Shakespeare Celebration Events

Shakespeare Celebration Events

With tomorrow; 23rd April, marking the 400 year anniversary of the great ‘Bards’ death and the 26th April his birthday, we are being asked to help with information on events taking place to celebrate his life and death.

Perhaps the most accessible for everyone is the BBC who are running a month long series of Shakespeare programs across all their TV and Radio stations. One that is of particular interest is tomorrow on BBC 2 and is a live screening from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Shakespears home town of Stratford-upon-Avon and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Globe Theatre. London, England

The Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London. England, UK

Shakespeare live from the Royal Shakespeare Theater

David Tennant hosts a unique event, broadcast live from the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon, in 2016.
The Royal Shakespeare Company joins forces with BBC TV to host a celebration of Shakespeare’s work and his legacy, broadcast live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon – the town where Shakespeare was born, lived and died.

The event will be screened live on BBC Two on Saturday, 23 April 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Hosted by David Tennant, featuring a variety bill inspired by Shakespeare and performed by major international talent, it will celebrate Shakespeare’s enduring influence on all the performing art forms from opera to jazz, from ballet to musicals.

Tony Hall, Director-General BBC, says: “Our ambition is to get more people excited about Shakespeare than ever before – through drama, great performance, documentary; festivals and social media too. We’re partnering with talent right across the country and delighted to be working with the RSC. 2016 is going to be the biggest celebration of Shakespeare we’ve ever put on – for everyone.

Extracted from the BBC and for more reading visit their web-page

Fotolia Stratford upon avon warwickshire england (2)

Above Shakespears birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon

More information about Stratford-Upon-Avon

Shakespeare is synonymous with the area of South Warwickshire which covers historic Warwick and Kenilworth, Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon and further down the county towards the Cotswolds

Stratford District comprises of rolling countryside, bustling market towns, historic mansions and pretty little villages. These are just some of the attractions portrayed to the 5.5 million of visitors who come here each year.

Many visitors come to pay homage to William Shakespeare, born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, and to get a glimpse of life in 16th century England through the five Shakespeare properties that are preserved in and around the town by Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust.

The Shakespeare connection is renowned throughout the world, and much of the District’s economy relies on the tourism generated by the ‘Bard’.

But not everything revolves around Shakespeare and the Stratford District lays claim to numerous historic connections: Captain Scott spent his last days in England at Binton before departing for his fateful expedition of the Antarctic; Novelist and the first Fleet Street agony aunt, Ursula Bloom, grew up in Whitchurch; and Peter de Montfort, head of the family who built their castle in Beaudesert, was the first elected speaker of the English Parliament.

Extracted from and for further reading visit the official Stratford-Upon-Avon District Council tourist information

Here are some useful links for Shakespeare Events and Tours

Shakespeares Birthplace

Shakespeares Globe Exhibition and Theatre Tour

Visit Stratford-upon-Avon Day Tours

Multi-Day Tours including Stratford upon-Avon

Other Attractions

Theatre

Best Value Tours

Multi Day Tours

 

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Winston Churchill Blitz Bunkers Opens Today

Winston Churchill Blitz Bunkers Opens Today

For those interested in second world war history and war time London this is a new fascinating attraction that opens to the public today.

A  Tube station where Winston Churchill secretly took refuge during the Blitz is one of a number of hidden London Underground sites set to be opened to the public.
Down Street in Mayfair was from 1907 to 1932 Down Street Tube Station. By the time of the Blitz 1940/1 it was disused and became a Blitz shelter for a reluctant Winston Churchill and his staff to shelter from the bombardment. Indeed some of his staff lived there.

He often slept down there, worked and had meetings and even on one occasion had caviar and vintage champagne.

Hidden London launch

A visitor descends the steps of Down Street disused underground station in Mayfair picture courtesy of Daily Mail On-Line

From today the London Transport Museum will be conducting guided tours of the site and they said; “As well as an unexpected history and images that help them understand what this space would have looked like, it’s the sense of place that visitors will get more than anything. You can’t get a sense of what it would have been like to live and work here without having been here. This is the same of any of the Hidden London tours. The magic is going to the place and seeing it first hand.”

