Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Fascinating London Facts

May 28, 2015 by David Herd

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge Fascinating London Facts, here is a collection of interesting facts about this wonderful city that has been around for 6000 years.

Although the bridge is an undoubted landmark, professional commentators in the early 20th century were critical of its aesthetics. “It represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure”, wrote H. H. Statham, while Frank Brangwyn stated that “A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river”

Trafalgar Square

Nelson's Column

It is situated in the City of Westminster. At its centre is Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain which took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain.

Nelson’s Column

 photo 5.jpg Nelson’s Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000.


Covent Garden

Fascinating London Facts Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between Charing Cross Road and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as “Covent Garden”.

Westbourne River

Fascinating London Facts The waters of the Westbourne or Bayswater were originally pure and in 1437 and 1439 conduits were laid to carry water from the Westbourne into the City of London, for drinking. In the nineteenth century, however, the water became filthy and impure by its use as a sewer, and the rise of the water closet as the prevailing form of sanitation.

London Underground

Fascinating London Facts The idea of an underground railway linking the City of London with some of the railway termini in its urban centre was proposed in the 1830s, and the Metropolitan Railway was granted permission to build such a line in 1854

Overtaken by Tokyo

 photo 3.jpg In 2015 London’s population has hit 8.6m people, according to the Greater London Authority – and the last time it was that big was 76 years ago. The metropolis is already Europe’s largest city and the 6th richest place on Earth. Here are some key facts about the capital.

Another lost river

Fascinating London Facts London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be.

Winston Churchill

  Einston Churchill  Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer (as Winston S. Churchill), and an artist.  

Great fire of London

 photo 24.jpg The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened, but did not reach, the aristocratic district of Westminster, Charles II’s Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll is unknown but traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded. This reasoning has recently been challenged on the grounds that the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded, while the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims leaving no recognisable remains.  

Marble Arch

Fascinating London Facts 

The arch also stands close to the former site of the Tyburn gallows (sometimes called ‘Tyburn Tree’), a place of public execution from 1388 until 1793.

Harrods

Harrods  Up to 300,000 customers visit the shop on peak days, comprising the highest proportion of customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. More than five thousand staff from over fifty different countries work at Harrods.

Tower of London

Tower of London The Tower of London has become established as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. It has been a tourist attraction since at least the Elizabethan period, when it was one of the sights of London that foreign visitors wrote about. Its most popular attractions were the Royal Menagerie and displays of armour. The Crown Jewels also garner much interest, and have been on public display since 1669. The Tower steadily gained popularity with tourists through the 19th century, despite the opposition of the Duke of Wellington to visitors. Numbers became so high that by 1851 a purpose-built ticket office was erected. By the end of the century, over 500,000 were visiting the castle every year.  

London Bridge

Fascinating London Facts By the end of the 18th century, it was apparent that the old London Bridge — by then over 600 years old — needed to be replaced. It was narrow and decrepit, and blocked river traffic. In 1799, a competition for designs to replace the old bridge was held.  

Thanks for taking the time to visit my post on Fascinating London Facts.

    As well as Fascinating London Facts here are some of my recent London posts.

          Piccadilly             London skyscrapers          London 2015

David Herd Thailand     Lloyds building      Tower Bridge

 

                     More posts for you to see

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              Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
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That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

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Hyde Park Kensington London

May 19, 2015 by David Herd

Coffee by the lake

Hyde Park Kensington London Hyde Park Kensington London has something for everyone. You can enjoy swimming, boating, cycling and skating. There are pitches for team games, tennis courts, tracks for horse riding and a spectacular children’s playground. The Park has two lakeside restaurants which are licensed and serve everything from a three-course meal to a quick cup of coffee.

The Serpentine

Hyde Park Kensington London Although it is common to refer to the entire body of water as the Serpentine, strictly the name refers only to the eastern half of the lake.


Beautiful gardens

Hyde Park Kensington London Hyde Park London covering 142 hectares (350 acres) and with over 4,000 trees, a large lake, a meadow and ornamental flower gardens.

Peaceful paradise in the heart of the city

 photo Hyde Park 5.jpg

A beautiful oasis in the middle of London.

Interesting tree

Hyde Park Kensington London

An amazing tree.

Peaceful setting

Hyde Park Kensington London

Hyde park is a must to see if you are in this great city.

I wonder who lives here?

Hyde Park Kensington London

There are so many photo opportunities here in Hyde Park.

Look closely you may see a puppy.

Hyde Park Kensington London Puppy, what puppy? I don’t see a puppy.

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch, is a triumphal arch located to the south of Hyde Park in central London.

Hyde Park Kensington London Cafe

Hyde Park Kensington London

A perfect peaceful and serene location to relax and enjoy a coffee.

Another cafe restaurant

Hyde Park Kensington London

Thanks for visiting my Hyde Park Kensington London photo blog.

