Platinum Jubilee: Ocean of flowers to fill Tower of London moat as Superbloom field sowing begins

Platinum Jubilee: Ocean of flowers to fill Tower of London moat as Superbloom field sowing begins

The sowing of more than 20 million seeds in the Tower of London’s moat to create a “Superbloom” meadow has begun.

Cornflowers – with their burst of blue when in full flower – have been specifically chosen to hark back to a time when the historic fortress’s trench was filled with water, while the other wildflowers will include red poppies and yellow corn marigolds.

With favourable weather, the spectacular floral display, in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, will flourish at the start of June to coincide with the national celebrations of the monarch’s milestone.

Preparations ahead of the seed sowing
Preparations ahead of the seed sowing (Historic Royal Palaces/PA)

Nigel Dunnett, professor of planting design and urban horticulture at the University of Sheffield, has meticulously picked the wildseed and garden plant combinations to heighten the colour effect and extend the season through the summer and beyond.

Professor Dunnet described the Superbloom as the most “thrilling” project he had been involved in.

He added: “It has been a real combination of art and science to develop the final planting scheme for the moat.

“With the seeds now going into the ground, I can’t wait to follow their progress, from the first green shoots emerging within weeks, through to the full spectacle of the amazing ocean of flowers filling the moat in the summer.”

Rows of different mixes of the Tower Bloom seeds
Rows of different mixes of the Tower Bloom seeds (Historic Royal Palaces/PA)

Sunflowers, cosmos and rudbeckias will flower into early autumn, and the snapdragon-like fairy toadflax and baby’s breath will bloom at the very beginning of the summer.

Gardeners began scattering the seeds by hand, and the sowing is expected to last a week.

The horticultural experts have had to take into account where the shadows of the tower fall when planning where to place certain seeds.

Platinum Jubilee
Gardeners sowing seeds by hand in the moat (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Extensive landscaping work prepared the moat, with new winding paths edged in woven willow, and The Nest willow sculpture by artist Spencer Jenkins in the north-east corner, offering a vantage point for the display and Tower Bridge.

Some 10,000 metric tonnes of soil have been shifted into place on a huge conveyor belt and deposited in the trench.

Tom O’Leary, director of public engagement at Historic Royal Palaces, said the collaborative idea had been years in the planning.

Platinum Jubilee
A gardener rolls over seeds sown by hand in the moat (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“As the seeds go in the earth over the next few days, we are now directly collaborating with nature – which we hope will look kindly on us as we wait for the flowers to burst into life for June,” he said.

As part of the experience, a family-friendly slide will allow visitors to shoot down into the moat on a mat from one of four lanes and follow the route through the display, which includes a specially commissioned sound installation.

Plants have also been chosen to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

The moat was designed in the 13th century to defend the fortress and has been used as a medieval orchard, a grazing ground for Victorian livestock, and as allotments during the Second World War.

When the display ends in September 2022, the new natural landscape created to support it will remain there as a permanent Jubilee legacy.

Tickets for Superbloom are on sale at

Platinum Jubilee: Ocean of flowers to fill Tower of London moat as Superbloom field sowing beginsLondontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

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Top 10 Harry Potter Filming Locations in London

Top 10 Harry Potter Filming Locations in London

The largest city in the UK, London is bursting with iconic attractions, historical buildings and of course, all things Harry Potter. Written by the British author J.K. Rowling, the series has taken the world by storm, with eager fans coming to London to get their dose of wizarding magic. For the ultimate Harry Potter experience,…

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Uber granted two-and-a-half-year license to operate in London

Uber granted two-and-a-half-year license to operate in London

Uber has been granted a two-and-a-half-year license to operate private hire vehicles in London.

The ride-hailing company had previously been denied a license by Transport for London in November 2019.

But a judge granted an 18-month license in September 2020, deciding it was a fit and proper company “despite historical failings”.

On Saturday, a TfL spokeswoman said: “Uber has been granted a London private hire vehicle operator’s licence for a period of two-and-a-half years.”

Uber said it is “pleased” to have met TfL’s “high bar” in terms of standards.

In tweets posted to its account, the firm said: “We’re delighted to announce @TfL has granted Uber a new 30 month license in London. TfL rightly holds our industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards and we are pleased to have met their high bar.

