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VisitEngland Highlights 2010 Calendar of Quirky Events

Encompassing the charmingly quirky to absolute eccentric, England offers visitors an abundance of one-of-a-kind events, ensuring unique entertainment and an unforgettable experience for participants and observers alike.

From the Isle of White Garlic Festival and annual Nettle-Eating Contest, to the World Toe Wrestling Championship and the Biggest Liar in the World Competition, VisitEngland, the official tourism body for England – comprised of the capital city London and its further eight regions, has compiled a list of some of the most unusual events taking place throughout the country in 2010.

“England boasts an exciting and extraordinary calendar of events which visitors wouldn’t necessarily stumble upon,” said James Berresford, CEO of VisitEngland.

In addition to taking in the picturesque landscapes, vibrant arts and cultural offerings and rich heritage for which England is renowned, we encourage visitors to also discover the abundance of diverse events that add to the country’s unique array of attractions.”

World Coal Carrying Championships, April 5

Held annually on Easter Monday in the village of Gawthorpe in West Yorkshire, the World Coal Carrying Contest is a test of stamina and muscle. The race involves men carrying 50kg of coal over an uphill course close to a mile long, while the ladies race sees ladies carry 20kg of coal. The World Coal Carrying Contest dates back to 1963 when a local coal merchant and the president of the Maypole Committee were enjoying a pint of beer together. A friend is said to have burst into the pub and bet that he could race the two with a bag of coal on their backs. Not wanting to let a good idea go to waste, the secretary of the Maypole Committee who was listening to the challenge, decided to set the race for Easter Monday. Continue Reading

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Top British landmarks now available on Google Street View

Specially collected imagery of iconic British locations has been made available for people to explore in Google Street View for the first time. Now Americans can discover top British landmarks with just a click of a mouse.

VisitBritain, the national tourist office for England, Scotland and Wales has joined forces with Google to showcase top tourist treasures Stonehenge, Millennium Stadium, Angel of the North, Eden Project, Warwick Castle and ‘wildcard’ Bamburgh Castle.

The locations were voted for by the British public in Google and VisitBritain’s online poll this summer and were photographed using the Google Trike. This custom-designed three-wheeled bike is equipped with a Street View camera and is designed to make special imagery collections in places less accessible by cars, such as historic landmarks.

Simon Bradley, executive vice-president for VisitBritain Americas, says: “This is a great way to give Americans a small taste of the fantastic attractions and destinations that await them in Britain. It’s a great way of using digital technologies to increase the accessibility of our destinations. Google users will be able to use Street View to virtually visit some British icons that I hope will inspire them and make them want to explore more for themselves.” Continue Reading

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Buckingham Hotel’s In-Transit Promotion : Convenient Option for Travels Stuck In Transit

Flight delays have you camped out at the airport?

Instead of killing hours in the airport lounge waiting for an errant connection, the Buckingham Hotel in Manhattan is offering a solution to travel nightmares.

With their new “In-Transit” promotion, patrons who book a room after a cancelled or delayed flight from NYC’s airports including JFK and LaGuardia, will have the cost of the taxicab back to the Buckingham Hotel (up to $50) taking off of the current available room rate. Buckingham Hotel rates start at $199, making this promotion a perfect solution and convenient option for travels stuck in transit.

This promotion is valid for a one night stay from November 25th through March 31st (subject to availability). Plane tickets and taxi receipts are needed verification for booking. This discount is valid for customers with flight delays of more than 4 hours and is not applicable for current reservations. For further details or to book, please call toll free at (888) 511-1900.

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UK Hotels See Minor improvement

UK, October 2, 2009: Year-to-date August 2009 hotel performance indicators in the UK confirm a minor, yet positive swing, signifying a slowdown in market decline.

“These performance indicators have a long way to go before suggesting a recovery, but they are indeed a positive sign. The next few months however will be crucial in determining if the hotel cycle is spinning in the right direction; that OR change continues to climb and ADR remains stable,” stated Director of Development, MKG Hospitality, Vanguelis Panayotis. “In order for this to occur, improvement should really come from the corporate clientele segment.”

