Tea Time Treasures: The Story of Scones in Royal England

Tea Time Treasures: The Story of Scones in Royal England

By Veena Chawla, Blue Badge Guide and retired University Lecturer (last updated November 2023)

Greetings, dear readers, and welcome to a delightful exploration of one of Britain’s beloved tea-time treasures – scones! In this journey through time and taste, we shall uncover the story behind these delectable treats and their special place in Royal England. So, grab a cuppa and a scone (or two) as we embark on this whimsical, crumbly adventure.

Scone Origins: A Recipe for Debate

Ah, the scone, that lovely pastry, flaky and tender. But where did it come from? The origins of the scone are as mysterious as the filling of a freshly baked one. There are several delightful theories, each more charming than the last:

  1. A Wee Bit Scottish: Some say scones have their roots in Scotland. The term “scone” is thought to be derived from the Scottish term “scon” or “skon,” meaning a flat, round cake. Whether this is where they truly originated or not, Scotland has certainly embraced them with gusto.
  1. A Stone’s Throw Away in Ireland: Our Irish friends also lay claim to the scone’s heritage. The Irish scone, often slightly sweeter than its British cousin, is a staple at tea time. It’s a debate we may never settle, but let’s give credit where it’s due – both Scotland and Ireland have mastered the art of scone-making.
  1. English Nobility: Others contend that scones have been a part of English teatime for centuries. Some trace their history to the 16th century, where they made their debut at English courts. Queen Elizabeth I herself was rumoured to have had a soft spot for them, indulging in these treats with clotted cream and jam. If true, we certainly owe Her Majesty a debt of gratitude for her taste in pastries!

A Scone for Every Occasion

Now that we’ve pondered the origins, let’s delve into the delightful world of scones in Royal England. These versatile pastries have found their way into every nook and cranny of royal life:

  1. Garden Parties: A Royal Tradition

What’s a garden party without scones? The British royal family knows how to throw a splendid garden gathering, complete with scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam. These events offer a delightful blend of elegance and informality, where scones are enjoyed amidst the blooming beauty of palace gardens.

  1. Afternoon Tea: A Regal Affair

The quintessential afternoon tea is another stage where scones shine. The practice of afternoon tea is said to have been popularised by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, in the early 19th century. Scones quickly became an essential component of this charming tradition. Picture a tiered stand laden with finger sandwiches, scones, and dainty pastries – the stuff of royal dreams!

  1. Royal Retreats: Scones at Balmoral

When it comes to royal retreats, the Queen’s Balmoral Castle in Scotland is a haven of relaxation. Here, scones have been known to grace the tea tables, providing a warm and welcoming treat for Her Majesty and her guests amidst the rugged Scottish landscape.

  1. Palace Bakers: Crafting Scone Perfection

Within the palace walls, dedicated bakers ensure that scones are baked to perfection. The royal pastry chefs, with their time-honoured recipes and meticulous techniques, turn out scones fit for kings and queens.

Famous Scone Lovers

Intriguingly, scones have also made their mark on some famous figures in history:

  1. Winston Churchill: Scone Devotee

Even the great Winston Churchill was said to be a scone aficionado. It’s reported that he would savour scones with gusto during wartime meetings, a reminder that even in the gravest moments, a scone can provide a bit of comfort.


  1. The Queen Mother: A Sweet Tooth for Scones

The late Queen Mother, known for her warm and charming personality, had a sweet tooth for scones. Her love for these pastries was well-documented, and she often enjoyed them with clotted cream and jam.

  1. The Royal Family: Scones through Generations

Scones are a family affair in the royal household. Generations of royals, from Queen Victoria to the youngest members of the family, have been seen savouring scones at various royal functions.

Baking the Perfect Scone

Now, you may be wondering, how does one bake the perfect scone fit for royalty? While the royal chefs have their secrets, here’s a simple recipe to get you started:



– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1 tablespoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

– 2/3 cup buttermilk

– 1 large egg

– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

– 1/2 cup currants or raisins (optional)

– 1 tablespoon milk (for brushing)



  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  1. Add the cold, cubed butter to the dry ingredients and work it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract.
  1. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead it gently, and pat it into a 1-inch thick circle.
  1. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out scones and place them on the prepared
Has this Blog post got taste buds tingling? Why not try a Royal scone yourself on our Windsor Castle half-day trip? fancy a little bit more? Why not team it up with the mystery of Stonehenge on our recommended Stonehenge and Windsor Castle tour?

About the Author: Veena Chawla, Blue Badge Guide, and Retired University Lecturer


Nairobi Kenya born and a London childhood, Veena’s extensive travels throughout the UK and Europe have shaped her rich experiences. Alongside her teaching career in English Literature and  English Language to students from all over the world, Veena has also worked as a London Blue Guide for over 20 years. Her interests are studying, History, Literature, and the Theatre. She loves visiting  Museums and travelling.

Uncovering the Mysteries of Windsor Castle: 7 Secrets you didn’t know about Windsor Castle

Uncovering the Mysteries of Windsor Castle: 8 secrets you didn’t know about Windsor Castle

Welcome, dear readers, to a journey in history, tradition, and the beauty of Windsor Castle. Today, we embark on a quest to unveil the secrets that lie within the walls of Windsor Castle. 

Windsor Castle: A Fortress of Secrets

Windsor Castle, often hailed as the oldest and largest inhabited castle globally, is steeped in centuries of history. Its imposing exterior and grandeur welcomes the visitor. So Let us begin our tour.

The Secret Tunnels

Beneath the castle’s foundations, a network of tunnels weaves its way through the earth. While some of these passageways serve practical purposes for plumbing and heating, others have sparked speculation. Rumours persist of secret tunnels leading from the castle to undisclosed destinations, possibly used for escape or espionage during turbulent times in history.


The Lost Library

One of the enduring mysteries of Windsor Castle is the fate of its ancient library. In 1702, a catastrophic fire swept through the castle, engulfing the library in flames. Many priceless manuscripts and tombs were believed to be lost forever. However, rumours persist that some volumes miraculously survived the inferno and remain hidden within the castle’s depths, awaiting discovery.

The Unseen Residents

As with many ancient buildings, Windsor Castle has its share of ghostly tales. Legend has it that restless spirits of past monarchs and ill-fated individuals haunt its halls. Among the most famous is the ghostly figure of Queen Elizabeth I, who has reportedly been sighted wandering the library and the Dean’s Cloister. The stories of these spectral residents continue to intrigue and mystify visitors.

The Order of the Garter

The Order of the Garter, one of the oldest and most prestigious chivalric orders, has been closely associated with Windsor Castle since its establishment in 1348. Legend has it that a curse was placed upon anyone who violated the sanctity of the order’s chapel. The curse, said to bring misfortune, has kept many from attempting to breach the order’s secrets.

The Hidden Chambers

Within the vast expanse of Windsor Castle, numerous hidden chambers are rumoured to exist. While some may simply serve as storage spaces, others are said to conceal treasures, artefacts, or even secret meeting places. Over the centuries, tales of these hidden chambers have fuelled speculation and inspired countless searches.

The Round Tower

The Round Tower, a prominent feature of Windsor Castle, has puzzled historians and visitors alike. Its exact purpose and function have been the subject of much debate. While it has been used for various purposes throughout its history, including as a royal residence and a stronghold, the tower’s mysteries remain partially unsolved.


The Queen’s Private Apartments

While the State Apartments are open to the public, these personal living spaces remain off-limits. What mysteries, conversations, and moments have unfolded behind the closed doors of these apartments? The answers remain known only to the royal family.

As we conclude our journey through the mysteries of Windsor Castle, we are left with a sense of awe and wonder. The castle, a living monument to history, guards its secrets with a steadfast determination.

