Category Archives: London attractions

The best place for afternoon tea in London announced by The Tea Guild

After extensive anonymous research, The Tea Guild judges reveal their choice for the best place to try afternoon tea in London in 2013.

The Goring Hotel, this year's winner of The Tea Guild's top London afternoon tea Photo: Richard Booth

The Goring Hotel, this year’s winner of The Tea Guild’s top London afternoon tea Photo: Richard Booth

Various authorities provide differing guides on where you can sample London’s best afternoon tea (in fact, here’s the Telegraph’s pick of London’s 10 best afternoon teas) but one that is always taken seriously is that of The Tea Guild. Part of The UK Tea Council Ltd, which is a non-profit, independent organisation dedicated to raising the profile of tea in the UK, the guild names one venue as the purveyor of London’s best afternoon tea each year; for 2013, the honour has been bestowed on The Goring Hotel.

Now in its 28th year, The UK Tea Council’s Tea Guild Awards are decided by a panel of judges who sample afternoon teas throughout the capital and country anonymously. Venues are judged for décor, crockery, standards of service, ambience and, most importantly, the quality of the tea itself and how it is served.

The Goring Hotel by Buckingham Palace was singled out by judges after gaining a near perfect score, with the dexterity of the venue drawing particular praise – guests can enjoy tea by a fire in miserable weather, or dine al fresco should the sun shine. Praise was also given by the judges for the offering’s “elegant surroundings, faultless presentation and friendly, efficient and knowledgeable staff.”

Previous winners of the accolade include The Athenaeum Hotel (2012) and
Claridge’s (2011). This year, The Tea Guild continues its tradition of awarding
other impressive venues Awards of Excellence. Among those commended for their
afternoon tea offerings this year were Brown’s Hotel, Claridge’s, Fortnum &
Mason, InterContinental London Park Lane, The Ritz and The Wolseley. The guild
will announce its choice for Top City & Country Hotel for Afternoon Tea and
Top Tea Place in the UK later this week

By : The-best-place-for-afternoon-tea-in-London-announced-by-The-Tea-Guild

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Britain Climbs Up World Tourism Ladder

Anyone thinking of visiting the UK will be pleased to hear that the country has recently jumped a number of places in the World Economic Forum tourism ladder, which assesses each nation based on the number and quality of cultural destinations and activities on offer.

London eyeBritain now ranks third in the world for cultural resources, which takes into account World Heritage sites like Stonehenge, Canterbury Cathedral and the City of Bath, as well as international fairs and other entertainment opportunities.

Hotels in London have been bursting to capacity over the past twelve months as the capital hosted a number of world class events including the Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, both of which have helped to create top class organisational skills within the country’s cultural entertainment industry, meaning many more events could be to follow.

Posted by Becky Spence (Superbreak)

Best Value Tours of London and Britain

What’s New in Britain for 2013

What’s New in Britain for 2013

From special anniversaries to cutting edge exhibitions, enticing attractions to mouth-watering musicals, the hottest hotel openings and brand new events for your travel calendar, VisitBritain presents its guide to What’s New in 2013 across London, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.This is GREAT Britain

Download What’s New in Britain for 2013 now.

So – what’s new in Britain?

2013 is a year of GREAT anniversaries. The 200th birthday of the publication of Pride and Prejudice will celebrate Regency Bath and Austen’s Hampshire as much as the timeless tale of wit and romance between Darcy and Elizabeth; while the 60th anniversary of the Royal Yacht Britannia coincides with the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. It’s the perfect time to visit the Britannia – the only place you can sneak a peek into Her Majesty’s bedroom.

2013 is a year of GREAT events. The Year of Natural Scotland will celebrate all that’s exciting about the great outdoors making it the best time to explore the country’s rugged landscapes and beautiful scenery. Meanwhile the first UK City of Culture will be Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland, tipped as one of the top 10 places to visit in 2013 by Lonely Planet. Join in a year-long programme of world-class music, art, dance and sports events, and discover a vibrant new visitor destination.

2013 is a year of GREAT culture. On stage Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw (aka M and Q in Skyfall) star in new play Peter and Alice; Helen Mirren reprises her role as The Queen in The Audience; and the award-winning play War Horse tours the UK, starting in Devon, where the original book is set. The Welsh National Opera takes on Madame Butterfly, Berg’s Lulu and Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen while fans of musicals will be happy with Hairspray at the Wales Millennium Centre and Wicked, which tours the UK in Autumn.

