Category Archives: Cambridge

Ctrl – V Experience in Waterloo, Ontario

As soon as we knew that we are going to CTRL-V we were so impatient that could not wait for 8 pm! The dinner took so long… Finally at 8:10 pm we arrived at Ctrl-V  – Canada’s first virtual reality arcade that was opened in Waterloo just recently.                                       We walked in the first set of doors… First the parents  had to sign the waver for safety reasons… after the wavers we watched the helpful demonstration video… and finally were ready to start!                           My first game was “Climbey”.  I had a tutorial, also the staff helped me to figure out walking and climbing techniques.  After playing “Climbey”, I choose a game where you pick a song and with your controllers you bump to the beat of the song – I chose “Shake it off” By Taylor Swift. It was a good exercise. My  about an hour experience felt like ten minutes…

By Anna Sophia

Family trip to African Lion Safari, Hamilton, Ontario

African Lion Safari, Hamilton, Ontario

African Lion Safari first opened its doors to the visitors in 1969 and since then went through a lot expansions and animal additions… About 6,000 visitors come here daily to see the exotic animals that are roaming free in the fields or just enjoying the warm summer day in their artfully created habitats on land and water.

To start our visit we boarded the “African Queen” boat that took us around the island where we saw monkeys jumping in the ropes and multiple birds such as vultures and pelicans.  One of the spots was taken by two lemur families. The boat operators told us about animals routine and some funny life stories…

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

The boat came back to the pierce and we decided to take a bus that goes to African savanna . We had to enter through the specially designed gate system that allows buses and cars to safely go in and out of that area. “Keep your arms and heads inside, no windows opening”…. The bus tour goes through multiple enclosures  each housing different wild animals.  We are surrounded by lions,  then  we pass by cheetahs… We got to see many mountain goats as well as rhinos and many giraffes…

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

The best part of the bus tour was visiting the giraffes, they came up very closely so we had around four of them circling around the bus, one of them even licked the bus mirrors. It is quite a spectacular view  – one of them gracefully approaching our window, the other is in the front of the bus… oh, one more is in the front!

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

Following the bus tour we went on the ”Nature Boy” scenic railway, the tour lasts around fifteen minutes. On the way we got to see the elephants habitat, a donkey and many turtles that came out of the pond for summer sun. It was a nice way to give our feet some rest and enjoy the fresh air coming from the lake and trees…

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

 

Elephants Bath time was now up, so we headed to the lake to see them coming gracefully – leading was a large male elephant and then smaller ones – females and young siblings. Elephants got in the water, it looked like they are walking on the bottom of the lake – but no, some places are deep and they do have to swim, sometimes we could only see the very top of the head and the trunk… they had some fun time splashing and spraying each other; later rangers came and started throwing apples to the elephants – which was a lot of fun for all!!

Elephant swim
A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada
A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

It was a hot day – we would not mind to go for a plunge too – and we could at the Safari’s water park area – however, we were quite hungry and went to the cafe to have lunch…. We had to say goodbye to all the animals big and small before heading of to our next destination.

By Jonathan K.

 

 

Toyota Cambridge Assembly Plant Tour

Toyota Visitors Centre
Toyota Visitors Centre

Toyota Cambridge Assembly Plant Tour

It all started with the usual long, one-hour drive out of Toronto, but soon we were there. As we headed in to the visitor centre we discussed our first impressions. Inside the centre we found many exhibits of the Toyota history and models of the past and present. After a short safety video in the conference room we made our preparations to step in to the factory.

Toyota Plant Tours in Canada
Toyota Plant Tours in Canada

As we began the tour we immediately took note of the extreme cleanliness of the factory. Sadly though visitors and employees are not allowed to bring any of their beloved personal electronics into the factory (no selfies), we are not able to show you the amazing robots and technology that were within the factory. Shortly after we climbed in to the trams that would drive us around the plant. The first stop was the west stamping area where they would take massive sheets of steel and use a multi-ton weight to stamp them (these where not in action when we were there).

 

Informative Free Tours to Toyota Plant near Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
Informative Free Tours to Toyota Plant near Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada

The stamper had to be supported by concrete to prevent a mini earthquake every time they where in action. After, we visited the main assembly where we saw cars hanging above us as they were coming fresh out of paint, soon we headed to the west weld where the 10 thousand pound “Godzilla” robot moved multi ton cars around. The welding section impressed us with 600 separate robots. After seeing the sparks fly, we headed down to the final assembly line where the cars are started up for the first time. This one-hour super informative trip felt too short as we headed through the final corridor and back to the visitor centre. We where impressed that the Toyoda family built up from being a automated sewing business.

