Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Get Up & Go

Get Up & Go

Shakespeare is the winner!

Shakespeare, the most quoted writer in the history of the English-speaking world, has been voted England’s ultimate claim to fame in VisitEngland’s Hall of Fame exhibition launched this morning. The nation’s bard has won The People’s Choice in England’s Hall of Fame with 50% more votes than any other claim.   

The news comes in a big year for Shakespeare; it marks 450 years since his birth. And although his exact birthday is unknown, it’s widely believed that he was born on 23 April, St George’s Day.
Shakespeare goes on display alongside Downton Abbey, Banksy, Glastonbury and many other claims in the hotly anticipated Hall of Fame exhibition to celebrate St George’s Day. Running for one week until 30 April, the free open-air exhibition will take place at Observation Point on London’s Southbank.
The search to establish England’s Hall of Fame began in February when the tourist board asked the public to submit their suggestions. The Hall of Fame app received almost 1,000 submissions from Harry Potter to Harry Styles, the mini skirt to the tuxedo, The Beatles to punk music, and Earl Grey tea to the Scotch Egg. A panel of experts has awarded a bronze, silver and gold across six categories, to celebrate the best of what England has brought to the world and what makes the country such a diverse and fascinating place to visit and explore. The public were also given a vote, The People’s Choice.
England’s ultimate Hall of Fame consists of:

 The People’s Choice

Shakespeare. The most quoted writer in the history of the English-speaking world and truly, the nation’s bard. His plays are brought to life by Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company at the Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres, or you can soak up the atmosphere at the open-air Shakespeare’s Globe in London, whose spirited performances see interaction between actors and the audience. Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Family Houses are also open for the public to visit in Stratford-upon-Avon

History & Heritage
Bronze The four surviving original copies of Magna Carta, sealed in 1215 at Runnymede, Surrey, and regarded by historians as the foundation of constitutional liberty in the English-speaking world
Silver – The smooth lawns and sweeping vistas of England’s landscaping master, Capability Brown, as seen at Northumberland's Kirkharle Lake and Courtyard
Gold Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the world's oldest industrial complex and a crucial part of England’s naval heritage 

The Great, the Good and the Notorious
Bronze – World-renowned, elusive graffiti artist Banksy, whose original murals can be spotted on a guided tour of Bristol’s street art
Silver Robin Hood, England's lovable outlaw, whose world-famous legend is rooted in Sherwood Forest on the outskirts of Nottingham
Gold Founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, whose birthplace museum in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, is dedicated to her life and social reforms

                                                                       Octavia Hill

                                                    Banksy's work

                                                              Robin Hood

Food & Drink
Bronze – The Bakewell Pudding, first made at a local inn in Derbyshire during the 19th century… and whose recipe was something of a happy accident!
Silver England's oldest working gin distillery in Plymouth, whose guided tours provide a glimpse into the centuries-old process of gin making
Gold The sandwich, an essential part of afternoon tea, which was named in honour of its ingenious inventor, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Enjoy them cut up into dainty fingers at Woburn Abbey, where the tradition of afternoon tea was popularised around 1840.


Inventions & Discoveries
Bronze – England as the birthplace of the steam locomotive, whose steam train attractions can be found chugging merrily around the country. A working replica of the world’s first operational steam locomotive can be seen in action at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge, Shropshire, whilst Birmingham’s Thinktank Science Museum is worth visiting for its exciting demonstrations of the steam engine's power.
Silver – Sir Isaac Newton’s family home at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, where the English physicist and mathematician first discovered his theory of gravity
GoldIsambard Kingdom Brunel's engineering masterpieces in Bristol, including the magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge and SS Great Britain passenger steamship

Sport & Leisure
BronzeThe annual BNY Mellon Boat Race (known also as the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race), established in 1829 and one of the world’s oldest sporting events
Silver – The home of tennis, from Hampton Court Palace in Richmond-upon-Thames, where the sport is thought to have been invented, to Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Gold The incidental birth of modern rugby during a football game at Rugby School in Warwickshire

Culture & Entertainment
BronzeGlastonbury, the granddaddy of all festivals on Worthy Farm in Somerset
Silver –Hampshire’s elegant Highclere Castle, the real-life location of ITV’s hugely successful Downton Abbey
GoldThe Beatles, whose mop-top haircuts and irresistibly catchy tunes set fans’ hearts on fire in 1960s Liverpool


For more information, visit www.englandshalloffame.com

The Hall of Fame expert panel included VisitEngland Chairman, Lady Cobham and VisitEngland Chief Executive, James Berresford.

About England

• Historic yet contemporary, traditional yet cutting-edge, metropolitan yet wild: England is truly a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism.

• With ancient Hadrian’s Wall straddling the wild north and the world’s biggest indoor tropical rainforest nestled in the far south, England really is the ultimate mix of old and new as well as being home to some of the most iconic sites in the world, including Stonehenge, the honey-hued Georgian terraces of Bath and the towering peaks and glistening meres of the Lake District.

