Tag Archives: things to see and do in London

Happy Anniversary 3 Days in London!!

So it may well be the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic and it was the State Opening of Parliament today…..but most importantly it is also the 3rd anniversary of 3 Days in London!!!

3 days in london
3rd Anniversary of 3 Days in London

Amazingly, 3 years ago today, I set out on a whole new adventure….I launched the 3 Days in London blog and just a few days ago I launched the new 3 Days in London App!

This all came about due to my creating an itinerary for 6 hours in London that I sent to a friend in America who had a layover at Heathrow and wanted a suggestion of something to fill the time – I had connected with her via twitter some months before on my personal twitter account @notjustagranny   :)
My daughter a business woman in her own right, was well impressed with the itinerary and being an ideas person, said I could make a business out of that!   And so 3 Days in London was born!
I set about visiting and blogging about all the marvellous things there are to do and see in London as well as taking and sharing photos…..lots of photos!!! 😉 and videos and suggestions of places to visit….especially the hidden places that are so extraordinary!

As the years went by I got more and more involved in London events and visited more and more places.
I have met and made many friends along the way over these last 3 years and consider myself blessed to be able to follow my passion, and a passion it has certainly become!
I have also had the good fortune to be involved in two amazing events on the River Thames, The Green Man in January 2013 and more recently the Tudor Pull in April 2013.   This came about due to connecting with and becoming friends with Joe Lane of @rowjoelane on twitter. We connected back in 2010 over the time of the Lord Mayor’s Show in November of that year and he now keeps me posted on all events that happen on the river….thanks Joe 😉

Joe invited me to attend the Watermen’s AGM a few months back and there I came to meet the folks of Thames Alive! I volunteered to create and manage their twitter profile @Thames_Alive  and have since learned so much about our beautiful river; the Thames, without which London just would be just another city…..albeit an entirely fabulous and fascinating city.   I sometimes wonder if the Thames had not been where she is….whether the Romans would have stopped here! :)
But since she is and they did…..here we are…..2000 years later and still going strong!   One of the most fascinating cities in the world; and a river runs through it!

the river thames in london
The River Thames that runs through London

A little closer to current times, in November of 2012, I met with another friend that I had met and have become close to via twitter…Patriona Briggs of @Twickenham_App
Patriona and I met some years ago when she saw one of my Twickenham photos on my blog (this now features as the main photo on her app)    She had recently started building apps and since she knew I was keen to have one for 3 Days in London, we started planning…….. :)
and just a few days ago without further ado….we launched the 3 Days in London App…..all things London :)

3 days in london
the header created by @NewMediaAngels for the launch of the App and newsletter

It has been an incredible journey, a journey that started via twitter back in 2010!  Along the way I have learned a number of useful skills…. tweeting, creating albums, pinning albums, instagramming, blogging, how to crop, resize, edit and watermark photos, to write, to make videos and how to upload, then download to youtube, add music, and now… how to edit and manage an app!  What an exciting venture…taking me to places I never thought I would go!!  I have also in the intervening years been invited to be a Guest Blogger on a number of other sites like @London24 @gotsaga and been grilled by ‘The London Grill’ :)    I have also met Boris Johnson….albeit briefly & he had no idea who he was meeting!! LOL

And so the adventure continues….and I plan to blog and share my exciting adventures in London for years to come…..

The 3 Days in London App is free on both Android and Apple….

3 days in london app
Tower Bridge, my favourite bridge launches the 3 Days in London App


You can download the Android App here
or download the Apple App here

It is a work in progress and I will add more and more info and events as I go…..and what I have discovered is that the App has a life of it’s own and like a baby….needs constant attention!  If you have any suggestions for the App please do message me via the message feature and I will certainly have a look into it.  Also there is a fab feature whereby you can share some of your London photos which will be featured on flickr with your twitter handle (unless you say otherwise).


Thanks for dropping by, I would be delighted if you shared this blog via twitter or facebook. Do join me on twitter or join the facebook page….hope to see you there.

Have a great day, and if you have recently arrived in London….have a wonderful stay.   Regards Cindy

p.s. the 6 Hours in London Itinerary is available on the App as well as a free download….

