Swap your cold beer for a warm cuppa during the 2019 Ashes Series

 The tea interval at a cricket match at Wormsley Park, Buckinghamshire.

The start of this year’s Ashes in England this week will no doubt have most cricket fans either staying up through the night or getting up at the crack of dawn to tune in.

For many, Dry July may have just finished but now there is no need to slip back into old habits by reaching for a cold one, especially when it’s chilly outside.

We know that Aussies love a good cuppa as much as the Brits. Research shows the tea market in Australia is worth $324 million* with half of Australians aged 14 or over drinking tea at least once a week – coffee is only slightly more popular!

Luckily, this year Victoria Bitter* has come up with a clever way for you to enjoy the flavour of beer while still reaping the warming benefits of a tea with a launch of a new limited edition tea bag ‘containing super pride hops with premium black tea leaves’ creating the perfect beer-flavoured morning drink.

With the Ashes 2019 series taking place at several iconic locations throughout England - Edgbaston in Birmingham, Headingley in Leeds, Old Trafford in Manchester, and Lord’s and The Oval in London – there’s plenty of time to enjoy a cuppa while watching the competition on the TV.

To help people make the most of the complete tea experience, VisitBritain has put together a handy seven-step guide to making the perfect flavoured brew:

Step 1: Boil the water 

Step 2: Warm your teapot, teacups or mugs

Step 3: Use cold, filtered water to fill your kettle

Step 4: Set the water temperature to between 95 and 60 degrees

Step 5: Pour the water into the warmed teapot or into the teacup / mug 

Step 6: Infuse the teabag or tealeaves once the water has boiled and brew to the desired strength

Step 7: Add your milk and then enjoy the brew! 

If you want to ensure your cuppa is being brewed the correct way, you can also check the official British Standard Institutions method.  

*https://www.victoriabitter.com.au/products/vb-tea
**https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/storm-in-a-teacup-how-melbourne-swapped-coffee-for-a-cuppa-20190701-p5231n.html

Discover London during Wimbledon

As the only Grand Slam tennis tournament still played on grass, the prestigious Wimbledon Championships continues to be a huge draw for fans across the world. The 2019 tournament runs from 1-14 July and will see thousands of fans descending on the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Tickets for the two-week event are in demand, with the majority only accessible via ballot, and the remaining tickets don’t come cheap. But that doesn’t mean fans in London need to miss the action on the famous grass courts in SW19.

As well as the men’s and ladies’ singles finals, there are also men’s doubles, ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles to enjoy during the tournament, as well as four junior events – boy’s and girls’ singles and boy’s and girls’ doubles. The best players from across the world go head-to-head, chasing multi-million-pound prize pots and a chance to cement their place in tennis folklore.

In the men’s game, no one has beaten Roger Federer’s eight Wimbledon titles, while of those still playing in the women’s game, Serena Williams has lifted the trophy an incredible seven times. Both will be hoping to secure their place in their respective finals, with the Women’s Singles’ Final on Saturday 13 July, and the Men’s Singles Final on Sunday 14 July.

Getting tickets for Wimbledon

Although the tennis attracts a worldwide audience of millions each year, only a maximum of 39,000 spectators are allowed into the grounds at any one time.

Those tickets are distributed via public ballots, long-term debenture seats, by queueing on the day for a limited number of release tickets and via online sales the day before play. The vast majority of tickets for the main courts – Centre Court, No.1 Court and Number 2 Court – are sold via ballots, months in advance of the action getting underway.  

Around 500 tickets for each of the three courts, as well as a limited number of Grounds Passes, are available to those who want to queue up each day – this often involves camping at the grounds for at least one night. Wristbands are allocated from 7.30am to those in the queue on Church Road leading to Gate 3. The grounds open at 9.30 and no wristband for the show courts means no ticket, although Grounds Passes could still be available. Note also that all tickets for the final four days of the tournament are sold in advance.

A big screen on Murray Mound (or Henman Hill), a strip of high ground adjacent to Court No. 1 is a go-to for those with Grounds Passes who are keen to see the elite stars in action.

Getting to Wimbledon

For those with a ticket to Wimbledon, it’s recommended to use public transport to access the All England Lawn Tennis Club as parking options are limited.

District Line services on the London Underground run regularly and the entrance to Wimbledon is around a 15-minute walk from Southfields. South West Trains services run from Waterloo Station to Wimbledon Station, with the walk to the venue taking around 30 minutes.

London’s big screenings

With tickets for Wimbledon in such high demand, it’s still possible to enjoy the action in the heart of London on one of several big screens.

Granary Square, King’s Cross

The canal side steps in Granary Square will show coverage of Wimbledon until at least 8pm each evening, with screenings continuing if key matches are not finished. The screenings form part of the Everyman Summer Love Film Festival and the KERB street food market and a pop-up bar will provide refreshments.

When? 1-14 July

Merchant Square, Paddington

Hidden away alongside the canal in the Paddington Basin, tennis will once again be shown on the big screen in Merchant Square. Relax in deckchairs and on beanbags, and tuck into an array of delicious street food on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

When? 1-14 July

British Summer Time, Hyde Park

As part of the Open House week of British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park, visitors can enjoy outdoor cinema, food markets and free Wimbledon screenings on four weekdays from 12pm, alongside delicious portions of strawberries and cream. Note that the championship finals will not be screened.

When? 8-11 July

The Piazza, Wimbledon

For those unable to secure a ticket to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, screenings will take place on The Piazza near to Wimbledon station, with an abundance of colourful deckchairs available for fans.

When? 1-14 July

Cardinal Place Roof Garden

The much-loved Wimbledon screenings at Cardinal Place, Victoria will return once again this summer – but with an all-new tropical twist.

