Six Towers Inside the Tower of London
The Tower of London, the capital’s most popular tourist attraction has been a palace, fortress, prison, mint, armoury, jewel house and home to both Beefeaters and ravens. When it was built in the 11th century by Norman invaders from France, the Tower of London resembled little more than a wooden shed on a hill surrounded by a garden fence. But over the following centuries, the castle grew and grew, so that the complex that we call the Tower of London is in fact made up of 21 different towers. Here are some fascinating stories behind a few of them.
New NHS Nightingale Hospitals
At no time in recent history have we appreciated the NHS and medical staff more than in our current crisis. Doctors, nurses and public health specialists are working flat out to save our nation. Not alone in their endeavours; we are seeing the army and teams of construction workers build new hospital facilities out of conference centres in London, Manchester and Birmingham. These new hospitals are being called Nightingale Hospitals. So, what’s behind the name?
Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides, members of Guide London/Association of Professional Tourist Guides are acting in the best interests of visitors and locals alike by restricting our work in line with the latest advice from Public Health England. Furthermore, most tourist attractions, including museums and galleries and many pubs and restaurants, are closed. This is because the UK government has advised against all inessential travel as they work to contain COVID-19 and minimise community spread.
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge – London’s Most Famous Poem
Blue Badge Tourist Guides in London need to have a working knowledge of some of the famous writers and poets associated with the city: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, William Blake, and Ben Jonson, all of whom made London their homes for at least part of their lives.
Centenary of the Imperial War Museum in London
The year 2020 marks the centenary of London’s Imperial War Museum, a site exploring the history of conflict from the First World War through the present day. Located south of the River Thames at Lambeth, the museum’s compelling exhibits help us appreciate what life was like during wartime, both for the military and for civilians.
Where To Stay In London – An Insider’s Guide To London Neighbourhoods
Landing the accommodation just right for you is integral to your London experience, and there’s no shortage of choice. But just because London is a city that never sleeps doesn’t mean it doesn’t go to bed: rooms in sought-after hotels can be booked solid. There are some fantastic hotels around – whatever the price tag – but and always book plan ahead.
Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know about television series and films because these do so much to encourage visitors to come to London and the United Kingdom. The most popular series on mainstream television in recent years has been Downton Abbey which was filmed at the home of the Earl of Carnarvon in Hampshire, Highclere Castle.Read more
The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street festival in Europe and originated in 1964 as a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. Taking place every August Bank Holiday weekend in the streets of London W11, the Notting Hill Carnival is an amazing array of sounds, colourful sights, and social solidarity.Read more
It was around 11:30 in the morning of the 8th August 1969 when Iain MacMillan took a photograph of John, Paul, George and Ringo crossing the most famous pedestrian crossing in London – and probably the world. This was in Abbey Road just outside the studio where the Beatles made their records. It remains one of the most iconic album covers of all time and is imitated by around half a million people every year.Read more
Every Blue Badge Tourist Guide in London knows the difference between London Bridge and Tower Bridge – but not all their clients do. London Bridge is on the site of the original Roman crossing of the River Thames. Rebuilt several times, the current London Bridge was opened by the Queen in 1973 when the previous one proved not strong enough to carry the heavy traffic crossing it.Read more
Since time immemorial, the Vintners’ and Dyers’ companies, livery companies of the City of London, have shared the ownership of mute swans on the River Thames, along with the Sovereign. During July, the Queen’s Swan Marker, accompanied by the Vintners’ Swan Marker and Dyers’ Bargemaster, spend five days travelling 79 miles along the Thames.Read more
The highlight of the summer horse racing calendar is undoubtedly the Royal Meeting at Ascot, attended every day by Her Majesty the Queen. At the time of writing (late May) there were still some tickets available from £37. This year’s Royal Ascot will be held on 18th to 22nd June 2019.Read more
There’s no doubt that going to brunch can be the highlight of a great weekend. Like with many culinary traditions, the origins of the meal called brunch aren’t entirely clear. Some food historians suggest it may have sprung from huge feasts held in England after a hunt. (We do know that the word first appeared in print in an 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article.) Others think it may relate to the big meal Catholics would have after mass.Read more
London Blue Badge Tourist Guides usually have a working knowledge of film releases and locations, particularly anything to do with those highly successful franchises Harry Potter and James Bond. However, the director Stanley Kubrick, who began life in the Bronx and ended up living in Britain, could never be pigeon-holed or defined by a franchise.Read more
Westminster Abbey has over 3,000 burials and memorials within its precincts, commemorating royalty, poets, scientists, politicians, musicians and more. Booking a Westminster Abbey Tour with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide is a great way to learn about some fascinating features in the church that may go unnoticed by most visitors.Read more
Think of classic British food, and you probably think of fish and chips, one of the most popular and famous national dishes. What you may not know is that the origins of the dish stretch beyond our shores. The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th-century in either Belgium or France – there are differing opinions – and fried fish was introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain.Read more
Kensington Palace has been a royal residence for over 300 years and is now the London home to Prince Harry, Prince William, Catherine Middleton and the young Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Although their residence is private, a large part of Kensington Palace is open to the public to explore the lives of past royal residents, and visit the historic rooms that have shaped a nation. Below you’ll find 10 top facts about Kensington Palace.Read more