Category Archives: England

Dine with the stars

If you want to dine with a British star, where is the place to go? To one of the 137 Michelin starred restaurants in the United Kingdom of course!

And so it happens that the centenary edition of the UK and Ireland Michelin Guide was announced on Tuesday – and good news, there are more stars than ever!

For 2011 there are a total of 137 Michelin starred establishments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Yum, yum, I’m getting hungry now!

All the 12 new stars is for restaurants in England, but there are still 125 other restaurants in the whole of UK you could try out. There are a couple of new stars in the East End of London: notably Viajante, run by the acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes, and Galvin La Chapelle in Spitalfields.

And one of my own favourites, the quirky Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond …a perfect place for  a day trip, in a calm and relaxing environment.

The new 1* restaurants:

England, outside London
The Curlew, Bodiam, Sussex

The Pony and Trap,  Chew Magna, Somerset

Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

The Black Rat, Winchester, Hampshire

Paris House, Woburn, Bedfordshire

London:

Kitchen W8

Petersham Nurseries Cafe (Richmond, see image below)

Viajante

Galvin La Chapelle

Petrus

Seven Park Place, at the St James Hotel and Club

Gauthier Soho

The two new 2* restaurants:

Helene Darroze at The Connaught, and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, at Rock in Cornwall.

Bon Appétit!

-Helene-

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Filed under England, Food & Drink, London, News

A classic trip to Bath

In the autumn of 2010, VisitBritain held a competition together with Pan Vision and Classic World where Swedes could win a trip for two to five-star hotel The Royal Crescent in Bath. The lucky winner was Katarina Johansson from Dalstorp in Sweden. Here is her story about the trip:

I randomly opened my e-mail and I got this one e-mail from VisitBritain saying ‘CONGRATULATIONS! You have won first prize in our contest for a trip for two to Bath in England’. I was filled with happiness – thank you for this fantastic prize!

Bath reminds me of my first InterRail trip back in 1984 when I was 17 and my friend and I spent a couple of days there. I remember we stayed at a beautifully situated hostel and that we hired bikes and took a trip out in the rolling landscape. I was wondering – will I recognise the city when I get back?

It was my oldest daughter who got to go on the trip with me. A little bit funny because she is 17 years old – like I was when I first visited Bath.

We travelled in the beginning of November 2010, flying from Gothenburg City Airport to London Stansted and then taking the Stansted Express to Liverpool Street Station in London. From there we went to Paddington and travelled by train to Bath, which went really smooth! Except, my suitcase got stuck on the tube! My daughter was of course embarrassed over me but after a while we did get my suitcase loose.

When we arrived in Bath we got a map and walked to the hotel, The Royal Crescent. England showed it’s best side: the sun was shining, the beautiful autumn leaves were still hanging on the branches and it was about 15 degrees. It was just lovely!

At the hotel we were welcomed by two gentlemen who opened the door for us. Inside was a beautiful fireplace. On our way to our room, which was actually a suite, we walked through a picturesque garden with illuminated corridors. The size of the suite was almost as big as the entire second floor in our house.

Later that day I showed my daughter what a real English pub looks like. We went to a really cosy place and had dinner there. The murmur of voices stopped a bit when we entered and we were met by friendly smiles and greetings. Great food and great beer (I was the only one drinking) in a genuine environment made us ready to explore the city. We went window-shopping and noticed that the Christmas decorations were already up. A little bit tired after all the travelling we headed back to the hotel and decided that we would go shopping the next day.

After a wonderful breakfast overlooking the beautiful garden, we headed down to the city centre. First we explored the lovely surroundings by the hotel, like the beautiful Victoria Park, and continued with the River Avon and Pulteney Bridge. I realised that I did not recognise anything and that it had been a while since last time… The sun sparkled over this beautiful city when a very happy mother and daughter walked arm in arm.

The rest of the day we did a lot of shopping. My daughter found a nice tea/coffee shop where we tasted delicious teas and exciting coffee.

The following afternoon we enjoyed a fabulous three-course dinner at the hotel. The food was some of the best we have ever eaten.

The next day we visited the Roman Baths, one of the best preserved archaeological sites in Europe, founded after the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. We took a guided tour in English with phone-like devices that allowed us to hear what we wanted to know more about, very smart. We highly recommend this tour to everyone travelling to Bath!

We spent the afternoon in the lovely spa section at the hotel. I took a long swim in the 46 degree warm water, tried the steam sauna and felt like my body and soul were in complete balance.

After three wonderful days, great treatment and lots of new memories we travelled home to Sweden hoping that we will soon come back to this fantastic country.

/Katarina Johansson

Did Katarina inspire you to visit Bath? Read our travel guide to Bath and get useful information about accommodation, attractions and much more.

/Siska

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Vintage Cars at Historic Car Run

On Sunday it is time for the 77th running of the world famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (LBVCR).

The first run was held in 1896 and is the oldest still running motoring event. The next run was held in 1927 as a re-enactment of the 1896 Run and after that the run has been held every November, with exception for the year 1947 (because of the petrol rationing) and the war years. The run is not a race, but an endurance event and as the name suggests it goes along the 60 mile long historic route from London to Brighton.

This year 567 vehicles, representing 23 nations from all over the world participate in the run. The run features 166 different marques, covering one of the most important periods of motor car development, from the 2 cylinder 2 h.p. 1895 Peugeot to the 4 cylinder 20 h.p. 1904 Renault.

