10 of the best Christmas light festivals in the UK

From dancing lasers to magical gardens, imaginative light shows are being switched on throughout the land. We previews 10 Christmas spectaculars.

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Christmas light trail, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

The Capability Brown-sculpted parkland at Blenheim features a new one-mile multisensory path, including a scented fire garden, fibre-optic lawns and twinkling hedges. The lake is illuminated with lit-up boats, the fountains cascade in time to Christmas music, the waterfall is bathed in colour and the arbour sparkles with fairy lights. Santa Claus and his elves have set up their workshop in the boathouse, and there are festive sideshows and a Victorian carousel in the courtyard. Warm up with spiced cider, mulled wine and hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts and toasted marshmallows.
From £16 adult/£10 child/£48 family/under-fives free; until 2 January;blenheimpalace.com

Festival of Light and Sound, Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project has a spectacular new light and sound show this Christmas. Visitors can watch from a viewing platform or walk along the pathways as lasers create a canopy of light, painting the biomes with festive colours, set to a soundscape of music and stories. There are light projections in the Mediterranean biome, too, illuminating the winter planting displays, plus live performances by musicians and choirs from the south-west. The show is the brainchild of light artist Chris Levene, who created the laser tribute to David Bowie at Glastonbury festival, and Marco Perry, Björk’s spatial sound designer. Other festive fun includes ice skating, winter storytelling, festive crafts and meeting Father Christmas and his elves. A baobab rum cocktail (or a smoothie for the kids) will take the chill off.
From £22.50 adult/£12.60 child/£62 family/under-fives free, 5pm-8pm on 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 16-23 December, and 5pm-7pm on 27-30 December, edenproject.com

Festival of Light, Longleat safari park, Wiltshire

Longleat is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and it has pulled out all the stops for its third light festival. Giant lanterns take the shape of some of the park’s animals – an avenue of lions, a troop of monkeys – but there are also lots of Beatrix Potter characters, to mark the 150th anniversary of the author’s birth: Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Squirrel Nutkin will all be there. There is also an illuminated Christmas scene and a 20-metre-high birthday cake. Altogether, the displays use 12 miles of silk, 30,000 bulbs and 2½ miles of LED lighting. Plus there is a Santa Express, a musical Christmas tree, an Arctic playzone for kids and an exhibition of costumes from the 1971 Royal Opera House production of The Tales of Beatrix Potter.
From £27.85 adult/£20.65 child/under-threes free, to 2 January, longleat.co.uk

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Enchanted Parks, Gateshead

Light up the North is a network of light festivals in the north of England: York, Leeds, Lancaster, Durham, Blackpool, Salford – and, over Christmas, Gateshead. Enchanted Parks is an interactive walk through Saltwell park, just south of the town centre, along a trail of light with art installations, performances, sculptures and projections. The story being told is a Midwinter Night’s Tale, inspired by the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
£8 adult/£2 child/under-fours free, 6-11 December, newcastlegateshead.com

Christmas Glow, RHS Wisley, Surrey

The garden is glowing with giant illuminated flowers for the second year running – but this year they are bigger and brighter. Some of the trees are ablaze, too, including a liquidambar, giant redwood and scots pine. The glasshouse is decorated like a gingerbread house, and displays seasonal plants such as poinsettias, Christmas cacti and bromeliads. There are lanterns around the lake, and the plant centre has been turned into Santa and Mrs Claus’s grotto. The cafe serves hearty goulash, hot chocolate with marshmallows and spiced apple juice. Visitors can stock up at the Christmas shop, join stories and songs with Santa, and attend gingerbread-decorating workshops.
From £9.90 adult/£3.60 child, until 2 Jan, rhs.org.uk

