Superbloom Tower of London

Superbloom Tower of London | timelesstravelsteps.com

The Very Special Superbloom at the Tower of London

A visit to the Tower of London these days is made even more special! Not only will you experience all there is to this World Heritage Site, which is famously known as the most secure fortress in the country, a royal palace and a prison along with the opportunities to get up close to the Crown Jewels, meet the legendary Yeoman Warders and the ravens, but you shall also be treated to a sea of delightful Superbloom at the Tower of London.

With the year being a very special year in the history of UK, the Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth as it marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, many places across the globe have installed displays and exhibitions to honour Her Majesty’s 70-year long reign. Superbloom at the Tower of London is one such display for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

If you are planning a visit to Superbloom at the Tower of London, this guide is perfect for you. In this guide, you shall find all the information on Superbloom at the Tower of London, what to expect when you visit and the best ways to experience this amazing display on the moat surrounding the iconic fortress.

I visited Superbloom at the Tower of London last Saturday and I share as much information here to support your visit.


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Related read: 7 Best Ways to Experience the Tower of London


What is Superbloom Tower of London?

Commissioned by the Historic Royal Palaces, the idea of Superbloom was to create an organic, living piece of art that changes over the course of time. Hence, Superbloom is a term given to the planting of about 20 million of 29 different seed mixes which took place in March 2022. The seedlings were planted in the dry moat surrounding the Tower of London. The flower species were specifically selected for their vibrant colours and their ability to thrive in the urban space. They are expected to produce an amazing display of waves and waves of flowers in the dry moat surrounding the Tower of London.

The waves of blooms will grow over summer, bringing changing colours along with new flowers every week or month that passes. The sea of flowers with its vibrant colours is also a haven for bees and other pollinators.

Recommended read: A Complete Guide to the Tower of London

The Design of Superbloom at Tower of London

The planting designers together with a team of landscape experts and contractors have put in time and expertise to create a vibrant field of colours like none before seen at the Tower of London, in an area what was previously a dry moat. The team have fully embraced the idea of urban horticulture and have created a new biodiverse habitat where seed eating birds will happily co-exist in the city, thus celebrating the value of nature to wellbeing.

Although Superbloom Tower of London is primarily an exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it is designed to provide a beautiful natural landscape for pollinators such as bees, birds and insects. Visitors to the castle will be treated to a visual feast of vibrant colours of assorted flowers in a beautiful new naturalistic landscape.

What flowers are planted at Superbloom Tower of London

Twenty million seeds are sewn over the ground of the moat surrounding the Tower encompassing 29 species of flowers. The species include Gypsophila elegans, Papaver rhoeas hybrids (‘Shirly poppies’), Cosmos bipinnatus and two varieties of chrysanthemums.

What to expect on your visit to Superbloom Tower of London

1 | An Immersive Experience

For the first time, visitors to the Tower of London can wander through the historic moat. A space of wonderful natural beauty offers a visitor to feel immersed in the flowers and that they are stepping out of the city.

The Superbloom is designed in such a way that there are clear paths winding through the enchanting display for visitors to walk around easily, allowing you to get close to the blooms. There are benches that are positioned at various points for you to sit and enjoy the serenity of the natural display.

2 | Work in Progress

According to the Historic Royal Palaces website:

Once in the moat, you can choose to climb the stairs and slide down into the moat on the four lane Superbloom slide! (please note, the slide will not be open in wet or very hot weather). Prepare to spend around 30 minutes exploring a one way route along winding willow-lined paths set to a specially commissioned soundscape with sculptural elements along the way.

Historic Royal Palaces

However, when I visited Superbloom on June 18, I did not see the Superbloom slide or sculptural elements nor any special sound installation. I can only presume that these are work in progress, and will be installed in the coming days.

3 | Slower Growth

Another thing I found on my visit was that the seedlings are growing , and growing slowly. Therefore, not all seedlings are fully in bloom yet, so there are areas of vibrant colours and there are greenery with no burst of colours. I guess this is to be expected as nature has been unpredictable lately. The spring had been dry and cool, resulting in a slower growth.

Although seedlings were sowed in March, with expectations that the flowering varieties will bloom in 8 to 9 weeks, there were flowering in some places while in some others, flowers are taking a little longer to bloom than expected.

So, as you walk around the viewing path, you will find Superbloom at different stages of flowering, and this may change daily. The seedlings appear to have thrived towards the east of the moat where conditions have been more balanced. The rest of the moat will catch up soon.

Georgina’s Top Tip: Plan a visit for early or mid July and in August when the slower blooms would have caught up and Superbloom is expected to be at its finest.

4 | Queen’s Garden

An important feature of Superbloom Tower of London is the Queen’s Garden, to be found on the Tower Bowling Green. Designed by award-winning landscape designers, Grant Associates, the Queen’s Garden takes inspiration from the Queen’s Coronation dress. The garden features symbols and flowers that can be found on the coronation dress which was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and worn by the Queen in 1953.

The dress celebrates rich fabric and exquisite embroideries. The embroideries are symbolic flowers arranged along gold beads, diamanté and pearls, representing the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries 70 years ago. The Queen’s Garden is designed to reflect this symbolism.

The centre of the Queen’s Garden is dedicated to 12 cast coloured glass flower designs, representing the dress’ s emblems rising above the garden. The design represents various flowers and national emblems including the thistle of Scotland, and the maple leaf of Canada. The coloured glass designs glisten in the light, very much like the beads, diamanté and pearls on the coronation dress. These are surrounded by shrubs, roses and a mix of summer blooms.

Story of The Moat at Tower of London

Like most medieval castles, the Tower of London features a moat. In the beginning, it was only a ditch and was filled with tidal water from the nearby river. In the 1240s, King Henry III ordered that a moat be dug to completely surround the castle. However, when Edward I came to power, he ordered for the moat to be expanded. A moat is generally dug around a castle as a security measure, to prevent attackers from getting to the castle easily. So, in accordance with Edward I orders, the moat was dug deeper, very deep with at least 50 metres wide, for a long-lasting effect. It was filled with water.

The moat was used as a fishery and became a perfect source of food for centuries. Over time, the moat became stagnant due to poor water supply at the Tower and gave rise to deadly infections. It led to the momentous decision by Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) to have the moat drained. The moat at Tower of London had remained dry ever since except for the one time in 1928 when the moat became flooded when the Thames burst its banks.

The moat surrounding the tower seen today is very much of the same shape since the 13th century. Since it had been drained, the dry moat became very useful for various purposes and as a food source. The south of the moat was used to growing vegetables as early as the 1890s while livestock grazed in the rest of the moat. During the war, the moat was converted to allotments, so residents could grow their own produce.

In 1977, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the moat was planted with 470, 000 begonia blooms, and this year, the moat is planted with 20 million seeds from 29 flower species.

The Legacy of Superbloom Tower of London

The Superbloom at the Tower of London is scheduled to end on September 18, 2022 but this does not mean that it will disappear permanently. The Superbloom marks the beginning of a permanent transformation to the moat surrounding the Tower of London as a haven for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The natural landscape created for the Platinum Jubilee is said to remain, thus a permanent green space in the heart of London for all to enjoy.

Practical Information for Visiting Superbloom at the Tower of London

1 | How long is the Superbloom Tower of London

Superbloom at the Tower of London takes place during the summer of 2022, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

From June 1 through to September 18, 2022


2 | Best Ways to Experience Superbloom

There are 3 ways to experience Superbloom at the Tower of London.

2.1 | A combined visit to Superbloom and the Tower of London;

2.2 | book a slot for Superbloom experience only;

2.3 | View the Superbloom installation from the Public Viewing Path at Tower Hill.

For the first two options, you will need a ticket. There are various ticket types available to suit your itinerary and best to pre book online prior to your visit:

Ticket Types

Ticket Tower of London & Superbloom Moat TicketSuperbloom Moat Only Ticket
Adult with Donation£ 40.20£13.20
Concession with Donation£32.20£10.60
Child with Donation (Ages 5 to 15)£20.10 £6.60
Adult without Donation£36.50£12.00
Concession without Donation£29.20 £9.60 
Child without Donation Ages (5 to 15)£18.20£6.00
Prices correct at time of writing, extracted from the official website of Historic Royal Palaces.

Family Tickets and Groups are also available. Check prices at the official website here.


3 | Where is the Superbloom

Superbloom can be found at Tower Moat, Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB


4 | How to Get to the Superbloom

The nearest station to the Tower of London is Tower Hill. Once you disembark from Tower Hill, follow directions to the Tower of London which are clearly signposted towards the Tower.

Check Transport for London website for the London Underground map, alternate routes and for further guidance on how to get to Tower Hill/Tower of London.


ADD TO YOUR SUPERBLOOM TOWER OF LONDON ITINERARY

1| Things to do nearby

Make the most of your visit to London Tower Hill area and visit nearby places:

1.1 | Tower Bridge

Visit one of London’s favourite landmarks, the iconic Tower Bridge. This suspension bridge was built between 1886 and 1894 and offers something for every visitor. Go inside the bridge, walk on the glasswalkway, enjoy stunning views of London’s skyline and visit the very special Victorian engine room.

Where: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP

1.2 | St Dunstan in the East

Visit St Dunstan in the East, a beautiful serene garden set in the midst of an old church ruins. Located within minutes of Tower Hill Station, it is a perfect spot to escape to for a few minutes of peacefulness.

Free event.

Where: St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

Read the complete article on St Dunstan in the East – 8 Reasons to Visit this Serenity amongst Ruins.


1.3| Sky Garden London

Within 3 minutes of St Dunstan in the East, is Sky Garden, London. Famously known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ for its unique shape, Sky Garden is the highest public green space, a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city below. You can visit the Sky Garden for free between 10:00 and 6:00 p.m. but you need to book your tickets online in advance.

Free event with prior booking.

Where: 20 Fenchurch Building, 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

Read the complete guide to Sky Garden and how to book your free tickets.

1.4 | All Hallows by the Tower Church

All Hallows by the Tower has a rich and long history, going way back to 675 AD. All Hallows lay claim as the oldest church in the City of London and tell the stories of more than 1300 years. Located next to the Tower of London, the church has cared for beheaded bodies over the years, including that of Thomas Moore. This quaint little church is worth a quick visit.

Free access.

Where: All Hallows by the Tower Church, Byward Street, London EC3R 5BJ


2 | Where to Eat

The area around the Tower of London is highly touristy. There are plenty of choices when it comes to food ranging from street food to high-end dining. Here are just a couple to stoke your interests:

2.1 | The Hung Drawn and Quartered

The Hung Drawn and Quartered is a historic pub and provides a glimpse into London’s history. The somewhat grisly name of this pub relates to its location close by to the former public execution ground of Tower Hill. Its location provides a fantastic spot to rest weary feet after exploring the old city of London area. Delicious fun pub grub.

Dine-in Only

Where: 26-27 Great Tower St, London EC3R 5AQ

2.2 | The Glassrooms on the River

Offering a unique dining experience along the River next to the Tower of London, and panoramic views like none other, the Glassrooms on the River is an exclusive and intimate dining experience within a glass bauble where you could enjoy seasonal British cuisine. Available for summer 2022, from June to September. Prior booking is essential.

The Glassrooms on the River


3 | Where to Stay

From budget hostels to apartments and high-end hotels, accommodations in London are literally unlimited!