For art lovers there’s Lichtenstein at Tate Modern in February, The Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber at Hampton Court Palace, Vikings! at the National Museum of Scotland, a retrospective on David Bowie at London’s V&A and lots more fantastic exhibitions throughout the year.

2013 is a GREAT year to bring the kids to Britain. With a new Children’s Literature Festival in Cardiff, the launch of the £3.6million Tiger Territory at London Zoo and the tastiest musical of the year, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – directed by the man behind Skyfall, Sam Mendes – there’s plenty to keep children entertained in 2013.

2013 is a year of GREAT attractions. From 1 February The View from Shard will be a new must-do for visitors to the capital, while iconic and ancient attraction Stonehenge will benefit from a dramatically improved visitor experience, opening in Autumn.

Plus, read about exciting hotel and accommodation news: the opening of the much-anticipated Shangri-La at The Shard, restored castles in Wales Ruthin and Glandyfi and a new Malmaison in Dundee opening next year ahead of the arrival of a new V&A in Dundee, due to open in 2015.

Click here to download the complete What’s New in Britain for 2013.

In addition to fantastic new openings, don’t forget Britain’s GREAT annual events. Download VisitBritain’s guide to 2013’s annual events calendar here.

Visiting the U.K in 2013 ?- Plan ahead and save money !
http://www.bestvaluetours.co.uk

Best Value Tours
Travel Editor

Christmas Eve Sightseeing Tours. Visit Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

Without a doubt, Christmas is the most stressful time of the year; the pressures of shopping, preparing food, and everything else. But most could be forgiven so long as we are with our loved ones this special holiday.

It is the perfect time to spend with your family or friends over delicious, traditional foods and treats. While most would contend with the hustle and bustle of majestic London, there are plenty of destinations out of town for an invigorating trip to history, elegance, royalty, and tradition.

StonehengePhoto

Make this Christmas one to remember by leaving the capital and head west. On Christmas Eve, walk around the royal town of Windsor and see the mysterious rocks of Stonhenge as you feast on a delicious lunch before admiring the Gregorian architectural splendor at Bath.
With little traffic on the roads, you’ll arrive on the delightful town of Windsor in no time. Visit the home of Queen Elizabeth II in the world’s largest and oldest castle, Windsor Castle. Built high above the River Thames, it has been a royal residence for over 900 years and is where the Queen and Royal family traditionally spend Christmas. Marvel at its lavishly furnished surroundings that are used for State occasions to this day. On display inside the castle is Queen Mary’s world famous Doll’s House. You can also visit St. George’s Chapel, where the tombs of numerous kings and queens reside.
The day’s much anticipated highlight comes next as you stop for a delightful lunch near Stonehenge.Feast on a delicious meal as you step back in time overlooking the beautiful surrounding. After lunch, wander around the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge. The monument first took shape 5,000 years ago and its purpose has been the subject of an abundance of theories.
Continue to the slopes of the River Avon and discover the beauty of Bath. Known for its Gregorian architecture, Bath was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It also houses the Roman Baths, hidden from view until 1870. In Roman times a great Temple was built next to the sacred spring and the waters were believed to have healing properties that attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire.
If getting away from the metropolis is not your priority, there are several Christmas Tours in London that you can join in. London night tours are a “must see and do”. The famous landmarks of London all light up in the night sky making them look even more outstanding than during the day. Through the Sightseeing Tour London, you’ll be able to witness the magnificent attractions in their celebratory boldness.
The richness and amplitude of these spectacular locations contribute a large degree in adding glamour to this festive season. There are so many things to see and do on Christmas Eve in London and the whole of UK. So, if you are planning to be here this time of the year, book your tickets now and have fun at Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

Christmas Tours from London can be booked here:
http://www.bestvaluetours.co.uk/tour-of-england/london-uk-christmas-tours

Travel Editor
Best Value Tours

Planning your trip to London. Tourist Tips.

Planning your trip to London
There’s one hell of a lot to do in London some basic planning will avoid unnecessary trapsing around on foot or irritating waiting for public transport. It’s best to plan a day out so as to maximise the number of things you can see – and to go for variety. Below are a few mornings, afternoons and whole days out we’ve arranged for visitors – time permitting, we can offer advice by Email (tourist@sightseeingtours.co.uk)  if there’s anything you particularly want to see. Our Walks and itineraries link points of interest – see the separate page.

