The Gin Craze, and London’s Long History With “Madam Geneva”
London has been enjoying a Gin Renaissance in recent years, with over 20 new distillers appearing in the capital, and pubs and bars throughout the city declaring themselves Gin Palaces. You many even have enjoyed a tipple of the juniper-infused drink yourself in recent months. If so, you were probably imbibing a form of London Dry.
Covid-19 Guidance for Tour Guiding
In these uncertain times, people considering taking a guided tour in London and beyond may understandably have concerns about their health and safety. But with the UK’s professionally qualified and highly trained Blue Badge Tourist Guides, you will be in extremely capable hands.
Visiting The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in London
The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew make a wonderful day out away from the hustle and bustle of central London.
Learn 5 new things from Blue Badge Guide Patricia Gentry on:
* How the gardens evolved from hunting grounds to a private royal pleasure garden, and then into a public garden for all to appreciate
* Kew Gardens’ largest champion tree
* The ‘Loneliest Bachelor in the World’
* The smallest of all royal palaces in England
* How Kew Gardens became a clearinghouse for rubber seeds and saved the Amazon Rainforest
London: The Geography of Fashion & The Couturiers of the King’s Road in Chelsea
For many visitors to London, the King’s Road in Chelsea is synonymous with the delights of shopping. These days, it’s not unlike most other shopping streets, if a bit more upscale. However, from the 1960s to the 1980s, it really was THE place to shop in London. I’ll be looking at three important, but very different, designers from the last 60 years who started their careers in Chelsea and whose fashion influence is still felt today.
History of Harrods Department Store in London
As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I have noticed that visitors are always very excited to be shown around Harrods department store in London. The very name conjures up images of luxury and quality. Due to its history, clientele, location and former royal patronage, it is the most well-known department store on the planet.
The View from My Front Door: Open Sesame
It’s time. Slowly and with resolve, I close my bedroom window upstairs and walk down the steps into the hallway. It’s been a while. I open the front door. The world is at my feet. But like so many around me and around the world, I look to the left and to the right and I wonder: Is this what I want? In almost four months I’ve seen acts of human kindness positively overflowing, enough to fill that half-empty glass many times over.
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
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
In the Middle Ages, Edward the Confessor, King John and Richard II were exhumed, examined and put in new resting spots. So the reinterment of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral shortly before lunchtime on Thursday 26 March, after four days of pageantry and commemoration, follows ancient tradition.Read more