As we conclude our journey through the mysteries of Windsor Castle, we are left with a sense of awe and wonder. The castle, a living monument to history, guards its secrets with steadfast determination. Fancy a Visit? Why not book one of our ever-popular Windsor Castle half-day trips from London or team it up with Stonehenge on our highly recommended Windsor Castle and Stonehenge Tour

Written By Veena Chawla. Illustrated by Kevin Lancheros. Last updated November 2023

About the Author: Veena Chawla, Blue Badge Guide, and Retired University Lecturer


Nairobi Kenya born and a London childhood, Veena’s extensive travels throughout the UK and Europe have shaped her rich experiences. Alongside her teaching career in English Literature and  English Language to students from all over the world, Veena has also worked as a London Blue Guide for over 20 years. Her interests are studying, History, Literature, and the Theatre. She loves visiting  Museums and travelling.

Discover Delicious Dining 5 Best Restaurants around Tower Bridge

5 Best Resturants around Tower Bridge

Exploring Delicious Dining: 5 Best Resturants in Tower Bridge


Welcome to a delightful journey through the heart of London’s Tower Bridge area! In the heart of this iconic locale, we’ve uncovered the absolute best restaurants Tower Bridge has to offer—From sizzling steaks to succulent sushi, join us as we venture into the heart of London’s culinary scene, where every bite tells a story and each establishment is a testament to the vibrant, flavorful tapestry that makes Tower Bridge a haven for food enthusiasts.

  1. Chop House – Butlers Wharf Chop House

A Steak Lover’s Paradise

If you’re a fan of juicy, mouth-watering steaks, Chop House at Butlers Wharf claims to be the best place in all of London for steak lovers. Head Chef Alex proudly shared with us their commitment to quality—every steak is grass-fed and free-range. What makes them stand out? All their steaks undergo a 45-day dry aging process, with the bone left in for added juiciness during cooking.

Must-Try: Braised Duck and Mushroom Tart

We had the privilege of witnessing the creation of a new menu item: a braised duck and mushroom tart. Slow-cooked to perfection, this dish boasts a delightful blend of flavors with orange, chicory, and cranberry puree. A must-try for those seeking a unique and savory experience.


  1. Wawa

A Taste of Hong Kong

Founded in 2012 by Waimam, Wawa brings a touch of Hong Kong to Tower Bridge. Growing up around food in a family of restaurateurs, Waimam recommended trying their sushi. The Melting Salmon, a jumbo dish overflowing with salmon and avocado, is a visual and flavorful treat. Additionally, don’t miss out on their slow-cooked pork ramen and the delectable chicken katsu.


  1. Anchor Tap Pub

Fresh, Affordable, and Welcoming

Julie, the kitchen manager at Anchor Tap Pub, takes pride in serving fresh, locally sourced produce at decent prices. Working alongside Food Development Manager Sean Davis, the pub ensures a welcoming atmosphere. Julie emphasized the “value of money” and described their food as cost-effective, well-presented, and easy to enjoy. Featured is their bangers and mash with free-range sausages—a comforting and satisfying dish.


4. Gunpowder Tower Bridge

A Stylish Indian Culinary Haven

Situated in an atmospheric building with stunning views of Tower Bridge, Gunpowder Tower Bridge is a stylish Indian restaurant that opened its doors in 2014. Restaurateur Prashad Varma envisioned a modern and stylish setting to showcase the best of Indian cuisine.

Popular Picks:

Must try: Tandoori Lamb Shank – Slow-cooked with ginger, garlic, and garam masala.

Sammi’s Lebanese

The Flavor of Lebanon

At Sammi’s Lebanese, we spoke with Sammi himself, who highly recommends the Lamb Shawarma. Served with a choice of salads, including sesame sauce, onions, parsley, tomatoes, and pickles, this dish encapsulates the authentic taste of Lebanon.


In conclusion, whether you’re a steak enthusiast, sushi lover, or crave the comforting embrace of pub fare, Tower Bridge offers a diverse range of culinary experiences. Why not join us for a Private Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Greenwhich tour with Anderson tours

By Emma Retter & Richard Mawuli 

The Windsor Great Park: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of England

The Windsor Great Park: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of England


Dear readers, welcome to Windsor Great Park, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of England. In this blog, we shall embark on a journey through this vast and historic landscape, exploring its rich history, its significance in the Georgian era, and its continued allure as a place of natural beauty and royal heritage. Join me as we uncover the secrets of this remarkable treasure trove.

The Windsor Great Park: A Storied Landscape

The Windsor Great Park, spanning over 5,000 acres, is a testament to the enduring beauty of the British countryside. Located adjacent to Windsor Castle, this expansive parkland has been a beloved retreat for monarchs and the public alike for centuries. It serves as a picturesque backdrop to the iconic castle, enriching the landscape that defines the charming town of Windsor.

Georgian Era Origins: A Royal Playground

The history of the Windsor Great Park dates back to the Georgian era when it became a favoured playground of the royals. King George III, known for his love of horticulture and nature, transformed the park into a place of leisure and innovation. It was here, in 1764, that the king introduced the first giraffe to England, a remarkable event that drew crowds and excited the imaginations of the Georgian public.


Imagine the stir it caused in those days—a giraffe, a creature from distant lands, making its home in the heart of England! The giraffe was a gift from Egypt’s Ottoman viceroy to King George III. It arrived at the port of London and made a grand procession through the city streets before reaching the Windsor Great Park. Its presence captured the fascination of the people and marked an era of exploration and discovery.

Jubilee Statue: A tribute to Queen Victoria

The Jubilee Statue in Windsor Great Park is a symbol of enduring celebration and historical significance. Erected in honor of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, it stands as a tribute to her remarkable reign, which spanned over six decades. The statue portrays Queen Victoria atop a grandiose plinth, regally adorned and commanding in presence. Her Golden Jubilee marked 50 years on the throne and was a testament to her enduring popularity and the prosperity of the British Empire during her reign.

Savill Garden: George VI’s hidden retreat

Windsor Great Park also contains a few attractions open to the public. One of these is the Savill Garden. The Savill Garden dates to the 1930s and showcases diverse plants and Sculptures. Inside are Themed gardens like the Hidden and Rose Gardens that offer tranquil beauty. The gardens were cherished by Royals like King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Elizabeth II. 

The Windsor Great Park Today: A Natural Haven

Today, the Windsor Great Park stands as a serene haven, offering visitors a chance to escape the bustle of modern life and immerse themselves in the natural world. It is a place of pristine beauty, with its ancient woodlands, tranquil lakes, and carefully cultivated gardens. Here, amidst the serene landscape, one can find solace and peace.


The Royal Stud: A Legacy of Equestrian Excellence

Within the bounds of the Windsor Great Park lies the Royal Stud, a place of immense significance for horse enthusiasts and equestrian history.  Here, generations of horses have been bred and trained, contributing to the royal procession during ceremonial events. The Windsor Greys, in particular, are a sight to behold—a symbol of tradition and precision.


Frogmore House: Harry’s former residence

Tucked away within the enchanting grounds of the Windsor Great Park is Frogmore House, a historic residence with a storied past. Originally built in the 17th century, this picturesque house has witnessed generations of royals. Notably, it was the former home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.


Adelaide Cottage: A Royal Residence

Adelaide Cottage, situated in the middle of Windsor great park, now serves as the charming home of Prince William and his family. This historic cottage, surrounded by lush greenery. It stands as a testament to the enduring connection between the royal family and the Windsor Great Park.


The Magic of the Windsor Great Park: A Hidden Gem

As we conclude our journey through the Windsor Great Park, one cannot help but marvel at the magic it holds. It is a place where history, nature, and the royal legacy converge. Whether one seeks a tranquil stroll through its gardens, a glimpse of the royal stud, or a moment of reflection by the lakeside, the Windsor Great Park offers an escape into a world of timeless beauty.

If you enjoyed this post, why not explore more of Royal Britain with our Windsor Castle half-day tour or our Windsor Castle and Stonehenge tour? We also offer private guided tours of Windsor Castle and Windsor great park

Written by Veena Chawla. Illustrations by Rakib Ahmed. Last updated November 2023

About the Author: Veena Chawla, Blue Badge Guide, and Retired University Lecturer

Nairobi Kenya born and a London childhood, Veena’s extensive travels throughout the UK and Europe have shaped her rich  experiences.Alongside her teaching career in English Literature and  English Language to students from all over the world, Veena has also worked as a London Blue Guide for over 20 years. Her interests are studying, History, Literature, and the Theatre. She loves visiting  Museums and travelling.

