dockyard since the time of Henry VIII and Tsar Peter the Great’s sojourn in the area and finally the Royal Victorian Victualling Yards.

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View from Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Sunset

My friend Phil Coppell, a Liverpool Blue Badge Tourist Guide, tells me that he took Ray Davies a member of the English rock band The Kinks on a Beatles tour some years ago. He queued up and paid for his ticket like everyone else and, during the tour, mentioned that he had originally set his song Waterloo Sunset in Liverpool but the line ‘Mersey Sunset’ did not scan and he moved it to London. He had always had a soft spot for Liverpool and said that whenever The Kinks played at the Cavern or other venues they always had a great reception.

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Kew Gardens - Easter Egg Hunt

Go Easter Egg Hunting In London

This year Easter falls early in April and many families will no doubt head to London during the break. There are several Easter Egg hunts, including the annual one at Kew, but also at more unexpected venues, like the Bank of England Museum.

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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2015 in London

London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest in the world outside China, starts with a small ceremonial event on Saturday 21 February, but the majority of the festivities will take place on Sunday 22 February. 

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Pancake Day: City Workers

Pancake Day in London

If you are looking for a quintessentially British event in February then you must witness Pancake Day racing.  The old religious festival of Shrove Tuesday is when Christians ate a rich meal using butter and sugar before beginning the fast of Lent.  This day always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9.  This year, Shrove Tuesday will take place on 17th February.

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King Henry VIII Christening

Hampton Court Palace Recreates Edward VI Christening

When British Monarch King Henry VIII had his son Edward christened on 15th October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace, it was a celebration of his dynasty and its seemingly secure future. To commemorate, staff recently donned costumes – borrowed from the Royal Shakespeare Company – to join actors in a television programme recreating the christening of Henry’s longed-for heir. The BBC documentary which aired this past January was presented by Historians Lucy Worsley and Dr David Starkey and heralds a year of celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace.   

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Salisbury Cathedral: Magna Carta Exhibition

Magna Carta 800th Anniversary

As Salisbury Cathedral prepares for a bonanza year of events to celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary, work has begun on the new Chapter House exhibition.  The new Magna Carta exhibition will see the Chapter House and Cloisters transformed into an interactive space that will set the document in its historic context. It will be an immersive visitor experience with digital media displays, artefacts, interactive stations and video to bring the story of King John and his barons to life.

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Studio of Marco Ricci, A View of the Cascade, Bushey Park Water Gardens, 1715

Painting Paradise: The Art Of The Garden

Whether a sacred sanctuary, a place for scientific study, a haven for the solitary thinker or a space for pure enjoyment and delight, gardens are where mankind and nature meet. A new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace will explore the many ways in which the garden has been celebrated in art through over 150 paintings, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts from the Royal Collection, including some of the earliest and rarest surviving records of gardens and plants.

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The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy by John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was the greatest portrait painter of his generation. Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, he was closely connected to many of the other leading artists, writers, actors and musicians of the time. His portraits of these friends and contemporaries, including Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet and Robert Louis Stevenson, were rarely commissioned and allowed him to create more intimate and experimental works than was possible in his formal portraiture.

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Association of Professional Tourist Guides: 2014 Christmas Party

APTG Silver Jubilee Christmas Party

Guide London is the public/brand name for the Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG) and last December, about 125 of its 500 Blue Badge Tourist Guide members came to the University Women’s Club for the annual Christmas Party. We started with a cocktail reception, quaffing Cranberry Gin Fizzes and White Chocolate Martinis, chatting and catching up with everyone’s news. Then we enjoyed a turkey and salmon buffet meal, followed by Eton Mess and Fruit Salad.

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Zeppelin: Observation Car

London’s Year Of The Zeppelin

In commemorating of the centenary of the First World War, much of our attention has been focused on the soldiers that fought and died in foreign lands in what was described as a war to end all wars. Simon Rodway’s walking tour from Holborn to Liverpool Street on 11 November  2014 made us look at the events closer to home – the deadly menace that was the Zeppelin air ships that flew almost silently over the London sky in 1915 wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting Londoners below by launching the first of many incendiary bombs here in London and other parts of England. It was to be known as the Year of the Zeppelin. The catastrophe that befell London lasted 20 minutes but our walk would take a little longer.

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London Eye

The London Eye Is A Top 10 Tourist Attraction

Although it is one of the more recent additions to the array of tourist attractions available in London, the London Eye has become one of the most prominent attractions in the city. The London Eye is a massive Ferris Wheel which is located on the South Bank, right on the River Thames. The London Eye is still something referred to as the Millennium Wheel and over the years it has had a number of different names due to the sponsor of the wheel at the time.

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