Category Archives: London Events

the band played ‘Rule Britannia’……

50 years ago today on 30.01.1965, the funeral of The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, Soldier, First Lord of the Admiralty, Politician, Wartime Leader, Statesman, Writer (winning the Nobel Prize in Literature), Artist , voted the Greatest Briton of all time in 2002, took place in London.

50 years winston churchill
HMS Belfast fired a 4-gun salute as the Havengore went past

He was given a State Funeral (unusual for a commoner) and after the service at St Paul’s Cathedral his coffin was carried along the River Thames on the deck of the Havengore. Today, a small flotilla of boats that included the Havengore leading with a wreath secured in the exact spot where his coffin lay 50 years ago, processed along the River Thames from HMS President at St Katherine Docks to the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), recreating the funeral flotilla.

20150130 7. Churchill 50years RiverThames commemoration (93) -
Palace of Westminster

At 13:30 a bio-degradable wreath was cast into the Thames in front of the Palace of Westminster. Churchill was the ‘Father’ of Parliament, an honour bestowed on him due to the length of service in the House.

20150130 7. Churchill 50years RiverThames commemoration (93) -
The Havengore just before the wreath was cast into the river

It was a wonderful event, the small flotilla looked amazing on the river and I was fortunate enough to be on one of the Thames Clippers as part of the flotilla.

20150130 7. Churchill 50years RiverThames commemoration (93) -
Tower Bridge is raised in honour of Winston Churchill

A once in a lifetime event and a great opportunity to honour such a great man. Hundreds of people lined the riverbanks and the many bridges we travelled beneath. Tower Bridge was raised in honour, the band played ‘Rule Britannia’ and a Piper on the deck of the Havengore played all along the river till Westminster.

A splendid day in London, as the service drew to a close the clouds came over and it rained…..a fitting end to a poignant event.

Ceremony over the Havengore returns back downstream
Ceremony over the Havengore returns back downstream

The Greatest Hussar of all time who famously said at the beginning of WW2 “We shall never surrender”. R.I.P. Winston Churchill

50 years winston churchill
Palace of Westminster

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Certainly one of the most popular attractions in London, Buckingham Palace is the venue for many famous and important events, one of which is the Changing the Guard; pomp and pageantry at it’s finest!
Since 1660, Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces.

buckingham palace changing of the guard
Buckingham Palace

The Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is the process of the new guard exchanging duty with the old guard.

buckingham palace changing of the guard
Changing the Guard

The Queen’s Guard, usually provided by a battalion of the Household Division is divided into two detachments:
Buckingham Palace detachment – responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace

buckingham palace
The Queen’s Coat of Arms

St James’s Palace detachment – responsible for guarding St James’s Palace.

Occasionally the detachment is provided by other units or infantry battalions.
When Guardsmen are on duty, the soldiers, all serving Officers of the British Army, are drawn from one of the five Foot Guards regiments: Coldstream Guards, Grenadier Guards, the Irish Guards, the Scots Guards and the Welsh Guards.

buckingham palace changing of the guard
Changing the Guard

The Queen’s Guard usually consists of Foot Guards in full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins. If they have operational commitments, other infantry units would take part instead.

You can recognise the five Regiments by their distinguishing uniforms:
Coldstream Guards: Buttons grouped in twos on scarlet tunic, Garter Star badge worn on collar, red plume worn on right side of bearskin cap.
Grenadier Guards: Buttons grouped singly on scarlet tunic, Grenade badge worn on collar, white plume worn on left side of bearskin cap.
The Irish Guards: Buttons grouped in fours on scarlet tunic, Shamrock badge worn on collar, blue plume worn on right hand side of bearskin cap.
The Scots Guards: Buttons grouped in threes on scarlet tunic, Thistle badge worn on collar, no plume on bearskin cap.
The Welsh Guards: Buttons grouped in fives on scarlet tunic, Leek badge worn on collar, Green and white plume worn on left side of bearskin cap.

buckingham palace changing of the guard
Identifying the Guards Uniforms

The Queen’s Guard is commanded by a Captain (who usually holds the rank of Major).
The ‘Colour’ of the Battalion providing the Guard is carried by a Second Lieutenant (aka the Ensign).

One of the best parts of the handover: a Guards band – with music played ranges from traditional military marches to songs from films and musicals, familiar pop songs and on the relevant occasion; Congratulations for Prince George’s arrival and Happy Birthday for the Queen!! :)

From time to time units from the commonwealth realms take a turn at Guard Mounting; in May 1998, for the first time since the Coronation in 1953, Canadian soldiers from Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry mounted guard at Buckingham Palace. Guard Mounting takes place outside Buckingham Palace at 11:30am – daily from May to July and alternate dates throughout the rest of the year.

buckingham palace changing of the guard
Changing of the Guard

You can also see Guard Mounting on Horse Guards Parade by the arch of Horse Guards Building – daily at 11:00am (10am on Sundays) and lasts about 30 minutes.

