• Tourism

    Feel Like Royalty When You Visit Buckingham Palace

    Buckingham Palace was purchased for Queen Charlotte by her husband King George III in the year 1761. It was then called Buckingham House. In the intervening years since then to the present, it went through many incarnations before it became the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth when in London.

    Nothing but Rooms!

    There are a total of 775 rooms in Buckingham palace. There are 78 bathrooms, 52 guest and Royal bedrooms, 19 State rooms, 92 offices and 188 bedrooms for the staff. Buckingham Palace is headquarters to the Monarchy for administrative purposes. In attendance besides the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen, those that are responsible for the duties of the Royal couple and the day to day routines have offices in the Palace as well as the staff responsible for cleaning, cooking and other assorted household duties.

    The Royal Household plans all Royal ceremonies, Investitures and State Visits at the Palace. The immediate family of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth also reside in the great palace.

    Luxury and Beauty

    Buckingham Palace is not considered to be an art gallery nor a museum. The furnishings are inherited as part of the Royal Collection and include works of art that are priceless. It is considered to be one of the foremost collections of art in the world. The royal family though they own these priceless treasures, passes them down to each succeeding monarch.

    Visiting the Palace

    It is said that over 50,000 people pay a visit to Buckingham Palace every year. Most of those are invited guests to Royal Garden Parties, receptions, dinner parties, lunches and elaborate banquets. The Throne Room is where most of the wedding photographs are snapped and the Queen uses it on scant occasions to receive addresses from her loyal subjects during events such as Jubilees.

    A tour of Buckingham Palace can last as long as 2 ½ hours. You will receive a ticket that is timed and guests are admitted every 15 minutes during the day. You can only use your ticket on the day of purchase at the time that is specified. If you miss it, you will miss out as you will not be admitted after your specific entrance time.

    The palace is open to visitors from the end of July through the end of September. The hours of admission are from 9:45 to 18:00. The last admission of the day is at 15:45.

    Highlights of the Tour

    The Palace Garden is often referred to as the “walled oasis in the middle of London.” Visitors walk on the garden’s south side where they can take in magnificent views of the Palace’s front on the west side and the lake at the tour’s end.

    The Palace Ballroom was open to visitors for the first time in 2008. It was grandly set for a Grand Banquet. Visitors can enjoy gazing at some of the greatest paintings of some of the greatest artists of many eras while touring the State Rooms. For more information regarding this Royal Residence, visit the official website at www.royalcollection.org.uk where you can find out more about the exhibitions on display, a shop where you can browse for keepsakes of your visit and more about the Royal Collection.

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  • General

    The Complete Walk to celebrate 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death

    Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce its plans to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Over the weekend of 23 – 24 April 2016, specially created short films of each of Shakespeare’s plays will be shown on screens along the banks of the Thames. Dubbed The Complete Walk, the project will extend from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and will be produced with support from the British Council, as part of its 2016 Shakespeare Lives programme, and the Mayor of London. The anniversary weekend will also mark the return of the unprecedented world tour of Hamlet, which will play on the Globe stage for four final performances, after an extraordinary two years performing in every country in the world.

    The Complete Walk will form the centrepiece of London’s celebration of Shakespeare’s life and work. Featuring some of the UK’s best-known actors, the films will be shot on location, capturing the astonishing breadth of Shakespeare’s global imagination, from Cleopatra beside the Pyramids to Shylock in Venice’s Jewish ghetto, or Hamlet on the rocks of Elsinore. The films will be directed by a selection of talented young directors and each will include fresh material, interwoven with Globe on Screen titles, footage from the BFI’s Silent Shakespeare films and newly created animation. Screened along a 2.5 mile route between Westminster and Tower Bridge, the 10 minute films will be free and accessible for all, with each of the 37 screens showing one film on a loop for the duration of the weekend. Families, Shakespeare enthusiasts, visitors and the general public can experience The Complete Walk of the complete works, or dip in and out as they stroll along the riverside.

    Maintaining the Globe’s commitment to its national and international reach, the project will be presented in cities across the UK and internationally throughout 2016, after which the films will be accessible on Globe Player. In the 1970s, the BBC made a unique commitment to film every Shakespeare play. Those films have stood the test of time and these shorter productions will give a whole new generation a thrilling and comprehensive introduction to the works of Shakespeare.