Why Is Stonehenge famous? Stonehenge’s 10 Movie Mentions

Why is Stonehenge famous? Stonehenge's 10 Movie Mentions

Stonehenge has long been a subject of fascination and wonder. Stonehenge dates back to approximately 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE, making it one of the oldest known human-made structures. Its construction predates written history, and thus it serves as a significant archaeological site that offers insights into the lives and beliefs of prehistoric peoples.

Where have I seen Stonehenge before?

Stonehenge’s age and mystery have meant that photos of Stonehenge have been in most American history textbooks for decades. Its mysterious origins and enigmatic purpose have also made it a compelling backdrop for storytelling. Over the years, filmmakers have been captivated by its allure, incorporating Stonehenge into various movies and television shows. Why is Stonehenge Famous? Here we look at the 10 most iconic appearances of Stonehenge in film and television:


  1. “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984)

In this classic mockumentary about a fictional rock band, Stonehenge takes centre stage—literally. The band commissions a Stonehenge stage set for their performance, but due to a mix-up with the measurements, the result is hilariously undersized. The scene has become iconic and showcases Stonehenge as a symbol of mystical grandeur, albeit in a comedic light.


  1. “King Arthur” (2004)

The historical drama “King Arthur” portrays Stonehenge as a place of mystical and spiritual importance. The monument serves as a backdrop for key scenes, adding a layer of historical and mythical context to the film. The movie taps into the long-standing speculation about Stonehenge’s possible druidic connections.


  1. The Transformers: “The Last Knight” (2017)

In this action-packed instalment of the Transformers series, Stonehenge is more than just a historical site; it’s a pivotal location where the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The film portrays Stonehenge as an ancient power source, adding a sci-fi twist to its mysterious aura.

  1. “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” (1985)

Stonehenge makes a brief but memorable appearance in this comedy film. The Griswold family inadvertently knocks over the ancient stones like dominoes, turning the monument into a comedic prop and highlighting the clash between modern tourists and historical sites.


  1. “Druid’s Curse” (Stonehenge Apocalypse) (2010)

This TV movie takes the mysteries surrounding Stonehenge to the extreme. In “Druid’s Curse,” also known as “Stonehenge Apocalypse,” the monument becomes a doomsday device that threatens to unleash global disasters. The film plays on the many theories and speculations about Stonehenge’s original purpose.


  1. “Thor: The Dark World” (2013)

Although not explicitly Stonehenge, the film features an ancient stone circle that bears a striking resemblance to the famous monument. The circle plays a significant role in the movie’s plot, serving as a gateway to other realms.


  1. “Happy Feet” (2006)

In this animated film, Stonehenge is humorously parodied with a circle of stones that the penguin characters encounter. While not a direct representation, the scene pays homage to Stonehenge’s iconic status.


  1. “Nailbiter” (2013)

Stonehenge is mentioned in this horror film as a place where mysterious and unexplained events occur. Although it doesn’t physically appear in the movie, the mention adds to the eerie atmosphere and suspense.



  1. “Stonehenge Decoded” (2008)

While not a fictional film, “Stonehenge Decoded” is a documentary that delves deep into the theories, mysteries, and scientific studies surrounding Stonehenge. It’s a must-watch for anyone intrigued by this ancient monument.


  1. “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” (Various Adaptations)

Stonehenge is a significant location in adaptations of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, “Tess of the d’Urbervilles.” While not always visually depicted, the monument’s presence in the story adds a layer of historical and emotional depth.


I hope you enjoyed our look at why Stonehenge is famous! Want to find out more about Stonehenge? Why not book our famous Stonehenge and Bath tour from London?

By Emma Retter (Last Updated November 2023)

Travelling Smart – Top Apps Every Tourist Should Have in 2023

Travelling Smart - Top Apps Every Tourist Should Have in 2023

Travelling can be an incredibly thrilling adventure, but it can also pose its fair share of challenges, particularly when you’re exploring a new place or country for the very first time. The question that often looms is: how can you make the absolute most of your vacation while steering clear of any potential hiccups or hassles? Luckily, technology has come to our rescue, offering a treasure trove of travel apps that can serve as trusty companions on our journeys. These digital tools allow us to navigate uncharted territories, swiftly book flights and accommodations, discover hidden gems in the form of restaurants and attractions, and much more.


In this blog post, we’re going to discuss the role of travel apps, exploring the cream of the crop that every tourist, no matter where their wanderlust takes them, should consider having at their fingertips in the year 2023. These apps are like modern-day travel wizards, helping you unlock the full potential of your vacation and ensuring you return home with unforgettable memories.



Travelling can be expensive and the more fun you plan on having, the more likely it’s going to cost. Insert Bloc. Bloc is a social events app that rewards people for attending venues. So when you’re travelling you can check-in to cafes, restaurants and any venue that’s on Google. Overtime you earn Bloc’s in-app currency that can be exchanged for cash. This cash can then be put towards more fun on your travels. Other than the rewards, Bloc also allows people to connect with each other before events. So if you’re checked into somewhere you can see who else is checked into the same place. It’s a great way of meeting new people on your travels.



If you’re in search of a refreshing change from the conventional hotel or resort experience, Airbnb is a fantastic option to dive into. It’s like unlocking a treasure trove of possibilities with its vast array of millions of listings scattered across the globe. Whether you’re seeking a cosy cottage in the countryside, a chic city apartment, or an exotic treehouse in the jungle, Airbnb offers an eclectic range of accommodations tailored to your budget and personal tastes. The platform not only opens doors to distinctive stays but also prioritizes your peace of mind. It ensures secure and hassle-free bookings, smooth payment transactions, and effortless communication with your gracious hosts. So, with Airbnb at your fingertips, your journey becomes not just a trip, but an immersive experience in itself.



When it comes to managing your finances while planning a trip or simply hunting for the most wallet-friendly flight options, Hopper emerges as your ultimate go-to app. Hopper doesn’t just help you find good deals; it’s your savvy sidekick in the world of airfare savings. With its nifty features, it keeps a watchful eye on flight prices, almost like having a crystal ball that predicts when those fares are set to climb or drop. This invaluable insight lets you seize the opportunity to save some hard-earned cash by booking at precisely the right moment. What’s more, Hopper goes the extra mile by offering tailor-made recommendations based on your preferences and past choices, ensuring that you’re not just finding flights but finding the best ones for you. And if that’s not convenient enough, it’s always got your back, sending handy notifications when those irresistible deals pop up, making sure you never miss out on a travel steal again. With Hopper by your side, your travel dreams can take off without breaking the bank.


Google Maps

Google Maps is undoubtedly one of the most indispensable travel companions in the digital age. Over the years, it has undergone significant improvements, and its popularity continues to soar, and it’s not hard to see why. Its real-time navigation feature is a game-changer, making it a breeze to find your way around unfamiliar places, discover nearby points of interest, and opt for the quickest and most efficient routes. Furthermore, the app offers the incredibly convenient option of downloading maps for offline use. This proves invaluable when you’re venturing into remote locales or grappling with a spotty internet connection while on the road. With Google Maps in your pocket, you’ve got a reliable friend that helps you explore the world with confidence. So say for example you wanted to find ‘pubs in Richmond’, Google would show you the best ones based on their rankings and reviews.


Google Translate

When you find yourself navigating foreign lands, language differences can indeed pose quite a hurdle. Thankfully, Google Translate is your trusty ally in breaking down those linguistic barriers. This versatile app has a repertoire of over 100 languages in its translation toolkit, making it your go-to companion for understanding and being understood almost anywhere you go. But here’s where it gets even cooler: it’s not just about typed text. Google Translate can work magic on images and handwritten notes, transforming visual language into comprehensible words. And if you want to have a real-time chat with locals, the conversation mode steps in, allowing you to engage in meaningful exchanges without missing a beat. So, whether you’re deciphering street signs, decoding menus, or connecting with new friends, Google Translate ensures that language is no longer a barrier but a bridge to enriching travel experiences.