Christmas at Kew Gardens, London

Kew is a special place to visit at any time of the day or year, but the festive light show gives it a magical twist, as the mile-long trail through the garden sparkles with 60,000 lights, passing a Christmas karaoke juke box and eight newly commissioned artworks. These include singing Christmas trees, a light installation of 1,700 swaying flowers and a roaring fire garden. Some of the garden’s oldest and tallest trees are also beautifully lit along the way. The finale is the iconic Palm House and pond lit up with coloured laser beams and streams of light dancing to Christmas songs.
From £16 adult/£10 child/£48 family/under-fours free; until 2 Jan, kew.org

Enchanted Christmas, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

The national arboretum has a one-mile illuminated trail, with the towering trees lit up, and interactive displays along the way. There are free Christmas crafts, carol singing, an old-fashioned carousel and two Christmas shops – one is devoted to decorations, housed in a shepherd’s hut. Father Christmas is there with his elves, Mrs Christmas tells stories in a yuletide yurt, and stilt-walking versions of Jack Frost and the Christmas Fairy flit around. Winter warmers include hog roasts and Baileys hot chocolate.
£12 adult/£6 child/under-fives free, Friday to Sunday until 18 December,forestry.gov.uk

Magical Lantern festival, Leeds, Birmingham, London

The first Magical Lantern festival was held in Chiswick House Gardens, London, last winter. It is back from 19 January but, first, the magic is heading to Roundhay Park in Leeds and the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. Each festival has a trail of giant lanterns, mixing seasonal themes, local landmarks and Chinese culture. In Birmingham, for example, there is a Bullring Bull alongside a Christmas fairy, snowmen, penguins, trees and presents. London (again at Chiswick) has a Houses of Parliament lantern and a Silk Road theme. Leeds is home to Santa’s grotto and a funfair, London has an ice rink and ice bar, and all three have Chinese food stalls and global street food.
Leeds and Birmingham from £12.50 adult/£8.50 child/£38 family/under-fours free, until 2 January, London from £16.50/£10.50/£50/under-fours three, 19 January to 26 February, magicallantern.uk

Tunnel of Light, Norwich

Norwich has created the UK’s first tunnel of light this Christmas. The 45-metre passage on Hay Hill is made from 50,000 pulsating LEDs, designed to echo the colours and patterns of the northern lights. The city is also projecting Christmas films set to music on to the castle and town hall each night. There are lights all over the city, a eight-metre Christmas tree on the corner of Bethel Street and events from a Christmas tree festival at St Peter Mancroft church to craft markets.
Free, until 6 Jan, norwichbid.co.uk

Celebration of Light, Penzance, Cornwall

Penzance has pushed the boat out this Christmas. Landmarks including St Michael’s Mount and St Mary’s church are lit up, and there is a competition for the brightest light-themed shop window display. On 17 December, there is a lantern parade to celebrate local scientist Humphry Davy, who invented the miner’s safety lamp. The Montol festival marks the winter solstice on 21 December, with fire performers, processions and a huge midwinter bonfire. Nearby Newlyn and Mousehole, meanwhile, have spectacular displays of Christmas lights.
Free, until 6 January, lovepenzance.co.uk

The best of the rest

Lots of National Trust properties are lit up at Christmas, including Calke Abbey in Derbyshire and Corfe Castle in Dorset. Edinburgh’s Street of Light is back in a new location at the west end of George Street, and features 60,000 light bulbs with live music. Chester Zoo has an enchanted forest with animal lanterns. St George’s Hall in Liverpool has a DreamWorks lantern show, with 100 characters and scenes from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has an illuminations show where HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose are projected on to the Action Stations’ building. Eastbourne has a light show, Neon Noel, at the town hall clock tower). Boats in Ramsgate harbour are festooned with lights, creating dazzling reflections in the water.

Article source:  The Guardian Online

Best Value Tours offer a wide range of Christmas sightseeing tours throughout England, Scotland, Irealand and Europe.

