Home » London Attractions

Category Archives: London Attractions

Review : The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace

The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace evolved from the King’s Mews which was where the royal hawks were kept. The Mews were originally housed near Charing Cross on the site of the present National Gallery. The royal hawks were kept there from 1377 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1534 and was rebuilt as stables.

In the 1760s, George III moved some of his horses and carriages to the grounds of Buckingham House, which he had acquired in 1762. However it was not until the reign of George IV that the royal stables transferred completely to Buckingham Palace. The King commissioned the new Royal Mews from John Nash who built grand stables around the riding school, a Doric-style arch with a clock tower, leading into the quadrangle of the Mews. In the reign of Queen Victoria, up to 200 horses were kept at the stables within the Royal Mews.

The Royal Mews is part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and provides road transport for The Queen and members of the Royal Family by both horse-drawn carriage and motor car. The Royal Mews is still a working stable but also houses the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages.

State vehicles are housed and maintained at the Royal Mews. They include the carriages used for royal and State occasions, such as State Visits, weddings and the State Opening of Parliament. Carriages from the Royal Mews are also used on roughly 50 occasions each year to convey newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors from their official residence to Buckingham Palace to present their credentials to The Queen.

The most ornate of all coaches housed in the Royal Mews is the Gold State Coach, which has been used at every coronation since that of George IV in 1821.

The latest coach to join the collection of royal coaches is The Diamond Jubilee State Coach which was built to commemorate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was first used at the State Opening of Parliament on 4 June 2014. The coach has a number of unusual features, the interior of the coach incorporates items donated by over 100 of Britain’s historic sites and organisations. The seat handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the window frames and interior panels include material from Caernarfon Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, The Mary Rose (Henry VIII’s flagship), 10 Downing Street, and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton, a British lead musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo and a specimen of the metal used to create Victoria Cross medals. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach also combines traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. The vehicle has an aluminium body and has six hydraulic stabilisers. The gilded crown on the top of the coach is carved in oak from the HMS Victory.

Other coaches of interest is the Irish State Coach, purchased by Queen Victoria for £858 in 1852 and the 1902 State Landau, built in 1902 for King Edward VII which has been used for recent royal weddings including that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

A visit to the Royal Mews allows visitors to see some of the carriage horses that are stabled in the complex. The Cleveland Bays are used to escort newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors to their audience with The Queen and the famous Windsor Greys  draw the private carriages of the royal family. Both set of horses must be at least 16.1 hands (1.65 metres) high and are chosen for their steady temperament and stamina.

A visit to the grand State Stables allows visitors to experience sitting in a carriage with a replica of a Semi State Landau which is decorated in royal carriage livery and has real suspension. The stable have a number of interactive displays that will entertain all the family in which it is possible to dress up as a footman or learn how to harness a horse.

Other places of interest is the Riding School, the Livery Room and the Harness Room which gives some illustration of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of many of the great Royal events.

Whilst the Royal Mews is probably not on the top of the many visitors list to visit, it is one of the most interesting royal related attractions in London with plenty of interest for all the family. Being a working stable, visitors can also witness the working day of the Royal Mews staff and watch some of training of the horses.

Video Review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Admission to the Royal Mews is Adult £10.00, under 17 £5.80, Under 5 Free.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection 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  2014 , we have attracted 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

Review : Zoorassic Park at ZSL London Zoo – 22nd July to 3rd September 2017

Visitors to ZSL London will find an added attraction until September with the opening of Zoorassic Park and its collection of dinosaurs.

Explorers will pick up their passports and take a trip via a ‘time machine’ to the Mesozoic era (about 65 million years ago), where ZSL’s tour guides will introduce a range of dinosaurs to visitors.

The prehistoric world is recreated and visitors come face to face with triceratops, the armour-plated edmontonia, the giant  brachiosaurus to the tyrannosaurus rex.

Families are given their own passports for the time travel safari, which will take them on a journey of discovery into the world of dinosaurs, as well as learning all about the important work ZSL’s conservationists are doing to help prevent today’s animals from becoming extinct.

