Tag Archives: london

New Google Art Project Lets You Explore Galleries and Museums

1 Feb

Google have released a new service called ‘Art Project‘ which allows you to explore art galleries and museums from around the world whilst still sitting at your computer.

In the same way that Street View allows you to walk around distant towns and cities, with Art Project you can take a tour around one of 17 of the best museums and galleries from all over the world. What’s more, you can zoom so far in to the paintings and exhibits that you can see individual brush strokes!

So whether you want to explore the Tate Britain in London (above), or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (below) you can now do so without even moving away from the screen you are looking at now, just by visiting Art Project here.

If you’ve seen the Tate Britain virtually, but now want to see the real thing, have a look at this Guide to London.

Happy New Year!

4 Jan

Welcome to 2011 everyone! Around the world on Friday night, revelers celebrated the New Year with friends and family. And Britain was no different.

Throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, there were parties filling the streets, homes, pubs and clubs, as people welcomed 2011.

London saw the largest gathering of people, mainly based around the London Eye, where they were promised a spectacular fireworks display. They certainly weren’t disappointed, as you can see from the video below.

Not sure what the song is that the British sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve? If you are confused by any of the traditions followed at New Year in the UK, then have a look at our Guide to British Celebrations and Festivals.

Things to Do in London this Christmas

13 Dec

Christmas is fast approaching (it’s less than two weeks away now!) and London is getting into the spirit of the season. Here we have a look at some of the best places to visit and things to do in the capital during the festive time of year.

Ice Skating: Every winter, outdoor ice rinks pop up all over London, offering thousands of people the chance to get their skates on in some of the most stunning settings the capital has to offer. If you haven’t experienced outdoor ice skating before, then it is well worth wrapping up warm and spending an hour two showing off your best moves. For a full list of all the venues and details of how to book tickets, visit here.

Christmas Markets: If you’ve still got Christmas presents to buy or simply enjoy shopping, then the Christmas markets in London offer a great alternative to the normal high street shops. The numerous markets offer everything from quality food and drink, to hand made gifts, to unique fashion items. Full listings here.

Christmas Carols: What better way to get into the Christmas season than to join in with some traditional English carols. Whether you would rather get involved yourself and sing your heart out, or if you would rather just listen to the pros, there are loads of options in London. You can find all the information you need here.

Theatre: Going to see a play at the theatre is a great way to spend an evening with friends at Christmas time, and London is sure to have something to suit you, whatever your tastes. Whether you fancy a light hearted pantomime, a Shakespeare classic or a modern art house performance, you’ll be able to find it at a London theatre near you. Click here to search for performances and theatres in London.

To get great discounts and offers on days out directly to your email inbox every week, sign up to our newsletter here.

Image: laffy4k on Flickr

Students Protest Against Tuition Fees in London

10 Dec

London faced its most violent protests in decades yesterday, as students from across England gathered to show their anger over the increase in university tuition fees.

It was a momentous day in British politics, as, whilst clashes between students and police grew in Parliament Square, politicians inside Parliament debated the proposed increase in fees for over five hours before voting in favour of the change.

The vote means that UK based students can now be charged up to £9,000 per year (increased from just over £3,000) to study at an English university, meaning many will be left with huge debts after they graduate. The proposal created huge rifts within the British political parties, and many MPs voted against their own party’s wishes. However, the real clashes were most definitely outside.

Throughout the morning, tens of thousands of university and school students gathered in London, ready to march through the city protesting the proposed changes. There was a huge police presence ready and expecting the peaceful crowd to turn violent at some point.

This point was reached in the afternoon, when the protesters met police barriers in Parliament Square. The crowds tried to surge forward towards the Parliament buildings, but were met by riot police and officers on horseback.

Violent clashes between the opposing sides then broke out as protestors began to throw paint, snooker balls and broken bits of concrete, and the police responded with their batons. At points police on horseback were used to push the protestors back, and eventually the situation calmed down.