3.1 | Millennium Hotels & Resorts

The superb hospitality and quality offered by the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London is one I would highly recommend. Moreover, Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.

Browse Millennium Hotels & Resorts in London and book yourself a fabulous experience.

3.2 | Radisson Hotels

Take a look at the Radisson Hotels group. The Radisson Hotels chain offers accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story. They also have a chain of hotel accommodations suitable for business travellers.

Browse Radisson Hotels in London and book yourself a beautiful and memorable stay.

3.3 | Booking

As well, you could also run through booking dot com, a site I use and frequent for my searches on accommodations when I travel.

Browse a wide range of accommodations offered by Booking dot com to suit all budgets in the City of London


4 | Easy Day Trips from London

If you are a visitor to London, make time to visit some destinations away from London. You don’t have to rent a car if you do not want to if you wish to see the highlights of rural England and the English countryside. You could easily hop onto a train or a coach and enjoy the journey and sights. Here are a few options for you:

4.1 | Dover Castle England

Dover Castle perched high above Dover Hill is a magnificent first line of defense and has a rich history. Home to secret bunkers, dug deep into the white cliffs, Dover Castle is well worth a trip.

Read the Complete article on the Mighty Dover Castle that has all the information you need to design your visit — how to get to Dover from London, where to get tickets to Dover Castle and what not to miss when visiting Dover Castle.

4.2 | Stonehenge Wiltshire

Hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to see one of the most intriguing architecture in England — The Stonehenge. Visit the Stone Circle, Heel Stone, explore Stone Age life and enjoy the Wiltshire countryside. A visit to this prehistoric monument will have you captivated, wonder and perhaps wanting to learn more…

Read the complete guide to Stonehenge, its history and theories on how the monument came about along with travel tips.

4.3 | Hever Castle Kent

Experience 700 years of history of Hever Castle, which began as a humble country house in the 13th century belonging to the Boleyn family. The immaculate award winning gardens, the romantic double-moat along with the castle’s rich history and association with the Tudors all make this destination a favourite to explore.

Read the complete guide to Hever Castle and related articles on a fascinating chapter of British history.

4.4 | Other Popular Day Trips

You may wish to peruse some of our best selling day tours from London.


finally…

The flowers were not in full bloom when I visited but the areas where they thrived was a pretty sight. I would encourage you to visit and experience the moat awash in spectacular colours, but to do so from mid July onwards. I look forward to returning in mid August for a dramatic and engaging experience.

Have fun experiencing Superbloom Tower of London.






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12 Famous Parks in London

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A Guide for Visitors to Explore 12 Famous Parks in London

From the evergreen sweeping slopes of Primrose Hill and the exotic Rose Garden at Regent’s Park to the hidden gems of the royal gardens at Kensington Palace, London is a city that offers an exceptionally vast Royal Parks and exquisite green spaces as a welcome break from the busy city. Here is our selection of 12 famous parks in London and ways to explore these serene green spaces.


This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.


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Travelling to London? You may appreciate the following best read articles about London also:


Our selection of the 12 famous parks in London:

1 | Battersea Park London

Battersea Park, one of the famous parks in London is located on the South Bank of River Thames. Occupying an area of 200 acres, this Victorian park was built between 1854 and 1870. Home to a large lake, ecological areas, Pump House Gallery, sports facilities and the famous London Peace Pagoda.

The London Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is one of the 80 Peace Pagodas around the globe. The Peace Pagodas were built as part of an advocacy for world peace and non violence by the Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii (1885 — 1985) who was the founder of Nipponzan-Myohoji Buddhist Order.

Standing at 33.5 metres, the Battersea Peace Pagoda has four bronze statues of the Buddha symbolising the four characteristics of Buddha’s life — birth, contemplation towards enlightment, teaching and death. The Pagoda is located in a serene location overlooking the Thames River, surrounded by lush trees and green lawns.

Good to Know Information about Battersea Park London

Open: 10:00 A.M. — 5:30 P.M. during Spring and Summer;

10:00 A.M. — 4:30 P.M. or dusk during Autumn and Winter

Where: Battersea Park, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ

Pedestrians can access Battersea Park via Albert Bridge Road, Prince of Wales Drive and Queenstown Road (SW11 4NJ)

2 | Kensington Palace Gardens London

Kensington Palace Gardens is a hidden gem! A delightful beautiful garden is located next to Kensington Palace, an 18th century wonder. This historic palace is used by the present day younger royal family. Located in the prestigious Kensington neighbourhood, Kensington Palace Gardens is open to the public and is one of the top destinations for Londoners to escape to amidst their daily chaotic city life.

Although Kensington Palace Gardens can be visited at any time of the year, it is best experienced in spring and summer, while a visit in the coolness of the autumn chill has its own charm.

Where: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX

Getting to Kensington Gardens

Kensington Palace is located within easy walking distance of the following train stations:

>10 mins from High Street Kensington Underground Station

>10 mins from Queensway Underground Station 

>25 mins from London Paddington 

>22 mins from London Marylebone

>40 Mins from London Victoria

TTS Best Tips:

Take a very special journey in the royal footsteps and walk around the beautiful grounds with a local expert. You will be given interesting insights into the history of the royal family and see the statue of the late Princess Diana in the sunken garden. Afterwards, enjoy Britain’s most loved drink, tea like never before — a traditional British high tea.

Check availability of this unique activity to Kensington Palace Gardens and High Tea and book your experience.

NB: Entry to Kensington Palace is not included in this activity.

Recommended read: Kensington Palace Gardens — An Idyllic Getaway from Chaos of the City


Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

Kensington Palace Entrance Ticket

Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase - The first link to the King's State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I's court.
Famous parks in London | Kensington Palace: Kings Grand Staircase – The first link to the King’s State Apartments. The walls surrounding the staircase was painted by William Kent in 1720, depicting George I’s court.

Visit the historic Kensington Palace while you are there. Bathe in the history and opulence of this remarkable 18th century wonder. Learn about the intriguing tales of the state rooms, the beautiful palace apartments, see the room where Queen Victoria was born, the tragic tales of the Stuarts, secret stories and public lives of the royals. Marvel at the mind-blowing architecture of the Cupola Room and the King’s Grand Staircase. Kensington Palace is definitely worth a visit if you like an insight into the royal lives, both past and present.

Book your ticket for a visit to Kensington Palace.

Recommended read: Kensington Palace — Why you should Visit this 18th Century Historical Gem


3 | Hyde Park London

Famous parks in London

Hyde Park is a Grade I listed park and is one of the eight Royal Parks in London. The most popular of green spaces in the City of London, it offers a venue for world class events, concerts and boating activities along with cycle paths, plenty of quiet spaces to relax, unwind and be ‘just be’.

This incredible green space in one of the world’s largest metropolises, is home to famous landmarks such as the Albert Memorial, Serpentine Lake, and the Speaker’s Corner. Hyde Park’s tree-lined avenues and winding walkways make a great escape to wind-down your day.

While anytime of the year is a great time to bathe in the serenity bestowed by this green space, you may want to visit at a specific time of the year to experience the changing seasons. Hyde Park is one place where the changing seasons are best noted, with snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses in early spring to summer and the absolutely beautiful vista of fallen golden, brown honey-coloured leaves in late autumn/fall.

Aside from being one of the famous parks in London, Hyde Park has another important role. Hyde Park London forms a chain beginning from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and through Green Park, past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace.

Open: All day

Where: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH

Getting to Hyde Park:

The nearest Tube Stations are: Victoria, Bond Street, Green Park, Paddington, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner.


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4 | Green Park London

One of the eight Royal Parks in London, this green oasis was officially named “Green Park” in 1746. Green Park, nestled between Hyde Park to the west and St James Park to the east is a peaceful triangle of open meadows of mature trees and grassland. The lack of flower beds or lakes does not deter Londoners from seeking a quiet retreat from city life.

Located next to Buckingham Palace, Green Park spans nineteen hectares (forty seven acres). It makes a splendid stop for a breather after visiting the nearby landmarks. The popular landmarks here which attract the most visitors are Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch, and Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.

Where: Piccadilly, London W1J 9DZ

Getting to Green Park:

Green Park Tube Station is served by Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines


Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips on Famous parks in London:

Secret Gardens of London

For an off-the-beaten path experience of the best parks and gardens in London, join a unique small group tour specifically curated for garden lovers and lovers of flowers. This tour typically covers a full day and takes you on a journey to discover some of London’s best kept garden secrets — an experience that goes beyond the usual tourist haunts of the capital city. Added to gardens, flowers and learning about medicinal uses of some of the very interesting plants, you shall also enjoy High Tea at Chelsea Physic Garden.

Check availability and book your space on this unique experience of visiting the Secret Gardens in London.


5 | St James Park London

A charming parkland in the heart of the city, St James Park is the oldest Royal Park in London. Occupying an area of 23 hectares (57 acres), features a large lake and is primarily a wildlife sanctuary. A leisurely stroll through this green oasis allows for swans, geese, ducks and even pelicans.

Take in the spectacular views from the Bridge across the lake where you could see the Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. There are several fountains, and statutes along with memorials to discover in St James Park.

At the very heart of the park is Tiffany Fountain. Tiffany Fountain is famous for the magnificent six metre plume of water it sends into the air. On some special occasions, the jet is illuminated in any one of the rainbow colours.

A monument to look out for is the Queen Victoria Memorial that stands in front of Buckingham Palace. At 25 metres, this incredible monument commemorates the passing of Queen Victoria in 1901.

St James’ Park borders Buckingham Palace to the west and you may also want to experience the Birdcage Walk and the Horse Guards Parade.

Make your way along The Mall, and if you are here at the right time, you may catch the moment for the Changing of Guard, a ceremonial event where soldiers stand down and are replaced by the next group.

More on “Changing of Guard” below.


6 | Regent’s Park London

Regent’s Park, named after Prince Regent who later became King George IV is a favourite haven for Londoners and visitors alike. The ample green space in this famous park of London encompasses 170 hectares (410 acres). A truly scenic park offering tree lined paths, children’s playgrounds and sports facilities.

The highlight of the park must surely be the award winning Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. The Rose Garden boasts the largest collection of roses in London with a reputed 12,000 roses planted here.

A serene Japanese Garden Island, enjoys a secluded area in the park, an open-air theatre for musical entertainment, boating lake, walking trails and a Zoo. Yes, London’s ZSL Zoo is within Regent’s Park.

Good to Know Information about Regent’s Park London | Famous parks in London | Famous Parks in London

Open: 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M

Where: Regent’s Park London, NW1 4NR

Getting to Regent’s Park London

Nearest Tube Station is Regent’s Park on the Bakerloo Line

Recommended read: Why Regent’s Park is the #1 Garden with a total Zen

7 | Kew Gardens London

Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been home to botanic collections since the 18th century.

“Home to the largest living plant collection on earth” Kew Gardens is a haven for nature lovers! This one hundred thirty two hectare (three hundred twenty-six acres) is a grand showpiece of landscaped gardens and architectural features. Home to flora and fauna from around the globe, Kew Gardens plays a crucial role in the fields of scientific, economic, botany and ecology.

Strolling through the Botanic gardens, it is easy to forget that you are in England. There are plants and trees from varying climate zones, ranging from desert to Alps. Asian magnolias in full bloom, Japanese cherry trees and in the lush Victorian Palm House, papayas!

