England became a unified state in AD 927 and, since the 15th century, has had a significant impact on the wider world, developing the English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world. Its beautiful and varied countryside is interspersed with quaint villages and cosmopolitan cities including the capital, London.

The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Engla land, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages.


Gauguin: maker of myth

See exactly Gauguin experimented with light, colour, shape and subject throughout his lifetime in the first major exhibition of his work in London for 50 years. Read More »


Nautical glamour by the River Thames

Fans of all things nautical should head to St Katherine’s Docks on the River Thames, London for this year’s Thames Revival. The festival takes place on the weekend of 11 to 12 September and celebrates vintage glamour, classic boats and the golden days of sailing.

Dress up in vintage nautical style

St Katherine’s Docks, in the shadow of Tower Bridge, will welcome over fifty classic boats, including vintage Oyster Smacks, Thames Barges, Oxford and Cambridge boats and classic yachts.

Sailors and visitors will come dressed in classic sailing costume matching the era of their boat. Throughout the day, live swing and jazz bands will play and you can have a go at old-fashioned deck games such as shuffleboard, watch ‘Row of War’ in the Centre Basin and learn boat-building skills. The bar, run by Bourne and Hollingsworth, will serve signature classic cocktails and champagne, and there’ll be real ales straight out of the Shepherd Neame Victorian Thames Barge anchored nearby. Food will include a hog roast, sausage sarnies, and afternoon tea.

The Thames Revival is part of The Mayor’s Thames Festival, an exciting mix of arts, spectacle and entertainment, all focused around the River Thames each September. There’s street arts, performance, carnival, pyrotechnics, illuminations, art installations, exhibitions, river events, massed choirs, circus, music and dance, food and feasting. The finale is a magical illuminated Night Procession that winds along the north and south banks of the Thames, followed by a fireworks display fired from the centre of the river itself.

For further information and to purchase tickets, tel: (020) 7724 1617: www.thamesrevival.com. Thames Festival information at www.thamesfestival.org.

A riverside feast in the The Mayor's Thames Festival
A riverside feast in the The Mayor’s Thames Festival

Celebrate gourmet London

Gourmet food from Street Kitchen is just one of the reasons why foodies will want to be in the capital for the second London Restaurant Festival this October. Even more tastebuds are set to be tickled this year.

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Britain’s heritage opens its doors

This September, the annual Heritage Open Days event takes place, celebrating England’s architecture and culture by giving you free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Read More »

London Skyline at Dusk

Skyscraper views of London

Don’t miss your chance to get to the top of Millbank Tower, the high-rise landmark on London’s riverside in Westminster, and enjoy the fabulous views from the top floor.

Read More »

Shakespeare Henry-IV-Part-1

Extra chances to see Shakespeare’s Globe’s Henry IV

Don’t miss the extremely popular productions of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside.

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Crook Hall and Gardens

Head to the gorgeous medieval Crook Hall in Durham, in the north-east of England, for beautiful gardens, family events and cream teas Read More »


Thee pieces worn by Jackie Onassis make £51,600 at Vintage at Goodwood

The auction of desirable items in the Pioneers of Popular Culture sale, which took place at the brand new annual Vintage at Goodwood event last weekend, was a roaring success – as was the festival. Get planning for next year.

Read More »

Bayswater Road Art

Bayswater and Notting Hill Insider’s Guide

Open green space, unique boutiques ad handsome architecture – this area of west London has changed dramatically from a past synonymous with intrigue and scandal.

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‘Lets get cracking’ for the 50th annual Shaldon Water Festival

Head to the pretty little town of Shaldon in South Devon, for its 50th annual water festival, and a celebration of the South Devon Crab.


Shaldon flotilla pirates Shaldon flotilla firemen
Shaldon flotilla yellow sub Shaldon flotilla shuttle

Join me in wishing Happy 50th Birthday to Shaldon Water Festival. Next weekend, 7 August, the pretty little village of Shaldon, across from Teignmouth on the River Teign in South Devon, is hosting its 50th annual festival, and the famous water parade with a flotilla of brightly-coloured speciallly decorated boats will once again brighten up the river.

Tim Bouget of Ode
 Tim Bouget of Ode, Shaldon

This year there’s a crab theme as part of the Let’s Get Cracking campaign to promote South Devon Crab, with crab competitions – from crab catching to crab sand sculptures and paintings as well as a special ‘duck race’ using plastic crabs instead of ducks. There’ll also be a series of crab workshops and cookery demonstrations from renowned local chef Tim Bouget from Shaldon’s award-winning restaurant Ode.

Says Tim, “As a chef, I know only too well the value of using the best local ingredients, and South Devon Crab is of world-beating quality, so it is great to share tips and recipes for people to enjoy”. And there’s live music and barbecues on Shaldon village green in the evening.

Tim Bouget of Ode checks out local crab
Chef Tim Bouget checking out local crab at Seafood House in Teignmouth

The festival begins from 10am at the river beach on 7 August. The floating flotilla of decorated boats starts at 5pm. Also look out for the even more venerable Shaldon Regatta, which runs the last nine days of August and finishes on Bank Holiday Monday. The regatta is one of the oldest in Britain, dating back to 1817.

For more information on the festival, click here.
On South Devon Crab, visit www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk/crab,
For what to do, where to stay in South Devon, go to www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk.
For tourist information in Shaldon and news about other events in the village, including the regatta, visit the Tourist Information Centre at Shaldon Car Park on Ness Drive (with its fabulous views over the estuary); tel: (01626) 873723; or go to www.shaldon-village.co.uk.

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