Travel Editor
Best Value Tours U.K, London

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A London Guide for the Uninitiated

Every visitor wants something a little different from their stay in the capital. While some will want to follow the tourist trail; others are seeking culture; while yet another group wants to visit the best pubs and restaurants on the map. You might even try to include a little of everything into your visit whether you are coming for a day or a much longer stay.

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However, whatever you want from your visit there is something for everyone and this guide will help you find your way around and guide you to the best on offer.

Top Tourist Spots

There are so many tourist attractions to see in London that it is best to plan out what you want to visit ahead of time, so you miss nothing. Then plot your route either on an Underground map, a street map or decide which open-topped bus you will hop on to see as much as possible, in the shortest time.

It’s often best to group attractions together, so for example if you are heading to the South Bank you can take in Tower Bridge, The London Eye, the London Aquarium and then move on to the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are all worth a visit as are Trafalgar Square, Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and the Globe Theatre. You can choose which of them you are just going to view from the outside and which you will spend longer touring.

Here’s a Checklist for you, so you don’t miss anything:

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London Zoo
London Eye
Natural History Museum
Tower of London
Churchill’s War room
Big Ben
Hyde Park
British Museum
National Gallery
Palace of Westminster
Globe theatre
London Dungeon
Book discount attraction tickets here

Popular Watering Holes

All that walking and photograph-taking might have made you thirsty and a trip to London has to include a visit to a pub or two.

The pub is as much a part of British culture as fish and chips or a cup of tea and you can truly say you have mixed with the locals once you have bought a round or two at the bar.

Pubs can also tell you a great deal about British history and these five have just as much to say as a visit to a museum.

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The Star Tavern, Belgravia: This establishment has seen many famous people pass through its doors including Diana Dors and Peter O’Toole. It also has the perhaps more infamous claim to fame of being the place where The Great Train Robbery was planned in the early 1960s.

The French House, Soho: This pub was used as a meeting place for members of the French Resistance, including General de Gaulle, during the Second World War. Today it retains a French flavor and even the alcohol is served in measures used across the Channel.

The Dog and Duck, Soho: It was here that the novelist George Orwell used to drink, maybe gathering ideas for his next book. It has been mentioned that in more recent times Madonna has dropped by on occasion.

The Lamb and Flag, Convent Garden: This pub can also boast it has been the hangout of great writers with Charles Dickens frequenting the bar as well as 17th Century poet John Dryden. This pub holds regular celebrations with the bunting being hung out every St. George’s Day.

The Viaduct, Newgate Street: Opposite the Old Bailey, this pub may have acted as a temporary gaol at one time. It is also the last surviving Victorian gin palace in London and the perfect place to visit for a G&T.

If you prefer cocktail bars, then the world is your oyster in London, especially in recent years as the trend for cocktails has seen a resurgence. Callooh Callay, Love & Liquor, The Lucky Pig, Mr. Fogg’s and the extravagantly named Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Bar are all worth heading to. Party the night away without a care in the world as you can always burn those calories off with more sightseeing tomorrow.

Hidden Secrets

If you like your drinking establishments a little more tucked away, try these out for size.

Tamesis Dock, Albert Embankment: Get on board for a pint or two at this floating pub. This 1933 Dutch Barge, that used to travel the waters of the Seine, now offers great food and cold beer and even better you can sit outdoors and watch the sun set over London as you eat.

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The Mayor of Scaredy Town, Spitalfields: This truly is a secret, hidden away beneath The Breakfast Club. On arrival you need to say you would like to see the Mayor and only then will you be led downstairs to discover the bar hidden behind a door disguised as a SMEG fridge.

Putt In The Park, Acton: If you want a little exercise alongside your cold beer then head to the park next to Acton central railway station. Here you can enjoy a round of mini golf while enjoying a pint or two. This is a tranquil destination where you will be surrounded by greenery and the sound of running water from the small streams dotted about.

Enjoy The Nightlife

When you want to enjoy the London nightlife you need not worry about being short on choices. Stand-up comedy, cabaret, clubbing or the enjoyment of fine wines or whiskies, it’s all on offer.