The Princess of Wales Conservatory is another beyond-believe space at Kew Gardens. The gigantic waterlillies are at least a couple of metres in diameter! The iconic Palm House houses the oldest tree-fern, known as Encephalartos altensteinii which was brought from Africa to England in 1775, believed to be the oldest surviving plant in the world.

Pristine flower beds, exotic flowers, Victorian glasshouses and their winter spectacular makes Kew Gardens a perfect destination throughout the year.

Kew Gardens London is an unmissable destination for everyone, both young and old alike.

Good to Know Information for Kew Gardens | Famous parks in London

Open: From 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M, in summer

Where: Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE

How to get to Kew Gardens, Richmond, London

1 | By train

Kew Bridge station is 800m from Elizabeth Gate, via Kew Bridge. South West Trains run services from Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. There is no level access at Kew Bridge.

Richmond station has lift and level access. Take 65 bus (in the direction of Ealing Broadway) to Lion or Victoria Gate.

2 | By tube

Kew Gardens station is 500m from Victoria Gate. It is in Zone 3 and is served by the District Line (Richmond branch) and London Overground.

There is no level access from the westbound platform. It is possible to continue one stop to Richmond and catch a tube back to use the eastbound platform which does have level access.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

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Pre book your visit — Kew Gardens Entrance Ticket

Kew Gardens is fully wheelchair accessible.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Registered disability assistance dogs are allowed in the gardens.

8 | Richmond Park London

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Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Park covering an area of 2500 acres, has some of the best wildlife. Designated as a National Nature Reserve, the park is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.

The wide open spaces and grasslands are an important area for wildlife, such as rare species of birds, beetles, bats, deer herds and wildflowers.

There are about 650 wild deer within Richmond Park. Although historically the park was created for deer hunting by Charles I in the 17th century, these days the deer are mostly home across the pond, wandering delightfully in their natural surroundings.

Richmond Park London makes a perfect day out for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. You could try power kiting, horse riding, golf or off-road cycling along the Tamsin Trail.

Good to Know Information about Richmond Park

Open: Typically open 24 hours except November to early December and February to early March, when pedestrian gates are open at 7:30 A.M. and closes at 8:00 P.M.

Where: Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS

How to get to Richmond Park London:

The nearest Tube/Train station is Richmond Station, served by National Rail or District Line. From the station, take bus #371 or #67 to the pedestrian gate at Petersham.

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9 | St Dunstan in the East London

An unusual but a beautiful park set amongst ruins of war, St Dunstan in the East offers a world away from the hustle and bustle of London city life.

Tucked away on a quiet street between Tower Hill and Monument, is the ruins of an old Gothic church that has a rich history. Often referred to as ‘London’s Secret Garden’, plants are allowed to reclaim their rightful place among the ruins, giving St Dunstan in the East a special, natural and quirky feel.

St Dunstan in the East is truly a charming little space where tranquility is experienced at any given time.

Good to Know Information

Open: 8:00 A.M to 7:00 P.M

Where: St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

Getting to St Dunstan in the East:

Nearest Stations are: Monument, Bank, Fenchurch Street and Tower Hill

Highly recommended read: St Dunstan in the East — 8 Reasons to Visit this Serenity amongst Ruins

10 | Holland Park London

Holland Park spans 54 acres and is the largest park in the affluent Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There are plenty of things to do here including tennis, football, cricket and netball along with health walks which are regularly scheduled here.

Holland Park is famously known for its dahlias. The Holland House Garden has proudly grown dahlias year by year ever since these beautiful flowers were first successfully grown in England (1814).

There is yet another reason to visit Holland Park — an oasis of calm offered by the uniquely landscaped Japanese style Kyoto Garden, perfect for quiet reflection and relaxation. Tiered waterfalls, stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees, a pond full of beautiful koi carp. There are also a couple of peacocks wandering around. It is hard to imagine that you are in London when visiting Kyoto Garden, the zen here is incredible.

Good to Know Information about Holland Park London | Famous parks in London

Open: 7:30 A.M to 8:00 P.M. (or closes half an hour before dusk in winter)

Where: Holland Park,

Ilchester Pl, London, W8 6LU

How to get to Holland Park:

Nearest Stations are Holland Park, Kensington High Street, and Nottinghill Gate.

11 | Greenwich Park London

A much loved park by Londoners, Greenwich Park is one of the oldest in London and has a rich history. Established in the 15th century, Greenwich Park offers many things to do in and around the park or secluded spots if you wish to steal moments to yourself to bathe in the serenity of the gentle breeze and calmness.

Enjoy panoramic views over the Docklands and the City of London from atop Greenwich Hill. The views are absolutely spectacular at any time of day.

Visit the Queen’s House, play hopscotch on the Meridian, watch the Red Ball fall, explore British History, have tea in the Cutty Sark and discover the quaint pretty town of Greenwich. A visit to Greenwich will typically involve a day.

Good to Know Information about Greenwich Park London | Famous parks in London

Where: Greenwich Park, London SE10 8EJ

Open: From 6:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M (January & February), and 8:00 P.M from the start of British Summer Time.

Getting to Greenwich Park London:

By Train to Greenwich Station;

By Tube (Jubilee Line) to North Greenwich Station;

By Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark Station.

Recommended read: Greenwich in One Day – 45 Experiences and more to cherish

12 | Hampstead Heath London

Hampstead Heath is London’s beloved green space. Situated a little out of central London, Hampstead Heath offers green spaces with best views and highest points including Parliament Hill, Golders Hill Park, a lido that is open 365 days, swimming pond, sports facilities, playground along with an extraordinary pergola and hill garden. Added to stunning vistas are the natural habitat of the expansive grassland and ancient woodland.

Recommended read: Hampstead Pergola Serene Haven — includes a video for a sneak peek into the grandeur of run-down terraces.

Good to know Information about Hampstead Heath

Where: Hampstead Heath, West Gate Lodge, Hampstead Lane, Hampstead Heath. NW3 7JP

Open:

Hampstead Heath is open 24 hours 7-days a week;

Golders Hill Park opens at 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. during autumn and winter / 10:00 P.M. in the summer;

Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden opens at 8:30 A.M. and closes at 3:15 during the winter months and 8:00 P.M. in the summer.

How to get to Hampstead Heath London:

TRAIN (OVERGROUND)

Take the Train to:

Gospel Oak, to the south east, 1 minute walk

Hampstead Heath, to the south west, on the edge of the Heath

TUBE

Take the Northern Line to:

Hampstead, to the west, 10 minutes walk

Golders Green, to the north for Golders Hill Park and the Heath Extension, 10 minutes walk

Tufnell Park or Kentish town, to the south east, both around 14 minutes walk

For more information and a map of the area, go to Hampstead Heath.

ADD TO YOUR FAMOUS PARKS IN LONDON ITINERARY

1 | The Ceremonial Event of the “Changing of Guard”

The dazzling Changing of Guard is a much cherished tradition of the British monarchy. It is the time of day where the time honoured tradition of the Queen’s Household Cavalry change their shifts, when the palace guards are replaced by the next team of guards. This ceremonial event takes place at 11:00 A.M. and is free to watch.

It is a popular event for tourists and there are crowd control measures in place for safety.

There is no single spot for best views because the ceremony spans three locations — Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and Wellington Barracks. Hence, it is impossible to view the entire Guard Mount.

The following information will support your planning to experience the Changing of Guard.

How to experience the Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace:

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place at 11:00 A.M. on the following days:

August to May — Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays;

June and July — Daily

The timings to guide your visit:

>10:43 Old Guard leaves St James’s Palace;

>10:57 New Guard leaves Wellington Barrack;

11:00 Official Start Time

>11:10 St James’s Palace relief leaves Buckingham Palace;

>11:25 Relieved sentries leave St James’s Palace;

>11:40 Old Guard leaves Buckingham Palace;

>11:45 St James’s Palace Guard leaves Buckingham Palace.


Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

You may not need to join a guided tour to witness the Changing of Guard but as the highly popular event of Changing of Guard takes places along three different locations, we suggest the following three activities if you wish to end up at the right place at the right time, for best views and not much is missed. Select any to best suit your itinerary:

1 | Combine a visit to see the Changing of Guard and afterwards, explore the very grand State Rooms at Buckingham Palace on a rare occasion when it is open to the public — Changing of the Guard and Buckingham Palace Tour.

2 | Watch the ceremonial event of the Changing of Guard and explore the city of Westminster on a walking tour with a guide — Changing of Guard and Westminster Walking Tour

3 | Get closer to the dazzling action with a guide where you can follow the guards journey to Buckingham Palace on foot —Changing of the Guard Tour.


2 | The Iconic London Eye

Along the River Thames in Southbank neighbourhood stands the iconic London Eye, one of the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheels at 135 metres (443 ft). Famously known also as the Millennium Wheel, it is the most popular paid tourist attraction with almost 4 million visitors a year.

The ride on the Eye takes about 30 minutes, with captivating views of London’s skyline such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London. On a clear day, you may get to see as far as 40 kilometres!

Good to know Information on the London Eye for your famous parks in London itinerary:

Where: The London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB

Open: From 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

Nearest Tube Station:

Waterloo, Charing Cross, Embankment and Westminster.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips to Experience London:

London Eye with Fast Track Option

Join the fast track boarding and enjoy the gradual rotation of the wheel. Take in the mesmerising 360-degree view of captivating London and the city’s landmarks for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you may want to see more of London for less by combining an experience of the London Eye with Big Bus and Thames River Cruise.

Recommended read: 18 Important Facts you would love to Know about the London Eye.


RELATED ATTRACTIONS IN LONDON WHILE ENJOYING THE FAMOUS PARKS IN LONDON

London has so many things to do that picking the best to do is pretty tough! However, if you are in town, enjoying the famous parks in London, there are some landmarks that are truly unmissable because these iconic sites are the roots to London as it is today. Here are two that may make a great start to your adventure in London:

1 | The Oldest Gothic Cathedral in London

Visit the oldest Gothic cathedral in London — Southwark Cathedral first established in 606 AD. While here, enjoy the cultural fusion of gastronomy at Borough Market, located at its doorstep!

2 | Tower of London

Tower of London — the most famous fortress in the United Kingdom and where the story of London began with William the Conqueror in 1066. Unveil the secrets, tragedies, torture, conspiracies, unsolved murders that took place in the Tower during the centuries along with centuries old traditions still practised today.

For more about London, navigate to Many Chapters in the Charming City London.


I sincerely hope that this article about the famous parks in London along with the recommendations for your itinerary in London is helpful for your London visit. If so, please use the links to book your activities, visits and accommodations. We earn a commission from qualified purchases and stay at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Have a super awesome time discovering London.

xoxo




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Mighty Dover Castle England in 1 Day

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Why Dover Castle England is Worth Visiting – Complete Guide and Tips for Visitors

Perched above the picturesque White Cliffs of Dover, is Dover Castle England. Known as the ‘Key to England‘, this incredibly formidable fortress has been England’s first line of defence for centuries with extraordinary chronicles to tell. At the heart of this mighty castle grounds is the magnificent Great Tower, recreated meticulously to reflect the opulence, pageantry and intrigue of the medieval court. Within the expansive grounds of the castle, discover the Anglo-Saxon church still in use, a surviving lighthouse built by the Romans and explore the incredible tunnels that take you deep into the famous White Cliffs of Dover as well as the Battlements Walk for breathtaking views over the English Channel.

