Because I’m A Londoner: From Police Officer To Blue Badge Tourist Guide
This is the final article in a series written by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides, who used to be key workers in our capital city. Kathryn Hallam-Howard was a law enforcement officer for over thirty years, working in the West End, South London and at New Scotland Yard. She tells us about her work in the police before she became a guide.
Winston Churchill Style – 7 Fashion Secrets Of The Churchill War Rooms
Deep under Whitehall – the home of the United Kingdom’s major government departments – is a secret lair to rival anything created by a James Bond baddie intent on world domination. The Churchill War Rooms were constructed secretly as the bomb-proof centre of wartime government. Churchill was initially reluctant to go underground but he fought fascism here from 1939 to victory in 1945. With him was his wartime coalition ‘cabinet of all the talents’, his senior chiefs and advisors – and a small army of military and civilian staff, all engaged in top-secret work.
London Is Waking Up – David Hockney In London
David Hockney is a celebrated British artist, who was born and lives in Yorkshire and is well known in the USA after living for many years in California. This summer Hockney has an exhibition at the Royal Academy which was inspired by his trip to Normandy in 2020. It starts on 23 rd May and continues to late September. If it is anything like his show there in 2012 it will be an uplifting experience and not to be missed.
Let’s Do London Campaign Launched By Mayor of Greater London, Sadiq Khan
The recently re-elected Mayor of Greater London Sadiq Khan has launched a ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign to promote the capital as a major world tourist destination once again. Blue Badge Tourist Guides aim to play a major part in the re-opening of tourism in London.
Because I’m A Londoner: From Nurse To Blue Badge Tourist Guide
This is the fourth in a series of articles written by London Blue Badge guides who used to be key workers in the capital. Janet Robinson writes about her work as a nurse before she became a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide.
70th Anniversary Of The Festival Of Britain in London
Let me take you back to the Britain of 1951. The Second World War had ended just six years earlier. London, like many other British cities, had been bombed relentlessly and still bore the scars of the Blitz. Surviving buildings were covered in layers of dark sooty dust and rationing was still the order of the day and, for fresh meat, remained in place until 1954.
Posts in: Beyond 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.Read more
Sometimes described as “a green and pleasant land”, it is not surprising that England boasts a host of world-class gardens that attract domestic and international visitors alike. Among the most influential of these, and under two hours from central London, is Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the ancient county of Kent. Sissinghurst gained notoriety due to the garden itself and its creators.Read more
One of Windsor’s best-kept secrets is Windsor & Eton Brewery. Tucked away behind the railway arches - just minutes from the coach park and cark park in a simple, modest building - is the warmest and friendliest of breweries, with welcoming staff and a young manager who really love what they do. Ildi Pelikan describes below how she witnessed a special event on a visit to the brewery earlier this month with fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Leila Sukiur.Read more
Half an hour’s journey out of London’s King’s Cross train station on the line towards Cambridge gets you to the world’s first garden city, Letchworth. A new town designed on visionary principles 100 years ago, it is now a delightful time bubble and a showcase of the Arts and Crafts architectural style. There haven’t been many garden cities since, but Letchworth’s influence on urban planning around the world has been immense.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 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
This year sees the three hundredth anniversary of the death of William Penn and London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are conducting tours themed on the great Quaker and one of the few individuals to have an American state named after him – Pennsylvania. The name comes from that of the Penn family combined with the word ‘sylvania’, which means ‘woodland’. There is also an English village of that name which tour groups pass through when returning from one of the most popular day trips from London to Bath and Stonehenge.Read more
The world will be watching next spring when Prince Henry of Wales KCVO, familiarly known as Prince Harry, marries the American actress Meghan Markle. With interest on both sides of the Atlantic, the royal wedding will be held on Saturday, 19th May 2018 not at Westminster Abbey in Central London where Prince Harry's brother Prince William, Duke of Cambridge was married, but at St. George's Chapel.Read more
The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the west of England and is a popular place for tourists to visit. It is full of charming English towns and quaint villages built using honey coloured stone. Driving through the traditional rolling English countryside is a treat in itself and is more enjoyable when accompanied by a Blue Badge Tourist Guide.Read more
The new Jane Austen ten pound note was unveiled for the first time at Winchester Cathedral on 18 July this year, the 200th anniversary of her death. The much-loved novelist was buried at the cathedral largely because of the influence of her brother Henry, who was an Anglican priest. Her epitaph was composed by another brother James who wrote of her ‘extraordinary achievements of mind’ but famously forgot to mention that she wrote Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.Read more
For a recent City of Oxford Tour, the group leader expressed an interest in visiting C.S. Lewis’s home. The Kilns is not on the tourist trail but an Internet search and a few emails led to a visit being arranged. We were shown around by Rachel, a young English woman who had lived in California and had the accent of a valley girl.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
The sixth and final series of the popular costume drama starts airing in the United Kingdom, at 9pm on 20 September. It will be made up of eight episodes and a Christmas special to be broadcast on Christmas Day. The series will span the years 1925 to 1927, with the Crawley family and their servants facing an uncertain future.Read more
The Forth Bridge has just been announced as a new UNESCO world heritage site in Britain and the 6th in Scotland. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker from Frome, Somerset, the rail bridge, which is 2,529 metres (8,296ft) long and 100 metres high, was the largest cantilever span in the world when it opened in 1890.Read more
RAF Northolt is perhaps best known in the modern context as being the location where Diana's body was flown back to England by the Prince of Wales in 1997 and for being the base for Typhoon fighter jets on security duty during the 2012 London Olympics. However the base is 100 years old in March 2015 (older than the RAF!) and was originally set up as an operation base for Royal Flying Corps units to defend London against Zeppelin air raids.Read more
As Salisbury Cathedral prepares for a bonanza year of events to celebrate Magna Carta's 800th anniversary, work has begun on the new Chapter House exhibition. The new Magna Carta exhibition will see the Chapter House and Cloisters transformed into an interactive space that will set the document in its historic context. It will be an immersive visitor experience with digital media displays, artefacts, interactive stations and video to bring the story of King John and his barons to life.Read more