When seeking a serene oasis before your flight takes off, LoungeBuddy truly shines as your go-to travel companion. This app is like your personal gateway to over 500 airport lounges scattered across the globe, ensuring that wherever your journey takes you, a cosy haven is just a tap away. But it doesn’t stop there; LoungeBuddy goes the extra mile by allowing you to secure your lounge passes with ease, all within the confines of the app itself. What’s even more enticing is that it’s not just about the comfort; it’s also about the perks. LoungeBuddy treats you to an array of exclusive privileges and discounts that are tailor-made to suit your specific airport and airline, making your pre-flight experience not only relaxing but also pleasantly cost-effective. So, whether you’re searching for a tranquil moment, a convenient workspace, or a delightful spread of snacks, LoungeBuddy is the key to unlocking a world of pre-flight indulgence and convenience that’s sure to enhance your travel journey.


Having these fantastic travel apps at your fingertips can truly transform your journeys into adventures that are not only enjoyable but also budget-friendly and hassle-free. Whether your travels are for business, leisure, or both, these apps are your trusty companions in the world of wanderlust. They’ll guide you through unfamiliar terrains, ensuring you never miss a beat, and they’ll have your back when it comes to hunting down the most fantastic deals. With features that enable you to bridge language gaps and connect with locals, you’ll experience destinations in a more authentic and immersive way. These apps are your secret sauce for ensuring every aspect of your travel experience is seamless and stress-free. So, why wait? Take the plunge, download these gems today, and embark on your journeys with unshakable confidence. Your adventures await! Happy travels!

Joshua Wood

CEO CJ Digital

Joshua Wood is the CEO if CJ Digital, a hospitality marketing agency based in London. Joshua has been in the hospitality and tech space for 13 years and has clients all over the world. He has been featured in Forbes and Business Insider for his insights into the world of marketing for the hospitality industry.

For more information about the author or CJ Digital you can visit: https://cjdigital.co.uk.

Discover the Mystical: 15 of the best things to do in Glastonbury

Discover the Mystical: 15 of the Best Things to do in Glastonbury

Glastonbury is known as the ‘hippiest town in the UK’ and it’s a place full of interesting and magical experiences. Whether you’re into spiritual stuff or just looking to explore, there’s something for everyone. You can visit the famous Tor, check out some really unique shops, and learn about the town’s history and legends. If you’re into hippie culture, you’ll find lots of cool, laid-back vibes and colourful places to explore. In this article we’re going to explore 15 of the best things to do in Glastonbury that you won’t want to miss when you visit this magical and free-spirited town.

1. Ascend the Glastonbury Tor

The iconic Glastonbury Tor is a must-visit, offering panoramic views of the Somerset countryside. Steeped in legend, it’s said to be the Isle of Avalon, King Arthur’s final resting place. The climb is invigorating, and the views are rewarding, making it a perfect start to your Glastonbury adventure.

2. Explore the Glastonbury Abbey

The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey are a testament to the town’s rich history. Once a site of great religious importance, it’s enveloped in legends of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. The serene grounds and the fascinating history make it a captivating visit.

3. Discover the Chalice Well

The Chalice Well is a tranquil spot, believed to be a sacred source of healing. The waters are rich in iron, giving them a distinctive red hue, symbolising the sacred feminine. The gardens surrounding the well are beautifully maintained, offering a peaceful retreat.

4. Walk the Glastonbury Mural Trail

The Glastonbury Mural Trail is a historical journey that starts at the iconic Glastonbury Tor and finishes at the bustling Market Cross. To walk the trail, you can pick up a map from the Glastonbury Information Centre, and you can explore the town while learning about its captivating history through the colourful murals along the way.

5. Experience the Glastonbury Goddess Temple

Dedicated to the Divine Feminine, the Goddess Temple is a unique space for meditation and reflection. It offers various events and workshops, focusing on spiritual growth and self-discovery, making it a haven for spiritual seekers.

6. Browse the Eccentric Shops

Glastonbury’s High Street is lined with eclectic shops, offering everything from crystals to mediaeval attire. Whether you’re searching for a unique souvenir or exploring alternative lifestyles, the shops in Glastonbury are a treasure trove of the unusual and the mystical.

7. Enjoy Vegan Delights

Glastonbury is a haven for vegans, with numerous eateries offering plant-based options. From the flavourful dishes at The Rainbow’s End Café to the decadent desserts at The Pyramid Vegan, the town caters to all palates. 

8. Hike the Somerset Levels

The Somerset Levels offer picturesque landscapes and diverse wildlife, making it a perfect location for hiking and nature spotting. The flat terrains and well-marked trails make it accessible for all fitness levels.

9. Unwind at the Red Brick Building

This community-owned building is a hub for arts, music, and wellbeing. It hosts various events, workshops, and classes, and houses a cosy bistro, making it a great spot to relax and connect with the local community. You can visit their website to check the schedule: 

10. Wander through the Rural Life Museum

This museum provides insights into Somerset’s agricultural history, showcasing traditional farming practices and rural life. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the past, with well-curated exhibits and knowledgeable staff.

11. Experience the White Spring

The White Spring, contrasting the red waters of the Chalice Well, is a powerful and atmospheric space, dedicated to the spirits of the land. It’s a place of reflection and connection with the elemental forces of nature.

12. Join a Guided Tour

Various guided tours are available, we recommend our very own Glastonbury and Cheddar Gorge tour, which leaves from London. The tour is guided and includes a guide and access to Glastonbury Abbey as well as the option to add on a tour of Cheddar Gorge Caves.

13. Learn to read the future

Learn the art of fortune telling with a 3 day future life progression course at radiant angel energy. They also offer angel card reading, reiki and guided meditation.

14. Take a workshop or retreat

Glastonbury is the hippie town in the UK, from mosaics to celtic healing. Wand making mushroom foraging. Browse online to see a fascinating array of magical enlightenment.

15. Attend the Glastonbury Festival

The ever famous Glastonbury Festival is a celebration of music, arts, and culture. With its A-list line-up and vibrant atmosphere, it’s a must-experience event for music lovers and festival enthusiasts.

Glastonbury, with its blend of history, legend, and spirituality, offers a unique and enriching experience for every visitor. Whether you’re drawn to its mystical allure, its vibrant cultural scene, or its natural beauty, Glastonbury invites you to explore, reflect, and connect. Fancy a visit to this mystical marvel? Why not check out our highly rated Glastonbury and Cheddar Gorge Coach Tour from London.

Windsor Castle Tour

Looking to Tour Beyond London: Unveiling Enchanting Day Trips

Looking to Tour Beyond London: Unveiling Enchanting Day Trips

London, the vibrant capital of the United Kingdom, brims with iconic landmarks, rich history, and a bustling urban charm. But what lies beyond the boundaries of this magnificent city? For travellers with a thirst for adventure, day tours from London offer the perfect opportunity to explore the enchanting landscapes, historical gems, and cultural delights that await just a stone’s throw away. Join us as we embark on a virtual journey to unveil some of the most captivating day tours you can experience from London.

Windsor Castle and Bath from London by Bus

Immerse yourself in the regal history of England with a day tour to Windsor Castle and the picturesque city of Bath. Begin your day with a visit to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, where you can marvel at the opulent State Apartments and St. George’s Chapel. Then, venture to Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Roman-built baths and stunning Georgian architecture. Explore the Roman Baths, wander along the charming streets, and soak in the city’s unique atmosphere.

To book a trip to Windsor Castle please click here

Windsor Castle Tour from London

Stonehenge from London by Bus​

Unravel the mysteries of Stonehenge and discover the medieval charm of Salisbury on this captivating day tour. Stand in awe before the iconic stone circle of Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage site that has puzzled archaeologists and visitors for centuries. Delve into its history and ponder its purpose as you wander the ancient landscape. Afterwards, head to Salisbury and marvel at the majestic Salisbury Cathedral, home to the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta.