Dover Castle England has more than enough for a full day out in Dover.

However, one popular question often asked has been whether the medieval castle is worth visiting today.

In this complete guide to Dover Castle England for visitors, I tell you if I think Dover Castle is worth a visit. I also share all the information about the castle, that you may need for your visit, should you opt to visit. An overview of the castle’s historic significance, the castle’s highlights along with what to expect on your visit, together with practical information and best tips to make your visit a fun and rewarding experience.

Best tip: Check availability and pre-book your visit to Dover Castle

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IS DOVER CASTLE ENGLAND WORTH VISITING?

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I have visited Dover Castle twice and absolutely enjoyed all that the castle offered. Therefore, for me, this is an easy response. Yes, Dover Castle is absolutely worth visiting!

In essence, Dover Castle is worth visiting because the mighty Dover Castle England is a lot more than just a castle. While it stood formidable as the gateway to England, the castle was never attacked by the enemies. The grounds are extensive. There is a Roman lighthouse, a simple and beautiful medieval church, the great tower, signal station, and places to eat. From the battlements walk, the surreal views of the White Cliffs and the English Channel to the ingenious beyond belief, and incredible winding secret wartime tunnels beneath the White Cliffs, the dazzling medieval royal palace with its hologram and the royal lifestyle of sumptuously furnished chambers.

The list includes all the exhibits along the way, display of old wartime cannons, activities for children for family fun days out, and so much more. For many, Dover Castle is one of the best castles to visit in England.

Dover Castle is a great destination for historophile, paleophile, single travellers, couples and for fun days out with kids, typically fulfilling a day.

Read on for all the information you may need along with the unmissable highlights that this castle offers to visitors.

WHERE IS DOVER CASTLE ENGLAND

Dover Castle sits gallantly atop Castle Hill, in the city of Dover, an important ferry port in Kent, England. The Castle faces France, across the Strait of Dover, at its narrowest sea-crossing point between England and Europe at 33 kilometres (21 miles), a key strategic position throughout history.

Dover Castle is conveniently reached by road and rail and makes a perfect day trip from London (more on this below on practical information).

TTS Best Tips:

If you like castles in England, why not visit another famous castle in London!

Tower of London and the Crown Jewels and learn the history and the traditions still practiced today. View options.

WHY IS DOVER CASTLE IMPORTANT — AN OVERVIEW

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Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Kent England

Occupying an extensive eighty-acres of castle grounds today, Dover Castle was important in the history of England with almost 1000 years of stories to tell. Despite being a mighty fortress and the first line of defense, this magnificent castle has never been conquered.

The mighty Dover Castle began as a hill fort built by the Romans, some 2000 years ago (800 BC — AD 43). The Romans also built a lighthouse to guide the ships across the Channel to the harbour. Between the 10th and early 11th century, the Church of St Mary in Castro was built next to the lighthouse.

The hill fort took shape to be a motte and bailey castle, one of the first castles constructed by the Normans in 1066 by William the Conqueror who also built a castle in Windsor and in London. In the 12th century, the castle was transformed extensively during the reign of King Henry II, between 1179 and 1188. The Keep, walls of the inner bailey and the outer curtain wall were constructed, giving the castle the current structure we see today. The castle itself is made of Caen stone. It is one-hundred feet square and just under one-hundred feet tall.

Dover Castle stood strong against the French attacks in 1216, and later the castle was mainly used as an administrative centre in the 15th century. Much of the castle fell into ruins by the 17th century. However, by 1740, measures were implemented to strengthen the defences and barracks were built. More transformations were added and Dover Castle stood formidable in the 1800s against the Napoleonic wars. Thereafter, the castle was adapted for modern warfare. This imposing fortress was used in both World Wars, and played a pivotal role in the evacuation of soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940.

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The castle’s first line of defensive significance in the history of England has earned itself the reputation as ‘Key to England,’ defying all attempts to conquer it.

In a nutshell, Dover Castle was the most important military post in the realm. It was garrisoned from 1066 right until 1958, uninterruptedly. As from 1740 to 1945, the castle’s defences were continuously updated in account of every threat and war Europe and Britain were exposed to.

Today, Dover Castle England is managed by English Heritage UK.

HIGHLIGHTS OF DOVER CASTLE — WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR VISIT TO DOVER CASTLE

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With over 80 acres of castle grounds, there is quite a lot to explore. You may want to dedicate a complete day for this visit. Pick-up a map of the castle grounds to help you navigate.

1 | The Labyrinth of Secret Wartime Tunnels

Deep inside the dramatic White Cliffs of Dover are a labyrinth of secret winding tunnels that served as a sanctuary and a strategic military role.

The tunnels date back to the Medieval times when the garrison gathered before attacks. In preparation for the Napoleanic Wars, the tunnels were expanded to serve as barracks for soldiers. These were the only underground barracks built for soldiers in Britain. Reportedly it can house up to 2000 soldiers. The tunnels are now most famous for the vital role it played during the Second World War.

During WWII, while bombs rained over the coastal town of Dover, the tunnels beneath Dover Castle were used as a Command Centre and Control by Admiral Ramsay and his team, executing Operation Dynamo.

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images of the administrative centre during ‘Operation Dynamo’ in the War Tunnels Dover Castle

Operation Dynamo‘, also known as ‘Miracle of Dunkirk‘ took place between May 26 and June 4, 1940 and was the evacuation of 338,226 British and French soldiers from the shores of Dunkirk. Initially. it was estimated that only 20,000 to 30,000 troops would be rescued but by May 26, there were almost 400,000 troops awaiting evacuation. Admiral Ramsay used as many navy vessels as he could along with little ships to rescue 338,000 soldiers. Sir Winston Churchill called the operation, ‘a miracle of deliverance.’

Post WWII, these tunnels remained in used during the Cold War, and up until 1984.

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vivid projections on the wall of the scenes from WWII | War Tunnels Dover Castle

Lots of information is shared as you keep moving along to visit the communication centre, shelters, dormitories, hospitals and admin areas. There are vivid video projections and original films on the walls to tell the stories, bringing to life the wartime scenes that took place at a pivotal time in British history.

1.1 The Underground Hospital in the Secret Tunnels

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Hospital in the War Tunnels Dover Castle

A tunnel complex, named Annexe was constructed deep into but on a higher level at the White Cliffs in the summer of 1941. Its purpose was to provide medical treatment to injured soldiers in relative safety. The complex was created with long and short tunnels, operation theatre, wards, kitchens and stores. The complex was bombproof, and safe from attacks. The hospital was staffed by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) along with nurses and surgeons. An operational unit remained in Annexe until the 1950s.

A scene at the underground hospital tells the story of an injured soldier fighting for his life. Using sounds and lights, the scene of the emergency room is recreated for visitors while bombs fall outside. Very atmospheric.

1.2 | About Visiting the Wartime Tunnels Tour

Directions to the Wartime Tunnels are signposted well. However, visits to the tunnels are timed and tours take place every 15 to 20 minutes. Each tour lasts for approximately 50 minutes, led by a knowledgeable guide. As tunnels are enclosed spaces, visits are done in small groups, and this may involve some waiting time. There is a visitor centre at the end of the Secret Wartime Tunnels tour, where you could take a break for coffee, tea, snacks or buy some souvenirs.

Georgina: Though there may be a wait for a little while, I highly recommend visiting the Wartime Tunnels, and experiencing the historic moments in English History.

2 | The Great Tower at Dover Castle

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Not much is known of the fortification built by William the Conqueror when he came to Dover after the Battle of Hastings, but the great castle seen today was constructed during the reign of Henry II, representing kingly power and authority whilst it stood guard at the realm of his kingdom.

King Henry II spent lavishly and created one of the most magnificent castles in Europe at the time. Combining defence and a grandiose residence, the medieval castle was an immense, sophisticated great tower and structure.

Standing at the heart of the expansive castle grounds is the Great Tower, at 25 metres (183 ft) at its tallest and walls at 6.5 metres (21 ft) in places. Used primarily for royal ceremonies and to house the royal travelling court, the Great Tower showcases a regal medieval world it once was.

The interior is recreated following painstaking research over many years. The rooms are decorated in rich and vibrant colours and are set to look like how it was when in use. There are wall hangings and stunning furnishings representing the opulence, and grandiosity of the powerful Henry II.

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Henry II bedchamber Dover Castle

Explore unhurriedly, from the kitchens to the grandeur of Henry II bedchamber. There are storage rooms, dining halls, damp passageways between rooms. The rooms are presented for an authentic experience and kept free of information panels to enrich a visitor’s experience.

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As you explore, stop and take a sneak peek over the grounds. Climb to the rooftop for incredible views of the castle grounds, across the English Channel and the town of Dover.

3 | Medieval Tunnels at Dover Castle

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There are more tunnels at Dover Castle! When the castle was under siege from the French in 1216, tunnels were dug beneath the castle to withstand the siege. The winding medieval tunnels were constructed to provide covert defences to prevent the fall of the realm. Cannons still remain in their respective positions. There are three passageways to explore, each leads to eerie winding tunnels beneath the castle.

Visitors can access these medieval tunnels, take a closer look at the artillery and peer out to the various points across the Channel.

4 | The Roman Lighthouse

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Church of St Mary in Castro and the Roman Lighthouse at Dover Castle

An octagonal tower-like rough masonry structure stands on the outer curtain wall of the medieval castle, next to the church of St Mary in Castro.

History tells us that the Romans built this tower to function as a lighthouse (pharos) on Castle Hill with another lighthouse on Western Heights, located opposite the hill. Using fire beacons, both lighthouses supported the navigation of ships approaching the river mouth. The lighthouses may have continued in use until the 5th century, but only the one on Castle Hill remains today.

Dover Castle England | timelesstravelsteps.com
The Roman Lighthouse Dover Castle Kent England

There are five layers to the octagonal lighthouse, built using ragstone and flint. The archways are made of bricks. The first four layers were built by the Romans and the fifth top layer was added in 1430.

Later, the Roman lighthouse was used as part of the chapel and bell tower to St Mary in Castro. This best preserved 5-level-8-sided Roman pharos is one of three to exist in the world from the Roman empire. The other two are Leptis Magna in Libya and La Coruna in Spain.

The lighthouse is accessible and remarkable that it is still standing after 2000 years!

5 | Church of St Mary in Castro

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Dating back to 1000 AD, the Church of St Mary in Castro is an exceptional church, that once held sacred relics during medieval times. Built by the Saxons in circa 1020 AD, the church was extensively renovated in 1582 but went into disuse in the late 16th century and was in ruins by the 18th century. It was used as a coal store during the Napoleonic War between 1793 and 1815.

The Church of St Mary in Castro was fully restored in 1862 and is a Grade I listed building. It is an active church, serving the local community of Dover, Army and is the Dover Garrison Church.

Services are at 10:00 every Sunday. Holy Communion and Sung Matins on every second Sunday of the month.

6 | World War 1 Fire Command Post

The area of Dover was designated a fortress during the First World War and was home to a garrison of over 10,000 men. Dover Castle was designated as a military headquarters during the war. Stories of Dover Castle during WWI are recreated and retold at the Fire Command Post.

Unique to the Fire Command Post is a British 3 Inch Gun, built in 1915 and was one of the first of its kind that was specifically developed to combat aerial warfare, a new threat at the time. This priceless creation is the only working gun of the kind and one of six left in the world.

