Category Archives: London Events

QRB Gloriana takes her place in the Lord Mayor’s Show

Yes!!! The glorious QRB Gloriana takes her place in the Lord Mayor’s Show again for the 3rd year.  A wonderful opportunity to see this beautiful craft on the River Thames on Saturday 14th November 2015.

gloriana lord mayors show 2014 (2) - lms 14
QRB Gloriana at the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Show

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Show that began back in 1215 at the time of King John and Magna Carta and hasn’t missed a year since Wellington’s funeral blocked the whole city in 1852 (it which time it was postponed).

When the Lord Mayor’s journey began, London and Westminster were two small towns separated by open countryside and the quickest and safest way to get from one to the other was to travel up the Thames, and for the first few hundred years the Lord Mayor’s Show did just that.  Then somewhere along the way the tradition was discontinued, although the Lord Mayor’s Show continued as it has for nigh on 800 years, but on land rather than river.

the lord mayors show london
The Lord Mayor’s Show, and annual London event dating back nearly 800 years

A few centuries later and inspired by a Canelletto painting, it was decided to built a brand new craft for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012…..and so the the QRB Gloriana was launched.

diamond jubilee, queens jubilee, thames river pageant, river pageant june 2012 route, royal barge gloriana, Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant ,2012
Royal Barge Gloriana bearing the Royal Coat of Arms (although it heads up the Pageant, none of the Royal family will travel in the Gloriana)

Since then the Gloriana has featured in the 2012 London Olympics, the Lord Mayor’s Show in 2012, the Tudor Pull in April 2013/2014/2015, the Great River Race 2014 and more recently the Magna Carta celebrations in June 2015 and Open House weekend in September 2015 at the Boat Show in St Katherine Docks, as well as many, many other events on the river.

Gloriana - St Katharine Docks - Thames Festival 2013
the lovely Gloriana – QRB Rowbarge

This year she will once again take to the waves;  for the 2015 FLOTILLA, carrying the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, downstream from the City of Westminster to the City of London.

“After several centuries, the Lord Mayor’s flotilla is back in the water having moved from river barges, to horseback to coaches. The new Lord Mayor will travel in QRB Gloriana, the traditional Thames barge made famous in the Jubilee celebrations, with an accompanying procession of 24 traditional Thames boats from London’s livery companies and port authorities.

The Lord Mayor will board QRB Gloriana in Pimlico at 08:30 then the flotilla will make its way downstream, passing under a number of bridges along the way….Vauxhall, Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars, London and Tower bridges before finally disembarking at RNR HMS President, just below St Katherine Docks. The journey will take about an hour, and from HMS President the Lord Mayor is carried by car and will reach Mansion House ready to join the procession to the Royal Courts”.

lord mayors show 2010, The Royal Courts of Justice
the coach and horses at rest front of The Royal Courts of Justice

TIMETABLE (please note these are as always with the river approximate times…the tides sometimes move a tad quicker than expected. If you want to see the Gloriana plan on getting to your preferred vantage spot earlier than the times listed below).

  • 08:30: Lord Mayor boards QRB Gloriana at Westminster Boating Base, Pimlico
  • 08:35: Flotilla sets off
  • 09:00 Flotilla reaches Waterloo Bridge
  • 09:20 Flotilla reaches London Bridge
  • 09:25 Tower Bridge opens in salute (this is definitely a must see!!)
  • 09:35 Lord Mayor disembarks at RNR HMS President

Be sure to diarise the date: 14 November 2015 to watch the Lord Mayor’s Flotilla as it processes along the River Thames, once more a feature of the Lord Mayor’s Show.

lord mayors show 2012
and finally….what we have all been waiting for…The Lord Mayor comes by in the State Coach…hooray!!

As mentioned before, 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Show and will be bigger than ever with 200 ‘floats’ and over 3 and a half miles long: 7,000 people from all over the world in the procession, including 180 horses, 140 vehicles, 70 floats, a vintage steamroller, a Spitfire, a Viking ship, Masai dancers, Taiko drummers, Shaolin kung-fu dancers, a grand piano pulled by bicycles, Napoleon and a tank;  and the new City of London Lord Mayor  travelling in the golden State Coach. For more information about the Lord Mayor’s Show visit their website.