Visitors to London can relax and unwind in sunshine-inspired surroundings whatever the weather, with deck chairs for sun worshippers, and a bright canary yellow canopy for those throwing some shade, as the roof garden at Cardinal Place is transformed as part of this year’s Colour my Summer campaign.

Come rain or shine, Wimbledon screenings at Cardinal Place will run seven days a week.

When? 1-14 July

Top destination stories for 2019

Top Destination Stories For 2019

 

75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings

A significant moment in global history, 6 June 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy of the Second World War. Next year will see several important occasions to commemorate this historic anniversary. Britain’s Imperial War Museums (IWM), with five museums across the UK, will retell the story between 1 – 9 June through three of its historic sites: HMS Belfast, IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms, all of which played a significant role in D-Day. Elsewhere, Bristol in south-west England will be marking the anniversary; the Normandy landings were planned by Gen Omar Bradley at Clifton College in Bristol, the US Army’s command base in the city. General Bradley and others stayed in a building in the The Holmes, now part of the University of Bristol’s Botanic Gardens, while he was in the city. And Southsea in south England, is home to the D-Day Museum, is planning a major redevelopment ahead of the anniversary. Expect more events and commemorations to take place across the country.

Wales – Year of Discovery

Wales – Year of Discovery 2019 will build on the destination’s three previous themes (Year of the Sea, Year of Legends and Year of Adventure) and emphasise that Wales is alive with events and activities. 2019’s Year of Discovery will encourage visitors to not only discover Wales but also themselves through the wealth of attractions, adventures and experiences Wales has to offer.
The Wales Way will also remain a key focus for 2019. Launched towards the end of 2018, The Wales Way is a group of three national touring routes that cross the country’s most epic landscapes, showcasing its fascinating history, coastlines and attractions. The routes will help position Wales as a destination for experience-seeking travellers, willing to explore off-the-beaten track locations along The North Wales Way, The Cambrian Way and The Coastal Way, all year round.

London Borough of Culture – Waltham Forest

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes, the London Borough of Culture is a major new initiative launched by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2018, with the borough of Waltham Forest being the first to win the accolade for 2019. Designed to put culture at the heart of communities, it’s a fantastic opportunity to discover the character and diversity of different areas of London. Mercury Award-winning local musician Talvin Singh will lead a stellar cast of artists in a unique collaboration with Waltham Forest’s young people for a huge opening event, Welcome to the Forest, to celebrate the start of the neighbourhood’s tenure as London’s first Borough of Culture.

Britain on the big – and small – screen

Britain will, once again, play a starring role in several new major movie releases in 2019, as well as lead the way with some of television’s biggest hits.

Mary Queen of Scots – January 2019 (with early release in USA end of 2018)

Starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England respectively, this biographical tale portrays Mary’s attempt to overthrow Elizabeth, before being condemned to years of imprisonment and finally facing execution. Glorious period sets and costumes are further enhanced by the British landscapes used as locations, including London, Oxford and Derbyshire in England and Edinburgh and Glencoe in Scotland. Visit Linlithgow Palace, an hour from Edinburgh, where Mary was born, Edinburgh Castle where she gave birth to her only child and the Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre in Jedburgh, Scottish Borders.

Downton Abbey movie – release date 2019 TBC

The rumour mill has certainly been in overdrive on this one…but an NBC Universal spokesman confirmed the studio is to put the highly anticipated movie into production in 2018. Nearly three years after its final television episode, Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey itself) has revealed the cast and crew will return there to film in the last quarter of 2018.

Bond 25 – release date 8 November 2019

Bond returns! The 25th instalment of the Bond movies will hit the big screen in 2019. No locations have been divulged yet but there’s plenty to see and do in Britain to get Bond-ready, whether that’s checking out props from the films at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden or enjoying a martini at Dukes Bar in London's Mayfair, where Bond author Ian Fleming regularly frequented.

Shaun the Sheep 2 – 2019 release date TBC

Everyone’s favourite woolly friend will be back on our screens next year in the Aardman production of Shaun the Sheep 2. The production company – the Oscar-winning animation studio that also created the award-winning Wallace and Gromit films, Shaun the Sheep Movie and Early Man – is famously based in Bristol, south-west England.

The Favourite – release date early January 2019 (earlier 2018 release in the US)

In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah governs the country in her stead. Starring British actors Olivia Coleman and Rachel Weisz, locations such as Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, one hour from London, were used.

The Secret Garden – release date Summer 2019 TBC

A new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson-Burnett’s classic children’s novel The Secret Garden is set for release in 2019. Directed by Marc Munden and starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters, the film tells the story of a young orphaned girl sent from India to live with her neglectful uncle in Yorkshire. Key locations for the film include Helmsley Walled Garden (the secret garden), Duncombe Park and Farndale in the North York Moors National Park, north England, and Iford Manor, Wiltshire, west England.

Untitled Richard Curtis/Danny Boyle release – 13 September 2019

The plot of a new film by Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle is being kept tightly under wraps, but it’s believed to be a Beatles-themed romantic comedy set in 1960s and/or 1970s Suffolk... Filming took place all over the county, including Halesworth, Dunwich, Shingle Street and Latitude Festival. It stars Lily James, Himesh Patel and Ana de Armas, and promises all sorts of cameos, including one by Ed Sheeran.

Peaky Blinders, season 5 – 2019 release date TBC

Tommy and the rest of the Peaky Blinders will return to our TV screens in 2019. Set and filmed in the central England city of Birmingham Peaky Blinders is set during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The show is also filmed in Liverpool, north-west England.