When here, you could try using the Morse code while also enjoy the panoramic views across the Straits of Dover.

The World War I Fire Command Post was only recently opened for the public, in 2015.

Best tips:

Plan your visit to Dover Castle on weekends during the summer months of July through to September. During these times, costumed volunteers re-enact gun drills, and gunfire demonstrations.

7 | Walk the Battlements

Finally, walk the extensive Battlements and the extraordinary defences that surround the mighty Dover Castle. It seems to go on forever, but truly a remarkable experience, Seeing the blues of the blue waters of the English Channel as far as your eyes can perceive, amidst the gentle sea-breeze under a cloudless blue sky.

Dover Castle England | timelesstravelsteps.com
Dover Castle England timelesstravelsteps.com
views of Straits of Dover from the Battlements Dover Castle

Ensure you pick a good day 🙂

8 | Events for Kids

Dover Castle is a great destination for families. There are hands-on activities, historic performers and immersive activities for all the family. Activities are especially geared towards families and kids during school holidays and summer term. Learn more about kids activities at Dover Castle.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING DOVER CASTLE ENGLAND

The following information is helpful when visiting Dover Castle in Kent:

Dover Castle is easily accessed by road and by rail.

Address: Castle Hill Road, Dover CT16 1HU

Sat Nav : Postcode: CT 16 1HU

Latitude: 51.129671

Longtitude: 1.32117

1 | Opening Times of Dover Castle

The Castle opens its doors at 10:00 and closes at 17:00. The last admission is an hour before closing.

2 | Prices for Dover Castle

Admission ticket to Dover Castle starts from € 25.50 (May 2022).

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

You do not have to book in advance but booking in advance has its advantages. Booking in advance will almost always get you the best price and your entry is guaranteed on the day. Advance booking online also means that you would save time and avoid waiting in queues.

As a member of English Heritage, your membership entitles you to free entry to Dover Castle., but this does not include a free parking space onsite.

You may wish to purchase the admission ticket/s online hassle free, you could check availability for Admission to Dover Castle here.


3 | Accessing Dover Castle by Road

3.1 | Driving:

Take the A2 towards Dover. The entrance to Dover Castle is on A258, Castle Hill Road.

Parking: Free Parking is available for about 200 cars onsite and offsite. If offsite, there is a regular mini-bus service connecting the car park to the Castle. NB: Car park opens at the same time as the castle.

3.2 | Bus

Bus services are provided by Stagecoach in East Kent. Take – 15, 15X, 80, 80A, 93

3.3 | Bicycle

The National Cycle Network provides an up-to-date and safe cycle route to follow. Cliffs and Castle Route | Dover to Deal

4 | Accessing Dover Castle by Train

The nearest train station to Dover Castle is Dover Priory. The station is served by Southeastern trains.

When travelling by train from London, you will need the Kings Cross London St Pancras International Station or London Victoria Station.

4.1 | From London St Pancras International Station to Dover Priory

Journey time from London St Pancras International Station to Dover Priory is on average 1 hour 6 minutes. There are 27 trains daily. Book train tickets in advance to secure a cheap price. Tickets for this journey starts from £5.60 when booked in advance. Check availability and book London St Pancras International Station to Dover Priory.

4.2 | From London Victoria Station to Dover Priory

Journey time from London Victoria to Dover Priory is on average 2 hours 3 minutes. There are 19 trains daily. Book train tickets in advance to secure a cheap price. Journey price starts from £5.60 when booked in advance. Check availability and book London Victoria to Dover Priory.

From Dover Priory, take bus 93 from Priory Street (Stop E) towards Deal. Journey time is 5 minutes. Alternatively, you may wish to walk. Walking time is about 30 minutes from Dover Priory to Dover Castle.

For all other train journeys, check availability, times and prices on Trainline for best available Trains to Dover Priory.

5 | Additional Considerations

1 | As a centre for military operations, Dover Castle was not built with accessibility in mind. While many areas have been adapted and are accessible, the underground hospital and the floors above the ground floor at the Great Tower are accessible only via stairs. Some areas of the castle grounds involve steep slopes and are not easily navigable. Areas with access difficulty are clearly marked on the map. For specific access needs, contact Dover Castle well in advance as some access facilities need prior booking. For more information on accessibility and how to contact, navigate to the Dover Castle Access page.

2 | Whilst experiencing the Great Tower, the War Time Tunnels and the WWI Command Post indoors, you will also spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, on the castle grounds. Therefore, consider visiting Dover Castle on a pleasant day and use comfortable shoes.

ADD TO YOUR DOVER CASTLE ITINERARY

While visiting Dover Castle, you may want to include the following experiences also:

1 | Visit the Battle of Britain Memorial. A national memorial dedicated to ‘The Few’ — selfless aircrew who played a major role in defending the UK against the invasion of the Luftwaffe during World War II. The monument is located on the White Cliffs at Capel-le-Ferne, near Folkestone, on the coast of Kent.

2 | The White Cliffs of Dover which is a great place to walk and experience the compelling fortress from a different viewpoint. While here, explore the tunnels that make up the Fan Bay Deep Shelter, which supported the defensive gun batteries at the castle.

3 | Visit the Grand Shaft at the Western Heights. The Grand Shaft was constructed during the Napoleonic War, between 1806 and 1809 for the rapid movement of troops from the barracks at Western Heights to the town below. Three spiral staircases make up the shaft and meet at the top in a bowl, from where further steps lead up to the parade ground in front of the Grand Shaft Barracks.

RELATED ATTRACTIONS IN THE UK

Castles are dotted all around the United Kingdom with 4000 castles in England alone. While some are ruins, there are some that are protected and looked after by a charitable organisation. There are also castles which are still lived in. Each castle is unique and has a story to tell.

1 | Tower of London. The infamous White Tower built in the 11th century has an incredible story to tell. The journey takes you through murder, mystery, coronations and Crown Jewels. An unmissable stop on a visit to London. Join a tour offered by the Yeoman Warders.

2 | One of the oldest, largest and still lived on castles built by William the Conqueror is Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

3 | Visit Hever Castle Kent — the childhood home of Anne Boleyn who was the Queen Consort to King Henry VIII. Read about Anne’s enduring legacy and how the Boleyns are related to the Royal family.

finally…

Dover Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in the United Kingdom, and that fact alone makes it a worthwhile visit. Added to this are the incredible war time tunnels which are an experience in itself, along with the Roman lighthouse, the St Mary in Castro church, medieval tunnels and the Battlements walk. One more thing — the views across the Straits of Dover. Taking all of the things to see and do, along with the experiences, Dover Castle just elevates to a whole new level where a visit is completely worth your time and money.

My sincere wish is that you found this article helpful in planning your visit to Dover Castle. If so, use the links to book your tickets or buy your train tickets. We earn a commission on qualified purchases and bookings at no additional costs to you. As always, we appreciate your support.

Have a super awesome time at Dover Castle 🙂

xoxo


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The Isle of Wight Bucket List | Epic 35 Things to do on IOW

The Isle of Wight Bucket List | 35 Epic things to do on IOW

Compiled by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links at no cost to you.

With just a ferry ride away from the south – coast of British mainland, is an island that has a rich historic past, and host to uniquely diverse landscape. Once home to terrifying predators about 125 million years ago, the Island now boasts natural landmarks, ancient woodland, truly stunning coastlines, dramatic white cliffs, magical sunsets, medieval castles, three hundred year old windmill and, Victorian seaside towns that are alive with so many stories to be explored. The Isle of Wight is one of England‘s best haven, with much to do either on a day trip, a short-break or a longer visit.

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The Isle of Wight is a perfect destination for a vacation by couples, coastal adventurers, families, photographers and just about anyone who enjoys an island getaway. Whilst there are multitude of things to do in this island of outstanding natural beauty, it would be impossible to compile an exhaustive list. Nevertheless, here is a guide for you – an Isle of Wight bucket list of 35 epic things to do in this stunning island (along with some valuable tips) to select from and to build your itinerary to suit your visit.

Read: The Isle of Wight – England’s Best Haven Ultimate Travel Guide

Isle of Wight bucket list

ALUM BAY – ISLE OF WIGHT BUCKET LIST OF THINGS TO DO

1 | The Needles Rocks, Alum Bay | Isle of Wight bucket list

The Needles is one of the most iconic natural landmark in Britain and surely one of the most photographed group of rocks in the world. The distinctive row of three sea stacks of chalk rising-up as a cone at about 30 metres out at sea together with the Needles Lighthouse is one of the main attractions on Isle of Wight. This Isle of Wight bucket list destination draws up to half a million visitors a year.

2 | Needles Lighthouse, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight

The Needles Lighthouse Isle of Wight
The Needles Lighthouse, Isle of Wight when on a boat ride |

Alongside The Needles sea stacks, stands the formidable lighthouse, Needles Trinity Lighthouse. At 33.25 metres (109.1 ft), Trinity stands against the howling gales at the end of the outermost chalk stack overlooking the Solent. Built in 1859 and has been automated since 1994.

2.1 | How to experience the Needles rocks and lighthouse?

Recommended read: Very best views of The Needles – 4 viewing points on the Isle of Wight

TTS Best Tips: Where to Stay at/near Alum Bay

Needles Cottage

The Old Kitchens

3 | Needles Old Battery and New Battery, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight

Iale of Wight the Old Battery
The Old Battery perched high above The Needles rocks Isle of Wight

Famously known as “Palmerstone’s Follies” the Old Battery was built in 1860s but never used for its original purpose as defence to the French invasion which did not take place.

A little further up is the Needles New Battery. The New Battery is a small site but home to some fascinating stories of secret rocket testing during the Cold War (1950s – 1970s).

Recommended read: The Historic Needles Batteries – The Old Battery and New Battery on the Isle of Wight

4 | Alum Bay coloured sand cliffs, Isle of Wight

Alum Bay is famous for its multicoloured sand and makes the Isle of Wight bucket list. Uniquely formed out of three minerals, felspar, mica and quartz, they are white in their pure state.

There was a time when visitors were allowed to scrape off the sand from the cliffs to take home as souvenir but this is no longer allowed. These days you could visit the Sand Shop at Alum Bay and have a bottle filled with the various colours to take back as a souvenir.

5 | Alum Bay Glass, Isle of Wight

The glass factory, Alum Bay Glass is quite amazing. It is world famous for unique handmade British fine quality glassware which has fascinated visitors since it began. Watch the skilful art of glass blowing and see a range of crafted glassware.

6 | Other activities at Alum Bay

6.1 | Alum Bay Sweet Factory

If you have a sweet tooth or you are just craving for some sugar, head towards the Sweet Factory and taste a sample – and you will walk out with a bag or two of different varieties 🙂

6.2 | Amusement Park

There is an amusement park in Totland to entertain both the young and adults.

Timeless Travel Steps Best tips:

1 | Get the best of Isle of Wight in One day — Travel from London or Portsmouth

2 | Take the Hovercraft from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight

3 | Take the train from London to Portsmouth

BEMBRIDGE – UNMISSABLE ISLE OF WIGHT BUCKET LIST THINGS TO DO

7 | Bembridge Windmill | Isle of Wight bucket list

bembridge windmill Isle of Wight bucket list
Bembridge Windmill Isle of Wight bucket list

What used to be known as Knowle Mill, the Bembridge Windmill is a Grade 1 listed structure and is the last surviving windmill on the Isle of Wight. Built in 1700s, the windmill has most of its original features intack over four floors. The floors are accessible via a series of steep stairs. It was a working windmill until 1913 and it was given to the National Trust England in 1971.