Planning by length of stay – if you’re only in London for a day, a weekend or a week use our SHORT STAY pages where we show you how to cram as much into your days as possible.

Weather – likely to make or break your visit. Although there are plenty of things to do in London in the rain, a week of low slate-grey skies and constant rain is not condusive to having a good time. The best season to come weatherwise is Late Summer or Autumn – latterly we’ve been having Indian Summers from mid-September to the end of October with clear blue skies and 20 degree temperatures. Eventually the weather breaks as the storm fronts move in off the Atlantic, then clears up for Christmas. February – April can be dire, and the heights of summer are very unpredictable. Consult the Meterological office here for facts and figures but beware predictions – they are so often wrong.
When it’s raining there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit – and the tube system is generally very good outside of rush hour. What you’ll miss out on is strolling through London and seeing the many unique pleasures by the wayside. Click here to see when to visit London.

Hotel Location Best to be near a tube station, buses can be slow and unreliable, and taxis expensive. The yellow circle line on the tube map marks the division between central and not-so-central London. Outside of that Zone your transport bill will rise – and once you’re in LT zone three, considerably. The best restaurants are in Islington, Soho/Chinatown and the south west of London which is where the life is. The City is a dead zone evenings and weekends. Hotel accommodation click here.

Combining Attractions

Baker St tube, Madame Tussauds, walk north to Regent’s Park, the Zoo, then up Primrose Hill, Primrose Hill ‘village’ to Chalk Farm (or cut through Primrose gate by the zoo and along the canal towpath to Camden Lock) and Camden Market (weekends only), Camden Town tube, on a weekend. 4-5 hours.

Train Waterloo – St Margarets, walk 10 mins to Marble Hill House, 5 mins to the foot ferry to, Ham House, walk 25 mins along river to Richmond, tube to Kew Gardens,& back to Waterloo – (can be heavy on the admission charges) Afternoon.

Freemason’s Temple on Great Queen Street, 10 mins from the tube, Covent Garden market, Transport Museum in the Piazza, Backstage tour of Theatre Royal Drury Lane at the back of the transport museum, walk 10 mins to the Strand, the Law Courts and the Inns of Court. Three hours. Circuit round Covent Garden tube.

Tottenham Court Road tube, 10 mins walk to the British Museum, 10 mins walk south to Sir John Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Inns of Court – starting at Lincoln’s Inn, walk 10 mins to the strand and the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House & Galleries, Charing Cross/Strand. (3-4 hours, depending on how long you stay in the British Museum, Inns of court best weekdays)

Charing Cross tube, 5 mins walk to the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, 5 mins walk down Whitehall to Horseguards, 10 Downing St and the Cabinet War rooms. 10 Mins across St James Park to St James’ Palace, Green Park tube. 3-4 hours.

Westminster tube, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey. 10 mins walk along the river to Tate Britain, Pimlico Tube 2 hours

High St Kensington tube, 10 mins walk to Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, 15 minute walk to Notting Hill, 10 minute walk to Portobello Road market (Saturday – 3 hours) Notting Hill Gate tube.

Old St or Liverpool St tube, 15 min walk/or by bus to Geffrye Museum 10 minute walk to Colombia Road Flower Market, 10 minute walk to Brick Lane, then to Spitalfields Market, Liverpool St tube (on Sundays, 11:00-1500, including lunch)

South Kensington tube, 5 minute walk down tunnel to Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria And Albert Museum, 10 minute walk to Harrods. Knightsbridge tube (for a rainy day)

Queensway or Bayswater tube, hire Skates on Queensway, skate down to Albert Memorial, and thence to Kensington Palace and back to Queensway, exploring the park. Circuit.

Oxford Circus tube, Oxford Street (west half of), St. Christopher’s Place, Wallace collection, Bond Street, Burlington Arcade, Royal Academy. Green park tube.

Waterloo station/tube, London Eye, River walk, Oxo tower, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, London Bridge station/tube. 3 hours. See also our walks section.