According to MKG Hospitality’s market monitoring database HotelCompSet, average Occupancy Rate (OR) in August reached nearly 72%. Although this still represents a decrease of 4.7 percentage points compared to August 2008, the decline is less significant compared to the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, the rate of decline in Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) also stabilised, reaching £74.7 and £53.7, respectively. Continue Reading

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New York and London to boost travel between two cities

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and London Mayor Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday a two-year tourism agreement to boost travel between the two cities.

The cities will provide each other with outdoor media advertising space, and NYC & Company and Visit London, their respective tourism arms, will share best practices as a way to maximize travel between the two destinations and will assist each other with at least one publicity event in each city.

“Now more than ever, as we work to limit the effects of the ongoing global financial downturn, it is important to find new ways to grow a diverse array of economic sectors, and tourism is among the most important for New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

hilton new york“New York City and London, both significant sources of overseas travel for each market, can learn a great deal from one other and we will work together to highlight each other’s strengths and remain leading global cities.”

“London and New York City share many similarities, including a strong sense of optimism and determination, along with a great appreciation for diversity and innovation,” said Mayor Johnson.

Under the two-year tourism agreement, New York City will exchange 71 bus shelters with London that will run in New York City for four weeks per year.

In return, London will exchange 250 posters for four weeks on the London Underground system twice per year.

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Best hotels in London

Looking for a good hotel in London can be a daunting task, especially if you have a tight budget. However, the extensive options in terms of price, style, and location, mean that there are always opportunities to find a room to suit your needs, and your budget.

London`s finest hotels often come with eye-watering room-rates, but there are plenty of affordable rooms available in friendly, comfortable hotels in central locations. The key to finding a room at a great price is booking in advance, as there are plenty of great deals available.

London`s famous names, The Ritz, The Savoy, The Dorchester and Claridges to name a few, are not places most people`s budget can stretch to on a trip to London. However, for those looking for some historic splendour at a slightly more affordable price (well under £200 if you get a special online promotion), Hazlitt`s is one of London`s finest hotels.

The Ritz London

The Ritz London

Located just off Soho Square, the 18th Century building is decorated and furnished in true period style, including wood panelling, oil paintings and some four-poster beds. Fortunately, the step back in time is not applied to everything, and all the mod-cons you`d expect from a top-range hotel, including WiFi and TV with DVD library, are also available.

Any traveller on a tight budget is likely to find London inescapably expensive at times. When selecting an area to stay, although opulence in the West End may not be an option, you do not have to travel far to find a great room at a reasonable price. Just yards from Oxford Street and Hyde Park, the Edward Lear Hotel, named after the Victorian artist and poet, may not offer luxury but it certainly has charm.

At just above or below £100 (depending on the season) for an ensuite double, and significantly less if you forego the ensuite, it certainly represents value for money in such a prime location.

Not far away at Paddington is the clean and comfortable St David`s hotel, renowned for its generous English breakfast.

It offers all sizes of rooms at very affordable prices, and is therefore especially valuable for those requiring a single room (from £40) or family-sized room (quad from £110, or 5/6 person room from £130). Continue Reading

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Marriott Hotels in London offers discounts for Summer Promotion

This summer Marriott is making London an even more attractive destination than normal with a special 25% discount off its hotel rates.

The promotion, which is valid for weekday stays and includes breakfast, must be purchased at least 14 days in advance.

Travellers can choose from one of 14 properties including Park Lane’s luxurious Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel or the brand new Twickenham Marriott Hotel at the home of English Rugby.

Jw Marriott Grosvenor HouseThere is always plenty to do in London, and this summer is no exception. Travellers could pay a visit to the Queen and attend the summer opening of Buckingham Palace.

The royal residence will be opening its doors for the first time ever to the palace ballroom where visitors can take a tour of the lavish palace finery Or take in a little classical music at the Royal Albert Hall with the Proms 2009, running until September 12.

Five hundred tickets for each concert are available at the door for just five pounds, featuring top international orchestras and soloists. Continue Reading

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Holidaying in the UK during the economic downturn

As the recession begins to take effect, more and more people in the UK are choosing to take their holidays in the UK. The traditional family holiday is back in fashion once more. UK holiday operators are finding a considerably greater interest in demand for holidays nearer to home, as holiday makers make cut backs in their spending.

