Monthly Archives: October 2012

Football joins tourism’s premier league as overseas fans flock to games.

900,000 spectators came to UK for big matches last year, with one in five going to Manchester United

Nearly a million overseas visitors travelled to Britain last year to watch football matches, according to research confirming the popularity of the UK as a leading sports tourism destination. Despite the high price of tickets and the problems of violence and racism in the game, new figures from the national tourism agency reaffirm the global allure of British football, particularly the Premier League.

Arsenal fans show support on a club tour to Malaysia. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal fans show support on a club tour to Malaysia. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Figures compiled by VisitBritain show that 900,000 football supporters visited Britain last year, a figure tourism bosses hope will be further supplemented by the sporting success of the Olympics.

Hugh Robertson, the minister for sport and tourism, described the Premier League as “one of this country’s most successful exports”. He said: “It is no surprise that it has become a big draw for tourists who want to experience the most exciting league in the world.”

Football tourists collectively spent £706m, or £785 per fan – £200 more than the average visitor to Britain – with many arriving during the traditionally quieter period for tourism between January and March.

The allure of British football is most keenly pronounced in Norway, with one in 13 visitors from the country – 80,000 – watching a match. Other countries generating high numbers of football spectator visits include Ireland (174,000), the US (61,000), Spain (54,000) and Germany (48,000).

Four in ten of those who attended a match said watching sport was their principal reason for visiting the UK. Football was also found to encourage visitors to explore beyond London, with the stadiums attracting the largest number of overseas fans in the north-west.

Almost one in five watched a game at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground, followed closely by Anfield, home of Liverpool.

In terms of armchair support, the Premier League is already established as the biggest continuous annual global sporting event on television in the world, with matches viewed in 212 countries and coverage available in some 720m households.

Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, said: “It is now the most watched and supported football league in the world and there’s a huge amount of effort being made to connect with our 900 million international fans. Our clubs have worked very hard to make Premier League grounds more welcoming and are striving to deliver a first-rate experience for all fans.

“Little, though, beats the thrill of a Premier League match day and it’s very encouraging to hear that football can play an important role in increasing the numbers of international visitors to this country.”

The research also found that around 1.3 million tourists travelled to Britain for a live sporting event last year, four per cent of all visits, with the estimated total spend calculated as £1.1bn.

The greatest number of spectators for golf came from the US, rugby was popular with the Irish and French, while cricket attracted the most visitors from Australia.
 – The Observer, Sunday 21 October 2012
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/oct/21/football-tourism-premier-league

Stadium Tours:  http://www.sightseeingtours.co.uk/london-tours/london-attractions
S
port Tickets: http://www.sightseeingtours.co.uk/search-discount-sport-event-tickets–169
F
ootball Match Tickets: http://sightseeingtours.tickets-partners.com/dock/competition/premier-league

Travel Editor
Best Value Tours

 

 

Picturesque places to visit in Britain

10 most beautiful places in Britain

Britain is renowned for being a naturally beautiful country, with its rolling hills, dramatic coastlines and towering mountain ranges. Whether you want to explore a nature trail, gaze out at breath-taking views, or simply spend the day relaxing in the presence of natural beauty, here are 10 of the most picturesque spots Britain has to offer.

The Lake District

Situated in the North West of England, the picturesque Lake District is the physical manifestation of Britain’s famous nineteenth century Romantic Movement, having inspired some of the most renowned poems of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Blake. The landscapes that make up this area are full of enormous crystal clear lakes, including Windermere, which is the largest natural body of water in England. Bordering these vast bodies of water are dense green forests that take stillness and serenity to levels you never before thought possible.

Stonehenge

The mystery of Stonehenge is one that may never be solved, despite the best efforts of historians all over the world. This enigmatic landmark is thousands of years old, and consists of a circle of around 30 standing stones. Although undeniably breath-taking during the day, the best time to visit Stonehenge is at sunrise or sunset. During this time the site takes on a whole new persona, with dramatic shadows forming as the low sunlight meets with the jutting monoliths.

Isle of Skye

The inner and outer Hebrides are a series of islands off Scotland’s east coast, the largest of which is the Isle of Skye. Walkers will be in their element on this picturesque island, with a huge array of routes and paths to pick from. Whether you choose the island’s sweeping coastline, the dramatic Cuillin mountain range further inland, or the rolling highlands dotted with ancient castles, Skye is sure to impress.

White Cliffs of Dover

For thousands of years the imposing sight of the White Cliffs of Dover looming out of the Atlantic has greeted invaders and visitors alike as they arrive at Britain’s south coast. These striking white chalk cliffs are flecked with jet-black veins of flint, creating one of Britain’s most distinctive natural landmarks. Take a walk along the cliffs and you’ll be met with stunning views all the way to France on clear days, as whispering winds caress the coast around you.

