Category Archives: Whats on London
London twinkles over the winter time with an array of magical Christmas light displays to brighten up your Christmas shopping trips.
Every year the lights have a different theme. For the first time in five years the world famous Christmas lights in Oxford Street will undergo a glittering transformation inspired by snowflakes. While at Greenwich the switch on will be accompanied by a lantern parade.
Watch this space: http://www.visitlondon.com/tag/christmas-lights
See the city at its most dazzling when London switches on its Christmas lights
We’re a little way off from hearing which ‘celebrities’ and pop ‘artists’ will be flicking the switch to light up London’s high streets this Christmas and when they’ll do it, but when we do know, we’ll update this page. In the meantime, satisfy your festive decoration cravings with our gallery of lights from Christmases past.
If you are visiting London this Christmas make sure you join a special festive sightseeing tour.
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St Patrick’s Day is on 17 March but you’ll find special events taking place in London throughout the week.
The St Patrick’s Day Parade takes place every year in London. It involves marching bands, floats, street theatre and more. All 32 Irish counties are represented, dressed in their traditional county colours. Other parade participants include members of London’s Irish community and other Londoners.
This year’s parade takes place on 17 March, beginning at 12 noon in Piccadilly. It then proceeds to Trafalgar Square, where you can enjoy the free St Patrick’s Day Festival until 6pm. Look out for The Puca, a giant inflatable dragon, winding its way through the streets during the parade.
The Trafalgar Square festival celebrates Ireland’s culture, including a wide range of traditional and contemporary dancing; a comedy tent hosted by the London Irish Comedy Festival; a film tent showing film shorts by Irish filmmakers; and a food market with the chance to sample produce from the Emerald Isle.
Other St Patrick’s Day Events in London
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated across the capital, with parties in many London pubs and bars. Expect green decor, traditional Irish drinks and lots of fun!
You might also find a special menu or two at London’s restaurants.
More About St Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick is one of the patron Saints of Ireland and the day is traditionally celebrated with a feast. St Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland.
St Patrick’s Day is also celebrated all over the world, by people of both Irish and non-Irish descent
Sightseeing Tours of Ireland departing from London or Dublin: http://bestvaluetours.co.uk/ireland-tours
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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.
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.
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 !
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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.
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:
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There are plenty of opportunities to soak up the festive spirit for free around Britain, beginning with a stroll down almost any street from late afternoon, when the Christmas lights twinkle and shop windows are filled with fantastic displays. London’s most elaborate decorations attract big crowds to Regent Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street (mid-November to early January); while in Edinburgh, the city’s Norwegian Christmas Tree will light up on 26 November (see http://www.edinburghsparkles.com/christmas for the city’s full Christmas calendar). The world’s tallest Christmas tree to be made out of Lego was built out of 400,000 bricks at St Pancras International in London last year, and this year the station promises an equally stunning surprise showpiece.
Winter is a great time to bring the family to Britain, and many children have learnt to ice-skate against the picturesque background of Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum or Edinburgh’s dramatic skyline at East Princes Street Gardens. This year Kew Gardens will also be home to a Santa’s Grotto, with Winter Tree Tours, a vintage carousel and roasted chestnuts to conjure the festive atmosphere (www.kew.org). Nature-lovers should go to Longleat, the popular safari park in Wiltshire, where they’ll find a huge outdoor ice-rink as well as Britain’s biggest singing Christmas tree! It stands at 50 feet tall and is decked with almost a million multi-coloured lights. The park’s usual attractions remain open, including a Safari Drive Adventure that takes you up close to the animals in Jungle Kingdom (www.longleat.co.uk, 16 Nov – 9 Dec, then 14 Dec – 7 Jan 2013).
Highlights of this year’s Southbank Winter Festival include dark comic cabaret, candlelit classical concerts and baby opera. These will run alongside a programme of free events, which include choirs singing by the river and gigs in the Royal Festival Hall foyer. Visitors can join in the fun, dancing in The Clore Ballroom, making Christmas cards and presents, and eating plenty at the the Real Food Christmas Market and Chocolate Festival (www.southbankcentre.co.uk, 16 Nov – 7 Jan).
Wales is known for its food festivals, and this year a festive market will be taking place at the iconic Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (www.wmc.org.uk), along with markets in Caerphilly Castle and Abergavenny, the food-festival capital of Wales. Cardiff Castle will play host to Victorian Christmas Tours, which promise ‘a real flavour of Christmas past’ (www.cardiffcastle.com).
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are united in Dickens’s famous A Christmas Carol, and their story told in Scrooge The Musical, which will play in London’s West End from the end of October. The same man behind the special effects in Harry Potter is behind special illusions for the show, so it’s guaranteed to wow (www.londonpalladium.org/scrooge). The holiday season in Britain wouldn’t be complete without The Nutcracker, and the English National Ballet’s new version is part of Tamara Rojo’s first season as Artistic Director. It shows in Southampton at the end of November before moving to London’s Coliseum (www.ballet.org.uk). While The Nutcracker is an old favourite, new play The House Where Winter Lives looks set to enthral children at the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, East London, which will be transformed into a magical frozen forest: children and their families will explore the wonder of winter in an immersive storytelling adventure (www.discover.org.uk).