You can plan on using any number of tube stations, depending from where you would like to watch the procession.  Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

Details of the Lord Mayor’s Show and other events are listed on the 3 Days in London App….so remember to download your FREE #3DIL App today

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Long To Reign Over Us!

So wow, for a day that was meant to pass relatively quietly without much fuss, yesterday’s celebrations in London to mark The Queen’s long reign were in fact superb.

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
Queen Elizabeth at Trooping the Colour 2014

You may or may not know that yesterday, our gracious Queen, Elizabeth II reached a milestone in her very long reign….63 years, 216 days and 19 and half hours…give or take a few, becoming the Longest Reigning Monarch in British History…Long To Reign Over Us!

long to reign over us
Longest Reigning Monarch in British history

The Queen is remarkable, she has remained steadfast in a turbulent world, a symbol of certainty and continuity, giving new meaning to the words, duty and devotion.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, she became the Longest Reigning Monarch in British History and even though she had no wish for there to be huge celebrations, others (like me 😉 ) felt that there should be some sort of recognition of this remarkable achievement…so to that end a Royal River Salute was arranged for a flotilla of ships to process upstream from Tower Bridge past Westminster Bridge to the Houses of Parliament (although I had nothing to do with organising this event, I was definitely there) :)

a royal river salute long to reign over us totally thames
on a grey day in London, we celebrated The Queen’s remarkable milestone…

The celebration started at 12noon! Tower Bridge lifted in respect and with a sounding of horns and toots from the various boats and the bridge and water jets from the Massey Shaw, the flotilla, headed up by The QRB Gloriana and followed by HV Havengore, the Fire Rescue Service boat and our own Massey Shaw London, set off at a cracking pace for Westminster.

a royal river salute long to reign over us totally thames
The Massey Shaw London at London Bridge during A Royal River Salute

I had positioned myself on the plaza in front of the Old Billingsgate Fish Market building which gave me a great view of the bridge lifting and the start of the procession and hopefully hear the salute, it was unfortunately a very noisy spot…but you can if you listen carefully hear the horns et al.

a royal river salute long to reign over us totally thames
The Old Billingsgate Fish Market

I also wanted to see both ends of the River Salute so in order that I got to Westminster Bridge for the final salute as well as see the start I decided to forgo my usual spot on the bridge and by using Monument instead of Tower Hill I would shave a good 7 minutes off my travel time……according to the website the finale was at 12:30 …as it turned out it was only at 1pm.

a royal river salute long to reign over us totally thames
and the promised blue skies arrived just after it had all finished….typical ;)

Nevertheless, it was great to watch the boats processing upstream towards us and, although not as loud as I was expecting, to hear the 4-gun salute from the HMS Belfast as the flotilla processed past.
I recorded till the Massey Shaw had gone past, then ran helter-skelter to Monument tube station, jumped onto the next train to Westminster and with an equal spurt of speed I ran like mad to reach the bridge just as the Gloriana reached the river-front at the Houses of Parliament….the Big Ben gongs for 12:30 sounded shortly thereafter! Whew. Thanks TfL you didn’t let me down 😉

transport for london
to the trains

Although the Totally Thames website said the finale would be at 12:30, the boats hung around and hung around and nothing much happened except that the sun put in a brief appearance which had the effect of making the crowd gasp ‘ahhh there’s the sun’…we don’t always see much of that golden disc and so when it does appear, it’s cause for National celebration LOL

a royal river salute long to reign over us totally thames
Goodness Gracious Me! look it’s the sun!!