You can arrange the Free tour only week in advance by visiting TMMC.ca webiste or by phone:(519) 653-1111 x 2270 Keep in mind no walk in tours. Printable map of TMMC

Downloadable Toyota Tours brochure

GREAT Value: 10 Free, Affordable and Unique Tours in Britain

6724There are so many free or affordable walking tours to choose from in Britain, delving into subjects from literature and art, to music and LGBT heritage. Get your walking shoes on!

  1. Charles Dickens walk around London – Free App

Follow the author’s footsteps around London with this app. You’ll be guided by GPS with suggestions for pubs along the way. Approximately two hours, search for ‘Walking with Dickens’ in the app store. www.dickenslondontours.co.uk

  1. The World Heritage Site Audio Tour of Bath, England – Free

Take yourself on a journey through Bath’s captivating sights, such as The Royal Crescent and Assembly Rooms. The tour comes with a free route map and 12 chapters/audio files. www.visitbath.co.uk

  1. Shakespeare Tour of Stratford upon Avon, England – $12 (£6)

Walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps where he was born and buried. Highlights include the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church. Approximately two hours. www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk

  1. Banksy tour of Bristol, England – $18.50 (£9.20)

Fans of provocative artist Banksy will love this street-art tour. What’s special about this tour is that the guides live and work in the local street art community. Approximately two hours. www.wherethewall.com/tours

  1. Food tour of East London – Pay What You Want

Eat like a king while spending only a few pounds. Sample samosas, taste the fish and chips voted ‘Best in London’ and peruse the hippest food trucks. Approximately two hours, suggested sampling cost $20-30 (£10-15). www.freetoursbyfoot.com

  1. LGBT Heritage tour of Manchester, England – $16 (£8)

Follow the stone rainbow flags to discover 200 years of LGBT life. Tour includes Mantos, the Gay Villages first openly gay bar and the statue of Alan Turing, the World War 2 mathematician persecuted for his homosexuality. Approximately 2 hours. www.manchesterguidedtours.com

  1. Mural Tour of Derry, Northern Ireland – $8 (£4)

Derry is divided culturally by hundreds of years of conflict by opposing religions. This historical tour explores the artistry and religious and political statements. Plus there’s free tea or coffee! Approximately one hour. www.derrycitytours.com

  1. Fear and Loathing in Cardiff tour, Wales – $12 (£6)

Wandering among Cardiff’s glorious gothic revival architecture, this tour takes in treachery, torture, execution, war, battles and piracy. Approximately two hours. www.cardiffwalkingtours.com

  1. Musical tour of Glasgow, Scotland – Free

Tour Glasgow to a soundtrack that features interviews with bands like Mogwai. You’ll find Franz Ferdinand’s Chateau and discover Glasgow’s cool underground scene. Download the tour through the Guidigo app and search for ‘Walking Heads.’ Four walks, all approximately one hour. www.walkngheads.net

  1. Rebus tour of Edinburgh, Scotland – $20 (£10)

Ian Rankin explores contemporary Edinburgh in his best-selling crime novels. Led by entertaining and knowledgeable guide Colin, the tour takes in locations featured in the books. Approximately two hours. www.rebustours.com

For more deals and discounts visit the VisitBritain Shop: https://www.visitbritainshop.com/

Info provided by:  Cathy Stapells

Born to rule – explore the castles and palaces where royal British children spent their childhoods

Sandringham Estate holds many memories for the Royal Family. It is a favourite retreat of The Queen, and the late Princess Diana was born in a cottage located in the estate’s extensive grounds. Prince Charles had many childhood adventures at Sandringham House, the much-loved royal retreat, which is a beautiful place to visit. It’s only a short trip from King’s Lynn station, itself around a two-hour train journey from London. www.sandringhamestate.co.uk

Both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born at Buckingham Palace and it is still where notices of Royal births and deaths are attached to the railings for members of the public to read, despite news likely to appear via social media first! The announcements of the births of both the new princess and older brother Prince George were made there, presented on an easel just inside the gates that thousands of visitors flocked to see. The Palace, located in the heart of London, is open to the public for several weeks in the summer. www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/buckinghampalace

Glamis Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother and the birthplace of her second daughter, Princess Margaret. Built in the late 1300s, and just a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh, the castle still belongs to the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, yet is also open to the public. There are regular scheduled tours, several exhibition rooms and beautiful gardens to visit. www.glamis-castle.co.uk