The Crown, season 3 – 2019 release date TBC

Filming has started Netflix’s The Crown third season, with Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.

 

Manchester International Festival returns – and discover the city’s newest neighbourhood

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and the biggest event on Manchester’s cultural calendar. The festival is staged every two years – the next edition will take place 4 – 21 July 2019 at venues all over the city – and will be the last before the festival takes up permanent residence in the North of England’s flagship new cultural venue, The Factory. And St John’s is the name of an enormous masterplan to create a new neighbourhood for enterprise, culture and living in the city, which will sit on the former site of Granada Studios. Incorporating residenti­­al, hotels, work space, intimate streets and lively courtyards, the St John’s neighbourhood will retain many original buildings such as the iconic Bonded Warehouse as well as new-builds including Factory Manchester.  

 

Must-see exhibitions and museum updates

A host of British museums and galleries are welcoming new exhibitions and extensions in 2019.

In London, Tate Britain has announced the largest exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work in the UK for nearly a decade, and the Tate’s first Van Gogh exhibition since 1947 (27 March – 11 August) while the National Portrait Gallery will host the first major exhibition on Tudor and Jacobean portrait miniatures in the UK for over 35 years, Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver (21 February – 19 May). The new Medicine galleries at the Science Museum are due for completion in 2019 and will be one of the most significant medicine collections in the world, while The Geffrye has embarked on a major transformative scheme, Unlocking the Geffrye, to open up the museum and improve visitors’ experience, due for completion in 2019. The Cartoon Museum will open in a new central London location, bringing the “imagination of the world of cartoons into a physical space”.

In Bristol, south-west England, the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death with exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (2 February – 2 May) while M-Shed hosts Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed (16 March – 16 June) – the largest gathering of real objects and original tattoo artwork ever assembled in the UK – and On Set with Aardman: Making Early Man (6 July – 29 September), which will feature everything from drawings to the latest VR technology that went into making the animated feature film Early Man.

Turner Contemporary in Margate, on the Kent coast in south-east England will host the world-famous visual art prize, the Turner Prize. Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire will launch new exhibitions, events, historic restoration and conservation projects and new tours.  From 9 February – April, an exhibition of JMW Turner’s early architectural paintings and engravings will be on show and, new for 2019, are the Twizy Tours – a fun way to explore the Capability Brown landscaped parkland from the comfort of a two-seater, electric vehicle.

Heading to the north of England, the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle will host Yorkshire Sculpture International every three years, starting in 2019. The project will be characterised by collaborative artistic programming, talent and audience development, new outdoor commissions and international commissioning partnerships. Liverpool’s Tate Liverpool will host the first major UK exhibition of Keith Haring (14 June – 10 November), where more than 70 art works inspired by underground club culture, pop art and graffiti will be displayed. The city will also welcome an exhibition of works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the Walker Art Gallery (15 March – 26 August).

And good news for royal fans in 2019 as the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh hosts A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (14 June – 6 October), when the wedding outfits of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will go on display in a special exhibition.

 

Hot hotel openings

Book ahead for these exciting hotel openings in 2019.

London
Robert de Niro's is due to open his first London hotel in partnership with BD Hotels The Wellington, in Covent Garden. Planning permission has been granted for the scheme, which will include 83 bedrooms, two restaurants, a members' club, deli/café, spa and swimming pool.
The Hard Rock Hotel, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane in the conversion of the existing Cumberland Hotel, is scheduled to open its doors in Spring next year and boast around 1,000 rooms and suites, together with two bars and a Hard Rock Cafe®. And art’otel plans to open its first property in London in the neighbourhood of Hoxton, an 18-storey, 350-bedroom contemporary new hotel, the art'otel Hoxton

England
Work has now started on the development of a 137-bedroom Dakota Deluxe hotel in Manchester, north-west England, the third in the luxury Dakota Deluxe brand alongside properties in Glasgow and Leeds; the design-led hotel is set to open in spring 2019. And in January 2019, the Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station hotel is set to open with 187 contemporary rooms.
The Grand, one of Birmingham's most iconic buildings, is to be redeveloped into a luxury, 180-room hotel with a restaurant and bar, a spa and a rooftop infinity pool, due to open in early 2019. And The Crescent is due to open next year in the historic spa town of Buxton, Derbyshire, as the Grade I-listed Crescent is transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel.

Scotland
Yotel is to open its first hotel in Scotland in the first quarter of 2019 on Edinburgh’s Queen Street, featuring 280 cabins. Elsewhere, independent craft brewer BrewDog has announced plans to build the world’s first craft beer hotel, called The DogHouse, and will launch an immersive craft beer hotel and brewery expansion at its headquarters in Aberdeenshire, north Scotland.

Unmissable sporting events

Britain is world-renowned as a host of major sporting events and, in 2019, the following championships will take place.

European Athletics Indoor Championships, Glasgow, Scotland (1 – 3 March)

Glasgow will welcome more than 600 athletes from 50 nations to the tracks at the city’s Emirates Arena for the 35th European Athletics Indoor Championships.

RBS 6 Nations Rugby Union, across Britain (starts 23 February)

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland join France and Italy in the clash of the rugby greats.

Gymnastics World Cup, Birmingham, central England (23 March)  

Held at Birmingham’s Genting Arena in March, gymnasts from across the globe will compete to win the prestigious title.

ICC Cricket World Cup (30 May – 15 July)   

This will be the 12th Cricket World Cup competition and, for the fifth time, will be held in England and Wales.

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales (9 June)

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France is one of the most iconic sportives in the UK and offers an inspiring Tour de France riding experience to UK cyclists.