The run starts at the Hyde Park Start line in London at 7.04pm on Sunday the 7th of November and then leave in pairs until approximately 8.40am. All vehicles travel at approximately 20mph (32km/h) and will start to arrive at Preston Park in Brighton from 10.05am (see detailed entry list on LBVCR’s website). The spectating of the run is free and can be viewed from the roadside along the 60-mile route.

Except for the run on Sunday, the whole weekend is full of activities, starting on Friday the 5th of November with LBVCR Auction by Bonhams and continues with the LBVCR International Concours on Saturday. So find your binoculars and prepare for a weekend full of beautiful veteran cars.

Find your way to the start line in London or the finish line in Brighton on our Britain Map or read more about the run on LBVCR’s website: http://www.lbvcr.com.

Enjoy!
– Towe

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Filed under Attractions & Culture, England, For families, London

Manchester Comedy Festival

You don’t want to miss this two week festival if you’re into British humour and in Manchester between 18 – 31 October. With 200 comedy shows at 30 locations across Manchester, the 10th comedy festival will for sure make your funny bone sore for weeks.

This year’s festival features comedians such as Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle and Manchester’s local comedy hero Mick Ferry.
See the full list over comedians performing here.

Among the venues that will be used during the festival include Manchester Appollo, BirdCage and The Comedy Store.

For ticket information, please click here

/Siska

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John Lennon peace monument to be unveiled in Liverpool

I just came over a great piece of news. So if you are in Liverpool this Saturday, you are in for a big moment of cultural history!

9 October 2010 marks the celebration of John Lennon’s 70th birthday and this particular day a global peace monument is to be gifted to the people of Europe.

The monument entitled ‘Peace & Harmony’, will be unveiled in Liverpool’s Chavasse Park as part of a gala ceremony in Lennon’s birthplace of Liverpool by his eldest son Julian and first wife Cynthia.

US artist Lauren Voiers was asked by Julian to incorporate, within the monument’s design, a white feather – which to Julian is a symbol of both his father’s spirit and of peace.

Julian Lennon explains: “One of the things my father said to me was that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be ok, it was by, in some shape or form, presenting me with a white feather.”

Dignitaries from all over Europe are invited I’ve heard. Wish I had planned my diary for this occasion too…

But perhaps you are able to go? If so, don’t miss this great moment to celebrate the life and spirit of Lennon and his message of peace!

And if you are not sure how to find your way to Chavasse Park, our Britain map will guide you!

-Helene

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Extreme sports, part IV – Discovering the Mountains

Now that autumn is closing in on us, it’s time to slow down the pace, and find our way up to a higher altitude where the wind is crispy and the views are fantastic. In my fourth and final part of Extreme Sports in Britain we’ll find out what you can do in the British mountains.

Walking
Britain has plenty of beautiful mountains and on our website you’ll find a few good ideas on how and where to explore them. Why not take a 5 hour walk through the beautiful Ben Nevis in Scotland, visit the mountains in Snowdonia in Wales or stroll around in the Cumbria and the Lake District in England.

Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy an extreme sport while seeing a lot of beautiful scenery. There are usually both guided tours and cycles to hire and you can find both easy and advanced routes. Read more about cycling in Siskas blog post Pedal your way through the UK.

Climbing
One of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the UK is climbing, so it’s easy to find operators where you can hire your gear or get a guide to help you get started. Climb up a steep hillside in Wales or hang loose under a cliff in Scotland or Cumbria.

Caving and potholing
Head underground and find a whole new world, beneath ours. Containing some of England’s finest limestone scenery and Britain’s longest and most complex cave system, Yorkshire is a perfect way to explore some great caves and potholes. You can also weasel your way through narrow tunnels underground in Scotland or find yourself in an unspoilt cavern in Wales.

The four headlines above are the most popular mountains sports, but there are so many other cool mountain sports like coasteering, absailing, scrambling or winter sports like skiing or ice climbing etc. Find out which one is your own favourite.

This was my final part of my Extreme Sports guide. Hope you liked it and enjoy your adrenaline filled vacation in Britain. Read my previous guides by clicking the links below:

Part I – Britain by Air
Part II – Down by the riverside
Part III – Motorsport

To find more extreme sports in Britain visit our website or Enjoy England, Visit Wales or Visit Scotland.  You can also watch our film about extreme sports in Britain below and get inspired.


– Towe

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Filed under England, For families, Nature & Heritage, Scotland, Sports & Activities, Wales

World’s Biggest Destination for Shoe Lovers

Drumroll, please. Selfridges are opening “The World’s biggest destination for shoes” on 23 September! I’m so excited, so please excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor and try to collect myself. Ladies, if you’re like me, a shoe addict, you know what this means – book your ticket to London and visit Selfridges, now!

With about 4,000 shoes, 120 various brands, 35 new brands and over 30 exclusive styles, you better start putting away some money because you don’t want to come home ‘empty-shoed’.

Find Selfridges on our Britain Map.

Pack light, practice your credit card swiping, exercise your shopping arms and be prepared to enter the gates of shoe heaven and spend hours and hours with Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Tod’s, Prada, I can go on forever so check out which brands you can find at Selfridges here.

How I long for some new Louboutin’s…
//Siska

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