During the holiday season, London is aglow and abuzz imbued with local charm and festive spirits. Enjoy the holiday lights on Oxford Circus and Regent Street on the Christmas Eve Lights Tour in London led by Santa, or snap festive photos of top London attractions such as Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square.
Outside the city limits, trips to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath; Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds and Oxford; and Leeds Castle, Canterbury and Dover on Christmas Eve immerse travellers in England’s rich beauty and history for a special holiday treat. Not to be overlooked, celebrate Boxing Day (December 26) in style at Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, The Cotswolds and Oxford; at Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath; or at Leeds Castle, Canterbury, Dover and Greenwich.
For more information about sightseeing tours and activities in Europe, along with the latest BestValueTour deals, promotions and tourist tips, visit http://www.BestValueTours.co.uk, and follow BestValueTours on Twitter (@BestValueTours).
Please visit our Christmas Tour page
Best Value Tours
- Preferred Partners with Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
- Behind-the-scenes Walking Tour
- Return transportation from Central London
- Step inside and discover the actual Great Hall and Diagon Alley
- See the actual props, costumes and effects from the Harry Potter film series
- Buy a cup of frothy Butterbeer™ now
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is rated 5 stars on TripAdvisor with over 10,000 ‘Excellent’ reviews! Winner of Certificate of Excellence 2014
The Harry Potter Studio Tour provides incredible opportunity to see behind the scenes the magic of the Harry Potter™ films – the most popular film series of all time. This tour showcases a huge array of amazing sets, costumes and props. It also reveals closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects that made these films so successful all over the world.
Platform 9 ¾ and Hogwarts Express
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has expanded with a new section featuring a recreation of Platform 9 ¾ and the original Hogwarts Express steam engine! This permanent exhibit will open on 19th March and gives visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall. Scenes featuring the working train were shot at the Studios, including the iconic last scene in which a grown up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off to Hogwarts as they leave for school.
Magical Sweets and Treats
From 20th July – 6th September 2015, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London are serving up something extra special for visitors to The Making of Harry Potter – the first ever Sweets and Treats feature. Based on the films’ Ministry Munchies kiosk, learn from expert props and cake makers how both real and replica foods were made for the films, including the floating pudding and edible Gillyweed.
Here are just some of the things you can expect to see and do:
- Step inside and discover the actual Great Hall.
- Explore Dumbledore’s office and discover never-before-seen treasures.
- Step onto the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium.
- See iconic props from the films, including Harry’s Nimbus 2000 and Hagrid’s motorcycle.
- Learn how creatures were brought to life with green screen effects, animatronics and life-sized models.
- Rediscover other memorable sets from the film series, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, Hagrid’s hut, Potion’s classroom and Professor Umbridge’s office at the Ministry of Magic.
- Delve into the Dark Arts: see the Malfoy Manor fireplace and table around which Bellatrix Lestrange, the Malfoy family, the Death Eaters and Voldemort sat plus a 20-foot model of Voldemort’s snake Nagini!
- Return transportation to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London on a double decker branded bus
- Entrance ticket to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
- A wonderful day of horse-racing, food, fun and glamour
- Glorious Goodwood is one of the highlights of the British flat racing calendar
- One of the best sporting events of the year, it’s steeped in British history
- Watch world-class thoroughbreds compete for honour and big prize funds
- Entry to the Gordon Enclosure with Parade Ring access
- Travel from and back to London on a luxury air-conditioned coach
- This exclusive tour can be booked here
Goodwood racecourse has been a stalwart of British horseracing for over 200 years and Qatar Goodwood Festival, commonly dubbed ‘Glorious Goodwood’ is an incredible five days of racing, music, food and glamour. See some of the world’s most famous and competitive jockeys and horses compete, accompanied by first-class owners and trainers. An amazing sporting event, not to be missed by horseracing fans. Enjoy one day entry to The Gordon Enclosure. Inside this bustling area, enjoy Parade Ring access, standing viewing in the March Grandstand, great views near the winning post, covered seating in the Sussex Stand and access a variety of vibrant bars, food options and the prize winning Sussex Bistro restaurant. Throughout the day, enjoy access to the chilled out Lennox Enclosure, ideal for families due to a brilliant kid’s playground, plenty of food stands and sunny picnic spots. Each day offers something different:
Opening Day – 28 July 2015 The festival begins with a bang – a spectacular opening ceremony pays homage to past winners and reveals the specially commissioned 2015 trophies up for grabs over the next 5 days. Enjoy a packed programme of racing, the highlight being the £300,000 Group 2 Qatar Lennox stakes.