Windsor has a vibrant royal history, especially where young royals are concerned! Y Bwthyn Bach, also known as The Little House, is a miniature cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge. The Little House was presented to Queen Elizabeth (then Princess) on her sixth birthday and the Queen’s children and grandchildren have played in the house over the decades, although it isn’t open to the public. However, located to the south of Windsor town centre, Windsor Great Park is a well-loved and popular recreational retreat for many families, and has views of Windsor Castle (which you can visit). Windsor is also home to LEGOLAND, where you can see a miniature version of Buckingham Palace, home to The Queen!
www.theroyallandscape.co.uk/gardens-and-landscape/windsor-great-park, www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle, www.legoland.co.uk

The first Tudor King of England, King Henry VII (born Harri Tudor), was born in Pembroke Castle, in south-west Wales in 1457. The castle is a historical landmark and was restored to its original glory in the mid-1900s. A must-see when visiting Wales, its exhibitions and guided tours offer a fascinating insight into Britain’s history. Be sure to enjoy a cup of coffee on your visit; the castle’s café is rumoured to have the best coffee in Pembrokeshire! www.pembroke-castle.co.uk

Edinburgh Castle, perched high on the hill over the Scottish capital, was the birthplace of King James VI in June 1566. As well as an interesting tour of this Royal Palace where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only child, James, visitors will experience The Honours of Scotland, which are the nation’s crown jewels. www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

GREAT ways to save on Britain! Spring 2015 News

GREAT ways to save on Britain

Your cash travels further with these value-for-money options

Toronto (February 24, 2015) – Pack your bags for the trip to Britain you’ve always wanted. With excellent value-for-money options, you really can make your cash go further and indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of British cities, explore the glorious countryside and tour the castles and stately homes you’ve only seen on film and television.

Here are top ways Canadian visitors can see as much of Britain for as little as possible:

Buy before you go: Many offerings are available on www.visitbritainshop.com for travellers to buy in Canadian dollars before they leave Canada. Visiting London? Save on the Visitor Oyster Card. This pay-as-you-go smartcard can be used on all public transport in London. A tube journey costs $4.47 (£2.30) with Oyster or $9.32 (£4.80) with cash giving users a 50% discount. The card also provides exclusive discounts and offers at top restaurants and shops. Also save on The London Pass, which provides visitors access to 60-plus attractions including Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. Visiting just three top attractions in a day can save you $38.83 (£20). It also saves time as it grants priority entry, moving you to the front of the line.

And for theatre buffs, the VisitBritainshop.com ticketing service for London’s renowned theatre saves you up to 60% on your tickets on a selection of the biggest musicals, comedies, dramas, classics and family-friendly West End favourites. Dinner and a show packages are also available saving you more on a complete night out in London. Can’t make up your mind before you get there? Visit TKTS, the official London Theatre ticket booth located in Leicester Square, for daily discounts. You can also save considerably by purchasing standing stalls tickets such as those at The Globe Theatre from $9.71 (£5) and for the English National Opera from $19.41 (£10).

World-class museums and galleries: You don’t need to spend a penny to soak up some of the best of British culture. Entrance is free to many major museums, not just in London at the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery and Tate Modern (celebrating its 15th anniversary this year), but step beyond the capital to save in other fabulous cities. If you are in Edinburgh for the festivals in August, don’t miss the Free Fringe. It offers hundreds of free events and is a fantastic opportunity to watch innovative performances from music to comedy to poetry recitals (http://freefringe.org.uk). Discover more about Scotland’s natural history and its ancient cultures at the National Museum of Scotland, which recently underwent a multi-million pound redevelopment. (http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/).

Countryside charms: The National Trust Touring Pass allows unlimited access to over 300 stately homes, gardens and castles for $46.60 (£24) (for seven days) and children under 5 go free. Enjoy the ease of unlimited rail travel throughout England, Scotland and Wales with the BritRail GB Flexi pass. Days do not have to be consecutive so you are free to change your travel plans as you please, and no need to stand in line for tickets. Enjoy huge savings compared to buying individual tickets for each journey. BritRail passes must be purchased before you leave Canada, as they are not available in Britain. This year marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John and his barons. Destinations across England will celebrate the anniversary of this iconic charter for outlining the ideas of freedom, democracy and rule of law with six new tourist trails, www.magnacartatrails.com