    The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Four hundred years after his death, Shakespeare is a titanic figure, whose work still resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. That is an incredible feat and one that will be rightly celebrated across the world next year. London has a fantastic range of Shakespearean-inspired events lined up for 2016 and I am delighted to support The Complete Walk. It will give Londoners and visitors to the capital a wonderful opportunity to take in the Bard’s work in the city where some of his greatest stories were conceived.”

    Rosemary Hilhorst, Director of Shakespeare Lives, British Council, said: “The genius of Shakespeare’s language and the contemporary relevance of his stories are appreciated worldwide. The Complete Walk series of films from Shakespeare’s Globe is a high quality and exciting project that will invite a new audience of all ages to engage with Shakespeare in 2016.”

    Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, said: “Shakespeare spent half his life in London, wrote all his plays there, and presented them all beside the Thames…We think it is suitable and fitting that the huge range of his work should be celebrated 400 years after his death in a big free public event, utilising the very latest technology, along a public walkway beside the same dirty old river, so rich with history. The ability to make these films in so many different countries, and to show them in an equal number, will be a further celebration of Shakespeare’s astonishing reach into the world.”

    The Globe’s two-year Hamlet world tour set out on its remarkable journey on 23 April 2014, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Its company of travelling players has performed in all corners of the world – in theatres, temples and public squares – and in October to a Syrian audience in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. This unparalleled journey has been the first foreign company in 23 years to present a full play in Somaliland, drawn crowds of 3,000 for one show in Sudan, performed in the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and has been granted UNESCO patronage for the tour’s engagement with local communities and promotion of cultural education. The project has also received the Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre from the UK Theatre Awards 2014 and the International Award in The Stage Awards 2015.

    For a short celebratory run, Hamlet returns to the Globe for its final four performances, at 2pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 23 April, and 1pm and 6.30pm on Sunday 24 April.

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  • Battersea Power Station Revealed In New Book

    Graham & Graham provide a comprehensive and photographic history of Battersea Power Station

    For over 80 years, Battersea Power Station has been a symbolic part of London’s skyline, as distinctive and world-renowned as St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge. This is its story, told with passion and precision, and beautifully illustrated with stunning colour photographs and period artwork.

    From the beginnings of its construction in 1929, through its early heyday years as a ‘temple of power’, to its slow decline in the 1970s and its closure in 1983, this book charts the history of the power station as a cultural landmark, a generator of power that transformed Londoners’ lives, as an artistic icon, a marketing tool and a much disputed site for redevelopment.




    Its essential role as a place of employment is acknowledged with an entire chapter devoted to the recollections of men who worked there, from the 1940s to the 1990s.

    Above all, Battersea Power Station has secured a place in the heart of the nation as perhaps its unlikeliest national treasure. This book ensures it can be treasured in all its guises by generations to come.

    Authors Graham & Graham are a husband and wife creative team. Annie graduated from Lowestoft School of Art and Steve started his career in advertising straight from school. After having worked in a succession of London agencies independently as Art Director and Copywriter, they chose to combine their talents and set up their own creative consultancy, which they ran successfully for fifteen years. Living in Streatham with their two daughters, Battersea Power Station was always part of their local landscape. A constant source of intrigue and inspiration, telling its story quickly grew into a passion. Annie now works in music publishing and Steve runs a small, creative communications agency. They are both available for interview, and extracts/copies of the manuscript are available for review, extracts and features, along with high-res photographs from the book.

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  • Wildfire Pro’s Notting Hill Christmas Bazaar

    As the festive season draws closer, the countdown is on for the capital’s most anticipated Christmas event – The Notting Hill Christmas Bazaar. The traditional Christmas extravaganza is coming to town for two days only, on 28 – 29 November at the decadent 20thCentury Theatre, Notting Hill, and has something for all the family.




    In the decadent setting of the 20thCentury Theatre, which is set to be transformed into a festive emporium, visitors can find the perfect gift this Christmas. The traditional fair will house unique retailers selling everything from cards and quirky gift wrap to stocking fillers and personalised gifts. Additionally the bazaar will feature Christmas foodie delights, seasonal tipples and a Santa’s Grotto for the children.

    Nisa Berzeg of Wildfire Pro, the organisers of the event said, “With less than a fortnight to go to the big weekend, the countdown is well and truly on for us and all our wonderful exhibitors. It’s such a special time of year and we’re delighted to welcome visitors from all over the UK to come and experience the festive cheer and warm atmosphere in the 20thCentury Theatre. It’s a treat for all the family.”