To book a day trip to Stonehenge please click here

London Things to Do Stonehenge from London

Oxford and Cambridge from London by Bus

Step into the world of academia with a day tour to Oxford and Cambridge, two prestigious university cities that boast a rich heritage and breathtaking architecture. In Oxford, wander through the captivating “city of dreaming spires,” where countless luminaries have been educated. Explore the historic colleges, visit the Bodleian Library, and stroll along the picturesque River Thames. Then, journey to Cambridge, renowned for its serene riverside setting and renowned colleges such as King’s College and Trinity College. Take a punt along the river Cam or explore the charming streets lined with quaint shops and cafes.

To book a day trip to Oxford and Cambridge please click here


The Cotswolds from London by Bus​

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and venture into the idyllic countryside of the Cotswolds. This region, famous for its picture-perfect villages, rolling hills, and honey-coloured stone cottages, is a haven of tranquillity and charm. Explore the enchanting villages of Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold, where time seems to stand still. Admire the quaint cottages, wander through beautiful gardens, and indulge in delicious local cuisine at cozy pubs.

To book a day trip to the Cotswolds please click here

The Cotswolds Tour from London

William Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon: Tour from London

Delve into the world of Shakespeare and medieval history with a day tour to Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle. Visit Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the legendary playwright, and explore the historic sites associated with his life, including his birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Then, journey to Warwick Castle, a magnificent fortress dating back to the Middle Ages. Experience its rich history through interactive exhibits, explore its grand interiors, and marvel at the stunning views from the castle ramparts.

To book a day trip to Shakespeare’s Stratford please click here 

Stratford-Shakespeare's Home

In conclusion, while London offers an abundance of attractions and experiences, venturing beyond the city’s boundaries reveals a treasure trove of captivating day tours. From exploring royal castles and ancient mysteries to embracing the serene beauty of the countryside and university cities, these day trips allow you to unravel the diverse tapestry of England’s history, culture, and natural beauty. So, when you find yourself in London, be sure to book a tour with London’s top tour operator.

Book Day Tours from London

Anderson Tours specialises in day tours from London to incredible destinations in the UK and Europe and attractions in London and outside London. With daily departures to some of Britain’s finest tourist attractions such as Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, Glastonbury and Dover Castle, there is something to suit everybody.

London Attractions Tower of London

Plan your Visit to London with Anderson Tours

Plan your Visit to London with Anderson Tours

River Thames

The River Thames has been the heart of London life through the centuries with its banks full of stories both Royal and common. On this tour we will explore some of London’s medieval and maritime history starting in Greenwich, the birthplace of Kings and the heart of London’s maritime history. Followed by a boat ride to our next destination, the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror and used as a dungeon, a fortress and today where the Crown Jewels are stored. Famous for its ravens and Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters, as they are known. 


In Greenwich we will visit the world-famous meridian line and stand at the beginning of time. This is during our visit to the Royal Observatory where you will see how the problem of latitude was tackled back in the 18th Century, solving a great navigational question and propelling Britain’s international trade and exploration. 

Then we will walk down through the famous sights of Greenwich such as its imposing old Royal Naval College (now the University of Greenwich), see the Queen’s House, the Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark, and have lunch either from Cutty Sark or the surrounding restaurants. 


After lunch it’s off to the river to sail back into the centre of town, arriving at the iconic Tower Bridge and heading on to our final location, the Tower of London. 

One of the themes of the day is the River Thames, linking both our sites. For most of its history there were only three bridges in London, so most Thames crossings were done by ferry; the river was known as the busiest street in London because most of the actual streets were terrible. They were not paved, full of holes, mud, horse manure and toilet slops. So it was much easier to travel on the river. 

London Bridge was the first ever bridge built here, the very first incarnation of it was built by the Romans in 59 AD. 

The Thames Watermen who manned the ferry boats were a common feature of the river and became part of the river culture. They had races along the river to show off their nautical skills with competitions like the Dogget Badge Race and the Trafalgar Cup, with cheering crowds, which now reside in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. 

Now there are 33 bridges in London, 3 foot tunnels, 1 cable car and there are still river boat services such as the Woolwich ferry service and Thames clippers.

Greenwich is the site of the old Palace of Placentia, a favourite palace of Henry VIII (along with Hampton Court) and the birthplace of Queen Elizabeth I. This palace was built in 1443 in the reign of Henry VI but did not survive the British Civil War of 1640 – 1652. The bricks from this old palace by the river were then used to build the Royal Observatory. 

Tower of London (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

  • Yeoman Warder Tours (4) – the Yeoman Warders, these were the personal bodyguards of the king, a tradition starting in Tudor times. The Constable of the Yeoman Warders managed them and every ship that docked had to give a barrel of wine, rum or brandy to the him. (Priorities) Nowadays to become a Yeoman Warder you need to have 22 years of military service and get to live in the Tower. The thing to know today is that every half hour the Yeoman Warder tours leave from the entrance gate and they are free and highly recommended. 
  • The Ravens (5) – legend has it that seven ravens must always live in the Tower, if they leave both the Tower and the Kingdom will fall! The Ravens actually stay in aviaries here and are fed, looked after and let out in the daytime.  
  • White Tower (2)– old keep built by William the Conqueror who started building it immediately after he conquered England in 1066. Henry III 1220s painted it white and that’s how it got its name. It has been a Royal Residence, a military barracks and a dungeon. Famous prisoners of the Tower of London are Anne Boleyn (H8 2nd wife), Sir Walter Raleigh the Elizabethan explorer, Catherine Howard (another one of Henry VIIIs unfortunate wives), William Penn who later left England after his incarceration to found Pennsylvania, Rudolf Hess who was captured as a prisoner of war in 1941 and Guy Fawkes, of the famous Gun Power Plot. 
  • Crown Jewels (1) – this set is from the 1660s and contains items like crowns (of course), swords, orbs, maces, plates, rings, robes, walking sticks, trumpets and many more items … these are the modern crown jewels as the older medieval and Tudor jewels were melted down when the monarchy was briefly abolished after the Civil War in the 17th Century, when King Charles 1 was executed by Oliver Cromwell. 

(The coronation practice started when Christianity was adopted and the monarchs had to be ordained under God so a collection of coronation regalia evolved for this purpose.) There are different jewels for different occasions such as state dinners and the opening of Parliament. 

  • Traitors Gate – This is the infamous entry to the Tower of London for prisoners, it is a water gate and prisoners accused of treason sailed up the Thames and entered through Traitors Gate. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, Henry VIIIs unfortunate wives, were brought to the tower this way before being beheaded. 
  • In the 1660s it was being used as an arsenal and the White Tower was packed full of gunpower on every floor, very scary in 1666 during the Great Fire of London!
  • During the Blitz in World War II there were people stationed on the roof of the White Tower who would pickup unexploded bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe and throw them off to try and minimise the damage. There were also bomb catchers on the ramparts and on other buildings like St Pauls Cathedral each night during the Blitz, picking up bombs and throwing them as far away as they could. 

A Journey through Space and Time…

Our first stop will be at Royal Observatory on the hill in Greenwich park, here we will have an hour and a half where you can explore the history of longitude and time. As trade and exploration became more and more important in the 16th Century the issue of longitude, or finding out where you were at sea in in regards to time zones or the longitudinal pole to pole direction, became increasing important.  

