Nearly 200 years ago during Easter vacation in 1829, two young men decided to set up a boating challenge; ‘that the University of Cambridge hereby challenge the University of Oxford to row a match at or near London, each in an eight-oared boat during the ensuing Easter vacation.’
The ‘Boat Race'; now known as the BNY Mellon Boat Race takes place by tradition on a weekend close to Easter; an annual contest between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Raced along the Thames Tideway between Putney & Mortlake, the two rowing crews pit their strength and skills against each other in a boat race that is amongst the oldest sporting events in the world; the Oxford/Cambridge challenge was first raced on 10 June 1829 in Henley on Thames, the 2nd race in 1836 in London.
In 2014 a clash of oars put one of the Cambridge rowers half into the water for 5 lengths and handed Oxford an 11-length victory.
Best viewing would be anywhere along the river between Putney & Mortlake. For the finish, the best viewing is to be had at Mortlake near Chiswick Bridge and along Duke’s Meadow and on the Chiswick Bridge.
There are a number of food vendors on the site so you won’t go hungry as well as which The Ship pub is open for business
Fast forward to 2015 and with just days to go to what has become the Annual Boat Race watched by thousands in London and millions around the world on TV, sporting history will be made on Saturday 11th April when the BNY Mellon Boat Race is joined for the first time by The Newton Women’s Boat Race.
The Newton Women’s Boat Race, established in 1927 will for the first time race the same course and Sir Steve Redgrave, one of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians with present the trophies to the victors!. Be there or miss out! Saturday 11th April 2015 4.50pm for The Newton Women’s Boat Race & 5.50pm for the BNY Mellon Boat Race #WhichBlueRU
The race has not been without some excitement; in 2012 some bloke jumped into the river causing mayhem with the race being restarted at the half-way point.
For this and many more events remember to download you FREE 3DaysInLondon App
A visit to the British Museum; one of London’s most famous museums and one of my Top 30 Attractions
with a collection that includes items of ancient history from the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, to ancient Egyptian mummies, objects from the South Seas and Roman sculptures amongst many others; a collection of cultural art and antiquities numbering 8 million works. A vast cavern filled with some of the most extraordinary objects and items you could ever imagine….you could easily spend a day there and still not see everything.
Dedicated to human history, it’s permanent collection is among the largest and most comprehensive in existance.
Originally founded as a “universal museum”, it’s foundations lie in the will of the physician and naturalist, Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), who during the course of his lifetime gathered an invaluable and enviable collection of curiosities. Not wanting to see his collection broken up after his death he bequeathed it to King George II for the nation…..thank you Hans!
On June 7th, 1753, King George II gave his assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The museum first opened to the public on January 15th, 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury on the site of the current museum building. With the exception of the two World Wars, the museum has remained open ever since, and with free admission right from the start, visitor numbers have grown from around 5,000 per year in the 18th century to 6million today.
Elgin Marbles, Benin Bronzes, Parthenon sculptures, the Rosetta Stone the names roll off the tongue like mystical marbles…. from Egyptian, Greek and Roman sculptures to Assyrian and Babylonian antiquities,
the museum’s collection has been added to over the years by notables such as:
from 1778 – a fascinating display of objects brought back by Captain James Cook from the round-the-world voyages to places like the South Seas and other previously unknown lands.
Egyptian sculptures – after the defeat of the French Campaign in the Battle of the Nile in 1801.
In 1802 King George III presented the Rosetta Stone – the key to the deciphering of heiroglyphs.
In 1818, gifts and purchases from Henry Salt, British consul general, laid the foundations of the Egyptian Monumental Sculpture collection. Egyptian antiquities have formed part of The British Museum collection ever since it’s foundation in 1753 and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
In 1806, the Elgin Marbles, removed from the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens and transferred to the UK by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin; ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803, acquired by The British Museum by an Act of Parliament in 1816.
These collections were supplemented by the Bassaefrieze from Phigaleia, Greece.
Highlights of the collection include:
The Rosetta Stone – 196BC
Colossal bust of Ramesses II, the “Younger Memnon” – 1250BC
Colossal red granite statue of Amenhotep III – 1350BC
Mummy of ‘Ginger’ that dates to about 3300BC
Mummy of Cleopatra from Thebes – 100AD
Obelisk of Pharaoh Nectanebo II – 360-343BC
One of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections, over 100,000 objects of antiquties from the Classical world ranging in date from the Bronze Age (about 3200BC) to the 4th century AD.
The world’s largest Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraq, a collection numbering some 330,000 works.
The instantly recognisable Greek Revival facade facing Great Russel Street is closely based on those of the temple of Athena Polias at Priene in Asia Minor, with 44, 45 ft columns in the Ionic order.