Major League Baseball, London (29 – 30 June)

The first-ever Major League Baseball games to be held in Europe, the London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Netball World Cup, Liverpool, north-west England (12 – 21 July)

England Netball and the City of Liverpool will host the 2019 Netball World Cup at ACC Liverpool.

Solheim Cup, Gleneagles, Scotland (9 – 15 September)

The Solheim Cup is the biggest event in women’s golf and more than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend from across the globe.

UCI Road World Championships, Yorkshire, north England (22 – 29 September)

One of the world’s most prestigious professional cycling events, the UCI Road World Championships will see 1,000 riders from 75 different countries complete in 12 races over eight days.

Fantastic new experiences launch

June will welcome a new Silverstone Heritage Experience at of the home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone, in Northamptonshire, central England. The permanent exhibition, housed in a refurbished World War II-hangar on the Silverstone circuit site, will use state-of-the-art interactive displays to tell the stories of people who have been involved in the site’s history, from medieval monks to modern racing drivers and engineers. The immersive show dome finale to the 2.5-hour experience will allow visitors to feel what it’s like to zoom around the track alongside their racing heroes.

In Bristol, south-west England, The Wave Bristol is set to open in the Autumn, a new inland surfing lake powered by the latest wave-making technology, capable of generating up to 1,000 quality waves per hour. The lake will have three surf zones for different abilities and a high-performance surf centre for elite athletes and aspiring pros. Set in beautiful sensory, healing and kitchen gardens on the edge of the city, The Wave will also have a swimming pool, café, education centre, camping accommodation and surf shop. As well as giving people easier access to surfing, the project aims to educate and inspire people on a range of topics from marine conservation to living healthier lifestyles.

New theatre for 2019

Yet another fantastic year is lined up in the world of London theatre.

Pinter At The Pinter: Party Time/Celebration at the Harold Pinter Theatre
From 4 January
Party Time is paired with Harold Pinter’s final play, Celebration, as part of the Pinter At The Pinter season, held at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

9 to 5 The Musical, Savoy Theatre
Previews from 28 January
Based on the cult film, 9 to 5 The Musical is coming to the West End and will feature a book by the movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick with the score by the Queen of Country, Dolly Parton.

Notre Dame de Paris, London Coliseum
From 23 January
One of France’s most popular musicals, Notre Dame de Paris is based on Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame with music by Riccardo Cocciante and book and lyrics by Luc Plamondon.

Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre
From 18 February
This Broadway musical by Irene Sankoff and David Hein is based on the events in the week following the 9/11 attacks on America, when 38 planes were ordered to land in the small Canadian town of Gander. 

When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other: Twelve Variations On Samuel Richardson's 'Pamela', National Theatre
From January
Directed by Katie Mitchell with a cast including Cate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane, Martin Crimp’s play breaks through the surface of contemporary debate to explore the messy nature of desire and the complicated roles men and women play.

Waitress, Adelphi Theatre
Spring 2019
Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, is in a loveless marriage in a small town. A baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, leaving Jenna to weigh her commitments against a shot at freedom and recognition.

On Your Feet! London Coliseum, London
From 14 June
Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s smash-hit musical comes to London in 2019 direct from Broadway for a strictly limited season. It’s the true love story of Emilio and Gloria and follows their journey from its Cuban origins to the streets of Miami and to international superstardom.

Mary Poppins Prince Edward Theatre
Autumn 2019
Mary Poppins will return in the autumn of 2019 at the West End theatre where it premiered in 2004. Tickets for the production will go on sale in January.

Major anniversaries to commemorate

2019 will be a bumper year of significant anniversaries in Britain; this year will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s first flight, when Club Concorde hopes to buy the Concorde currently on display at Le Bourget airport in Paris. If it is successful, the plane will be restored before resuming operation as a private heritage aircraft that will be flown at air displays as well as being available for charter. 2019 also marks 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace, where she also spent her childhood. A permanent re-presentation of her rooms, telling the story of her fascinating life at the palace will open and a programme of performance, special events, tours and talks will also run throughout the year. Britain’s National Parks will celebrate their 70th anniversary next year – expect National Parks Week to be extra special. And Manchester, in north-west England, will mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in 2019. On 16 August 1819 in St Peter's Fields, Manchester, armed cavalry charged a peaceful crowd of around 60,000 people gathered to listen to anti-poverty and pro-democracy speakers.

60 minutes from… Edinburgh

If you’re coming to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, to enjoy one of its many festivals, you’ll soon see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of Britain’s greatest foodie and nightlife hotspots! And with gorgeous beaches, romantic castles and the vibrant buzz of Glasgow all only an hour away, you’ll be able to experience the country’s diverse landscapes, history and culture too, all within easy reach of a day trip.

 

The Borders

Picturesque coastlines in the east and rugged hills and moorlands in the west greet you at the Scottish Borders (bordering northern England), all of which is easily reached thanks to the Borders Railway, which connects Edinburgh and the Borders town of Tweedbank in less than an hour. Have your camera at the ready on this lovely rail journey as you pass by iconic architectural gems such as the Lothianbridge and Redbridge viaducts. Alight at Tweedbank to visit Abbotsford House, the home of famed writer Sir Walter Scott. This romantic mansion was built during the early decades of the 19th century and very much reflects the tastes of one of this era’s most prominent authors. Close by is the attractive town of Melrose, which is not only the home of the magnificent 12th-century Melrose Abbey, but also to two National Trust for Scotland gardens. Priorwood houses Scotland’s only dedicated dried flower garden and Harmony Gardens features a beautiful walled garden with breathtaking views over the abbey and the nearby Eildon Hills.