Finally the finale…. a long forlorn toot from the downstream side of the river from an unseen river craft, the Gloriana’s crew tossed their oars in salute, Big Ben bonged 1pm and we could hear the faint strains of the National Anthem being played…albeit very faintly. For your convenience and since we can barely hear it in the video I recorded….here is the National Anthem….
God Save The Queen

a royal river salute long to reign over us totally thames
The flotilla; A Royal River Salute at Houses of Parliament – QRB Gloriana in the centre

After the finale (scroll down for the video) I headed over to Buckingham Palace

summer opening buckingham palace
the back of Buckingham Palace…this is what you can see from Her Majesty’s back garden

for my Summer Opening visit and to see the newly opened photographic exhibition featuring stunning images of The Queen from when she first came to the throne till a recent photo of her with one each of her Life Guards, the Blues  Royals and the 5 Foot Guards Regiments. I also visited The Queen’s Gallery to see the new exhibition: ‘Painting Paradise – The Art of the Garden’ – amongst all the wonderful paintings these were two that I really loved.

After my visit I whizzed over to St Paul’s Cathedral for the 5pm Evensong celebration service for Her Majesty The Queen which was wonderful.

evensong at st pauls cathedral
Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral celebrating the day on which Her Majesty The Queen became the longest-serving Monarch in British history

In all a fitting tribute for a great lady! Long To Reign Over Us.

Tossing the oars: To peak the oars, to lift them from the rowlocks and hold them perpendicularly, the handle resting on the bottom of the boat. I found this delightful blog about ‘tossing oars’ that you may enjoy :)

After attending the service at St Paul’s I walked along the Thames Embankment via Blackfriars to Nine Elms, a walk I have often enjoyed and no less last night. My intention was to see the sculptures installed on the river bank as part of the Totally Thames events in September. I was not disappointed….they are amazing!

Further reading: At midday on Wednesday 9 September, a flotilla of historic vessels, leisure cruisers and passenger boats took part in a procession on the River Thames to mark the day on which Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history.  This date, at 17:30, marks the 63 years and 216 days since The Queen became well…Queen, and marks the date she surpassed her great-great Grandmother Queen Victoria’s 63 years and 7 month reign.

The procession featured famous vessels  like QRB Gloriana and HV Havengore both of which participated in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in 2012, as well as the fire-boat, Massey Shaw. It all began east of Tower Bridge at midday, when the vessels sounded their horns for one minute, the bridge lifted as a sign of respect and as the procession passed by HMS Belfast, a four gun salute sounded and Massey Shaw along with the Fire and Rescue boat shot jets of water into the air…..magical. See the video here

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The longest reigning Monarch in British history

Long to Reign Over Us!

long to reign over us
Longest Reigning Monarch in British history

Today in history, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning Monarch in British history when she will have reigned for 63 years, 216 days: 23,226 days, surpassing in length the long and glorious reign of Queen Victoria of 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes.

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
Queen Elizabeth II (image in public domain)

Elizabeth II  becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history at around 6:30 pm on 9 September 2015. (I have checked numerous sources and they all differ on the exact time, but according to an interview with BBC presenter and journalist, Sophie Raworth, it will be at around 6:30pm).

God save our gracious Queen!        
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.

On her 21st birthday in April 1947, she pledged: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday in South Africa (image in public domain)

South Africa was a British colony until 1965 and although I was only 10 years old at the time I recall very well the emotions felt by many in the country. I remember standing in the cinema before each film to sing the national anthem.

Me, my Mother and my little sister
Me, my Mother and my little sister

Subsequent to that, besides seeing her on the news for major events like the wedding of Charles and Diana and again at the time of Diana’s death and funeral, I recall seeing her in person for the first time in Cape Town in March 1995 when she went walkabout on her last State Visit to South Africa. I took my daughter out of school for the day and we headed over to the Waterfront to see her. Standing in line with hundreds of other people I watched as the Queen zig-zagged from one side of the crowd to the other and as she came closer I felt for sure that I would also get to shake her hand….but to my everlasting dismay, she stopped briefly about 3 people away and then headed back to the other side….noooo!!! ?

