Category Archives: Historic sites

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

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UK Olympians share their tips for tourists visiting London

There are only four days to go before the start of the Olympics so Team GB don’t have time for sightseeing but they have revealed their tips for tourists visiting London during the Games.Image via ecofoodrecycling.co.uk

Olympics sponsor British Airways asked the London 2012 hopefuls what they would get up to in a day off from their intensive training.

The London Eye was the most popular tourist attraction, with a quarter of athletes recommending it as their ‘essential London’ tourist visit, closely followed by Buckingham Palace (17 per cent) and the River Thames (5 per cent).

Rower Zac Purchase said he loves to take afternoon tea: ‘It’s such a fantastic British tradition, and what better place than the nation’s capital city to give it a try? Choose a good hotel or restaurant and dress up. Make an occasion of it and you won’t need any more food for days!’

Gymnast Louis Smith said she’s most likely to be found enjoying a concert at the North Greenwich Arena, which is handy as that’s where she will be competing for a medal when it hosts the London 2012 Gymnastics during the Games.

Heptathlete Jessica Ennis meanwhile admits to being a shopaholic and likes to hit the shops on Oxford Street.

Unsurprisingly, triathlete Helen Jenkins recommends walking everywhere and picks St Paul’s Cathedral as a must-see along with Hyde Park, which will host the London 2012 triathlon course.

Rower Mark Hunter suggests a trip down the River Thames, while sailor Ben Ainslie’s continues the nautical theme by picking Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square as his favourite landmark.

Wheelchair racer Shelly Woods’ favourite place – The Mall and Buckingham Palace – also has a clear sporting link; it’s here that Shelly will be competing in the marathon later this summer. With years of training and preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s no surprise that our athletes’ top advice for visitors is to ‘plan your visit’ and ‘walk everywhere’.

And their advice for avoiding tube chaos? Make like Bradley Wiggins and get on your (Boris) bike.
Full aricle: http://www.eturbonews.com/26595/insider-top-tips-visiting-london

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Top spots to see the Royal Family in Britain

So you’re going to London to visit the Queen. But where to find her? Well, there’s a good chance she (or one of the other Royals) might just be out and about at one of the locations below – and not just in London either. We can’t promise a royal audience but if you’re in the right place at the right time you might just get a royal wave. Read on to discover Her Majesty’s favourite hangouts…

Buckingham Palace, London, England
Buckingham Palace is not only a London landmark but the official London residence of the British monarch. Nineteen state rooms in the palace are open for public viewing each summer, from late July through early October, with complimentary audio tours. Visitors to the palace should be sure to keep their eyes peeled; Her Majesty has been spotted strolling through the gardens with her Corgi dogs and is known to enjoy a sneaky peek at visitors admiring her home.

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Windsor Castle, Windsor, England
Just a quick jaunt by train from London, Windsor Castle is one of the Queen’s official residences and where she spends most weekends. Open year-round, visitors have been known to spot the Queen through the windows overlooking her garden. Locals have also said they often see Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh departing down the long driveway in Windsor Great Park. Your chances go up if you visit around Easter, when she takes up residence for a month.

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Anglesey, Wales
The chances of spotting the Queen in Wales are on the rise with Prince William, her grandson, living in Anglesey to work as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. Prince William is said to be enjoying his time there, taking in the beautiful Welsh scenery as he flies over Snowdonia National Park. He’s also been sampling the local cuisine – including an Anglesey burger van, ‘The Flaming Grill,’ that he loved so much he gave them the Royal Seal of Approval.

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Anglesey

Balmoral Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
One of the Royals’ favourite summertime retreats is Balmoral, set amongst the magnificent scenery of Royal Deeside. Here you might spot the Queen as your neighbour – as you can take up residence on the same property where the Queen stays by renting a lovely cottage on the Balmoral estate. The grounds, gardens and exhibitions are open to the public from April 1 through July 31.

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Queen’s Birthday Celebrations, London, England
Trooping the Colour is an annual event to mark the Queen’s official birthday. Held every June in central London, Trooping the Colour is the biggest royal event of the year with Her Majesty the Queen always in attendance. Tickets for the parade are in short supply but if you don’t manage to snag one for yourself, just stand along The Mall, which runs from Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch for a great chance of spotting the Queen.

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Trooping the Colour

Royal Ascot, Ascot, Berkshire, England
Attend the horse races at Royal Ascot and there is always a good chance of spotting the Queen and Prince Phillip in a horse drawn carriage during the Royal procession. Dating back to 1711, these prestigious races are held annually in the third week of June. Her Majesty is known to take a keen interest in the historic Royal Ascot races and she has owned 20 winners over the years.

