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Shakespeare In London Tour

February 21, 2014  |  No Comments  |  by admin  |  Default

     “He was not of an age, but for all time.”  –  Ben Jonson.

This is what Shakespeare’s colleague and competitor dramatist had to say about Shakespeare, upon his death in 1616. His final exit after he had retired to his family home in Stratford upon Avon.  Yet what he had accomplished since his entrance, born 1564. For Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the greatest playwrights the world has ever seen – perhaps the greatest of them all.  Conspiracy theories aside, the fact remains that Shakespeare wrote an average of two plays a year, during his productive years, in the 1590’s and first decade of the 1600’s.  And he is one of the very few playwrights whose work has so successfully crossed national, cultural and linguistic boundaries.  From London to Moscow and from Shanghai to San Franciso – Shakespeare’s plays are performed and applauded.

There is now a veritable revival, although not of course the first, of Shakespeare underway in London and throughout the United Kingdom.  One example, among many, is the current adaptation of Henry V performed by Jude Law at the Noel Coward Theatre, playing to packed houses. Shakespeare it would seem, is more popular than ever.

And why is that the case?  The answer like so much in nature and society, lies not in one reason alone but in a variety of factors. For one thing, Shakespeare is accepting of all and is remarkably open minded, amazingly so for one from the Elizabethan age. He was tolerant of different ethnicities and cultures – having had an affair with the famous ” dark lady ” who was probably from southern Europe and writing of Jews as being not at all dissimilar from anyone else. He was in short, a true humanist.

Also, Shakespeare is able to existentially understand how most people who are not of the elite, think and feel. He knows what it feels like to be an outsider because he was, to some degree, one himself.  Shakespeare was raised in a Catholic family and had many Catholic friends at a time when English Catholics were persecuted and hounded as if they were all Spanish spies.  And yet for all that, his point of view is always fair and even-handed.

And of course, last but not at all least, there is the sheer breadth and stunning quality of his poetry, comedies and tragedies. Shakespeare, perhaps as no other playwright before or since, was able to see life and the stage from an actor’s perspective. As he writes in Hamlet:  “Assume a virtue, if you have it not”.

In summary, I leave you with perhaps my favourite Shakespeare quote of all. It is taken from the famous monologue from As you Like It:

 ” All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances . . . “

Brand New: The Greenwich Weekend Getaway Package!

December 12, 2013  |  No Comments  |  by admin  |  Blog, Default

Here at Greenwich Royal Tours, we have been working for some time on just this sort of package.  We wanted a hotel package that gave visitors 2 nights here in gorgeous Greenwich.  Since the 2012 London Olympics, more and more people have been discovering all that maritime Greenwich has to offer: the history, the culture, the restaurants and the shopping as well!  For instance, the old Greenwich Market just gets better and better with its vintage clothing, art galleries and brilliant street food.

Our city break package  had to be not just with any ordinary hotel – but somewhere to be spoiled like the boutique Devonport House Hotel with its amazing location right in the heart of Greenwich.  Our guests enjoy their double room ( as pictured ) whether or not they are a single or a couple. And the package includes full breakfasts for both mornings. In addition, guests come on our top-rated ( see TRIPADVISOR ) ” Best of Greenwich Day Tour ” which includes all the major venues in Greenwich including:  teaclipper Cutty Sark, Greenwich Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House and the Old Royal Naval College.  Tour includes all admission fees as well as a lovey pub lunch on the River Thames.


Here is the best part – our discounted price.

For singles:  2 nights at the Devonport, two full breakfasts and our Best of Greenwich Day Tour.  Cost:  £329 per person( V.A.T. incl. )

For couples:  2 nights at the Devonport, four full breakfasts and our Best of Greenwich Day Tour:  Cost: £449 per couple( V.A.T. incl. )

Plan on booking early in order to avoid disappointment!

Sensational Greenwich

November 15, 2013  |  No Comments  |  by admin  |  Blog, Default

The Guardian’s “50 best views in England”  (taken from Simon Jenkins’ recent book) was published recently and unsurprisingly, Greenwich was among them. The view in question of course, is that seen from atop the hill at the Greenwich Royal Observatory looking north towards the River Thames.


We see immediately below us Queen’s House, the Italian-style villa created by the multitalented  Inigo Jones in the early 17th Century. Today, the House serves as the art gallery for Royal Museums Greenwich, containing paintings of the James Cook voyages as well as Canaletto’s famous view of Greenwich, painted from the Isle of Dogs side of the river. Framing everything are the iconic twin domes of the Royal Hospital for Seamen, designed by Sir Christopher Wren . Queen Mary had always wanted a hospital for disabled seamen comparable to that for the army at Royal Hospital Chelsea. Following her untimely death, her husband King William of Orange commissioned Wren (who had experience two decades earlier in Greenwich designing the Observatory for Charles II) in 1695. A key stipulation of the King was that in no way was the “royal view” from Queens House to the river to be obstructed. And it is from this advice from his client, that undoubtedly motivated Wren and his assistant Hawksmoor to come up with their elegant twin dome solution that we now enjoy.

Indeed the architectural result is, as Simon Jenkins so rightly puts it, nothing less than “sheer class”.  And yet London has always progressed with a mix of the old with the new.  On the wastelands of the decaying Docklands, it was a Canadian developer ( the Bronfmans from Toronto ) who built Canary Wharf from scratch, in the early 90’s. The name itself comes from the fact that it was at the old Canary Wharf, where ships from the Canary Islands regularly unloaded their fresh fruit and vegetables for Londoners.

Indeed, one might say that it is this very juxtaposition of the new with the traditional, that makes the view of Greenwich today – truly sensational!

Greenwich walking tours – what to wear to be prepared!

August 30, 2012  |  Comments Off on Greenwich walking tours – what to wear to be prepared!  |  by admin  |  Blog, Default
Teaclipper Cutty Sark

Teaclipper Cutty Sark

Folks who are thinking about coming on one of our walking tours as well as tour guests
already booked, often ask us: what do we wear and/or do we bring an umbrella?
An important thing to remember is that although our tours are classed as walking tours, the longest walk that we do is up to the Greenwich Royal Observatory which takes about 15 minutes. And so some walking is of course part of what we do, but the vast majority of our time is spent indoors at one of the venues here in beautiful Greenwich. These include the teaclipper Cutty Sark – now reopened after a £50 M. restoration, the Old Royal Naval College, the National maritime museum as well as the Observatory. Our ” Best of Greenwich ” Day Tour also includes the delightful Queen’s House, designed by Inigo Jones.
Dress for the occasion as they say – and in this instance, that would be for comfort.
The famously changeable weather here in London means that it cannot hurt to bring along a sweater if it is Spring or Fall – just in case. A warm, sunny day means cottons and perhaps even shorts as well. However, rain is always a possibility in London, even in the summer time and so if it looks like rain is a possibility on tour day, do bring along an umbrella just in case. Again, the good news is that most of our time is spent indoors, but simple precautions are a good idea.
Hope this has been of some help in your tour planning. This is our first blog but
hopefully the first of many. Stay tuned as we will be writing about everything and anything connected with our unique guided tours of historic Greenwich. Future topics will include
more on food on our tour ( eg. pub lunch on the day tour ), informative testimonials from tour guests as well as news about brand new tours planned for the 2013 season. Also, our new YOUTUBE video is expected out next month and so hope to have that for you as well.
Until then, as we say here at Greenwich Royal Tours: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON WALKING!

Cheers, Graham

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