7 Extraordinary discoveries in the City of London

London is without a doubt one of the most intruiging and fascinating cities in the world; a mix of very old, old and new!

st pauls from millenium bridge
view of St Paul’s Cathedral – 300 years+ and Millenium Bridge just over a decade old

Much has been written about Hidden London and the Gems of London and the more you read, the more you want to get out there and see it all…well I do anyway :)

I have dozens of books on London and sometimes I get so frustrated because the days are not long enough and I don’t have enough days to see it all. I sometimes wish I was 2 people then I could cover more ground…however, having said that, with just me on my own I have made some extraordinary discoveries in London.

I take every opportunity that I can to go #walkabout (this is the hashtag I use on Twitter when on London adventures) and love nothing more than to just walk with no particular destination or objective in mind…to just meander here and there, following my nose, so to speak! And my trusty nose leads me to discover some of the most fascinating places; often unknown even by Londoners.

I have compiled a list of some of those that impressed me the most, places that have been there for years, or even aeons and are as yet undiscovered by the majority; places that are hidden gems and remain so because they are so hidden, some are not so hidden, but in plain sight and yet only the lucky few get to see them. Hmmm….so perhaps I shouldn’t tell you either!!! 😉 …but I will :)

The Roman Wall at Tower Hill Station.

The Guildhall

The Roman amphitheatre at Guildhall

The George Inn, Southwark

The Museum of London

A Masonic Temple at the Andaz Hotel

St Bartholomew’s Church, Smithfield

So there you have it, these are just 7 of the most extraordinary discoveries I have made in this most marvellous city; London. There are many more fascinating places in London that I have discovered, some well known, others less so…some visited frequently without knowledge of it’s history – all there waiting to be discovered!


For more about my London discoveries do visit www.3daysinlondon.info and I would love you to join me on twitter @3days_in_london or facebook www/facebook.com/3DaysinLondon


The Original Maids of Honour

Last weekend on Sunday I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to see the annual spring display of daffodils….magical.  A carpet of thousands and thousands of daffodils brighten up the Broad Walk and many other little nooks and crannies.  Daffodils are my absolute favourite flower, so of course I had to go and have a look.  Tens of thousands of daffodils (Narcissus ‘February Gold’ line the historic Broad Walk, which was designed by William Nesfield in the mid-1800s.

the original maids of honour
thousands of spring daffodils along the Broadwalk at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

I walked along the Thames Path from Richmond Lock to Kew, a distance of 1.75 miles, a walk that is just marvellous, so peaceful and beautiful with so much to see and hear!  With the advent of spring, as you can imagine, the bird-song was quite extraordinary!   There were a lot of people about on the path, cycling, running or just walking and the river was quite busy with eights and fours and single rowers all making the most of a lovely morning.  I arrived at the Main Gate at exactly 9.33 and was most surprised to see so many other visitors waiting to go in….Sunday morning!! who knew?

royal botanic gardens at kew
an aerial view of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

I spent a very happy few hours meandering about the gardens (as a member of Kew I can go as often as I like…every day if I had the time :) ), made another visit to Kew Palace and also made a determined effort to see as many of the David Nash sculptures as I could before the exhibition ends.  They are quite extraordinary and the exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery was really very interesting….he certainly has an amazing talent.

david nash at kew gardens
the David Nash exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery in Kew Gardens

By midday I was feeling quite famished….mostly because in my impatience to be off earlier on in the morning on what was a lovely spring day, I had forgotten to eat breakfast.  I had read in a magazine somewhere about a tea-room called ‘The Original Maids of Honour’ and had determined to find it the next time I went to Kew and to treat myself…the review was very favourable.

the original maids of honour
In this shop are made….

Oh my word!!!  It was beyond expectations.  A delightful little house that looks so quaint and so cute.  I picked up one of their brochures to learn more and discovered that The Original Maids of Honour are in fact a type of cake!!!!  A delectable pastry!

An excerpt from their brochure: A short history – “The Maids of Honour cake has been part of Richmond history for nearly 300 years. Although there are numerous legends about their origin, it is generally believed that Henry VIII was the first to use the name when he met Anne Boleyn and other Maids of Honour eating the cakes from a silver dish.  It would appear that King Henry VIII was so delighted with the cakes that the recipe was kept secret and locked in an iron box in Richmond Palace”.