Sussex Stakes Day – 29 July 2015 One of the highlights of the festival is The Qatar Sussex Stakes, which for the first time holds a prize fund of £1 million. Visit the Parade Ring to see world-class athletes strut their stuff and revel in a day of sport, food and drink.
Ladies Day – 30 July 2015 Colourful fashion and a fun, vibrant atmosphere is what make Ladies Day the most glamorous day of the festival. Racing-wise, this day features The Group 2 Qatar Goodwood Cup.
King George Stakes Day – 31 July 2015 Jam-packed with exciting horsing action, this day features Group 2 Qatar King George Stakes. Spend the rest of the day watching other group races, as well as joining in with a glamorous celebration of British tradition featuring live music, food, drinks and fun.
Nassau Stakes Day – 1 August 2015 The last day of the festival features the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes with a prize fund of £600,000. As well as various other exciting races, enjoy live music from rock’n’roll bands, jazz musicians and a military band, with plenty of great food and drink available. Your luxury air-conditioned coach departs from Victoria at 9am and leaves Goodwood at 6pm.
Gates open at 11am and finishes at the last race is at 5:30pm
Admission to the Gordon Enclosure on your chosen day of the festival
Transport from London to and from the festival on a luxury air-conditioned coach.
Operating Days From 28 July 2015 to 01 August 2015
This exclusive tour can be booked here
Best Value Tours
Which building in the UK is your favourite? That’s the question UKTV have been asking viewers recently in celebration of the launch of new series Impossible Engineering. On the list such structures as St Paul’s Cathedral and Blackpool Tower (pictured) are up there with Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle…
The poll placed St Paul’s Cathedral as Britain’s favourite building according to the survey. Brits believe that Stonehenge is a greater feat of architecture and design than The Shard or Westminster Abbey. The survey was conducted to mark the launch of new TV series Impossible Engineering airing on TV channel Yesterday, Tuesdays at 9pm St Paul’s Cathedral, which was designed by Christopher Wren and survived the London Blitz unscathed, has been voted the nation’s favourite building, followed by Stonehenge and The Houses of Parliament.
“Britain is so rich with great architecture and design, so we wanted to celebrate this by finding out our nation’s favourite. Impossible Engineering looks back at the social, political and technological elements that came together so the greatest inventions of our time could be realised. The fact that so many of these historical structures broke the architectural mould when they were built shows that really great, innovative design can span generations.” – Adrian Wills, General Manager of Yesterday
UKTV’s Top 20 Favourite British Buildings
1. St Paul’s Cathedral, London 38%
2. Stonehenge, Wiltshire 30%
3. The Houses of Parliament, London 26%
4. Edinburgh Castle 22%
5. Buckingham Palace, London 20%
6. Windsor Castle 18%
7. The Shard, London 16%
8. Westminster Abbey, London 14%
9. The Eden Project, Cornwall 12%
10. Blackpool Tower 8%
11. Durham Cathedral 8%
12. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire 8%
13. The Gherkin, London 8%
14. Kings College Chapel, Cambridge 8%
15. Battersea Power station, London 8%
16. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton 8%
17. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland 6%
18. The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool 6%
19. The Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Art 6%
20. Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth 6%
To celebrate the launch of new six-part series Impossible Engineering on Tuesday 26th May at 9pm on Yesterday, UKTV commissioned a survey of 2000 British adults to find out which buildings were favoured by the nation, and St Paul’s Cathedral came out on top with 38% of the votes.
Also gracing the list were other famous London landmarks including The Houses of Parliament (26%), Buckingham Palace (20%), The Shard (18%), Westminster Abbey (18%), The Gherkin (8%) and Battersea Power Station (8%). However, the survey showed that great architecture is not limited to the capital, with Stonehenge (30%) featuring in second place, and Edinburgh (22%) and Windsor (20%) Castles close behind. More modern examples of design such as The Eden Project in Cornwall also rated highly, making the top 10 with 16% of the votes.
The study revealed that there was a correlation between which buildings we favour and which we deem to be great feats of architecture and design. St Paul’s Cathedral not only topped the list as the nation’s favourite building, but was also thought to exhibit the greatest feat of architecture. Built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, two thirds of Brits (68%) think this iconic London landmark is the most impressive feat of design in the country.