Good to know info:

Address: High Street/Mill Road, BEMBRIDGE, Isle Of Wight, PO35 5SQ

Tel: 01983 873945 | Awards: Green Island Awards, 2008

Guide Price:

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult GAOE£6.50 per ticket
Adult Group£5.20 per ticket
Adult Standard£5.90 per ticket
Child GAOE£3.25 per ticket
Child Group£2.60 per ticket
Child Standard£2.95 per ticket
Family GAOE£16.25 per ticket
Family Standard£14.75 per ticket
*Prices correct at time of writing – February 2022

Prior booking is no longer required but expect a small queue during high season typically during summer holidays.

*Visit length is 45 minutes

8 | Bembridge Heritage Visitor Centre | Isle of Wight bucket list

The coastal position of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight inspired and still does, contribute to boat building, yacht design, sailing and fishing. The village was vital during the World Wars as well.

The Bembridge Heritage Visitor Centre brings together all of these stories on social, seafaring, military and development and displays them so visitors could learn about the diverse stories of this beautiful seaside village.

Good to know info:

Address: Unit 1B Weaver’s Yard, Lane End Road, BEMBRIDGE, Isle of Wight, PO35 5US

Free entry. Donations welcome.

Opening hours:

(1 Apr 2022 – 31 Oct 2022)

Monday – Closed

Tuesday: 10:00 – 15:00

Wednesday: 10:00 – 15:00

Thursday: 10:00 – 15:00

Friday: 10:00 – 15:00

Saturday: 10:00 – 15:00

Sunday: Closed

(1 Nov 2021 – 31 Mar 2022)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 10:00 – 15:00

Thursday: Closed

Friday: Closed

Saturday: 10:00 – 15:00

Sunday: Closed

9 | Whitecliff Bay, Bembridge, Isle of Wight

Whitecliff Bay Bembridge Isle of Wight
Whitecliff Bay Bembridge Isle of Wight

Whitecliff Bay Bembridge is on the easternmost point of Isle of Wight. A diamond in the rough, it boasts a secluded beach, a sandy bay with shingles and a picturesque setting. Home to Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park offering an array of self-catered accommodation to suit along with a myriad of evening entertainment as well. The beach is a busy place during the day. Access down to the beach is through two-steep concrete tracks.

Whitecliff Bay is a fantastic location in Bembridge. There’s plenty to do here, come rain or shine! It makes a perfect base from whence you can explore all nearby attractions

10 | Earl of Yarborough Monument Culver Down Bembridge

Yarborough Monument Isle of Wight bucket list
Earl of Yarborough Monument | Isle of Wight bucket list

The tallest monument on the island, the Earl of Yarborough Monument is a historic site and definitely one for the Isle of Wight bucket list to tick off. Dedicated to Charles Pelham of Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire, who was created 1st Earl of Yarborough in 1837. He was an influential figure on the island and was held in great affection by the islanders.

The Yarborough is a striking landmark that forms part of the skyline on the east of the island and was once upon a time a seamark for shipping. Climb the hill to reach this monument and you will be rewarded with spectacular views over Culver Cliff.

Address: Culver Down, BEMBRIDGE, Isle Of Wight, PO36 8QT

11 | Quiet Walks on the Beach in and around Bembridge

isle of wight bucket list
Isle of Wight bucket list

There are a number of beaches in and around Bembridge for quiet walks that are ideal Isle of Wight bucket list. Try St Helens, a pretty green village that sits on the eastcoast of Isle of Wight between Bembridge and Seaview.

Seaview is another delightful coastal village worth exploring.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

For timeless experience, select from one of the many walks available around Bembridge that offer stunning scenery. For example, try the Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail. Get the paper maps or download online.


BRADING, ISLE OF WIGHT

12 | Roman Villa and Coastal Views at Brading, Isle of Wight bucket list

Brading is one of the oldest towns on the island and sits on the east side, nearby to Ryde. Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the town is pretty with cottages boasting original architecture and a Norman church, St Mary’s. There is also the Brading Roman Villa that offers insights into the Roman period on the island. If you enjoy walking and exploring, Brading Downs offer some spectacular views across Culver Down and Sandown Bay, a delightful Isle of Wight bucket list item to cross off.

Brading Roman Villa

Address: Morton Old Rd, Brading, Sandown PO36 0PH

Tuesday to Saturday

Hours: Generally 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


BRIGHTSTONE, ISLE OF WIGHT

13 | Traditional farmhouses and cottages at Brightstone Village, Isle of Wight bucket list

Brightstone sits on the south west coast of the Isle of Wight, and offer extensive footpaths and bridleways. You could easily explore the open downs, coastal cliffs and beaches.

Brightstone Village is famous for its picturesque traditional farmhouses and thatched cottages. The cottages here are built from local ‘clunch’ stone. The Village is also home to a 800-year old church that is open to the public daily.

14 | Isle of Wight Pearl

The Isle of Wight Pearl is a family owned and run business which has been operating for thirty plus years. Home to a spectacular collection of oyster pearls, this destination offers spectacular clifftop views as well. It is worth bearing in mind that the pearls are not from Isle of Wight.


Take the Hovercraft to the Isle of Wight

COWES – ISLE OF WIGHT BUCKET LIST ATTRACTIONS

Located on the west bank of the estuary of River Medina, Cowes is home to the oldest and biggest sailing regatta in the world. In addition, Cowes is also rich in culture and history. It is connected to the smaller town of East Cowes sitting across on the eastern estuary of River Medina.

15 | Cowes Week – Isle of Wight bucket list experience

One of the most popular sailing regattas in the world takes place in Cowes during Cowes Week. It is the busiest time of the year on the Isle of Wight and takes place over 7 days.

Traditionally, Cowes Week takes place on the Saturday after the last Tuesday in July but this also depends very much on the tides.

Future Cowes Week dates are as follows:

2022 – July 30 to August 6

2023 – July 29 to August 5

2024 – July 27 to August 3

There are other regattas sprinkled throughout the year where you shall find anything from classic yachts to power boats taking part.

16 | Cowes Yacht Haven | Isle of Wight Bucket List

Epic things to do on Isle of Wight bucket list
yacht race Isle of Wight bucket list

Cowes Harbour is home to 4 marinas and a visit to Cowes Yacht Haven on West Cowes is recommended. A world-class marina with easy access to the heart of town for pubs, restaurants and shops.

Address: Vectis Yard, High St, Cowes PO31 7BD

Access – All year round

17 | Osborne House, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Osborne House Isle of Wight bucket list
Isle of Wight bucket list | Osborne House, East Cowes

Isle of Wight is well-known for its royal connection – Queen Victoria and Prince Albert cemented their love affair of the island by building Osborne House, their palatial summer home. Take a glimpse into the private lives of the Victorian family at Osborne House when visiting this stunning island.

Recommended: Get your tickets to visit Osborne House, Isle of Wight

18 | St Mildred’s Church East Cowes – Queen Victoria’s Church

Isle of Wight St Mildred's Church Isle of Wight bucket list
St Mildred’s Church Isle of Wight bucket list

St Mildred’s Church was a favourite of Queen Victoria and she, along with her family worshipped here during their summer vacations. The church was redesigned to incorporate unique features. Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice was married here to Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885. Both were laid to rest in the cemetary at St Mildred’s.

Address: Beatrice Ave, East Cowes PO32 6LW

Open: Monday to Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

19 | Egypt Point Cowes

isle of wight bucket list
isle of wight bucket list

Egypt Point is the northernmost point on the Isle of Wight and has a lighthouse that is rather unique. The Egypt Point Lighthouse is located at the bottom of Egypt Hill, on the side of Egypt Esplanade. It was built in 1897 to guide those navigating the Solent and did so for almost a century when it was discontinued in 1987. The name ‘Egypt’ is derived from a colony of gypsies that lived in the area around the 16th century.

Egypt Point is perfect for sunsets. Take the coastal path from Cowes to Gurnard and pass Egypt Point with the sea always in view. Or watch the sunset over the Solent from the terraces of Best Western.

Recommended read: Isle of Wight and 10 Victorian Love Affair Experiences

20 | The Sir Max Aitken Museum, Cowes

For a glimpse into the world of marine history, visit the Sir Max Aitken Museum conveniently located on the highstreet at Cowes. The museum is housed in an 18th century Ratsey and Lapthorn sailmaker’s loft.

Highlights at the museum include, the Gaff from the Royal Racing Yacht Britannia dating from the 1920s and a French Empire Cradle believed to belong to Napoleon Bonaparte for his son, “The Infant King of Rome”.

Address: Sir Max Aitken Museum
The Prospect, 83 High Street,
Cowes,
Isle of Wight,
PO31 7AJ


FRESHWATER, ISLE OF WIGHT BUCKET LIST

Freshwater Bay is located to the south of Freshwater Village and offer an all year round pebble beach which is ideal for swimming, walks and boating. Accessible from Freshwater Village is Tennyson Down, a grassy hill that rises to 147m (482 feet) above sea level. It is a steep climb but worth the effort!

21 | Stag and Mermaid rocks | Isle of Wight

The ‘Stag and Mermaid’ rocks that sits at the edge of the Freshwater Bay coast is a popular tourist attraction as well as a compelling destination for photographers.

There are some rock formations here that form local landmarks. The ones to look out for are the Arch Rock, Stag Rock and Mermaid Rock.

The caves at the bottom of the white cliffs were once used by smugglers when the tide was down. Best way to explore these caves is with an expert guide on a kayak.

22 | Tennyson Monument | Isle of Wight

tennyson monument isle of wight bucket list
Tennyson Monument Isle of Wight bucket list

At the highest point in Tennyson Down , stands a memorial dedicated to the Victorian Poet Laureate, Lord Alfred Tennyson. The Tennyson Monument is a striking granite cross and an impressive structure, standing proudly in an area best loved by the laureate himself. If you can make the climb, you will be rewarded with striking views that this spot commands.

Recommended: The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down coastal walk > Read: 4 key ways to explore the Isle of Wight


GODSHILL, ISLE OF WIGHT

23 | The picturesque Godshill Village, Isle of Wight bucket list

Godshill Isle of Wight bucket list
Godshill Isle of Wight bucket list

Godshill is the ultimate in quintessential English Village on the island. The Village boasts some of the oldest architecture, picturesque thatched roof cottages and delightful winding street lined with tearooms that beckons a stop for some traditional English Cream Tea.


NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT

Newport is the main town on the Isle of Wight. This historic town boasts both Georgian and Victorian architecture. The town centre has numerous shops and eateries. You could also find some high-end fashion labels here. The unmissable places for your bucket list around Newport are the 12th century fort, Carisbrooke Castle and Robin Hill, 88-acres of rolling hills and natural woodland.

24 | Carisbrooke Castle | Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke Castle, IOW
Isle of Wight bucket list: Carisbrooke Castle

Near the town of Newport and strategically located is this prominent hilltop structure, Carisbrooke Castle which dominates the centre of the island.

A centre of power and defence for over 1000 years, it was a Saxon fortress, an Elizabethan fortress and a King’s prison, eventually a summer residence to the Governor of Isle of Wight, Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter to Queen Victoria.

