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Walthamstow: An Art-Friendly Part Of London

Step outside central London and you might find the suburbs are brighter than you think. Come out of the underground station at Walthamstow Central, walk around a little and you will find there is plenty to see: bric-a-brac shops dotted around, a long street market and great museums like the Vestry House in the Walthamstow Village area. My top tips for three must-sees in this area are the William Morris Gallery, God’s Own Junkyard and the Street Art.

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St Margaret’s Church. Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Walker.

A Visit To Barking Abbey Ruins In The East End Of London

As one of London’s blue badge tourist guides, much of my spare time is spent adding to my knowledge of the history and events taking place in Central London. With plenty of extra time on my hands and not being able to travel, I decided it was time to look at history closer to home. So one frigid afternoon, I took Eric out for an extra-long walk, which he just loves. Eric is my bichon frise, still a puppy with oodles of energy, so that means several walks during the day to try and tire him out. My mission that afternoon was to visit the ruins of Barking Abbey in the East End of London.

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Statue of Charles de Gaulle in London. Photo Credit: © Giogo via Wikimedia Commons.

The Long Footsteps Of Charles De Gaulle In London

Charles de Gaulle, a junior minister in a collapsing government and a relatively junior general in an army that was ceasing to exist, landed at Heston airport after a gruelling and perilous flight from Bordeaux, on Monday 17 June 1940. Few of his British hosts knew who he was, Winston Churchill being the exception. During his visits to France, Churchill had immediately noticed “a young, energetic general called de Gaulle.” `(In Gabriel Le Bomin’s biopic of de Gaulle, which features the early days of the two men’s relationship, Churchill is brilliantly played by Tim Hudson – who is also a London Blue Badge Guide!)

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Close up view of the clock on Big Ben from Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

Big Ben: London’s Famous Bell

Every tour of London will include a view of the Houses of Parliament and most guides conducting one will arrange for a stop so that people can take a photograph or selfie with Big Ben in the background. This provides the perfect souvenir of a visit to London.

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Lonely Planet London.

18 Books By London Blue Badge Tourist Guides

London remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The city’s blue badge guides help to bring it to life and many have written or contributed to guidebooks. Here is a selection of their work:

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Huguenot Place sign in Wandsworth area of London. Photo Credit: © Christopher Hayden.

The Huguenots Of Wandsworth, South London

The indelible mark left by the Huguenot community and their development of the silk weaving industry is the stuff of legend. Their skills and entrepreneurial drive led them to settle across the south of England and in America. In the aftermath of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the small trickle arriving in Britain turned into a steady flow and, by the beginning of the eighteenth century, Huguenots made up five per cent of London’s population. Some of these refugee families headed to a small village, now a suburb of South London called Wandsworth.

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London Blue Badge Tourist Guide Ray Sharman.

Because I’m A Londoner: From Black Cab Driver to Blue Badge Tourist Guide

This is the second in a series of articles written by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides who used to be key workers in our capital city. Ray Sharman describes his work as a London black cab driver.

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Battersea in Perspective mural by Brian Barnes. Photo Credit: © Christopher Hayden.

Brian Barnes Murals In Battersea, South London

Few people are as passionate about the Battersea area of London than muralist Brian Barnes MBE, who for the last forty-five years has been leaving his artistic touch on derelict industrial carcasses and council housing estates, some in plain sight and others in the most inconspicuous of locations. He first gained recognition in 1976 with his 267 foot long mural: Battersea: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, on Battersea Bridge Road, which depicted a brush sweeping away the industrial dilapidation along Battersea’s riverfront, and replacing it with a colourful utopian vision of social prosperity for the local community.

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David Poyser, Mayor of Islington in London, 2018-19. Photo Credit: © David Poyser.

Islington – A Diverse And Distinctive Part Of London

When Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries in 1534 he handed over Islington and Archway to Thomas Cromwell. However, the unfortunate Cromwell had little time to enjoy his acquisition as he was beheaded in 1540. Today, Islington is a part of London supposedly full of well-off people living in expensive homes who like to feel they are spokespeople for those less fortunate than themselves. In fact, over 40% of Islingtonians live in social housing and almost 30% live in privately rented flats, so homeowners make up only 30% of this diverse Borough. Some of those houses are now very expensive!

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Sutton Hoo helmet at British Museum. Photo Credit: © Geni via Wikimedia Commons.

Sutton Hoo, Treasure Of The British Museum And Inspiration Behind The Dig Film

As a Blue Badge tourist guide in London, I am very familiar with the story behind the film The Dig. When giving a tour of the British Museum where the result of the famous excavation is displayed, it is usually a real highlight for visitors, both young and old. Let me tell you a little more about this amazing archaeological adventure story.

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Poster for Bridgerton, a period drama series from Netflix. Photo credit: © Netflix.

London Locations For Netflix’s Bridgerton TV Series

Bridgerton, the most successful series to be produced by Netflix to date, has surpassed other period dramas in colour, drama and romance. The locations are exaggeratedly beautiful, the relationships are beguiling and the costumes dazzle with vivid tones and rich textures. London is the setting for many scenes and you yearn to visit each location, but do not watch Bridgerton for historical accuracy!  

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Red hot pokers flower. Photo Credit: © Karen Dawson.

RHS Garden Wisley: A World Class Garden Southwest Of London

Twenty miles south-west of London is ‘one of the world’s great gardens.’ The garden is Wisley, owned by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the world’s leading garden charity. The RHS was established in 1804 at a meeting of seven men in Hatchard’s book shop on Piccadilly. The idea came from John Wedgwood, son of Josiah, founder of the fine china company.

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