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Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Golden Hinde II at St Mary Overie Dock , Southwark

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Golden Hinde II

Location – 1 Pickfords Wharf,Clink Street, London, SE1 9DG

It is one of the joys of London to come across the unexpected, however the full size authentic replica of the Golden Hinde at St Mary Overie Dock is not just a tourist attraction but is a fully functional ship built by traditional methods at Appledore in North Devon and launched in 1973. Like the original Golden Hinde, the replica has circumnavigated the globe and altogether has travelled more than 140,000 miles.

The replica was the brainchild of two American businessmen, Albert Elledge and Art Blum, who, in 1968, wanted to commemorate the upcoming 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drake’s landing on the west coast of North America in 1579.They commissioned Loring Christian Norgaard, a Californian naval architect to undertake the task of designing the ship. This was no simple task as there were no plans for the original ship, therefore Norgaard had to search records and journals and study Tudor shipbuilding techniques to come up with an authentic replica.

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When the design was ready the task of building the ship was undertaken by J Hinks and Son who had more than 100 years experience of traditional craftsmanship. Original materials and tools were used to create the ship and all aspects of the ship interior and exterior were produced after meticulous research.

On her maiden journey she sailed to San Francisco and in the next 20 years sailed all over the world. In this time she became a familiar sight in Films and Television series.

Since 1996 she has been berthed in St Mary Overie Dock and is used to illustrate Elizabethan maritime history to the many schools and children who visit her.

In a strange way history is repeating itself, for after Drake returned to England in the Golden Hind after sailing around the world, the ship was moored in Deptford on public display for over 100 years before she was finally broken up.

Tours and Fun days are available where children can dress up as Tudor sailors or Pirates and explore the ship.

Tickets Prices are usually around £ 7 for Adults and £ 5 for Children.

For more information click here

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Local rights for local folk

For practical advice and special offers for your London visit go to visitinglondonguide.com

London Cafes – Caffe Paradiso , Shad Thames

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Caffé Paradiso

Location – 45 Shad Thames, London SE1 2NJ

Although Caffé Paradiso is a relative newcomer opening in 2006, its has connections to a Sicilian couple who came to London in the 1930s. Rita and Enrico Olivelli opened their Bloomsbury restaurant in the 1930s which soon became a favourite of students from the nearby drama school RADA. Olivelli became famous for its Sicilian cuisine and when the restaurant was sold in 1993, two Sicilian – born brothers Giovanni and Salvatore Salamone bought it determined to continue the Sicilian tradition. Other restaurants followed in Mayfair and Waterloo and two cafes called Caffé Paradiso, one in Bloomsbury and this one at Tower Bridge.

What sets this Café apart from the numerous chains around it is the delicious handmade savouries and patisserie made to authentic Sicilian recipes. The gelato is made by Sicilian chefs in London.

Friendly staff, good coffee and even a breakfast menu make this one of the most popular cafes this side of Tower Bridge. The only problem you are likely to find is getting a seat in the small intimate surroundings.

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For practical advice and special offers for your London visit go to visitinglondonguide.com

The Clink Prison Museum

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The Clink Museum

Location – 1 Clink St, London , SE1 9DG

The Clink Prison Museum is located on the site of one of the famous prison’s in London. In its various forms it served as a prison from the 12th century to 1780.

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The prison was owned by the Bishop of Winchester and built next to his Winchester Palace, it had separate Men’s and Women’s Prisons built in around 1144 which rank amongst some of the oldest in England.

The South Bank at this time was notorious site of Brothels, Taverns and other types of entertainment many which was owned or rented from the Bishop of Winchester himself.

At various times different types of prisoners were held here from general lawbreakers up to 16th century when it was then used for heretics and finally in the 18th century was used as a debtors prison.

In 1450 the Winchester Palace and the prison was attacked by rioters who released the prisoners before burning both buildings to the ground. They were rebuilt soon afterwards. By 1760 the Prison was almost a ruin but was still burnt down by Gordon rioters and was never rebuilt.

Although it did not exist after 1760, the name survived in the English Language as slang for ‘Prison’

The Clink Museum gives visitors ” the opportunity to view archaeological artefacts, handle torture devices, and to view and hear all about the tales of torment and many misfortunes of the inmates of the infamous Clink Prison.”

Ticket Prices

Adults £7.50

Children ( under 16 )  £5.50

Concession£5.50 Students,OAP,Disabled

Family £18.00 2 adults & 2 children under 16

Opening Times   Open all year around, 7 days a week ( Closed on Christmas Day )

Summer (July – September ) 10.00 – 21.00

Winter ( October – June )

Monday to Friday 10.00 – 18.00  Weekend10.00 – 19.30

( last admission 30 minutes before closing )

To find out more about the Museum click here

For practical advice and special offers for your London visit go to visitinglondonguide.com

The Design Museum

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The Design Museum

Location –  28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD

The Design Museum is a small museum situated in the Butlers Wharf/ Shad Thames area near to Tower Bridge. The museum covers Industrial, Graphic, Fashion and Architectural design and when it was founded in 1989 claimed to be the first museum of modern design.