Here is some more information about the London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum

One of the lesser known of London museums, the London Transport Museum is great value and a fascinating visit.

London transport museumn

Picture courtesy of The London Transport Museum

Down Street Tour by London Transport Museum

Get an intimate peek into one of London’s most intriguing hidden spaces. Located in Mayfair between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park stations, Down Street had a short life as a working station from 1907 to 1932, but became critical to winning the Second World War when covertly transformed into the Railway Executive Committee’s bomb-proof bunker.

Experience the warren of narrow tunnels where the nation’s railways were coordinated and Prime Minister Winston Churchill took refuge secretly at the height of the Blitz.

For further reading and tickets see Down Street on the official London Transport Museum site.

Other War, Churchill and other exciting Tours, Theater and Attractions

Churchill War Rooms

HMS Belfast

From Dunkirk to Normandy D Day Landings WW2 Four Day Tour to France

Anzac Dawn Ceremony Liberation of Villers-Bretonneux 5 Days

London Tours

Out of London Tours

Theater

Attractions

 

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Paris to London Day Trips

Paris to London Day Trips

A question we are often asked is by those who are staying in Paris, but also want to fit in a days sightseeing trip to London is; ‘I am seeing a lot of London to Paris Day trips but have not seen the other way round, Paris to London, do they run?’ Good news is the answer is yes and please find details below.

First here is some information about changing the guards in London:

Buckingham Palace – Changing the Guard

Buckingham Palace Guards
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace encompasses colourful spectacle and British pageantry. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes and usually takes place daily at 11:30 from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting. Please see the provisional schedule below.

The privilege of guarding the Sovereign traditionally belongs to the Household Troops, better known as ‘the Guards’, who have carried out this duty since 1660. For operational and other reasons, this privilege is periodically extended to other regiments of the British Army. The Guards consist of five infantry regiments – the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards – and two regiments of the Household Cavalry – the Life Guards and Blues and Royals. Most of the Guards will have seen action overseas.

During the Changing the Guard ceremony, also known as ‘Guard Mounting’, one regiment takes over from another. The Queen’s Guard consists of the St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace detachments. The New Guard, who during the course of the ceremony become The Queen’s Guard, march to Buckingham Palace from Wellington Barracks.

Extracted from the official Buckingham Palace web-site and to continue reading click here

Buckingham palace in London, Great Britain

Tours 

Paris to London Day Trips

London Tours

Out of London Tours

Best Value Tours

Other Multi-Day Tours

Other useful links

Theater

Attraction Tickets

 

 

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Can we get tickets for the Flying Scotsman?

Can we get tickets for the Flying Scotsman?

With great acclaim, following a 43 year year program the newly restored Flying Scotsman today makes an iconic journey to York. With much publicity today we have already been bombarded asking for information about tickets and will help with this below. First here is some information about this amazing Steam Train.

The Flying Scotsman

Flying Scotsman was originally built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), emerging from the works on 24 February 1923 and initially numbered 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the railway.

By 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472 – and been given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10am in 1862. Discover Scotsman.

Extracted from and to continue reading, visit the official Flying Scotsman web-site

When can I see Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum?

Between 26 February until 7 March and again between 25 March and 8 May

postage stamp

Flying Scotsman Tickets

I am sure you will not be surprised that all tickets for currently scheduled tours are sold out, however watch this space and we will let you know when more become available or visit the official Flying Scotsman web-site for scheduled events. However in the mean time there are great alternatives and to view click here.

Pullman.1Pullman.2

Above the Vintage Pullman train you will enjoy on this alternative tour below – Champagne and Fine Dinning Lunch on Board Vintage Pullman Train

National Railway Museum

You may also be interested in a visit to the National Railway Museum where in addition to the Flying Scotsman you will see vintage Pullman trains as featured in tours below.

Tours 

Champagne and Fine Dining Lunch on Board Luxury Vintage Pullman Train

London Tours

Out of London Tours

Best Value Tours

Multi-Day Tours including Lake District

Other Multi-Day Tours

Other useful links

Theater

Attraction Tickets

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Can I see the Lake District from London in One Day?

