Five Top Battle of Britain Sites to Visit in London
This summer marks 80 years since the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over southern England. This was a fight for Britain’s survival against a Nazi Germany that had conquered much of western Europe in just a few short months. With the fall of France in June, Britain expected a German invasion, and one was indeed being planned under the codename Operation Sealion. However, for the invasion to be successful the Germans first needed to control the skies over Britain – they needed to destroy the Royal Air Force.
Six Great English Dishes other than Fish and Chips!
If you fancy sampling some traditional English dishes the next time you’re able to visit London, try one or more of these staunch favourites!
Exploring London By Taking A Virtual Tour With A Blue Badge Tourist Guide
Lockdown has been pretty devastating for London Blue Badge Tourist Guides, as you can imagine. However, rather than sitting at home polishing up our shining badges waiting for the clients who were never going to arrive, we decided to bring London to the world.
The View from My Window: My Old Man (Part 2)
I’m looking out the window to the street below. One of those annoying yappy dogs is dragging its owner on an exceptionally long leash. Everything about it bugs me, including its colouring (which, by the way, matches the oblivious owner’s hair). `That dog has a brown head and a black body,’ I hear a voice say. I jump and turn but see no one. But I know who is speaking.
Yellow Bags Are Back – London’s Selfridges Department Store Reopens After Lockdown
In 1906 Harry Gordon Selfridge came to London and spent £400,000 opening up Selfridges department store. He was bored with retirement and, having risen from being a stock clerk to partner at Marshall Fields in Chicago, he was looking for a new challenge. He positioned his shop at the then unfashionable western end of Oxford Street, calculating correctly that the newly opened Central Line on the underground would bring customers to his store near Marble Arch and Hyde Park.
Guide London Launches Virtual Tours of London
Building on the success of its live broadcast series showcasing London’s culture, history and tourist attractions, Guide London which represents the membership of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides has launched a new London Virtual Tour.
Did you know that the word museum means a “Temple to the Muses”, all of whom were female? The British Museum in London is a museum of world history, but all too often that history has ignored half of the world. This is true even though women have wielded power in a variety of ways. In ancient Greece, Aristotle believed it was the natural order of things for women to be subordinate to men, that men were more virtuous, brave and intelligent. He also believed that men’s blood was hotter than women’s blood! Well, on both counts, he was wrong of course.Read more
Most Blue Badge Guides, when conducting a tour of London, will give priority to what people can see. Occasionally, however, they will mention a building that has been lost to fire, bombing or development. One such is the Crystal Palace, originally found in Hyde Park.Read more
There is no better time to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park than spring or summer. The Park opened fully in April 2014 and has since welcomed millions of visitors. It covers 560 acres and people visiting can enjoy the beautiful parklands, idyllic riverside lawns, giant climbing walks and intricate fountains.Read more
Who doesn’t love a great view? And even better if there’s good food and/or classic cocktails to go with it. As you take a break from sightseeing for refreshment and relaxation, let your Blue Badge Tourist Guide help you seek out the most stunning vistas across London. With an ever-increasing number of steel and glass skyscrapers heading for the heavens in the financial district, the area known as the City of London is a great place to start.Read more
The wonderful Christmas lights in Central London are coming down, and red lanterns are beginning to appear around Soho and in particular Chinatown. This is part of the celebration for Chinese New Year which is also known as the Spring Festival. This year it falls on the 28th January, the first day of spring in the lunisolar calendar.Read more
If you’re a fan of literature, there’s no better place to visit than London. Book a tour with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and walk in the footsteps of authors like William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Charles Dickens. The city has preserved its history so well in places that you can still feel the source of the writers’ inspiration.Read more
As well as the important buildings and monuments, Blue Badge Tourist Guides have to be aware of distinctive characters on the streets of London. None are more distinct than the Pearly Kings and Queens who dress up in the ‘colourful’ costumes and raise money for charity. In fact, a Pearly costume is usually made from black and white materials, with occasionally a brightly coloured scarf (as on this photograph) or feathers adorning a pearly hat or cap.Read more
The famous film director Alfred Hitchcock lived half of his eighty years in London and half in America. He was born in the East End of London in Leytonstone into a family of shopkeepers and fans of his work can see several memorials to him in the area. The house in which Hitchcock was born is long gone and has been replaced by a garage but they do have a plaque on the wall commemorating him as well as several nearby places named after him.Read more
To celebrate the upcoming centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of the young Egyptian Pharoah, the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharoah exhibition runs at the Saatchi Gallery in the Duke of York HQ until 3 May next year.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides are used to standing in front of statues and telling their groups about the people portrayed in them. The subjects of these statues are far more likely to be men, with only about ten percent portraying women – and most of those are of royalty, such as Queen Victoria. Britain has produced a large number of successful female writers but there are very few monuments to commemorate them.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides often have to take sporting parties around during the course of their work. Visiting cricket and rugby teams bring groups of supporters with them while golfing tours are a mainstay of the industry. American football has now arrived in the capital with the National Football League playing four matches in the NFL London games series. Every NFL team apart from the Green Bay Packers has now played at least one competitive game in London.Read more
A phrase which many Blue Badge Tourist Guides use, particularly when taking people outside London, is ‘England’s green and pleasant land.’ It comes from William Blake’s famous poem Jerusalem which is often sung as a hymn on patriotic occasions, most recently at the Last Night of the Proms, the series of classical music concerts held every summer at the Royal Albert Hall.Read more