Piccadilly             London skyscrapers          London 2015

David Herd Thailand     Lloyds building      Tower Bridge

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              Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
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That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

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London blue sky cold wind

March 5, 2015 by David Herd

The Shipwrights Arms

 photo IMG_7043.jpg London blue sky cold wind & lots of great pubs. I arrived March 1st 2015 the same date I arrived in 2014, at least unlike last year there was no rain, just icy cold wind. At least there are hundreds of great pubs to visit and escape from the wind.

The Hereford Arms

London blue skyabout 300 meters from Gloucester Road underground, a delightful little pub with a nice atmosphere and good food.

Hereford Arms

 photo The20Hereford.jpg

About a 8 minute walk from my hotel the Villa Kensington, I had dinner here on 3 occasions.

The Villa Kensington 10-11 Ashburn Gardens SW7

 photo Villa Kensington Hotel 1.jpgThis excellent budget hotel is in a great location, only 2 blocks from Gloucester Road underground and surrounded by dozens of good restaurants. I booked through Agoda as usual and stayed in a newly renovated room for only 50 Quid or $98 usd including breakfast.


London blue sky

   photo IMG_7060.jpgLondon blue sky and sunshine, but as I said before, the wind was icy. 🙂  

 Enoteca da Luca

London blue skyI stumbled this delightful Italian restaurant at 21 Wattling St which is very close to St Pauls Cathredral.

Enoteca da Luca

  Enoteca da LucaThe Terrine was excellent as was the red wine. I found the wine a little expensive however sadly I think that is just the norm in London.  

Here is Julia at Enoteca da Luca

Julia at Enoteca da Luca photo Enoteca da Luca Julia 2.jpg

An excellent wine selection at Enoteca da luca, apparently there are a couple of other branches of this restaurant as well.

Jamie Oliver Barbecoa

  Jamie Olivers Barbecoa ButcheryAlso is Wattling Street is this fabulous Jamie Oliver butchery.  

St Pauls Cathredal

  St Pauls Cathredal   It’s so cold even the statues are hugging.

The Walkie Talkie and The Gherkin

  London blue skyThere are some incredible glass skyscrapers being built in London.   Check out my post of these exciting new buildings.

The Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge London

The Tower bridge is still one of London’s best places to visit and photograph.

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market

Quite a beautiful old building.

The Bloomsbury Tavern 236 Shaftsbury Avenue

 The Bloomsbury Tavern

Typical London architecture.

The Princess Louise

London blue skyPrincess Louise 208 High Holborn is a traditional English pub that is very popular at lunch time. I enjoyed a nice sandwich and a couple of bloody Mary’s.

The Princess Louise

Princess Louise Holborn

One of the great joys of visiting London are the unique pubs.

Little Venice near Paddington station

Little Venice London

My first visit to this area triggered by a crime novel I recently read. 🙂

Nice cafe in Little Venice

London blue sky

Coffee and cake at this delightful cafe.

Newton Abbott in Devon

Newton AbbottI an find only two reasons anybody would want to visit Newton Abbott in Devon. First I understand it is quite famous for horse racing, secondly, and this was my reason, there is a low security prison where I paid a very good friend a visit. This is the 4th English prison I have been to in the last 8 years. Last year it was Stafford, before that Dovegate and finally Dorchester.

London Underground

London blue skyIf you are spending a few days in London make sure you buy an Oyster Card for the underground as well as the London busses. Only 30 Quid for unlimited travel, a terrific saving.

Holiday Inn Kensington

  London blue sky This is also a terrific location, in fact it is opposite my budget hotel the Villa Kensington. There is a huge price difference, 300 Quid for the Holiday inn  and 65 for Villa Kensington.  

Thanks for visiting my London blue sky photo blog.

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              Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
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  2015

  2014

 

Here are the fantastic new London buildings

Before I arrived in London I spent 4 days in Istanbul

Check out my blog on the rest of my fabulous trip.

A stand out feature of this trip was my selection of hotels and apartments, everyone of them was in a perfect location…

Posted by Travel blogger Fivestarvagabond.com” on Thursday, March 26, 2015

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London Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie

March 3, 2015 by David Herd

The Gherkin

London Shard Gherkin Walkie TalkieLondon Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie are some of the ultra modern glass skyscrapers that are starting to dominate the London skyline. Not all Locals are happy about this break from tradition, however it is very difficult these days to stop progress.

On the building’s top level (the 40th floor), there is a bar for tenants and their guests featuring a 360° view of London. A restaurant operates on the 39th floor, and private dining rooms on the 38th.

Tower 42

London Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie Tower 42 is the 3rd tallest building in London after the Shard and 122 Leadenhall Street.

The Shard

The Shard

Londoners seem to like giving nicknames to their new buildings.

The Shard

The Shard London’s tallest building, I intended to visit the lookout at the top however a price of 30 Quid talked me out of it. 🙂


 

The Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street

London Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie This is my favourite building in London, there is a great story about how it magnifies heat and melts cars. During the summer of 2013, when the reflection of a beam of light up to six times brighter than direct sunlight shining onto the streets beneath damaged vehicles parked on the street nearby, including one on Eastcheap whose owner was paid £946 by the developers for repairs to melted bodywork. The reflection also burned or scorched the doormat of a shop in the affected area. The media responded by dubbing the building the “Walkie Scorchie”.

