Visit London Blog » horse guards parade Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best Bus Routes for Sightseeing in London Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:00:35 +0000

London’s famous double-decker buses are an ideal way to see the city if you’re on a budget. Buy a Travelcard for the day and take a self-guided city tour on London’s best bus routes. These four cover most of the major sights in the city. Their routes are described from west to east and the return journey passes the same sights in reverse.

Number 74
Starting in Putney, this route travels past London’s museums hub in South Kensington where the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum sit side by side. It then passes luxury department store Harrods and the boundary of one of London’s largest green spaces at Hyde Park Corner. You can catch a glimpse of The Dorchester hotel just after, followed by the famous haunt of public rhetoric – Speaker’s Corner at Marble Arch. The final stop is Baker Street, home to both the Madame Tussauds wax figure museum and the Sherlock Holmes Museum, at the site of the fictional detective’s residence.

Number 9
The number 9 is one of only two routes operating the old-style Routemaster buses on part of its route. Leaving from Hammersmith, it passes Kensington Palace (you’ll have to get off to see it) followed by the beautiful Royal Albert Hall and the monument to Queen Victoria’s husband which sits opposite it. Like the number 74, the 9 passes the museums in Kensington, Harrods and Hyde Park corner. It takes a different route afterwards to visit St James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square, The Savoy hotel and arts and cultural centre Somerset House.

Number RV1
The RV1 is a favourite route for us here at VL Towers! Despite being a single decker, it still passes through some of the best parts of London, giving you a great cultural tour of the city. Soak up some shops and street theatre at Covent Garden before taking the RV1. Hopping on it will take you to the South Bank where you’ll see the London Eye and Royal Festival Hall. The London Bridge stop is metres from the London Dungeon and City Hall is the next sight on the route, which crosses Tower Bridge to finish up at the Tower of London.

Number 24
The 24 sets off from Camden Town which offers alternative fashion and food. The bus then heads to the more mainstream Leicester Square in the centre, calling in at Trafalgar Square and Horse Guards Parade. The political heart of London is next as the bus passes Parliament Square where you’ll find Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as well as the nearby Westminster Abbey where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in 2011. The final site is the city’s policing headquarters at the iconic New Scotland Yard building.

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The Olympic Games: One Year On Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:11:24 +0000

Last year the Olympic Games propelled London into the spotlight. It brought Britain and the rest of the world together, uniting us in a summer of hope and glory. The legacy was to “Inspire a Generation” and the spirit that went with the event did not end with the closing ceremony.

This summer has already seen a run of British sporting triumphs: Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon win, Chris Froome’s Tour de France victory, the Ashes cricket success, the British Lions rugby triumph and golfer Justin Rose’s US Open win, which along with the birth of a royal baby and the longest heatwave in seven years, means spirits remain as high as they were last year.

This weekend is the anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, so find out what is happening in the venues one year on:

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Olympic Park, built as a sporting complex for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was temporarily closed to the public after the Games but has now been transformed into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, providing London with a new space for major sporting events, music festivals and more.

Last weekend the park was used for the National Lottery Anniversary Run, the first sporting event since the conclusion of London 2012. This weekend it will host the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, three days of world-class athletics on the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony. The games will see the return of many Olympic champions, with Sunday being dedicated to the Paralympic champions. Alongside this is the Open East Festival, a weekend celebrating the first anniversary of the Olympic Games and the reopening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Here, along with entertainment, family activities, art and food, you can watch the Anniversary Games live on screen.

The park has already hosted huge music festivals this summer including Hard Rock Calling, Wireless and Electric Daisy Carnival. Other events still to come in the Olympic Park include:

  • Ride London – On the first weekend in August, professional and amateur cyclists will gather in London for a brand new, world-class festival of cycling
  • Lollibop – Three-day children’s festival with sports, activities, performances, workshops and celebrity entertainers from 16 to 18 Aug
  • National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival takes place on 7 Sep. This free event celebrates disability sport and arts a year on from the end of the Paralympic Games
  • The park will be used for a range of huge sporting events – including boxing, hockey and basketball

Other Olympic Venues

Wimbledon Following on from his gold win at the Olympic Games, there was national pride for Andy Murray again this year as he became the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years. Visit the site where history was made at the Lawn Tennis Museum and Tour of the grounds.

Horse Guards Parade Usually used for royal parades and ceremonies, during the Olympic Games Horse Guards Parade was transformed into a temporary arena for beach volleyball. At this historic site you can see Changing the Guard most mornings.

Wembley Stadium The stadium was used for football matches during the Olympic Games and continues to be used for high profile matches including, in August: the FA Community Shield, England v Scotland and the Challenge Cup Final. Take a tour of this famous stadium and walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s top footballers; go behind the scenes in the changing rooms, then walk through the players’ tunnel.

Wembley and The O2 Arena One of the sports taking place in the arenas last year was gymnastics and this year you can see breath-taking acrobatics of a different kind at Cirque du Soleil.

See more Olympic Venues

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London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: 100 Days to Go! Wed, 18 Apr 2012 09:19:48 +0000

With just 100 days to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, London is getting ready to welcome the world. 

The photo shows 260 Guardsmen from the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots and Welsh Guards marking the occasion at Horse Guards Parade, the venue for Beach Volleyball during the Games.

Meanwhile, staff at Kew Gardens have been “gardening for the Games”, creating some giant floral Olympic rings.

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Household Cavalry Museum Opens Olympic Exhibition Fri, 30 Mar 2012 12:00:57 +0000 Olympic medal. Photo by Vickie Flores Olympic torch. Photo by Vickie Flores Olympic exhibition. Photo by Vickie Flores

A new exhibition has opened at the Household Cavalry Museum, celebrating members’ of the Household Cavalry’s participation in the Olympic Games since 1908.