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    Father Christmas has decided to take time out from his busy schedule to visit all the children at The Notting Hill Christmas Bazaar. Families will be bringing their kids to have their photo taken, receive a gift and put in their special requests for Christmas Day. However, he’s a popular chap so parents are being urged to book tickets for the grotto in advance.

    The family friendly event will also provide a crèche and play area for the little ones to give the adults some quiet shopping time and allow them to fully experience the festive day out. Families and groups of friends can also head to the Yellow Room which will be serving up some irresistible festive treats. From mince pies and roasted chestnuts to mulled wine and festive fizz, there’s delicious surprises for everyone.

    The Notting Hill Christmas Bazaar is the ultimate Christmas family fair in West London, and is not to be missed.


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    Opening times: Saturday 28thNovember 12pm – 8.30pm

    Sunday 29thNovember 12pm – 6pm

    Venue: 20thCentury Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W11 2QA

    Entry is subject to a fee, with tickets available to buy in advance from £2.50 from the website and from £5 on the day at the door. A free glass of mulled wine, festive fizz or non-alcoholic cocktail is included in the ticket price.

    For more information about exhibiting at or tickets for attending the bazaar, please visit the website: http://www.nottinghillchristmasbazaar.co.uk/

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  • Entertainment Tourism

    Visit Covent Garden in London’s West End

    Covent Garden has a long and interesting past. It once belonged to Westminster Abbey. It was the 4th Earl of Bedford that redeveloped what was then the Covent Garden Market in 1630. Once the largest market for fruit and vegetables in Britain, it occupied several of the buildings and covered the entire square. Today it would be difficult for a time traveler to recognize it as there has been a myriad of changes.

    Sights to See in Covent Garden

    Tourists to the area can visit such attractions as a backstage tour of the Royal Opera House. You will get a peek at the busiest ballet and opera theatre worldwide. You will learn about recent developments as well as the history of the building. Take the kids to London’s Transport Museum. You can explore the tubes, trams, buses and two hundred years of social and transport history of London.

    The National Museum of the Performing Arts is smack dab in the middle of London’s Theatreland. It contains the most important and largest collections associated to the stage of the United Kingdom. Visitors may also want to check out Sir John Soane’s Museum, Photographer’s Gallery and St. Paul’s Church.

    The National Gallery is a highlight of Covent Gardens with its more than 2200 painting ranging from 13th Century artists to painting of the 20th Century artist Picasso. Somerset House is a masterpiece of architecture that is opened fully to the public. A visit to the National Portrait Gallery gives guests a glimpse of some of the most famous people in British history including such luminaries as astronomers, explorers, artists, sportsmen, British royalty, poets and actresses.

    Sizzle After Dark

    An eclectic mix of clubs and pubs that caters to every taste is what you will find when you are in Covent Gardens. Huge bars filled with glamour and history, supper clubs and restaurants are all waiting for visitors to go out for a night on the town. If you are in the mood for live music you can find it and if you are looking for a private corner to kiss and canoodle you can find a place for that too.

    Covent Garden is located in the West End considered to be the “heart of Theatreland.” Here is where you can see a variety of world famous shows at any of the many theatres. See such shows as Dirty Dancing, Buddy, Billy Elliot and Flamenco Flamen’ka at theatres that include Victoria Palace Theatre, Aldwych Theatre, the Lyric Theatre and the Savoy.

    So Much to Do so Little Time

    Shopping, dining, people watching, culture, arts and so much more await visitors to Covent Gardens. There are also a variety of accommodation options so that you have even more time to explore all there is to see and do in Covent Gardens in London’s West End. No matter where your interests lie, you will find the perfect entertainment to suit your mood and budget. Check the website www.covent-garden.co.uk/ and come to Covent Garden and become part of the excitement.

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  • Tourism

    Visit one of London’s Scariest Attractions

    Recently quoted the scariest attraction in London, this spine-chilling experience uses Hollywood effects and actors to re-create what London Bridge was really like in the past. Basically, not very nice. You’ll learn about its gruesome punishments for criminals, whilst dodging pick-pockets and surprises along the way. If you haven’t jumped out of your skin by then, you can descend deeper into the London Tombs, located directly below the London Bridge. Once the plague pits of the 14th century, these dark cavities have been filled with even more gruesomeness to truly shake those senses. Cool.