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The following three areas of the Capital are worth exploring as they have a great deal to offer in terms of nightlife.

Camden: Camden is a great place to visit day or night as it is a hub of the arts. During the day Camden Market offers a wide array of stalls selling handcrafted wares including clothing, jewellery, leather goods and artwork. As the sun sets head to one or more of the quirky pubs, many of which offer live music. The Black Heart is the place to try locally brewed beer from the Camden Town Brewery, such as Camden Hells Lager.

The Dublin Castle is less about the look of the pub and more about the ambiance and the music. It is one of the pubs around London where new bands come to prove themselves and over the years it has featured Madness and Blur.

It bills itself as the only true pub left in Camden and with its roaring fire in Winter and relaxed atmosphere, you may just agree. It also features unknow indie and alternative bands so if you want to discover new music The Enterprise should be on your tour.

Mayfair: There are plenty of nightclubs on offer in Mayfair although you may need a slightly larger bank balance to make the most of them. For Seventies Chic and a groovy dance floor head to Loop Bar. Trader Vic’s is all about the South Pacific and thus you need to enjoy a cocktail or two as you soak up the atmosphere. By the same people who brought us the Playboy Club is Baroque which has lush surroundings and a mix of party nights, often with live music on offer.

Soho: Head to Soho in the West End for a mix of high energy nightlife. The Box has seen many celebrity clients over recent years. Bar Rumba and the St.Moritz Club are famous basement bars, and the latter has been a hub of entertainment for decades. If karaoke is more your thing, but you prefer to do it in relative privacy, then head to the pods inside Lucky Voice Soho where drinks and nibbles are also on offer.

Museums Not to Be Missed

London is home to many national museums and art galleries, such as the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery, the Science Museum and Tate Modern. All of these are worth a visit but what happens if you want to experience something just a little different?

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Sir John Soane’s Museum: Sir John Soane was the architect of the Bank of England and this, his former residence, includes a range of his architectural drawings as well as the art and antiquities he surrounded himself with, including the Egyptian Sarcophagus of Seti.

Geffrye Museum: This museum is a fascinating insight into how we have all lived through the centuries. Taking us from 1600 through to the present day it explores the English Home with a focus on the living room, the place where we all spend the majority of our time.

The Savoy Hotel’s Museum: Naturally you can enjoy a cocktail at the Savoy Hotel’s American Bar before heading next door to take a look around the museum. This features photos of many of the famous guests of the hotel and even a little vintage alcohol makes an appearance.

The Grant Museum of Zoology: A wide range of specimens are on offer here and you can even take part in a ‘Dead Life Drawing’ class, although a glass of wine is on offer to lighten the mood.

The Viktor Wyne Museum of Curiosities: This museum really does offer an eclectic mix of exhibits. Live petting evenings when you can meet millipedes is a highlight.

The Pollock Toy Museum: If you find old dolls frightening this one might be worth a miss. However, if instead they fascinate you, make sure you don’t miss out on this museum.

The Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society: If medicine through the ages is one of your interests this museum doesn’t disappoint. Find out what patients experienced as they went through surgery before anaesthetics and pain relief were discovered and find out when and why leeches were used.

Dennis Severs’ House: For an insight into life in the 18th Century for a wealthy family head to Dennis Severs’ House. This has been recreated with food on the table and unmade beds, just as though the family have gone out for the day.

Culture Vulture

It’s time to experience a little more culture around London, but all of these are relaxing as well as fun.

Wilton’s Music Hall: Located in Tower Hamlets this music hall harks back to the good old days of variety and is the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world. Offering a range of theatre productions it’s worth a visit to see the interior of the building alone.

Temple: This is an area of London known for its connections to the practice of law over the centuries. The name came about because it was established by the Knights Templar in the 12th Century and because  of this it also played a central role in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. It’s definitely worth a visit for any lovers of the book or film.