On the trail of GREAT food: Britain offers a delicious array of food and drink, from Michelin-starred restaurants to modestly priced gastropubs. Explore the countryside along outstanding food trails in popular regions such as Yorkshire and Cornwall, as well as Wales and Scotland to meet local producers, sample seasonal produce and experience the freshest ingredients. Scotland is celebrating a year of food and drink, and you don’t have to pay top money to get some of the tastiest offerings. The buzz in Glasgow is along Sauchiehall, a great place to head to for some excellent food at terrific prices. Cocktail & Burger is a cool basement bar and restaurant, offering $9.71 (£5) lunch deals (http://www.cocktailandburger.com/), while further down the street, if you want to upgrade to a steak, head to the Butchershop Bar & Grill (www.butchershopglasgow.com). In Edinburgh, you can find fresh, seasonal, local, sustainable and homemade dishes for less than $19.41 (£10) at Bia Bistrot, (http://www.biabistrot.co.uk/). Also with a strong focus on local and British ingredients is The Dogs gastropub in the city centre you’ll find lunchtime feasts of haggis and Cumberland sausage hash with whisky sauce and beef burger with black pudding for less than $13.59 (£7) (www.thedogsonline.co.uk). The 100% vegetarian, fair trade and organic, Milgi in Cardiff is a unique venue that is a restaurant, a bar, a café, a gallery, a music venue – and aims to offer customers good prices; try the vegetarian Sunday lunch for under 17.47(£9), join in ‘art club and curry’ nights for $12.62 (£6.50), while every third Sunday of the month Milgi holds a $1.94 (£1) market for some bargain shopping (www.milgishopping.com).

Northern cultural renaissance: Whether you’re a football fan or a history buff, Manchester’s free museums are a must including the National Football Museum, the Manchester Museum, the Imperial War Museum North and the People’s Museum – where interactive exhibits relate a 200-year tale of British democracy (www.visitmanchester.com). Beatles fans will want to visit locations that inspired John, Paul, George and Ringo…and can do so for free! Soak up the electric atmosphere in The Cavern – the venue where it all began for The Beatles – during the day or Monday to Wednesday evenings when there is free admission, and head to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields for those must-do photo opportunities (www.cavernclub.org). There are plenty of other Beatles-specific visitor attractions such as the Beatles Story or the National Trust joint tour of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes – these are both ticketed (www.beatlesstory.com, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatles-childhood-homes). And Liverpool will be central on May 25 to the 175th anniversary of the Cunard Line when the Three Queens (Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria) meet there to salute the city, http://www.cunard.com/campaigns/anniversary-cruises/175-celebration/

About us
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain and for developing the UK’s visitor economy.
Canadians made 744,000 visits to Britain in 2013 and spent $966 million CAD (£531 million) – making Britain the fourth most popular outbound destination overall for Canadians and the second most popular long-haul destination.
Visitors traveling to Britain can find out more information fromvisitbritain.complus purchase money and time saving local transport, sightseeing, attraction, theatre and tour tickets fromvisitbritainshop.com.
Follow us on Twitter@VisitBritain,Pinterest(Love GREAT Britain), Instagram:lovegreatbritainand Facebook:LoveGREATbritain

Cathy Stapells
PR & Communications Manager – Canada

BRITAIN’S STAR QUOTA GROWS, AS NEW MICHELIN GUIDE IS PUBLISHED

Visit Britain

BRITAIN’S STAR QUOTA GROWS, AS NEW MICHELIN GUIDE IS PUBLISHED

27/09/2013 12:08
Octopus olivo at Lima London

The establishments featured in the Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland 2014 were announced yesterday, with an additional four new starred restaurants for Britain compared to last year, and some interesting newcomers having been granted the esteemed accolade.

Highlights include the first Peruvian restaurant to gain a star, London’s Lima, a star for Story in London’s Bermondsey, which has only been open five months, a star each for restaurants in Bristol, Birmingham, Cumbria and Jersey and a bump up for Heston Blumenthal, whose restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal went from one to two stars.

Taking it from the top, there was no change in the restaurants with the utmost prize of three stars, awarded to establishments deemed as having ‘Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey’ – these were Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, both in London, and The Waterside Inn and The Fat Duck both in Bray, near Windsor. Bray has long been known as a slice of foodie heaven in Britain, also home to The Hind’s Head, Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred restaurant, and with another Michelin-starred pub The Royal Oak close by.

Heston Blumenthal racked up his quota of Michelin stars, making it six that the inventive chef now holds since his latest opening Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which celebrates Britain’s culinary heritage, went from one to two stars.