For more grown-up fun, the Winter Cinema at The Berkeley Hotel in London is one of the season’s most exclusive and cosy events. Classic winter films will be shown on the hotel’s rooftop high above Knightsbridge, while guests snuggle up under Moncler blankets and sip home-made hot chocolate and mince pies (www.the-berkeley.co.uk, 26 Nov – 31 Jan). The cinema is open to anyone during the week, but reserved to guests over the weekend. Another sumptuous place to stay – and visit – is Waddesdon Manor, in Buckinghamshire. The National Trust property is stunning at any time of year, with turrets worthy of Harry Potter and sumptuous interiors, but in winter is particularly beautiful. Each year the Christmas decorations have a different theme and for 2012, as in previous years, they will reflect the five European countries where the founding sons of the Rothschild dynasty (who bought the Estate) made their fortunes, with England as the focus this year. London’s great sights – Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s column are outlined in the Oval Hall, great English writers Dickens and Shakespeare are celebrated and a Christmas feast fit for Victoria and Albert will be laid out in the White Drawing Room (www.waddesdon.org.uk).
London and UK Chrsitmas Tours: http://www.bestvaluetours.co.uk/tour-of-england/london-uk-christmas-tours
Travel Editor – Best Value Tours
THE World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is set to open doors once again from November 5-8 at ExCel, London. Reed Travel exhibition director World Travel Market Simon Press highlights some of the new initiatives in store for exhibitors and buyers this year.
Over the years, WTM has witnessed an increase in the number of exhibitors registering for the event. How has the response been this year?
World Travel Market has gone from strength to strength in recent years, visitor numbers have outperformed expectations year on year even with the global economic downturn. The numbers are a testament to the importance of the event in the calendar of more than 47,000 global trade professionals who attend WTM.
There has been an excellent response to registration this year, with pre-registration figures currently ahead of the equivalent point this time last year. We expect that these strong pre-registration figures will convert into actual attendees at WTM 2012 in a few weeks’ time.
Which exhibitors will make their debut this year?
We have a number of exciting new exhibitors making their debut at WTM in 2012; leading car hire agency, Autorent Car Rental, a Dubai based company has operations that stretch across the Middle East. UK based luxury car rental company; Season Car Hire also comes to WTM for the first time this year, with some exciting plans for their stand at the show.
Can we expect to see a strong delegation from the Middle East too?
As in previous year’s we are again seeing a strong contingent of exhibitors from the Middle East represented at WTM 2012. There is a strong presence from tourism authorities, hotels, resorts and attractions from the UAE especially, as the industry looks to the prosperous Middle Eastern market as an area for growth.
Abu Dhabi signed a three year Premier Partnership deal with World Travel Market covering WTM 2010, 2011 and 2012. Abu Dhabi is booming in terms of hotel and resort openings and visitor arrivals. We’re delighted to see our strong partnership is reaping rewards for the destination and looking forward to helping it showcase its latest developments.
What was the need for an extra Speed Networking Event this year? How can WTM Meridian Club members make the most of this?
After the phenomenal success of our Speed Networking sessions over the past here events, it was decided that, new for 2012, World Travel Market is introducing an extra Speed Networking session on Thursday 8th November. This newly incorporated session will offer Meridian Club members a final opportunity to network, generate new business deals and ensure their business opportunities extend beyond WTM.
More than 200 (204) buyers and 438 exhibitors took part in the Speed Networking the Monday morning of WTM 2011. The event took place before the exhibition opened to give exhibitors and buyers from the WTM Meridian Club even more time to discuss and conclude business deals. It hoped that this strong attendance is replicated at WTM 2012.
For Meridian club members attending this event, to make the most of this opportunity, the best advice would be to research exhibitors in attendance and scope out early those of interest; have an agenda and make sure your intentions and objectives are clear.
What are the emerging trends at WTM this year?
World Travel Market is at the forefront of industry insight and opinion, providing a unique platform on which global trade professionals can find out about the latest trends and issues impacting the industry from leading industry figures.
As pre-empted in our strengthening WRTD programme at WTM, the on-going challenges of implementing responsible tourism practises is likely to remain high on the agenda for 2013. Although support in the industry is already strong, more active participation in initiatives promoting this cause is needed.
The importance of technology and social media in the sector is becoming increasingly relevant as internet usage increases, both in mature and developing online markets. We see the return on the extremely popular Social Travel Market programme taking place on November 7 and 8.
With the launch of WTM Latin America have participants from the US reduced this year? Looking ahead, what is your strategy to ensure that does not happen?
WTM Latin America is targeted at the booming Brazilian and Latin American travel and tourism industry. It is estimated that the number of tourists travelling to Latin America will increase by 5.2 per cent a year to more than 55 million in 2021 from just over 33 million in 2011. The event will fuel the growth of tourism within the region, and make the industry aware that Latin America is one of the most important and emerging tourism destinations in the world.
Due to the scale and importance of World Travel Market, it was never felt, in launching WTM Latin America, that it would pull focus away from WTM in London.
Global trade professionals come to WTM not just to network and conduct business with more than 5,000 exhibitors under one roof, but also for our unparalleled events programme lead by industry experts.
“I am delighted that the amount of business conducted at World Travel Market continues to increase, firmly positioning WTM as a must-attend exhibition for national and regional tourist boards, global brands and technology companies”
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The days are getting shorter, the mornings are getting colder and the trees are getting barer. Fall has arrived, bringing the onset of Halloween with it, and there are plenty of attractions around the UK where you can indulge your fondness of a fright, your taste for terror and your soft spot for some spookiness.