    Website: www.thelondonbridgeexperience.com

    Top Tip

    Save up to 50% if you buy online!



    2-4 Tooley Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 2PF

    London Bridge Experience Opening Times

    10am until 6pm Seven days per week, except 24th Dec, 26th Dec, 31st Dec, 1st Jan 11:00am-4:00pm and Christmas Day when The London Bridge Experience is closed.


    50 metres from London Bridge train station, or buses 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 78, 133, 149, 381.


    Food or drink may not be consumed during The London Bridge Experience or The London Tombs tours. There is a cafeteria on site.

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  • Carnaby Shopping Party will start build up to Christmas

    On Thursday 12 November from 5-9pm, Carnaby will be launching Christmas at the annual Carnaby Shopping Party.

    Shoppers will be able to enjoy 20% off in more than 100 shops, restaurants, bars and cafés including BenefitCheap MondayLazy OafPepe JeansSuperTrash and The Kooples. Just over a month before Christmas, this event is the perfect time to start Christmas shopping. It’s also a chance to dine at some of London’s best independent eateries including Dirty Bones and Señor Ceviche in Carnaby’s food hub Kingly Court.

    Throughout the night, free activities and entertainment will include DJs and live music at the central stage on Carnaby Street, a free pop-up bar in Ganton Street and goodie bags worth £200. In-store experiences will include complimentary manicures, photobooths, drinks and nibbles as well as personal styling and more.

    The launch of Carnaby’s Christmas installations will take place at 6:30pm. Carnaby’s Christmas decorations are world renowned for being unique, creative, bright and fun and this year’s theme is all about the party: five giant deconstructed glitter balls in holographic silver and bright pink will be suspended above Carnaby Street.

    Everyone is invited to share their night with photos and posts with #Carnaby #ShoppingParty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a chance to win prizes.

    Register for your free ticket at Carnaby.co.uk. All ticket registrations will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win the ultimate Carnaby Christmas party worth £1000.

    More updates will follow on Carnaby.co.uk

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  • Technology

    Santander Cycles app makes locating docking stations a breeze

    The popular Santander Cycles app has been updated to make it even easier for customers to use.

    Following the upgrade, users of the app can now scroll across the docking station map, helping them easily and accurately plot routes across London and find docking stations close by. The new updates were implemented based on comments from users through the app stores and social media channels.

    Cyclists can view their nearest docking station and availability of bikes, as well as hire a bike by getting a ‘release code’ straight to their phone. This means anyone can now hire a Santander Cycle without having to use the on-street docking station.

    The free app, commissioned by Transport for London (TfL), Santander and Serco and developed by Corethree, has proven popular since it was launched in May with more than 120,000 downloads.

    James Mead, General Manager of Santander Cycles, said: “Around 2,500 bikes a day are now hired using the app, which is a fantastic step forward for the scheme – it’s great to see so many people using it. We are always updating and adding features, which we hope will encourage more people to take to two wheels and explore London by bike.”

    Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer or Santander UK, said: “Santander’s vision when signing up to sponsor London’s Cycle Hire scheme was to make the experience fun, rewarding and easy.  We’ve worked hard, and will continue to do so, to make the Santander Cycle Scheme one which other schemes look to for inspiration.   The Santander Cycles App is a great innovation that helps users find cycles, locate free docking stations, plan routes and, of course, hire a Santander Cycle.”

    Ashley Murdoch, CEO of Corethree said: “Developing the Cycle Hire application with Serco, TfL & Santander has been a very rewarding project for Corethree.  We have been delighted by the impressive download numbers of the app.  It’s interesting to see how people are using the bikes too, using our powerful data collection and reporting system. We look forward to watching the user numbers grow and working closely as a team to add further features over time.”

    London’s Cycle Hire scheme has grown from strength-to-strength since launching in July 2010, with now almost double the number of bikes (6,000 to 11,500). Nearly 45 million journeys have been made in the five years of the scheme, with a record 73,000 hires made in one day, and more than seven and a half million hired during 2015 already.