“As we continue to serve London, we remain focused on raising industry standards in all areas.

“These include offering drivers the benefits and protections they deserve, ensuring all Londoners can get around safely, and becoming a fully electric platform by 2025.”

Yaseen Aslam, president of App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) said he feared the latest decision “will now inevitably lead to congestion, more pollution, and more poverty”.

Mr. Aslam, who was involved in a court case in 2021 which resulted in a ruling which defines Uber drivers as workers rather than contractors, accused Uber of having “failed to abide by the Supreme Court ruling from last year and continues to cheat drivers out of pay for waiting time which is about 50% of working time”.

He suggested London Mayor Sadiq Khan “should look to New York for leadership inspiration where Uber must guarantee minimum wage for all working time, including waiting time, as a condition of license there.”

He added: “My fear is that the Mayor’s decision will now inevitably lead to congestion, more pollution, and more poverty.”

At a 2020 magistrates court hearing regarding Uber’s licensing, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram said he had taken Uber’s “track record of regulation breaches” into account but recognized the company had made efforts to address failings and had improved standards.

He added: “Uber does not have a perfect record but it has been an improving picture.

“The test as to whether Uber is a ‘fit and proper person’ does not require perfection.

“I am satisfied that they are doing what a reasonable business in their sector could be expected to do, perhaps even more.”

Uber granted two-and-a-half-year license to operate in LondonLondontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

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The London Fiver – Five of the Best Bookshops in the Borough of Camden

The London Fiver – Five of the Best Bookshops in the Borough of Camden

Camden is known for being one of the best shopping experiences in London with its multiple street markets, high street shops, and pop-up retailers.  Naturally, such a great place for shopping also extends to books.  The Borough of Camden has some of the best small and independent bookshops that you’ll find in the city, and amongst the rows and rows of books in them, just about any bibliophile will find a tome that they’ll enjoy.  We’ve identified five of the top book shops throughout Camden for you to consider and you can share your own favorites with us in the comments.

Black Gull Books

Black Gull Books can be found on the north side of Camden Market.  While its interior may look disorganized, we can assure you that it is very much the opposite.  Rows and rows of books (in some cases stacked on top of each other) contain new, secondhand, and rare volumes.  As many books as you might think are here, there are even more if you know how to look.  What’s more, whether it’s the last place you visit or the first, you’ll be in the middle of Camden Market where you can continue your shopping safari.

Walden Books

Not to be confused with the American retailer, Walden is a small bookshop found on Harmood Street that specializes in used and rare books, especially for literature and the performing arts.  You could spend quite a lot of time perusing all the stacks of books in this shop.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you shouldn’t be disappointed, as Walden also sells a map of other bookshops throughout London that you can use to find that elusive text.  They also buy used books if you have anything you wish to sell.

Owl Bookshop

Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town is one of the best-regarded bookshops in Camden and for good reason.  Its large space begets an equally large selection of books from all genres.  Owl Bookshop is also known for having a large number of children’s and teen books, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion of ethnicities, disabilities, and social groups.  If you need to buy something as a gift, you can find plenty of wrapping paper, gift bags, and cards to make your gift truly memorable.

Primrose Hill Books

One of the best-looking shop exteriors on this list, Primrose Hill Books is a bright blue storefront located not far from Primrose Hill and Regent’s parks, meaning you can visit before or after spending some quality time in that green space.  You’ll find the interior is just as charming as the exterior and with quite a good number of volumes from all genres.  In addition to new and old books, if you have a school-age child or teen with a summer reading list, Primrose Hill can help you find what they need to complete their assignments.

Mega City Comics

If you find yourself at Camden Lock Market, Mega City Comics isn’t too far away.  Named for the primary location of the Judge Dredd stories, Mega City began as a mail-order service in 1981 before opening its store on Inverness Street in 1987.  It’s unquestionably the best place to find new issues, back issues, and all manner of graphic novels.  You can search through their current catalog online, preorder, or start a subscription, though nothing beats going inside and seeing what books they have for yourself.  Additionally, they sell more than just Marvel, DC, and Image comics and you can find many a small, independent publisher’s work there.

The London Fiver – Five of the Best Bookshops in the Borough of CamdenLondontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

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