Posts Tagged With: London

Details at the Harry Potter Studio

We are a family of Harry Potter fans, so when my daughter and I went to London last year, we just had to visit the Harry Potter Studio. We spent all day there and probably still missed some things. Every corner is full of sets, props, costumes, and special effects from the movies, there is just so much to see. The most amazing thing to me is that whenever you see a hand written label in the movies, it is truly hand written, not printed. One of the interpreters at the studio told us that just one little graphics department was responsible for creating all the labels used; that is every label on the boxes of wands in Olivander’s Shop, and all those labels for the potion bottles! Here are some of my favourite we saw during our visit.

Each cast member (and I think production member) has their own wand box here

Potions anyone?

Little vials full of memories

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Love – that’s all

I came across this little statue hanging on a wall in London; for the life of me I cannot remember where in London this was. I couldn’t help but stop and admire it, just hanging there, probably unnoticed by most passersby. I love to discover little-known places/objects/facts, and this one made my day.


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More from London

I haven’t really been very active with my blogging of late, somehow life got in the way in the past few months.

I find myself going back to my London photos again and again, and realizing that I still have a ton that I haven’t really worked on. So slowly I am working my way through them.

Here are a few that caught my eye this afternoon.

This is Leadenhall Market, which dates back to the 14th century and sits in the centre of Roman London. It used to be a meat, poultry, and game market, but is now home to boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and wine bars. It became famous world-wide as a Harry Potter filming location.


Leadenhall Market

St Katherine’s Dock is the place we called home during our stay in London earlier this year.

The docks were opened on 25th October 1828, and are situated between the Tower of London and the London Docks. Originally the area was home to a hospital, originally founded in 1148 by Matilda of Boulogne. The hospital, together with 1,250 houses and tenements, were pulled down in 1827 to make way for the docks. This left around 11,300 inhabitants looking for new accommodation elsewhere. These docks specialized mostly in tea from India and wool from Australia, New Zealand and the Falkland Islands. It also received a large array of luxury goods from all around the world, such as china, ostrich feathers, spices, mother of pearl, oriental carpets, and raw materials to manufacture perfume, to name but a few. Since the demise of the shipping industry, the area has been transformed into a mix of residential houses/flats and restaurants/bars/pubs.

St Katherine’s Docks

And finally for today, The Shard.

The Shard is now one of the iconic modern buildings in London; it was inaugurated in 2012 and opened to the public in 2013, and was designed to be a vertical city, containing offices, restaurants/bars, shops, a public viewing platform and apartments. It stands 95 storeys tall (310m high) and is currently the tallest building in the UK. I hope on our next visit to actually make up to the viewing platform.

The Shard

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London at Night

As I am going through some more of my London photos I found these night shots.

London at night is just wonderful and provides for so many great photo opportunities. We were very fortunate that our AirBnB rental for the week in May had a great view out to The Shard. However, my most favourite building to shoot at night is the Tower of London. Unfortunately, I have not had time to work on those shots yet; something for another post further down the road I think. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these night shots.

Sunset in London

St Paul’s Cathedral as seen from the Thames

London’s City Hall

The view of The Shard from our London base

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London Streets

One of the great things about London is that, despite all the modern buildings, the street layout has not enormously changed for the majority of London streets. The medieval road system can still be traced in most areas and you really feel and see this all over London’s inner city. I loved exploring different parts of London and wander down some of the small roads that clearly followed some very old-established ways.

So, here are a few photos of some of those small streets which I have not yet shared on this blog.

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On Guard at the Tower of London

A sentry at the Jewel House at the Tower of London

The Tower of London is famous for its Beefeaters (also called Yeomen Warders) and their fabulous free tours of the Tower of London, however, a detachment of the regiment on guard at Buckingham Palace and St James’ Palace is also guarding parts of the Tower of London.

The Tower guard is made up of one officer, 6 NCO’s (Non-Commissioned Officers) and 15 soldiers. They have sentries posted outside the Jewel House and the Queen’s House.

Sentries are changed every two hours and you can see them being posted and receiving their orders. The Jewel House is your best option, as you get fairly close to the sentries.

On their way to the Queen’s House

The change over is accompanied by the usual stamping of feet and shouting of orders, however, not so at the Queen’s House. So as not to disturb the occupants (which is the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and his family) the sentry does not stamp his feet, and when an officer makes a tour of inspection the sentry will whisper his response “All’s Well”.

Sentry at the Queen’s House

The detachment is also involved in some other daily duties.

Each morning at 09:00hrs the Duty Yeoman Warder and a military escort ceremoniously open the Middle and Byward Towers. After this opening the public is allowed to enter the Tower of London.

This soldier has clearly been in position for some time!

At 15:00hrs the Officer of The Guard and his escort march to the Byward Tower to collect the Word. The Word is the password, which gets changed daily, for after-hours entry to the Tower of London. The Word is used by Tower staff, residents, and the soldiers on duty.


And the last duty is in conjunction with the Chief Yeoman Warder. Every night at 21:00hrs they take part in the Ceremony of the Keys, which is the locking of the Tower of London for the night. This ceremony has been performed every night for more than 900 years.

You can get free tickets to this event through the Tower of London website, but be warned, they sell out a year in advance. If you are lucky to get any tickets, please note that there is a small administration fee. No cameras are allowed at this event, you will need your ticket, and ID and there is a limit on the number of tickets you can book (depending on season). We did try to get tickets, but were not lucky enough; so another reason to go back to London!

