This June-in-review blog post is brought to us all by Sue Hillman of It’s Your London touring company. Providing custom tours tailored to your personal interests, It’s Your London will help you make the most of your time in this phenonemonal city. (For more information, see our previous blog post as well visit www.itsyourlondon.co.uk)
Here’s your review of June 2010 when we have seen the arrival of a stomping heat wave which is always a delight if a bit of a shock for us but has been great for play at Wimbledon. Here are a few highlights from the last month and we’ll not be mentioning the football at all!
We have wonderful big royal events, and they are amazing spectacles, especially if you can get to see them close up. In June we have the Trooping of the Colour when the Queen celebrates her official birthday – she has 2 being the Queen and her actual birthday is in April. Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace and along the Mall from about 8 o’clock onwards to get a front spot to see the royals ride past. From about 10 o’clock men in extraordinarily bright uniforms start to march past, then the massed bands gather and march down to Horse Guards Parade where the Trooping takes place. To get a seat for the main event means applying far ahead and being very lucky as you get grandstand views of the Queen inspecting her troops and then certain divisions parade their colours past her. The whole lot then march back up the Mall to Buckingham Palace and all the members of the royal family who are there for the event come out on the balcony to wave to the crowds, hear the 41 gun royal salute and watch the impressive fly past. Once the royals are safely in the palace the crowd is allowed to rush up the gates to get a better view of the balcony. It’s a great morning with a fun atmosphere and so much tradition being played out before you. Here are a few photos to give you the general idea and I was so pleased to get a good one of the Queen but what about poor Prince Philip with the huge bearskin weighing him down!
Open Garden Squares weekend is a fabulous event for the nosey among us! Many of the amazing gardens in London which you just can’t get into normally open their doors for one weekend and a single tickets at the reasonable sum of £7.50 gives you entry to all of them. There are so many to choose from that it’s really hard to pick a few but my favourites were the garden on top of the Ismaili mosque; the Kensington Roof Gardens and Crescent Gardens. The mosque garden was worth a visit as we could go into their prayer room as well which is very modern and is open to women as well. The Roof Gardens are extravagant and mad with Spanish, Tudor and English country gardens sections with pink flamingos to add to the fun. The photos are from here as it’s hard to believe this is the centre of London on top of a major shop! Crescent Gardens are huge private communal gardens which are as big as a park and hidden away so you’d never see them – how the rich live!
On the theme of budget you can’t get better than free! For a few evenings in the summer giant screens go up and there are live screenings of ballet or opera from the Royal Opera House. I went to see one in Trafalgar Square which was magical as the first ballet was beautiful and the advantage of it being a television feed is that you get good close ups. The ballet was Chroma by Wayne McGregor and it was performed by dancers in singlets and no shoes and was rawly brilliant with a driving score. A couple of photos give you some idea of what it was like.
It’s been the best weather for going to riverside pubs so we went to Chiswick in west London for a Sunday lunchtime treat and here’s a photo to show how much effort they go to with their flowers to make it look great. Every pub with a garden has been packed out every night as we make the most of the heat (sorry to go on about it but last year summer was very brief!). Other eating out has been in friends’ gardens – and in mine of course. Regents Park hosted the annual Taste of London Festival where top restaurants take a section and serve 3 of their signature dishes in small but decent portions. It’s a great showcase for all things food and drink with lots of stalls offering tasters. We had evening tickets and it was a really fun time grazing and checking out all the different restaurants trying to choose the best ones for our 3 dishes.
I’m off to America for a couple of weeks in July but I’m sure there’ll still be plenty of activities to tell you about in the two weeks I’ll be here!