Blog

See the fabulous Painted Hall in Greenwich

The richness of the decoration on every wall of this room is unbelievable and worth every penny of the admittance fee. It reopened in 2019 after several years of renovation. During the day huge windows and rooftop oculi allow natural light to flood in and it is really looking great. The best thing about...

Five things to see in Greenwich

Greenwich is a wonderful place to visit. Weekends are especially fun because 1) Greenwich Market is in full swing then. The name is famous world-wide as the home of the Greenwich Meridian and origin of Greenwich Mean Time. The heart of old Greenwich is the 2) church of St Alphege which is where the...

Roof terrace of the Grand Theatre, Bordeaux

Recently I was lucky enough to be taken on a behind the scenes visit of the Grand Theatre, Bordeaux. The building dominates one of the main squares of the town. From below you can see these statues of the nine muses and of the goddesses, Juno, Minerva and Venus. The view of the Grand...

Light show in a disused WWII submarine base

This week I visited a light show featuring Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artwork. The show is in a WWII submarine base in Bordeaux. The base has been an ugly blot on the landscape to the north of the town since the war. It was so well built it has been impossible to demolish. Now it...

The Courtauld opens again after 3 years !

The Courtauld has a fabulous collection of art. It is known for Impressionist and post-impressionist art but there is much more here. The new room layout really shows many of these exhibits at their best. This 5m wide painting by Cecily Brown was especially commissioned to hang at the top of the stairs. It...

Seven more tales from the crypt

Following on from last week’s blog, here are some more stories about memorials in Westminster Abbey. They are in the south choir aisle and their lives were intertwined and all are connected to the reign of Queen Anne. I take a walking tour in London which is about her and whether the eccentricities in...

4 minute mile man in Westminster Abbey

This is the new memorial to Roger Banister (1929-2018) in Westminster Abbey. He is best known as the first person to run a mile in less than 4 minutes on 6 May 1954 at Oxford’s Iffley Road track. One of his pacemakers was Christopher Chataway who became a broadcaster then an MP. The other...

1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty Exhibition

Last week I went to a very interesting exhibition at the British Academy. It was organised by the British and the Irish Academies together with the National Archives of Ireland and the Irish Embassy in London. On show was the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Negotiation of the treaty began 100 years ago and it...

Two great caminos to Santiago de Compostela

This is the view south toward Spain from the village of Vielle Aure in the French Pyrenees. I am often visiting friends here and in neighbouring St Lary. Its a great place to ski in winter and walk in summer. The Valley Aure happens to be one of the many minor routes taken by...

A trip to see Dippy the dinosaur in Norwich

On a recent holiday in Norfolk, I heard that Dippy the dinosaur is on tour in Norwich. Dippy is a plaster cast of a diplodocus that stood for years in the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum in London but was replaced by the real bones of a blue whale in 2017. The...

See Diana’s wedding dress at Kensington Palace

This week I took a lovely American couple on a tour of Kensington Palace. It was built in the early 1600s in what was then countryside. In 1689 William and Mary bought the house and had it enlarged by the architect of St Pauls Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren. It was their favourite residence in...

Rock down to Electric Avenue

Stories and street art from Brixton Electric Avenue is in Brixton. It is quite a trek from where I live. I have researched and taken tours there but it is not one of my regular areas so I was happy to be taken on a walking tour to see Brixton’s street art by my...

A great day out in London? Visit Hampton Court

There are hardly any overseas visitors in London so I am keeping myself up to date on our tourist sites by becoming a tourist myself. Hampton Court is famous for its combination of Tudor and Baroque buildings and gardens. The featured photo is a Victorian sunken gardens created when the palace was opened to...

Announcing a new sister website

A couple of guide friends and I were talking about how we love to delve deep into some subjects that really interest us and how great it would be to share our knowledge with visitors. French-Black-Irish-Londonwalks.com is the result. Staying home more because of Covid 19 has given me time to work on my...

Three Graces

This week my blog is about Bordeaux. I should be there now but with so few tourists this year, another guide looking for work is not what my colleagues there need. This photo is part of a fountain in the Place de la Bourse. The Place is the backdrop reflected by the Mirroir d’Eau,...

Steelyard

Every year I try to learn something new, this year because of Covid 19 I’ve been forced into embracing virtual reality. I am now on Instagram and this is my profile photo. I was in Bryggen, Bergen in Norway in February. I loved Bergen; the fantastic Kode art galleries, the architecture, the wooden buildings...

Wine and beauty

Continuing on from last week’s blog, my favourite example of contrapposto is a little alabaster statue in St André Cathedral, Bordeaux. She is called Notre Dame de la Nef. She dates from 1500s and is made of alabaster. This stone came from Nottinghamshire in England and was used as ballast for the ships travelling...
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