 

Glasgow

Did you know that Edinburgh, the capital, and Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, are only an hour apart? A lively, creative city, Glasgow is renowned for its mighty industrial heritage and world-class shopping as well as its vibrant arts, culture and music scene; it's even a designtated UNESCO City of Music! Discover why it won this status on a Glasgow Music City Tour, while fans of street art should check out Glasgow’s first dedicated tour to the genre, the City Centre Mural Trail. Football lovers can take tours of the world-famous Rangers and Celtic Football Clubs, while you can discover the city’s artistic and industrial legacy at a host of inspirational museums, such as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow and the Riverside Museum of Transport and the Tall Ship on the banks of the River Clyde.

 

North Berwick

In just half an hour by train you can swap Edinburgh’s cityscapes for coastal relaxation. North Berwick and its stretches of golden sands are spectacular – and if it’s glorious views you’ve come for, you won’t be disappointed. Sweeping vistas look out to Bass Rock, home to the world’s largest northern gannet colony, and to the Forth Islands. Take a boat trip out to the islands for an even closer inspection, while bird lovers should also pay a visit to the town’s Scottish Seabird Centre. Alternatively, if you fancy a game of golf overlooking these wonderful coastal scenes, tee off at either of the town’s excellent links courses, the Glen Golf Club and the North Berwick Golf Club.

The town itself is home to a fine collection of cafés, bars and shops, from vintage-style tearooms to stylish coffee shops…also make sure you hit the fish and chip shops and ice-cream parlours, it’s tradition at a British seaside resort! For heritage seekers, don’t miss the 14th-century fortress Tantallon Castle and Dirleton Castle, which houses some of the oldest castle architecture in Scotland.

 

Stirling

If you’ve ever watched the film Braveheart, you’ll want to visit Stirling. The iconic National Wallace Monument, which overlooks the scene of Scotland’s victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, gives a fascinating insight into the world of Scottish hero William Wallace. History pulsates through every inch of Stirling; explore the streets of the medieval old town, encounter intriguing royal history at Stirling Castle, and even see the world’s oldest football at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum. Perhaps one of the most absorbing attractions that tells the stories of the area’s past is the Battle of Bannockburn Experience. This 3D, immersive experience takes you into the heart of one of Scotland’s most historic battles, ending with a visit to the Battle Room where visitors can take part in the interactive battle game. And, if you’re a fan of the hit TV show Outlander, take the time to visit Doune Castle. Located around 15 minutes out of town, multiple scenes from the popular show were filmed at this splendid castle, as they were for Game of Thrones and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

 

Peebles

South of Edinburgh, on the banks of the River Tweed, lies Peebles, a small, attractive town with a distinctly artistic vibe, that’s framed by gorgeous countryside scenery. Scottish novelist John Buchan, author of The Thirty Nine Steps, made his home here and a picturesque 13-mile walking route is named after him, the John Buchan Way. Alternatively, head out hiking in Glentress Forest, which is also brilliant for mountain biking, as its trails are one of Scotland 7stanes (seven mountain biking centres in southern Scotland). Despite its size, Peebles boasts a number of art galleries and studios and its historic past is prevalent on every corner; ancient relics are dotted across town, from the ruined Cross Kirk to an old Mercat Cross (which depicts a town’s right, granted by a monarch or baron, to hold a regular market).

 

You might also like…

  • Rosslyn Chapel - Discover intricate carvings and unique stonework at one of the most intriguing places of worship in Scotland, in the village of Roslin, 30-minutes’ drive from Edinburgh. Explore its story from its founding in the 15th century to its depiction in the novel and subsequent film The Da Vinci Code.
  • Musselburgh - Step into the past at this historic market town that derives its name from the mussel beds found on nearby shores. It’s also home to the oldest racecourse in Scotland – which hosts many race meets throughout the year – as well as to the historic nine-hole Musselburgh Links golf course, which has royal connections going back to the early 16th century.
  • Linlithgow Palace - Explore royal history at the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, a palace that was once a stopping point for royalty en-route between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. Visit in the summer to enjoy its annual jousting spectacle.

Lonely Planet declares North Wales in Britain as one of the world's top regions for 2017

North Wales has been named one of the top regions in the world for travellers in 2017. The region receives the accolade in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017, the highly anticipated collection of the world's hottest trends, destinations and experiences for the year ahead.

North Wales earned its place as a must-see destination for 2017 thanks to the region's reinvention. As the book highlights, Surf Snowdonia, based on the site of an aluminium factory in the Conwy Valley, is perhaps the most headline-stealing example of this reinvention, while Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry boasts the world's fastest (and Europe's longest) zip line. Bounce Below offers the chance to enjoy giant trampolines strung in the caverns beneath Blaenau Ffestiniog, one-time capital of Wales' slate-mining industry.

If that wasn't enough, Snowdonia National Park - Wales' largest - has been designated a dark-sky reserve, thanks to its lack of light pollution.

North Wales featured fourth on the list of top regions for 2017, coming in ahead of South Australia, Aysén in Chile, the Tuamotus in French Polynesia and Coastal Georgia in the USA.

Lonely Planet's writers and experts spend time on the road in almost every destination on the planet, and each year they report which destinations are set to take off, offering travellers the best experience available. The destinations selected for Lonely Planet's Best in Travel meet specific criteria; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead or there's been recent development and a lot of buzz about the place, that it offers travellers new things to see or do, or that the Lonely Planet team of experts thinks it's been overlooked and underrated and suggests travellers visit before the crowds do.
 

Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017:

1. Choquequirao, Peru

2. Taranaki, New Zealand

3. The Azores, Portugal

4. North Wales, UK

5. South Australia

6. Aysén, Chile

7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia

8. Coastal Georgia, USA

9. Perak, Malaysia

10. The Skellig Ring, Ireland

VisitEngland announces Home Of Sport Shortlist

After three months and 2,000 public nominations, VisitEngland's Home of Sport shortlist is revealed.