The Walkie Talkie

   photo The Walkie Talkie  This is certainly my favourite modern London building.

122 Leadenhall Street

  London Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie  Lots of steel and glass in this fantastic skyscraper.

Lloyd’s Building

  Lloyd's building London  What style would you call this, modern metal? 🙂

 London Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie

  London Shard Gherkin Walkie Talkie The Shard of course is one the opposite side of the Thames.  

The Walkie Talkie

Walkie Talkie photo The Walkie Talkie 5.jpg The Walkie talkie is still my favourite, how many buildings do you know of that can destroy motor vehicles? 🙂

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Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
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Pattaya webcam

 

That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

 

First stop on this trip was Istanbul Galeta Tower Istanbul

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Historic London pub on the Thames

April 10, 2014 by David Herd

Historic London pub, Prospect of Whitby

Historic London pub Historic London pub on the Thames at Wapping is The Prospect of Whitby. It lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from 1520. It was formerly known as the Devil’s Tavern, on account of its dubious reputation. Before that it was officially called The Pelican. All that remains from the building’s earliest period is the 400 year old stone floor. In former times it was a meeting place for sailors, smugglers, cut-throats and footpads. A footpad is an archaic term for a robber or thief specializing in pedestrian victims. The term was used widely from the 16th century until the 19th century, but gradually fell out of common use. A footpad was considered a low criminal, as opposed to the mounted highwayman who in certain cases might gain fame as well as notoriety Why does this Historic London pub deserve it’s own post in my blog? Quite simple really, I have so many fond memories dating back 50 years when I was very young enjoying my first great overseas adventure.

The Prospect of Whitby in December 1964

Historic London pub

Here is a classic photo of my friends at the Prospect of Whitby 50 years ago in 1964. There were Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans, English, and the very drunk lady in the bottom right hand corner was an opera singer from Yugoslavia.  😆

Surely David Herd should be there.

Historic London pub I’m very disappointed my name is not on the sign.  🙁

 

Fire place at the Prospect of Whitby.

Fire place at the ProspectI don’t think this Historic London pub has changed much in 50 years, however the times I was there it was always packed to the rafters.

Naturally I ordered a Fosters

Prospect of WhitbyIn the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of “Hanging” Judge Jeffreys, scourge of the Monmouth Rebellion. He lived nearby and a noose hangs by a window, commemorating his custom. He was chased by anti-Royalists into the nearby Town of Ramsgate, captured and taken to the Tower for his own safety. According to legend, criminals would be tied up to the posts at low tide and left there to drown when the tide came in. Execution Dock was actually by Wapping Old Stairs and generally used for pirates.

Lots of timber walls & creaking floors

Historic London pub Following a fire in the early 19th century, the tavern was rebuilt and renamed The Prospect of Whitby, after a Tyne collier that used to berth next to the pub. The Prospect was listed Grade II in December 1950. If you want to visit an Historic London pub this is one of the best. On the opposite side of the road (Wapping Wall) is the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, now an arts centre and restaurant.

Nooks & crannies everywhere

Historic London pubThe public house features briefly in an episode of Only Fools And Horses. When Uncle Albert goes missing in one episode, Del Boy and Rodney travel around London looking for him. Nicholas Lyndhurst is shown in one scene walking out of the pub. There is also a scene from the 1956 film D-Day the Sixth of June starring Robert Taylor and Richard Todd where Taylor’s character is seen with Dana Wynter’s character having drinks together during the Second World War in London.

A view of the Thames

Beer-garden on Thames Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from here in 1533 in a disastrous attempt to discover the North-East Passage to China.

100 meters from the Prospect of Whitby is Shadwell Basin

Historic London pubA lovely lake just up the road from the pub, you can see Westminster in the background. Shadwell Basin is the most significant body of water surviving from the historical London Docks. It is situated on the north side of the river Thames east (downstream) of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and west (upstream) of Limehouse. Unlike the rest of the London Docks which has been landfilled, Shadwell Basin, the most easterly part of the complex, has been retained. It is now a maritime square of 2.8 hectares used for recreational purposes (including sailing, canoeing and fishing) and is surrounded on three sides by a waterside housing development designed by British architects MacCormac, Jamieson, Prichard and Wright. The residential buildings are four and five storeys with façades of alternating open arches and enclosed structure, echoing the scale of traditional 19th century dockside warehouses, with a colonnade at quayside. Shadwell Basin is a popular public route for cyclists, joggers and pedestrians with a walkway alongside the water as part of the linked open spaces and canals between the river and Hermitage Basin near St Katharine Docks to the west.

Thanks for visiting my nostalgic post

  Historic London pub To receive my latest posts please follow me on Twitter  Finally back to the 60s, the first photo is travelling to our favorite Historic London pub in Wapping on the tube, everybody is well dressed and in good shape. The 2nd photo is at the pub getting stuck into it. Finally we are all heading home to Earle’s court totally flyblown.  😆

On the way to Wapping

  Early in the evening  

Everybody is quiet and well behaved.