The pediment over the main entrance, installed in 1852 depicting The Progress of Civilisation, consists of 15 allegorical figures sculpted by Sir Richard Westmacott. The East Wing (The King’s Library) was constructed in 1823-1828 and the North Wing (now the Wellcome Gallery) in 1833-1838.
The most recognised and iconic image (probably also the most photographed) of the British Museum is the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court – 1,656 uniquely shaped panes of glass, the largest covered square in the world, opened in December 2000, designed by the engineers Buro Happold and the architects Foster and Partners. At the centre of the Great Court is the Reading Room, open to any member of the public who wishes to read there.
A national collection of Western Prints and Drawings; groups of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt and Goyer amongst others.
30,000 British drawings and watercolours by Hogarth, Turner, Constable, Girtin, Cotman, Cox as well as all the great Victorians.
The Department of Prehistory and Europe holds a collection that covers a vast expanse of time; including some of the earliest objects made by humans 2 million years ago.
An extraordinary and fascinating museum, the rooms, galleries and corridors contain a trove of treasures that will keep you going back again and again; my favourite entrance is through the rear from Montague Place!
Reasons to go:
See the Rosetta Stone up close and personal!
Admire the Great Court.
Explore the rooms and galleries discovering unbelieveable and extraordinary objects as you go.
The Museum celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2003.
The British Museum, Great Russel Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG
Admission is FREE and the museum is open Saturday – Thursday 10am-5.30pm and extended hours on Friday 10am – 8.30pm. Charges apply for special exhibitions. http://www.britishmuseum.org
The British Museum features on Day * of the 3 Days in London Itineraries.
There is a food vendor in the forecourt, I can recommend the crepes
Nearest Tube Stations: Tottenham Court Road or Russell Street.
Buses: there are any number of buses that service the area
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk
For the last four years the Wintershall Players have performed The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square, a realistic, emotive play that left me feeling elated, shaken and amazed. The first time I became aware of the play was in 2011 and in 2012 I decided to attend the play myself. I managed to squeeze myself into a tiny spot on the steps leading towards the National Gallery but felt I was rather too far away from the area where most of the play was delivered. But that said, it was extraordinary! I am not at all religious and yet I found this play to be so beautifully delivered that I was left feeling bemused and …shaken I think would be the word. I loved it. It was enlightening and shocking and I wondered at the time of how it is we humans react to something that is unknown and frightening. I was so enchanted that I decided to go again in 2014 (I was working in 2013) and it was just as amazing, shocking and wonderful as the first time.
This time around I managed to get myself a spot on the corridor leading to the steps and whilst it was rather an uncomfortable postion (my bottom doesn’t like cold concrete LOL) it was an amazing vantage point.
The play expands right from the area behind Old Nelson and up the steps in front of the Gallery. I felt like I was right in the thick of it. The players walked within inches of me and with them so close the emotions conveyed felt a lot stronger.
The sheer joy when Jesus arrives on the donkey is palpable and even though they are actors playing a part, the emotion they inject into their characters leaves you feeling like you have suddenly been transported back 2,000 years to Israel and right into the life of Jesus. Having the Roman soldiers marching by was quite scary
and watching as Jesus, whipped torn and bleeding struggling to carry the cross within inches of me was so incredibly emotional that even today as I write it’s brought tears to my eyes…it’s truly an extraordinary scene….so much so that a gentleman from the audience was so overcome that he jumped up and tried to carry the cross himself.
As each scene is played out, you can feel the tension of the crowd rising their emotions getting higher and higher – the scenes of the thieves and Jesus being lifted onto the crosses is mesmerising and totally shocking….I was in tears as were many others in the audience. When Jesus is lowered to the ground and taken into the cave people were openly crying in the audience…it was incredibly moving and emotional. And then suddenly like a wraith in cloths of white, surrounded by an unearthly radiance, Jesus returns to shouts of joy and celebration….extraordinary and breathtaking……it truly is a play of highly charged passion.
I can highly recommend this play if you haven’t yet been. As I mentioned earlier I’m not in any way religious, but this well-known, centuries old story played out so beautifully right in front of your eyes, is something out of the ordinary; the characters played by people who are clearly very involved in the story.
This is a wonderful addition to the annual events in London calendar and I hope that it continues for many years to come and although I will miss it again this year, I am most certainly planning on going again in 2016.
The Wintershall Players will once again perform the adapted version of the ‘Passion of Jesus’ at Trafalgar Square on Good Friday 3rd April 2015.
This is a FREE event and attracts upwards of 20,000 people. If you would like to attend I suggest you get there early.
