the imperial war museum london

First World War Galleries

Discover the story of the First World War through the lives of those who experienced it both on the front line and the home front.
Opens 19 July.

the imperial war museum london
The Imperial War Museum, London

Imperial War Museum, IWM London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
Free admission. http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london/first-world-war-galleries
From 19 July 2014 open daily from 10am – 6pm
Last admission is at 5.30pm
Closed on 24, 25, and 26 December

Contact: +44 (0) 207 416 5000 or email mail@iwm.org.uk
International callers can contact them at +44 (0)20 7416 5000.

Getting there:
IWM London is a short walk from Lambeth North (10 mins), Waterloo (15 mins) and Elephant and Castle (15 mins) underground stations. To plan your journey visit TFL.
Visiting by Bus: Local bus routes that stop near IWM London include 159, 360, 109, 344 and 360.

Visiting by Train: IWM London is a short 15 minute walk from London Waterloo, Waterloo East, and Elephant and Castle rail stations. To check train times and plan your journey visit National Rail.

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for information on Exhibitions, London Events, Embassies & much more

 

 

oyster card travel in london
Oyster Card

 

A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes no longer accept cash.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/cash-free-buses?intcmp=17374

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.
http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/oystercard/product/oyster-card.html

Oyster cards no longer needed
If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.
To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post them your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234

great british carnival

Great British Carnival

Great British Carnival, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford
July 27th, 2014 12:00pm – 21:30pm
A celebration of music, dancing and costumes, celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, a fantastic event of dance, infectious music, performance and costume that the whole family can enjoy.
Kicking off at 12pm and entertaining throughout the day until 9.30pm, the Carnival will feature a vibrant mix of international carnival artistes, homegrown performers and local carnivals from Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – and it’s completely free!

great british carnival
Great British Carnival – image from the QEOP site

In homage to Rio’s most famous cultural export, London and UK carnivals are keen to show off what Britain has to offer. The best of UK carnival arts will feature an exciting programme of pop-up parades, mask-making workshops, high-quality live music and performances from young musicians, rappers and poets.
The event will also host the world premiere of The Carnival of the Animals: a magical twilight crescendo of costumed performers, 300 dancers, giant carnivalesque creatures and extraordinary illumination.
In the run-up to the event, residents of the Park’s four surrounding boroughs can participate in free music, dance and choreography workshops, learning routines with a view to joining in the pop-up parades on the big day.

Keep checking back for more information and updates on this!
http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/whats-on/events/2014/6/great-british-carnival-at-the-park

Getting there:
The nearest stations are Stratford station and Stratford International station and both provide step-free access from entrance to platform.
Stratford station is served by:
• Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
• Jubilee and Central line
• National Rail services operated by Greater Anglia and c2c
• London Overground services
Stratford International station is served by:
• Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
• Southeastern High Speed 1 services
You can also access the Park via Hackney Wick station which is on the London Overground.
More information is available at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/

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Information on London Events, Exhibitions, Embassies, Places of Interest & much more.

If you attend this event, be sure to send in your photos via the App with your twitter or instagram profile; I’ll upload them to Flickr

A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th 2014 buses on all London bus routes no longer accept cash.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/cash-free-buses?intcmp=17374

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.
http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/oystercard/product/oyster-card.html

Types of refund
Oyster cards no longer needed
If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.
To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post them your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays

cart marking eremony guildhall

Cart Marking Ceremony, City of London

Cart Marking Ceremony at Guildhall

cart marking eremony guildhall
Guildhall

As part of the City of London Festival 22 June – 17 July 2014

Wednesday 16 July 2014 10.30am

FREE to attend

If there was a list of ‘quirky’ events in London then the Cart Marking Ceremony must surely qualify as one of the most unusual.
“Once a year, usually in the summer, Carmen bring their horse-drawn wagons and carriages, steamers, veteran and vintage lorries, buses and coaches, and modern trucks and tractor units, to be branded, or marked, with a red-hot iron, on a wooden plate, with the year letter and the car number, as a reminder of centuries of service to the City and to maintain their ancient tradition. For the Carmen of today are still the carriers of the nation’s goods, and the City retains the right of marking”.