Please note that there is no Guard Mounting in very wet weather.

Check their website for updated information:

The Changing of the Guard features on Day 1 of the 3 Days in London Itineraries.

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Guard Mounting:
Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA, UK.
Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall London, SW1A 2AX, UK.

Plan your journey:

Finding Churchill in London

50 years ago today on 24.01.1965, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, former British Prime Minister, War Hero and Statesman died at the age of 90.

Sit Winston Churchill photo:
Sit Winston Churchill

I was just a few months short of my 10th birthday and little did I even begin to imagine that one day, 50 years later, I would be not only living in the UK and London (which I adore) but actually part of a water-borne procession to mark the anniversary; a small flotilla of boats that will process upstream along the River Thames from HMS President in the Pool of London, beneath Tower Bridge which will be raised in honour of Churchill 2015 at approximately 12.45pm

thames clippers River Thames Commemoration for Winston Churchill
River Thames Commemoration for Winston Churchill

The flotilla will then process along the Thames and beneath all the other bridges inbetween to Westminster opposite the Palace of Westminster where a wreath will be laid upon the river as a mark of respect. This event will happen on 30th January 2015…ergo next Friday at 12noon the flotilla will set out.

Elizabeth II granted Winston Churchill a State Funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1965, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen in history as was befitting of such a powerful man, a strong and determined character, a force to be reckoned with!

st pauls cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral, where Winston Churchill’s funeral was held

Churchill’s coffin was borne along the River Thames after the funeral from Tower Pier to Festival Pier on the MV Havengore and as they processed, dockers lowered their crane jibs in a salute.

Although incredibly controversial in many areas, particularly his political stances, many today still say that if it wasn’t for Churchill and his ‘bulldog’ determination to ‘never surrender’ even in the face of fierce opposition from some in his own party, we would have acceeded to the Nazis and who the heck knows what the UK would have been today if that had happened!!!

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, on 10 May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. His steadfast refusal to consider defeat, surrender, or a compromise peace, helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult early days of the war when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood alone in its active opposition to Adolf Hitler.

Winston Churchill has always been a hero of mine, from learning about him in school (back in South Africa), learning about the 2nd WW, and seeing the film The Battle of Britain in my late teens, I admired his determination to forge ahead, to stand strong and face the enemy with fortitude and certainty. At the time of his death we were of course still a colony of Great Britain, so for me there is that tenuous link to the man, as well as the fact that he actually fought in South Africa during the Boer War. He was working as a journalist and got captured, put into a concentration camp (fortunately he escaped) and was very nearly shot as a traitor….but wasn’t….clearly ;)

He was also much maligned and not every one agreed with his policies and politics, but by jove, he got Britain through the war and led the country and her people to victory!

the union jack
Great Britain; leader of the free world

If ever you want to be moved beyond words, especially if you are an admirer of Churchill’s then I would suggest you head over to the bunker (Churchill’s War Rooms) where he spent much time during the war, plotting and working. They run recordings of his speeches and hearing his voice in that historical environment leaves you with the hairs on your body standing erect and tears streaming down your face…..well it did me anyway ;)

So lets have a look at a few places where you can find Churchill in London. I have no doubt there are many many places where you would find statues, or busts and paintings/portraits of this great man, but I have chosen just three, 3 which are amongst my favourite places in London as well as one of the most poignant WW2 memorials in the city, one that bears witness to one of his most famous of speeches!

The first place I have chosen is Guildhall in the City of London. This is really the centre of the city in so many ways and one of the most ancient of sites….a favourite place of mine to visit, just oozing history from every pore. If you visit within Guildhall there you will find a fine statue of this great man, seated on a chair….his face set in that very recognisable of expressions; determination!

sir winston churchill at guildhall
Sir Winston Churchill at Guildhall

The second place is Parliament Square in the City of Westminster. The statue youwill find there, facing the Palace of Westminster was created by Ivor Roberts-Jones and Grade II listed in 2008.

statue of Sir Winston Churchill at Parliament Square
statue of Sir Winston Churchill at Parliament Square

One of London’s Top attractions and one of my Top 30 Attractions, Parliament Square is central to Great Britain’s political history. A place where demonstrations have been held,

parliament square 2013.06.04 Coronation 60th Anniversary
Parliament Square all dressed up for the 60th Anniversary of the Queen’s coronation

a gathering place and opposite one of the most powerful buildings in the world…a suitable venue for a statue of a great Statesman.