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
The Queen and Nelson Mandela

Since then I have relocated to the United Kingdom and living in London I have had the pleasure and delight of having seen her a number of times at events like the Trooping the Colour and of course her Diamond Jubilee, but never again (yet) have I been that close….I really have to make a plan? I am a confirmed and stout Royalist and Monarchist….or perhaps you could say I am an ‘Elizabethist’ LOL – I made that up!

supporting the Monarchy at Trooping the Colour
supporting the Monarchy at Trooping the Colour 2010

And as she marks what has been a momentous and extraordinary reign over 6 decades and within 2 centuries, what do we know about Elizabeth II?
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 02.40am in London on 21 April 1926, at her maternal grandfather’s London house: 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair.

happy birthday queen elizabeth ii
17 Bruton Street, Mayfair where Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on 21.04.1926

She was baptised in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May.
Elizabeth, as daughter of the 2nd in line to the throne was expected to live a quiet life on the periphery of the Royal family.

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
Princess Elizabeth 1929 (image in the public domain)

The 1st child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later after the abdication of Edward VIII, became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Princess’s early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly and White Lodge in Richmond Park.

richmond park map
map of Richmond Park

On 10 December 1936 when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in order to follow his heart, her father became George VI and Princess Elizabeth suddenly became 1st in line to the throne.

princess elizabeth and king george vi
Princess Elizabeth and her father King George VI – image in the public domain

During World War 2, in 1940, at the height of the Blitz, the young Princesses were moved for their safety to Windsor Castle.
In February 1945, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, as an honorary Second Subaltern with the service number of 230873 and at the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, Elizabeth and her sister mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London.

On November 20th, 1947 Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in Westminster Abbey.

visit westminster abbey london
The West Transcept of Westminster Abbey, this is the entrance through which The Queen would enter

* In 1952 on February 6th her father George VI died in his sleep, and thus Elizabeth was thrust into history, to one day become the longest reigning Monarch in British history.
* Queen Elizabeth II has been married to her husband Prince Philip for 68 years. They have 4 children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. She has 8 grand-children and 5 great grand-children…with I’m sure, more to come.
* Queen Elizabeth II is head of the Commonwealth and has held and still holds a number of titles, many of which differ according to the country, as well as:
21 April 1926 – 11 December 1936: Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York
11 December 1936 – 20 November 1947: Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth
20 November 1947 – 6 February 1952: Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh
6 February 1952 – present: Her Majesty The Queen
* Since 26 March 1953 – Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.


* Elizabeth II is the Queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations and has visited over 116 countries. She is Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England and holds a number of Military ranks.
The Queen has celebrated 3 major Jubilees: Silver in 1977, Gold in 2002 and Diamond in 2012.

coronation festival at buckingham palace
Me in the gardens at Buckingham Palace for the Coronation Festival in 2013
longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
A ‘Bond’ girl

And let us not forget that our gracious Queen is also a ‘Bond’ girl! She featured on the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony with Daniel Craig at Buckingham Palace and ‘jumped’ out of a helicopter over the Olympic Stadium.

 

* Places in London linked to Queen Elizabeth II

happy birthday queen elizabeth ii
17 Bruton Street, Mayfair

17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London – on 21 April 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born here. Sadly the original house is no longer there but you can see a plaque on the wall. Bruton Street is near Berkeley Square.

 

summer opening buckingham palace 2015
The Queen’s garden at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace – The Official residence of the Queen in London, this is where she holds State Banquets and hosts the Heads of State during State visits from other countries. Each year in August and September Buckingham Palace is opened to the Public at the Summer Opening at which time a special exhibition is held marking various significant times or events in The Queen’s life.

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in Westminster Abbey, London, on Nov. 20, 1947. (AP Photo)

Westminster Abbey – The Queen was married here on 20 November 1947 and later crowned in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Westminster Abbey is the traditional place of coronations of English and British Monarchs since 1066 as well as the burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised.

 

the cenotaph london
The Cenotaph, Whitehall London

The Cenotaph – every year in November on Remembrance Sunday (the Sunday closest to 11.11) the Queen lays a wreath for the War Dead at a special ceremony. This is a solemn occasion, televised across the world and attended by hundreds of War Veterans & thousands ofspectators.  A 2 minutes silence is observed at 11am.

 

st pauls cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral hosts a number of special events related to the Queen

St Paul’s Cathedral – this most famous of cathedrals has close links with the Queen and royal family and has hosted celebrations for 3 of Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilees: Silver in 1977, Golden in 2002 and Diamond in 2012.

