Category Archives: Sightseeing Tours
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 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.
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.
- 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
For this and other exclusive London experiences visit our website – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
VisitEngland has announced the start of a new partnership project to deliver local destination marketing and thematic campaigns throughout the country.
The three-year project, ‘Growing Tourism Locally’, will generate £365 million in additional tourism spend and has been funded by £19.8 million from the government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) with contributions from VisitEngland and the private sector.
Aimed at inspiring Britons to take more holidays at home, the project will stimulate employment to grow jobs in the tourism sector by 9,100 over the three years.
The investment focuses on working directly with destinations and the private sector to create a number of dedicated marketing campaigns throughout the country that will focus on specific areas and themes.
Destination campaigns will start to roll out over the next six months while themed campaigns will begin running in early 2013 to stimulate Easter and summer holiday bookings for next year.
Themes will focus on what England is most loved for including: Heritage, Coastal, Countryside, and Culture including Sport and Literature.
Business Tourism is also to receive support from the Regional Growth Fund and will build on VisitEngland’s work with destinations to grow the value of international conferences, events and conventions.
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive said: “The RGF money is a huge boost for tourism in England.
“This project enables our public and private sector partners to work together to stimulate tourism and ultimately grow jobs throughout the country with particular emphasis on some local areas.
“This is a great time to launch and we hope that by riding on the crest of a wave of a successful London 2012 Olympic Games we will harness the swell of national pride and inspire Brits to take the home advantage and holiday at home this year and beyond.”
Best Value Tours
The Italian Job Mini Cooper London Tour.
Avoid the crowds with this truly bespoke and personal sightseeing experience around the most iconic sights in London. You will have the chance to travel in real style, as you hop into the coolest car in town, joined by your local and knowledgeable guide, ready to point out some of the most amazing stories and facts about one of the world’s most amazing cities!
With your private guide, in your exclusive groovy car, you will have the opportunity to tailor your tour to your needs and interest, requesting pick up and drop off location, specific interests, and areas of London that you want to discover. This really is the ultimate in exclusive and personal sightseeing travel!The tour will include all of the most famous sights of London, cruising through the famous areas famous across the world. You will discover Royal Parks and Palaces, the illustrious West end and its many theatres, and the Roman and Medieval London, with tales and stories to bring every part to life. Discover famous film locations, unknown stories, the best restaurants, and all the best shopping and markets.
The Italian Job Tour takes in all of London’s iconic sights: – Royal Palaces, Including Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace – London Royal Parks – Whitehall, the home to many Government buildings and history (think James Bond !) – Big Ben – Houses of Parliament – London Eye – West End London – Famous for shopping, dining and Theatre – Mayfair, Bond Street, Regent Street – for upmarket boutiques and expensive jewellers – Medieval and Roman London – with history dating back to over 2000 years – Bank of England and London’s financial district – Tower Bridge – Tower of London – And so much more
You will even have the choice of blue jumpsuits to really get you in the spirit, and you can discover where the gold bars are hidden! The Tour will last for 1.5 hours, and you have the opportunity to select a pick up and drop off location. The cars can carry up to three passengers each. You will have a knowledgeable and charming local guide ready to answer your every query, to help you get the most out of London long after your tour has finished. Step away from the crowds and experience some of the charm of the coolest cars from the 60’s.
You’ll feel like a true Londoner!
Directions Pick-up point: St James’s Park Tube Station Times
Tours depart at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 21:00 daily, subject to availability.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
Dates and Prices – £139.00 is per car for up to three people in a car. So for 2, £46.33 per person or 3, £39.50 per person
Travel Editor – Best Value Tours
If time isn’t the most important factor then travelling by bus or coach is the best and most affordable way to travel around Britain
Coach travel and Tours
Britain’s coach services are privatised and run by several different companies. Many of these companies offer special tours to popular historical destinations around the UK. For the widest selection of discount sightseeing tours – click here
Britain’s coaches are privatised and lots of operators run thousands of routes across the country. Coach travel is usually a lot cheaper than train travel, but takes longer.
The main coach companies are:
- National Express – Nationwide coach travel
- Megabus – Budget coach company famously offering £1 fares around Britain
- easyBus – Low-cost airport transfers
- Scottish citylink – Scotland’s main coach travel company
Many coach companies offer special tours to and from popular tourist destinations all over Britain. Coach tours are a great way to see the sights of Britain. They normally last for a few days and the price includes a hotel stay and sometimes discounted rates to popular attractions. Some companies offer discounts for group bookings.