Can I see the Lake District from London in One Day?

We are delighted to say the answer is yes and will tell you how shortly.

This type of question is one we are regularly asked by those who have regular short trips to London and get the odd free day off. They have seen London, seen Bath, Stonehenge etc. and are looking for something different and a little farther a field to see. With this in mind a visit to the North West of England to the stunning Lake District could not be a better choice and there is a day tour that will take you there. Please see below for details.

Lake District National Park

The Lake District National Park is in the northwest corner of England, in the county of Cumbria. We’ve mountains, valleys, villages, towns, coastline and of course lakes!

A special corner of England

The cultural heritage of the Lake District is as unique as its geography. Visitors today can indulge in local treats like Cumberland sausage and enjoy centuries old traditions such as hound trailing and rushbearing. The area has also inspired many famous writers.

Lake Windermere, seen from a boat. A reflection of the clouds and mountains can be seen on the water. Boats are observable in the water in the far.

And if you’ve ever wondered why the Lake District looks the way it does, here are some answers:

Why are so many cottages painted white?

Houses and farms used to be treated with red lead and then limewashed, which whitens, to keep out the damp. Many of today’s homeowners have continued this look by painting their houses white.

Why are there so many dry stone walls?

Dry stone walls are used to divide up the farming landscape and clear the fields of stones. The fields around farm in the valleys are known as in-bye fields, but the fields up the fellside have been ‘taken’ from the fell and are known as in-take fields. The land above the highest wall is the open fell.

Why are there old fireplaces in fields and walls?

Although some may belong to ruined cottages, many are lime kilns. The chemical compound lime is made from heating limestone. When mixed into soil it sweetens acidic soils and helps improve farmland fertility. Farm and field kilns were built close to where lime was needed. Find out more in Learning – Lime kilns.

Why are some of the sheep grey?

These are hardy Herdwick sheep, reputedly brought in by the Vikings. They cope especially well with the Lake District’s extreme conditions. Without their grazing, the fells would be covered in trees and scrub.

Why is a stream called a beck?

Many Lake District names come from the Norse settlers in the tenth century for example: beck (stream), dale (valley), gill (gorge), tarn (lake) and thwaite (clearing).

Where are Cumberland and Westmorland?

These are the names of the old counties which contained the Lake District. They were merged with parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire to become Cumbria in 1974. The names still live on in Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, Cumberland sausage and local names such as the Westmorland Gazette newspaper.

Extracted from and to continue reading please visit the official Lake District National Park web-site

Lake District

Visiting Lake District from London in a Day

The quickest and best way to do this is by an organised day tour by train from London that is then replaced by an organised local bus tour service that is your transport and guide for the day visiting; Hill Top Shop and Gardens, Hawkshead Village, Bowness and Tarn Hows.
Tour through Yewdale Valley, Visit Rydal Mount and also Cream Tea at Beatrix Potter’s Own Home Lindeth Howe for more details click here.

Tours 

Lake District Day Tour by Train

London Tours

Out of London Tours

Best Value Tours

Multi-Day Tours including Lake District

Other Multi-Day Tours

Other useful links

Theater

Attraction Tickets

 

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Can I see London and Stonehenge in one day?

Can I see London and Stonehenge in one day?

This is an often asked question, particularly by those who are on a London stop-over and only have one day to Sightseeing and want to see London, but also iconic Stonehenge.

Well good news, there is a perfect combo tour that includes a morning panoramic tour of London, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and then an extended afternoon visit to Stonehenge. Please see below for more details.

Buckingham Palace – Changing the Guard

Buckingham Palace Guards
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace encompasses colourful spectacle and British pageantry. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes and usually takes place daily at 11:30 from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting. Please see the provisional schedule below.

The privilege of guarding the Sovereign traditionally belongs to the Household Troops, better known as ‘the Guards’, who have carried out this duty since 1660. For operational and other reasons, this privilege is periodically extended to other regiments of the British Army. The Guards consist of five infantry regiments – the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards – and two regiments of the Household Cavalry – the Life Guards and Blues and Royals. Most of the Guards will have seen action overseas.

