25 Years Since Windsor Castle Fire
One question Blue Badge Tourist Guides always seem to be asked when they take groups to Windsor Castle is “where did the fire take place?” It took place twenty-five years ago this month on 20 November 1992 on the Queen and Prince Philip’s forty fifth wedding anniversary during what the Queen later referred to as her “annus horriblis”, when the marriages of three of her children came to an end and the oldest royal home was engulfed in flames.
National Football League (NFL) International Series In London
Here in London we feel very privileged to have hosted the National Football League (NFL) games now since 2007, known as the International Series. At first it was just one game each year. The Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium on October 28, 2007. The Giants defeated the Dolphins 13–10 in the first regular season NFL game held outside North America. The first 40,000 tickets sold out for the game in the first 90 minutes of sales, and mainly to British and other Europeans.
5 Posh Shops on St. James’s Street in London
Since 1661, St. James’s Street in London has been a go to destination for luxury retailing. Many of the posh shops on the street originally catered to the clientele from some of London’s best-known gentlemen’s clubs on the same street, including Brooks’s, the Carlton Club and White’s. Now St. James’s Street in London is world famous and a go to place for top of the range products and services offered with traditional English flare. With that in mind, below are 5 of the posh shops on St. James’s Street in London.
Meeting The Raven Master at Tower of London
￼￼A group of Guide London Blue Badge Tourist Guides recently had the privilege of going “behind the scenes” at the Tower of London, on a warm, witty and informative tour hosted by Chief Raven Master, Chris Skaife. Below is an account of the tour.
Britain’s Changing Money
The new £10 is the second plastic or polymer note issued by the Bank of England and features a portrait of Jane Austen. It follows the introduction of the first polymer note in September 2016, a fiver with a picture of Winston Churchill and an extract from his famous speech: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat, tears and toil.’ The new twenty-pound note, with a portrait of a young J. M. W. Turner and a version of his painting of the Fighting Temeraire in the background will be released in March 2020. As yet no decision on a polymer fifty-pound note has been made and who would feature on it.
Tracing The Tower Of London Poppies
Who can forget the wonderful site of the 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies by the artist Paul Cummins filling the moat of the Tower of London and cascading down the walls and over the drawbridge area three years ago? Created to represent every British fatality during WWI and to remember the 100 years since the outbreak of war ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, grew daily, aided in a small way by many Blue Badge Tourist Guides who helped to plant some of them.
English and British Monarchs have lived in and around London for over a thousand years in a variety of palaces; some still standing, others long-gone. But the area now known as ‘Royal London’ has consistently been at the heart of royal life, with regal residences at Westminster, Whitehall, Buckingham and St James’s Place and at Clarence and Carlton Houses.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
There are thousands of World Heritage Sites recognised and listed by UNESCO, but there are very few as intriguing, enigmatic and awe-inspiring as Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world, the best-known prehistoric monument in Britain if not in Europe. A stone circle, built almost 5,000 years ago, it still inspires with its size and construction methods. Visitors have to travel to Wiltshire to experience it but it is a journey well worth doing.Read more
No fictional character has been portrayed more often on stage and screen than Sherlock Holmes. Fans flock from all over the world to see the locations where he lived, worked and brought justice to Victorian London. The BBC’s Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman has only increased his popularity.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
The art of 1930s America tells the story of a nation in flux. Artists responded to rapid social change and economic anxiety with some of the 20th century’s most powerful art – brought Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930 together now in this once-in-a-generation show. 45 truly iconic works paint an electrifying portrait of this transformative period.Read more
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Greenwich provides the perfect day out for visitors wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of Central London. A short journey down river from Central London, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is home to six museums, stunning historic architecture and a wonderful range of shops, markets, pubs and restaurants.Read more
One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art. Renowned artists including Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko were among those to live through the fateful events of 1917, which ended centuries of Tsarist rule and shook Russian society to its foundations.Read more
London is one of the world’s leading cites for a number of reasons and one of them is the diversity of musical talent that has lived, worked and played in the city. Our London Rock “N” Roll Tour takes you to some of these key locations and your knowledgeable Blue Badge Tourist Guide will relate some of the larger than life antics that occurred in this musical city.Read more
Contributing to London as a cultural mecca are 200+ museums, many of which can be explored with a knowledgeable Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Each has permanent collections as well as major exhibitions to help draw in visitors. Highlighted below are 11 major museum exhibitions happening in London during the 2017 calendar year.Read more
The Port of London has changed beyond all recognition in the past four decades. Once the docks teemed with men and ships from all over the world, now all is transformed and a new and vibrant area has grown up with commerce, stylish housing, fashionable shops and restaurants. Here are my Top Ten Facts about London’s Docklands.Read more
Hampton Court is a magnificent palace, standing on the banks of the river Thames, just a short drive from London. It has everything. The palace is a harmonious blend of Tudor and Neo-Classical architecture set in glorious gardens. And there is history, lots of it, from Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII to William and Mary. Its rooms are packed with splendid paintings. There is something for everyone, kids included and here are 10 of my favourite reasons to visit Hampton Court Palace.Read more