St Bartholomew the Great

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St Bartholomew the Great – the name says it all on so many levels – history, architecture, survival, atmosphere, film sets, and yesterday particularly, acoustics. London’s oldest parish church played host to The Brandenburg Choral Festival of London’s Spring series featuring works by Thomas Tallis and Karl Jenkins – and including my two most favourite pieces of music – Spem In Alium and Benedictus – The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace respectively.

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The venue, the Damien Hirst, the music – I was an emotional puddle by the end of the evening – but a very happy puddle.

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The Brandenburg Choral Festival of London exists as a platform for amateur choirs to perform in Central London venues. Over the year the Spring and Autumn festivals bring together choirs and vocal ensembles of different shapes and sizes, and from every musical background — classical and jazz, a cappella or accompanied, gospel, male voice, choral scholars, community choirs, and a whole lot more besides!

Wilton's Music Hall

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Follow the light to the end of the alley, (not an instruction I’d give in all parts of London’s East End, it never did any of Jack the Ripper’s victims any good) but this is worth it.

Stop under the huge street lamp and push open the door. You are transported into the world's oldest surviving Grand Music Hall and immediately enveloped in its intimate, albeit elegantly crumbling (Financial Times) atmosphere.

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Don’t expect faded Victoriana, over 300 years the building has evolved from Victorian sailors' pub to music hall, Methodist Mission to rag warehouse, eventually falling derelict before reopening as the venue it is today.

Best seats in the house (face on to stage) are AA28 and AA29 unless you are more than 5’5” tall in which case select the seats on either side of these.

Two bars (one serving excellent gin) plus a small restaurant and plenty of seating space. Plus that very civilised concept of being able to take drinks into the theatre. Don’t forget to pre-order interval drinks and the 20 minute interval is plenty of time to share a pre-ordered pizza.

A performance to watch out for in February;- The Good, the Bad and the Fifty

 

In the next few weeks we will be featuring some of our favourite sites.

The near four hundred years of Roman occupation of London isn’t always easy to spot.

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London’s Mithraeum is located in the heart of the City of London but stand at the site between St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England, and you won’t see any evidence of the Roman temple. Turn back nearly 2000 years in London’s rich history by descending stairs seven meters below London’s current ground level to find where Romans trod the streets of Londinium.

The Temple dedicated to the Roman god Mithras was built of clay bricks and stone and resembled the mythic cave where Mithras killed a bull - the tauroctony - and so was windowless and dark, a The sunken rectangular space with one rounded “apse” end, shaped like an aisled church is today, with two aisles and an altar. It was originally built in c. AD 240-250 .

Hampton Court Palace Highlights

King Henry VIII’s favourite palace and it’s easy to see why – the palace sprawls over 6 acres in 750 acres of parkland plus formal gardens of another 60 acres all set within a loop of the River Thames. It’s enormous! It had to be as King Henry VIII's court consisted of over one thousand people. And that’s just the people of the court, the support function behind scenes was almost as large.

Hampton Court Palace kitchens

There were 200 cooks, sergeants, grooms and pages and that’s before we start counting the personal servants, the laundry maids, and so on. Imagine the logistics of feeding that many people. The daily supply of ale alone was more than 13,000 pints a day. Not surprisingly the Palace kitchens were the largest in England.

Today we can explore the kitchens to get a feel for how the food was prepared and how the kitchen staff worked to produce such vast quantities of food.

The London Pass 2018 - our opinion

At South East Tour Guides we are always seeking better ways to make the most of your time in London. We keep an ear to the ground – quite literally sometimes! – to locate and avoid the traffic snarl-ups, we study visit patterns at venues and plan visits outside of peak times, we keep abreast of current venue restrictions and so on – all part of the service to provide you with seam-free sight-seeing whilst you are touring with us.

Recently the London Pass has added a number of new sites to its portfolio and is now representing good value for your money and has fast tracking facilities at more venues than before. This, plus the privileges that are accorded to Blue Badge Tour Guides, means that we can manage your time even more effectively so you see more of London.

Click on the image to purchase your London Passes before you arrive in the UK -we recommend getting the ticket sent to your phone or shipped to you, don’t waste time picking it up in London - and we’ll plan your itinerary to make the most of every moment of your tour.