Tower Hill DLR station/Bank tube, Island gardens DLR station, 10 minutes walk under the foot tunnel, Cutty Sark, Greenwich market, Naval Academy, 10 mins walk to the Queen’s House, Royal Observatory, 15 mins back to Greenwich Pier – boat back to Tower Hill – 4 hours.

Monument tube, Monument, 5 mins to Leadenhall Market & Lloyd’s Building, 10 mins walk to Tower of London, St katherine’s dock, Tower Bridge, Shad Thames. Tower Hill tube. (3 -4 hours)

Mansion House tube, Mansion House, 10 mins walk to Guildhall Art gallery, walk round back of Guildhall up the walkways through the Barbican, Museum of London, 10 mins walk to St Paul’s Cathedral, St Paul’s tube. 4 hours.

Leicester Square tube, Leicester Square, Wardour St, walk through Chinatown to Charing Cross Rd, north to Cambridge Circus, along Old Compton St and Brewer Street through Soho, tp Piccadilly Circus, up Regent Street to Liberties, turn right to Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus/Oxford Circus tube. (1-2 hours)
London Attractions – click here

Rest of Britain

Virtually everyone flies into London, even if their reason to visit lies elsewhere. Booking a train trip from London to see the rest of the UK is best done AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE – very cheap fares are available, especially on Virgin Trains – as little as £9 return to Chester 2 weeks or more in advance.

Outside of London the major places of interest (apart from those listed on our trips page) would be the Cotswolds (for which you need a car), North Wales: Snowdonia and the Castles (ditto), Oxford, Cambridge, Chester, York and Bath (easily accessible by train), and we’d recommend the North of Norfolk and the Yorkshire Dales (car needed). In Scotland, Edinburgh is the only city attraction – flights are very cheap on Easyjet (much cheaper than rail travel) if you book in advance. For scenery visit the Fort William area, but beware the midges in summer, and the weather in winter. Cornwall and the Devon coast are beautiful, but a long way from anywhere and quite tourist – you can fly there using the cheap internet airlines – cheap if you book enough in advance. No city except London merits more than one day.

So many tourist boards will bombard you with information trying to sell themselves – caveat emptor is the rule. Britain earns millions of pounds from tourists, make sure you get good independent advice on places outside of London before you even think of visiting them . Many tourist boards have been caught lying and taken to court, and one Chief Tourist Officer of a large northern city resigned because he could no longer go on lying – his city really wasn’t worth visiting despite the tourist propaganda his department put out One seaside resort has been prosecuted for doctoring photos and the 2007/8 season ads for Scotland featured snow footage that was decades old and unlikely to match the reality, due to global warming.

We wouldn’t recommend Manchester (except the Lowry), Liverpool (except for the art galleries – see our art page) despite it being city of Culture, Birmingham or anywhere in the Midlands (except for Chatworth House near Chesterfield), The Lake District ( very beautiful but too crowded unless you’re going hill walking which is excellent – if you are stay at the Gilpin Lodge and do some of the set walks, but allow two/three days minimum.), Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Newcastle (unless you like drunkenness) South Wales except the Black country or the Gower Penninsula, Blackpool – or any seaside resort except Brighton, Portsmouth, The Isle of Wight (expensive ferry) Aberdeen, Inverness (the Lochs excepted), Lancaster or Sunderland (except Hadrian’s Wall). Some of these places are grim by any standards.
If you’re a party animal only, then Manchester has a good club scene and Newcastle is good for overindulgence in alcohol and loose women, as well as streetfights – it’s where the Rolling Stones’ ‘Streetfighting Man’ comes from… A male friend was beaten up by some Geordie lasses outside a nightclub, so maybe streetfighting women as well.
The Knowhere site is good for info on smaller tourist locations, but is aimed at skateboarders – its judgement on the overall character of a place is often spot-on – though generally they’re not a very helpful bunch .
Tours of Britain departing from London – Click here

Travel editor
Best Value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk

THE LONDON SHARD: THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD EXPERIENCE

We are delighted to include this new experience for 2013.  Introducing The View from The Shard London’s newest and most eagerly awaiting attraction opening to the public on 1st February 2013.

The Shard, LondonThe View from The Shard
The View is a premium visitor experience situated at the top of The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe on floors 68, 69 and 72. It is almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London.