The 3rd place I have chosen would of course have to be Churchill’s Bunker; a fortified basement designed for use by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet during the Second World War, and the place where he worked and slept and plotted to win the war!!

sir winston churchill
Winston Churchill at work during a train trip

I can easily recommend a visit to the Churchill War Rooms, the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz, now one of the Imperial War Museums, that despite the price tag is a fascinating place where you can explore the historic rooms and experience the secret history that continues to live on underground. You’ll discover the stories of those who worked underground as London was being bombed above them, and find out more about the life and legacy of Winston Churchill in the interactive Museum.

The memorial I have chosen to feature is of course the most poignant of memorials; The Battle of Britain Memorial on Victoria Embankment, not too far from the Palace of Westminster aka the Houses of Parliament; central to Great Britain’s history and political power.

the battle of britain war memorial
‘The Few’ The Battle of Britain War Memorial on Victoria Embankment

I for one have visited these places many, many times in the 12 years since I’ve lived in London and I have no doubt that I will visit them again in the future….. :)

So here’s to Winston Spencer-Churchill, long may he be remembered with fondness (by those who care to remember him with fondness), and for his indomitable spirit.  And what the heck…on impulse I have decided to add one more place where you could find this great man…sitting on a bench in New Bond Street in Mayfair chatting to his old pal and staunch supporter during WW2; Franklin D Roosevelt ..the then President of the USA. These two men were a backbone of the war and all credit to them for the freedom we enjoy today!!

winston churchill & franklin d. roosevelt - 4th July

The bronze statues called ‘Allies’ of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sitting ‘talking’ together on a bench in Mayfair (where Old Bond Street meets New Bond Street).

“We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!”

big ben and the union jack
Big Ben as seen from Parliament Square and the British flag aka the Union Jack

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.
Born: November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
Died: January 24, 1965 at Hyde Park Gate, London
Buried: January 30, 1965 at St Martin’s Church, Bladon
33 things you may not have known about Churchill

1. Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born in the Victorian era, lived through the Edwardian era 1901-1910 and died in the 2nd Elizabethan era.
2. he was an officer in the British Army
3. a historian
4. a writer (as Winston S. Churchill)
5. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his numerous published works, especially his six-volume set; The Second World War.
6. As a young boy he talked with a stutter and a lisp with a lateral lisp that continued throughout his career
7. Churchill was an accomplished artist best known for his impressionist scenes of landscape his creativity yielded more than 500 paintings.
8. He was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.

happy 4th july
9. His mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American socialite.
10. As a young army officer, he saw action in British India, the Sudan, and the Second Boer War in South Africa.
11. He nearly won the Victoria Cross for his actions during an ambush in South Africa but couldn’t be awared this honour because he fought as a civilian.
12. In 1902 he was initiated into Freemasonry at Studholme Lodge #1591, London, and raised to the Third Degree on 25 March 1902.
13. He was once a member of the Liberal Party; after the Whitsun recess in 1904, he crossed the floor.
14. In October 1911, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and continued in the post into the First World War
15. Churchill served for several months on the Western Front during WW1
16. While in command he personally made 36 forays into no man’s land.
17. Churchill appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on 14 April 1923 and 11 May 1925.
18. Churchill opposed Gandhi’s peaceful disobedience revolt and the Indian Independence movement in the 1930s
19. He was not always popular with either the citizens of the UK or the governments of the time.
20. It was George VI as constitutional monarch, who asked Churchill to be prime minister.
21. Churchill was 65 years old when he became Prime Minister in 1940.
22. On 18 June 1940 in a speech to the House of Commons, Churchill stated “I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.”
23. During WW2 he travelled over 100,000 miles (160,000km) throughout the war to meet other national leaders.
24. The Russians referred to him as the “British Bulldog”.
25. He accepted a knighthood as Garter Knight and was invested as a Knight of the Garter (becoming Sir Winston Churchill, KG) in 1953.
26. Churchill received numerous honours and awards throughout his career as a statesman and author.
27. He was awarded 19 British Honours
28. And awarded 18 Foreign Honours one of which was Knight of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark, 1950): the highest order of Denmark.
29. The Winston Churchill Range in the Canadian Rockies was named in his honour.
30. The highest honour of all; his funeral, was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 30 January 1965.
31. On 29 November 1995 President Bill Clinton of the United States announced to both Houses of Parliament during a visit to the UK, that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would be named the USS Winston S. Churchill. This was the first United States warship to be named after a non-citizen of the United States since 1975.
32. He has been portrayed many times in film, the latest being The King’s Speech with Timothy Spall’s portral.
33. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll based on approximately a million votes from BBC viewers.