As well as the chance to enjoy a less expensive holiday, the appeal of holidaying in the UK during the current economic crisis includes the fact that a British holiday offers better value for money. The cost of holidaying abroad has not fallen this year, and the majority of countries whose currency is the euro are suffering from lack of visitors due to the rate of exchange, which adds considerably to the overall cost of holidaying abroad.

The variety of holidays available in the UK has expanded and improved greatly since the days of the holiday camp. With so many people owning second homes, there is a great deal of choice of self catering cottages, houses and apartments to rent in beautiful coastal, rural and urban locations at competitive prices.

Camping is no longer only for the tough outdoor types. Camp and caravan sites nowadays cater for the expectations of visitors, with amenities such as restaurants, swimming pools and sports facilities, and camping equipment can be hired or bought at bargain prices, along with all the cooking and heating equipment necessary for the comforts of home. Camper vans can be rented for the week, offering the tourist the joys of the open road and the freedom to travel and stop off almost anywhere.

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Google now offers street view for British destinations

Internet users can see a sample ” street view” of Britain as a result of a new partnership between the country’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, and the world ‘s most popular search engine, Google.

The two organizations announced on Thursday to launch Google Street View in Britain which features 25 cities and towns from around Britain. Users of Google maps can use Street View to get an idea of some of the sights they can enjoy while visiting Britain with a virtual walking tour of destinations from the nations’ capitals London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh, as well as major cities including Glasgow, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds and Oxford.

Last year, visits from overseas fell by two percent in the face of the global economic downturn and increasing competition from rival destinations. By working with Google Street View, undertaking innovative partnerships and exploring new ways of presenting Britain’s attractions, VisitBritain hopes the country could regain its place in the top five most popular destinations in the world. Continue Reading

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Dine like a King at the Ritz with the Chef’s Masterclass

For those who seek a truly distinctive London experience while taking advantage of the favorable exchange rate, The Ritz London offers a rare behind the scenes cooking class and gourmet dinner conducted by Executive Chef John Williams.

The series of Masterclass events is an opportunity for diners, cooks and food and wine enthusiasts to take part in an exceptional evening of fine dining at The Ritz.

The Chef’s Masterclass takes place in the hotel’s banqueting kitchens and dinner is served in one of the hotel’s magnificent 18th century private dining rooms in the William Kent House. The evening begins with a welcome Champagne Reception followed by a tour of the legendary Ritz kitchens with The Chef. Continue Reading

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Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel Wins The Good Food Guide 2009 Wine List Of The Year Award

Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel in the Lake District is delighted to have won The Good Food Guide 2009 award for Wine List of the Year. Featured in the annual publication, the Editors’ Choice Awards credit the UKs top chefs, hotels, pubs and restaurants and are given to those who are making a difference, often away from the London limelight.

Boasting Windermere’s only Michelin Star restaurant, wine connoisseurs at Holbeck Ghyll have over 280 wines to choose from including a French Regional wine list as well as fantastic finds from the New World.

Awarded Michelin status for nine consecutive years and ranked in the top 23 British Restaurants in the Good Food Guide 2008, proprietor, David Nicholson comments, “It is an absolute privilege to receive this coveted award; we have worked hard to devise an extensive wine list that suits every budget, taste and palette – and that ideally complements the daily-changing menu produced by our Michelin-Star chef, David McLaughlin.” Continue Reading

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Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park launches Christmas Extravaganza Promotion

The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has started taking reservations for the ultimate traditional London Christmas for their “Christmas Extravaganza” experience which includes priority arrangements at Harrods ‘Christmas Grotto’, the Royal Albert Hall’s ‘Christmas Carols by Candlelight Concert’, ‘Winter Wonderland Ice-skating’ in glorious Hyde Park, and a helpful gift collection and wrapping service.

Enjoy the festive season in one of the most spectacular buildings of the Victorian era, for a time-honoured English Christmas with all the trimmings, unparalleled warmth, hospitality and service. Furthermore, the hotel’s concierge has created seamless arrangements to some of the most popular traditional Christmas festivities in the area.

Priced from GBP 2525, the ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ programme includes: Continue Reading

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