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Blue Badge Tourist Guides are the official tourist guides of the United Kingdom,
privileged to guide inside royal palaces, castles, abbeys, cathedrals, museums, galleries,
as well as in the cities, towns and countryside of Britain.
Panoramic tours of London and tailored to your interests,
• Buckingham Palace, The Queen's official London residence
• Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world
• Tower of London, Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress
• Kensington Palace, the wonderful childhood home of Queen Victoria
• Hampton Court Palace, a Tudor palace of royal power and pleasure
• Westminster Abbey, the magnificent coronation church of the United Kingdom
• St Paul's Cathedral; Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece
• British Museum, a vast collection of world art and artefacts
• The National Gallery; over 2,300 paintings from 13th to early 20th-century
• Tate Britain, home of British art from 1500 to the present day
• Tate Modern; international modern and contemporary art
guiding in 'Oxbridge' and inside the two universities' colleges
• Oxford, the 'City of Dreaming Spires' and oldest university in the English-speaking world
• Cambridge; exquisite architecture, history and ancient colleges on the River Cam
• Bath; delightful crescents, terraces, Georgian architecture and ancient Roman Baths
• Brighton, the vibrant, colourful and creative seaside resort
• Cotswolds; wonderful countryside of honey-coloured stone and rolling hills, the ‘wolds’
• Blenheim Palace, the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill
• Leeds Castle, 'the loveliest castle in the world'
• Stonehenge, the most famous prehistoric monument in the world
• Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare's birthplace, a splendid medieval town on the River Avon
• Warwick Castle, one of Britain’s ultimate castles
• cruises along the River Thames, for some of the best views you should head for the river
• exploring Greenwich; at the Prime Meridian line with a foot in each hemisphere
• London by night, when much-loved landmarks and streets light up and come alive after dark
• shopping in cosmopolitan destinations; from Oxford Street to Carnaby, Bond Street to Westfield
or simply drinking tea the proper way.
|London Areas in Depth|
“It’s truly amazing to know this vast city like the back of your hand.”
|History & Prehistory|
Constantine the Great was in Britain when acclaimed emperor in AD 306; a pivotal moment in World History, he was the first Christian Roman emperor and made Constantinople the new capital of the Roman Empire. Although Julius Caesar invaded Celtic Britain twice, in 55 and 54 BC, emperor Claudius added the island to the Roman Empire a century later, in 43 AD. The Romans remained until AD 410 and their withdrawal was followed by the arrival of Angles, Saxons and Vikings. Anglo-Saxons ruled until 1066, when Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon king, was killed at the Battle of Hastings, defeated by William, the Duke of Normandy who invaded Britain. Known as William the Conqueror for the conquest of England, he was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066. The Norman Conquest resulted Anglo-Saxon aristocrats losing their lands to Norman Barons; some were killed and some fled to Constantinople joining the Varangian Guard, an elite unit of the Roman Army consisted of Rus', Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. Those 'blond peoples' of the North were the personal bodyguards of the emperors in Constantinople from the 10th to 14th centuries.
|Castles & Palaces|
Windsor Castle, founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century to guard the western approach to London, at a strategic location high above the River Thames, is one of the royal residences. The Castle's splendid State Apartments were first opened to the public during the reign of Queen Victoria, in 1845. The State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Holbein, Van Dyck and Rubens. The Castle's St George's Chapel, built in the late-medieval Perpendicular Gothic style, is the home of the Order of the Garter, the senior order of British Chivalry. The Chapel and the Order were founded by King Edward III in 1348; its present magnificent stone vaulting was completed in 1528. Within the Chapel are the tombs of 10 monarchs, including Henry VIII, who had six wives, and Charles I, who was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians in 1649. In Runnymede, just a few miles from Windsor Castle, King John Lackland sealed Magna Carta on 15th June 1215, after the Barons rebelled demanding a charter of liberties from the King - John was proclaimed king in 1199 after the death of his brother, King Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart.
|Politics & Government|
from Adam Smith to Karl Marx, both lived and rest in Britain;
The Minoan collection of Arthur Evans, the largest and most important outside Crete, is one of the highlights of The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Archaeologist Arthur Evans, most famous for unearthing the Palace of Minos at Knossos, was appointed Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at the age of 34, from 1884 to 1908. The Aegean World Gallery displays the Bronze Age around the epicentre of Greek civilisation, the Aegean Sea, especially the early Cyclades, Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece.