Fulham Palace: Surprisingly this is a National Trust property right in the centre of the capital. It is well known for the variety of events it runs throughout the year usually coinciding with seasonal events such as Apple Day in October and Bones, Bumps and Bats close to Halloween.

Guildhall Art Gallery: If you want to find out what life was like in Roman London then head to the Guildhall Art Gallery. During restoration in the late 1980s they discovered the circular walls of an amphitheatre which can now be viewed together with a fascinating insight into the history of the area.

There’s Always Time to Sho

London is packed full of world-renowned department stores such as Harrods, Liberty, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Hamleys and if you are visiting close to the Christmas season the window displays are not to be missed.

However, where should you head if you enjoy smaller boutique shopping?

Camden Passage: This is probably one of the most well known and loved centres of independent stores and it hosts a selection of shops and cafes. Many of the shops are catered towards vintage so this is definitely the place to head in London if you want to pick up something unique.

Little Venice: Little Venice is on the Thames and is a collection of waterside shops and cafes. What’s makes it even more fun is you can even hop on a canal boat and head off to your next destination, almost like being in Italy.

Let’s Get Outside

It’s not just the urban buzz that attracts people to London. What makes it so special is there is so much opportunity to get outside and experience green spaces in the fresh air.

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The Thames Path: This stretches all the way from the Thames Barrier across the country to Cirencester. There are many shorter routes you can take within London to see the sights and if you head out by bike you could even make it to Windsor to visit the Castle. Stop off at any of the many pubs along the way for a hearty lunch to keep you going.

Japanese Roof Garden at the School of Oriental and African Studies:  If you want the perfect place to relax then head to this garden which was built during the 2001 Japan Celebrations at the college. The theme here is Forgiveness, and this is summed up by the Kanji character engraved on the granite water basin in the garden.

Postman’s Park: This park is home to The Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. It was built in 1900 by George Frederick Watts and celebrates the heroism of individuals who gave their lives to save others. The park acquired its name because it used to be the place where workers from the old General Post Office ate their lunch.

Let’s Eat!

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Street Food: Shoreditch is a great place to experience a wide array of street food. It holds many food festivals and markets, most notably the Urban Food Fest which happens every Saturday. This includes many street food stalls plus a changing selection of craft beers, wines and even cocktails.

Another street food destination is Borough Market and this offers both food which is ready to eat straight away plus fresh produce. A foodies dream to find everything under one roof. In Fact there are many amazing spots dotted all around London, so wherever you are, there shouldn’t be one too far away from you.

Restaurants: There are so many restaurants to choose from in London that before you head out, it’s best to narrow your search down by deciding what kind of food you are in the mood for.

If you are craving ice-cream then Chin Chin Labs in Camden takes this sweet treat to a whole other level through the application of liquid nitrogen.

A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without that traditional trip to the pie and mash shop. You can even try the local delicacy jellied eels, but be warned it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

One of the latest trends in London restaurants has been the upsurge in venues which are tucked away and offer seclusion. Back in 5 Minutes, Freud, Four O Nine and Old Tom and English all make it on to this list, but remember most will need early reservation.

It’s All in the Planning

You will get the most out of any trip to London if you do some planning before you arrive. That way you can group together all the places you want to visit and waste less time on the Underground or in the back of cabs.

There are now several apps available you can download to your phone to help you get around and to find places worth visiting close to wherever you are, so you never miss out on anything. It’s also worth browsing the reviews on Trip Advisor or looking through Time Out London to find new places of interest.

There are many guides covering numerous sectors specialized to what you want to do. London on a budget, London as a couple, or London with a team are three.

Your friends and family can sometimes be the best people to advise you on what you will like so don’t be afraid to ask around in person and on social media to capture a wider network.