Here’s a list of some UK coach tour operators:
- Andrews of Tideswell – Nationwide tours
- City Sightseeing – Open-top bus tours around Britain
- Cooks Coaches – Nationwide tours
- Original London Sightseeing – London sightseeing tours
- D-Way Travel – Nationwide tours
- Dans Luxury Travel – London sightseeing tours
- David Palmer Travel – Nationwide tours
- Karen Platt Garden Tours – Nationwide tours
- Paul James Coaches – Nationwide tours
- Scottish Tours – Scotland tours
- Scot It Scotland – Scotland tours
- Telford’s Coaches – Nationwide tours
- Trafalgar Tours – Nationwide tours
You can buy coach tickets from our online shop (National Express only), on operator websites or at coach stations. You usually can’t buy tickets on board a coach, so it’s best to buy them in advance. Tickets are often cheaper the further in advance you book them.
Public buses outside London are run by a number of private companies. They’re a great way to get around cities and towns, and run regularly.
Every city and town in Britain has a local bus service. These services are privatised and run by separate companies. For local timetables and route information, check Traveline.
The cost of a bus ticket normally depends on how far you’re travelling. Single and return fares are available on some buses, but you normally need to buy a ticket for each individual journey (single tickets only).
You can buy your ticket when you get on board a bus, by telling the driver where you’re going. 1-day and weekly travel cards are available in some towns, and these can be bought from the driver or from an information centre at the bus station. Tickets are valid for each separate journey rather than for a period of time, so if you get off the bus you’ll need to buy a new ticket when getting on another bus.
Best Value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
Grab a bargain and visit London whilst the Olympics are on. Discount flights, cheap theatre tickets, last minute sightseeing, hotels reduced by up to 70%.
(Reuters) London tourist trade suffers from Olympic effect.
Tube trips are surprisingly easy, shopping on the high street is down in central London, hotel bookings and prices are off their peak, while theatres and London cafes suffer the Olympic effect.
Economists have long warned that the Olympics may not provide much of a boost at this stage for Britain’s recession-hit economy as most of the construction work and investment has been done in the run-up to the Games. Now, early evidence appears to be bearing this out.
Warned repeatedly for months about the strain London’s transport system would experience with the expected arrival of 11 million visitors to the Games, Londoners and the usual non-Olympic seasonal visitors appear to have vanished from the underground train system, the shopping districts, theatres, hotels and abandoned other traders who benefit from tourism.
The British government’s budget watchdog OBR pointed out in March that some visitors may cancel or delay trips to London in order to avoid the crowds and potential travel disruptions.
“Given the uncertainties and the relatively small size of any possible effects, we assume that, apart from the ticket sales effects, the Olympics will not have a material effect on the quarterly path of GDP,” the OBR said.
Britain’s government is trying to boost foreign investment and stimulate the private sector, while keeping to a strict austerity budget, and hopes the Olympic Games – the first to be held in Britain since 1948 – will showcase Britain as a business destination.
Prime Minister David Cameron hopes that will help assuage critics who see the 9.3 billion pound (14.5 billion) cost of hosting the Olympics as too expensive given Britain’s strained finances.
London’s much criticised public transport system, the busiest in Europe, won early gold for easily carrying a million spectators through an unusually quiet early rush hour on the first full working day of the Olympics on Monday.
Travellers said buses and trains were working surprisingly smoothly with only a few hiccups, confounding dire forecasts of a transport meltdown in a city once notorious for slow trains, late buses and incoherent delay announcements.
London’s transport bosses expect an extra 3 million journeys per day during the Games on top of the usual 12 million, an Olympian test for an underground train network whose infrastructure in parts dates back to 1863.
“I’ve noticed how easy it has been to travel. With the influx of one million people for the Games, it’s made me wonder, where are they?” Paul Richardson, a 37-year-old photographer, told Reuters on Monday at London Bridge, which the authorities had warned commuters to avoid.
WORKING FROM HOME
Part of the lighter load has come from those office workers who have been instructed or allowed to work from home while the Olympics are on.
Consultancy firm KPMG told Reuters that it expected some 50 percent of its 5,500 staff in London to work flexibly at some point during the Games.