  • Founded by Charles II in 1675 and built by Christopher Wren (famous architect). As international trade grew there was a growing need for reliable navigation and especially the calculation of Longitude. Early work was done by Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci and Galileo Galilei (who invented the telescope) but the methodology was still crude and there was a need to have a stable clock that didn’t go out of sync on an unstable ship. (Pendulums) 
  • Many ships, men and cargo had been lost due to captains not being able to navigate clearly so it became a political and economic issue. When the ships hugged the coastline, they could gauge their position fairly accurately but as more and more journeys involved crossing the vast expanse of the Atlantic or the Pacific, with no sight of land, ships and cargo frequently got lost. 
  • In 1714 the Longitude Act was passed by Queen Anne and the British government, creating a competition to solve this problem. There was over a million pounds in prize money available which was given out in stages to successful applicants to encourage people to work on this issue. Clockmaker John Harrison rose to prominence and became the winner, solving the greatest problem of the day. Harrison was from Lincolnshire and made various versions of his chronometer – his longitudinal clocks, which you can see in the Observatory. 
  • Here at the observatory you can take your photo on the Prime Meridian, the theoretical beginning of time. 
  • At an international conference in 1884 a decision was made to use Greenwich as the Prime Meridian line. This was due to all the pioneering work done by John Harrison and because the system he designed work so well that it was quickly adopted and used all over the world. It would have been difficult to suddenly change the whole system so Greenwich observatory was agreed as this fixed point due to it already being widely used. It also meant that the International Date Line, where time goes from 24 hours to zero, falls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and causes the least disruption.  
  • The Time Ball – a big red ball that sits on top of the Observatory on top of the hill in Greenwich Park. Constructed in 1833 at this point so all ships could see it from the river and set their clocks/chronometers by it. Ships would be waiting in the river, looking up at the Observatory and waited with watches and chronometers for the Red Ball to drop so they could all set their clocks to the exact time and then set sail, knowing they would be able to calculate longitude. The Red Ball would rise at 12:55, halfway up the mast, then at 12:58 all the way to the top and finally at 13:00 it drops and all watching sailors would set their clocks. And sail off ….. 

Pass through Blackheath 

Blackheath – looks idyllic, people walking dogs, children flying kits, couples walking hand in hand …. Over the corpses. The name is thought to be a corruption of ‘Bleak Heath’ as it was used as a burial pit during the Black Death, the Bubonic Plague of 1340s. (Two plagues 1340s and then 1665 but that was killed by the Great Fire of London a year later). There were a huge amount of bodies and the local church graveyards couldn’t keep up with the burial, so several plague pits appeared around London as bodies had to be disposed of quickly. When building Crossrail, an underground train line stretching across London, worked had to stopped for a year at Liverpool Street as they unearthed a plague pit. Workmen were sent home and scientists stepped in and all the bodies were taken away for study, roughly 100. This was from the 1665 plague not the 1340s plague.

Interesting fact – the word quarantine comes from the Italian word for forty, quaranta. This came about during the plague outbreaks after the Doge of Venice decreed that all ships arriving from the East had to stay in the harbour for 40 days and 40 nights to keep the plague away. 

View from Royal Observatory 

  • Shard – built by Renzo Piano 
  • Walkie Talkie building – car melting death ray! 
  • Play sign 
  • Canary Wharf – now a banking and finance area but once the site of the old docklands. Full of slum housing for the dockworkers and old store houses for all the goods that would come into London from all across the globe. Apparently the smell was both beautiful and awful – spices and tanneries. By the 1980s this area had become very run down and deprived so a mass slum clearance took place with the local people being moved out of the area and the buildings razed. Then the new Docklands was created as part of a regeneration scheme, bringing in financial services and wealth to the area. 
  • University of Greenwich, site of the old Palace of Placentia, old Royal Naval Hospital. (More about this later.) 
  • Old Greenwich Power Station – in the past these lined the Thames and generated electricity for the city and the new underground trains, using coal so caused terrible pollution. There were famous ‘pea souppers’ which we think of as the Victorian fog but these were mainly pollution from the power stations and coal fires in peoples homes. In Dec 1952 the Great Smog that descended over London, low pressure caused an anti-cyclone and all the pollution sat at ground level for days. This killed around 12,000 people and caused chaos in the hospitals. After this the Clean Air Act was brought in in 1956 and these big dirty power stations were phased out. For years they were abandoned but now some are being reused; Tate Modern/Bankside Power Station and famous Battersea Power Station is now being renovated into ‘luxury apartments’, shops and restaurants. 
  • The Dome – built for the millennium as …. Errr …. An exhibition … ? It was billed as a big attraction but really flopped along with lots of stories of corruption, vanishing money and shady deals. Then it lay derelict for years before being taken over by O2 who have now turned it into a music venue and event space. You can also climb over the Dome, with a professional of course. 
  • That way France! 

Now we are going into the Observatory, please assemble back here at the statue at 11:30am. 

(Statue is of James Wolfe Victor of Quebec, winner of one of the many wars between Britain and France. This one was fought in Canada which was at that point mainly British but the French still had their foothold in Quebec. That is until James Wolfe laid siege to it in 1759 threatening to starve, burn and slaughter everyone and then destroy crops and cattle. No messing around from Mr Wolfe and Canada became entirely British.) 


Walking Tour

Greenwich Park is the old hunting ground of Palace of Placentia; Chestnut, Oak, Cedar and Sycamore trees populate the park. Once there was the famous Elizabeth Oak (Elizabeth I was born in Greenwich) – QEI’s favourite tree to relax and picnic under. Born 12th Century, fell and died in 1991.  

Maritime Museum 

Maritime Greenwich is part of the UNESCO world heritage site that includes the Observatory, Queens House, Royal Naval college and Maritime museum. This museum celebrates the UKs maritime history, Greenwich’s connection with all things naval and the story of exploration. From grand ships and battles to how the average sailor lived day to day. It is a history of Britain at sea told by 2 ½ million items. 

Opened in 1937 – the museum tells the stories of exploration to all parts of the globe, the hazzards faced on the way, polar explorations, pacific explorations and all things to do with navigating the oceans. The building was initially a school for the children of seafarers. 

  1. Symbols of Neptune the Roman God of the sea are found on many Roman coins in the museum and run through all British symbolism – Britannia the symbol of Britain holds a trident, she is on the 50 pence piece – symbolising the sea is part of the history of the island nation. 
  1. Royal Golden Barge – This was Prince Fredericks barge and was built in 1732 and it was rowed by a team of 21 oars men. It has a mix of British and Eastern decorations with Golden half lion half fish creatures at the front, three on each side because three lions represent England, and Chinese dragon figures on the cabin to represent trade with the east. Prince Frederick rowed in the barge to meet his betrothed, Princess Augsuta. Current Queen also has a golden barge and in 2012 she sailed in this down the Thames with a huge flotilla of boats for the River Pageant. 
  1. Battle of Trafalgar – Turner painting in room next to Golden Barge. Painted by Turner in 1822 to commemorate the battle in 1805 between Lord Nelson and the British Navy against the French and Spanish fleets in the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon Bonaparte planned to gain control of the English Channel and invade so George III sent Nelson to defend the realm. The actual battle happened off the coast of Spain at Cape Trafalgar and the British Navy was outnumbered by the French and Spanish. However, with Nelson’s clever tactics and crafty tricks led to a fierce battle, as Nelson commanded from his ship, the HMS Victory. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost 22 ships and the British none, however this is the battle where Nelson received a fatal bullet wound and soon after the battle, he died. 

The Victory put an end to Napoleons plans to invade Britain and established Britain as a great Naval power. The painting was commissioned by George IV and originally hung at St James Palace. Another famous monument to Nelson is Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. 

  1. Miss Britannia III – speed boat. Power racing boat built in 1932 by Hubert Scott-Paine for competitions like the Schneider Cup and the Harmsworth Trophy. He got Rolls-Royce to make the engines and to sign an exclusive contract. 
  1. The Atlantic Worlds gallery covers all the relationships between all the Atlantic nations, with of course the big story being Europeans crossing the ocean and settling in the Americas. Other interesting things are artefacts from the Akan and Ashante tribes of West Africa, brass carvings used as weights for trade. These tribes sold slaves to Europeans for goods such as guns and whiskey, so the weights are cravings of guns, symbolic of this trade. There is also a painting of a European trade delegation being hosted by tribal leaders. The triangular trade – Bristol/Liverpool/London to West African – West Africa to the Americas – Back to the UK. This featured the notorious middle passage, the terrible route from West Africa to the Americas where enslaved people were kept in the most appalling conditions on the slave ships. 
  1. And finally, Lord Horatio Nelson is commemorated here. He became a ship’s captain at the age of 21 and went on to become one of Britain’s greatest naval heroes. He joined the Navy at the age of 12 and was aggressive, clever and ambitious. He was known for his clever naval tactics and daring in battle, even after loosing an arm at the Battle of the Nile. He died aboard his ship the HMS Victory and seemed to know his time was up and he made a will just before the battle. He was shot in the shoulder and the bullet pierced his back and lung, dying shortly after victory was declared. His uniform with the bullet hole is in the museum and he was transported back to Greenwich in a barrel of brandy. (Apparently sailors drank the brandy after he was taken out of it….) He is buried at St Pauls. 

Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. (Great believer in the slave trade and loathed William Wilberforce who was an abolitionist. Both very determined, aggressive characters but Wilberforce won that battle and succeeded in getting the Slave Trade abolished in the British Empire in 1807.) 

(There is also a commemoration of the Battle of Jutland which was the largest and most devastating battle of WWI. The British and German navies fought for control of North Atlantic when it was all over, 8000 men were dead and no overall winner.)

Queens House

Queen’s House with topiary swirl trees, Royal Museums Greenwich
  • QH originally built for Anne of Denmark wife of James I/VI as she accidentally shot one of his hunting dogs, they had a big argument and to make up for the fight James gave Anne the gift of Greenwich and she could do whatever she wanted. James I/VI flamboyant like that, as was his grandson C2. He was the son of Mary Queen of Scots who was Elisabeth I s cousin and a catholic. Time of religious wars and so if you were the wrong religion you were also a political enemy, so cousins Mary and Elizabeth were enemies and eventually Elizabeth had Mary beheaded. Then young James was raised by very strict dour protestants to get all the Catholic out of him but this stoic and rather miserable childhood made him a very decadent adult. He was initially king of Scotland but when Elizabeth died without an heir he was her closest relative so inherited the kingdom of England and the vast wealth that went along with that. He did outrageous things like have a whole banquet prepared, have his guests walk by it smelling it and drooling over it. Then he would have it all thrown out as this was supposed to be the temping part of the dinning experience to get everyone hungry and looking forward to their meal. Then another whole banquet would be prepared for the ravenous guests. He also scandalized the court by taking male lovers and was heckled as Queen James when riding about London. 
  • Anne of Denmark decided to have a house built in the new fashionable Palladian style and the champion of this style of classical architecture was Inigo Jones. Inigo Jones had been on the Grand Tour, one of the first aristocrats to do it (as Britain the heretic nation was still at war with several European countries). His grand tour would have been one of the first and he spent many years in Italy learning art and architecture. It would have looked odd in the middle of medieval Greenwich, a white classical stone box, like today when one of these glass and steel towers goes up in a historical district. Inigo Jones was very confident, pioneering and self-assured but died a broken and penniless man during the civil war. (does anyone know about the British Civil War?) He had been one of the royal family’s inner circle so was hunted by Oliver Cromwell’s men, besieged and eventually freed but they took every last penny he had. 
  • The house wasn’t finished when Anne died and was left for a while. Then Charles I married Henrietta Maria of the French Royal Family who brought in architect Inigo Jones once again to finish the house. Henrietta Maria was an unsubtle Catholic and the pope was her Godfather, so she was under instructions to reform the heretic nation and bring it back to the Catholic fold however this provoked a lot of anger in parliament. She wasn’t trusted and often invited aristocracy to Catholic sermons and public parades. This was one of things that made Parliament not trust the King and eventually led to the Civil War from 1640 to 1652. (Civil war is one of the most fascinating periods of history as it has fundamentally shaped British History and also world history. It brought to the fore all kinds of radical ideas, at a time of naval exploration and the beginnings of the American colonies. E.g. Levellers – wanted universal suffrage and religious freedom.)
  • All the arts of royal palaces were taken during the civil war, the Puritan victors even wanted to sell off Windsor castle, and all the crown jewels including the crown were melted down. The current crown jewels, which you can see this afternoon, are from the restoration period of Charles II, the only remaining original gem is the Black Prince’s Ruby, which was won by Edward III in 1367 by fighting for Don Pedro of Seville. New Crown Jewels were made in 1660. 
  • The Queens House was the first building of maritime Greenwich that we can see today. The Royal Naval College and the Maritime museum were later additions. Royal Naval College built by Christopher Wren was initially used as a hospital for former Royal Marines injured at war. Then Queens House was then converted into a school for naval orphans and the children of the injured men across the road in the Royal Naval College.
  • QH is over 400 years old – anniversary was in 2016 and got tuner prize wining artist Richard Wright to decorate the great hall – previously it had classical paintings but these are now in Marlborough House and the canvases were cut to fit Marlborough House. The inspiration was taken from the Tulip Stairs so the shapes are very organic and look like flying golden leaves. 

Interesting features 

  • Great Hall – original marble floor, first of its kind in UK, Charles I was keen to get all the Italian greats to paint and work in his palaces and used that architectural style. Symmetrical and Would have had the painted ceiling and statues, central one of Charles I himself and then busts of royalty all around. 
  • Tulip Stairs, a spiral staircase leading off from the Great Hall – Tulip sounds lovely but this is incorrect as they are Lilies, from Fleur de Lys for Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) who was French. French royal colours were white and gold, and symbolised by lilies, then the revolution happened, and the Tricolour became the national flag. 
  • At the top of the Tulip stairs there is a viewing deck so the Queen could watch the ships coming in at high tide. This would have been quite a sight as you could see the Woolwich and Blackwall docks to the east where the water was deeper, and the larger vessels docked. Then all the yachts and smaller vessels would have come further into town. It was a very busy river and every time a large ship went past Greenwich it would fire its cannons in salute, so high tide would have been eventful and noisy. Even as late as the 1970s, the riverbank smelt of spices and rum etc, all the products coming in to the warehouses of Bermondsey and Wapping being off loaded from the ships. Now all the large ships go to Tilbury docks in Essex and unload there. They don’t come into London. 
  • Upstairs room, old bedroom of Henrietta Maria, has paintings on the ceiling in the Grotesque fashion, which were very fashionable at the time. This was because Italian artists had dug under Rome and excavated the rooms of Emperor Nero and found them full of weird paintings of winged demons, armless women and strange things. Emperor Nero was a bit of a lunatic so all these grotesque paintings should come as no surprise. Grotesque comes from Italian – grotto = cave or underground chamber – what they found when digging into Nero’s rooms. In this room is a famous painting of Elizabeth I who of course never set foot in the house, but the painting is to commemorate her victory over the Spanish armada. 

University/Royal Naval College 

The Royal Naval College was originally built as a hospital for naval veterans in 1694. It was commissioned by Queen Mary (William and Mary) and built by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmore. (CW also built St Pauls and many buildings in Oxford.) It was built as a refuge for retired and injured naval veterans as a way of thanking them for their service as before this they had been reduced to begging. As well as being a charitable gesture it was also a statement of pride in the Navy which was hugely important for Britain’s success. And because it’s here at Greenwich, which is where important foreign dignitaries first arrived in London, they wanted the first buildings they saw to be grand. Good PR. 

The idea of a charitable retirement hospital had been around for decades and one had already been built for retired or wounded soldiers at Chelsea. The Royal Hospital Chelsea still has it Chelsea pensioners that wear distinctive red coats. 

  • The hospital in Greenwich housed 2700 naval veterans at its peak. 
  • Youngest veteran was 12 years old! 
  • Veterans came from all over UK with some from American colonies, Africa and Europe
  • Regimented lifestyle – woken at 7am and had to go to chapel, had uniforms and their old clothes were burned as they were usually full of lice
  • Had an allowance but could also work in the kitchens or as a boatswain working on the docks.
  • They were forbidden to marry but if they were already married then family could visit
  • Despite being called a hospital, medical facilities were very basic and if anything serious happened they would be transferred to central London hospitals or …. Star of Bethlehem Hospital. 
  • But if you were well, you could leave. 

It took 50 years to build and was the pet project of Queen Mary Stuart. It opened in 1705 but was finally completed in 1751. Unfortunately, Mary died of small pox in 1694 so never got to see her hospital completed.