Lastly it’s important to remember that there is so much to see and do in London that it’s unlikely you will get to visit everywhere, regardless how long your stay is. So choose wisely and above all pace yourself so you intersperse sight-seeing with plenty of rest and relaxation in the pub or in the beautiful open spaces around London.

Book your London sightseeing tours , West End theatre shows and discount London attractions using our tour website

The London Travel Team
Best Value Tours
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Family Friendly London and Britain Tours.

Looking for family-friendly activities for your next visit to the UK?

There’s plenty to do with kids around Britain, from museums and tours to outdoor activites, have a look at our list of fun-filled activitities for the whole family.

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Discover the best things to do in London with kids. Whether you are looking for child-friendly restaurants, free attractions for kids, places to go with kids or ideas for your day out in London, family days out in London are easy to plan with our top tips. Find kids activities in London for any age, from toddlers to teens – you’ll never be out of ideas for a day in London for children, with the best museums and top London theatre shows for kids, theme parks and playgrounds to enjoy. Book the best attractions in London with kids now!

Take a tour and find out everything there is to know about Britain. They come in all shapes and sizes, from open top bus rides to boats, Minis and even vintage cars… Let your tour guide bring the facts to life so you can start exploring.

The Travel Team
Best Value Tours

 

Harry Potter fans can finally go inside the Dursley’s house Warner Bros. studio tour

Best Value U.K Sightseeing Tours

The Harry Potter experience at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is pretty good – but it just got better.

A new exhibition has opened that lets massive fans of the films walk into an area they haven’t before been able to visit – the house that Harry grew up in. As most Potter fans know, Harry grew up sleeping in a pokey cupboard under the stairs with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and cousin Dudley where he was banned from using magic and lived like the family’s slave.

Number 4 Privet Drive Photocall, Leavesden. Herts. Britain Fiona Shaw, Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter film series, opens the set of number four, Privet Drive to visitors for the first time at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter for a limited time only.

That was until he received not one but thousands of letters from Hogwarts calling him to start his schooling in…

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Harry Potter fans can finally go inside the Dursley’s house Warner Bros. studio tour

The Harry Potter experience at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is pretty good – but it just got better.

A new exhibition has opened that lets massive fans of the films walk into an area they haven’t before been able to visit – the house that Harry grew up in. As most Potter fans know, Harry grew up sleeping in a pokey cupboard under the stairs with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and cousin Dudley where he was banned from using magic and lived like the family’s slave.

Number 4 Privet Drive Photocall, Leavesden. Herts. Britain

Fiona Shaw, Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter film series, opens the set of number four, Privet Drive to visitors for the first time at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter for a limited time only.

That was until he received not one but thousands of letters from Hogwarts calling him to start his schooling in wizardry. They all came flying through the fire place and front door of number four, Privet Drive, and that’s exactly what you can see here.

Warner_Bros_3178_14111In homage to the 15th anniversary of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, graphic designers MinaLima – who worked on all eight movies – brought the Dursley’s house back to life, including an incredible installation of the letters Harry received.

The house has been recreated in authentic detail, with the actual ugly furniture and terrible decor from the first film. There are trophies, TV remotes, photo frames, and even and Dudley’s ridiculous awards adorn the walls – like his award for eating up all his lunch, and for managing to swim five metres.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter with Return Transportation

The only thing missing is Harry’s little cupboard under the stairs, which is featured elsewhere in the tour, but in my opinion really should be in this house. There is a door to show where it would be though so you can use your imagination.

What’s also pretty cool is that there is also the chance to see how the letters were sent flying in the movie in the scene where Harry was accepted into Hogwarts as the machine which threw them through the letter box has been recreated by Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson. So have hundreds of hand-made letters to recreate the effect – 10,000 were made for the original movie.

As you exit the house you see it’s all just a set with scaffolding all over the shop and realise you’ve just stepped right behind the scenes of HP’s life. It’s a cool look behind the scenes for Potter Heads.