“That could mean working from home, or a different office, or varying hours,” a KPMG spokesman said.
Most theatres in London’s West End have not seen traffic increase or fall for advanced August bookings and shut down last Friday to avoid clashing with an opening Olympic ceremony, which starred Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Society of London Theatre President Mark Rubinstein told Reuters on Tuesday.
He said the anecdotal evidence was that there seemed to be a lot of people on the streets of London, but much of the seasonal London tourist traffic seems missing from the West End.
“There’s been fewer people buying tickets on the day,” Rubinstein said.
Britain’s two biggest airports said they had seen no significant increase in the number of passengers flying abroad while Eurotunnel said outward bound bookings on Channel Tunnel trains were slower than usual.
More than 10 million people braved torrential rain and then scorching summer temperatures to see the Olympic flame on its 8,000 mile (12,870 km) journey across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, according to Games organiser LOCOG.
Only one in 10 travellers is leaving London to avoid the Games, according to a survey by the Association of British Travel Agents. Seven out of 10 Londoners were even looking forward to the Games, the survey showed.
“Numbers taking holidays at this time are fairly consistent with past years,” said ABTA spokeswoman Victoria Bacon.
“While some have chosen to forgo a summer holiday during the Games, these have been balanced by those wanting to get away,” she said.
That statistical and anecdotal evidence contrasts with the doomsday predictions by some of the British media that Londoners would flock to foreign shores to avoid the security checks, crowds and chaos of the Olympics.
Retailers in central London have also reported disappointment with the Olympic effect so far.
Jace Tyrrell, spokesman for New West End Company, which represents more than 600 retailers, property owners and businesses in central London, said they expected a change in trading patterns, but that advice from Transport for London (TfL) warning commuters may be working better than intended.
“TfL’s advice in terms of capacity on the network has almost been too successful,” Tyrrel told Reuters, adding that shopper numbers were down but there were more high-spenders in the British capital.
“We need to change the messaging there, in terms of there aren’t the difficulties on the network that we thought there would be.”
However, retail areas near the Olympic Park such as the vast Westfield shopping centre at the entrance were booming.
John Lewis, Britain’s biggest department store group, said its store at Westfield Stratford, which borders the Olympic Park, saw sales double in the week to July 28.
Other London tourist attractions also complained that there has been a 30 to 35 percent drop in visitor numbers at the height of their summer high season, when schools are out and many people take their vacations.
Bernard Donoghue, chief executive of The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the body representing London’s top tourist attractions such as the London Zoo, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey said the statistics apply to overseas and domestic visitors.
“We and all of our members are incredibly positive about London and Britain hosting the Olympics not least because the tourism legacy of hosting the Olympics and having that global TV advertisement for Britain to the world’s largest TV audience will be brilliant for British tourism in the long term.”
HOTELS AND CAFES
Hotel wholesaler JacTravel said room rates are back to normal levels, as an early peak in prices has faded as LOCOG returns previously booked rooms to the market and as the Olympic Games deters normal London tourists.
Restaurants and other hospitality business owners such as cafes have also been bemoaning the quiet streets of London.
“It is very quiet,” said Duli Konjuhi, who runs a coffee stall right at the exit of Aldgate tube station in London’s City, the old banking district, where usually bankers and office workers line up for their after-lunch shot of caffeine.
“For us the Olympics are negative,” he said. “One of my friends, who runs a car wash near-by, said he made just 60 quid yesterday.”
An elderly British man, finishing a meal at a near-empty restaurant in the central Russell Square area where hordes of media catch coaches to Olympic venues every day asked the head waiter: “Where are all your customers?”
The waiter explained that many Londoners were working at home or avoiding the city for the duration of the Games.
“It’s a disaster for us,” he said.
Article link: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/uk-oly-london-day4-pix-idUKBRE86U1GB20120731
Travel Editor – Best Value Tours
Discount Sightseeing Tours, Hotels, Theatre Tickets – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
Free London attractions
London is packed with world-famous attractions, from royal palaces and historic landmarks to museums, galleries and street markets. And the great news is loads of them are free. Let’s start with the iconic landmarks. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye – you can see all of these without spending a penny (but you will have to pay extra if you want to snoop around inside the Abbey, Buckingham Palace or the London Eye).
Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Turner Prize pieces, a dinosaur gallery and life-sized blue whale – they all live in London, and you can see them all for nothing. London is home to over 300 museums and galleries, and many of them offer free admission. Don’t miss the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and theV&A Museum. If you’re with the family, take the kids to the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum for a day packed with giant artefacts and hands-on experiments.
In the mood for a romantic stroll, a run or a picnic in the sun? Head to one of London’s 8 Royal Parks. Beautifully landscaped and completely free, they’re the perfect place to unwind. You’ll probably stumble across some of the city’s best attractions too – Kensington Palace is tucked away in Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace is perched on the edge of Green Park and Greenwich Park is home to the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum.
West End on a shoestring
Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on London’s world-famous West End theatre scene. If you’re after cheap theatre tickets, head to the official tkts booth in Leicester Square where you’ll find the best seats in theatre at half the normal price. And don’t worry about being palmed off with fakes – tkts is operated by the Society of London Theatre, the industry body that represents London theatres.
If half price theatre tickets are still stretching your budget, we’ll let you in on a little secret. Every night, The Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square offers standing tickets for 10p. But you have to be quick, these are first-come-first-served and there are only 8 of them available each night.
The secret to getting around London on the cheap is to do it like a Londoner. So make sure your first purchase is an Oyster card – it’s the fastest and cheapest way to travel around London by public transport.
If you’re travelling like a Londoner, you won’t need to shell out for an organised bus tour. Hop on the top deck of a London bus for a whistle-stop tour of the city’s sights at a fraction of the price. Here are some of our favourite sightseeing bus routes:
- Number 11 from Fulham to Liverpool Street, taking in the fancy King’s Road and Sloane Square, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and ending up at the trendy Shoreditch
- Number 24 from the leafy Hampstead Heath to Pimlico, via Camden Town, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Westminster
- Number 74 from Putney to Baker Street, calling at South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, Marble Arch and Baker Street.
As you wander around London, you’ll come across bike racks with bikes for hire. These are part of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, known as ‘Boris Bikes’ to Londoners (after the mayor, Boris Johnson). They’re easy to use and a great way to see the city without getting on a bus or tube. Simply use your debit or credit card to pay a small access fee for a bike, then take it out for a ride! You’re charged for the time your bike is checked out of the dock, but if you dock your bike at any Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme dock within 30 minutes of the last check out, you won’t be charged a usage fee. Find out more about the scheme and costs at the Barclays Cycle Hire website.
How to eat cheaply
Forget the Michelin starred restaurants – if you’re looking for the best food in London, head to the markets. Portobello Road, Camden, Greenwich, Spitalfields and Brick Lane markets offer a great range of cheap and delicious street food from every corner of the world. A treat for your tastebudsand your wallet.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat cheaply at night, head to the nearest high street, where you’re sure to find chain restaurants like Pizza Express, Café Rouge, Wagamama, GBK and more, all serving tasty food at very reasonable prices. But don’t overlook the independent local restaurants, many of them run great value meal deals to compete with the bigger chains.
Believe it or not, there are several excellent campsites within striking distance of central London. You can save a huge amount by camping in the capital and it’s more convenient than you might think. Try Abbey Wood campsite in south London near Greenwich, only 35 minutes by train to the centre, or Crystal Palace Caravan Club that’s on a bus route to Oxford Street. Camping is also a great value option if you’re visiting for the London 2012 Olympics.
We cannot know yet what these Olympics will bring us, not in the full sweep of the greatest sports spectacle on earth, but tonight you could feel the weight of all the possibilities
It is always the same when we come to this moment of the Olympic Games, this flaring of hope that something unflawed and unforgettable is in the air and it doesn’t really matter where it finds us, whether it is in some foreign place or, as on a rain-smeared evening such as tonight, in our hearts and our home.
This is the time when the fear and the agonising stops and when the blood races with the anticipation of great deeds. We cannot know yet what these Olympics will bring us, not in the full sweep of the greatest sports spectacle on earth, but here you could feel the weight of all the possibilities — and the yearning of a people, somewhat battered in recent years, let us be honest, that this might just be a time to make another mark.
These, certainly, where the stirrings among the crowd of 62,000 when the Red Arrows pierced the dusk and Bradley Wiggins, Britain’s first winner of the epic Tour de France, stood in front of the Olympic bell in his yellow jersey and raised his arms to the moist and darkening sky.