Six top English sporting destinations open to public vote today

The search to establish England's ultimate sporting capital began in June, when VisitEngland asked the public to nominate their top sporting experiences and venues across the country. Over the following weeks, more than 2,000 submissions flooded in from across the country, and spanned everything from favourite running routes and personal fitness challenges to stadia holding tens of thousands of fans and even choice pubs for watching the action.

Establishing a shortlist was no mean feat - a VisitEngland panel worked through the thousands of claims to select the leading destinations according to their offering of sporting venues and attractions, the breadth of their sporting experiences, diverse and beautiful backdrops, and sporting trivia or claims to fame.

James Berresford, VisitEngland's Chief Executive says: "Shortlisting six destinations from a pool of 2,000 nominations was a tough job. Between them, these destinations showcase England's diversity as a sporting country - its unrivalled sporting heritage, our expertise in hosting world class events, and the winning combination of iconic modern venues and natural wonders. We are excited to see which of our worthy shortlist the public crowns the country's ultimate Home of Sport".

The shortlist of England's top sporting destinations, announced today, is:

The People's Choice (most nominations) - Nottingham

Historic cricket ground Trent Bridge was recently the site of our glorious Ashes win, while the Aegon Open returned to the city this summer for the first time since 2008. Robin Hood fans can try their hand at archery in Sherwood Forest or take the ultimate fitness test in the Outlaw Triathlon, a gruelling Ironman-distance course. Nottingham's other assets include the historic Notts County FC and Nottingham Forest, which famously took the European Cup under Brian Clough. The number and diversity of nominations received for Nottingham made it our People's Choice.

Sporting playground - Yorkshire

The rolling hills, expansive moors and untouched coastline makes Yorkshire a veritable sporting playground. Last year's Tour de France, which took the peloton through beautiful Yorkshire scenery and the iconic towns of Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield, paved the way for this year's inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, and this vast county is now globally recognised for its cycling offering. With its network of caves, towering peaks and beautiful coastline, the countryside is awash with space for cavers, climbers and kayakers.

Biggest claim to fame - Rugby

It was on the playing field at Rugby School that, nearly 200 years ago, the game of rugby was born. Here in 1823 William Webb Ellis picked up the ball during a football match and ran with it, changing the game forever. Rugby School is also accredited with many of the words associated with the sport - from ‘try' to ‘goal line' - as well as giving the England team its defining white shirt and with inventing ‘caps', originally given to the school boys deemed good enough to play for the main teams. Rugby became the winter sport of the British Empire, spreading to France, Argentina, Japan and the rest of the world, and today international teams still battle for the ‘Webb Ellis' trophy in the World Cup. All thanks to this Warwickshire market town.

Best sporting attractions - Manchester

Manchester's cityscape is full of iconic and ambitious sporting venues. The city is home to the National Cycling Centre, the world's busiest velodrome and BMX track which is open to the public. The National Squash Centre and Manchester Aquatics Centre were both specifically built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games hosted by the city. Manchester is renowned of course for its football, and Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium are two of the most iconic venues for our national sport. There's also the National Football Museum, and now Hotel Football, so fans can really make a break of it.

Quirkiest sports - Gloucestershire

Home to several of our nation's quirkiest sports and pastimes, Gloucestershire earned its place in VisitEngland's Home of Sport shortlist with such nominations as River Football in Bourton-on-the-Water, an annual match played in the trickling River Windrush, and the Cotswolds Olympicks, an unusual spectacular now over 400 years old. Tetbury's Wacky Races sees competitors building their own vehicles for the annual Soapbox Derby, while visitors to the River Severn can try their hand at river surfing in spring and autumn and the fearless can hurl themselves down Cooper's Hill in pursuit of cheese in the county's annual cheese-rolling competition.

Iconic venues and events - London

London's skyline is peppered with iconic sporting venues. The enduring legacy of hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has included such splendid structures as Lee Valley Velopark, Lee Valley White Water Centre, and the Aquatics Centre. South West London's Twickenham Stadium and Wimbledon All England Tennis Club are recognisable worldwide; while the history of venues such as Lords, the Oval and Royal Blackheath Golf Club make them a must-see. Take a tour of one of many leading football club stadiums including Tottenham,, Chelsea and Arsenal, or hone your sporting trivia with a visit to the national museum for tennis (Wimbledon), rugby (Twickenham) or cricket (Lords).

Visit www.englandhomeofsport.com to view the shortlisted destinations and vote for your favourite.

Voting will close on 19 October, and England's Home of Sport will be announced on 23 October 2015.

Ends

Football-loving tourist score A$1.45billion for Britain

As football fans eagerly await the next round of the Barclays Premier League fixtures this weekend, new figures from VisitBritain released today reveal the increasing value to the economy of international visitors attending football matches in Britain.

VisitBritain’s research report, Football tourism scores for Britain, shows that the 800,000 international visitors to Britain last year who went to a football match spent a total of A$1.45 billion (£684m) during their time in the country. This represents a 15% rise - or an increase of A$189 million (£89 million) - compared to when the research was last conducted in 2010. While the overall global average spend on an international visit to Britain in 2014 was £636, those visits including football match attendance had an average spend of £855. In 2010 this was £776, when the total spend was £595 million across 750,000 visits.

It’s not just leisure visitors that enjoy football matches; out of the 800,000 total, more than 40,000 international business visitors went to a football match during their stay last year.