The museum is based in an old warehouse but is unrecognisable as a warehouse due to its conversion into a Modernist style building . The museum is run as a registered charity and uses the money gained by the entrance fee to subsidise new exhibitions. The admission fee which will £ 12.40 in 2014 and its location perhaps explains why it only attracts a relatively small 200,000 visitors annually.

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Paul Smith Exhibition runs till March 2014

The Museum has exhibition spaces with some permanent and temporary  exhibits  and education areas which are used for talks and as a space for children and students.

Even if you do not want to pay to see the museum, access to the Shop and Café are free. The Blue Print Café is one of the many Terence Conran restaurants in the area which has wonderful views over the Thames.

Terence Conran has provided a substantial amount of funds to move the Museum to the old Commonwealth Institute in Kensington in 2015.


Daily 10am – 5.45pm Last admission 5.15pm

The Design Museum is open on all bank and national holidays, except 25 and 26 December. On 24 December, the museum closes 2pm.


For practical advice and special offers for your London visit go to visitinglondonguide.com

A Short Guide to Buckingham Palace

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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837, in more recent times it has served as the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. To facilitate the small army of 450 staff, the Palace has 775 rooms.These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. Although the Palace is still used for large-scale Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures, it also welcomes around 50,000 people a year who attend banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Royal Garden Parties.

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The land on which the Palace stands has been owned by Royalty since William the Conqueror however it was not until George III bought the house on the site called Buckingham House and eventually transformed it into a Royal Palace that it became a Royal residence. Using the well-known architect John Nash, George III expanded the Palace and began to furnish the interior with furniture and works of art from the nearby Carlton House.

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Despite George’s influence it was Queen Victoria who became the first sovereign to take up residence in July 1837, and in June 1838 she was the first British sovereign to leave from Buckingham Palace for a Coronation.

When Queen Victoria became a widow in 1861, Buckingham Palace was seldom used for Royal Ceremonies and was rarely visited by Victoria who prefered to stay at Windsor Castle and Balmoral.


Victoria Memorial

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, it was decided to repair the facade and make a series of changes to the Palace. These included a new Memorial to Victoria, and developing the Mall as a ceremonial approach route to the palace.

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On the Mall

Although suffering some damage in the Second World War, it was  at the end of the War that the Palace became the focus of celebrations on VE Day.


These scenes have been replicated in recent times for Royal Weddings and Jubilee Celebrations when the Royal Family usually make an appearance on the Palace balcony.


After the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, The Buckingham Palace State Rooms were open to visits by the public with money raised helping to pay for the repair and renovation at Windsor.


The Mall from Admiralty Arch

Video Review available here 

To find out more about visiting Buckingham Palace visit their website here

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Great London Pubs – The Cittie of Yorke

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Cittie of Yorke
Location 22 High Holborn, Holborn, Camden, London WC1V 6BN

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This has been the site of a pub since the 15th century, the present pub was redeveloped in the 1920s but has elements from previous incarnations. This gives the Cittie of Yorke a strange and rather surreal interior, the main bar is under a vast ceiling that feels that you are in medieval Great hall rather than a pub. The bar itself sits below large vats.


In the main bar is Victorian cubicles, which lawyers apparently held meetings with their clients. Another strange feature is a traingular 19th century stove that stands in the middle of the bar. The cellar bar is in a much older part of the Pub and is yet another feature of this Grade II listed pub.

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It is safe to say that this pub is unique in London for its eclectic and rather strange interior.

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For a list of London’s Top Ten Pubs go to Visiting London Guide.

Great London Pubs – The Princess Louise


Princess Louise

Location – 208-209 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BW.


Considered one of the finest Victorian Pub interiors in London, The Princess Louise is situated in High Holborn but near to Bloomsbury. Although the outside of the pub is unremarkable, walking through the doors is like entering a Victorian world frozen in time. The first surprise is series of booths surrounding the bar, each booth is large enough for around 8 – 10 people. Each booth has wood panelling and glass partitions, whilst the larger bars have wonderfully tiled interiors.

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The pub has a Grade II listing and unusually even the men’s toilets with their marble urinals are listed. The Pub is owned and run by the Samuel Smith Brewery who sell their own beer which is considerably cheaper than most other pubs in London.


The Princess Louise often features in the Top London Pubs lists for its stunning interior rather than the quality of its beer.


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For a list of London’s Top Ten Pubs visit  Visiting London Guide