Founded in 1517, the 77th Livery Company of the City of London Worshipful Company of Carmen, gather each year at Guildhall to exercise their rights over carts and carriers in the City of London. Since its inception the Corporation of the City of London has exercised its rights over carts and carriers; for transport is the lifeblood of commerce, and the City was ever the hub of the nation’s prosperity.

From handcarts to horse-drawn carriages and steam-driven vehicles to the new London bus, see this parade of vehicles old and new as they come into Guildhall Yard to be marked with a red hot iron by the Master Carmen and the Lord Mayor. In 2013 there was even a ‘marking’ of a steam train; I was fortunate enough to have been witness to this quirky event.

Venue: Guildhall Yard, Gresham Street, London, EC2V 5AE
The word ‘guildhall’ is said to derive from the Anglo-Saxon ‘gild’ meaning payment, so it was probably a place where citizens would pay their taxes. The present Guildhall commenced in 1411 and, having survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, it is the only secular stone structure dating from before 1666 still standing in the City.

For more information of the various City of London Festival venues: http://www.colf.org/venues

Nearest tube station: Bank – Northern, Central, Waterloo & City line and DLR
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

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Information on London Events, Exhibitions, Embassies, Places of Interest & much more

 

 

A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes will no longer accept cash. Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.

oyster card travel in london
Oyster Card

Oyster cards no longer needed:

If you no longer need your Oyster card we’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.

If you have funds left over on the pay as you go Oyster card after your visit to London you can claim the balance back.

To get a refund you can: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/replacements-and-refunds/oyster-refunds-and-replacements

Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post them your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays

Please note this does not apply to Travel Cards, one day or otherwise. It is only for Pay as you go Oyster Cards.

diamond jubilee routemaster

Routemaster – Diamond Jubilee

In 2014, the very first of London’s famous Routemaster bus, RM1, will be sixty years old. The Routemaster Association will be commemorating this significant anniversary by staging a birthday party for RM1 at Finsbury Park – and everyone is welcome to join in.  Routemaster Parades at 14.00 on both days

diamond jubilee routemaster
The old Routemaster #15

Entrance to the event is free.
– See more at: http://www.routemaster.org.uk/pages/diamondjubilee

The rally site in Finsbury Park is situated on Seven Sisters Road, about two minutes walk from Finsbury Park station.
As these is no parking on site, arrival by public transport is the best option.

Nearest tube stations: Manor House & Finsbury Park

Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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beating retreat london 2014

Beating Retreat 2014

After 12 years in London/UK I finally found myself in a position to be in London for Beating Retreat!

beating retreat london 2014
Hooray!!! Beating Retreat 12 June 2014, Horse Guards Parade, London

I had seen the posters, read the web, been to Trooping the Colour a number of times but not yet, despite so badly wanting the opportunity, been to watch Beating Retreat.

A few weeks before the event, and after I had already booked my ticket, whoo hoo!!! I read in the Evening Standard that ‘no-one ever went to what was quoted as being London’s best kept secret’.

Hmmm, not too sure you can believe what you read in the papers….I knew about it!! :)
and so did a great many other people as it turned out….the stands at Horse Guards Parade were quite literally packed out…altho I did see sections of unoccupied seating on the farrrr side of the stands, I’m not sure they were even meant to be utilised and were probably to accommodate the audience for Saturday’s Trooping the Colour (which I am so going to apply for next year!). As for the most expensive seats in the house….not one was empty!! (mind you one family who have a front-row seat is himself; the PM and his family – the back of the house overlooks the parade ground)

beating retreat london 2014
bright and early for Beating Retreat 2014 :)