At the pub

  At the Prospect of Whitby  Things get messy very quickly.

Heading home

  After the pub  Totally flyblown.

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                  Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
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                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Mowbray Court hotel
Pattaya webcam

 

That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

 

Click here for another one of my posts.

Take a train ride to the city of Bath

Escape the cold weather and fly to Barcelona

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Piccadilly Earles Court London

April 9, 2014 by David Herd

Earle’s Court Station

Earles Court stationPiccadilly Earles Court are great parts of London to explore and watch the passing parade. I like to stay in Earle’s Court because there are many hotels & I can take the underground straight from Heathrow. 

You can buy a one day ticket for the underground for around 9 Quid which gives you unlimited travel, including to or from Heathrow.

Mowbray Court Hotel

Piccadilly Earles courtJust around the corner is the Mowbray Court Hotel, the rooms are rather small but the price is right and the staff are very helpful, throw in free wi fi & it’s the perfect place for a traveler on a budget. The underground is so convenient, you can ride the tube direct from Heathrow or Piccadilly Earles Court.

Masala Zone Earle’s Court

Piccadilly Earles courtI don’t often dine in Indian restaurants, however after reading the Trip Adviser review I visited Marsala Zone and enjoyed the food & the excellent service.

Convent Gardens

Convent GardensI saw Les Miserables a few years ago and admit I was a little disappointed compared to other musicals I have seen.


Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly CircusPiccadilly Circus connects to Piccadilly, a thoroughfare whose name first appeared in 1626 as Piccadilly Hall, named after a house belonging to one Robert Baker, a tailor famous for selling piccadills, or piccadillies, a term used for various kinds of collars. The street was known as Portugal Street in 1692 in honor of Catherine of Braganza, the queen consort of King Charles II of England but was known as Piccadilly by 1743. Piccadilly Circus was created in 1819, at the junction with Regent Street, which was then being built under the planning of John Nash on the site of a house and garden belonging to a Lady Hutton. The circus lost its circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue.

Tour buses travel to Piccadilly Earles court

Piccadilly Earles courtThe “hop on, hop off” bus is a great way to see London. Please click on Google + to help my page ranking.

 

Harrods

Piccadilly Earles court The store occupies a 5-acre site and has over one million square feet of selling space in over 330 departments making it the biggest department store in Europe.

Harrods food hall

Harrods Piccadilly Earles courtUp to 300,000 customers visit the shop on peak days, comprising the highest proportion of customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. More than five thousand staff from over fifty different countries work at Harrods.

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace guardsGuard Mounting, a formal ceremony in which sentries providing ceremonial guard duties at important institutions are relieved by a new batch of sentries.

Changing of the Guard

Buckingham PalaceI must confess I don’t really know if this was the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony or some other British pomp, however the crowd was there in thousands. You can spend weeks around Kensington Piccadilly Earles Court, there are so many great places to see & explore.

Thanks for visiting my Piccadilly Earles court photo blog.

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               More posts for you to see

English restaurants              City of Bath                     Lands End

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Soi Cowboy Bangkok          photo ShabuseninGinza4.jpg          Cape Town Safari
               Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
                              Bangkok Hotels                    London Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Mowbray Court hotel
Pattaya webcam

 

That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

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Tower Bridge London

April 6, 2014 by David Herd

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge London is a combined bascule & suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name, and has become an iconic symbol of London.

The Bridge took 8 years, 5 major contractors and 432 construction workers to build. Two massive piers were sunk into the river bed to support the construction and over 11,000 tons of steel provided the framework for the Tower and Walkways. This framework was clad in Cornish granite and Portland stone to protect the underlying steel-work and to give the Bridge a more pleasing appearance.

On the bridge

tower bridge London

Certainly it’s the best of all the London bridges.

 ‘Girl with a Dolphin’

Tower Bridge London

Nice sculpture next to the Tower Bridge


View from the Tower bridge London.

  Tower Bridge London  An interesting contrast of structures built centuries apart, the Tower of London with modern glass sky scrapers in the background.

The opposite side of the Thames

  Tower Bridge LondonStanding approximately 306 meters (1,004 ft) high, the Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union.  

20 Fenchurch Street

20 Fenchurch st20 Fenchurch Street is a commercial skyscraper under construction in London. It takes its name from its address on Fenchurch Street in the City of London financial district and it has been nicknamed The Walkie-Talkie because of its distinctive shape. It is the fifth-tallest building in the City of London.

The Tower of London

Tower of LondonThe Tower of London right next to the Tower Bridge has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. 

