GREAT BRITAIN

Written by root. Posted in FEATURES

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Published on April 28, 2016 with No Comments

There is always something to inspire you when you visit Britain, whether this weekend or in future.

Words EMMA RAMSAY

 

 

Unique, traditional, cutting edge, refreshing, imaginative, surprising. Whatever you’re looking for there are so many things to do in the UK and across many of its cities. Here are some of the best UK tourist attractions, from cultural sightseeing highlights to expert recommendations.

 

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Windsor Castle’s iconic Long Walk with its double avenue of elm trees. Credit: Visit Britain

 

BRITISH CASTLES
Dramatically situated and packed with history, the castles of the UK are often the castaway dream of every child (or the child in you). Scattered throughout the land, there are castles to meet all your expectations. In the capital, there’s the Tower of London housing the Crown Jewels. Northumberland is a castle-buffs heaven, with over a dozen imposing fortresses paying testimony to the centuries of border tension with Scottish neighbours. Eilean Donan Castle was made famous thanks to James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough. But don’t just stop at visiting one. There are also opportunities to volunteer at a castle, sleep in one and pick up a skill or two (including jostling and crossbow shooting). Consider The National Trust and National Trust for Scotland for working holidays on a variety of castle properties. Gloucestershire’s Thornbury Castle and Warwickshire’s Studley Castle are some of the castles that allow you to sleep like a King. Meanwhile, Warwick Castle and Leeds’ Royal Armouries let kids experience the clash of swords, rumble of jousting knights and shrill cry of falcons – just like the old days.

 

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Mary Arden’s Farm is the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother.

 

SHAKESPEARE’S ENGLAND
Where else but in Britain can you get up close and personal with the Bard? Britain’s Shakespeare attractions are absolute gems. You’ll find theatres devoted to his works, exhibitions and beautiful historic buildings – even the original houses he and his loved ones lived in.

Stratford-upon-Avon is not only Shakespeare’s birthplace, but the area surrounding it is filled with history relating to the Bard. In central Stratford, Shakespeare’s half-timbered Tudor house remains an attraction. Furnished as it would have been in Shakespeare’s time, visitors are easily transported into England’s past. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a short walk away from the centre. Hathaway was Shakespeare’s wife and lived in an idyllic cottage that remains a spectacular example of a Tudor farmhouse, and still contains furniture that belonged to the Hathaways themselves. Another, Mary Arden’s Farm, where Shakespeare’s mother grew up, is in the rural surrounds of Stratford-upon-Avon. The stunning timbered Tudor farmhouse is recreated as it would’ve been in Mary Arden’s day. This is a great one for families as there’s a lot to see and do, from falconry displays to demonstrations at the blacksmith’s forge, and even Tudor archery lessons. Visit also the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the primary theatrical body responsible for producing Shakespeare performances. Visitors can tour the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres by day or by night on the RSC’s spooky after-dark tour. In London, don’t miss out the chance to visit Shakespeare’s Globe. This faithful restoration of Shakespeare’s 16th-century playhouse performs plays as how they would’ve first been seen! You can get tickets for a little as £5 for a standing place as a ‘groundling’.

 

 

FOOD AND DRINK
Apart from its tradition, the country is fiercely proud of its produce. As an island, Britain has some of the best and freshest seafood in the world. It was the Romans who first celebrated the tasty oysters of Whitstable, now home of the world-famous Whitstable Oyster Festival. Pembrokeshire Fish Week in Wales is also a fishy feast with an entire week devoted to the crab, bass and mackerel found off the coast of this gorgeous National Park.

For serious foodies, the Ludlow Food Festival is a must. It hosts 130 independent food and drink producers and events include cookery competitions, tutorials and contests judging the best sausages, pies and sandwiches. Equally well known is the Abergavenny Food Festival that takes place in September. Check out the best local produce, join cookery workshops and indulge in samples and tastings from across Wales. Cheese is also something of a national obsession. The country produces over 700 types of cheeses and nowhere is this more evident than at the Nantwich International Cheese Show.

 

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Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837. Credit: Visit Britain

 

ROYAL ATTRACTIONS
What is Britain without speaking about the Royals? From Queen Elizabeth’s big 90th birthday celebration this year to what the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing next, the Brits – and the world – are fascinated with the English Royals. The good news is, they are not as secretive as you might think. There are plenty of landmarks and Royal attractions to keep your curiosity fed. For example, one of Britain’s most recognisable landmarks, Buckingham Palace, is both the office and official residence of the Queen. Every August and September the Queen opens her home to visitors, giving you the chance to tour the lavish State Rooms and Garden, and see some great treasures from the Royal Collection along the way. Kensington Palace has been home to many members of the Royal Family, including Queen Victoria; Diana, Princess of Wales; and now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Pay the Palace a visit and discover stories from Queen Victoria’s life told in her own words in the Victoria Revealed exhibition, master the games of royal court in the magnificent King’s State Apartments, get a glimpse of a modern Princess in a special exhibition of some of Diana’s dresses and uncover the secrets of a fragile dynasty in the beautiful Queen’s State Apartments.

Windsor Castle is the Queen’s favourite residence and also the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Don’t miss the magnificent State Apartments, the Drawings Gallery with its changing exhibitions, and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House – the most famous dolls’ house in the world. Up in Scotland, Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire has been a private Scottish home of the British Royal Family ever since Queen Victoria purchased it in 1848. The Queen and her family usually spend their summer on the estate, which opens its grounds, gardens and Castle Ballroom to the public from April to July each year.

 

Royal Brunei Airlines flies London daily via Dubai.

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