Isle of Wight Carisbrook Castle
Carisbrook Castle courtyard Isle of Wight

When you are at Carisbrooke Castle, walk through the main gates and take your time in exploring this quintessentially romantic castle which still has working donkeys to work the Well-House. There is a museum and a chapel here for you to learn more about this Castle. Take the wall-walk and enjoy the breath-taking views of the island that it offers. There is plenty of space to roam around especially if you are visiting with kids.

Read the complete guide on Carisbrooke Castle >> Unmissable 9 fun things to do at Carisbrooke Castle

25 | Robin Hill, Isle of Wight

Robin Hill offers some incredible adventures and experiences in its eighty-eight acres of woodland, parks and rolling hills. Home to some incredible red squirrels, tree top canopies and epic rides, it is a destination suitable for all ages.

26 | Blackgang Chine

Blackgang Chine is the oldest amusement park in the UK and a land of imagination. With fun rides, slides, dinosaurs, cowboys and so much more for a perfect day out for families with children.

27 | The Longstone, Mottistone | Isle of Wight

Longstone Mottistone Isle of Wight bucket list
The Longstone Isle of Wight bucket list

Simply known as “The Longstone” the stones are of Neolithic origin of at least 6,000 years old. It is believed to be the entrance to a communal long barrow of 31 metre long, 9 metres wide and 2 metres high used for burying the dead. People may have worshipped the sun and moon during the Neolithic times which is one reason why the Longston is aligned west-east.

On the other hand, there is an interesting legend associated with The Longstone.

Legend has it that St Catherine and the Devil himself fought over the Isle of Wight as to who would control it. During the struggle, St Catherine threw the 4 metre and 2 metre wide stone that bears her name. It landed decisively into the ground. The Devil threw a mere 2.9 metre high and 1.2 metre wide smaller stone, thus losing to St Catherine. Hence, symbolising the victory of good over evil.

The stones were most likely moved during the Saxon times and it was certainly moved in the 19th century by Lord Dillon. Lord Dillon excavated the grounds but found nothing. There were further excavations undertaken in 1956 which exposed kerb stones and a ditch that ran around the mound.

The Longstone is a key place of worship by the Druids. Significant gatherings take place during notable dates such as the summer solstice.

RYDE, ISLE OF WIGHT

If you are looking for some offbeat fun, Ryde is the place to be! You will find beautiful sandy beaches along with traditional seaside fun, Victorian architecture and some hidden gems.

Ryde is home to the longest running carnival on the island which takes place at the end of August. Perfect for strolls along the beachfront, Ryde also offers plenty to do in this part of the island. You could go G0-karting, Climbing, explore the many independent shops or visit Quarr Abbey, a Benedictine monastery.

28 | Quarr Abbey Isle of Wight

Quarr Abbey Isle of Wight bucket list

Pronounced as “Kwor”, Quarr Abbey is a working Benedictine monastery and is set amongst acres of stunning and peaceful surroundings, just outside of Ryde.

Founded in 1132, the monastery ultimately fell victim to King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1907, a group of French Benedictine monks were exiled to the island. They established a kitchen garden and started rebuilding the Quarr. The present monastery is built entirely by the efforts of the local islanders.

Quarr Abbey makes the Isle of Wight bucket list not just for the tranquility that it boasts but also for its incredible architecture along with its 900 years of monastic history.

Quarr Abbey is nestled between Ryde and Wootton on the northern coast of the Isle of Wight.

Quarr Rd, Ryde, PO33 4ES


Sandown, Isle of Wight

29 | Dinosaur fossil expeditions on Isle of Wight – an incredible bucket list experience everyone!

Best areas to find dinosaur bones in Isle of Wight are at Yaverland beach near Sandown and on the south-west coast of the Island, stretching from Atherfield to Compton.

SHANKLIN

30 | Shanklin Chine

Shanklin Shine is one of Mother Nature’s best geological feature on the Isle of Wight. A popular attraction, Shanklin Shine features waterfalls, lush vegetation and wooded coastal ravine along with footpaths and walkways. It has a heritage centre and a gift shop. The beautiful tea garden has a Victorian tea room, serving cream tea, light lunches and meals.

VENTNOR | ISLE OF WIGHT

31 | St Catherine’s Oratory

St Katherine's Oratory Isle of Wight bucket list
St Katherine’s Oratory Isle of Wight bucket list

Standing at four storeys high, the octagonal shaped tower is the only surviving medieval lighthouse in England. It was built by Walter de Godeton, Lord of Chale as contrition for stealing wine from a shipwreck in 1313. A replacement lighthouse was planned in 1785 but this was never completed.

St Catherine’s Oratory is affectionately known by the islanders as “Pepperpot” due to its shape and the remains of the replacement lighthouse as the “Salt Cellar”.

Accessible by a footpath from the end of Upper House Lane in Chale.

32 | Ventnor Botanic Gardens

Ventnor Botanic Garden Isle of Wight bucket list
Ventnor Botanic Garden Isle of Wight bucket list

Founded in 1970, and located close to sea, the Ventnor Botanic Gardens enjoys a micro-climate weather all year round. Home to an incredible range of flora, and fauna, along with rare butterflies and insects. A popular visitor destination on the Isle of Wight.

33 | St Katherine’s Lighthouse

Sitting on the southern tip of Isle of Wight, St Katherine’s Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1838 to guide ships in the Solent. The height of the tower is 27 metres and has 94 steps to reach the lantern.

St Katherine’s Lighthouse has been a weather reporting station for some years and has been automated since 1997.


COASTAL WALK ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Isle of Wight coastal walk
Coastal walks Isle of Wight bucket list

The Isle of Wight coastal path is divided into six sections and takes you the full circumference of the island. You will pass through busy harbours, fishing villages, sailing towns, sandy beaches, white cliffs, wildlife haven and so much more.

Georgina: Although I did not complete the whole 64 miles of the designated coastal footpath, I did some, and left some to be continued on another visit.

Isle of Wight coastal walk
Views from Isle of Wight coastal walk. There is always a spot here for you to sit and look out to the English Channel or watch the busy shipping line heading towards the Solent.

Coastal walks are the best ways to appreciate the incredible Isle of Wight. I was totally distracted   with the breath-taking views of the English Channel and watching the ships across the Solent which is mesmerising while the sun sets.

34 | White Cliffs at Isle of Wight

Georgina: White cliffs at Isle of Wight: A simple walk along the coast turned out to be a memorable experience. I guess it is all about “being in the moment” – just you and nature. | Isle of Wight bucket list

The White Cliffs are a beautiful sight and it is one that you should not miss if you are planning on a coastal walk.

The white cliffs from a distant Isle of Wight
View of the white cliffs from a distant | Isle of Wight bucket list
Isle of Wight coastal walk is just another journey of discovery when you experience views like this | Isle of Wight bucket list.

35 | Victoria’s Island Trail

You can follow Queen Victoria’s footsteps – the Victoria’s Island Trail and visit the places around the island that were important to the Royal family. A key favourite is Victoria’s church, St Mildred’s, where she worshipped and the yacht club which was specifically built for Queen Victoria.

finally …on Isle of Wight bucket list

Wherever you are on the island, you know that you are never too far from the sea. The island has 57 miles of coastline and offers great opportunity to explore at every turn. The sights are unique with different soaring cliffs, secluded coves for rock-pooling and nature trails and hikes. Over half of the island has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For me, though, after spending almost a week here, I did not do everything the island offered. As for my highlights of the visits, where shall I begin…The Needles, the Coastal Walk, Osborne House, Whitecliff Bay, Cowes, the Pearl factory, watching fishermen come in with their catch of lobsters and crab…

If you are considering an island to explore in England, I would highly recommend the Isle of Wight.

PLANNING A TRIP TO EUROPE?

The following articles may be of value to your visit:

Have a great time exploring the Isle of Wight, xoxo

Isle of Wight at a Glance

Coordinates: Latitude: 50° 40′ 30.59″ N Longitude: -1° 16′ 30.60″ W

Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight flag
Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight Coat of Arms

Basic facts:

Island: Largest island in England

Island’s city: Newport

Population: 141,538 | Second most populous island in England behind Portsea Island.

Landmass: The Isle is roughly 380.728 kilometer/147 square miles

County: Governed by one unitary authority.

Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) | British Summer Time (BST)

High season: July – August

Religion: Christianity

Language: English

Money

Currency: Pounds Sterling (£)

Credit and Debit cards accepted.

Topography

Elevation: Maximum elevation: 242 m | Average elevation: 15 m | Minimum elevation: -1 m

Designation:

1 | Isle of Wight Biosphere Reserve, United Kingdom

2 | Isle of Wight – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Why Visit:

Famous for: Ghosts, Dinosaur bones, Victorian villages, Cycling routes, Walking & Hiking + Healing & Wellbeing retreats

Number of Visitors surpass residents >

Travel Advice

Isle of Wight Travel Advice

Travelling to the UK Advice

UK Foreign Travel Advice

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Leadenhall Market — London’s Best Kept Secret

Leadenhall Market – A Victorian Gem & One of London’s Best kept Secret

Explore another side of London — the city’s best kept secret! Tucked away from the busy streets and the high-rises of the financial district of London, with a rich heritage and incredible architecture dating back 700 years is Leadenhall Market, a Victorian gem easily missed and less visited by occasional visitors to the city. This remarkable building is also Grade II listed, denoting its significant historic interest.

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Whilst we work hard to provide accurate and the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.


What to expect in this article on Leadenhall Market

In this article, you shall find top reasons that makes Leadenhall Market a notable place to visit in London, beginning with its rich history to the incredible things to do such as shopping, dining and getting your shoes shined at this Victorian marketplace. Practical tips are included on how to locate this marvellous destination as well as landmarks to visit which are located close by. You could skip ahead to a particular section by using the navigation below, if you prefer.

Leadenhall Market London's best kept secret

1 | The origins and history of Leadenhall Market, London

The stunning Leadenhall Market has a rich history dating back to 1321, at the heart of what we now know to be Roman London. Underneath the arches and cobblestones of Leadenhall Market today are the remains of the Roman Forum and Basilica. As well, Bishopsgate, Cheapside and Leadenhall Street follow the Roman roads that once existed.

History tells us that the Romans loved their markets! It is thought that a market existed at this location since their settlement but not much is known about the market place after they left. Thereafter, the Anglo-Saxons returned and used the same location to set up a marketplace to boost the economy.

1.1 | Medieval history of Leadenhall Market

Eventually, the Leadenhall manor fell into the ownership of Lord Whittington, the Lord Mayor of the City of London. In 1411, he gifted the manor to the City of London.

1.2 | Leadenhall Market through the centuries

In 1440, Simon Eyre, the then Lord Mayor commissioned the skills of John Croxton, a master mason to redesign the manor house. The manor house was converted to two levels, and housed a large public granary along with lots of storage spaces. Trade was brought into the building, away from the streets nearby. The marketplace became the focal of medieval economy. By 1600s, trading involved cheese, milk, butter and eggs alongside poultry, meats, grains, leather and metal ware.

Following the Great Fire of London, Sir Horace Jones was commissioned to redesign the stone building. He designed and built Leadenhall Market in 1881 that continues to exist today. The nearby markets of Billingsgate and Smithfield were designed by Sir Jones also. The architecture embodies space, and light with wrought iron and glass. More recently, in 1991, Leadenhall Market underwent extensive renovations but the eye-catching Victorian architecture of brightly painted wrought iron beams of the main roof was preserved.