The research highlights the mass international appeal of Premier League football and its increasingly valuable role as a global draw for visitors to Britain. The 2015/16 football season will be the eighth year of VisitBritain’s non-commercial partnership with the Premier League, which encourages visitors from all over the world to travel to Britain and enjoy a Premier League football match with the Football is GREAT campaign.

The findings show that football is the number one sporting draw for international tourists to Britain. Of those visitors who gave their primary journey purpose to the UK as ‘watching sport,’ 73% said they had attended a football match. Around 40% of those going to a football match said that watching sport was the main reason for visiting the UK.


The research also demonstrates football’s effectiveness in enticing international visitors to Britain at quieter times of the year and encouraging visitors from overseas to explore different parts of Britain. The North West of England continues to be the region receiving the highest proportion of football-driven visits from overseas, with 1-in-10 to the area including attendance at a football match, followed by more than 1-in-20 visits to the North East. International visitors to Wales saw 1-in-40 attend live football, just ahead of Yorkshire.

Looking at visits to specific stadiums, Old Trafford in Manchester and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London were neck and neck, both receiving 109,000 international visits. Since the research was last conducted in 2010, Emirates has overtaken Anfield as the second most popular stadium, with a 24% increase in international supporters. Wembley’s popularity has grown significantly, with visits more than doubling since 2010.

Topping the international league table for visitors who attended a football match was the Irish Republic, with 121,000. Australia made the top ten with 32,000 Aussie visitors attending a football match in 2014.


VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “Our ambition is to convert the global interest in football and the Barclays Premier League into even more international visits to all regions across Britain. We’ll do this by continuing to target consumers in key markets around the world with our Football is GREAT campaign and showcasing the key destinations that are home to the Premier League clubs, such as the North East, North West, Midlands, London and Wales.”

Richard Scudamore, Premier League Executive Chairman, added: “The Premier League is proud of its role in promoting Britain across the world. There are 1.2 billion people across the globe who are fans of the League and we want to engage with as many of them as possible. In the last 18 months alone we have taken the Barclays Premier League Live experience to Johannesburg and Mumbai, while in July in Singapore we held our most successful ever Barclays Asia Trophy.

"There is though something special about being part of the live action on a match day and it’s very encouraging to see more visitors coming to Britain wanting to experience the Premier League."

Tourism Minister, Tracey Crouch, said: "Britain is home to many of the world's favourite football clubs so it's no surprise that more and more international visitors are going to football games while they are here. Millions of overseas tourists visit the UK every year and most take in the sights of London. But Britain has so much more to offer so it's fantastic to see the positive role football is playing in showcasing key destinations in many different regions of the UK. It's great for local economies, great for football and great for the UK's tourism industry."


All of VisitBritain’s Football is GREAT activity promotes the destinations behind the Barclays Premier League with regular digital and social media activity taking place throughout the season to highlight the tourism offer in key football regions, such as Wales, the North West, North East, Midlands and London.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The research was undertaken on behalf of VisitBritain by the Office for National Statistics as part of the

International Passenger Survey during 2014.

2. This season VisitBritain is offering international fans the chance to win a VIP football trip to Britain,

including flights, accommodation and VIP match day tickets as well as tickets to a selection of

attractions. To enter, they must describe their dream football trip at www.visitbritain.com/football.

3. During the 2014/15 season VisitBritain also ran promotional activity with official Premier League

broadcasters in five markets worth more than £5.6 million in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway

and Singapore; markets which all demonstrate a strong interest in football and increasing tourism

potential for Britain.

4. Football-related tourist attractions across Britain: VisitBritain encourages visitors to enjoy more than just

the game, with tickets to stadium tours available on VisitBritain’s online shop in 58 countries across the

world. With a growing number of football tourism experiences across the country, including the National

Football Museum and Hotel Football in Manchester and Café Football in London, there is plenty to

engage football fans during their trip.

About VisitBritain

VisitBritain is the strategic body for inbound tourism, ensuring that international tourism continues to deliver economic growth and jobs across the nations and regions of Britain. Our strength is that we understand international customers and markets; we know what motivates overseas customers to travel and how to inspire them to choose Britain.

VisitBritain's international network of offices, covering 22 countries, is a resource supporting the industry and destinations to grow the value of tourism exports. We are a founding partner of the GREAT campaign, working alongside organisations such as the FCO, UKTI and The British Council. In the last three years we have raised £43 million from commercial partners - airlines, operators and global brands such as the English Premier League and Sony - to match fund international tourism marketing.


About the Barclays Premier League

The Barclays Premier League is the most watched continuous annual global sporting event in the world. Last season 13.7 million fans attended matches with record average stadium occupancy of 95.9%. Across nine months of the year, 380 matches are viewed in 185 countries with coverage available in over 725 million households.

Additional tickets on sale as the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015 marks 50 days to go



Additional tickets on sale as the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015 marks 50 days to go

Issued on behalf of England Rugby 2015




  • 50 days until the start of Rugby World Cup 2015 on September 18
  • Additional 30,000 tickets on sale today via tickets.rugbyworldcup.com for Pool A and B matches
  • Further 25,000 tickets on sale tomorrow (July 31) for Pool C and D matches
  • Over 50,000 people have been part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour of the UK & Ireland to date
  • Click here for images from the Trophy Tour at Housesteads Roman Fort by Hadrians Wall to mark 50 Days To Go
  • City Dressing programme to go live from August
  • Tournament on track to be biggest Rugby World Cup to date with a total of 2.45million tickets

Fans across the world have just 50 days to go until the start of Rugby World Cup 2015, hosted in England and in Cardiff between September 18 and October 31, 2015.