There was a superb energy in that moment, a rippling of pride, and as Danny Boyle’s £27m Opening Ceremony show began to unfold with beautiful pace and superb imagery, as a pastoral scene turned into a broiling evocation of the Industrial Revolution, it was as though they might be a new and original Olympics.
It is true that there is something of this about all Olympic Games, even one as bad as Atlanta in 1996, when the traditional compliment of the president of the International Olympic Committee that they were great Games was pointedly withdrawn, because in Georgia they did have Muhammad Ali igniting the cauldron after being picked out by a spotlight that made the heart of the world stand still for a moment. Atlanta also had Michael Johnson running in his golden shoes like some ebony Greek god and Carl Lewis winning yet another gold medal.
What the Olympics have, in their formal, cyclical way, is renewal, a wiping-away of the past and a huge investment not so much in the future but the moment. There has been much argument over legacy, of the value of a £9bn-plus investment in circus in these straitened times, but you had to be a brave and resilient polemicist last night to argue this points too strenuously as the excitement began to swell.
This was especially so when it became clear that Boyle, the maker of Slumdog Millionaire, had won his own gold medal on a fraction of the budget that enabled the blockbusting spectacle of Beijing.
The Queen, having consented to a showbiz invitation from James Bond to take a helicopter ride, arrived to thunderous applause, to be greeted by Jacques Rogge, the Olympic president, who had earlier pushed a maybe fragile national pride up another notch by declaring that Britain had virtually invented modern sport.
For the moment, certainly, it had brought a blast of pleasure and exhilaration which you knew would soon enough be powerfully augmented by the arrival of so many icons from the sports fields of the British past.
As the night wore on, speculation on the identity of the man who would ignite London’s Olympic cauldron became ever more intense.
We knew that David Beckham, whose celebrity if not significant connection with the Olympics had been used so freely in the bidding victory over the favourites, Paris, would make some kind of cameo appearance but finally, seven young athletes of the future were put in charge of the flame by Sir Steve Redgrave, who was also joined in the ceremonials by Daley Thompson, double gold winner Dame Kelly Holmes, long jumper Lynn Davies, swimmer Duncan Goodhew, pentathlon winner Mary Peters and sailor Shirley Robertson.
The seven young torchbearers then ignited a tiny single flame, triggering the ignition of 204 copper petals carried into the stadium by the athletes. The long stems of the cauldron then gently rose towards each other and converged to form a single “Flame of Unity”.
This was a charge of anticipation which will be increased soon enough with the appearance of the titans of today, the men who bestride modern sport and who will be at centre stage of these Olympics.
Usain Bolt, who assuaged growing concerns about his fitness to run in the great race of these Games, the 100m dash he dominated so sensationally in Beijing four years ago, carried the flag for Jamaica.
Jamaica had Bolt, America had Michael Phelps, the tall American swimmer with the huge wing span, who by Tuesday night might well have the greatest haul of gold medals, 21 of them, in Olympic history.
This is the magnetism of the Olympics – and such is the prize Lord Coe, the winner of two Olympic gold medals at the classic distance of 1,500m in Moscow and Los Angeles, stole from beneath the noses of Paris seven years ago in Singapore. The promise was of an inspiration to the youth of the world, and new generations of young Britons long starved of proper sports facilities, and no doubt there will be many who will seek to hold him to that in the future.
But that is the future, something that seemed quite remote in the brilliance and light which came to a neglected, some would say abandoned, corner of east London last night.
The show we were promised, as always, is one of compelling spectacle – and last night it was easy to feel the thrill that every four years comes to new ground – or in last night’s case revisits old terrain.
We do not know yet how well Great Britain will do, whether the man who carried the flag, Sir Chris Hoy, will build on his three gold medals won in Beijing or whether Wiggins will reproduce the glory he found so recently in France. The roll call of heroes has not yet begun and there can be no certainty that it will include even the men who caught the eye so strongly last night, the prodigious Phelps, the extraordinary Bolt.
There are so many other men and women eager to find their moment this English summer and last night they flooded into the light. They were received with something more than mere respect. They were saluted as those who for the next two weeks will explain why it is that the Olympics simply march on and on.
Full article: JAMES LAWTON http://www.independent.co.uk
Best Value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Best value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
BestValueTours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk