Today we bring you links to some webcams in use in the UK in order to share interesting sites throughout Britain. Sit back, pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy a varied tour through the lens of  these cameras.

Trafalgar Square

Tower Bridge

Sussex Gardens, Paddington

Abbey Road (lots of silly beggars recreating the Beatles walk)

The Cobb, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Interior of barn, Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, Devon

Ordsall Hall Ghost Cam

The beach at Bognor Regis

Market Square, Petersfield, Hampshire

Three webcams in Oxford

Inside the Arnside Chip Shop

Edinburgh Zoo panda cam

Whitby Harbour – 3 views

Wookey Hole Caves

The Peregrines at Norwich Cathedral

Lake District National Park webcams

Dublin Zoo webcams

The Duke of Wellington Tour – Video Highlights – Part Four – St. James's Street


Kristine and Victoria have a very special day planned for Sunday, September 7th – a walking tour of the St. James’s area of London. Below you’ll find highlights of just a few of the places we’ll be visiting as we take a meandering walk, during which you’ll hear tales about gentlemen’s clubs and famed personalities who frequented the area. Hear tales of bawdy houses, royal chapels, and courtesans. Explore hidden alleys and tucked away streets. Discover their connections to duels, downfalls, and dandies before we quench our thirst at some of London’s most historic and atmospheric pubs. The day also includes time to stop for snacks, lunch, and a bit of shopping.

We’ll leave our hotel, the Grosvenor, at Victoria Station and walk up to Buckingham Palace 

From there, we’ll take a peek into St. James’s and Green Park before turning down The Mall to pass Clarence House and take a short cut up to St. James’s Palace and St. James’s Street. Click here to watch a video of a stroll down the Street .

St. James's Palace London

Arriving at St. James’s Street, we’ll steep ourselves in Georgian and Regency history as we stroll past the shopfronts of such venerable institutions as Lock’s Hatters and Berry Brothers and Rudd. We’ll pass the iconic and fabled gentlemen’s clubs – Brooks’s Club, Boodles and, of course, White’s, where we’ll stroll by the famous bow window, where Brummell held court.

At the top of the Street, we’ll arrive at Piccadilly, where we’ll have plenty of time to see the Royal Academy (formerly Burlington House) and explore Hatchard’s Bookstore (above) and Fortnum and Mason. We’ll stop for tea at Richoux Tea Rooms, a favourite haunt of Victoria and Kristine’s.

Regency Burlington Arcade

Afterwards, we’ll cross the street in order to see the Burlington Arcade, the longest covered shopping street in the world. The Burlington Arcade (above) was built from designs by Ware for Lord George Cavendish in 1815, and is ‘famous,’ as Leigh Hunt tells us, ‘for small shops and tall beadles.’ What’s a beadle, you ask? Click here to find out. For more on Piccadilly and it’s environs, see my prior post here. More soon!


For complete itinerary and details of The Duke of Wellington Tour, click here. 

The Wellington Tour – Devonshire House

No matter how many times I visit London, I always find new nuggets of historic trivia that are hugely interesting. I thought I’d do a bit of investigation recently in preparation for the St. James’s Walk Victoria and I will be leading during The Wellington Tour in September, when I discovered some interesting facts.

Firstly, I did some research into Devonshire House, London home to the Dukes of Devonshire since 1697, when the 1st Duke purchased the home, then known as Berkeley House, from Lord Berkeley. You can get an idea of it’s prime location on Piccadilly from Roque’s map below.

The house burned down in 1733 whilst undergoing renovations, allowing the Duke to rebuild in a contemporary style better suited to entertaining on a grand scale. The prime example of such an entertainment came over a hundred years on at The Duchess of Devonshire’s Ball, a fancy dress entertainment held in order to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on 2 July in 1897. The Duchess encouraged guests to take their inspiration for fancy dress from history, literature and mythology. Thankfully, the Duchess hired photographer James Lauder of the Lafayette Company to be on hand to photograph the 200 costumed guests in front of different backdrops over the course of the evening.