Stonehenge came in second with 30% of the votes. Built between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago, the process of its construction remains a mystery, which could explain why 56% of Britons think its design is more impressive than the likes of Westminster Abbey (38%), The Shard (36%) and The Houses of Parliament (34%).
The survey also revealed Britain’s favourite structures, with Stonehenge voted top (54%). London again proved to be a key location as Tower Bridge (40%), Big Ben (38%) and The London Eye (22%) took second, third and fourth place respectively. Clifton Suspension Bridge, which spans the Avon Gorge in Bristol, was fifth after receiving 22% of the votes.
UKTV’s Top 10 Favourite British Structures
1. Stonehenge (Wiltshire) 54%
2. Tower Bridge (London) 40%
3. Big Ben (London) 38%
4. The London Eye (London) 22%
5. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol 22%
6. Hadrian’s Wall (Cumbria – South Shields) 22%
7. The Angel of the North (Gateshead) 20%
8. Blackpool Tower 16%
9. Iron Bridge, Shropshire 14%
10. Firth of Forth 14%
Winter’s lovely but it can really put a chill in your bones. Luckily, we’ve gathered together some places where you can warm up and restore that rosy-cheeked good cheer.
Warming whisky tastings, a hot soak in a steamy spa or settling down around an open fire in a cosy pub: we’ve plenty of ideas to keep you feeling toasty.
Get out of the cold and into the wonderful warmth of a nice hot spa. Some of Britain’s best known include Thermae Bath Spa — the only natural hot spring in the UK — where you can enjoy a hot soak and look out over Bath’s historic buildings. Alternatively, grab a towel and admire the decorated Turkish-style tiles of Harrogate’s Victorian bath house beneath your bare feet as you make for the sauna.
If tropical plants are growing there, chances are it’s nice and warm: the Eden Project in Cornwall is one such hotspot. It houses the largest rainforest in captivity and it’s a green maze of jungle, crashing waterfalls and spectacular plants all growing beneath its giant geodesic domes. Most certainly a warm, tropical place to explore in the depths of winter. Up in London, you can linger among the palms in Kew Garden’s steamy Victorian Palm House, or get cosy in its rainforest area.
Winter dance festivals
Get your dancing shoes on and head to a winter festival. If you like the sound of ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dance parties pronounced “kaylees”) and traditional music, head to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival in early January for some lively dancing, duelling fiddles and the thump of hands on drums.
Provided it hasn’t been taken by a resident dog or cat, you should be able to find some premium space by the fireside in one of Britain’s traditional pubs. The Kirkstile Inn up in The Lake District is a classic country pub with log fires, old oak beams, hearty food and tasty beers, with plenty of rooms if you want to make a weekend of it. Down in Rye, the 12th-century Mermaid Inn — once popular among smugglers — has two huge lounges warmed by roaring fires, centuries of history and plenty of delicious food and drink.
While winter food markets do tend to be outside, they also tend to sell plenty of hot mulled wine, warmed country cider and lots of delicious hot snacks to keep you warm. Borough Market in London in one of the best known, while Christkindelmarkt up in Leeds is an authentic German Christmas market – be sure to try some stollen.
While we don’t recommend getting too close to anything that’s actually on fire, for obvious reasons, there are a number of fire-based winter events across Britain that might throw some stray warmth your way. Up in the Shetland Isles in January, Up Helly Aa is a great fiery Viking celebration with torch-lit processions that culminates in the burning of a Viking longship. Or, down in Northumberland, stand back as brave townsfolk run past carrying burning barrels of tar on their backs to see in the New Year.
If you ever needed an excuse to go for curry, keeping warm could be it. Britain has some of the best South Asian food in the world. Tuck into delicious spicy food at some of the UK’s premier curry hotspots, from Brick Lane and Tayyabs in London to the neon-lit eateries of Manchester’s Curry Mile.
Hole up in a kitchen this winter and indulge in a seasonal cookery course, from masterclasses on the perfect Christmas dinner to hand making chocolates. Ashburton Cookery school in Devon is one of the best known, with Pudding Pie in Banbury another tasty-sounding spot to learn kitchen-based wisdom.
A dram of whisky can’t fail to restore some much needed warmth on a chilly evening. If you’d like to discover the many different types available – to research which is the most warming, naturally – you’ll find plenty of distilleries in Scotland. Try the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh to get a range of tastes, or head for your favourite single malt’s headquarters. Glen Moray and Glen Morangie are two of our favourites.
Best Value Tours UK