Perhaps the most interesting stories surround the newly crowned one star restaurants. Lima’s Michelin star cements the Peruvian food trend as a firmly established part of the British food scene. It wasn’t the only global cuisine on the list though – two Chinese establishments got a star – HKK in trendy Shoreditch (which launched last December) and Bo London in Mayfair.

Michelin judges clearly have an appetite for quirky restaurants, granting Story in Bermondsey – an up and coming area of London– its first star only five months on from its opening. Head Chef Tom Sellers created a menu based on childhood experiences and dishes – featuring a Three Bears’ Porridge with ‘one too sweet, one too salty and one just right’. Another hot chef of the moment, Jason Atherton, got a star at his Social Eating House in fashionable Soho; anyone keen to experience more Atherton cooking should head to brand-new hotel the London Edition features the brand-new Berners Tavern, with Jason at the helm.

Two London seafood restaurants gained a star as well – Angler in the uber-cool South Place Hotel, and Outlaw’s at the Capital, the London outpost of seafood-chef Nathan Outlaw, whose Cornwall restaurant retained its two stars in the roundup as well (www.nathan-outlaw.com).

Outside London, West Midlands’s city Birmingham restaurant adam’s gained a star, which is timely given that the city recently launched its ‘Birmingyum’ marketing campaign to highlight the diverse and delicious food offerings you’ll find there (from the Balti Triange to Brum Yum Yum, a new pop up street food collective; Birmingham is just over an hour by train from London). Jersey (in the Channel Islands) may be well known for its potatoes, but now not just produce but its restaurant Ormer by Shaun Rankin has been recognised with a star –Rankin has spent 18 years on Jersey promoting its gastronomy, and it’s paying off (he gained his first star there in 2005 at Bohemia).

Up north in Cumbria, in the north west of England, The Samling, a luxury hotel in the Lake District, also got a star for its restaurant; the hotel also won the title of ‘Best Dining Hotel in the World’ at the annual Boutique Hotel Awards.

Bristol’s wilks, described as ‘an unpretentious neighbourhood restaurant’, also got a star, and ticks the new trend towards cuisine that relies less on meat and fish to wow its guests – the restaurant lets vegetables, herbs, fruits, cereals and aromatic spices play key roles. It’s more affordable than many Michelin-starred restaurants, with 3 courses for £19 at lunchtime, and a £26 vegetable tasting menu. Bristol, is south west England, is 1 hour and 20 minutes by train from central London.

Talking of affordability, the Bibs Gourmands were also announced, the award which recognises those establishments offering good food at affordable prices (the limit being £28 for three courses). Another vegetable-focused establishment, the newly opened Grain Store in London’s Kings Cross, got a Bib Gourmand, as did trendy Polpo in Smithfield for its Venetian bacaro inspired menu. The 26 new Bib Gourmands cover a lot of the UK, ranging from Edinburgh (Galvin Brasserie de Luxe) and Belfast (Coppi and Home) to Lancashire (Hearth of the Ram) and Cornwall (Tolcarne Inn). Altogether there are now 132 Bib Gourmands in the UK, with the Felin Fach Griffin pub a fine Welsh example, located between the dramatic Black Mountains and lush Brecon Beacons.

Editor of the Michelin Guide, Rebecca Burr, said “We have never produced a GB & Ireland guide that provides our readers with such diversity and variety. Fantastic B&Bs, wonderful pubs, stylish hotels, world class restaurants and great value eateries – we have them all in our guide.

“In the last year we’ve seen the rise of relaxed counter dining but also the opening of some big brasseries. Dining is becoming a less structured, less formal affair and opening times and menus are more flexible to reflect the way we live our lives. Single concept restaurants focusing on one or two dishes have also continued to open.

“The Michelin guide has always reflected what’s out there and London in particular has never offered so much choice – there really is something for everyone and for every occasion and there appears to be no end to the number of exciting new restaurant openings. With cuisines and culinary influences from all parts of the globe, it’s no surprise that the capital is one of the most exciting cities in the world for food.

“We’ve seen internationally acclaimed chefs open restaurants over here but we’re also delighted to witness the rise of the next generation of talented British chefs and the continued evolution of British cooking.”