The Brecon Beacons

Taking their name from the burning red sandstone peaks that surround the area, The Brecon Beacons are arguably the pinnacle of Wales’ abundance of beautiful scenery. The surrounding national park is full of fascinating natural landscapes, as well as a variety of wildlife including wild mountain ponies and sheep. The Brecon Beacons Railway is the ultimate way to see the park, passing through the mountains and past the reservoir on an authentic steam locomotive.

Ingleton Waterfalls

Starting along the banks of the River Twiss on the boundary between North Yorkshire and Lancashire, the Ingleton Waterfall trail follows a series of cascading waterfalls set against intertwined woodland, before joining the River Doe. Along the way you’ll also see the famous money tree of Swilla Glen. This huge fallen tree is embedded from top to bottom with decades-old coins, which were hammered into the tree over time by people making wishes.

Glen Coe

Often referred to as the ‘Glen of weeping’, Glen Coe is not quite as depressing as its grim moniker would suggest. Quite the opposite in fact. This U-shaped valley in the Scottish Highlands offers picture-perfect scenery that almost seems too good to be true. Divided by the winding form of the River Coe, the glen is filled with towering mountain ranges, glorious expanses of greenery, and imposing waterfalls. Rolling fog frequently seeps its way into the valley, making for impressively dramatic vistas as you climb the glen’s lofty peaks.

The Peak District

Picture an image of a stereotypically idyllic British countryside and it’s likely you won’t be far off the Peak District. Equal parts rugged and resplendent, this national park designated area in central England draws visitors from all over the world, and for good reason. Split into the limestone-filled White Peak and the imposing Dark Peak areas, the Peak District offers variety and distinction like no other region of Britain, and makes for the perfect relaxing day out.

Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens in south-east London are a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of life in the capital. Explore these enormous (121 hectares in fact) gardens, and you’ll be awash in a wave of floral beauty, with dazzlingly colourful displays on offer wherever you turn. The gardens have been gradually expanded since they opened in 1759, and now contain a Japanese garden, a huge greenhouse, and even a palace.

Pembrokeshire Coast

A large section of Wales’ south-west coast is made up of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is a lengthy expanse of coastal paths, coves, cliffs, and white sandy beaches. Considering its popularity, the area is impressively clean and undisturbed, so there will be nothing to ruin the calming atmosphere as you wander the trails. Dotted along the coast are quaint seaside villages, where you’ll be able to stop for a well-earned lunch break as your explore Pembrokeshire.

Full article: http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/blogs/visit-britain-in/picturesque-places-visit-britain-070023978.html

Needless to say we offer tours to all the above detinations

Travel Editor: www.BestValueTours.co.uk

English travel books to read before you visit.

What better way to get acquainted with England than by reading someone else’s adventures? Here are some of our favourite books about English travel, along with a few tomes exploring the quirkier side of this sceptred isle.

Notes from a Small IslandNotes from a Small Island is a bestselling memoir by the American-born author Bill Bryson, based on trips around Britain in the 1970s and ’80s. Employing Bryson’s trademark fussy style and self-deprecating wit, it’s incisive, observant and very funny.

 

 

 

 

In Search of EnglandIn Search of England by HV Morton is one of the classic prewar English travelogues, written by a veteran Daily Express columnist in the 1920s. The language is old-fashioned, but it makes a fascinating companion to more modern texts.

 

 

 

 

Strange Laws of Old EnglandNigel Cawthorne’s The Strange Laws of Old England explores lots of weird and wonderful laws on the English statute book. Required reading if you’re planning on entering Parliament in a suit of armour or transporting corpses in a London cab.

 

 

 

 

EnglandIn England: 1000 Things You Need To Know, Nicolas Hobbes examines lots of quintessentially English things, from the people, legends and events that have shaped the nation’s history through to the origins of stilton, roast beef and the Royal Mail.

 

 

 

 

In Search of the English EccentricAnother investigation into ‘Englishness’ is In Search of the English Eccentric by Henry Hemming – a poised, perceptive and frequently hilarious exploration of some of the nation’s eccentrics, including crop-circle makers, a man who thinks he’s the reincarnation of King Arthur, and Captain Beany, who likes to spend his days bathing in baked beans.

 

 

 

Pies and PrejudicePies and Prejudice: In Search of the North is a whimsical journey through England’s northerly counties by British radio DJ Stuart Maconie, a ‘Northerner in exile’, who returns to his roots to discover the truth about life Up North.

 

 

 

 

 

The Water RoadPaul Gogarty’s The Water Road travels along England’s canals between London and the Humber, Severn and Mersey, colloquially known as the ‘Cut’ or the ‘Grand Cross’. It’s a mix of historical account and modernday travelogue; Gogarty relates a similar trip around English shores in The Coast Road.

