King Henry I of England, The Forgotten Monarch
There have been eight kings of England called Henry and maybe the least well known was the first to hold that name. King Henry I of England was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and, as such, would not have been expected to come to the throne. Nevertheless, when his brother, the little-loved William Rufus died in a suspiciously convenient hunting accident in the New Forest, Henry was ready to quickly claim the crown and dashed up to London for a quick coronation at Westminster Abbey.
Top 10 Things To See In London’s Royal Parks
London is blessed with numerous green parks and gardens, most importantly the eight main Royal Parks, from the central London Parks of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park and Green Park to those further out such as Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Greenwich Park. These are often called “London’s Lungs” and are a green haven for Londoners and visitors alike.
The National Army Museum In London
The newly opened National Army Museum in Chelsea area of London tells the story of the British army over the past 400 years. It is felt that many people know little about what the army does, let alone the soldier’s real experience now or in the past. The museum seeks to bridge the gap between the army and British society.
6 Quirky & Historic London Pubs
At the last count there were around 7000 pubs in London. Of course all of them are individual and have their own style. But of all of these, where are the pubs that have something about their history or atmosphere that sets them apart?
Faces Of The Bard – What Did Shakespeare Look Like?
Most of us think that we know what this most famous poet and playwright William Shakespeare looked like. Our image of him comes from the portrait in the First Folio of his plays, a rather mediocre woodcut by Martin Droeshout, which nevertheless gave a fair likeness, according to his contemporary, friend and rival Ben Jonson.
Bloomberg Building & London Mithraeum Museum
London is growing skywards. With the high rental price for offices and a lack of space in the ‘square mile’ of the old City of London going up is the only practical alternative. Because of the soft clay in which London was built the maximum height of a skyscraper in the city used to be around 600 feet (200 metres) but new technology allows architects to design buildings – such as Enzo Piano’s The Shard – which are around 1000 feet (300 metres) high with further high rise structures being built and planned for the future.
The Royal Academy of Arts will host an exhibition of the works of Richard Diebenkorn. Revered as one of the great post-war masters in his native United States, Richard Diebenkorn is an artist whose staunchly independent career takes us from abstraction to figuration and back again. He is described by the Washington Post as one of America’s “finest abstract painters.”Read more
One of America’s most revered cultural institutions, The Smithsonian, is in talks about building an outpost on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stratford Waterfront, close to the site of the former Water Polo Arena.Read more
Two ‘lost’ statues have been identified as original Michelangelo sculptures – and are possibly the only surviving bronzes by him, experts have claimed. The pair, which show naked young men riding panthers, are described as ‘phenomenally important’ and, if truly by the master, would solve one of the greatest mysteries in art history.Read more
Marlene Dumas is one of the most prominent painters working today. Her intense, psychologically charged works explore themes of sexuality, love, death and shame, often referencing art history, popular culture and current affairs.Read more
Madame Tussauds London is opening a new Star Wars experience in Baker Street on Saturday, 16th May.Read more
On a briskly cold January morning, fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Steven Szymanski inducted an enthusiastic group into his passion for bridges on a walk that took in Tower Bridge to Waterloo, via St Magnus Martyr, the Steelyard and Bankside.Read more
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