History of Armistice Day – 100 Years Since The Great War Ended
Blue Badge Tourist Guides taking groups around London and throughout Britain at this time of year will often be asked by visitors about the red poppies which British people are wearing. These commemorate those who were killed in the First and Second World Wars and in other conflicts, the United Kingdom has been involved during the last century. The poppy appeal raises around £50 million every, the money going to service charities.
10 Things You Might Not Know About The Red Poppy Flower
Each year, millions of red poppy flowers are distributed across the United Kingdom leading up to Remembrance Sunday. Held on the second Sunday each November, Remembrance Sunday commemorates the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. With that in mind, below are ten things you might not know about the red poppy flower.
King Henry I of England, The Forgotten Monarch
There have been eight kings of England called Henry and maybe the least well known was the first to hold that name. King Henry I of England was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and, as such, would not have been expected to come to the throne. Nevertheless, when his brother, the little-loved William Rufus died in a suspiciously convenient hunting accident in the New Forest, Henry was ready to quickly claim the crown and dashed up to London for a quick coronation at Westminster Abbey.
Top 10 Things To See In London’s Royal Parks
London is blessed with numerous green parks and gardens, most importantly the eight main Royal Parks, from the central London Parks of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park and Green Park to those further out such as Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Greenwich Park. These are often called “London’s Lungs” and are a green haven for Londoners and visitors alike.
The National Army Museum In London
The newly opened National Army Museum in Chelsea area of London tells the story of the British army over the past 400 years. It is felt that many people know little about what the army does, let alone the soldier’s real experience now or in the past. The museum seeks to bridge the gap between the army and British society.
6 Quirky & Historic London Pubs
At the last count there were around 7000 pubs in London. Of course all of them are individual and have their own style. But of all of these, where are the pubs that have something about their history or atmosphere that sets them apart?
There’s a revolution happening in London. But it’s not a political one, or even a social one. Far away from the headline-dominating machinations of governmental Westminster and the bright lights of the glitzy west end theatres, an artistic revolution has been gathering pace in the East End of the city. Into this atmospheric, edgy neighbourhood come the artists, often incognito, to adorn the walls with their creative, talented, sometimes controversial works.Read more
They may have to travel across an ocean to get here, but for Americans in London, home is never that far away. Britain and the United States have a long shared history, and there are many sites in London associated with America. They reflect the close political, cultural and military ties between the two countries. The term “special relationship,” often used to refer to the Anglo-American friendship, was first coined by Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, whose mother was American.Read more
London, has (or had) a reputation for housing members of the international awkward squad. One exile was the French writer Émile Zola who arrived at Victoria Station on 19 July 1898 without any luggage or knowledge of the English language. He spent his first night at the Grosvenor Hotel and later moved to the more modest Queen’s Hotel in Norwood.Read more
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the most travelled sovereign in British history, undertaking more than 250 overseas visits during her 65-year reign. During 2016 alone, The Queen carried out over 300 official engagements the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. An important part of these occasions is the receiving or exchanging of gifts, the subject of the an exhibition at this year’s Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.Read more
William Shakespeare. Revered throughout the world as one of the greatest playwrights, Shakespeare wrote some of the best known and best loved words in the English language. Over 400 years on, these words still have the power to question, console, illuminate and inspire us today.Read more
At 215 miles long and neatly dividing London between North and South, the River Thames is the silvery thread that provides continuity for a City that is always changing. The sinuous loops and eccentrically named reaches provide the focus for some of London’s greatest sights.Read more
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. The unmistakable Dome and the beautiful west towers dominate the skyline of the City. Designed by one of our greatest architects, Sir Christopher Wren, and completed in 1711, St Paul’s is London’s cathedral and embodies the spiritual life of British people.Read more
Brixton is one of London’s most diverse and exciting neighbourhoods. It is bit of a hidden gem tucked away south of the river Thames and less than 3 miles from Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. Known for its Caribbean heritage and referred to as London’s Harlem by the US actor Will Smith, immigration has been a theme in Brixton’s history that defines its character as well as its cultural diversity.Read more
One of the most popular items in the British Museum in London is the Rosetta Stone. It is rather unremarkable. It is the height of a child, cracked at the edges, lacking colour, and with inscriptions on only one side. There is little beauty in it, and the inscriptions are boring decrees – yet it is maybe one of the most famous stones in the world. For over 20 years it became the focus of a race to crack a code of strange pictures and shapes and in doing so uncover the life of Ancient Egypt.Read more
Of all the European capitals, London is arguably the one with the greatest architectural variety, be it residential, commercial or public buildings. What adds to the impression of an incessantly ‘creative kaleidoscope’ is the juxtaposition of old and new, of a mediaeval church next to a 21st century glass building or a Roman ruin in the middle of a 1970s Brutalist development.Read more
Which hobby is loved by 1 in 6 British adults and generated revenues of £5.5 million in 2016? No, not fishing or horse riding, but old cars, buses, vans and lorries. Yes, petrolheads, according to the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, are doing their bit for the economy, and London is right at the forefront of the movement.Read more
Mother’s Day is fast approaching – let our knowledgeable and entertaining Blue Badge Tourist Guide reveal the origins of the festival and introduce some beautiful ideas for treating her on Mother’s Day. Mothers’ Day is often confused with Mothering Sunday; an old Christian tradition when believers visited their “mother” church on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Domestic servants were given a day off to do this, usually with their mothers – often the only time a family could reunite all year.Read more