The fun trail for kids also includes fossil digs to explore and baby dinosaurs to meet.

To launch Zoorassic Park, popular TV presenter Andy Day presents a series of free live shows at the Zoo on the 22nd and 23rd July.

The trip into Zoorassic Park is included into the general Zoo admission and provides plenty of excitement for all the family. The moving models will entertain  young visitors and provide plenty of information about some of the largest creatures that have roamed the earth. If you are thinking of visiting the Zoo, this is an attraction not to be missed.

Video Review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the London Zoo 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 2014, we have attracted 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

Attraction Review : Legoland Windsor

Legoland Windsor is a child-oriented and family friendly theme park and resort in Windsor which is around a one hour trip from London. The park opened in 1996 and was the second Legoland after Legoland Billund in Denmark.

The park’s attractions are a mixture of Lego-themed rides, Lego models and interactive areas where children can build with Lego. In 2015, the park had 2.25 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the United Kingdom. The theme park is located a couple of miles outside of the centre of Windsor and is accessible by car, local bus, coach or taxi.

The park is split into 12 themed lands, incorporating various attractions for particular age groups. The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Duplo Valley, Miniland, Adventure Land, LEGO City, Pirate Shores, Heartlake City, Knight´s Kingdom, Land of the Vikings and Kingdom of the Pharaohs.

One of the innovative aspects of the park is that once you have gone through the ticket check at the entrance, you can go to The Beginning which is the entrance to the park and provides some distractions for children before the rest of the park opens. In this area is the Hill Train, the Lego Star Wars model display and the Model Making Studio. Nearby is the Imagination Centre which features educational attractions and workshops.

At the heart of the resort is Miniland which is a remarkable miniature park which features in Lego form, towns and cities from around the world. Over 40 million Lego bricks were used in creating the models which often have some moving parts including cars, boats, planes and an extensive train system which is run by computers.

Nearby Duplo Valley is generally aimed at the 3 – 6 age group with a series of water features including Fairy Tale Brook, Raft Racers, Splash Safari and Drench Towers.

Lego City has transport themes and allows the 6-13 age group to try Balloon School: Experience the ups and downs of a hot air balloon ride. Coastguard HQ: an interactive boat ride for children. Fire Academy: helping the ‘firefighters’ to power a LEGO fire engine and putting out a ‘burning’ building. Lego City Driving School is a large course in which children drive their own car to gain their driving license. For young children there is a small driving school.

Heartlake City is based on the Lego Friends product range and includes the Heartlake Express, Mia’s Riding Adventure and Olivia’s House. Located around a lake, this is a good place to sit and relax and perhaps have a bite to eat.

Other areas such as Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharaohs and Pirate Shores are built around a number of popular attractions.

A large castle awaits visitors to Nexo Knights Kingdom with the major rides being The Dragon and the Dragon’s Apprentice. This area also has a very popular Adventure playground.

Adventure Land is situated around a lake at the far end of the park. The main attraction is Atlantis Submarine Voyage which features “submarine” vehicles used to travel through the tanks of sharks and other marine creatures.

Many children’s love affair with Lego is as strong as ever and Legoland Windsor will not disappoint with a wide range of attractions and activities. However it is worth noting that the park will generally appeal to the 3 to 13 age group, there is none of the large blockbuster rides that would appeal to teenagers. Most of the rides are quite short in duration and will provide plenty of enjoyment for the intended age group.

In some ways, Legoland Windsor is a victim of its own success and does get extremely busy in peak times especially weekends and school holidays. Queues can be quite long for some rides and if you want to get the most out of your visit regarding rides it may be worth paying extra for the Q Bots system which can “reserve” places in queues virtually. It is also cheaper to book tickets in advance, these can be quite a saving from the walk up admission price.

Legoland Windsor generally opens from March to November, but there are closures on some days.

See Video Review here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Legoland Windsor website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted 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

Bee Excitement at Shrek’s Adventure! London – 27th May to 4th June 2017

The ever popular Shrek’s Adventure! London will the highlighting the importance of Bees to our ecosystem with a special appearance of Barry B. Benson, the famous Bee from DreamWork’s Bee Movie, between, 27th May – 4th June. Visitors to the family friendly London attraction will be able to meet Barry whilst learning some fascinating facts about bees.