Recommended: 7 Key benefits of the London Pass that you need to know.


2 | Leadenhall Market today

This large covered area of what was once a marketplace has evolved to be a modern retail hub. Set amidst a Victorian roof, cobbles and preserved buildings and architecture, Leadenhall Market provides a wide range of shopping and a variety of dining options. Located in the centre of the financial district of London also means that it is a busy hub for the men and women in smart suits and the savvy financier.

The many entrances are decorated with stone carvings of dragons, swags and shields of varying sizes. The larger stone pediments reflect the main entrances to the market. Some have the market’s name and date inscribed upon them.

2.1 | Fashionable boutiques and Fine dining at Leadenhall Market, London

Housed within the Victorian architecture are upscale shops such as Barbour, Reiss, Hobbs, Waterstones and many more.

In addition, there is a selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs offering unique dining experiences from fine dining, mid-range dining or to take-aways and sandwiches. There is Cheese of Leadenhall for cheese lovers and for wine lovers, the Brokers Wine Bar is an excellent choice.

The Lamb Tavern is highly recommended. It is a traditional pub, a restaurant and lately, popular as a wedding venue. Occupying three-floors of impressive decor, this grand old pub serves traditional British food and ales. The Lamb Tavern has been a public house since the Market buildings were completed in 1881.

Visiting this beautifully clean and vibrant Victorian setting ordinarily on a working day or at Christmas is highly encouraged. Truth be told that it is extraordinarily special at Christmas. It is lit-up bright with Christmas lights and a 20-foot high Christmas tree takes the centre-stage of this Victorian market setting. Shoppers with Christmas shopping bags, the vibrancy of modern dining, the bars and pubs overflowing with beer drinkers in smart attire amidst chatter and laughter. Added to this are the Christmas crafts, music and the aroma of mulled wine. It is hard to imagine the smell of meat and poultry that this Victorian market once was!

Christmas Lights 2021 switching-on ceremony is scheduled for November 19. December 8 signals the beginning of Christmas workshops, music and late-night shopping

2.2 | The Shoe-shiners of Leadenhall Market

When I visited Leadenhall Market a couple of years ago, I was fascinated to discover that it was home to talented actors who run the London City Shoe Shine Co. in between their engagements at West End.

These actors have been shining shoes in this Victorian setting since 1991, come rain or shine! Although, if the leather shoes are wet on a rainy day, you will probably not find the shoe-shiners sitting at their station.

The actors work in pairs and this beautiful advent afternoon was no different to any other. There was a steady flow of customers, mostly regulars, I suspect. As Leadenhall Market is situated in the centre of the banking industry and bankers were traditionally their most regular customers.

I saw a window of opportunity to steal a quick chat with them, with an assurance that they remain anonymous. It was an interesting chat, one of them have an upcoming role in a movie while the other is involved mainly in theatre performances. Soon, two customers arrived, and I stayed to watch briefly.

The shine-box method

I was captivated with the use of the old-fashioned shine-box method – where the customer raises one foot onto the footplate for it to be shined and then the other shoe gets done afterwards. These modest shoe shiners exuded a relaxed sense of style and their buoyant energy in a carefully crafted skill of vigorous hand-movement, first brush, then focusing on the toe for extra shine – a pair of shiny shoes will always set a man apart as a man that knows how to take care of himself – appearance matters! Definitely! Don’t you think so?

London Eye | London Pass | City Card
London Eye facts
London Eye | Harry Potter Studios

For the ardent Harry Potter fans, you will be delighted to know that there were several scenes which were filmed at Leadenhall Market. One of the most memorable scene is when Hagrid and Harry Potter go shopping for wands. This scene was filmed outside of Leadenhall Market.

You may also recall the area of London which led to the wizarding pub, the magical shopping street of Diagon Alley (in the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and the Leaky Couldron (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). The highly recognisable blue door entrance to the Leaky Couldron at 42 Bull’s Head Passage is actually an opticians office at Leadenhall Market.

Recommended: An interactive Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Leadenhall Market has also been used as a filming location in other movies for example:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy;

The Imaginarium of Doctor Pernassus;

Hearafter;

Love Aaj Kal


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3 | The Story of Old Tom at Leadenhall Market

As we know, Leadenhall Market was once a place for the sale of poultry, and this required for chickens and geese to be slaughtered in the market. However, Old Tom, the little goose had a different tale to tell.

One day, in early 1800s, thousands of geese were brought to the Market to be slaughtered but one little gander from Belgium managed to escape. The story goes that he was not only clever to escape his fate on one occasion but he did so over several occasions on a number of days. Eventually, he was allowed to live happily and was named “Old Tom”. Old Tom became a beloved resident of Leadenhall Market. He was fed by the market workers with scraps of food and lived to the age of 37. Old Tom passed of natural causes in 1835 and was given a proper burial. He is buried inside the Market.

Old Tom was much loved and his Obituary appeared in the Times Newspaper, on April 16, 1835:

In memory of Old Tom the Gander

Obit 19th March, 1835, aetat, 37 years, 9 months and 6 days

This famous gander, while in stubble,

Fed freely, without care or trouble;

Grew fat eating corn and sitting still,

And scarce could cross the barn-door sill;

And seldom waddle forth to cool,

His belly in the neighbouring pool;

Transplanted to another scene,

He stalk’d in state o’er Calais-green,

With full five hundred geese behind;

To his superior care consign’d;

Whom readily he would engage,

To lead in march ten miles a-stage,

Thus a decoy he lived and died,

The chief of geese, the poulterer’s pride.

You could always raise a glass to Old Tom when you visit Leadenhall Market. His burial spot is marked by the Old Tom’s Bar at 10-12 Leadenhall Market.

Old Tom’s Bar serves traditional British dishes and craft beers.


Recommended: Secrets of London Walking Tour


4 | Best London attractions nearby to Leadenhall Market

While visiting Leadenhall Market, you may also wish to make a day of it by visiting other attractions in the financial district and nearby. The following attractions are located within a few minutes of each other and easily reached by foot. Click on the links to learn more.


5 | Practical tips and Useful information

If you plan to visit this part of London, you will note two entirely differing cultures depending on when you elect to sightsee. During the week, The City is abuzz with white collar workers hurrying along to get on with their business and at weekends, it becomes a quiet haven for visitors to explore.

5.1 | Where is Leadenhall Market located?

This prominent destination is located at the triangle that is made up of Gracechurch Street, Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street.

Address:  Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 1LT

5.2 | Opening hours

Public areas are open 24/7 for 7-days a week.

For shops and restaurants, opening hours varies, please check individual      stores.

5.3 | Transport:

Trains 

London Fenchurch Street Station    (8-minute walk)

London Cannon Street Station         (8-minute walk)

Liverpool Street Station      (13-minute walk)

Moorgate Station     (13-minute walk)

Underground

Monument Station    (4-minute walk)

Bank Station     (6-minute walk)

Aldgate Station   (8-minute walk)

Moorgate Station  (13-minute walk)


6 | Planning a trip to London?

You may find the following resources helpful. I use them in my travel plan and happily share them with you to save time and money.

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


7 | Finally

Leadenhall Market is a little gem, covered and tucked away in the middle of bustling London financial district. It always seems busy during the week but you can get a quiet place in a pub or a restaurant after the busy lunch hour 😊

Have a great time discovering, and exploring Leadenhall Market, London’s best kept secret!

Georgina xx


FAQ’s on Leadenhall Market

Here are some frequently asked questions about Leadenhall Market which you may have thought about as well:

1 | Is Leadenhall Market worth visiting?

Absolutely! Without a doubt, Leadenhall Market is worth visiting. It’s historic significance, unique architecture, the many food scenes, the vibrant, bright and airy atmosphere along with the cobbled floors all add to the feel of being “elsewhere” in London. A destination that must be experienced.

2 | What is special about Leadenhall Market?

While its rich heritage and stunning architecture dates back 700 years, it is a ‘marketplace’ with all the clinks and clanks, the noise of chatter and the buzz. Added to this unusual atmosphere in the City of London are modern high-end shops, bars and eateries. Absolutely a special place to visit.

3 | Who designed Leadenhall Market?

The architect behind the design of Leadenhall Market that we see today was Horace Jones.

4 | What borough is Leadenhall Market?

Leadenhall Market is located in the prominent City of London financial district. It is one of the oldest markets in London since early 1400s.


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Leadenhall Market - London's best kept secretLeadenhall Market - London's best kept secret

5 BEST Christmas Markets in London 2021

BEST 5 Christmas Markets in London 2021

The best Christmas Markets in London are a total treat and it has so much to offer. Not just mulled wine, mince pies, German sausages and fairground rides but also unique gift stalls of beautifully handcrafted gifts. There are several Christmas Markets in London but below, you will find five of the best Christmas markets in London.

The BEST 5 Christmas Markets in London 2021

1 | Best Christmas Markets in London at London’s Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London. November 19, 2021- January 3, 2022 [Opens 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. daily except Christmas Day]

Winter Wonderland is the biggest and one of the best Christmas Markets in London. Popularly described as the biggest fun fair in London at Christmas, Winter Wonderland draws thousands of visitors, both near and far. Host to the largest outdoor ice rink, festive food stalls and the many different rides, roller coasters and ferris wheel. There is an IceBar that serves unique festive cocktails,. The one attraction which is highly recommended is Santa Land, an enchanting experience for both young and old. Walk around the stalls for some beautiful handcrafted gifts.

Entry to the park is FREE. Attractions and activities will incur a fee. Prior booking is recommended for some attractions.

Getting here: Nearest station is Marble Arch, Bond Street, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park.

For more information on Winter Wonderland, check their official website here.


Recommended read:

Christmas in London
Best Christmas Lights in London
Coal Drops Yard at Christmas in Kings Cross London

2 | Best Christmas Markets in London at Leicester Square Christmas Market

Leicester Square Christmas Market, London: November 12, 2021 to January 3, 2022 [Opens: 12.00 p.m – 10.00 p.m Mon – Fri 10.00 a.m – 10.00 p.m Sat-Sun

Located in the most vibrant part of the city, Leicester Square Christmas Market is in the heart of London, in theatre land and just a stone’s throw from China Town. It is small compared to Winter Wonderland but the festive vibes are very present. You will find plenty of food stalls, handcrafted bespoke gifts stalls, festive ornaments and variety shows. There is more of a traditional feel than any of the other Christmas Markets in London. The stalls are authentic Bavarian-style wooden huts and this, adds to the warmth of the Christmas cheer.

Entrance is FREE. Santa’s Grotto is £11.50 and the Cabaret Shows are ticketed.

Getting here: Nearest stations are Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus.

For more information on Leicester Square Christmas Market, check their official website here.


3 | Best Christmas Markets in London at Covent Garden

Covent Garden Christmas Markets, London. November 9, 2021 to January 3, 2022.

Londoners often say that Covent Garden is the place to find the best gifts for someone and the ultimate meeting point for friends. Thus, Covent Garden is one of the most popular shopping destinations in London at anytime of the year. It is unique because it is one place where you will find highend fashion names alongside market traders, all offering a very special shopping experience. There are over 200 stores and each offer their own speciality along with a wide range of distinctive handmade crafts and goods. From jewellery and prints to watercolours, soaps and sweet treats – all presenting a perfect opportunity to shop under one roof for that special gift at Christmas for your friends and family.