Assets

Octopus olivo at Lima London

Octopus olivo at Lima London

Social Eating House

Social Eating House

Tony Fleming, head chef at Angler

Tony Fleming, head chef at Angler

Lima London

Lima London

HKK dining room

HKK dining room

Lychee wood roasted Peking Duck at HKK

Lychee wood roasted Peking Duck at HKK

The HKK DimSumTrilogy

The HKK DimSumTrilogy

CONGRATULATIONS CANADA & WELCOME TO WATCH THE RUGBY WORLD CUP IN ENGLAND IN 2015

Visit Britain

CONGRATULATIONS CANADA & WELCOME TO WATCH THE RUGBY WORLD CUP IN ENGLAND IN 2015

26/08/2013 09:06

 

 

TORONTO, August 26, 2013 – VisitEngland congratulates Canada on its Rugby World Cup qualifying match win on Saturday, August 28, 2013 at Toronto’s BMO Field. The national tourist board for England also invites Rugby fans to visit the country for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, taking place in England in September and October 2015.

Will Canada continue its winning streak in the 2015 RWC? Visitors are encouraged to take in the action across England as pool matches against teams such as France and Italy unfold in some of the country’s top cities including Leeds, Milton Keynes and Leicester. Meanwhile, Canada’s first match, against recent rivals Ireland will take place in Cardiff’s iconic Millennium Stadium in Wales. Rugby enthusiasts and novices alike are invited to enjoy what promises to be a spectacular series at some of the UK’s most iconic rugby venues.

To plan your visit, go to www.visitengland.com.

Your guide to the host cities in England…

One of Yorkshire’s most cosmopolitan cities, Leeds is renowned for its fascinating museums and cultural offerings, impressive country houses and as a gateway to the North of England. Nearby attractions not to be missed include West Yorkshire gems like Harrogate spa town, the preserved industrial village of Saltaire – a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, and exhilarating national parks; the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Reachable by the Leeds Country Way footpath, stately home Harewood House features spectacular Capability Brown landscapes, flamingos in the bird garden and impressive grand chambers. In the city centre, Leeds Art Gallery boats sculptures by Yorkshire-born Henry Moore and intriguing armour and hunting weapons can be viewed at Leeds Royal Armouries.

In vibrant Leicester visitors can enjoy some of the most adventurous outdoor pursuits in the East Midlands, as well as top notch curry. The opportunity to abseil, kayak and whiz along a 100-metre zip line is on offer at Leicester Outdoor Pursuit Centre and just a short drive northwest to the sprawling National Forest, woodland assault courses and mountain biking takes place at Conkers activity centre. History buffs interested in touring the Richard III trail, should visit Bosworth Battlefield in Sutton Cheney where the king lost his life during the War of the Roses. Perfect post rugby game, following ‘the Golden Mile’ north of the city centre leads to a melting pot of popular curry restaurants.

Milton Keynes, home to more bridges than Venice when adding up its grid road bridges, is easy to navigate around as the Buckinghamshire town has a grid-pattern layout. Just south of the town centre budding spies crack World War II codes at Bletchley Park, once home of the famous Enigma code breakers. Ideally situated for easy day trips to other English treasures, Silverstone grand prix circuit – nicknamed ‘the home of British racing’ – recognised for its high-octane Formula 1 and ‘superbike’ races is just 30 minutes away. Less than 30 miles north of Milton Keynes is Althorp stately home, Princess Diana’s former family residence, where visitors can follow her life in the five-gallery exhibition, including school reports and her famous wedding dress. Also in easy reach of Milton Keynes are the Capability Brown Gardens and Georgian monuments of Stowe Gardens, while charming Oxford with its soaring university spires is around 50 miles away.

Overseas Visitors to Britain’s Parks and Gardens spend Billions!

OVERSEAS VISITORS TO BRITAIN’S PARKS AND GARDENS SPEND £7.8 BILLION

07/06/2013 19:01
Kew gardens

With the sunny weather set to continue and Britain’s gardens well and truly in bloom, the national tourism agency has released research which reveals that a staggering £7.8 billion was spent by tourists enjoying a garden in the UK, with a large chunk coming from younger visitors

A VisitBritain study identified that of the 31 million people who tend to visit Britain each year, around a third (11.1 million) enjoy a park or garden, with around 2.4 million aged between 25-34 opposed to just 1.4 million aged between 55-64. There were 2.1 million visits from those aged 35-44 involving parks or gardens, while nearly three-quarters of a million were aged 65+. Overall those aged under-35 were particularly likely to visit a park or garden, with 41% of visits doing so compared to 33% of visits from those aged over 35.