After guests have made their way through the land of Far Far Away they will arrive back to a lush giant garden where Barry B. Benson has made his home for the duration of his stay. Surrounded by fragrant flowers and pollinating plants, guests will be able to get involved in some bee-related games as well as meeting Barry and his friends to hear more about why bees are brilliant!

Barry will be joined by two Botanist friends who will be on hand to spread the word about pollination and how bees are an integral part of our garden, and everyday life. Featuring games, special effects and some magic, the Bee Movie experience is included in the normal ticket price but advanced booking is recommended as the experience will only run for a limited time of eight days.

To celebrate the new Bee Movie experience at DreamWorks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure! London, Barry B. Benson and the Shrek team have joined forces with Notcutts Garden Centres across the UK to create a special bee trail so kids and parents can continue to add to their bee knowledge at their local Garden centres.

The free trail will take in fascinating bee facts and will help visitors learn more about what plants, herbs and shrubs to plant to attract bees and other wildlife to their own garden.

The trail is free to those visiting Notcutts centres and includes a ‘Kids Go Free’ voucher to DreamWorks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure! London.

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Shrek’s Adventure website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted 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

Review : London Zoo

Main-Entrance_1936

London Zoo was officially open in 1828 as the world’s first scientific zoo, it was not opened to the public until 1847. Located near to Regent’s Park, the grounds of London Zoo were designed by Decimus Burton and included a number of features including the Clock Tower, the Giraffe House and the East Tunnel that links the north and south parts of the zoo together. Later other architectural features were built including the mountain landscape of the Mappin Terraces in 1914, the Round House in 1933, The Penguin Pool in 1934 and the Snowdon Aviary in 1964.

DSCN9387 (2)

In recent years, the Zoological Society of London which runs the Zoo have decided to concentrate more on conservation and breeding programmes and to have fewer animals and begin to build environments that was more suitable for the animals that live in them.

Highlights of the zoo include :

DSCN9187 (2)

Land of the Lions is the latest new enclosure for London Zoo’s Asiatic lions, which opened in Spring 2016. The enclosure is designed to resemble the Gir Forest National Park in India.

RSCN9393

Tiger Territory recreates an Indonesian habitat for its Sumatran tigers which are under threat in the wild, the successful European breeding programme has led to the birth of tiger cubs at the zoo in the last couple of years.

DSCN9276

Gorilla Kingdom features a colony of western lowland gorillas in a purpose-built environment.

DSCN9294

Penguin Beach recreates a South American beach landscape with a colony of Humboldt penguins (and one special rockhopper).The new exhibit features a large pool with underwater viewing areas.

DSCN9317

Butterfly Paradise allows visitors to walk inside a giant caterpillar and be immersed into a world of butterflies and moths from around the globe. A large variety of species flutter around you, seeking out plants on which to feed and rest.

DSCN9367

Into Africa offers the opportunity to look at some of Africa’s animals including Giraffes, zebras, okapi, warthogs and African hunting dogs.

DSCN9356

In with the Lemurs is a walk-through exhibit where visitors can get closer than ever before to ring-tail lemurs.

Animal Adventure is the children’s zoo, B.U.G.S! is designed to explain about biodiversity, in the Reptile House you can find London Zoo’s collection of reptiles and amphibians, including snakes, lizards, frogs and crocodiles. ZSL London Zoo has had an Aquarium since 1853, and is home to different types of fish, the Aquarium is involved in many different conservation projects and breeding programmes.

The Zoo arranges a series of daily events, feeds and demonstrations and has a number of food and drink options. There are number of child activities throughout the day and plenty of shopping for those cuddly toys and other animal related merchandise.