More information can be found on www.visitengland.com and www.visitengland.org

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Get Up & Go: London’s hidden food gems

Get Up & Go: London’s hidden food gems
·         Food Tour
Google Maps certainly makes it easier to find the foodie hotspots ravenous locals are raving about, but a more enjoyable and hassle-free way to experience London on a plate is on a food tour with an expert! Let your Walk Eat Talk Eat guide lead you on a funny, gastronomic journey through various areas of London. Experience the Great and the Good: Best of British Tour and devour the nation’s most famous foods or treat all of your senses to the vibrant Markets and Meanderings: Camden Tour.
All of your food is included; you just need to bring a healthy appetite!  

If your mouth is watering and you’re chomping at the bit with all this talk of London’s hidden food gems then why not visit wotif.com and book a trip to London.

London’s hidden food gems

Unearthing a hidden food gem can be one of travel’s most rewarding experiences, especially when it’s not at a Michelin-star price. London is well known for its celebrity dining scene but the city is also home to plenty of gourmet delights without the hefty price tag.
Leading travel website Wotif.com’s London-based team has unearthed some of London’s best palate-pleasing eateries to suit any taste and all without breaking the bank.

·         Fish & Chips
Recently voted the UK’s best Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant at The National Fish & Chip Awards, Poppies Fish & Chips London is a winning London experience! Savour crispy, golden fish and chips whilst soaking up the uber-hip retro atmosphere. Keep an eye out for free live music at their Camden restaurant.

·         Afternoon Tea
Spoil yourself with afternoon tea fit for a…mad hatter! ‘Tumble down the rabbit hole’ and experience an afternoon tea with a difference at the Sanderson, in Soho. Named ‘the hippest hotel in the world’ by GQ Magazine, it’s no wonder this 5 star hotel has put its own quirky twist on the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea with The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.  With prices from £38.00 per person, eccentrics can delight in whimsical treats like the ‘strawberries and cream’ homemade marshmallow mushrooms, a ‘tick tock’ Victoria sponge clock and ‘Jelly Wonderland’.

·         London Pub
Originally part of the Britannia Brewery, The Britannia in Kensington is an elegant pub oozing history and charm. Serving a delicious range of gastro pub fare, including one of the best burgers around, this rub-a-dub (Cockney rhyming slang for pub) is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy traditional food and good beer! 

·         Cheap Eats
London’s street food scene has really taken off in the past few years. Who would have thought that tucked away in the city’s markets, food trucks and laneways was some of the most scrumptious food on offer - and at bargain prices!
If you’re venturing to Borough Markets, be sure to go with a hearty appetite because Hobbs Meat Roast serves up a mouth watering pulled pork roll. Sweet, juicy and delicious; this is the perfect treat to accompany a day of shopping. http://boroughmarket.org.uk/hobbs-meat-roast-2
Whilst the delicious Yum Bun is moving store in early 2014, keep your eye out for the Yum Bus! Serving award winning Vietnamese buns, both carnivores and vegetarians can rejoice with a range of flavoursome fillings available! Calendar available here: http://www.yumbun.co.uk/ 
If you’re craving some delicious salty goodness be sure to stop by Brick Lane Beigel Bake, London’s oldest and reportedly best bagel shop. Famous for their salt beef bagels, portions are generous and prices, surprisingly cheap. Open 24 hours, this one is a winner at any time of day.

·         Coffee
There’s no denying Australia is a coffee loving nation. When travelling overseas, our obsession can sometimes make it hard to find a decent cup of coffee. Fortunately, Aussie siblings Nick, Andrew and Laura empathised with the plight of many travellers and opened Taylor Street Baristas to help satisfy your coffee needs with its coffee shop located across London. So start your day with some of the city’s best coffee, paired with a vegemite and cheese English muffins – guaranteed to put a rose on every cheek and a smile on every face!

·         Cafe
Hidden down a side street opposite Liverpool Street Station, a neon ‘Sex, Drugs & Bacon Rolls’ sign heralds The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields. The menu is peppered with comfort food and Mexican flavours plus, for late risers, a ‘Late, Late Breakfast’ is available after 5pm.  After you’ve polished off your delicious meal, tell the staff you’re ‘here to see The Mayor’ and you will be escorted through to a concealed speakeasy style bar!
The Breakfast Club also has locations in Soho, Angel, Hoxton, Battersea Rise and will be opening a cafe in London Bridge in May (2014).

Thank you Wotif.com for this great information.
·         Food Tour
Google Maps certainly makes it easier to find the foodie hotspots ravenous locals are raving about, but a more enjoyable and hassle-free way to experience London on a plate is on a food tour with an expert! Let your Walk Eat Talk Eat guide lead you on a funny, gastronomic journey through various areas of London. Experience the Great and the Good: Best of British Tour and devour the nation’s most famous foods or treat all of your senses to the vibrant Markets and Meanderings: Camden Tour.
All of your food is included; you just need to bring a healthy appetite!  