 

 

state opening of parliament 2014
Her Majesty; Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the 2014 State Opening of Parliament in her new State Coach

Houses of Parliament – The Queen opens Parliament each year at a State Ceremony. She has only missed two ‘Opening of Parliament’ ceremonies during her 63-year reign – in 1959 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and in 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Edward.

 

 

3 days in london, st james's palace london city of westminster, what to do 3 days in london, places to visit 3 days in london, what to see 3 days in london, palaces in london, palaces in england,
St James’s Palace, City of Westminster

St James’s Palace – although she doesn’t live there, St James’s Palace is the official residence of the sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

3 days in london, westminster palace chelsea and westminster london, home prince william and catherine middleton duke and duchess of cambridge, what to do 3 days in london, places to visit 3 days in london, what to see 3 days in london, palaces in london, palaces in england,
Kensington Palace, Royal Borough of Chelsea and Westminster – once home of Diana, Princess of Wales

Kensington Palace – a working Royal residence of great historical importance, the palace was the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. Kensington Palace, once the home of Princess Margaret as well as Princess Diana, today accommodates the offices and private apartments of a number of members of the Royal Family, including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

windsor castle
Windsor Castle (wikipedia)

Windsor Castle – not strictly in Greater London but close enough, Windsor Castle is one of the Queen’s many official residences. A working palace, the largest occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle has been a Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, used by The Queen as both a private home over weekends and as a Royal residence where she undertakes some formal duties; namely the service of the Order of the Garter. She will also stay there in June during Royal Ascot week.

queen elizabeth ii 60 years
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her 60th anniversary

Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s 40th monarch since William the Conqueror was crowned.
Queen Elizabeth II has had 12 Prime Ministers and there have been 12 U.S.A. Presidents and 7 Roman Catholic Popes during her reign.

 

 

the tower of london - gun salutes duke of edinburgh birthday
Gun Salutes at the Tower of London

Gun salutes at the Royal Palaces around the country are fired on The Queen’s birthday 21 April, on her Official birthday 2 June – in London that would be the Tower of London and in Green Park or Hyde Park near Buckingham Palace.

 

 

trooping the colour 2010
all the Queen’s horses and all the Queen’s men – Trooping the Colour 2010

With traditions dating from 1660, the Queen’s official bodyguards are the Mounted Regiments of Life Guards of the Household Cavalry and the Blues and Royals stationed at Hyde Park.

 

 

Her residences are guarded by the by 5 regiments of Foot Guards in the Household Division: – namely the Coldstream Guards (active since 1650), : the Grenadier Guards (active since 1656), the Scots Guards (active since 1661), the Irish Guards (active since 1900) and the Welsh Guards (active since 1915).

swans mate for life
a pair of swans; the most romantic of birds

Along with the Worshipful Company of Vintners and the Worshipful Company of Dyers, the Crown, ergo The Queen, retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water. However, The Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and surrounding tributaries and they are no longer served as a delicacy!

longest reigning monarch queen elizabeth ii
Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 (image copyright ‘Stop and Think Photography)

One of the best views I have had of The Queen was at the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011. We camped out on The Mall the night before and were there for the wedding. Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Wedding in 2011 (image copyright ‘Stop and Think Photography – now Lemon Feather Photography)

I decided to send The Queen a card and book as a gift to celebrate!

You can write to Her Majesty at the following address:
Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA

You can listen to a recording of her 1947 speech here

So as The Queen reaches this amazing milestone in her long reign, lets raise a glass; 3 cheers to Queen Elizabeth II

admiral of the port boat challenge london, london traditions, boats races in london
champagne :)

or if you don’t drink then have a cup of tea and a cupcake :)

While You Are There... 53 Places to go in London
While You Are There… 53 Places to go in London

If you’d like to buy the book I sent to The Queen, you can order your copy here
Recently Released: ‘While You Are There…53 Places to go in London’ – Buy your copy here

 

 

Any images that are not mine I have sourced via google images and selected images that are in the public domain. If any are yours please leave a comment and I will credit you or remove it at your request. Thanks. :)

A Royal River Salute

From Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge A Royal River Salute will take place at 12noon on Wednesday 9th September 2015 to celebrate our Queen, Elizabeth II

queen elizabeth ii coronation
Queen Elizabeth II

becoming the longest reigning Monarch in British history: 63 years and 216 days…..23,226 days!!

queen elizabeth ii 60 years
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her 60th anniversary

In honour of this momentous occasion, at midday on Wednesday 9 September, a flotilla of historic vessels, leisure cruisers and passenger boats will take part in a procession on the River Thames to mark the day.