London Zoo has changed considerable over the last 25 years as the public’s awareness of animal welfare has changed, gradually the zoo has become an important contributor of conservation and breeding programmes and pioneered education programmes to keep customers informed of global initiatives to save endangered species. Larger animals are generally kept at ZSL Whipsnade and new enclosures are being built to provide a better quality of environment for the animals. As the number of large animals has diminished in the zoo, the number of immersive attractions has grown providing a more interactive experience.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the London Zoo 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 2014, we have attracted 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

Review: Land of the Lions at ZSL London Zoo – July 2016

DSCN9187 (2)

Land of the Lions is ZSL London Zoo’s biggest and most ambitious new attraction which was unveiled to the public at Easter and quickly has become a firm favourite.

DSCN9218 (2)

The £5.7m attraction Land of the Lions transports visitors to the Lions wild home in the Gir Forest region, in the Indian state of Gujarat. Rickshaws, bicycles, sacks of spices, maps, rangers’ huts, and even a life-size truck – researched, sourced and shipped from India – are dotted around Land of the Lions, both inside and out of the lions’ domain, which will highlighting the uniquely close relationship in which Asiatic lions live with people in their native Indian habitat.

DSCN9216

Visitors to the attraction enter through a stone archway, before picking up their ‘park pass’ at the Gir Tourist Information centre. They’ll then explore Sasan Gir Train Station or embark on a journey on the overhead walkway, to discover the troop of lively Hanuman langur monkeys, and watch the lions in their forest home.

DSCN9229

Visitors have an almost ‘windowless-view’ of the big cat’s enclosure, as visitors enter the crumbling ruin of an amphitheatre-style Lion Temple.

DSCN9192

Part of the attraction feature interactive adventures that replicate what some of the issues that rangers in the wild have to deal with.  Wild Asiatic lions are found only in the Gir Forest region and are protected by law, however they are under threat due to disease outbreaks and conflict with human developments.

20160730_102425

The Land of the Lions is part of London Zoo’s drive to bring a more authentic understanding of an animal’s habitat and how the relationship between animal and humans is often quite complex. The recreation of the Lions wild home in the Gir Forest region and how local guides, rangers and people react to sharing their home with lions gives some insights into how people can often threaten nature but also provide sanctuary. This particular attraction is part of the London Zoo experience and is included in the main ticket, however for a very different experience,  Gir Lion Lodge in the Land of the Lions development allows some visitors to stay overnight  as part of a package deal.

DSCN9191

Land of the Lions will support and promote ZSL’s international conservation efforts to protect Asiatic lions.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the London Zoo 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 2014, we have attracted 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

A Short Guide to The Royal Academy of Arts

raprem

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is one of the major art institutions in London and is based at Burlington House in Piccadilly. Unlike many other art institutions, The RA is an independent, privately funded institution led by artists. Whose mission is to promote not just the appreciation and understanding of art, but also its practice.

ra986

The RA has an illustrious history being formed with the support of King George III, the idea was to form a society for promoting the Arts of Design. Although there were other artist societies, they generally just put on exhibitions. The RA wanted to become Britain’s first art school and provide a space to put on exhibitions that would advertise the talents of its members.

ra345

Among the founder members were acclaimed painters Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Benjamin West. The R A was based first in a small gallery in Pall Mall before moving into the old then new Somerset House in 1780. The Academy then moved to the New National Gallery in 1837 before in 1868 locating in its present home in Burlington House in Piccadilly. Artists that have studied at the RA school have included J. M. W. Turner, William Blake, Thomas Rowlandson, John Constable and Edwin Landseer.

raschools

The RA Schools is still an important part of the Academy and offers free tuition to all who study here. To help to fund the schools and other activities, the RA put on a series of world-class exhibitions throughout the year. Recent exhibitions have featured well known artists Ai Weiwei and Anselm Kiefer, but also feature lesser known artists like American abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn and the Renaissance artst Giovanni Battista Moroni.

DSCN7721

One of the most prestigious events of the Academy is the annual Royal Academy summer exhibition of new art, which is a well-known event on the London social calendar. Anyone can submit pictures for inclusion in the exhibition and those selected join the works of the Academicians. There are a number of social events associated with the exhibition and many of the works are available for purchase.

The Royal Academy of Arts is based in Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BD.

Opening times

Monday 10am – 6pm
Tuesday 10am – 6pm
Wednesday 10am – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 6pm

For more information, visit the RA 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  2014 , we have attracted 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