Now in order to learn more and read the rest of the legend, you will have to visit the tea-room!   What an incentive! 😉

I settled myself down at a window table and ordered tea and a croissant…not sure why I didn’t have one of the pastries, but that will be my incentive to go back!  The croissant was delicious; fresh and not too flaky and served with butter and strawberry jam, mmmm.  The tea was served in a metal tea-pot which I love as it keeps the contents piping hot….there is nothing that beats a cup of strong, hot tea!

the original maids of honour
a cup of piping hot tea and a delicious croissant…

Stepping through the 19th century doorway into the front of store and right before my very eyes was an array of delectable pastries, good enough to eat!   The interior of the restaurant is quaint, and not too large, with what I imagine is country house style decor…bits and bobs and knick knacks.  Delightful.  I so enjoyed just sitting there watching the world go by and enjoying my cup of tea with the sound of quiet chatter and rustling newspapers in the background; heaven.   It is certainly not the last they have seen of me :)  I just loved the gorgeous 1930’s Austin van out front….they actually use it to make deliveries….how quaint!

the original maids of honour
the 1930s Austin van

The Original Maids of Honour can be found at 288 Kew Road, Kew Gardens, TW9 3DU just a short walk from Kew Gardens Station or Kew Bridge Station and near the Cumberland Gate of the Royal Botanic Gardens.  Their menu looks appetising and I am looking forward to trying out the Full Breakfast and Cream Tea…on different occasions of course.

the original maids of honour
an absolutely adorable building – The Original Maids of Honour, Kew

If you have enjoyed this blog, please do retweet it and perhaps even visit them for an ‘Original Maid of Honour’…freshly baked of course!  Join me on twitter for more about London and facebook for more photos of places to visit and things to see in London.



when 3 worlds collide…

What do Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday; the Virgin London Marathon & the Royal Watermen’s Tudor Pull have in common?  They all happen on the same day in 2013!!  So if your’e in London for 3 days (or more!) and wondering what to do……

Sunday 21st April is going to be a most extraordinary day on the London 2013 calendar as 3 worlds collide. Not only is it Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, but we also have two exciting events, one sporting and one traditional; the Virgin London Marathon and the Watermen’s Tudor Pull – all happening on the same day!

The Queen’s birthday

Queen Elizabeth II at Trooping the Colour 2010
Queen Elizabeth II at Trooping the Colour 2010

Queen Elizabeth II will turn 87 this year and is almost our longest reigning monarch; she ascended the throne in February 1952 on the death of her father. With only a few years to go to overtake Queen Victoria, who reigned for just over 63 years: 20 June 1837-22 January 1901, Elizabeth II will then be the longest reigning British monarch in history. The only other monarch who came anywhere close was George III who reigned from 25 October 1760 – 29 January 1820. Long live the Queen!

Her Majesty was born on April 21, 1926 in Mayfair, London.  A tiny, vivacious woman with a strong determined personality, she is recognised world-wide, and graces our great country adding an element of mystery and stability. Her full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary and she has been married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh since 1947 with whom she has 4 children. Her parents were King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

You probably won’t get to see the Queen on the 21st….unless you are very lucky, but you would definitely get to see her at the Trooping the Colour event in June.   The queen actually celebrates two birthdays each year…her actual birthday on 21 April (usually privately) the occasion marked publicly by gun salutes at midday: Hyde Park, Central London: a 41 gun salute, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park (on Saturday 20th this year) and a 62 gun salute at HM Tower of London and her ceremonial birthday in June: Trooping the Colour.  Thankfully she doesn’t age by two years each year! Trooping the Colour is a splendid affair, full of Pomp & Ceremony which the British do so well!

The Virgin London Marathon:

virgin london marathon
Greenwich where the Virgin London Marathon will start


The second great event on Sunday is of course the Virgin London Marathon, now in it’s 33rd year, has become a world-famous event on the running calendar!  One of the top 5 international marathons, the event has since it started in 1981 raised over £450million for charity and holds a Guinness world record. A colourful event, the race attracts a large number of amateur runners that sees people dressed up in crazy costumes running to raise funds for their chosen charity. This year’s event, although marred by the recent tragic events at the Boston Marathon, will go ahead and you can find details of the route here where you will find a terrific interactive map with loads of details. The race begins at 3 separate points in Greenwich and finishes on The Mall alongside St James’s Park and near to Buckingham Palace (where the queen lives when she is in London :) ).