Five Olympic medals and an Olympic torch from 1996 are among the items on display.

You can see the Olympic exhibition, along with the permanent displays about the history and role of the Household Cavalry, and take a peep into the working stables until 17 June. After that, the museum closes for the Olympic Beach Volleyball competition and will re-open in October.

The Household Cavalry Museum is on Horse Guards, London SW1. It costs around £6 to enter, and you can book tickets here

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Horse Guards Parade Confirmed for Olympic Volleyball Wed, 19 Jan 2011 12:30:09 +0000

The London 2012 beach volleyball competition, planned for Horse Guards Parade, has received the go-ahead from Westminster City Council.

A temporary stadium, holding 15,000 spectators, will be built in Horse Guards Parade from mid-June 2012.

Horse Guards is famous for hosting ceremonial events like Tropping the Colour. It gets more than 6 million visitors each year.

The Olympic beach volleyball schedule will last for 13 days from late July to early August 2012, and is expected to be one of the most popular at the Games. Ticket prices start at £20.

“I am delighted that we have received permission to go ahead with our plans and thank Westminster City Council for their support,” said London 2012 chairman Lord Coe.

“The London Games will be an amazing experience for athletes, officials and spectators, and I believe that Horse Guards Parade will be one of our most spectacular venues and bring real excitement to the area in 2012.”

Mark Camley, chief executive of The Royal Parks, said, “The eight Royal Parks will host a range of London 2012 Games events and we’re delighted that beach volleyball will take place on Horse Guards Parade in St James’s Park.

“This is the first time it will host an event of this kind.”

Is the beach volleyball one of the events you want to see during 2012? Let us know in the comments below.

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Video of the Week: Santa in London on Boris Bikes Fri, 24 Dec 2010 13:00:14 +0000

Yesterday, we had a photo of cycling santas. Today, a video. This feels like a suitably silly festive film for you this Christmas Eve.

See if you can spot the following attractions as this team of santas (and a couple of rudolfs) take their boris bikes for a spin around London:

Well done to the team from the FreshNetworks office for putting together this brilliant bit of seasonal nuttiness. Great soundtrack too. Enjoy.

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London 2012 Beach Volleyball Test Event Announced for Next August Fri, 17 Dec 2010 14:00:05 +0000

The Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB) announced the London 2012 Olympic Games test event for beach volleyball will take place in August next year.

The beach volleyball test event will take place from 9 to 14 August in Horse Guards Parade right next to Buckingham Palace.

We’ve blogged about the temporary, 15,000-seater arena before. Huge quantities of sand will be brought in to create a beach in the centre of London.

The August test event will be only for women’s teams, and will replicate the exact formula used at the London 2012 Olympics.

Talking to Olympic news website, Kenny Barton, performance programme manager for British Volleyball, said,

“It is fantastic to be having this test event next year to give a flavour of what it will be like having beach volleyball at such an iconic location in 2012. The girls travel all over the world so to have this competition confirmed on the calendar in London in August will be fantastic.

“It will be a huge boost for the girls to experience the actual London 2012 venue as they step up their preparations for the Olympics. If we can get a big, vocal crowd there at the Horse Guards Parade making a lot of noise and getting involved, I really think that can help push us to another level. Right in the centre of London, it will be one of the most accessible venues in 2012 and I am sure it will be the place to be.”

Is beach volleyball one of the events you’re hoping to see during the 2012 Games? Let us know in the comments below.

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London 2012 Olympic Beach Volleyball to be held in Centre-Court Style Stadium Mon, 01 Nov 2010 17:30:20 +0000

The plans for a 15,000-seater stadium in Horse Guard Parade for the Olympic beach volleyball were put forward to Westminster City Council last week.

The temporary structure, which is similar in size to Wimbledon’s Centre Court, will be built by London 2012 stadium architect Populous in conjunction with Atkins, the UK’s largest engineering and design consultancy.

The stadium will have a lower bowl for getting up-close to the action, and a three sided upper bowl allowing spectators and TV cameras to use the London skyline behind as a stunning backdrop.

James Bulley, the London 2012 director of venues and infrastructure, says “While for many the emphasis of the Games will be at the Olympic Park in East London, our aim is for London to play a starring role in the Games.

“Populous and Atkins, through imaginative design and architectural construction, have enabled LOCOG to use an historic landmark for a major tournament.

“We hope this will contribute to making London 2012 the best possible Olympic and Paralympic Games experience for everyone involved, ensuring a real legacy and inspiring people to join in.”

Horse Guards Parade has a long tradition of hosting events, from Henry VIII’s tournaments in the 16th-century to the annual Trooping the Colour for the Queen’s birthday.

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Lord’s Cricket Ground to Host Archery at London 2012 Olympics Wed, 08 Sep 2010 11:51:58 +0000

The iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground will host the archery event at the London 2012 Olympic Games after plans were approved by Westminster Council.

The athletes are set to compete on “the square” in the centre of the cricket pitch, with spectators assured of close seating, all against the imposing backdrop of the Lord’s Pavilion.

Preparations for the week-long Olympic archery event include temporary seating for up to 5,000 spectators, a warm-up range and an area for competitors and officials.

Seb Coe, Chair of London Organising Committee (LOCOG) said: “I am delighted that we have obtained permission to stage the Olympic Archery at Lord’s in 2012. It will be a spectacular venue for hosting the games and the Olympic Archery will be an exciting competition for both spectators and athletes”

Lord’s now joins other Westminster venues Horse Guards Parade and Hyde Park in hosting Olympic events.

Councillor Alastair Moss, Westminster City Council’s planning committee chairman, said: “Lord’s is a word-class sporting venue and will be ideal for hosting the archery event in 2012.”

The Olympic archery event will be held from 27 July to 3 August 2012.

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