The Duchess of Devonshire as Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra

The Ladies Churchill as Watteau shepherdesses.

Princess Henry of Pless as the Queen of Sheba

Unfortunately, Devonshire House (below in 1905) was demolished in 1920, when it was sold by the 9th Duke of Devonshire in order to pay death duties. Today, an office building stands on the site.

The new bit of trivia I learned is that the gates from Devonshire House were saved and moved to the entrance of Green Park off Piccadilly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked past, and through, these gates, never realizing their history.

Another piece of London history I’ve walked past numerous times is the Porter’s Rest above, located just down the street from the Green Park Gates as you walk towards Apsley House. As E. Beresford Chancellor tells us, there is a plaque on the object that reads “At The Suggestion Of R.A. Slaney Esq. Who For 20 Years Represented Shrewsbury In Parliament This Porter’s Rest Was Erected In 1861 By The Vestry Of St. George Hanover Square For The Benefit Of Porters And Others Carrying Burdens.” You can be sure we’ll be pointing this piece of street furniture out to everyone on the Wellington Tour – who knew?

Have Yourself a Luxurious London Christmas

In case you’re feeling the need for a little luxury this holiday season, we’ve rounded up some gift ideas that might come in handy whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of things.

This year, Harrods, that venerable institution dedicated to conspicuous consumption, has chosen
the classic British steam train as the theme for their holiday windows.

Of course, what Harrods is famous for are it’s hampers and this Christmas, Harrods offers it’s Decadence Hamper at a mere twenty thousand pounds.

Filled with everything one might need for an over the top culinary Christmas, the Decadence Hamper includes such staples as goose foie gras flavoured with truffle, Beluga caviar, table top decorations, a variety of cheese, mince pies, meats, jams, puddings, a Christmas cake and enough high end wines and liquors to make Mr. Carson envious. The hamper also includes Christmas crackers, but we doubt they can compare to those offered this year by Tiffany and Co.


The Tiffany and Co. Christmas Cracker, £180,000,  is available at the Bond Street Store and includes eleven pieces of Tiffany jewelry: a circlet diamond necklace in platinum, a pink tourmaline ring, Cobblestone earrings in platinum with diamonds, a yellow diamond ring, 8.75 carat aquamarine ring in platinum and a Marquise diamond cluster bracelet.

Should you prefer your jewels to come complete with historic provenance, you may want to turn to one of London’s venerable auction houses. Here’s a little something we found from the Sotheby’s Fine Jewelry auction that took place on December 13th in London –

Diamond tiara, circa 1900 – The centre designed as two wreaths, each swing-set to the centre with circular-cut and pear-shaped diamonds, between two modified rectangular panels of open work floral and foliate design, set with circular-cut and rose diamonds, inner circumference approximately 290mm, central motif detachable and can be worn as a brooch or pendant, the panels can be worn as brooches. Sold for 18,750 GBP                 
Should selecting gifts for everyone on your list become overwhelming, head to Selfridge’s, where this year they are offering shoppers their very own Elfridge.

The festively attired elves have been sprinkled about the Oxford Street store to guide shoppers through departments, find the perfect gifts, gift wrap and carry packages and hail taxis.

Of course, you’ll need to put all of those pretty packages under a tree and for inspiration on that score we direct you to The Goring Hotel and it’s 2013 Luxury Christmas Tree Collection.  This year, the trees have been created by iconic British brands including The Real Flower Company, Olivia Von Halle and Honeyjam. You can read more and see all of the trees here.

Once your shopping has been completed, reward yourself by booking in for Claridge’s Timeless Christmas offer that includes:

  • A two night stay in Claridge’s
  • Welcome bottle of champagne and festive treats in room on arrival
  • Overnight stocking delivery filled with edible delights for the younger guests
  • English breakfast on Christmas Day
  • Horse-drawn carriage ride through Mayfair on Christmas morning with refreshments
  • 5-course Christmas Day lunch in Claridge’s Ballroom
  • Boxing Day breakfast
From £860 per room per night (including all taxes).