 

 

 

 

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here

Travel Editorwww.BestvalueTours.co.uk

Perilous and Paranormal: London at Halloween

The days are getting shorter, the mornings are getting colder and the trees are getting barer. Fall has arrived, bringing the onset of Halloween with it, and there are plenty of attractions around the UK where you can indulge your fondness of a fright, your taste for terror and your soft spot for some spookiness.

Dirty Tricks and White Knuckles at the London Dungeon
Known year-round as a place of torture, gore and misfortune, the terror intensifies at the London Dungeon for Halloween in 2012. Joining Jack the Ripper and the Rat Catcher is the Dungeon’s newest resident, The Trickster. Prepare to be shaken by the mischief of The Trickster and his ability to stay just one step ahead – be sure to check around every corner! For visitors who don’t fall victim to The Trickster, tickets to The London Dungeon include three terrifying rides – 5D laser ride Vengeance, vertical drop-ride Extremis and Traitor: Boat Ride to Hell.
Historical Halloween Horror with the Tower of London
Halloween in the UK would not be complete without a visit to the scene of some of Britain’s bloodiest and goriest tales – the Tower of London. From Simon of Sudbury to Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, the Tower of London has witnessed countless executions, murders and mysteriously ghostly goings-on. For some authentic historical horror this Halloween, make sure you get Tower of London tickets on your trip to London.
The Phobia of Phobias in the London Bridge and Tombs
To experience another London attraction where every day is Halloween, look no further than tickets for the London Bridge Experience and Tombs. Described by the hosts as their “most intimidating, shocking and unnerving show yet”, the family-friendly Phobophobia 2012 attraction is a terrifying adventure through the darker aspects of London’s history. With Jack the Ripper and London Bridge’s own Pumpkin Man on the loose, this is a guided tour not to be taken lightly. There are frights to be had for sure but younger and less brave visitors aren’t forgotten, however, as the venue also offers their Guardian Angel show (where the ‘Angels’ are minders to reassure the younger children), pumpkin carving and face painting.
Hunt the Haunters at Hampton Court
The Tower of London isn’t the only city residence favoured by London’s un-dead and incorporeal. If the Tower hasn’t satisfied your hunger for Halloween-themed history, head to the outskirts of London for some ghost-spotting at Hampton Court Palace. From the ‘Screaming Lady’ of the ghost of Henry VIII’s fifth wife Catherine Howard, to the so-called ‘Skeletor’ ghost whose video made headlines worldwide in 2003, there’s plenty to occupy the minds of even the most avid ghost hunter. Hampton Court Palace tickets also include access to the spectacular gardens and famous maze.
Halloween for the Hardcore at Thorpe Park
Just 20 miles from central London, the Fright Nights are back for the Halloween period at theme park Thorpe Park, with the chilling Thorpe Park Penitentiary feature new for 2012. The park is transformed into a harrowing prison facility where the main feature of the Penitentiary attraction is The Passing, a dark and disturbing interactive maze where visitors are death row criminals about to be executed. Visitors will have their heads covered with hessian body bags, meaning they must navigate the maze and deal with its horrors while effectively blind, before being fully bagged and ‘buried’. The nightmare doesn’t end after burial however; will you receive forgiveness or be condemned to eternal oblivion? Thorpe Park tickets are available in advance from the VisitBritain Shop. Thorpe Park welcomes all visitors but The Passing is not suitable for under-12s and height restrictions apply to certain rides. Additional ticket purchase may be required for Halloween attractions.
Set the Stage for Halloween Horror
For some suitably hair-raising theatre thrills this Halloween, the long-running The Woman in Black production certainly fits the bill. Adapted from a best-selling novel and recently released as a film starring Daniel Radcliffe, The Woman in Black is a gripping and suspenseful show of death, mystery and vengeance. Currently showing at the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden, the 7 million people who have seen the production since its launch are a testament to its spookiness! Tickets for The Woman in Black are available on the VisitBritain shop.
On behalf of Great Britain, Happy Halloween!

Foreign landmarks tower above the UK’s in minds of British

IT WAS promoted as an opportunity to appreciate the splendour of your own country while saving a pound or two. Yet the “stay-cation” has failed to make a lasting impression on the British public, according to a new poll which found that holidaymakers are better at recognising foreign landmarks than one in their own country.

The Eiffel Tower. Picture: Getty

The Eiffel Tower. Picture: Getty

Despite having some of the most iconic buildings and scenery in the world, such as Edinburgh Castle and the white cliffs of Dover, British landmarks faired poorly in a new survey that sought to discover the most recognisable tourist icons among British holidaymakers.

While not a single person out of the 1,714 British holidaymakers polled by sunshine.co.uk, an online travel agent, failed to recognise the Eiffel Tower, only 77 per cent recognised Stonehenge, it is claimed.