And once you’ve done all that you can go and bury your face in a tub of butterbeer ice cream. Perfect.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter unveils the interior set of number four, Privet Drive for the first time. The set is open to the public from 27th May for a limited time only and is included in the ticket price wbstudiotour.co.uk.

Full story on the Metro Website (source)

Best Value Tours offer daily Harry Potter Studio Tours

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Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration Parade

Some 400 years since his death in 1616 on his 52nd birthday, festivals, exhibitions and performances all around the world in 2016 will celebrate the legacy of William Shakespeare, arguably the finest playwright and poet ever to write in the English language.

william-shakespeare-portrait11Here in Stratford upon Avon the memorable programme of activities and events to commemorate our most famous son will reach its climax on 23 April as we celebrate the Bard’s 400 year legacy with a unique ‘take’ on the traditional Annual Parade through the town, combining birthday and commemoration in a very special way.

The 2016 Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade, starting at 10:30am will be a spectacle like nothing we have seen before in the history of these precious, traditional celebrations which we want to preserve for future generations.  However, it will include all the usual participants, among them civic dignitaries, VIPS and invited guests from the worlds of literature and theatre, students of Shakespeare’s school and characters in period dress, all accompanied by marching bands and many local schoolchildren making their way through the streets towards Holy Trinity Church.

But beyond the customary ceremonies the truly international influence of William Shakespeare will be apparent in the exciting high point of our Parade – but we’d love you to come and see for yourselves what that is!

The Birthday Celebrations extend to a whole week of events, culminating in a weekend of festivities and entertainment for all the family at venues throughout the town, many of them outdoors and most of them free of charge.

The www.shakespearescelebrations.com website will be updated regularly with more information and programme details for 2016

Best Value Tours offer daily sightseeing tours of Shakespeare’s birthplace.  Tours of the Globe theatre in London and theatre tickets.

Best Value Tours U.K
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St George’s Day: What does it mean and why do we celebrate the patron Saint of England? — Welcome2Britain

St. George’s Day takes place on April 23rd every year, recognising the patron saint of England apparently made famous for slaying a dragon and saving a distressed maiden It’s the one day of the year, apart from major football tournaments, when you are guaranteed to see English flags being waved proudly across the country. April […]

via St George’s Day: What does it mean and why do we celebrate the patron Saint of England? — Welcome2Britain

5 Places You Should Visit in the United Kingdom

There is so much to explore in the United Kingdom that one might need more than just a couple of days to see everything around. However to make things easier for everyone, here is a list of Top 5 places you should visit in the UK.

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London’s Megastructures

As they say, no country is good without its capital and so is the case here. London, the British capital is the living example of what a global center looks like. Known for its cultural, political and geographical influence, the city of about 8 million is one of the oldest most advanced cities in the world. Iconic landmarks like the Big Ben, Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, London Eye, Westminster Palace are just some of the spots that glorify the city every day.

Egham

If you are into English countryside living then outskirts of London would do the needful. For instance, an area like Egham is perfect for out of the city living. One can always take a 30-minute train to the city and enjoy a countryside atmosphere.

Scottish Highlands

Scotland and Scottish Highlands is another place that makes it into any tourist’s must-do list if they are visiting the UK. Known for its mountains and lochs, you can indulge yourself in the cold hilly area or enjoy Scottish cities like Edinburgh, which also have been of importance in the UK.

Stonehenge

If prehistoric monuments fascinate you then Stonehenge in Wiltshire will never disappoint you. It was built sometime from 3000 to 2000 BC, as many believed the site could have been a burial ground from its early beginnings. Nonetheless, UNESCO added the site to its list of “World Heritage Sites.”

Snowdon

Finally, Snowdon in Wales can serve as the perfect spot for adventure seekers. Touted to be the highest mountain in Wales, it is also the busiest mountain in Great Britain. It flaunts of rare flora and fauna and has activities like rock climbing to show for.