Lions at the Tower of London

  Tower Bridge London

Two medieval skulls found in the Tower of London belonged to a kind of lion that boasted a giant dark mane, according to a genetic study that sheds new light on one of the world’s oldest zoos.
Infamous as a place of torture and executions, and home to the Crown Jewels, the Tower was also home to lions, which were charismatic symbols of monarchy.
Now researchers have used DNA evidence to analyse two members of the royal menagerie, the oldest being late 13th to late 14th century (1280-1385) and ‘youngest’ 15th century (1420-1480), the only medieval big cat remains found in England.
They conclude that they were male Barbary lions, a species that hails from north Africa, where no natural lion population remains today.
Lion manes can vary from light blond to black and can be up to a foot long. But the Barbary, a subspecies extinct in the wild, had a magnificently regal mane, their equivalent of the Peacock’s tail that they used to turn on lionesses.
They were members of the royal “zoo”, which survived for more than 600 years after being founded by King John (1199 to 1216) and the lions are a sign that the UK enjoyed good relations with foreign monarchs, who presented exotic animals as gifts.

18 inch Mortars

Tower Bridge London The mortar on the left is of Spanish design, and dates from the 18th century. Unusually, both the base and the barrel have been cast as one unit. The calibre of the mortar is 13 inches, which seems to be a common heavy mortar caliber, as preserved British mortars at Crownhill Fort, Plymouth, are similar. The range of this weapon would be around 3,000 yards, and it is likely to have been used as a fixed installation in a fortification, or at sea in a bomb ketch. These were unwieldy vessels but could produce deadly plunging fire against land targets, such as that provided by bomb ketches of the Royal Navy at both the First Battle of Copenhagen (1801), the Second Battle of Copenhagen (1807) and in many other engagements during the Napoleonic Wars. When installed in a fortification, because the angle of elevation was fixed, the mortars would be carefully sighted (and sited) so that when a target reached a certain point (at a predetermined distance), the battery would open fire with telling effect, hurling their large, 200 lb, explosive shells at the enemy. The other mortar is also a cast iron weapon (some older mortars and cannon were cast in bronze). This time the mortar has trunions, which allow the weapon to be elevated, in its carriage, to the required angle to engage attackers. It is of 16″ calibre and bears a maker’s mark ‘TW’; it is an earlier piece, and is dated ’1684′. Interestingly, it resembles Italian weapons of the period and is described as this. The barrel, however, reveals a cast design of the ‘Lion of St. Mark’, the symbol for Venice and the Venetian Republic. This maritime power and trading giant dominated the eastern half of the Mediterranean Sea (and more) during the 17th century. The mortar came from Corfu, as a gift, and since the Venetian Republic ruled that island from 1401 to 1787, the markings on the weapon make perfect sense. This mortar was presented to the British Government in 1842, during the Victorian era, at a time when Great Britain still ruled Corfu as a British Protectorate (it did so from 1815-1864). The Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands at this time was James Alexander Stewart-Mackenzie, a noted Scottish diplomat, so it is quite possible that he was behind the gift of the mortar! All in all, these two weapons are fine examples of an ancient form of artillery.

Executions 1914-16

Tower Bridge LondonApproximately 7200 people were executed in the tower of London, most of these executions which took place during King Henry VIII rule. Executions depended on the crime with most executions done in public on the Tower Hill but private executions were conducted behind the tower walls. Private executions were considered too politically sensitive to carry out in the open.

Thanks for visiting

David Herd Tower bridge The Tower Bridge London is one of the “must see” icons in this great city, for more on London take a look at my Westminster post. If you would like to visit one of the oldest pubs in London which is off the normal tourist track take a taxi to the Prospect of Whitby hotel on the opposite side of the Thames.

 More posts for you to see

English restaurants     City of Bath      Lands End

Bridge tea room      Beckington Trowbridge      David Herd Lands End hotel

                      Please check out these fabulous posts
Gold Coast                              Pattaya                          Cinque Terre
 photo IMG_0913.jpg         Walking St Pattaya          Manarola Cinque Terre
Rio de Janeiro                      Singapore                       Eastern Europe
Carnivale Rio Di Janeiro         Singapore skyline         David Herd Thailand
Bangkok Bars                          Tokyo                          Cape Town Safari
Soi Cowboy Bangkok          photo ShabuseninGinza4.jpg          Cape Town Safari
Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
                              Bangkok Hotels                    London Hotels
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Pattaya webcam

 

That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

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London Westminster Big Ben

April 3, 2014 by David Herd

London Westminster Big Ben

Westminster Abbey LondonLondon Westminster Big Ben is one of the most popular tourist areas of the city, people swarm like ants around Big Ben, the Abby & Parliament house, they queue for hours to ride on the London Eye.

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of  Westminster Palace in London, and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower.

Does anybody know what time it is?

Big Ben London

Or as “Chicago” would say, “does anybody really care”?


 

Westminster Abbey London

Westminster palaceWestminster Abbey, was originally known as the Collegiate Church of St Peter, it’s a large, mainly Gothic, church in the City of Westminster,  just west of the Palace of Westminster.

Westminster Abbey London

London Westminster Big Ben Westminster Abbey London is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.

Westminster Abbey Sanctuary

sanctuary Westminster abbyIn England, the right of sanctuary and officially recognized places of sanctuary had existed since the Anglo-Saxon days. The foremost among these places of refuge was Westminster Abbey London. Please click on Google + to help my page ranking.  

 

The London Eye

London Eye

The entire structure is 135 meters (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters (394 ft). It is currently Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.5 million visitors annually.