st pauls cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral rises above the smoke and flames of the Battle of Britain

During the early years of WW2, Churchill’s speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British:
Five of his most famous speeches:
1. 13 May 1940: “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” given 3 days after the start of the German offensive in the West; his first speech to Parliament as Prime Minister. “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
2. 4 June 1940: “We shall fight on the beaches” reporting the success of the Germans in over-running Holland, Belgium and France north of the Somme, the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk: preparing the British to fight on alone, if necessary.
3. 18 June 1940: “This was their finest hour” the title commonly used for a speech he delivered to the House of Commons just over a month after he took over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the head of an all-party Coalition government.
4. 20 August 1940: On August 15, the crisis of the battle of Britain was reached. In this speech Churchill coined the phrase “The Few” to describe the R.A.F fighter-pilots. “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few” referring to the ongoing efforts of the Royal Air Force pilots who were at the time fighting the Battle of Britain and commemorated the role of the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain in this single sentence.

the battle of britain war memorial
“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few”

5. 29 October 1941: During an address at Harrow School. “Never give in, Never, Never, Never…”
For the full text of these speeches visit
On 26 April 2013, the Bank of England announced that beneath a portrait of Churchill the phrase “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” is to adorn the new 5 pound note which is to be issued from 2016 onwards.

Churchill War Rooms, Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AQ
020 7930 6961
Open daily 9.30am – 6pm Last admission 5pm Closed 24, 25 and 26 December

What you can see in the area:
The Clive Steps and a statue of Robert Clive, is a Grade II listed outdoor bronze sculpture of military officer Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, also known as ‘Clive of India’. The sculptor was John Tweed and the statue was moved to the present location in 1916.
The 2002 Bali Bombings Memorial at the base of the steps.
St James’s Park just across the road; Horse Guards.
Horse Guards Parade a short walk along Horse Guards
The Household Cavalry Museum on the premises of Horse Guards Parade.
Old Admiralty Building also adjoining Horse Guards Parade.
The Guards Museum on Birdcage Walk alongside St James’s Park.

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River Thames Commemoration for Winston Churchill

River Thames Commemoration for Winston Churchill

thames clippers River Thames Commemoration for Winston Churchill
River Thames Commemoration for Winston Churchill

On Friday 30 January 2015 a very important event will take place on the River Thames: The Havengore will retrace events of 50 years ago, when she carried the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill on his last journey by water from Tower Pier to Festival Pier. The date was 30 January 1965, and the event was televised live to a worldwide audience estimated at 350 million.
As part of the 50th anniversary commemorations, the event on board Havengore will culminate in a service and wreath laying in the waters of the River Thames opposite the Palace of Westminster.

palace of westminster
Palace of Westminster
sir winston churchill
Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square

The event on 30 January 2015 will be viewable live by those in London and televised for a wider national and international audience. Members of the Churchill family will be on board. The Company of Watermen and Lightermen will supply the boat crew in their ceremonial uniforms, and Scottish pipers will play as the Havengore slowly makes her way up river. The Havengore will be escorted by the duty boats from the Port of London Authority, the River Police, the Fire Service and the RNLI, and Tower Bridge will be raised in honour of the great Statesman as the small flotilla passes under the bridge.
River Thames Commemoration ticket from MBNA Thames Clippers

MBNA Thames Clippers will be offering the opportunity for passengers to join them on board the Hurricane Clipper; to follow the procession along the river and watch the commemoration service.
The boat will depart from London Bridge Pier at 12.00pm heading downstream to HMS President to join the procession before heading back upstream to the Houses of Parliament. Following the service the boat will return to London Bridge Pier for 2pm.
Tickets cost £65 and 10% of each ticket sold will be donated by MBNA Thames Clippers to Winston’s Wish, the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK.

Please see below for more information.

Please note that 3 Days in London is not an affiliate of Thames Clippers.  any tickets bought would be direct from their site and any queries arising from or relating to the sale of these tickets should be raised with Thames Clippers.

This article is for information only

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Refresh; a London Underground Infographic – Celebrating 150 years!

Back in 2013 the people of London celebrated the 150th anniversary of its city’s underground rail network, with the world’s first underground train carriage pulling out of Paddington station on the 9th January 1863, on a passenger journey to Farringdon beneath the bustling streets of the capital.

metropolitan underground transport for london 150 years
The world’s first underground railway; London

In order to mark this special occasion Refresh Apartments, have unveiled their very own London Underground infographic detailing some of the many interesting facts and figures about the Tube and the role it plays in the lives of Londoners and tourists alike.

Explore the Tube’s history below and here’s to many more years of great service across London!

London Underground Infographic