As the countdown continues, to what is predicted to be the biggest Rugby World Cup to date, fans will today have further opportunities to be part of Rugby World Cup 2015 as an additional 30,000 tickets go on general sale from 1200 (BST) for matches in Pools A and B via tickets.rugbyworldcup.com. Tomorrow (July 31) a further 25,000 tickets will also go on general sale from 1200 (BST) for matches in Pools C and D.

The additional tickets go on general sale following sales of over 45,000 tickets this week for England and knock out matches, sold to fans who applied for these matches during the ballot in September 2014 and had been unsuccessful in purchasing tickets to date.

Tickets are also still available for international and domestic fans via the official supporter tour programme at www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours.

With 50 days to go, fans across the UK & Ireland are already enjoying the build-up to the world's third largest sporting event with over 50,000 people engaging with the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. The 100 day tour of the UK & Ireland today reached Housesteads Roman Fort, visiting Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, where the Webb Ellis Cup was welcomed Cup by 25 members of the Ermine Street Guard in authentic dress waving the flags of the 20 competing nations. Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Mark Regan and England Rugby 2015 Managing Director Stephen Brown also marked the halfway point of the Trophy Tour which has already travelled over 5,000 miles and to over 150 events. Click here (see notes to editors for login details) to view images from Housesteads Roman Fort and here to view the highlights of the last 50 days of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.

England Rugby 2015 Managing Director Stephen Brown, said: "With just 50 days to go, the countdown is on for everyone looking forward to Rugby World Cup 2015. Today fans have further opportunities to be part of Rugby World Cup 2015 with an additional 30,000 tickets on general sale for Pool A and B matches via tickets.rugbyworldcup.com and a further 25,000 tickets for Pool C and D matches tomorrow.

"Excitement continues to build for the Tournament and we are delighted that over 50,000 people have already been part of the 100 day Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour of the UK & Ireland. The Tour has travelled to Scotland, Wales, Ireland and spent 25 days in England so far, and the interest and enthusiasm has been fantastic. You can feel momentum building right across the country and, with planning on track, we look forward to our next phase of testing and readiness as we get ready to deliver what promises to be a fantastic Tournament."

World Rugby Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: "England 2015 is going to be a truly special celebration of Rugby and the fantastic ticket sales to date reflect the enormous public desire to be a part of the sporting highlight of the year. Every Rugby World Cup generates its unforgettable moments on and off the field. From the host venues to Fanzones, the feel-good factor is beginning to sweep the nation and further afield as we look forward to an England 2015 Tournament that will write another very special chapter in this remarkable Rugby World Cup story."

As well as engaging with the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour, fans across the country will start to see the Rugby World Cup 2015 City Dressing programme from August 7. All Rugby World Cup 2015 Host Cities, plus Rugby, will begin to dress their streets, celebrating Rugby and getting ready to welcome the world in advance of September 18.

Fans can also start planning their Tournament with the Rugby World Cup 2015 Spectator Journey Planner now live at www.rugbyworldcup.com/journeyplanner and download the official Rugby World Cup App via http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/mobile. As Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets start to be despatched, ticket holders are being encouraged to plan in advance. The user-friendly journey planner informs fans of additional travel options in place to assist them on their journeys to and from match venues and Fanzones during the Tournament. Fans can also follow @RWC2015Travel to get live travel information during the Tournament and ask any travel related questions.

Editors Notes

Images and footage from the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour can be accessed here. Login details are:

Username: MediaLogin
Password: media123

Buy Official
In order to enjoy the best possible spectator experience and not be let down or misled, Rugby World Cup 2015 are urging fans to only buy tickets from these official sources. For more information and to check whether a company or certain website is an official RWC2015 channel, fans can see the 'Official Checker' list of agents located at www.rugbyworldcup.com/buyofficial

MasterCard
As part of the Tournament, MasterCard, the Preferred Card and Official Rugby World Cup 2015 Payment System, are creating Priceless Surprises for MasterCard cardholders and Rugby fans around the world, from tickets to signed merchandise. For more information search for #PricelessSurprises on Twitter or Facebook.

About MasterCard: MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard's products and solutions make everyday commerce activities - such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances - easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter@MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Rugby Travel and Hospitality
For more information on how to purchase official travel and hospitality programmes, visit www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours and www.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality

Tackle Hunger
Tackle Hunger is a partnership between World Rugby and its official humanitarian partner, the UN World Food Programme, which highlights the importance of good nutrition not just to play rugby but to enable children to develop both physically and mentally. For Rugby World Cup 2015, the Tackle Hunger Million Meal Challenge aims to generate one million meals for the WFP school feeding programme to help nourish the bodies and minds of the world's hungry children. A series of planned activations including profile-raising events, donation opportunities when purchasing tickets, social media activity and in-stadia messaging is encouraging the rugby family to take up the challenge to help build a brighter future for undernourished children. To find out more, click HERE

English Heritage
English Heritage is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.
www.english-heritage.org.uk

Housesteads Roman Fort is managed and run by both English Heritage and the National Trust

England Rugby 2015 Press Office
media@er2015.com
+44 (0)3320 152020
@England2015
www.rugbyworldcup.com

England Rugby 2015 Limited is the Tournament Organiser for Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup is the financial engine behind unprecedented investment and growth in Rugby worldwide. The net Rugby World Cup surplus from the commercial success of France 2007 and New Zealand 2011 has enabled World Rugby to invest more than £150 million in the Game between 2009 and 2012 and commit an anticipated injection of more than £180 million between 2013 and 2016 to underwrite a large range of major funding initiatives including annual national Union grants and strategic investments focusing on growing participation and increasing competition across all 121 national Member Unions affiliated to World Rugby.

TM © RWC Ltd 2008


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