The Shard is London’s newest landmark, designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano. At a height of 1,016ft (310m) The Shard redefines London’s skyline and will be a dynamic symbol of the city, recognisable throughout the world.
The name ‘Shard’ comes from its sculpted design, which consists of glass facets that incline inwards but do not meet at the top, but instead open to the sky to allow the building to breathe naturally.

The View from The Shard will provide an unparalleled encounter with The Shard and the opportunity to experience London like never before, with spectacular 64km (40 mile), 360 degree views of the city, 244m (800ft) above the capital. Guests will be taken on a multi-sensory journey from street level, drawn into the diverse tapestry of London in new and unexpected ways, resulting in a remarkable experience of one of the greatest cities on earth.

The Experience 
Visitors will reach The View from The Shard through high-speed ‘kaleidoscopic’ lifts, which build anticipation, excitement and exhilaration.
Guests will arrive at Level 68 before ascending to The View on Level 69, a triple-height, light-filled main level where the view is revealed and London past, present and future is laid out before them and brought to life in multimedia displays and installations.

On Level 72, the highest public level of The Shard, guests have the most extreme experience exposed to the elements and sounds of the city beneath, as well as the chance to look up to the shards of glass that form the top of the sculptural building as they disappear upwards further into the sky.
Guests exit via a small boutique on Level 68 prior to descending in the lifts back through reception where they will have an opportunity to browse the main boutique as well as purchase a souvenir photograph.

The Shard will be complete externally in July 2012 and tickets for The View from The Shard go on sale from July 2012. The attraction is anticipated to attract 1 million visits a year.

The View will be open from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm to enable guests to enjoy the experience by day and night.

Highlights:

  • The View from The Shard combines the fantastic experience within the galleries but also offers the highest view in London
  • You will reach The View from The Shard through a two-stage, state-of-the-art lift experience with music and light effects, which build anticipation excitement and exhilaration
  • The View on level 69, a triple-height, light-filled main level where the view is revealed and London past, present and future is laid before you like you’ve never seen it before.
  • The View on Level 72, the highest public level of The Shard, guests have the most extreme experience exposed to the elements and sounds of the city beneath

From £24.95

For this and other exclusive London experiences visit our websitewww.SightseeingTours.co.uk

Top five day-trips out of London

Here are five top escapes to add a different flavour to your London visit.

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

What celebrated wit Samuel Johnson said in the eighteenth century is still true today. But after a few days in any major tourist city, it makes sense to mix things up with a day-trip out of town.

1. Paris

It might seem a crazy idea but now that you can reach the French capital by Eurostar train in just over two hours, travelling at 300 kilometres per hour, a day-trip is eminently possible. You can have a full English breakfast on the train and pause for mid-morning croissants when you arrive before dropping into the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay to see some priceless art.

Then enjoy a lingering French lunch, complete with a glass or two of wine, before spending the afternoon at the exciting Pompidou Centre or meandering around Montmartre. You’ll still be back in London in time for a warm pint! Fast 1 Eurostar trains leave from the new St Pancras terminal in the heart of London.

2. Bath

Heading west from London, you can reach this genteel, historic city in just 90 minutes by train from Paddington. As a World Heritage site, with over 5000 of its buildings protected, Bath has more than enough attractions for a full day-trip. Its main drawcard is the astonishingly well-preserved Roman baths, fed by Britain’s only natural hot springs and giving an intriguing insight into life 2000 years ago.

 

The city is also noted for its splendid Georgian architecture, with the Royal Crescent, a curving street of Regency mansions, the finest example and famous for its connection with writer Jane Austen, who lived in Bath during its early nineteenth-century heyday. With many specialist and antique shops squirreled away among its narrow lanes, Bath is also great for shopping. Finally, if you’re worn out by sightseeing, book into the brand new Thermae Bath spa, taking advantage of the same springs that drew the Romans.

3. Windsor-Upon-Thames

Windsor’s proximity to London and magnificent eleventh-century castle, which crowns the hill above the elegant riverside town, make it an excellent day-trip. In fact, there is so much to see within the grounds of the fortress, from the grand state rooms where the Queen hosts state banquets through to its priceless art collection and the changing of the guard in summer, that you could spend a day visiting just that.

But Windsor has at least 10 other historic sights, including the Christopher-Wren-designed Guildhall and Eton College, founded in 1440, where Princes William and Harry were educated.