So on with Beating Retreat…….
First off, let me say this….if you have not yet been, GO!!! It’s terrific. A not to be missed event. If you love all the pomp and ceremony of the UK’s Ceremonial Troops when the Massed Bands of the Household Division (with a history spanning over three centuries) gather together with units from other divisions, then this is a must see. Right up there with, and as spectacular as Trooping the Colour, albeit quite different. Beating Retreat is held each year on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or “Trooping the Colour” at Horse Guards Parade

beating retreat london 2014
The Union Jack flies at Horse Guards Parade

Scottish pipes and kilts, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, Massed Bands and Drums, Mounted Horse Guards, and on and on….Beating Retreat is a magnificent display of pomp and pageantry that Britain does so well; spirited marches, military music, precision drill, cannon, fireworks and colour set in the very heart of London. Besides our fabulous bands and troops we were also treated to the Vancouver Police Pipe Band from Canada.

beating retreat london 2014
The Massed Bands and Corps of Drums of Her Majesty The Queen’s Household Division – combining 250 Foot Guards and Mounted Cavalry musicians and choral accompaniment from the Royal Choral Society.

The participants of Household Division Beating Retreat are drawn from the bands of the two Household Cavalry Regiments and the five Foot Guards Regiments which make up the Household Division. Not only do they participate in Beating the Retreat, they also play a part in: Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the State Opening of Parliament and of course Trooping the Colour; the Queen’s Birthday Parade held each year on the 2nd Saturday of June.

This year was particularly poignant. The 100th anniversay of the First World War and 70th anniversary of D-Day. On the parade ground were troops dressed (inadequately may I add!) as they would have been for that terrible war, and the bands played tunes such as ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ (at which memory I’m getting all emotional) and a number of other fantastic tunes so reminiscent of the spirit of the men and troops of that era, the fighting spirit that although smashed into the ground, never broke. A terrible war by all accounts but the spirit of the men was what in my mind makes it the Great War.

There were so many amazing spectacles that night, I am quite unable to say which was the best…fireworks and cannon fire accompanied some of the music, loud explosions with vivid clouds of red and white…sounds and sights that I’m sure sent the chill of terror coursing through the veins of the men who heard them for real on those battle fields so far away.

I got there really early…7pm on the dot.

To my dismay I did not have enough money with me to buy a programme :( I didn’t realise, but should have known really that they would have programmes and souvenirs. Anyway, the event was superb!! They had a lone Piper play a haunting tune on the Cenotaph with five life-size bronze figures representing the Foot Guards Regiments (Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Welsh and Irish). The inscription is by Rudyard Kipling. located at the head of St James’s Park, which very nearly had me sobbing. I was so thrilled to be there and so adore the bagpipes that it was quite overwhelming. A truly unforgettable evening with hundreds of musicians, drummers and pipers.

One of the most remarkable things about these events is that they start at exactly the time they say on the tin!! If they say the Queen will arrive at precisely 1pm, she arrives at precisely 1pm. Big Ben could set his watch by her! ;)

The salute is usually taken by Her Majesty The Queen or another member of The Royal Family. This year her Majesty wasn’t at Beating Retreat….but…..we were treated to a glimpse of William!!! Yes, our lovely, lovely HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards (amongst many other titles) took the salute. And how dashing he looked in his wonderful uniform. Okay so I won’t go on at length here about the lad…suffice to say I am a HUGE fan!!! of him, his brother and now his wife who is such a credit to the ‘family’ and of course the latest addition…Prince George.

beating retreat london 2014
Arriving for Beating Retreat 2014; HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge & Colonel of the Regiment Irish Guards

The Senior Director of Music was from the Irish Guards and the concert this year was performed by the Massed Bands and Corps of Her Majesty the Queen’s Household Division that combined 250 Foot Guards with Mounted Cavalry Musicians and the gun carriages of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

beating retreat london 2014
The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery

They were accompanied by the Royal Choral Society and three guest bands: The Troupe de Marine Band and Band of the Legion d’Etrangere (Foreign Legion) from France and the aforementioned Vancouver Police Pipe Band from Canada. We were treated to wave after wave of troops, bands, gun-carriages, pipes and vivid spectacles, so many that I have quite lost count…..I am so planning on going again next year! In fact, I may just go every year now till I leave this mortal plane.