The latest figures confirm that going to a park or garden is one of the most popular activities for our overseas guests, accounting for 36% of all visitors, placing only behind eating out, going to pubs and shopping. It means visitors are surprisingly more likely to spend time in a park or garden than a museum, castle, historic house or art gallery.

Over half of all ‘holiday’ visitors (54%) explore our green surrounds each year, a positive indication that admiration is growing across the world for Britain’s attractive scenery and beautifully crafted gardens. It remains an activity which visitors can enjoy whatever their age group, from Bodnant Gardens with spectacular views across Snowdonia to the intriguing Muncaster in the Lake District or the world famous world-famous historic gardens at Inverewe in the Scottish Highlands. London has also just celebrated 100 years of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and is home to eight Royal Parks and the globally acknowledged UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kew Gardens.

Unsurprisingly the most popular time of year to visit gardens is the summer months, with July to September accounting for 4 million of the annual tally. By contrast, just 1.6 million visited gardens in the first quarter of 2011.The reason visitors come here plays a strong role in determining what they do during their trip with tourists on ‘holiday’ making up the bulk of visits (6.4 million) followed a distant second by those here to see their friends and family (3.2 million).

The French, as our largest market, seem to prefer our parks and gardens over any other country with 1.25 million visits, spending £406 million in the process. Visitors from America are second in the table with 1.23 million visits, but they spend nearly triple the amount of the French during their visits, at around £1.1 billion. Completing the top three are the Germans, 1.15 million were enchanted by our array of natural beauty and also spent more in the UK than top placed France at £629 million.

Looking at length of stay and propensity to visit a garden produces similarly interesting results. We discovered that the majority of visits are by those holidaying in Britain for between 1 and 3 nights, but that the longer the duration of stay, the greater the likelihood of a visit to a garden, with 56% of 15+ night stays including time in a garden or park.

The Brazilians (61%), Russians (51%) and Chinese (45%) have some of the highest propensity to visit our gardens than any market, which shows the growing and prominent interest from Britain’s increasingly important BRIC markets.

Recent post-2012 Olympic Games NBI research seems to back up the claim that our parks and gardens are as popular as ever. In a study where Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and ‘Welcome’ saw significant improvements, much was also said about tourists now wanting to see ‘more than just London’. A staggering 75% of respondents across the world agreed that the Games coverage made them want to venture out and take the time to visit other parts of the country. In a separate question a significant 70% of respondents claimed that after watching the Olympics, they agreed that Britain had ‘lovely countryside’.

In an Ipsos MORI study for VisitBritain in 2013, work was done to assess the impact of Britain’s GREAT image campaign across the world. Findings indicated that the activity is helping showcase the whole of Britain. Across all of the survey cities, many respondents strongly agreed that the promotional work made them want to visit places outside of London, and to enjoy our natural scenic beauty.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “We’ve completed three big pieces of research which all indicate that our parks, gardens and natural beauty are a valuable tourism asset, admired across the world and enjoyed by our visitors.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see our gardens are as popular with the younger generation as they are with 55-plus age groups. Post-Games perceptions of Britain have shifted for the better and time spent in any of our glorious parks is something to be cherished- especially when the sun is out.”

Contact
Ted Flett
Public Relations & Communications Manager – Canada
Office:  416.646.6676
 

Explore the places baby British royals spent their childhoods. Visitbritain News Summer 2013

Born to rule – explore the places baby British royals spent their childhoods

31/05/2013 06:06

The royal baby soon to be born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will likely spend a great deal of his or her childhood at London’s Kensington Palace where the Duke and Duchess are due to move soon. Visitors to Britain can experience the world of a royal childhood by exploring the castles, estates and palaces that played an integral part in the lives of royal children through history.

Sandringham Estate holds many memories for the Royal Family. It is a favourite retreat of The Queen, and the late Princess Diana was born in a cottage located in the estate’s extensive grounds. Prince Charles had many childhood adventures at Sandringham House, the much-loved royal retreat, which is a beautiful place to visit. It’s only a short trip from King’s Lynn station, itself around a two-hour train journey from London. www.sandringhamestate.co.uk

Both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born at Buckingham Palace and it is still where notices of Royal births and deaths are attached to the railings for members of the public to read, despite news likely to appear via social media first! The Palace, located in the heart of London, is open to the public for several weeks in the summer. www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/buckinghampalace

Glamis Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother and the birthplace of her second daughter, Princess Margaret. Built in the late 1300s, and just a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh, the castle still belongs to the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, yet is also open to the public. There are regular scheduled tours, several exhibition rooms and beautiful gardens to visit. www.glamis-castle.co.uk

