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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park – 21st Nov 2014 to 4th Jan 2015

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The Winter Wonderland experience at Hyde Park seems to get bigger every year and has become a firm favourite with Londoners and Visitors.

It offers a series of winter entertainments and shopping, food and drink. It is free to enter Winter Wonderland but it pays to book ahead for some of the entertainments as they get sold out especially at the weekends and the period just before Christmas.

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Some of the entertainment includes skating on the ice rink  around the Victorian bandstand and illuminated with over 100,000 lights,  the Magical Ice Kingdom, a world of real ice and snow. The largest of its kind in the UK .

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There are plenty of rides at Winter Wonderland some for larger children and adults including  funhouses, ghost rides, there are  other rides especially  for smaller children.

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Meet Santa his grotto in the land of Santa, There’s is entertainment in the Arctic Circle, from winter themed rides, ‘try your skills’ games and even curling!

The Christmas Markets give you plenty of choice across more than 200 fairylit wooden chalets, and a wide choice of  food and drink.

The gates will open at 5pm on Friday 21st November. Thereafter the opening times are 10am until 10pm, from 22nd November 2014 to 4th January 2015 excluding Christmas Day when the event is CLOSED.

If you would like more information about Winter Wonderland and to book tickets , visit the website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

All you need to Know about the Lord Mayor’s Show – November 8th 2014

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The Lord Mayor’s Show is an important part of 799 years of London history, it is one of oldest civic pageants in the world. It began in 1215, when King John allowed the Mayor of London to become one of the first elected offices in the modern world. It has featured in the plays of Shakespeare, and the diaries of Pepys and the made famous by the story of Dick Whittington, who really was the Mayor of London three times. In the 20th century the Lord Mayor’s Show was the first outside event ever to be broadcast live and it still attracts a TV audience of millions.

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It is the connection between the modern and the ancient that makes the show a strange mixture of pageant and spectacle with weird and wonderful costumes and vehicles. The 2014 procession will have over 7000 participants, with 21 bands, 150 horses, 23 carriages carts and coaches, and hundreds of other vehicles; vintage cars, steam buses, tanks, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, unicycles, steamrollers, giant robots, helicopters, ships, penny farthings, beds and bathtubs.

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There will be floats and displays by  City’s businesses, Livery Companies, charities, Her Majesty’s Forces, the City Police and Londoners from all walks of life.

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Towards the head of the procession you will see two wicker giants. They are Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London, and they have been carried in the Lord Mayor’s Show since the reign of Henry V.

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2014 Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow

The 2014 Lord Mayor’s Show is on Saturday 8th November. There are events all day and many other family activities and special exhibitions are laid on in the area. The main highlights are :

08:30: River Pageant

The original Lord Mayor’s journey was always taken by river. The modern Lord Mayor celebrates that history by travelling to the City in a splendid flotilla of traditional Thames barges and small boats, including the famous QRB Gloriana. Tower Bridge opens in salute at 09.25 and the new Lord Mayor alights at HMS President ten minutes later.

11:00: Lord Mayor’s Procession

The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am. It pauses at the Royal Courts while the Lord Mayor gives his oath and then returns up the Victoria Embankment at about 1pm. The Lord Mayor will get back to Mansion House just after 2pm.
15:00: Guided Walks

In the lull between procession and fireworks you will find the remarkable City of London Guide Lecturers giving walking tours around the strange old streets of the City of London. The walks are easy and free, but they hope you will make a donation to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

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17:15: Lord Mayor’s Fireworks (Lasts for around 15 minutes)

The new Lord Mayor completes his first day in office with a magnificent fireworks display over the Thames. The launchpad floats in the river between Blackfriars and Waterloo and all the roads in that area are still closed, so you can walk freely around either bank of the river and find a good spot to enjoy the end of the Show.

 For more information about the event, visit the Lord Mayor Show website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

All you need to know about Remembrance Sunday in London – 9th November 2014

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In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, which is the Sunday nearest to 11 November Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918. Remembrance Sunday is held “to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts”.

There will be ceremonies all over London and the rest of the country but the national ceremony is held in London at the Cenotaph and the Women’s Memorial on Whitehall. Wreaths are laid by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and other major politicians and representatives of the Armed Services.  Two minutes’ silence is held at 11 a.m., before the laying of the wreaths. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent. This silence is marked by the firing of a field gun on Horse Guards Parade to begin and end the silence, followed by Royal Marines buglers sounding Last Post.

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Being the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, this year’s Remembrance Sunday memorials will have an added poignancy.

The event consists mainly of an extensive march past, with army bands playing live music, each year following the list of the Traditional Music of Remembrance.

Remembrance Sunday timetable

09:00: Royal British Legion (RBL) detachments form up on Horse Guards Parade and in Whitehall
10:00: All detachments march out from Wellington Barracks
11:00: Two minutes silence marked by the firing of guns from Kings Troop, on Horse Guards Parade. Cenotaph Service commences
11:25: Cenotaph Service concludes and RBL detachments disperse past the Cenotaph

No passes or tickets are required by members of the public, who can watch the ceremony from the pavements along Whitehall and Parliament Street. On the day, orders of Service are distributed on Whitehall by the Scouts to members of the public.

Whitehall is opened to the public at 8:00am. It gets very busy so the advice to members of the public is to arrive early if they wish to secure a good viewing place. Those attending are advised not to bring suitcases or large bags as space is limited. Security in the area remains tight, so please ensure that you allow time to clear the police security procedures.

Temporary public toilets will be located in Whitehall Place. First aid facilities, provided by St John’s Ambulance, will be available at various locations along Whitehall, whilst their personnel will also be patrolling the area.

There will be video screens north of the Cenotaph, near the green outside the main Ministry of Defence building, mounted outside the Scotland Office and another on the roadway.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Bonfire Night ( Firework Displays) in London – 1st to 8th November 2014

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Bonfire Night is also known as Fireworks’ Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night. It’s a British tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605,  when on the 5 November 1605, Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the Houses of Parliament. To celebrate the thwarting of the plot to blow up parliament and kill King James I , people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act was considered an annual public day of thanksgiving.

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Part of the tradition that developed was the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes on top of the bonfire. However in the 20th Century, Bonfire Night is usually celebrated at large organised events, centred on a large bonfire and firework displays. Although traditionally Bonfire Night was only celebrated on November the 5th, in recent years the displays are often on the weekend nearest to the date.
London has a large number of displays, some which charge to enter and other ones that are free.

Here is a list of some of the larger displays: Check on their websites for details.

Richmond Family Fireworks Display
2 November 2014
Richmond Athletic Ground

Battersea Park Fireworks Display at Battersea Park
8 November 2014
Battersea Park

Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival at Alexandra Palace
1 November 2014
Alexandra Palace

Harrow Fireworks Display at Byron Recreation Ground
8 November 2014

Lambeth Fireworks Display at Brockwell Park
5 November 2014

Southwark’s Fireworks Night at Southwark Park
5 November 2014
Southwark Park

Blackheath Fireworks Display
1 November 2014
Blackheath Common

Crystal Palace Fireworks at Crystal Palace Park
5 November 2014
Crystal Palace Park

Firework Display to Music at Heston Venue
5 November 2014
Imperial College London:

Fireworks Display at Bishop’s Park
7 November 2014
Bishop’s Park

Fireworks Display at Ravenscourt Park
8 November 2014
Ravenscourt Park

Kingston-Upon-Thames Round Table And Rotary Club Fireworks Display
7 November 2014
Kingsmeadow Stadium

Ealing Fireworks Display
8 November 2014
Ealing Cricket Club

Morden Fireworks Display at Morden Park
1 November 2014
Morden Park

Wimbledon Fireworks Display at Wimbledon Park
5 November 2014

Bonfire Night in London: London’s Fireworks Displays
5 November 2014
Various venues

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

The Last Poppy Ceremony at the Tower of London – 11th November 2014

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On the  11 November , The Tower of London will mark the planting of the last poppy in their major installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ and commemorate the centenary of the First World War

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When the last poppy is  installed, the site  will eventually be comprised of 888,246 ceramic poppies,  each one will represent the life of a solider from Britain or the Commonwealth lost in WWI.
The ‘planting’ has been undertaken by up to  8,000 volunteers to reach the 888,246 – reflecting the staggering loss of life in the four-year conflict.
The poppies  created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper offer a amazing display and have caught the nation’s imagination.

The first poppy was planted on the 17th July by the Tower’s longest serving Yeoman Warder, the installation was officially launched on the 5 August and the last poppy will be placed on Armistice Day, 11 November 2014

It has been announced that  all of the poppies that make up the installation have been sold and will raise millions of pounds which will be shared equally amongst the following six service charities : Cobseo, Combat Stress, Coming Home, Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA

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From 10.30am, a 21 round gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company will take place on the Tower of London’s Wharf and the final Roll of Honour – names of some of the fallen from the First World War – will be read out. After the last name has been read out a young cadet will place the final poppy in the moat and a bugler will sound the last post just before 11am, after which a two minute silence will commence.

A number of people will be involved in the event including the Constable of the Tower General the Lord Dannatt, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper the artists who created the installation, volunteers who helped to plant the poppies and beneficiaries from the service charities involved.  Members of the public are welcome to come to the Tower to observe the 2 minutes silence and view from public areas around the Tower.

On November the 11th , there will be a closing Roll of Honour and  guns will fire 21 times.

Finally  there will be the planting of the final poppy in the moat followed by the playing of the last post by a lone bugler.

Timetable  on Tower Hill

10.30    First gun signal and closing Roll of Honour

10.50    Final poppy planted

11.00    Two minute silence

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London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Regent Street Motor Show – November 1st 2014

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The Regent Street Motor Show is one of  the unique motor shows taking place  in one of the Capital’s most famous streets. From Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus, the capital’s world-famous shopping street will be closed to through traffic allowing the displaying over 300 cars spanning 125 years of motoring from the earliest 19th Century veterans to the cutting edge models of the future.

There will also be motorbikes  and a wide range of other events  to entertain the large crowds expected.

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Always popular are the  100 veteran cars on display, all ready for the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which starts from nearby Hyde Park on Sunday. The veterans cars, all built before 1905, will be taking part in the prestigious EFG International Concours d’Elegance .

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First held in 2005, the Regent Street Motor Show attracts a large number of manufacturers keen to display their newest products to an audience made up of enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.

Show times: Opens at 10:30 and closes at 16:00

Entry: Free to view

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If you want an early start on Sunday morning you can see the Vintage Cars in action when The Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run starts in Hyde Park, London on Sunday 2 November 2014. The cars congregate from 6.00am with the first car departing at sunrise (6.56am) and the last car leaving from between 8.00am – 8.30am.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Book Review : Sherlock Holmes, The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die ( Ebury Press / Museum of London)

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Sherlock Holmes is one of the great fictional characters of British literature, whose popularity has endured for over the last 100 years. Part of the character’s popularity is his appearance in the numerous film, TV and theatre adaptations.
For the first time in over 60 years, the character becomes the subject of a major exhibition at the Museum of London. To accompanying the exhibition, the curator Alex Werner has compiled this book which explores how Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of Sherlock Holmes can only be fully understood in the context of the transformation of London into a centre of Empire. The book features articles written by leading experts, headed by Sir David Cannadine, and offers some new insights into the famous detective and explores some of the real life characters and events that influenced the fiction.

The first article in the book is entitled “A Case of Mistaken Identity” written by Sir David Cannadine which considers ” how the late 1880s were a remarkable and transformative era in the history of London. ”  This transformation consolidated London’s position as not just a national capital but also the centre of the British Empire. However for all the wealth being accrued, it was the concerns of the poverty and crime that made many of the headlines. It is out of this crucible of wealth and poverty that Conan Doyle developed the Sherlock Holmes stories. Sir David Cannadine makes the important point that it is important to distinguish between Holmes supposed encyclopaedic knowledge of London and Conan Doyle’s limited knowledge of the capital city. In many ways it is ” misleading literary sleight of hand” because Conan Doyle only lived in London for a total of four years and Holmes knowledge is inferred rather than proved by numerous evidence of actual places. Many people have pointed out that many of the Holmes stories took place outside of the London often in Surrey and Sussex, areas that Conan Doyle was very familiar with.

John Stokes in his contribution ” The Bohemian Habits of Sherlock Holmes ” suggests that Holmes’ complex and idiosyncratic behaviour was part of a wider Bohemian movement which cherished individualism, freedom from family responsibilities and playing around with different identities. Stokes also points out that the Holmes often followed the bohemian habit of lounging, loafing and idling which contrasted with his other periods of intense action when he was on a case.

Alex Werner , the curator of the Museum of London exhibition explores ” Sherlock Holmes, Sidney Paget and the Strand Magazine ” and suggests that although ” The detective story was all the rage by the 1880s ” it was the combination of the character, Sidney Paget and the Strand magazine that elevated Sherlock Holmes to the status of the ‘Great Detective’. Sidney Paget’s illustrations in the Strand provided the visual interpretations of Holmes and Watson that would provide the template for the many subsequent interpretations.

If Sidney Paget provides the characters visual template, Pat Hardy in her section called ‘The Art of Sherlock Holmes” investigates how artists and photographers began to record their impressions of London and how these began to be associated with the Holmes stories themselves. The abiding impression of the Holmes stories was “the atmospheric fog and mist, which seems to envelop the city”. Artists such as Monet, Whistler, Pennell and the photography of  Alvin Langdon Coburn produced visual interpretations that illustrate atmosphere and mood rather than straightforward representations.

The success of Sherlock Holmes was a double-edged sword for Conan Doyle, it provided financial security but did not satisfy his ambition to considered ‘a serious writer’. Clare Pettit in the section ‘Throwaway Holmes’ considers this dilemma and how Conan Doyle’s solution to kill off Holmes was to backfire by increasing interest in the character rather than diminish it. When Conan Doyle brings Holmes back to life, it is within the pages of the Strand magazine in self-contained short stories as opposed to the more common serial. In the increasingly information heavy age, this fitted perfectly into the craze for the light reading of Newspapers and Magazines.
Many thought this information was disposable but Holmes himself builds up scrapbooks of information garnered from newspapers. Paradoxically for Conan Doyle it was the success of the Holmes stories in the magazines that was taking readers away from ‘serious writing’.

However the success of Sherlock Holmes did not just rely on the printed work, at the beginning of the twentieth century the embryonic Film industry began to use the stories. Nathalie Morris in the section entitled ‘Silent Sherlocks : Holmes and Early Cinema charts this relationship, the first known film to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes was the 1900 American Film, Sherlock Holmes Baffled. Many others followed but were generally parodies or sketches but more serious versions began to appear which often pitted Holmes against other fictional characters.
In 1911, Conan Doyle sold the Holmes film rights to French Company Eclair but other companies still used the stories, William Gillette who had played Holmes successfully on stage starred in a version in 1915. However it was when British Company Stoll bought the rights to some of the stories that a number of featured length film  were produced.
Most of the versions stayed more or less true to the stories but it was to be a theme up to the present day that many interpretations gave the characters modern settings and modern dilemma’s. Television followed the same path illustrating that Holmes and Watson could not be tied down into one era or even country but became global icons.

Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes have been the subject of countless books, films and television programmes but rarely the subject of an exhibition that bring many of these elements together. Both the exhibition and the book offer new insights into one of the most enduring fictional characters. Calling on the work of experts in the field, this book is full of interesting narratives and a wide range of stunning illustrations which attempt to discover some of the key elements in the character’s development  and the environment that was crucial to its success.

This book will appeal both to Holmes’ aficionado’s and those who would like to find out more about the ‘Great Detective’. It is an authoritative  and highly readable investigation into one of literatures most enigmatic characters.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Ebury Press website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here