Full article in the HofMag website

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Southampton Shore Sightseeing Excursions and London Transfers

Turn your transfer between your Southampton cruise ship terminal and London and its airports into a sightseeing tour experience.  Visit the world class attracttions of Windsor Castle, Salisbury or Stonehenge to or from your cruise ship on a coach sightseeing detour or private transfer.

These full day tours and hotel transfers with collection at your cruise terminal. This service is available on all dates (April to November) when Royal Caribbean, Oceania, Celebrity, Princess, MSC Splendida, Azamara Quest and P&O Britannia cruise ships are visiting Southampton. You will be driven in an air conditioned touring bus with a professional guide accompanying you throughout the day. In a memorable day you will see three world class attractions; Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle plus much more.

Southampton-tour-transfers

At the end of the day the coach will take you to the Central London and Heathrow Hotels on the link below. We also drop at Victoria, Kings Cross, St.Pancras and Paddington stations, plus Heathrow terminals 1-5.

Drop off available to over 200 London and Heathrow hotels, Heathrow airport terminals and London mainline train stations. 2016 now available to book! Exclusive tour in a luxury touring coach with professional tour guide.

Visit our U.K Shore Excursion Tour  web page to view all of our tours.

Best Value Tours
http://www.BestValueTours.co.uk

 

 

Eurostar Train from Paris to London

London to Paris / Paris to London in just over 2 hours.

The train from Paris to London is operated by Eurostar. Eurostar trains are undersea trains for foot passengers only, linking Paris, Lille and Brussels with London St Pancras. If you’re touring Kent you can also disembark at Ashford and Ebbsfleet.

The Paris-London train arrives at St Pancras International – the London Eurostar terminus and Europe’s first ‘destination station’. St Pancras has world-class shopping, Europe’s longest champagne bar, a fresh daily farmers’ market and top restaurants and bars.  Click here for Paris Eurostar Train Deals

PARIS VIA EUROSTAR DEALS

Paris-London train timetables

There are frequent Eurostar services between Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais and London every day of the week. Train services from Paris to London run regularly from around 6:45 to 21:15. The Paris to London train takes around 2 hours 20 minutes.

Find up-to-date Eurostar timetables on the Eurostar website.

Eurostar fares

sb-6-parisStandard return tickets for London-Paris, London-Brussels, London-Lille and London-Calais start at around £60 one-way with certain conditions and restrictions, for example the tickets may be non-refundable or non-exchangeable, you may have to travel on the weekend, or you may need to book them a certain number of days in advance.

Eurostar offer a very wide range of ticket types and fares. For the most up-to-date information on travelling from Paris to London by train, visit the Eurostar website.

To and from the Eurostar station in London

For up-to-date information on getting to and from St Pancras International visit the Eurostar website. St Pancras International is right in the heart of London in King’s Cross. The station has excellent transport links including local buses, domestic train services and 6 underground lines. To travel on the London Underground network, you need to use either a London Travelcard or Visitor Oyster Card, both which are available to buy in advance from VisitBritain Shop . Visit their page on London travel for more information on buying tickets and how to use the network.

Having arrived on the train from Paris to London, you can get almost anywhere in Britain from Eurostar’s British terminals.

East Midland trains from St Pancras International and East Coast trains services from nearby King’s Cross connect St Pancras to the North of England and Scotland. First Capital Connect will take you to St Albans, Bedford, Luton and the South of England. Virgin Trains from Euston Station travel to Birmingham, Manchester and the North West, while First Great Western trains travel from London Paddington to Bristol, South West England and South Wales.

For more details on onward travel by train check National Railway Enquiries .

If you are travelling on to destinations in southern England, you may save time by getting off the Eurostar at Ashford International or Ebbsfleet International in Kent. Find out how to get to and from Ashford International and Ebbsfleet International on the Eurostar website.

Please visit our website for the best Euostar train tour deals

Travel Editor
Best Value Tours U.K