To add insult to injury, places such as the Sydney Opera House and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge were more recognisable than Trafalgar Square and the London Eye.

Only Big Ben in London and Stonehenge made it into the top ten of the most recognised landmarks in the world. While 98 per cent recognised the Pyramids, 96 per cent identified the Statue of Liberty in New York and 95 per cent recognised the Great Wall of China. Big Ben had a “score” of 93 per cent but Trafalgar Square and the London Eye failed to make it into the top ten of most-recognised landmarks.

The Great Wall of China came fourth with 95 per cent of those polled recognising it, while the Taj Mahal came in sixth with 84 per cent.

The top ten most recognised landmarks for UK holidaymakers was completed by Stonehenge in seventh place, the Sydney Opera House in eighth place, the Colosseum in Rome in ninth place and San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge in tenth place.

Yesterday, Chris Clarkson, the co-founder of Sunshine.co.uk said: “I actually can’t quite believe that more UK-based landmarks didn’t feature in the top ten here. To see that more people recognised the Golden Gate Bridge above the likes of the London Eye and Trafalgar Square is a bit of an eye opener.”

However, Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said it aimed to make people more familiar with Scotland’s landmarks as well as the more out-of-the-way places in the country.

He said: “One of the main aims of our ongoing marketing campaign, Surprise Yourself, is to encourage more Scots to get out and about and explore what’s on their very doorstep.

“From iconic landmarks, such as Edinburgh Castle or Loch Ness, to hidden gems that you won’t find in the guidebooks, VisitScotland is working hard alongside Scotland’s tourism industry to promote every area of our stunning country and make sure Scots staycationers have every reason to stay close to home for their autumnal break.

“No matter how well you think you know Scotland, the beauty of it is there’s always something new to discover.”

TOP TEN

1. Eiffel Tower – 100%

2. Pyramids – 98%

3. Statue of Liberty – 96%

4. Great Wall of China – 95%

5. Big Ben – 93%

6. Taj Mahal – 84%

7. Stonehenge – 77%

8. Sydney Opera House – 71%

9. Colosseum, Rome – 69%

10. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco – 65%

By ANGUS HOWARTH  – http://www.scotsman.com
Published on Monday 8 October 2012 00:00

Best Value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk

About the Cotswolds District and why it is so popular with tourists.

The Cotswolds Hills

The Cotswolds Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are formed from a belt of oolitic limestone that divides the heart of England from the North Sea to the south coast passing through Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and nudging into Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire
The Cotswolds is an area of about the shape of a rough diamond in the heart of England stretching through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The western edge forms the escarpment that overlooks the Severn Valley and the Vale of Evesham. This ridge gives the picture of hills seen from the valley floor as you travel along the M5 motorway. Yet, once on the top the land opens out into the rolling wolds and deep, wooded river valleys that make this one of the most beautiful areas in the UK.

The Cotswolds is popular with both the English and visitors from all over the world, renowned for the gentle, picture puzzle; sleepy villages that are so typically English has are the world famous cities of Bath and Oxford or the cathedral city of Gloucester.

Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Cotswolds is one of 41 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales and is the largest, covering 790 sq miles – 2,038 sq kms from Bradford-upon-Avon to Banbury a distance of 78 miles – 126 kms from north to south.

The Cotswolds was designated An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966 and this means that the countryside protected forever and that the past, present and future assured for generations to come. The Cotswolds Conservation Board is the organisation that looks after the AONB in its entirety. For more information about the Cotswolds Conservation Board visit their website. The majority of this beautiful countryside is farmland, a diverse mix of arable, livestock and woodland.

About a tenth of the Cotswolds is woodland with many of the woods being ancient. Some of the best examples are on the western edge with the beech woods around Cranham and Birdlip. Other woodland consists of oak, ash and sycamore.

Cotswold Towns and Villages

Idyllic towns and villages like Bibury and Bourton-on-the Water hide in the steep wooded valleys or sit proud on high rolling wolds. The fine buildings created by great artisans, the magnificent churches built by the wealthy wool merchants from medieval times and their grand houses with wonderful gardens are waiting to be discovered by travellers.

Use the links to discover more about the history, the villages and towns, about the conservation projects undertaken throughout the area and top attractions to visit.

Follow one of our suggested tours by car or follow one of our family walks to discover some of the hidden parts of the Cotswolds. The Cotswold Gateway is your guide to this wonderful Cotswolds area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Take a look at our Cotswolds town guide and the Cotswolds villages guide.

Needles to say we opearate daily tours of the Cotswolds area.  I would recommend a small group tour so you can get off the beaten track and explore some of the smaller villages – www.Sightseeingtours.co.uk

Link Source: http://www.thecotswoldgateway.co.uk

Travel Editor