The Royal Watermen’s Tudor Pull:

gloriana and the tudor pull
The glorious ‘Gloriana’ will lead the flotilla for the Tudor Pull


The third very exciting event to take place this Sunday!  Travelling from Hampton Court Palace to HM Tower of London, the Royal Watermen’s Tudor Pull is organised by The Thames Traditional Rowing Association in conjunction with the Watermen’s Guild of the City of London. The Tudor Pull, a ceremonial event for the Thames Watermen’s Cutters delivers the ‘Stela’ a piece of medieval water pipe made from a hollowed tree trunk and bears the coat of arms of the Waterman’s Company. The ‘Stela’ is handed over into the custody of her Majesty’s Bargemasters and then carried by river from Hampton Court Palace to HM Tower of London. The cutters are rigged with full ceremonial canopies and flags, and rowed with 4 oars by fully-liveried crews.  An annual event on the #RiverThames the flotilla proves to be a thrilling sight with the boats and rowers decked out in Full Regalia. This year, for the first time the wonderful and glorious Gloriana will head the flotilla as it sails majestically along the River Thames.

The Royal Watermen’s Tudor Pull on April 21 2013 starts at Hampton Court Palace at 09:30 the flotilla leaves the Palace at approx 10:45 on Sunday and arrives at HM Tower of London late afternoon approx 16:00. For full details and times please click here: The Tudor Pull

There are many vantage points where you can stand to get a brilliant view of the procession; namely the bridges that cross the river from Hampton Court to Tower Bridge.  The flotilla will be in Richmond between 12:45 and 13:30.  You could also head over to Teddington Lock where you would get an up close and very personal look at the procession or anywhere along the riverbanks between Hampton Court to London central along the Thames Path.

Be sure to look out for the beautiful Trinity Tide; the Watermen’s Cutter of Trinity House rowed by Joe Lane  & his very capable crew 😉

trinity tide
The Trinity Tide at the London 2012 Olympic Torch event

To get the best of both worlds….you would be able to see the London Marathon and later the Tudor Pull on the River from anywhere along the Victoria Embankment between Blackfriars Bridge and Westminster Bridge (check the timetable of the flotilla).  Alternatively you would be able to see the marathon runners as they cross Tower Bridge and the Tudor Pull as it arrives at the Tower of London from anywhere on the riverside embankment in front of the Tower and from the More London embankment (in front of the Mayors office).

Have a great time. I hope you get to enjoy the festivities and have a wonderful day…the sun may well be shining and hopefully we can expect decent temperatures. If you have enjoyed this post please do retweet it and join me on twitter or facebook.   I look forward to seeing you there. :)  Talking of which, I received some thrilling news this morning, from Joe in fact, to say that I will be able to join the ‘Verity’, one of the boats in the flotilla!!!  So on Sunday I will join the flotilla at Hampton Court Palace and sail along the river to the Tower of London….to say that I am dancing on the ceiling would be an understatement!  Photos and exclusive story to follow :)

The photos of the Trinity Tide and Gloriana supplied via Joe Lane @rowjoelane and Thames Traditional Rowing Association @TTRALondon & @Thames_Alive

a Green Man travels on Blue Water

Okay well I can’t exactly say that the Thames is blue water….but I thought that ‘green man travels on blue water’ sounded quite funky!! :)

the pool of london, bankside london,
well it does look blue!!! :)

So aside from that, a few days ago an email popped into my inbox that had me in a right tizz….a friend of mine; Joe, who I met through twitter @rowjoelane told me about an event that involved someone called ‘The Green Man’.  I immediately clicked on the link he provided and ohmygosh…..another London/Thames tradition to get me all excited. “THE HOLLY MAN FROM THE THAMES  To herald the celebration, the extraordinary HOLLY MAN, the winter guise of the GREEN MAN (from our pub signs, pagan myths and folklore), decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage, appears from the River Thames.”

the twelfth night green man poster
The Twelfth Night poster - image via http://www.thelionspart.co.uk/twelfthnight/index.html

I first ‘met’ Joe through the Lord Mayors Show in 2010 when we connected via twitter.  He and his crew were rowing the Trinity Tide in the show and since I was going to be there we agreed I would wave from the side of the Thames so that they could see me….I waved a pink scarf :) yelled like mad and they waved from waterside.   Since then Joe has regularly sent me emails with events that were happening on the Thames and whenever I was in town I got to go along and watch.  We finally met face to face earlier this year at one of the races when I joined him and his wife at the start of a race and then travelled with his wife to the end of the course where we had a champagne reception with the other competitors/teams…which was great fun!