Beating Retreat is held on two days June and tickets go on sale a few months beforehand. If you happen to be in London over that period and haven’t been able to book a ticket, then just hang around The Mall between oh say 7.30pm-8.30pm…..the troops have to come from somewhere…..and they do….right along The Mall!!! In fact, besides the displays and spectacles on the parade, you would likely have a better view of them as they march to the parade grounds….which, now that I have sat on one of the stands, is a heck of a lot bigger from that perspective than I imagined. Thankfully there was commentary throughout and two big screens on the parade grounds for us to get a larger view of what were quite tiny little figures from where I was sat! I have also cased out the joint in terms of viewability and I know just where I am going to book my seat for 2015!! See you there :)

Now a bit of history:
“Beating Retreat has its origins in the early years of organised warfare when the beating of drums and the parading of Post Guards heralded the closing of camp gates and the lowering of flags at the end of the day”.
Beating Retreat; refers to a military drum call that traces its origins back to the 16th century, an age-old ceremony, the ‘Retreat’ has its origins from the early days of chivalry when beating or sounding retreat put a halt to the days fighting and recalled nearby units to the garrison. The drummer would sound ‘the retreat’ and soldiers who had just minutes before been fighting would break off fighting and ‘retreat’ from the fields and return to the safety of camp, mount the guard for the night, then gather wood to prepare fires, cook food and settle for a night’s sleep before heading back onto the battle fields.

From their website: An order from the army of James II of England, dated to 18 June 1690, had his drums beating an order for his troops to retreat and a later order, from William III in 1694, read:
“The Drum Major and Drummers of the Regiment which gives a Captain of the Main Guard are to beat the Retreat through the large street, or as may be ordered. They are to be answered by all the Drummers of the guards, and by four Drummers of each Regiment in their respective Quarters”.

Military Beating Retreat concerts have a tradition dating back to the 1690s, however, today, Beating Retreat, a pageant marking the lowering of the Regimental flag at sunset, is a major event in the Army’s ceremonial calendar. An evening concert with participants drawn from the Household Cavalry Regiments and the five Foot Guards Regiments that make up the Household Division. Beating Retreat cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

This is an absolute must see event on the London summer calendar. I am already trying to persuade my sister to come over next year for the 2015 event!!

For more information and to keep an eye on future dates, visit The Household Division website

The tickets will give you the details of which entrance to use.

So for the convenience of spectators who want to see the bands but are not on the parade ground:
Nearest tube: Westminster – Jubilee and Circle & District lines. St James’s Park – District & Circle lines. Green Park – Jubilee, Victoria and Piccadilly lines. Leicester Square – Northern & Piccadilly lines. Or slightly farther afield you can also use Charing Cross – Bakerloo & Northern lines.
These stations will all give you access to The Mall or St James’s Park (where there is a small area from where you can watch proceedings on the Parade Ground, although the view is not terrific).

Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

National Rail: Charing Cross or Waterloo – plan your journey: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk

What you can see in the area – there is so much to see here, so a few of the highlights:
St James’s Park, Green Park, Buckingham palace, Admiralty Arch, The Mall, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, King Charles Street, Parliament Square, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Courts and the Jewel Tower.

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London Events, Exhibitions, Locations, Embassies & much more

A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes will no longer accept cash.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/cash-free-buses?intcmp=17374

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.
http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/oystercard/product/oyster-card.html

Types of refund
Oyster cards no longer needed
If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.
To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post us your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays
Please note this does not apply to Travel Cards, one day or otherwise. It is only for Pay as you go Oyster Cards.

Please note too that I am not an agent for TfL, I have added this for your information only. If you have an enquiries please head over to their website. Have a great stay in London.

More about the Guards Memorial

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