One of my favorite places in Westminster

London Westminster Big Ben When you tire of the crowds and monuments head for a pub.

Westminster Arms Hotel

London Westminster Big BenThe are some terrific pubs in London, check out my London Pub link here.

Only a short walk to Downing St

Westminster Abbey LondonWhen I finished lunch I took a short walk to Downing Street. However the street that caught my eye was the one below, reminded me of a couple of people I know.

You gotta love this street

London Westminster Big Ben Say no more, wink wink, nudge nudge.  😆


Downing St security

London Westminster Big BenThere are so many nut cases in London which explains why they need high security at Downing St.

Beautiful at night

London Westminster Big Ben London Westminster Big Ben is a fantastic area to explore and enjoy, I will be there again in March 2015.

Sadly five people have died, with 50 injured – some critically – in a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday March 22 2017.

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That’s all folks David Herd Thailand

 

                     Here are some more posts to check out
 
         Sydney                               Paris                                   Bangkok
London Westminster Big Ben        Paris hotel        Grand Palace Bangkok
            Tokyo                        Rio De Janeiro                        Budapest
Tokyo        David Herd Thailand        Buda Castle
          London                            Beijing                            Capetown
Kings road Chelsea        David & the General photo DHandthegeneral.jpg        David Herd Thailand

           

Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                                                through these links below.  Book now & pay later.
Plus free cancellation .🙂
                              Bangkok Hotels                    London Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Mowbray Court hotel

 

 

Click here for another English post.

 

From London I flew to Cape Town

 

A short flight from London is the wonderful city of Lisbon

 

 
 

Here is a terrific London budget hotel. Great location opposite the Holiday Inn in Gloucester Rd. The hotel has just been refurbished and is very close to the underground which takes you direct to Heathrow for 6 Quid. Within 100 metres there are 3 Italian restaurants, 1 Thai and 1 Indian. Also a very good tavern & sports bar at the Holiday Inn.

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London pubs people food atmosphere

December 3, 2013 by David Herd

The Colbert in Sloane Square

London pubs people food atmosphere

London pubs & food are  favorite pastimes of mine, even though London is not famous for great cuisine you can find hundreds of terrific places to eat.

Grande Brasserie Sloane Square.

London pubs people food atmosphere

This is the same restaurant as the Colbert, in 2009 it was called Grande Brasserie.

The Colbert

London pubs people food atmosphere Like most of the restaurants in Sloane Square this is a great “people watching” place, one tends to go there for that reason more than the food. The food however is fine and the place is always busy.

One of the good London pubs, The Botanist

London pubs Botanist Sloane Square The Botanist is definitely one of the good London pubs,  a great place to watch the super trendy crowd go through their mating rituals. It gets so busy the crowd spills out onto the footpath, sometimes it’s a struggle to get to the bar for a refill.


Did I mention the super trendy crowd?

London pubs people food atmosphere Well here are three people that don’t fit that description, I am enjoying drinks at the Botanist with friends Teresa & Debbie.

Da Scalzo restaurant.

London pubs

Good food, nice atmosphere and great music.

Great Jazz trio at Da Scalzo.

London pubs people food atmosphere

I went back just to hear the band again.

15 minutes walk from Sloane Square

Da Scalzo restaurant

Da Scalzo is a nice little restaurant about 15 minutes walk from Sloane Square at 2 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9RB, Phone:+44 20 7730 5498. The food is good without being great, so don’t expect too much, however at weekends they have a very good jazz band playing all the old fashioned songs which really adds to the atmosphere. Have a look at them on the video below.

 OK, lets go upmarket

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

68 Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4HP

Gordon Ramsey restaurantFabulous food as you would expect at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay with a price to match. However lets face it, you need to spoil yourself every now & then and the food is great. Check out the menu for this rather special restaurant. I will be back in London in March 2014 and another visit is certainly on my agenda.  😎

                                      Absolutely delicious food London pubs Gordon Ramsey restaurant 

Gordon Ramsay’s wine list 2009.

Gordon Ramsay's wine list 2009

As you would expect it is rather expensive.

Cafe Rouge.

London pubsThere is a chain of these excellent restaurants all over London, very good French food at a reasonable price.

Cafe Rouge French Bistro.

Cafe Rouge bistro

Definitely no complaints with the food. I also enjoyed their branch at Brighton.

Please click on Google + to help my page ranking.

Courtfield London pubs Earls Court

London pubs people food atmosphere Situated at 187 Earl’s Court Rd the Courtfield’s is one of the good London pubs, not very flash but the upstairs restaurant serves very good pub food at reasonable prices, worth a visit if you are in the area.


Mozzarella and More

Italian Kings Rd ChelseaMozzarella and More Italian Kings Rd Chelsea good food & nice atmosphere, certainly worth a visit.

 

Super travel tips. Great Britain has an excellent rail service, save up to 80% by booking your ticket before you arrive, just click here. London Underground’s Piccadilly Line provides the most cost-effective rail route between Heathrow Airport and the capital, so look for accommodation around Earl’s CourtGloucester Rd or Knightsbridge. For more information click here.