The childhood home of the late Princess Diana, Althorp House, is now home to an award-winning exhibition depicting the life and work of the late Princess of Wales, which includes her famous wedding dress and childhood letters. Be sure to take a look at the other rooms too, such as the Queen Mary Bedroom; this was the room used by Queen Mary and George V when they visited the estate in 1913. Equidistant of Cambridge and Stratford-Upon-Avon by car (an hour’s journey) Althorp can be reached from both London and Birmingham by train to the nearest station of Northampton, from where you can catch a taxi or bus to the estate (open in summer only). www.spencerofalthorp.com

Windsor has a vibrant royal history, especially where young royals are concerned! Y Bwthyn Bach, also known as The Little House, is a miniature cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge. The Little House was presented to Queen Elizabeth (then Princess) on her sixth birthday and the Queen’s children and grandchildren have played in the house over the decades, although it isn’t open to the public. However, located to the south of Windsor town centre, Windsor Great Park is a well-loved and popular recreational retreat for many families, and has views of Windsor Castle (which you can visit). Windsor is also home to LEGOLAND, where you can see a miniature version of Buckingham Palace, home to The Queen!
www.theroyallandscape.co.uk/gardens-and-landscape/windsor-great-park, www.legoland.co.uk

The first Tudor King of England, King Henry VII (born Harri Tudor), was born in Pembroke Castle, in south-west Wales in 1457. The castle is a historical landmark and was restored to its original glory in the mid-1900s. A must-see when visiting Wales, its exhibitions and guided tours offer a fascinating insight into Britain’s history. Be sure to enjoy a cup of coffee on your visit; the castle’s café is rumoured to have the best coffee in Pembrokeshire! www.pembroke-castle.co.uk

Edinburgh Castle, perched high on the hill over the Scottish capital, was the birthplace of King James VI in June 1566. As well as an interesting tour of this Royal Palace where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only child, James, visitors will experience The Honours of Scotland, which are the nation’s crown jewels. www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

Henry VIII’s three children – Edward, Mary and Elizabeth – spent their childhoods in their nursery at the Old Palace adjoining Hatfield House. Visitors can now walk through the grounds and enjoy the beautiful scenery, as well as see the oak tree that marks the very place young Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne. www.hatfield-house.co.uk

The InterContinental London Park Hotel at 145 Piccadilly, was once Her Majesty the Queen’s childhood residence. Check out the newly-designed Royal Suite, which celebrates the Queen’s signature taste with modern British design. Located between Mayfair and Knightsbridge, and in view of many of London’s stunning landmarks, the InterContinental is the epitome of elegance. Afternoon tea in the Wellington Lounge is a must; you’ll be overlooking the iconic Wellington Arch. And if you want to feel like royalty, what better place to stay than where the Queen once played? www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/london/lonhb/hoteldetail

Contact
Ted Flett
Public Relations & Communications Manager – Canada
Office: 416.646.6676

Assets

A young boy gets down on the ground to get a closer look at the tiny version of Buckingham Palace lego attraction., Legoland, Windsor, Berkshire, England.

Althorp, Northamptonshire, England.

Althorp, Northamptonshire, England.

Glamis Castle side view in the sunshine with blue skies., Glamis Castle, Tayside, Scotland.

Glamis Castle side view in the sunshine with blue skies., Glamis Castle, Tayside, Scotland.

Guide shows a group of tourists the suits of armour and trophies in the Crypt of Glamis Castle., Glamis Castle, Tayside, Scotland.

Guide shows a group of tourists the suits of armour and trophies in the Crypt of Glamis Castle., Glamis Castle, Tayside, Scotland.

A family enjoying a walk along the Long Walk at Windsor Castle on a summer's day. The Long Walk runs south from Windsor Castle for a distance of 3 miles to the 1829 Copper Horse statue to King George III atop Snow Hill where there are impressive views of

A family enjoying a walk along the Long Walk at Windsor Castle on a summer’s day. The Long Walk runs south from Windsor Castle for a distance of 3 miles to the 1829 Copper Horse statue to King George III atop Snow Hill where there are impressive views of

Piper bands on parade in the Castle's torch-lit esplanade during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Piper bands on parade in the Castle’s torch-lit esplanade during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, Scotland.

A foot maze and fountain in the landscaped gardens of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.©VisitBritain- Britain on View

A foot maze and fountain in the landscaped gardens of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.©VisitBritain- Britain on View

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