The Arnofilni Portrait, Jan van Eyck's masterpiece of 1434, is one of the most famous paintings in the world in The National Gallery, London. Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, richly dressed, wearing their outer garments, trimmed and fully lined with fur, stand in a private room; a little dog between the couple symbolises fidelity and loyalty. Every object proclaims the couple’s wealth and social status; the large and luxurious bed, covered with expensive red woollen cloth, the red cushions and fabric on the ornately carved bedside chair and bench, the oriental carpet on the floor, the splendid brass chandelier hanging from the ceiling; even the oranges, a fruit extremely expensive in the 15th century, carelessly scattered under the window, are a sign of wealth. On the back wall, a large convex mirror reflects two men coming into the room, possibly Jan van Eyck himself, with his servant. Above the mirror is Van Eyck’s signature "Johannes de eyck fuit hic 1434" ("Jan van Eyck was here 1434"). The astonishing level of detail and the use of light to evoke space in the room created a remarkable level of illusionism for a painting of that time.
London is home to one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world, a place to make friends with people from any cultural background with a pint of beer or a cup of coffee. Pasqua Rosée - possibly of Greek origin - who came to Britain from Smyrna, Asia Minor, opened London's first coffee shop in 1652 on St. Michael’s Alley, off Cornhill in the City of London, set within a warren of medieval streets. In Smyrna was born Alexander Issigonis, too; the son of a Greek shipbuilding engineer, Issigonis designed one of the most influential cars and a British popular culture icon; the groundbreaking Mini. The Mini is still produced in Cowley, an industrial area of Oxford best known for its automotive industry tradition. Near Smyrna, in Asia Minor was born George Seferis, too; one of the most prominent Greek poets of the 20th century, a Nobel laureate, and a career diplomat in the Greek Foreign Service, Seferis was appointed as Ambassador of Greece to the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1962. About 300,000 Greek speakers live in Greater London today.
John Harrison, a carpenter by trade and self-taught clock maker, invented the marine chronometer between 1730 and 1759; he designed a series of remarkable precision clocks, unaffected by the motion of a ship, the ‘H1’, ‘H2’, ‘H3’ and finally his longitude watch ‘H4’, to solve the problem of finding longitude at sea. Harrison’s marine timekeepers are displayed in the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the Prime Meridian of the world; established at the International Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884, the line drawn north to south at 0 degrees longitude, divides Earth into the Eastern and the Western Hemispheres. Maritime Greenwich is a World Heritage Site, famous for its naval history, from the 17th century as a site of astronomical research related to navigation, its classical buildings of the Queen's House and Old Royal Naval College, the park in which they are set, the National Maritime Museum, and home to the restored 19th-century legendary clipper Cutty Sark.
The Cotswolds is a huge Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of golden stone and rolling hills, the ‘wolds’, covering parts of the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire; English villages of honey-coloured stone, thatched roofs, lively market towns and breath-taking rural landscapes. Almost every town and village has its own ‘wool church’, beautiful medieval churches, built from the Cotswolds’ thriving wool trade.
|Food & Drink|
The Eagle is a centuries-old pub in Cambridge, the pub where Francis Crick interrupted patrons' lunchtime on 28th February 1953 to announce that he and James Watson had "discovered the secret of life" with their proposal for the structure of DNA, the DNA Double Helix.
The London Underground, called 'the Tube', is the oldest metro system in the world with over 400 km of length. London Overground is a suburban rail network with a system length of 167 km. The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is an automated light metro system serving the Docklands area, with a length of 38 km. The Emirates Air Line is a 1,100 m cable car link across the River Thames connecting Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks. Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for most of the transport network in London. In 2022 the London Underground is getting a new line; the Elizabeth line, a nearly £19 billion project under construction since 2009, will stretch 117 km from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
Fenwick of Bond Street, Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, Harrods, the biggest department store in Europe, and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, Peter Jones in Chelsea, Liberty in Soho, Selfridges, John Lewis and House of Fraser in Oxford Street, are some of the world's most famous department stores.
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BA (Hons) Journalism