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  • Tourism

    Hampton Court Palace

    A lovely day outside, this beautiful historic site on the fringes of London was once home to Henry VIII and his court. However old your children, they are sure to be entertained here. There are family trails packed with activities, costumed tours, a skill-testing maze and even the opportunity to try your luck at singing, dancing and Tudor games. The Tudor kitchens come complete with sights and smells from the past and the Haunted Gallery lets you explore the palace’s many ghost stories. Set within enchanting riverside gardens, there is plenty of room for kids to run around while you soak up some sun and admire the view.

    Website at www.hrp.org.uk

    Top Tip

    Book online to save time and money.

    East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU

    Hampton Court Opening Times

    10am – 6pm every day, except 24th to 26th December.


    Easiest way from Central London is to travel to Hampton Court train station.


    Restaurants and cafes are on site, or you can use the picnic tables and benches in the gardens and seats in the courtyard.

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  • Tower of London Exhibition Marking The battle of Agincourt

    25 October 2015 marks the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt, dramatized by Shakespeare in his play Henry V, and one of the pivotal events in the tumultuous relationship between England and France during the Hundred Years War (1337 -1453). To commemorate this event Royal Armouries will present a special exhibition in the White Tower at the Tower of London this winter.

    The exhibition brings together, for the first time, rare and iconic objects from the collections of the Royal Armouries and elsewhere to retell the moving story of this deadly encounter; from the road to battle, to the events of 25 October 1415 and the aftermath, which in turn will explore the popular
    myths, reality and legacy of this extraordinary battle. Medieval arms and armour, art, music, sculpture and manuscripts will be on loan from leading institutions in Europe. Highlights include an austere Tudor portrait of Henry V, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, exhibited alongside a bacinet and mail shirt associated with Charles VI of France as Dauphin, from the Musée des Beaux Art in Chartres.




    Archers were used to devastating effect on the day of the battle and significant examples of medieval archery equipment will be on show from the Museum of London, Newport Art Gallery and Museum, and the Museum of Somerset, along with longbows and arrows from the Mary Rose Trust. These items will be complemented by arms and armour from the Royal Armouries, including the stunning Lyle bacinet and the Warwick shaffron, showcasing the contemporary equipment of men-at-arms and their mounts.

    At the centre of the exhibition will be a detailed diorama of the battlefield. Featuring over 4,000 intricately painted scale-model figures this extraordinary and unique representation will give visitors the opportunity to witness the turmoil and chaos of the battle at a crucial stage. Above it will hang an installation and soundscape of a mass of arrows evoking the sights and sounds of the battle.


    King Henry V by Unknown artist oil on panel, late 16th or early 17th century Credit line: © National Portrait Gallery, London

    King Henry V
    by Unknown artist
    oil on panel, late 16th or early 17th century
    Credit line: © National Portrait Gallery, London


    The displays relating to the aftermath of battle include a delicate 15th-century manuscript of the Agincourt Carol from the Bodleian Library, thought to have been commissioned to celebrate Henry V’s homecoming. In addition, a poignant reminder of the impact of the defeat on the French will be presented in a moving poem of lamentation by women, written in 1416-8 by Alain Chartier, and on loan from Bibliothèque nationale de France.
    The battle inspired one of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches in his play Henry V, thought to have been first performed in 1599 at the Globe theatre in London. This aspect of the enduring legacy of the battle will be illustrated with the rare First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, on loan from Cambridge University Library. From more recent times the exhibition will display a tabard worn by Richard Burton in the title role of Henry V at Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1951, on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.


    The Lyle Bacinet North Italian, late fourteenth century © Royal Armouries IV.470

    The Lyle Bacinet
    North Italian, late fourteenth century
    © Royal Armouries IV.470


    The exhibition draws on the latest research and expertise from historical advisers, most notably Professor Anne Curry from the University of Southampton on the history of the battle and Royal Armouries weapon experts, Dr Thom Richardson and Bob Woosnam-Savage. The exhibition’s curator and medieval specialist , Dr Malcolm Mercer said, “This is an important retrospective which draws on recent research and expertise to shed new light on some of the popular myths about one of Europe’s most famous medieval battles. The battle and its legacy have had a significant impact on our identity as a nation. The latest thinking about the battle of Agincourt in certain respects tells a different, but equally fascinating and important story.”

    The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-colour and sumptuously illustrated and peer reviewed volume published in partnership with Yale University Press.

    A listing of other events, activities and information about the battle of Agincourt can be found at www.agincourt600.com
    For more information: www.royalarmouries.org

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