There are two performances: 12noon and at 3:15pm
The venue is open-air and the weather in April can be variable….the first year I went it was cold and wet. Last year started out sunny with blues skies, albeit chilly, but that soon changed to grey cloudy skies and cold!! #whatsnew? LOL
Wear appropriate clothing and do take along something like a cushion to sit on (no chairs allowed). Many people had blankets and spread themselves out, but space is of a premium so they had to pack things up to squeeze more attendees in before the play started.
Parental guidance is recommeded for young children, the performances are very very realistic especially the crucifixion.
Big screens are used so wherever you are you can see and hear the acting.
British Sign Language interpreters will be available for both London performances.
Address: Trafalgar Square, London
Performance times: 12Noon and 3:15pm
Nearest tube stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square and Embankment
Nearest rail station: Charing Cross and Waterloo with a tube ride.
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk
and if you missed it in the last 5 years, click here for the recording in Trafalgar Square from 2014
“For the first time in 2010 the Wintershall Players performed an adapted version of the Passion to thousands on Good Friday at Trafalgar Square, London. The performance has attracted increased crowds from 2011 through to 2014 and The Wintershall Charitable Trust are pleased to be able to perform the Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square for you on Good Friday again in 2015.
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place daily from April 2015 to July 2015
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of my favourite events, it’s free and it’s also the most easily attended as it happens just about every day…barring cancellations for bad weather and alternate days in winter with any changes to be confirmed as and when on their website (see below).
Changing the Guard is a spectacle with roots in a long line of history and tradition that dates back to 1660.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official residence in London and has to be guarded day and night. This traditional military ceremony has taken place at Buckingham Palace since 1837 during Queen Victoria’s reign.
It’s a really colourful event; Military Bands, Foot Guards, Mounted Guards – alive with pomp, ceremony, tradition, bands, soldiers, horses and history; a combination that draws huge crowds. As the time approaches you can actually feel the tension mounting and the first strains of the bands in the distance usually sending a ripple of excitement through the by then enormous crowds.
The Changing the Guard ceremony or Guard Mounting is the process involving a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard at the palace on a daily basis in spring & summer and on alternate days in autumn & winter, (if it’s very wet then the ceremony may be cancelled).
Guard Mounting takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace and lasts about 45 minutes. The event usually starts at 11:30 and it is recommended that you get there early, I usually plan to get there by 9.30 to secure a good spot as by 10am the crowds start filling the space in front of the railings and you won’t get to see as much.
The Bands in full- dress ceremonial uniforms and Foot Guards in full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins usually start arriving a few minutes beforehand and if it is the Queen’s birthday then the band usually plays ‘Happy Birthday’.
Well worth getting there early for.
Changing the Guard is an exceptionally popular event on the London calendar and listed as one of the top London attractions.
Usually provided by the battalion of the Household Division, occasionally guards are provided by other infantry battalions or units. Guardsmen are drawn from one of five regiments of Foot Guards: the Coldstream Guards, the Grenadier Guards, the Irish Guards, the Scots Guards and the Welsh Guards.
They are not only ceremonial guards but serving soldiers who perform duties throughout the world.
If you want a good view of the ceremony in the forecourt you simply have to get there really early. Please check their website for days and times. Occasionally during other Royal Ceremonial events such as Trooping the Colour, Changing the Guard will not occur.
Buckingham Palace, The Mall, City of Westminster, London is listed on the 3 Days in London App.
Nearest tube stations: Green Park – Jubilee, Piccadilly & Victoria lines. Westminster – Jubilee, Circle & District lines. St James’s Park – Circle & District lines. Victoria – Victoria, Circle & District lines.
Buses: a number of buses service the area.
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk
National rail: Victoria – Plan your journey: http://nationalrail.co.uk
What you can see in the area:
Queen Victoria Memorial
Canada Gates and WW2 Canadian War Memorial – both at Green Park
St James’s Park & the pelicans
The Guards Museum, Birdcage Walk
The Ritz Hotel on Pall Mall (near to Green Park Station) All you ever wanted to know about ‘Changing the Guard’.
British Summer Time: Spring Forward; Sunday March 29th 01:00:00
At 1am March 29th 2015 the Greenwich Meridian Time skips forward an hour to 2am…..
British Summer Time begins….Yes, it’s that time of the year again when the clocks go forward to herald the arrival of summer (even though technically it’s still spring? go figure!)
When local standard time, ‘GMT’ reaches
1:00:00 AM, clocks turn forward 1 hour
2:00:00 AM, local UK time instead
Even though technology automatically corrects our smartphones and computers etc, you still need remember to set your normal clocks and watches, and when you plan your journey for that day…take the time difference into account.
Have a great day and enjoy what I hope will be a fab summer.
Sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour later on Mar 29, 2015 than the day before. There will be more light in the evening.
Also called Spring Forward, summer time, and Daylight Savings Time.