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Posts from August, 2012

London Dungeon Tours

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The long and sometimes violent history of London town has led to a number of locations that are associated with torture and plenty of accompanying gruesome tales. So if you are one of those who get a kick (pun intended) out being scared, here is a rough guide to a few of the more (in) famous houses of pain.

The London Dungeon

Take a scary address, dress it up with props and gimmicks and populate it with actors and you have the London Dungeon – a made to order ‘scare the pants off you’ tourist attraction – that is rather popular.

The Dungeon initially opened as a “horrible history” museum but it has since become an interactive, special effects experience that reprises grisly events from the city’s past. The experience is liberally interspersed with “gallows humour.” The tour is very interactive with visitors chosen to participate in the events of the different segments.

Madame Tussauds

The world famous wax-works museum has a section called the Chamber of Horrors and Scream. It houses such exhibits as the original guillotine blade that separated Marie Antoinette from her head. The section also has a live-action, actor-led scare maze.

The Clink

This old and infamous prison gave rise to the English slang word meaning prison. Built in 1144 its entrance is an unremarkable if ominous grey gate on dingy street. Great setting, even if it is unintended.

Named, possibly, for the scary sounds of chains the prison was notorious for what went on.  There was a busy well-used whipping post and The Cage. The prisoners were badly treated and the gaolers carried out a thriving prostitution business renting out the cells, beds and candles.

It was burnt down by rioters in 1780 and never used again. It is now a museum realistically recreating its original conditions.

The Tower Of London

The Tower and its precincts have a long and somewhat gory past. The most famous of English castles, it has been at the heart of English history since it was first built by William the Conqueror to awe the natives.

Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in later periods. That however did not stop it being used for torture and other heinous acts.

The most famous instrument housed and regularly used in the Tower was known as ‘Little Ease,’ which was a small cell. So small that a man could not stand up in it, or lie down. Prisoners were forced to crouch or sit huddled up for hours, days or even a week.

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Edinburgh Festival, 2012

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Right, with the Olympics now well and truly out of our way, it’s time for that trip to bonnie Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital. We are talking about six festivals being held here in the capital. And believe us; any one of these festivals will justify your trip.

Remember we wrote about Edinburgh Festival  earlier this year? Well, we discussed what the festival is all about. But NOW is the time to live and see all about it. Give yourself the chance to experience three weeks of this unique atmosphere of unforgettable opera, music, theatre, dance and more…starting from 3 – 25 August, 2012. Let’s explore each festival below briefly:

1. Edinburgh International Festival (Starting 9th Aug – 2nd Sept, 2012): This festival is lined-up with the world’s best dance troupes, operas, theatres, classical music and orchestras. Appearances include: London Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the European Union Youth Orchestra, Budapest Orchestra and many more.

For tickets: http://www.eif.co.uk/

2. Edinburgh Festival Fringe (3rd – 27th August, 2012): This year, the University of Edinburgh will collaborate with Universal Arts to use Old College Quad as Fringe venue once again. They will be joined by KTO Theatre from Poland.

For tickets: www.edfringe.com.

3. Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (3rd – 25th August, 2012): This is Scotland’s most iconic show that attracts crowds from all around the world with its visual extravaganza. The Tattoo in its 62nd year this year brings together talent from four continents to pay sparkling tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the year of Creative Scotland. 

For tickets: http://www.edintattoo.co.uk/ 

4. Edinburgh International Book Festival (11th -27th August, 2012): Taking place under canvas in Charlotte Square, the Book festival is for all you book worms – novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers and others. This event brings together 800 authors in over 750 events each year.

For tickets: www.edbookfest.co.uk

5. Edinburgh Art Festival (2nd Aug – 2md Sept 2012): This festival is Scotland’s largest annual visual art festival. It aims to showcase diverse visual arts exhibitions and events, supporting the best international and emerging artists.

For tickets: http://www.edinburghartfestival.com/events

6. Edinburgh Mela (31st Aug – 2nd Sept 2012): Featuring a weekend of multi-cultural vibrant and colourful atmosphere of dance, food and music in the heart of Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Mela. Enjoy the family fun, delicious food with tastes and aroma from all over the world; as well as traditional and modern Bhangra beats – all in one place!

For more info: http://www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk/

That’s another summer fun to enjoy again!

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One Last Trip to Cap off London Olympics Stay

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Now that the Olympics is done and dusted, back to normal life, eh? Not quite. Not without one last trip around the beautiful city anyway. And the fact that you don’t need to schedule your time around the events anymore, what better time to go free and enjoy the sights in and around London city!

If you want a break from the cheers and thrills of the city, there are plenty of amazing sights you can see in the outskirts. These trips from London will do you a world of good. After all, would you want to leave Britain without visiting the smashing monuments of Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Oxford and others? So here’s your chance:

 Stonehenge tour: The very first sight of this massive stone will take your breath away. One of the most famous monuments in the world, Stonehenge is composed of large standing stones and is located 90 miles west of London.

 The true meaning of this ancient monument is not known. Speculation on the meaning can range from human sacrifice to astronomy – was it a temple of sun worship or a healing centre? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones? As you can see, surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress.

 Windsor Castle and Oxford Tour: Windsor Castle is another must-see place known for its architecture; and is also the official residence of the royal family for over 900 years. The castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

 Oxford, of course is the home to the world famous oldest English-speaking University that has inspired many scholars and authors including CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll, JRR Tolkien and other literary greats. Taking a walk along one of Oxford’s main streets will take you back to many points in history. You will also notice the splendid architecture from every century and every style, with each building steeped in history.

 

 If you’d like to visit the many attractions within the city itself rather than travelling outside, the best way to go about it is by obtaining the London Pass. The London Pass is the ultimate ticket that allows you to enter 71 of London’s top attractions for FREE. What’s more? It also comes with a free guidebook.

 Now this is what we called the perfect way of capping off your London stay!

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