During the Changing the Guard ceremony, also known as ‘Guard Mounting’, one regiment takes over from another. The Queen’s Guard consists of the St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace detachments. The New Guard, who during the course of the ceremony become The Queen’s Guard, march to Buckingham Palace from Wellington Barracks.

Extracted from the official Buckingham Palace web-site and to continue reading click here

Buckingham palace in London, Great Britain

Buckingham palace in London, Great Britain at sunset

Tours

One Day London and Stonehenge Tour

Stonehenge Tours

London Tours

Best Value Tours

Multi-Day Tours

Other Useful Links

Theater

Tickets and Attractions

 

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I see Highclere (Downton Abbey) only has limited opening, are there alternatives?

I see Highclere (Downton Abbey) only has limited opening, are there alternatives?

Following the huge worldwide success of the multi-award winning TV drama Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle used in filming as Downton Abbey has become a popular tourist location. However they only have limited dates, mostly through the spring and summer when they open to the public. So we are often asked, if Highclere is closed are there Downton Abbey alternatives? The answer is yes and please see below for details.

Highclere Castle (fictional Downton Abbey) 2016 opening dates

Easter

Saturday 26th March – Sunday 10th April

Spring

1st, 2nd and 3rd May
29th, 30th and 31st May

Summer 

Sunday 10th July – Wednesday 7th September (Sunday to Thursday)
&
Wednesday 14th September

The Making of Downton Abbey

The success of Downton Abbey took everyone by surprise from the first nervous apprehension whether anyone would like the first episode or stay with it for the second or third… the series has become a phenomenon with appreciative viewers all around the world…… to continue reading and video footage, see the Official Highclere Castle Site

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

Alternative Downton Abbey locations

Probably the most interesting Downton Abbey film location, is the beautiful Cotswolds village of Bampton, which is the fictional Downton Village.

This can be easily reached by car, but by public transport its is not so easy but there are tours that go there.

For further information see the making of Downton Abbey ate the Oxfordshire and Cotswolds site

Downton Abbey film Location Tours

Downton Abbey film Location, Oxford and Blenheim Palace

Highclere Castle Tours

Highclere Castle Private Tours

Highclere Castle and Downton Abbey Film Locations

Other Useful Links

Best Value Tours

 

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Visiting Britain and want to see as much as possible?

Visiting Britain and want to see as much as possible?

One of the questions we are most asked is by people who have limited time visiting Britain; who want to see as much as possible of London and other cities and also as much as possible of the rest of England, Scotland and Wales, plus sometimes a trip over to Ireland.

How is the best way to do this?

Well the simple answer it is about balance of time and the single biggest mistake is to dedicate too much time to London and not enough time to the rest. London is a magnificent city, but most of the classic landmarks can bee seen in a day and there are excellent tours that include all and are far better value than visiting separately. Please see below with some ideas.

This can be topped up with an evening at the theater and dinner, which combined with the day tour will leave you feeling you have achieved much and had a full flavor of London. Some will find this enough, other may wish to add on one or more days to visit museums and galleries and experience more night life, but if you have say 11 days to play with, then just 3 in London will work and then 8 touring Britain will achieve much.

What is the most visited London Attraction?

Tower of London

Seeing the Crown Jewels – Enjoy the spectacular display of the Crown Jewels, revealing these priceless treasures like never before. The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection and still regularly used by The Queen, include some of the most extraordinary diamonds in the world.

Please email for Tower of London tours, including an option for a private visit when the Tower is closed to see the crown jewels and avoid the queues.

To continue reading ‘Crown Jewels’ see the Official Tower of web-site

Click here to avoid the queues for advanced Tower of London entry tickets

Tower of London, UK

Tower of London

What is the best way to see as much of the rest of Britain and possibly Ireland in 7 days?

By far the best value is an organised tour that includes accommodation, meals and entrance costs (avoid queues on the day). There are a number of excellent options for these types of tour and we have found two outstanding 7 day options, one that includes England, Scotland and Wales and another that also includes Ireland – all in 7 days! Please see below for more information.

What is the most visited out of London Attraction?

