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Welcome to London! Just like you I love travelling and the unique experiences and insights that come from an enthusiastic local guide.
Building on the excitement since London 2012's Olympic & Paralympic Games, Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee and the births of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, I look forward to introducing you to more of the London region's great sights, events, characters and architecture in 2016.
First, the ‘classic’ attractions - Tower of London, Crown Jewels, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, British Museum, Greenwich, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Borough Market. Next, there are newer attractions that include stunning views from additions to London's skyline: London Eye, View from The Shard, Heron Tower and The 'Walkie-Talkie' with its Sky Garden. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's Orbit viewing platform has a long helter-skelter ride that's now open. Tate Britain and ‘hidden gems’ Kenwood House and Apsley House are worth a visit after recent make-overs and the much-heralded new wing at Tate Modern opened in June.
Going back in time and out of central London, Henry VIII's 500-year old Tudor palace at Hampton Court never fails to delight. Windsor Castle is an unforgettable royal location. Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath are impressive 'must see' sights. Oxford's 'New Bodleian' library (reopened as the Weston Library in 2015) and the Ashmolean Museum are worth including on your visit to this beautiful university town, as well as nearby Blenheim Palace. I'd be delighted to take you around any or all of these.
My predictions for visitors to England in 2016? I look forward to increased interest from international and local visitors in:
* TV and film locations headed by global hits Downton Abbey, Dr Who, Sherlock Holmes and Wolf Hall, as well as Hollywood and Bollywood films such as the James Bond 007 and Harry Potter franchises, and Amma Assante's 2014 film 'Belle' about the life and times of Dido Elizabeth Belle at Kenwood.
* a wide range of themed tours relating to World War One - the 'Great War'. For example, 1916 was the second year of Zeppelin air-raids on London and it's interesting to walk one of the central London routes. A guided visit to the WW1 galleries in the Imperial War Museum also gives a fascinating insight.
* Meet your ancestors at English Heritage's excellent Visitor Centre at Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Understand the area's story including Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, and burials in long- or round-barrows.
* anniversaries including:
- 950th anniversary of the Norman conquest in 1066. See the Towers they built in London and Windsor.
- 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, our longest-reigning sovereign.
- 350th anniversary of 'The Great Fire of London'. Walk through the rebuilt city while hearing about destruction and renewal.
- 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the bloodiest day in British military history.
- 400 years since the death of playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Visit sites in London connected with his life and career.
- 300 years since the birth of gardener Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. 2016 is designated as the 'Year of the Garden' and several of his landscaped parklands are within easy reach.
- 150 years since publication of Beatrix Potter's 'Peter Rabbit' stories. See the area of London that inspired many of her characters.
- 50 years since England last won football's World Cup. Visit some of our superb sports venues for a guided tour before watching the match.
There are so many reasons to discover that tourism is GREAT! Post your experiences using the hashtag #OMGB and don't forget to include the name of your Blue Badge guide.
Born and raised a Londoner, I've been fortunate to live in Oxford and Dorset, as well as to work overseas in France, United States of America, Czech Republic and Russia. I've enjoyed visiting or living in several great cities but nothing compares with London - quite simply, this is the world's most fascinating city!
Please contact me to start discovering together the secrets of London's exciting past, present and future...
|City of London, Jewish London, East End, Olympics, Westminster, transport, Holborn, Southwark, Canary Wharf|
Current programme: www.secret-london.co.uk/Walks_Mark_King_2.html
First World War walks: www.WorldWarOneWalks.com
City of London, Southwark, Westminster, West End, East End, Spitalfields, Whitechapel, 'Jewish London', Mid-town/Holborn, 'Legal London', 'multicultural London', King's Cross/St Pancras, Covent Garden, Holland Park, Clerkenwell, NW London, Golders Green, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Canary Wharf, Stratford/London E20/QE Olympic Park area, World War One, World War Two
Jewish London, Golders Green, East End (Spitalfields, Whitechapel, Bethnal Green), Spitalfields, multicultural London, Museum of London
|London Areas in Depth||
Centre/downtown: City of London, Southwark, Westminster, West End, Covent Garden, Soho, Holborn/Mid-town, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Smithfield, Belgravia, Holland Park, King's Cross/St Pancras, Wapping/London Docks/Pool of London; North-western & eastern suburbs: Golders Green, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Finchley; East End: Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Spitalfields, Canary Wharf, QE Olympic Park/E20/Stratford/Bow, Hackney Wick
|History & Prehistory||
First World War (World War One, the 'Great War'), London, Windsor, Cotswolds, Oxford, Stonehenge, Bath, Salisbury, Canterbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Hever Castle, Tower of London, D-Day, Churchill War Rooms/Churchill Museum, British Museum, Museum of London, Jewish Museum, WW1, WW2, Great Fire of 1666
Canary Wharf, City of London, public spaces, churches, art and statues in the City, Holborn and Westminster, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Robert Adam's Kenwood House, Guildhall, Battersea, South Bank, Covent Garden
Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, Salisbury, Bath, Cotswolds, extended tours
Highlights tours of the Science Museum, Royal Institution, London Transport Museum and other museums. By prior arrangement and with resident guide - Linnean Society.
|Art/Paintings & Sculpture||
Tate Modern, Guildhall Art Gallery, V&A, public art and statues, street art, Iveagh Bequest & Suffolk Collection at Kenwood House (English Heritage)
'Legal London', The Temple area, Royal Courts of Justice
Royal districts, 'Royal Peculiars' (St George's Chapel, Westminster Abbey), state regalia and Crown Jewels in Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace; former sites at Palace of Westminster and Whitehall
|Stately Homes & Country Houses||
Hampton Court Palace, Kenwood House, Windsor Castle, Wilton House, Blenheim Palace
2012 Venues, City of London
MITG, BA Hons.(Oxon.), City of London tourist guide (Class Prize, 2014)