10 Facts About The Victoria Cross And The George Cross
The Victoria Cross and the George Cross are the highest medals awarded in the United Kingdom to military personnel and civilians for acts of bravery in wartime or peacetime. Many of them are displayed at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, South London. Below are 10 facts about the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.
10 Facts About The Elizabeth Line Running Across London
The idea for a line joining the eastern and western suburbs of London was first mooted in 1941 during the Second World War but it took over eighty years before this dream was realised. The Elizabeth Line, as it has become known, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II who officially opened the line on 17 May 2022 at Paddington Station; passenger services started on 24 May 2022. Her Majesty was presented with an Oyster Card with £5 on it. Although she was shown how to use the card, she did not do so and left the station in a lift. The Queen spent time at the opening talking to Transport For London staff.
Lifeboats In London: The Work Of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) On The River Thames
While most visitors to London might not associate the capital with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the River Thames will be seen on virtually every tour of London and is often considered the backbone of the capital. Four of the RNLI’s 238 lifeboat stations are on the Thames, and their busiest is RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station by Waterloo Bridge. The others are at Chiswick and Teddington in Greater London and Gravesend in Kent.
Austrian Composer Joseph Haydn In London
One of the greatest composers in the history of music, Joseph Haydn, lived in London for four years during the 1790s, just as the Napoleonic conflict was beginning to convulse Europe. The King of England George III himself had mused on bringing the Viennese composer here, and several music-loving earls had sent invitations, all of which had gone unanswered.
Trooping the Colour – A Royal Birthday Parade
Many of us would love to have a birthday parade with marching bands, and soldiers perfectly turned out displaying their marching skills. Trooping the Colour marks Her Majesty The Queen’s official birthday. As the late Duke of Edinburgh stated, ‘it is not a “theatrical” production, (sic) it is a deadly serious demonstration of the basic infantry skills for which the British Guards are renowned across the world.’
10 Events During The English Summer Social Season
“The Season” always fascinates visitors to England. An endless whirl of summer events where it’s just as important who to be seen with as to actually have fun. We asked Sophie Campbell, Blue Badge Tourist Guide and author of The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season to give us her unique perspective on this most English of traditions.
Posts in: Beyond London
I was excited to be visiting Stonehenge on the day of the winter solstice (21st December) and the sun was shining! At around 3.50 pm the midwinter sun set in the southwest and its rays flooded through the centre of the monument on the axis that Neolithic peoples understood 5000 years ago.Read more
Which is the best place to visit outside London on a trip to the United Kingdom? Windsor is one of the most exciting towns to visit with its large royal park, attractive shops, cosy pubs, and tea rooms. It also has Windsor Castle, the oldest castle in the world still occupied by the family for whom it was built – the British royal family.Read more
Observant visitors heading to the RHS Garden Wisley may spot a gothic tower beside the A3 near Cobham, unaware that this is one of the follies within Painshill Park, situated a short distance from London’s Ring Road, the M25.Read more
Most London Blue Badge Tourist Guides have a backstory. Mine involved a seventeen-year career in the pharmaceutical industry working for a joint-venture French/American vaccine company. As Head of Medical Information, I set up the very first telephone Vaccine Information Service - in the days before Google!Read more
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
Oxford University is a favourite on a day trip from London often on the way to Stratford-upon-Avon or Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. A stop at Oxford would normally include a walking tour and a visit to one of the Colleges such as Brasenose or Christchurch. Some people, however, might prefer to spend the whole day there visiting more than one college and seeing the place of learning which was home to such famous writers as Lewis Carroll, J.R. R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, all of whom taught at Oxford University. Below are 10 facts about Oxford University which was recently ranked at the best in the world.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