Covent Garden – Upmarket and affluent with a tumultuous history. Fringing on London’s west-end, Covent Garden is known throughout world as being one of the capital’s most upmarket areas.
Covent Garden is divided into a north and south area by the central thoroughfare known as “Long Acre.” Whilst the north contains mostly shops, the southern part has the central square and several important buildings, such as the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane and the London Transport Museum.
In 1200 AD Covent Garden was walled off and was used by Westminster Abbey as an orchard and vegetable plot. It was known at the time as the “Garden of the Abbey and Convent.”
Whilst Covent Garden may be synonymous with glamour and affluence, the area boasts quite a history. In the sixteenth century King Henry VIII seized the area and granted it to the Earls’ of Bedford. The fourth Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fancy houses to attract wealthy tenants.
Inigo Jones was a well travelled architect and most of his ideas came from Italy where he had spent time. Alas within 100 years the Earl’s plans to create a ‘well to do’ area backfired miserably as the area fell in to disrepute. Brothels and drinking houses opened up and by the time the 17th century was over Covent Garden had become a well-known red light district.
Sultry and sexy – there are ten days of striptease heading London’s way this May. Leading striptease artists will perform with titillating aplomb and show the world how much fun taking your clothes off can be! Yes indeed, there is much more than simply “getting them off,” with these skilful and provocative artists.
Founded by internationally proclaimed neo-Burlesque pioneer and producer, Mr Chaz Royal, the London Burlesque festival is a showcase for some of the world’s finest performers who have now ensured London’s status as the holder of the world’s most prestigious burlesque event.
Being held from May 10 until May 19, 2013, the artists on display at the London Burlesque Festival will push the boundaries of their art to the limit! Strip-tease takes on erotic, exotic and more dangerous levels.
Chaz Royal will make sure that the ten day London Burlesque Festival 2013 will be more risqué than ever before seen on the stage.
It is fair to say that Trooping the Colour is a spectacle that is much in demand in London with swaths of camera-clicking tourists lapping up this vibrant ceremony. Trooping the Colour takes place once a year on the Queen’s official birthday in June, on the Horse Guards’ Parade.
The ceremony is all military pomp and splendour, as the Queen checks over the troops of the household cavalry division. Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth II was actually born on 21 April and for some reason known only to the powers of the monarchy, the Queen also has an “official” birthday, which is celebrated on a Saturday in June. This year that Saturday will be the 15th.
1400 soldiers take part in this colourful military pageant, alongside 200 horses. There are over 400 musicians from ten different bands and drum corps. The parade route extends from Buckingham Palace down the Mall to Horse Guards’ Parade, Whitehall and back again.
Since 1987 the Queen has attended the ceremony by carriage, although prior to this she used to always arrive at this highly anticipated event riding a horse side-saddle. In fact the Queen has made a total of 36 appearances on horseback for the Trooping of the Colour.
Precisely as the clock on the horse guards’ building strikes eleven, the royal procession arrives and the Queen does the royal salute. The colours being “trooped” are rotated between different regiments and it is considered to be a special honour to belong to the regiment whose turn it is to have their colour’s trooped.
The Queen wears the uniform of the chosen regiment, which all adds to the colour and charm of this old tradition.
The Olympic Cauldron has won the Visual Arts prize at this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards ceremony hosted by Melvyn Bragg in London. What was certainly the centrepiece of last year’s Olympic Games, the Cauldron warded off stiff competition from the Olympic Velodrome.
The Olympic Cauldron was designed by the English designer Thomas Heatherwick, who is known for his inventive use of materials and engineering in public sculptures and monuments. The Cauldron was a ‘magnum opus’ of surprise theatre, and nothing of the like had been seen at any previous Olympic Games.
Each of the 204 nations delegated a team member to receive and look after a beautiful copper petal, which was laid out in a designated spot at the opening ceremony. These petals were then lifted skywards by a thin and almost invisible wire. One by one the petals took position besides the Olympic torch making one huge beautiful flaming flower.
At the closing ceremony the opposite occurred, and all the polished copper petals were returned to the nations to take back to their homeland with their names inscribed upon them, symbolising the great togetherness that is the Olympic spirit.
This was an absolute masterstroke by Heatherwick, and no one could deny that the designer earned the prestigious Visual Arts award.
Similar to many of the world’s most prominent places, there are several dishes which are native to London. Perhaps the most famous of traditional London dishes is pie and mash served with parsley gravy. The unusual, and it has to be said stomach-tuning ingredient of the London pie is the filling, eel.
The dish gained popularity during the 18th century and although tastes have changed with the passing centuries and the thought of eel today is not what everyone wants in the centre of a pie, it has to be said that it is a wholesome, nutritious and healthy meal and it must at least be tried if you want to get into true traditional London spirit!
Not far behind pie and mash for eye-opening and time-honoured gastromonomic delights is London are Jellied Eels.
The eels are cooked in spices and vinegar and are left cooking slowly in order to reduce into its own jelly. The eels are then refrigerated and served chilled with a slice of lemon.