Built on the site of the old Palace of Placentia that had been a grand Tudor residence and the birthplace of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary I. It was a favourite residence of the Tudors where they could watch the ships come into Woolwich docks across the river. Mock battles took place on the river for celebrations e.g. when Elizabeth I defeated the Spanish Armada. It is also where Anne Boleyn (EI’s Mum) was arrested on the trumped-up charges of treason before being taken to the Tower of London and executed. Henry’s wives …. (Divorced, Beheaded, Dead – Divorced, Beheaded, Wed – Catherine Parr survived!)

Old bricks from this demolished palace were used in the building of the Royal Observatory up on the hill. (If you want to see a Tudor palace in great condition you can join Anderson Tours on our Windsor and Hampton Court tour.) This grand palace had fallen into disrepair during the Civil War, after the execution of King Charles I, and many symbols of Royalty were demolished, and Tudor Palace was irreparably damaged in this period. 

In 1873 the hospital was bought by the Royal Naval College that was based in Portsmouth as they were expanding their college and what better place to have a new campus! This college soon became known for its rigorous training and education in all things maritime and scientific and was considered one of the best in Europe. Students from around the world studied here, of course from the British Empire but also from places like China, who were allies in WWII. There was a training ship moored up in front of the college that the young boys aspiring to be sailors trained on. They lived on the ship in order to get them used to life aboard a naval vessel and get them ready for a life at sea. 

In 1939 due to the outbreak of war with Nazi Germany women were allowed to join the navy for the first time and were knows as Wrens – Women’s Royal Naval Service. They trained here at Greenwich, not many of them fought, they had roles such as code breakers, radio operators, meteorologists and bomb markers.

Now the University of Greenwich and a Popular film and TV location – The Crown, Thor, Gulliver’s Travels, Four weddings and a funeral, Les Misérables. 

(3.5 Painted Hall 

Part of the Royal Naval College and meant as a grand dining hall for naval pensioners. It was also where Lord Nelson had his lying-in state so people could come to weep over his corpse. 

A dramatic Baroque space that took 19 years to paint by an artist called Sir James Thornhill. The style of the paintings is very triumphant, as this was the time that Britain was becoming a dominant naval and world power, so all the imagery is grand and flamboyant. Which is also the theme of the Baroque style in general plus the regal grandiose posturing. 

There are references to Greek Mythology and Roman Emperors sitting alongside various Stuart and Hanoverian Kings and Queens. Paintings such as ‘Triumph of Peace and Liberty over Tyranny’. With King William and Queen Mary surrounded by various mythological figures and angels adoring them. The king is shown with his foot on a figure representing ‘arbitrary power and tyranny’ – which looks like Louis XIV of France. So the usual rivalry between the French and British. 

Another painting on the ceiling shows Queen Anne the last of the Stuart dynasty, next to personifications of the continents Europe, Asia, America and Africa and the coats of arms of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. Behold my Empire! 

Then the paintings go on to celebrate the Hanoverian dynasty, so Kings George 1,2, 3 & 4 and finally Queen Victoria. There is the motto – ‘A new race of men from Heaven’ about the new Kings and the picture shows the King holding a globe – it is all mine. So all very grand, triumphal and to celebrate the trading Empire that was being built.)

Greenwich Market

There has been a market here since the 14th Century and the current market was given it’s charter by Lord Romney in 1700. It has a variety of food, arts and crafts.

5 Pie and Mash at Goddard’s 

Traditional, working-class, English food (Scots, Welsh and Irish are similar in that they involve lots of potatoes). Which became a dietary staple in the Victorian age with Pie and Mash shops popping up all over town. 

The main meal is pie, mash and liquor – which is not alcoholic as the name would suggest. It is actually parsley sauce. Traditionally you ate your pie and mash with jellied eels fished from the Thames, which wasn’t the cleanest river during Victorian times. Eels were a plentiful food and a rich source of protein but in 1957 the river Thames was declared biologically dead. WWII bombing had destroyed some of the Victorian sewage system, leaking raw sewage into the river and it was called the ‘foul smelling drain’ by the locals. There was a huge amount of infrastructure damage to repair after the War so it wasn’t until the 60s that the Thames started coming back to life as sewers were repaired and now the river is much cleaner, the eels have repopulated it along with fish, seals and bird life. 

We are going to have this traditional English dish here at Goddards that has been here at Greenwich since 1890 and is still run by members of the Goddard family. Everything is homemade and they have expanded their menu to include vegetarian, chicken and steak these days – not just minced meat. But even in Victorian times there were some exotic additions you could add due to all the nearby docks bringing in spices and goods from all over the world. 

They also have traditional deserts that you may want to try such as sticky toffee pudding and custard. 

After lunch, we will take a boat from Greenwich Pier to St Katherine’s Pier for our visit to the Tower of London. Please be on time for this as the boat won’t wait, it will sail without us.  

Cutty Sark

This is an old Tea Clipper, designed to the be the fastest ship to sail between London and Shanghai, but didn’t’ quite manged to claim this title. It sailed from London with goods such as wine, spirits and beers and returned packed full of tea. It’s first voyage was in 1870 and sailed around the treacherous Cape of Good Hope. 

There were tea races between tea clipper ships as fresh tea or the first crop of the year was a highly sought after good and ships would race across the globe to fulfil this very profitable demand. 

The tea trade was highly lucrative, and tea was a luxury good across Europe. Initially the British East India Company had control over this and imported opium from Bengal to ports in China, buying tea and returning to Europe with it. This then resulted in massive addiction problems in China and China began seizing and destroying the opium and banning international trade. This then resulted in the opium wars between Britain and China which were won by Britain and resulted in China giving Hong Kong on lease to the British Empire. 

In 1834 parliament took away the East India Company’s exclusivity on the tea trade and opened up the market, thus making it an everyday good for all parts of society. 

Our tea clipper here only completed 8 journeys there and back before being retired. It was launched the same week the Suez Canal opened and cut 3000 miles off the journey. This meant that steam ships moved in on the trade. It was quite late in the century to be using sailing ships because steam power was taking over and the business was soon moved to the faster steam ships. It was then sold to the Portuguese then sold back to the Thames Nautical Training College to train young sailors for the merchant navy and now rests here, an old retired lady. 

The strange sounding name is Scots as the ship was built in Dumbarton, on the River Clyde, in Scotland. It means wee nighty. The word sark is a nightgown in Scots and cutty means cut short and it describes the figurehead, a lady in a wee undergarment, the bare breasted Nannie Dee!

Tower of London

Tower of London Tour
Tower of London Tour
Bruges Christmas

Anderson Tours: December Christmas Market Day Trips from London

Anderson Tours: December Christmas Market Day Trips from London

Bruges Christmas Market: A day trip from London.

Starting from London, travel to the coast, across the English Channel and onwards into Belgium to discover the wonders of Bruges. With its enchanting canals, cobbled streets, distinctive buildings and iconic town square, Bruges is a beautiful city to visit.


We take the ferry from Dover over to France; see the White Cliffs from the deck of the boat, shop in the Duty Free and get a complimentary meal from DFDS.


On arrival, we will walk with you to the centre of Bruges, into the Market (town square) with its famous Belfry (Bell Tower) and colourful traditional buildings, many of which are cafes and restaurants. You will then have the rest of the day as free time to explore Bruges independently. You might want to enjoy a Belgian beer and frites (chips/French fries), try a delicious Belgian waffle, see the city from a boat on the canal or go shopping at the gorgeous Christmas Market stalls before boarding the coach back to London at the end of the day.



To book a day trip to Bruges Christmas Market please click here

Romantic City of Bruges

Bath Christmas Market by Bus

Book our tour to Stonehenge and Bath for December and you will spend the evening exploring Bath Christmas market with plenty of exciting items to shop from the market. 

Bath has a lot of bun shops and you will see a lot of places selling tea and large Bath buns. We will be passing by Sally Lunn’s Bun House, a famous Bath teashop where the Bath bun originated from. A large wheaten treat, if you like big buns and you cannot lie.

Please click here to book our tour for Stonehenge and Bath for December.