If your mouth is watering and you’re chomping at the bit with all this talk of London’s hidden food gems then why not visit wotif.com and book a trip to London.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Get Up & Go: Europe’s Top 10 Wild and Wonderful Festivals

Get Up & Go: Europe’s Top 10 Wild and Wonderful Festivals

Europe’s Top 10 Wild and Wonderful Festivals

Rail Europe has released its top ten picks of Europe’s Wild and Wonderful Festivals for 2014. With the aim to inspire adventurous travellers seeking out new experiences beyond the usual hotspots to enhance their next European trip, the list is in order of the calendar months and include festivals that are cultural, musical and downright unusual. 
  1. Battle of the Oranges in Turin, Italy (2-4 March)
Taking place in the ancient town of Ivrea in Turin, this free-to-watch annual event attracts over 100,000 spectators. A re-creation of a historic fight between the town’s people and a ruling tyrant, the event sees competitive teams battle with oranges. Turin is an hour’s train ride from Milan on the high-speed Trenitalia Frecciarrosa service. Click for suggestions on a travel itinerary within Piedmont.

  1. Lass Fallas in Valencia, Spain (19 March)
A celebration that dates back to the middle-ages where excess winter supplies are burnt, today’s rendition is a musical and explosive pyrotechnics celebration of Spain’s history and culture. Revelers dress in traditional costumes dance and dance to fiesta beats and gunpowder explosions. The best way to get to Valencia is on the high-speed AVE train from Madrid, which takes 1.40hrs or 3.00hrs from Barcelona. Travellers can also visit Rail Europe Connexion for travel ideas in the Valencia region.

Las Fallas Festival

  1. Oerol in Terschellings, The Netherlands (13-22 June)
1982 saw the island of Terschellings turn into a venue for art installations and the performing arts. Requiring three train rides and boat journey from Amsterdam, this artistic haven attracts hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors to the island over the 10 days each year. Amsterdam is about 3.30hr from Paris on the Thalys.

  1. Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark (28 June - 6 July)
One of the largest music festivals in Europe, the Roskilde Festival features 180 performers on a dozen stages entertaining more than 100,000 music revelers. With all genres of music available, the festival donates all profits to humanitarian and cultural causes. The best way to get to Roskilde is via the 20minute train ride from Copenhagen. Click on the Rail Europe Connexion site for suggested itineraries in Denmark.
  1. Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium (18-27 July)
With more than 20 stages that transform into different storybook themes, crowds are transported into whimsical worlds where they dance to beats by world-renowned DJs. Attracting music revelers from more than 85 countries around the world, Tomorrowland is an extravagant two-weekend event. The journey to Boom is an hour on a train from Brussels. Click for itineraries around Brusells and Flanders.

  1. Secret Garden Party in Abbots Ripton, England (24 – 27 July)
One of the most sought-after summer festivals in the UK, the annual party carries a theme each year where party go-ers fancy dress, play, watch performances, compete in games and parade to summer tunes. From camping to glamping, this event draws in crowds from all societies. The train journey from London to Huntingdon is 55 minutes. Itineraries around that region of England can be found on Rail Europe Connexion site.

  1. Sziget in Budapest, Hungary (4-11 August)
Known as Eastern Europe’s ‘Burning Man’, Sziget is a music festival that runs around the clock with non-stop music, performances, cultural experiences and food. With over 1,000 performances during the week-long fest, the event set on the island of Obudai-Sziget in the Danube river attracts about 400,000 fans. Budapest can be reached via leisurely overnight trains from many countries in Europe including France, Switzerland and Germany. From Budapest, travel to other parts of Hungary is only a short train ride away.

  1. Zurich Street Festival in Zurich, Switzerland (2 August)
Zurich’s annual Street Parade Festival sees 30 love mobiles, a handful of stages and more than one million people dancing and partying to electronic tunes spun by 100s of volunteer DJs from around the world. Along with the free parade, more than 100 smaller parties sprout around Zurich over the parade weekend. Zurich is a 4hr train ride from Paris. Travelling around Switzerland is best with a Swiss Pass.

  1. La Mercè in Barcelona, Spain (20-24 September)
A four-day end of summer celebration all around Barcelona, this is the best time to see the city alive with non-stop entertainment, events, free concerts and free entries to museums. Each day starts with a parade of mythical characters that fill the streets. The Thalys high-speed train service links Paris and Barcelona in about six hours and onward itineraries can be found on Rail Europe Connexions.

  1. Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland (29 December – 2 January)
Originally an ancient pagan song and fire celebration to ward off winter spirits, today, Hogmanay is a five-day fest in and around Edinburgh with performances, parades, open houses, firework displays, concerts and more. Edinburgh is leisurely 4.30hr train from London.

About Rail Europe
Rail Europe is the world’s No. 1 distributor of rail tickets and passes offering travellers the widest and best selection of European rail products across no less than 30 countries and 25,000 destinations on more than 11,000 different routes. Rail Europe tickets are sold through appointed General Sales Agents and directly to web users through localised websites (local currency, local language, local service). For more information about Rail Europe products and prices, please visit www.raileurope.com.au or contact your preferred travel agent.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Get Up & Go: Nevada USA - choofing into Ely

Get Up & Go: Nevada USA - choofing into Ely: It couldn't be further from Las Vegas than from here to the moon. But hey! this hotel is looking very Nevada-ish old-school neon with ...