Joe and his crew have rowed in so many events over the years, have raised money for charity and were even involved with the Diamond Jubilee in June and the London2012 Olympics!! How awesome.  Watching these races and boating events is so much more fun when you know someone who is rowing!  So back to the email….they will be rowing the Green Man along the Thames as part of the Twelfth Night celebrations on 6 January 2013.  This is the craft that will carry the Green Man from Ahoy to Bankside

this is what the boat will look like on the day with some holly & ivy splashed around it

So guess where I will (like to) be?  :)  Well a girl can dream can’t she!!  Failing which I will be at Bankside to welcome the Green Man and the Trinity Tide!   So cool.

2012.12.31 NEWS FLASH!!!!! I will indeed be travelling as a passenger on the beautiful Trinity Tide as she carries the Green Man to Bankside!!!  How awesome is that!! I got a message a couple of days ago from @rowjoelane to say “welcome aboard”.  HOORAY!!!!! and a MASSIVE thanks to Joe!! :)

Don’t miss out on this event, it looks to be great fun. “Twelfth Night is an annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London. It is a celebration of the New Year, mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity. It is free, accessible to all and happens whatever the weather.”  Here is a link to more info about The Green Man. The Green Man is deeply rooted in a whole host of customs and traditions.   He is also known as the Wild Man, Jack-in-the-Green, the Green Knight, the May King and sometimes Robin Hood.    He is irrepressible life.

Do go along to Bankside on January 6th 2013 and take part in all the fun of the Twelfth Night festivities.  If you think someone else would enjoy the festivities please do retweet this.  Join me on twitter and find me on facebook too where I usually post photos of London as well as links to what’s happening in London.  If you would like to connect with Joe on twitter click here.

The official press release from their website:

TWELFTH NIGHT    the Lions part invites everyone to their 19th TWELFTH NIGHT CELEBRATION beginning on   the Bankside near Shakespeare’s Globe and continuing by procession to the historic  George Inn in Southwark.  A collective celebration of the New Year, TWELFTH NIGHT mixes  ancient Midwinter seasonal customs and contemporary festivity On Bankside by Shakespeare’s Globe Sunday 6th January 2013  at 2.45pm

THE HOLLY MAN FROM THE THAMES  – To herald the celebration, the extraordinary HOLLY MAN, the winter guise of the GREEN MAN (from our pub signs, pagan myths and folklore), decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage, appears from the River Thames.

THE BANKSIDE WASSAILS  – With the crowd, led by the BANKSIDE MUMMERS, the HOLLY MAN will ‘bring in the green’ and toast or  ‘WASSAIL’ the people, the River Thames and the Globe (an old tradition to encourage good growth) with the London Town Crier.

THE MUMMERS’ PLAY –  The MUMMERS will then process to the BANKSIDE JETTY, and perform the traditional ‘freestyle’ St. George FOLK COMBAT PLAY, featuring the Turkey Sniper, Clever Legs, the Old ‘Oss and many others, dressed in spectacular costumes.  The play is full of wild verse and boisterous action, a time-honoured part of the season recorded since the Crusades.

KING BEAN AND QUEEN PEA – CAKES distributed at the end of the play have a BEAN and a PEA hidden in two of them. Those from the crowd who find them are hailed KING and QUEEN for the day and crowned with  ceremony. They then lead the people through the streets to the historic GEORGE INN in  Southwark for a fine warming-up with STORYTELLING, the KISSING WISHING TREE more  DANCING and MULLED WINE.  TWELFTH NIGHT is FREE, FUN and PHOTO-FRIENDLY for ALL THE FAMILY.

Why not go along and make merry!!!