Jump on a train and visit Bath

 More posts for you to see

English restaurants     City of Bath      Lands End

Bridge tea room      Beckington Trowbridge      David Herd Lands End hotel

                      Please check out these fabulous posts
Gold Coast                              Pattaya                          Cinque Terre
 photo IMG_0913.jpg         Walking St Pattaya          Manarola Cinque Terre
Rio de Janeiro                      Singapore                       Eastern Europe
Carnivale Rio Di Janeiro         Singapore skyline         David Herd Thailand
Bangkok Bars                          Tokyo                          Cape Town Safari
Soi Cowboy Bangkok          photo ShabuseninGinza4.jpg          Cape Town Safari
                 Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
                              Bangkok Hotels                    London Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Mowbray Court hotel
Pattaya webcam

 

That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

Check out my 2014 world trip

HCM city is fantastic

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London pubs Harrods Thames

June 30, 2013 by David Herd

London, June 2013 & July 2009

Botanist hotelLondon pubs Harrods Thames, certainly one of my favourite cities, here I am enjoying a few drinks at The Botanist hotel in Sloane Square with Teresa Hamilton-Smith who was a favourite girlfriend of mine in Sydney in the early 80s. Her lovely friend Debbie joined as well.  Here is a comparison of photos taken 31 years apart. The one below was Terry & I with Helen Burke another girlfriend of mine on my balcony at 72 Wrights Rd Drummoyne in Sydney in 1982. I often wonder in which decade did I have the most fun, when I see a photo like this I vote for the 80s, however when I think really hard about the question, the fabulous 70s win every time.

Sydney in 1982.

London pubs Harrods

As I said in my first blog it seems to me you go to sleep one night, wake up the next morning, and 30 years have flashed by. No matter how many years have passed I will always remember the wonderful people and the great times we had together.

Kings Rd Chelsea

Kings road ChelseaKings road is Chelsea’s main road. It was once a private road- used only by royalty seeking access to Hampton Court. Starting at Sloane Square, Kings Road stretches south-west and round Worlds End before becoming New Kings Road and crossing Putney Bridge. The Kings Road has always been synonymous with fashion and small clothes stores can be found all along the route. Such stores have been responsible for such fashion tends as the miniskirt and Vivien Westwood’s punk-inspired shop ‘Sex’ can be found here.  Many of the original clothes boutiques have made way for more exclusive and corporate clothing labels in modern times. The Kings Road is also a treasure trove of antiques stores- the famous Chelsea Antiques Market for example. Many established stores such as Habitat, Heals and Bluebird have grown from the Kings Road.

Chelsea Bridge

Chelsea Bridge London

Chelsea Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames in west London, connecting Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea on the south bank. There have been two Chelsea Bridges, on the site of what was an ancient ford.

The first Chelsea Bridge was proposed in the 1840s as part of a major development of marshlands on the south bank of the Thames into the new Battersea Park. It was a suspension bridge intended to provide convenient access from the densely populated north bank to the new park. Although built and operated by the government, tolls were charged initially in an effort to recoup the cost of the bridge. Work on the nearby Chelsea Embankment delayed construction and so the bridge, initially called Victoria Bridge, did not open until 1857. Although well received architecturally, as a toll-bridge it was unpopular with the public, and Parliament felt obliged to make it toll-free on Sundays. The bridge was less of a commercial success than had been anticipated, partly because of competition from the newly built Albert Bridge nearby. It was acquired by the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1877, and the tolls were abolished in 1879.

The bridge was narrow and structurally unsound, leading the authorities to rename it Chelsea Bridge to avoid the Royal Family’s association with a potential collapse. In 1926, with the bridge unable to handle increased volumes of users, caused by population growth in the surrounding area and the introduction of the automobile, it was proposed that the old bridge be rebuilt or replaced. Between 1934 and 1937 it was demolished and replaced by the current structure, which opened in 1937.


The Albert Bridge

Albert Bridge London The Albert Bridge is a road bridge over the River Thames in West London, connecting Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea on the south bank. Designed and built by Rowland Mason Ordish in 1873 as an Ordish–Lefeuvre system modified cable-stayed bridge, it proved to be structurally unsound, so between 1884 and 1887 Sir Joseph Bazalgette incorporated some of the design elements of a suspension bridge. In 1973 the Greater London Council added two concrete piers, which transformed the central span into a simple beam bridge. As a result, today the bridge is an unusual hybrid of three different design styles. It is an English Heritage Grade II listed building. Built as a toll bridge, it was commercially unsuccessful. Six years after its opening it was taken into public ownership and the tolls were lifted. The toll booths remained in place and are the only surviving examples of bridge tollbooths in London. Nicknamed “The Trembling Lady” because of its tendency to vibrate when large numbers of people walked over it, the bridge has signs at its entrances that warned troops to break step whilst crossing the bridge.

