Top 10 Things To Do In Notting Hill
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.
Ahead of the Pack: 6 of London’s Top Dogs
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!
Top 10 Interesting Facts About Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 at Portsmouth and was one of the first world superstars both in his own lifetime and ever since. He was recognised not only in Great Britain as a great writer but abroad, particularly France and the United States where he travelled extensively. He emerged as a writer in a stratospheric way in 1836, with Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist.
Churchill War Rooms: The Nerve Centre of Resistance
The recent release of the Winston Churchill movie, Darkest Hour has brought one of London’s most popular tourist attractions into even sharper focus. The movie, in which Gary Oldman brilliantly captures the look, mannerisms and voice of Britain’s great wartime leader, is largely set in the Churchill War Rooms.
Top 10 Facts About The Changing Of The Guard Ceremony
Elite soldiers from 5 infantry and 2 cavalry regiments have been guarding the Monarch since 1660. These 7 regiments are called the Household Division. The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace and St James Palace is a time honoured symbol of the British monarchy and a great example of British pomp and ceremony.
10 Things That May Surprise You About London’s West End – Theatreland
London is a “world class” city on many levels, and attracts visitors for a wide variety of reasons, and none more so than for its theatrical reputation, credentials and concentration of West End theatres, known as “Theatreland.” Today there are well over sixty theatres both large and small located in a fairly tight geographical area.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more