A Yeoman Warder


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Discovering the Inns of Court in London

London’s Inns of Court offer lots of little streets to explore


Travel to London and your list of must-see attractions invariably includes places such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and many more well-known places. Understandably, if you are in London for only a few short days, you don’t want to miss these, but, if you find yourself in London for anything more than 3 days, it is worth looking for some alternatives that will still give a flavour of London and its history, but are perhaps not on most tourist trails.

Exiting out of Lincoln’s Inn Fields

With that in mind let me show you London’s Inns of Court. This is the heart of legal London and consists of four ancient Inns of Court; Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, and Inner Temple. Just take a tube to Temple, head North and start exploring from there. One thing to note is that any exploring needs to happen during the weekday as the inns are closed in the evenings and weekends.

Old Square in Lincoln’s Inn

The inns are where barristers first train and then later practice and are all located within the vicinity of the Royal Courts of Justice, at the boundary between the City of London and Westminster. The inns started in the Middle Ages, and even back then were devoted to the technical study of English law rather than Roman law, which was taught in the universities. The Inns of Court were set up as an answer to the problem of legal eduction, as by this time (the mid-13th century) the common law of the land had become extensive and intricate. All manuals and books for teaching were produced in French rather than Latin.

More views of the buildings in Old Square

As you can see, there is plenty of history in these streets in around the inns and plenty of little streets and corners to explore. Additionally, it is also where you will find the church of the Knights Templar, Temple Church (see my previous post for some information on this church). In the Middle Ages Inner and Middle Temple were part of the monastery of the Knights Templar. When the order was suppressed in 1312 most of the premises of Inner and Middle Temple were taken over by lawyers. Middle Temple Hall (on Middle Temple Lane) is famous for having the first performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which took place on 2nd February 1601 (Candlemas).

The Old Curiosity Shop, made famous by Charles Dickens

In amongst all the inn buildings you will find something that looks rather out-of-place; the Old Curiosity Shop, which stands on Portsmouth Street, between the London School of Economics and Lincoln’s Inn Fields (London’s second largest square,Trafalgar Square being the largest). It is apparently the oldest shop in London and is said to be the original of Dickens’ eponymous novel.

The only original house left in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is now two houses, numbers 59 and 60. This is also were Spencer Perceval once lived; he was the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated (in 1812). Number 65 on the same street used to be the home of William Marsden, founder of both the Royal Free Hospital (so-called because treatment was free to all) ¬†and Cancer Hospital, now called the Royal Marsden Hospital. Number 66 are the offices of the Queen’s solicitors, Farrer and Co.

There is very small pathway between these buildings

Amongst all the buildings you will find plenty of little gardens, some of which only open during lunch time, to explore and have your lunch, so bring a little picnic! Alternatively, there are plenty of pubs and sandwich shops around, but be warned, as lunch approaches these will all be very busy (the busier they are, the better their offering!).

Plenty of pubs in the Inns of Court for refreshments

So, next time you are in London with some free time give the Inns of Court a chance to take you back into time.

This is the old water pump which sits on Bedford Row at the entrance of Brownlow Street

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Summer of Love at the Globe Theatre


It is the Summer of Love at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London this Summer.

At the beginning of this year I found out that our daughter’s favourite Shakespeare play Romeo & Juliet was being performed at the Globe while we were visiting London. The excitement from our daughter was enormous, so obviously I had to ensure to get tickets! We were lucky enough to book seats on the Upper Gallery of the Globe right at the front, opposite of the stage, so no posts were hindering our view!


The stage at the Globe Theatre

Emma Rice, the Artistic Director (leaving after only 2 seasons in April 2018), has had some bad press , as her productions are modern and somewhat shocking, and many Shakespeare fans do not like to have their favourite plays changed like that. However, her different take on the traditional plays has brought in a more diverse audience, which can only be a good thing in my mind. So, with all that being said, we were not sure if we would like the modern take on this classic play; our daughter (then 18 years young) said she would probably prefer the original version, which she had previously viewed on DVD.

Boy were we wrong! We loved it, were totally mesmerized by the performances, and the end was so powerful it took our utmost willpower to not break out in tears! The modern take was just perfect, and from what we saw the rest of the audience agreed! It is a shame that Emma Rice felt she had to resign from her post at the Globe, as I think this new take really does change your perspective on the plays of Shakespeare.

If you ever get the chance to watch a play here, please take that chance. Even though this is a faithful recreation of the original theatre, it does feel very authentic. Be warned though, if you book a seat in any of the Galleries, it is cramped, as the following photo indicates. There is an interval to get up and stretch your legs; and do pay the couple of pounds for a seat cushion, unless of course you like the feeling of a numb bottom!

The seating at the Globe Theatre – a little tight!

For info on the Globe and its history, and to book tickets visit their website at

We had a great time and I would book tickets again in a heartbeat.

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Something about London – a poem

Not a poem written by myself, but written for me by one of these two gentlemen.

Along Bankside in London, UK

We came across them on our way from the Tate Modern to Shakespear’s Globe on Bankside. The deal was that you gave them the title of the poem, they would type away on their typewriters and come up with the words, and then you would pay them whatever you thought fair.

This was the result, which I quite like and paid accordingly for:

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London Compilation

I spent the afternoon creating this, which is everything that says London to me. I have seen this sort of work on various platforms online and wanted to create my own take on it using my own photos.

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