Windsor’s other great attraction is its location on the River Thames. From Windsor Bridge you can take a short boat trip or stroll along the towpath and soon reach open countryside. Back in town, Windsor’s riverside restaurants and pubs are very inviting, especially on summer evenings. Trains run regularly to Windsor Central from London Paddington, journey time 35 minutes.

 

4. Brighton

Okay, Brighton’s pebbly beaches and grey seas can’t compare with our own beautiful coastline. But if you are feeling boxed in by landlocked London, Brighton is the best option for a seaside antidote. These days it is an increasingly refined city in its own right, with a flourishing arts scene, including an Artists Quarter where you can buy locally-produced paintings and crafts and European-style pavement cafes galore. Clear the cobwebs by heading first to the revamped seafront for a stroll along the promenade (check out the elaborate Victorian lampposts) and visiting the famous pleasure pier.

Brighton was recently named best city to eat in outside London in the Remy Martin restaurant awards, so make sure you have time for lunch or an early dinner somewhere like the Gourmet Fish and Chip Company at the marina.

The one attraction you simply cannot miss is the Royal Pavilion, an outlandish fusion of Indian, Chinese, Russian and Gothic architecture and interior design and possibly Britain’s most beautiful building. Built for the young George IV in the late eighteenth century, this is an intensely opulent, atmospheric place where the royal would host 36-course dinners for visiting dignitaries. With trains travelling back to Victoria (journey time one hour) until late, you’ll still have time before heading back to London to visit the collection of little shops in the Lanes, behind the seafront, and to enjoy a taste of Brighton’s thriving nightlife.

 

5. Oxford

Aptly nicknamed “city of dreaming spires” because of the ancient university that dominates it, Oxford simply drips with tradition and history, with many of its colleges dating back 700 years. The city is also compact and ideal for walking around.

Many colleges are free to enter, so it is easy to get a feel of how idyllic it must be to study here. The grounds of the central New College, off Hollywell Street, are among the most captivating, especially in summer, with their neatly trimmed lawns, flowers and internal cloisters. But other colleges like Trinity and Magdalene, which has its own deer park, are also lovely and surprisingly expansive.

Oxford also has some outstanding museums, including the Ashmolean, which has a large collection of art and archaeological artefacts.

No visit to Oxford would be complete without a go at punting — pushing a long narrow boat down one of the city’s rivers, the Cherwell or the Isis, using a long pole. Finally, quench your thirst in an atmospheric pub like The Bear, dating to 1242 and one of the oldest inns in England. Oxford is 50 minutes by train from London Paddington.

Link: http://travel.ninemsn.com.au/world/london/655113/top-five-day-trips-out-of-london

Travel Editor:
Best value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk

 

Private Guided Tours for the 2012 Olympics

Tours in the area of the games

London’s professional BLUE BADGE TOURIST GUIDES can take you on a guided tour of the Olympic park area with views of the main sites for the 2012 Games.

Venues right across London and beyond will be used for different sports, however most events will be concentrated in the 500acre/200ha new Olympic Park in East London.

Our tours will show you how this former industrial part of London has been transformed into a green corridor, connecting the River Thames and the beautiful new Thames Barrier Park, through the Olympic Park, to another large area of sport, leisure and nature – the Lea Valley.

Construction in the Olympic Park is now complete and ready for the Opening ceremony on 27th July. Various test events have already taken place in the different venues, trees have been planted across the parklands and you will view some of the iconic Olympic buildings from the perimeter of the park (no admission to the interior of the park).

Discover the history of London’s Royal Docks, as you travel to the Boxing, Judo, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Table Tennis and Taekwondo venue. View the North Greenwich Arena, venue for Artistic Gymnastics and Basketball finals.

Cross the River Thames to the Shooting in Woolwich and picture horses jumping in front of the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, set in its splendid Royal Park. Enjoy the panorama from the Old Royal Observatory above.

You can experience any of the above by car, coach, public transport or on foot.

Spend a day or half a day visiting the Olympic venues, or fit an Olympic briefing into your East London or Greenwich sightseeing tours. We can also plan tours with emphasis on particular sports or urban regeneration, and engage specialist guides to provide technical information.

http://www.tourguides2012.co.uk

Travel Editor
Best Value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
Private Guided London Tours

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

BestValueTours = www.SightseeingTours.co.uk

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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