As darkness fell, protestors spread to other parts of London, and attacked the flagship Topshop store on Oxford Street due to its owner’s well known tax evasion. Soon after this, events took an unexpected turn when Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were caught up in the protests in the nearby Regents Street. They were travelling to a royal event, and their car was attacked with paint and missiles, leaving a window smashed and the royals visible shaken.

Ultimately, the results of this historic day of politics were the approval of the increase in university tuition fees, and the resignation of three politicians. Meanwhile, the results of the protests were 22 arrests, 10 police officers and dozens of students injured, and widespread devastation across Westminster.

The main message we want to send to you is that this type of protests are very very rare and should certainly not be anything to worry about. No one was there who didn’t want to be and the vast majority of the area of London was safe throughout the whole event.

To keep up with all the latest news, keep checking the blog and join our Facebook page for daily updates.

UK Hit by Second Wave of Student Protests

26 Nov

Students turned out in their thousands again this week to protest the proposed increases in tuition fees, and again it was small pockets of violence that made the headlines in the UK.

After the protests two weeks ago, the police were on high alert when it was announced that students were going to march through London again on Wednesday. This mainly peaceful march broke out into violence when a police van was attacked and protesters tried to break through police lines.

The clashes in London led to 32 arrests and 17 people hurt, with the attack on the police van a particular point of contention. Demonstrators have accused police of purposefully abandoning the van as ‘bait’ for the protestors to attack. It was claimed the media coverage of the ensuing attack has worked to undermine the protest. One rioter who took part in the march said:

“The police van was a complete set up, conveniently planted right in the middle of the street with no police anywhere near it”.

The police of course deny such allegations and say it was simply the case that

‘The officers felt vulnerable and decided the best course of action was to leave the van’.

A further story that has emerged from the attacks on the police van is of a group of school girls forming a protective human circle around the van to stop protestors trying to overturn the vehicle. Zoe Williams, one of the school girls, explained:

“I was just trying to get across to them that the cause that we’re here for today isn’t about ‘I hate the police, I want to burn the police and I want to destroy everything they represent’.”

It wasn’t just in London that students were voicing their unhappiness, as across the rest of the country there were other peaceful protests. Over Wednesday and Thursday, students took over lecture theatres and university buildings in 10 universities, including Edinburgh, UCL, Cardiff and Newcastle. One of the most high profile ‘sit ins’ was at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, where dozens of students stormed the building and danced on tables.

The various forms of protest look set to continue over the Christmas period, as the government shows no signs of backing down over the planned increase to tuition fees. We will keep you right up to date with all the latest news on this matter, so make sure you check the blog regularly.

Read about the first set of protests here, and learn how the proposed increase in fees will affect international students here.

London the Subject for the World’s Largest Ever Photo

22 Nov

Prince William and Kate Middleton Announce their Engagement

17 Nov

Yesterday afternoon it was revealed that Prince William and long term girlfriend Kate Middleton are finally engaged after 8 years of courtship.

The Prince- second in line to the British throne– announced that he proposed whilst on holiday in Kenya in October, and that the wedding will be held in London in spring or summer next year.

The ring William proposed with was the engagement ring of his late mother- Princess Diana. He revealed that this was his way of “keeping her close to all the fun and excitement”.

The couple, now both 28, originally met at St. Andrews University in Scotland where they both studied. After becoming friends, romance began to blossom and they started dating after about a year of knowing each other. Ever since, there has been speculation of an engagement as they have grown closer together.

The British public were finally able to celebrate yesterday and a number of top figures joined in the congratulations to the couple. The Queen (William’s grandmother) said she was “absolutely delighted”, whilst David Cameron said the engagement marked “a great day for our country”.

And what of the bride to be who may one day be Queen of England? Well Kate admitted that marrying royalty is “daunting prospect but I hope to take it in my stride”. Very sensible.

To learn more about the royal family, read our Guide to British Culture.

Image: ester1616 on Flickr

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