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Royal Ascot

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland
Positioned at the end of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace is used by the Queen for one week at the beginning of each summer when she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies. Steeped in history and perhaps best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, Holyrood Palace adds to the historic atmosphere of the Royal Mile. Her Majesty has often been spotted leaving Holyrood in her car – chauffeur driven, of course.

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Chelsea Flower Show, London, England
As Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, the Queen regularly attends the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show. This event is a regular fixture in the Royal calendar and Her Majesty is often accompanied by other Royals. If you are in Britain in late May, this is a great opportunity to possibly catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II. And a top opportunity to see some of the world’s most innovative gardens.

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Chelsea Flower Show

Braemar Highland Gathering, Scotland
The patron of Scotland’s best-known Highland Games is none other than Queen Elizabeth II herself and this celebration of traditional Scottish sport and culture is almost always attended by members of the Royal Family. The Gathering is always held on the first Saturday in September and is the place to see tossing the caber, Scottish country dancing, pipe bands and more.

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Madame Tussauds, London, England
If all else fails there is always one place you are guaranteed to meet the Queen – and even shake her hand! Madame Tussauds is a top London visitor attraction and just a stone’s throw away from Regent’s Park and the bright lights of the West End. Her Majesty can be spotted there, or at least a waxwork version of her, along with the likes of Prince Charles and his two sons William and Harry. It might not be the real deal but it could be the closest you’ll get so don’t forget your camera!

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Kate & William at Madame Tussauds, London

  – Visit Britain – http://www.visitbritain.com/en/GB/

Best Value Tourswww.SightseeingTours.co.uk

10 quick day tours outside of London during the Olympics

London is a tremendously vibrant and energetic city that is the home to some of the greatest museums, nightclubs and restaurants in the world. However, with the 2012 Olympics taking place over the next few weeks, the streets of England’s capital are destined to be a little more hectic with sports lovers from around the country, continent and world set to visit.

For those of you who are looking to spend the next few weeks in London, but do not have every day filled with Olympic inspired events, here are some fun places that you can visit in a day.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Stonehenge

Near Salisbury and within two hours of London this prehistoric monument has become a central part of English folklore. This collection of stones were dragged across the country 5,000 years ago and have plagued the minds of archaeologists since their arrival.

Here is a link for more information on Stonehenge. To get to Stonehenge from London you can get the train from Waterloo station.

Bath

This unique city is surrounded by archaic architecture with Roman Baths, Abbeys and springs all within a short walking distance of the city’s central train station. All of this illustrious history is also surrounded by a host of city centre shops and is largely free of traffic.

 

Here is a link for more information on Bath. To get to Bath from London you can get the train from London Paddington.

 

Winchester

The former capital of England, Winchester has an unspoilt cathedral which was built in the 11th century and is the burial site of several Kings. It’s only an hour from London so can easily be combined with a trip to another city on the same day.

Here is a link for more information on Winchester. To get to Winchester from London you can get the train from London Waterloo.

Canterbury

This World Heritage Site has 2 castles, 6 museums and a spectacular cathedral, with Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales having immortalised the area. Only an hour train journey from central London, this is the ideal day trip venue for people visiting the city.

Here is a link for more information on Canterbury. To get to Canterbury from London you can get the train from London Charing Cross, London St Pancreas or London Victoria.

Stratford-upon-Avon

The birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford keeps it’s building’s aesthetics akin to the era of the great bard with many of the town’s buildings adorned with black and white timber frames. A sensational place to visit and shop at with many street performers filling the streets to evoke a creative vibe.

Here is a link for more information on Stratford-upon-Avon. To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London you can get the train from London Marylebone.

Warwick Castle

A wonderful venue to visit in the summer, Warwick Castle has several dominating intact towers and ramparts surrounding its walls and is a picturesque tourist attraction. Archery, falconry and jousting each take place during the few warm weeks of the season.

Here is a link for more information on Warwick Castle. To get to Warwick Castle from London you can get the train from London Marylebone.

Cambridge

Most famous for its university, Cambridge is also the home to several gothic style College buildings that run alongside the city’s tremendous parks and grass. You can even enjoy punting along the River and the magnificent King’s College chaple is one of England’s greatest wonders.

Here is a link for more information on Cambridge. To get to Cambridge from London you can get the train from London Liverpool Street.

