A Dickens Of A Christmas in London
More than anyone else, Charles Dickens invented the British Christmas with A Christmas Carol, his story about Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. It was first published in 1843 and has been adapted for stage and screen many times. No surprise then that there are four museums in the United Kingdom dedicated to Charles Dickens (including one in London), more than any other British writer.
Guide to Enjoying Christmas & New Year In London
London offers a variety of ways to keep you entertained over the festive season. Here are some of the best tips from Guide London to help you make the most of the capital over Christmas and New Year!
London Millennium Footbridge, also known as The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge
Officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge, this iconic pedestrian bridge gracefully spans the River Thames, connecting the Tate Modern Art Gallery to St. Paul’s Cathedral, two of London’s most recognizable landmarks. But to many Londoners, this bridge has another, more affectionate name – “The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge.” This moniker hints at the bridge’s unique history, a tale of design, engineering, and the resilience of a city that embraces its quirks.
5 Reasons To Visit London During The Christmas Holidays
Christmas is a magical time of year to be visiting London. There are spectacular decorations everywhere and people are generally in a festive mood. Here are some of our favourite seasonal experiences which are all great reasons to visit London during the Christmas holidays.
Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
For many Londoners, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting ceremony along with carol singing marks the start of the countdown to Christmas. The ceremony typically takes place on the first Thursday in December and is led by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, accompanied by a band and choir followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights.
History of Kensington Palace: from Jacobean Mansion to Royal Residence
Kensington Palace, nestled at the western edge of leafy Kensington Gardens, has been a royal home since 1689. Today, it is the London base of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the nerve centre of their operations. It is also home to the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent.
Tourist guides are normally concerned with what is above ground, but London also has a fascinating underground story. As well as the famous buildings you can see on the surface – Westminster Abbey, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London – London has a network of underground sewers and rivers that repay close attention.Read more
When the smoke cleared at the end of the First World War, or The Imperial War as it was then known (because it was fought by empires – British, German, and Russian), a shocked Britain was moved to create memorials all over the country. The Imperial War Museum was the grandest of these and was established by an Act of Parliament in 1920. The building in Waterloo was previously the Bedlam Hospital, established by Henry VIII after he dissolved the monasteries in 1533, which accounts for his name above the columned entrance. No tour is complete without him.Read more
Six buildings in central London are royal palaces – but only three of these (Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and Saint James’s Palace ) are still used as homes by members of the royal family. In addition, Clarence House is a royal home but not a royal palace. Three older palaces (Placentia Palace, Richmond Palace, and Nonsuch Palace) on the outskirts of London have now vanished except for memorial plaques while Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, and Kew Palace are intact and open to visitors. Windsor is the royal family’s oldest home, and where Saint George’s Chapel is the final resting place of many monarchs, including the late Queen Elizabeth I.Read more
The British Museum is the most visited museum in London. Visitors from all over the world are drawn to the museum to see with their own eyes world-famous artefacts, such as the Rosetta Stone or the Parthenon frieze, artefacts that might have only be seen in school or art books. They also come to experience other cultures, because after all the British Museum is the museum of the world for the world. But for the discerning visitor a scratch beneath the surface of all the “celebrity” objects can reveal some real surprises. Here is my list of such surprises.Read more
South Kensington in London is synonymous with museums. Three of our best known national museums can be found here: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, known affectionately to many as The V&A.Read more
The British Royal Family can trace their lineage right back to Cerdic of Wessex (519-534), founder and first king of Saxon Wessex, which is not bad for a family tree. As with all royal families, they inter-married with other European Royals over the years, and many fought and died to retain the English crown (merged with the Scottish crown on the ascent to the throne in 1603 of James VI of Scotland as James I of England).Read more
At 73, King Charles III is the oldest person to have ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom. Charles, named Charles Philip Arthur George at birth, was born at Buckingham Palace in 1948. He was the first child of the late Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, who were married for seventy-four years and are buried next to each other inside Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Below are ten facts about King Charles III.Read more
The celebration of St Patrick’s Day in London and the contribution of the Irish community to London may seem a fairly recent phenomenon this year marking the twentieth anniversary of the Mayor of London’s celebrations. However, we have a report of celebrations on St Patrick’s day in the capital going back to 1713 when Jonathan Swift recalled seeing “the Mall so full of crosses that I thought the whole world was Irish.” The Shamrock has replaced the cross, but on March 17, the whole world will be Irish.Read more
Most people have heard of the native American princess known as Pocahontas, but not many know that she became a Christian, married an Englishman, and came to London as a young bride and mother. Sadly, she never made it home to America and is buried in the town of Gravesend in Kent, having died in 1617 at the start of her journey homewards.Read more
There is a vast array of Queer spaces and venues in London. Some of my absolute favourites have been closed and shut down, like Astoria, Candy Bar, the Black Cap, and Popstarz as the London streets are revamped and regenerated. While there are many more old, new closed and open, those listed below are some of my personal favourites. They have been collected from my experiences and memories made at each of these locations.Read more
Christopher Wren is undoubtedly London’s greatest architect. He rebuilt London and its great cathedral, Saint Paul’s, after the Great Fire in 1666, which burned down much of the old city. Yet, you will never see a statue, monument, or even a memorial plaque to him anywhere in the capital. Why? Because his epitaph at Saint Paul’s Cathedral says, ‘Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice.’ Translated from the original Latin, this means, ‘Reader if you wish to see his memorial, look around you.’ It is a wonderful epitaph for an architect: just look at what he created for his memorial.Read more
In May 2021, the UK’s first museum dedicated to LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer) history and culture opened in King’s Cross. Queer Britain is located at 2 Granary Square in London and joins destinations including Berlin, San Francisco, and Fort Lauderdale in having a permanent queer museum space.Read more