Gloriana - St Katharine Docks - Thames Festival 2013
the lovely Gloriana – HM Rowbarge

The procession will feature vessels such as Havengore and Gloriana, which participated in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in 2012, as well as the fire-boat, Massey Shaw.

massey shaw london
The fire-boat Massey Shaw London at Ramsgate during Operation Dynamo 75 in May.

The Royal River Salute  will begin east of Tower Bridge at midday, with the vessels sounding their horns for one minute. The bridge will lift as a sign of respect

tower bridge bascules raising
Tower Bridge raised bascules

and as the procession passes by HMS Belfast, a four gun salute will sound and Massey Shaw will shoot jets of water into the air.

hms belfast london pool
Tower Bridge & HMS Belfast as viewed from London Bridge

To find out more visit: http://totallythames.org/events/info/a-royal-river-salute

God Save the Queen, long may she reign.
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ARC Gloria sailed into London

A few days ago the ARC Gloria sailed into London for three days as part of a goodwill world tour. The ARC Gloria, a training ship and official flagship of the Colombian Navy, is amongst the largest in the world. She sailed up the River Thames and docked at West India Dock for her four-day stay in London, and opened to the public for free tours on board.

tall ship arc gloria in london
waiting in the queue to board the A.R.C. Gloria

The ARC Gloria left her home port of Cartagena, Colombia, on 26 June and with a crew of 150, including 67 final-year cadets from the Colombian Naval Academy as well as the flagship’s mascot ‘Black Pearl’ – a black Labrador, the ship arrived in London on the morning of the 3 September where she was met by the Colombian Ambassador to the UK.   Prior to her arrival in London she also visited ports in Portugal, Germany and Holland.

tall ship arc gloria in london
on board the Tall Ship A.R.C. Gloria at West India Dock on Saturday

On Sunday 6th September, as part of the Totally Thames Festival and Colombia day, the ARC Gloria, with 67 of her crew balanced precariously on the masts singing the Colombian National Anthem, sailed upstream to the Pool of London where the bascules of Tower Bridge were raised to allow this beautiful three-masted ship to pass into the Upper Pool greeted by a mighty roar of cheers from the hundreds of Colombian citizens, visitors and other Londoners who lined the riverbanks and the bridge to watch.


I took the train into London early on Sunday determined not to miss this amazing event!  I was there a tad early so managed to fit in a few other things before making my way to my favourite ‘spot’ on the bridge. There were, to my amazement, already a few people there and I struck up a conversation with a really lovely Colombian lady by the name of Aida. We chatted away swapping histories and experiences (she is from Colombia and I am from South Africa), the 2 and half hour wait flew by in no time at all.  And then suddenly the ship was there!!!

It was a very emotional event and to have a birds-eye view as this glorious ship sailed through Tower Bridge was quite overwhelming……

even though I am not Colombian, I got tears in my eyes as the sound of the crowd singing their National Anthem: ‘Gloria’.
The ship’s name is a reference to the national anthem, Oh gloria inmarcesible (O Unfading Glory).
“ARC” stands for “Armada Nacional de la República de Colombia.”

I also had the chance to visit the ship at West India Dock on Saturday and after standing in the queue for 75 minutes (?) I finally boarded to explore the ship.

She is a real beauty and in fine condition. The crew were amazing, friendly and informative and the chap at the bottom of the gangway almost did a double take when I said ‘muchas grascias’ on leaving the ship LOL

tall ship arc gloria in london
A.R.C. Gloria in West India Dock

How lucky we are to live in this amazing city London, with her diversity of cultures and people from all corners of the world, who add to the very rich tapestry of our varied history.
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