Oxford

Another infamously academic city and the home to one of the world’s greatest universities, Oxford is know as the “City of Dreaming Spires”. The city’s glorious courtyards and buildings have inspired generations of writers and scholars and several scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed there.

Here is a link for more information on Oxford. To get to Oxford from London you can get the train from London Paddington.

Windsor Castle

An official residence of The Queen, this castle is the largest and oldest in the world and has been a Royal home for over 900 years. Located within an hour of London, Windsor Castle is surrounded by a host of greenery and is a perfect place to witness the Windsor Changing of the Guard.

Here is a link for more information on Windsor Castle. To get to Windsor Castle from London you can get the train from London Waterloo.

Brighton

Looking for a relaxing city within a short distance of London where you can stroll along the beach, shop and drink, then Brighton is the city for you.

Here is a link for more information on Brighton. To get to Brighton on the train from London you can catch the train from London Victoria.
Needless to say all these tours can be booked through ‘The Sightseeing Tours’ website at discount proces

By Gregory Wakeman | Yahoo! Contributor Network

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Forget the Eye and the Shard, it’s old London tourists want

The Tower of London: still the main attraction, despite the Shard just across the river Photo: ALAMY

The Tower of London: still the main attraction, despite the Shard just across the river Photo: ALAMY

Cristina Odone finds that the capital’s hordes of tourists aren’t interested in the shiny new additions: it’s London’s historic sites that they’re heading to.


The capital is swarming with tourists, and two of them are staying with us. Anna and her nine-year-old daughter flew in from Florida for a week’s holiday, with no plans to see the Olympics, as tickets are too pricey. (Though now that Anna’s seen a well-placed seat at the women’s netball reduced to £100, they may reconsider.)

On their first day, as they fought with their jet lag, I produced a collection of leaflets I’d put together for them. I’d ticked every box of the newLondon experience, I felt, with brochures that covered everything from what’s on at the Southbank Centre to the London Eye and the Saatchi Gallery. But it wasn’t Cool Britannia the visitors were after. They were resolutely in search of the old-fashioned version, featuring Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and Madame Tussauds.

This was London the Prince Charles way: Beefeaters and double-decker buses rather than Renzo Piano and Damien Hirst. I was further surprised to find that Anna and Sophia were typical of the incoming hordes this summer: the Visit London guide confirms that tourists rank the British Museum and the National Gallery as their top capital attractions, while the Eye comes a mere fifth. The Shard and the Southbank Centre don’t feature.

I can’t help thinking, as our guests come home lugging mugs marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (bought on their visit to Westminster Abbey) and tea towels adorned with Big Ben (bought at the V&A), that they’re teaching me that the rest of the world still loves Britain. Its street cred may lure globetrotters with intellectual pretentions or fashionista flair, but it’s not our unique selling point as far as ordinary tourists are concerned.

Our masters, please take note: forget commissioning newfangled projects, just maintain the old attractions. It is cheaper and easier—and a lot more popular. Has anyone ever heard a tourist asking for directions to the Dome?

One visitor likely to complain about his London stay is Bruce Springsteen. Three hours into his concert in Hyde Park, the American rock star was joined on stage by Sir Paul McCartney. The audience went mad at this “first”, and the legends belted out two Beatles hits. But before they could launch into a third, those in charge turned off their sound equipment – in order not to breach the 10.30pm curfew.

Ticket-holders booed, and Springsteen’s guitarist took to Twitter to hyperventilate about Britain’s “police state”. But I say hurrah for the silence enforcers – and please, could they not limit their efforts to concerts. I’d like them to impose a noise curfew when my neighbours fall asleep with their TV at full volume, blaring out the shopping channel late into the night; and when cars with souped-up sound systems collect shrieking passengers in the small hours. As another American rock legend once crooned, oh, for the sound of silence.

• Poor George Osborne is under fire, once again, for having belonged to the Bullingdon Club. A photo surfaced this week of gorgeous George sporting a pouting pose and the distinctive (blue frock coat, gold waistcoat) uniform of the notorious university dining society. It may date from 1993, when George was young enough not to shave every day; but it is seen as a way to embarrass him now.

The Chancellor should take comfort from knowing that in Poland, they celebrate the fact that Radek Sikorski, their foreign minister, was elected to the Bullingdon. When a penniless refugee who arrives in Oxford without money or connections gains entry to the most elite society in the university, it becomes not a byword for exclusivity but the epitome of British open-mindedness.

Link Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/uk/9402313/Forget-the-Eye-and-the-Shard-its-old-London-tourists-want.html

Travel Editor
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