Stonehenge

The first major construction at Stonehenge was a circular ditch, with an internal bank and a smaller external bank, built about 3000 BC. Today the ditch and inner bank are visible as low earthworks in the grass, but the outer bank has largely been ploughed away. The ditch on the eastern side is deeper because this half was excavated in the 1920s.

The best value way to see Stonehenge from London is by organised tour and here are some Stonehenge Tours Examples.

To continue reading about ‘Stonehenge’ see the Official Stonehenge web-site

Fotolia Stonehenge 1

If I book say a 8 day tour of Britain, can I add on 1 or more days in London?

Yes of course and here are two great suggestions that can have 1,2,3 or more London days added on:

8 Day England and Scotland Heritage

8 Day Britain and Ireland Highlights

Touring Britain Highlights – Scotland

Traditional scottish bagpiper in full dress code at Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven

Other Tour Suggestions

London Tours

Out of London Tours

Small Group Tours

Best Value Tours

Other Useful Links

Theater

Attractions and Tickets

 

 

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Do any tours still run to Hampton Court?

Do any tours still run to Hampton Court?

This is a question we are often asked and the answer sadly is not many, indeed we only know of one that visits this magnificent Tudor Palace and please see below for further details and also another way to get to Hampton Court if no tour dates work for you.

Hampton Court Palace

The first tenant we know much about was the courtier Giles Daubeney, who took out a lease on the property in 1494. Daubeney was on the way up (he became Lord Chamberlain to King Henry VII the following year), and needed a house close to London.

The area around Hampton was also becoming more popular with the royal family as Henry VII set about rebuilding the royal lodgings at Sheen as Richmond Palace.

Daubeney’s choice of Hampton Court was rewarded by a series of visits from the royal family. Henry VII and his queen stayed there on a number of occasions and seem to have particularly favoured Daubeney’s country residence as a peaceful retreat away from their London homes at Westminster and the Tower of London.

Little is known about Daubeney’s Hampton Court, but the value of the property increased considerably during his short tenure (he died in 1508). But any improvements Daubeney made were quickly eclipsed by the ambitions of Hampton Court’s next occupant, Thomas Wolsey…… extract from the official Hampton Court website

To continue reading

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace and its fabulous grounds parks and flowers

Another way to visit 

Whilst tours are very limited there is good news as Hampton Court is just a 36 min train journey from London Waterloo and once there you just cross the bridge and you will be at the Palace Gates. You will also find below a link for advanced tickets which is always a good idea to avoid queues when there.

Here is the link for National Rail Enquiries where you will find all the information you need, please do note though, be careful to pick the train that does not require a change of trains, you want the 0 changes direct train.

Here is the Tour we found:

Hampton Court and Windsor Tour

Other useful links:

Beat the queues Hampton Court tickets

Best Value Tours

Out of London Tours

London Tours

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Can I get a day tour to Windsor by train instead of coach?

Can I get a day tour to Windsor by train instead of coach?

This is a regularly asked question for those who do not travel well on coaches, or prefer the added comfort and scenic views by rail. Good news, yes there is is an excellent train tour that visits Windsor, includes entrance to Windsor Castle and also an excellent Open Top Bus Tour of the town. Please see below for more details.

Windsor Castle viewed along Long Walk in Windsor Great Park in E

Website logo

Windsor Castle

No trip to Windsor could possibly be complete without a visit to amazing Windsor Castle, the family home to British kings and queens for over 1,000 years.

The size of the Castle (5 hectares/13 acres) is breath taking, in fact it is the largest and oldest occupied Castle in the world and it’s where Her Majesty The Queen chooses to spend most of her private weekends.

You might even time your visit when she is in residence!  Look at the flag flying from the Castle’s Round Tower; if it’s the Royal Standard The Queen will be there too.

Windsor Castle offers something for everyone, and with so many areas to explore please allow at least 21/2 to 3 hours to see it all.

To continue reading find this at the Official Windsor Tourist Site

GT Open Top Bus

Here is the tour we found

Day Trip to Windsor and Castle by Rail plus Open Top Bus Tour

Other useful links

London Tours

Out of London Tours

Theater

Attractions

Best Value Tours

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