Eaton Square Belgrave

Kings Road London

Eaton Square Belgrave is just opposite this corner, and the photo below is Hyde Park. Beautiful, imposing Eaton Square lies at the heart of Belgravia, a superb discreet location bordered by Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Buckingham Palace, Pimlico and Hyde Park. Eaton Square is London’s prime residential square. Eaton Square is arranged around six private gardens, including a tennis court which is for the exclusive use of residents.

Eaton Square Belgrave

London pubs Harrods

If money is not a problem then this is where you would live.

Wellington Arch Hyde Park

Hyde Park Wellington Arch Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or (originally) the Green Park Arch, is a triumphal arch located to the south of Hyde Park in central London and at the western corner of Green Park (although it is now isolated on a traffic island). Built nearby between 1826-1830 to a design by Decimus Burton, it was moved to its present position in 1882-83. It once supported an equestrian statue of the 1st Duke of Wellington; the original intention of having it topped with sculpture of a “quadriga” or ancient four-horse chariot was not realized until 1912.

Beautiful Hyde Park

London pubs Harrods

Just a beautiful place to explore, find a shady spot and relax.

 Hyde Park

Hyde Park London

Hyde Park is a real gem in the heart of London.

Please click on Google + to help my page ranking.

London Eye

London Eye

The London eye  opened in March 2000 the EDF Energy London Eye and has become an iconic landmark and a symbol of modern Britain. The London Eye is the UK’s most popular paid for visitor attraction, visited by over 3.5 million people a year. A breathtaking feat of design and engineering, passengers in the London Eye’s capsules can see up to 40 kilometres in all directions.

Westminister Bridge & Big Ben

Big Ben London

Westminster Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames in London, linking Westminster on the north side and Lambeth on the south side.

The bridge is painted predominantly green, the same colour as the leather seats in the House of Commons which is on the side of the Palace of Westminster nearest the bridge. This is in contrast to Lambeth Bridge which is red, the same colour as the seats in the House of Lords and is on the opposite side of the Houses of Parliament.

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower. The tower is now officially called the Elizabeth Tower, after being renamed in 2012 (from “Clock Tower”) to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. The tower was completed in 1858 and had its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009, during which celebratory events took place.  The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England and is often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

London pubs Harrods Thames, where does it all end? There are so many things to see and do in this great city.

Palace of Westminster

London pubs HarrodsThe Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.


 

Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge LondonWaterloo Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge crossing the River Thames in London, between Blackfriars Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. The name of the bridge is in memory of the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Thanks to its location at a strategic bend in the river, the views of London (Westminster, the South Bank and London Eye to the west, the City of London and Canary Wharf to the east) from the bridge are widely held to be the finest from any spot at ground level.

The Hungerford Bridge

The Hungerford Bridge LondonThe first Hungerford Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, opened in 1845 as a suspension footbridge. It was named after the then Hungerford Market, because it went from the South Bank to Hungerford Market on the north side of the Thames. The footbridge gained a reputation for being narrow, dilapidated and dangerous – it was the scene of a murder in 1999. In the mid-1990s a decision was made to replace the footbridge with new structures on either side of the existing railway bridge, and a competition was held in 1996 for a new design.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square London

This could be London’s most famous landmark.

Trafalgar Square

  David Herd LondonHere I am at Trafalgar Square in July 2009. Trafalgar Square, designed by Sir Charles Barry, was constructed in the 1840s on the site that was originally the Royal Mews for hawks and then royal stables.  Barry was also responsible for the Houses of Parliament.  

Trafalgar Square Lions

Trafalgar Square lions

The children love the Trafalgar Square lions.

Prince Edward Theatre.

Prince Edward Theatre The Prince Edward Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Old Compton Street, just north of Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster.

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys West end One of the best shows I have ever seen. Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward theater in London’s West End. Perhaps I liked it so much because I grew up listening to FrankieValli. It is on my list to see it on Broadway as well.
 

London’s West End

London's West End

I must say I was a little disappointed in this show.

Porsche Panamera

London pubs Harrods  The first time I saw the beautiful Porsche Panamera was outside Harrods in July 2009.  


The Comfort Inn

 

Comfort Inn near Victoria station

An excellent location near Victoria station and the bus station.

Good value hotel, the Comfort Inn near Victoria station.

 

                              More posts for you to see

     English restaurants          City of Bath                     Lands End

Bridge tea room      Beckington Trowbridge      David Herd Lands End hotel

                      Please check out these fabulous posts
      Gold Coast                              Pattaya                          Cinque Terre
 photo IMG_0913.jpg         Walking St Pattaya          Manarola Cinque Terre
   Rio de Janeiro                      Singapore                       Eastern Europe
Carnivale Rio Di Janeiro         Singapore skyline         David Herd Thailand
Bangkok Bars                          Tokyo                          Cape Town Safari
Soi Cowboy Bangkok          photo ShabuseninGinza4.jpg          Cape Town Safari
               Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
                              Bangkok Hotels                    London Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Mowbray Court hotel
Pattaya webcam

 

That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

Ok, please relax and watch the slide show.

 

Great Britain has an excellent rail service, save up to 80% by booking your ticket before you arrive, just click here.

   

Click here for another interesting post.

Escape the cold weather in London and slip down to Barcelona

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