Great Family Activities to Try in the Cotswolds in Spring

Famous for the honey-coloured stone buildings that define this beautiful part of England the Cotswolds is best described as typically English in its bucolic tranquillity with sleepy villages like Castle Combe and Burford as well as great cities like Bath. Yet it is easily accessible and only around a two hour drive from London.

The spring weather in England can of course be changeable but here in the Cotswolds the climate is relatively mild and spring is a very good time to explore all that the region has to offer. There is no better time for families to get outdoors and sample the host of family activities and fun days out in the Cotswolds. Once you have chosen a place to stay, perhaps taking advantage of a private lakeside lodge at Cotswold Water Park, then you have the perfect base camp from where you can plan all your excursions.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Situated at Burford this exciting attraction is sure to please all the family with all kinds of wildlife from lions to lemurs! For small children there is the Children’s Farmyard and petting area as well as a woodland adventure playground and much more besides. There is an on-site café, most of the site is dog-friendly and there is free car parking.


The Model Village

The Model Village at Bourton-on-the–Water is a beautiful scale replica of a Cotswold village complete with miniature beech, cherry and chestnut trees and a river which flows under the bridges. There is a shop and an on-site café/restaurant plus a bar with beer garden where you can relax with a bar meal.

Blenheim Palace

Families with an appreciation of history will no doubt want to see the historic Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Winston Churchill. This World Heritage site houses exquisite antique collections, tapestries and furniture as befitting its 300 year history, plus over 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscaped parkland and gardens. Sci-fi fans may be interested to know that scenes from the movie Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation were filmed here.


The Bird and Deer Park

Situated at Cranham and nestling in a beautiful valley the park offers visitors the chance to see reindeer, pygmy goats, fallow deer and even miniature Mediterranean donkeys. There is a Visitor Centre where you can get hot and cold drinks with cakes, sweets and ice cream.



For families that like to spend time exploring the shops together there is no shortage of variety in the Cotswold towns and villages. From small, quaint villages offering original and artisan produce to larger towns like Cheltenham and Gloucester with big-name stores to market towns like Stroud – ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’ – you are certain to be spoiled for choice when it comes to souvenir ideas.


Events in the Cotswolds

There are so many events happening across the region you will wish you had booked a longer stay. Starting in March with the Gloucester Keys Home and Garden Party where you can meet celebrity gardeners, listen to music and browse a busy market the list of events continues through the year. From vintage fairs and the Prescott Hill Climb in April to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival in May and the delightful Downy Duckling Days at the Wetland Wildlife Reserve at Slimbridge, where children can see baby ducklings, goslings and cygnets, there are events for all the family to enjoy.

The Cotswolds are truly an area of great beauty and interest for all ages, with an abundance of manor house attractions, farms and gardens, art galleries and walking and cycling trails.

Fun train ride

5 day trips from London by train

Sometimes the perfect trips are only one day long. Each of these historical English destinations is only a short train ride outside of London and sure to bring joy to the entire family.

Fun train ride

1. City of Hull

Founded in the 12th century, the city of Hull is located about 310 km north of London. Travelling by train take only a brief 2.5-hour journey out of the capital city. The Deep is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hull. Built underground alongside the Humber estuary, The Deep houses a massive complex of aquariums. Visitors can explore the aquariums by taking an elevator that moves through a tank containing over 3,500 different species of fish. For visitors looking for historical attractions, Hull hosts several large museums. Museums of particular interest are the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull and East Riding Museum, and the Hull Maritime Museum.

2. Stonehenge

Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prehistoric ring of huge stones. While the actual function of the structure is unknown, researchers believe the structure served in a religious capacity or as a burial ground. Carbon dating suggests the stones were moved to their current state around 2000 BC. The mystery surrounding the purpose of the stones adds to the excitement of exploring the ruins as a tourist. Trains from London can reach Salisbury, just outside of the Stonehenge site, in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Stonehenge is only a 13 km bus ride away from Salisbury. Avebury is a nearby prehistoric rock structure that should not be missed if already going to Stonehenge.

3. City of Bath

The ancient city of Bath is only a 90-minute train ride from London. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is best known as an original Roman bathing site. Natural hot springs provide mineral-rich water for bathing. If tourists want to participate in an authentic Roman bath, they can visit the Thermae Bath Spa. While the baths are the main attraction, tourists will find the Royal Victoria Gardens and the Royal Crescent to be worth the trip alone.

Roman bath open to the public

4. White Cliffs of Dover

A train from London to Dover only takes about 1 hour. Tourists looking for one of the most scenic views of the English coastline should venture towards the White Cliffs. Visitors at the White Cliffs can even see the French border across the English Channel. The cliffs maintain historical significance due to their important role in defending the nation from attack before air travel. Both the Port of Dover and Dover Castle are good attractions to spend time at during the day.

5. City of Liverpool

Any Beatles fan will enjoy exploring the city where the rock band was founded. A brief train ride away, the city of Liverpool offers a wealth of original Beatles attractions. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour even takes tourists to dozens of sites such as Strawberry Field and Penny Lane. Train rides from London to Liverpool generally take about 2.5 hours. However, people who are not fans of the Beatles can still find something to appreciate about the city of Liverpool. History buffs will enjoy exploring the city that saw 40 percent of the world’s trade during the 1800s.

Santa coming to town

Where to book an alternative Christmas party in Manchester

Santa coming to townChristmas parties in Manchester are fantastically varied thanks to the city’s status as a major destination for sport, shopping, bars, restaurants and museums.

As a result, this is the perfect location for an alternative festive celebration, with the venues on offer catering for a huge range of needs and preferences.


The city has fantastic transport links, with excellent motorway links; Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria and Manchester Oxford Road train stations right in the heart of the city; as well as excellent bus and tram (Metrolink) connections, meaning everyone can easily reach their chosen venue in or around the city.

Organisers of corporate events who are bored of the typical hotel gathering, and clubs and societies that want something a little different for their Christmas party, should check out these exciting Manchester party venues, which each offer an alternative to the conventional event.

Old Trafford

Old Trafford is one of the north-west city’s top attractions, being home to one of the most successful football clubs in the world, Manchester United. What better place for sports fans or those seeking an impressive location to host their party?

The National Football Museum

Another venue option for party organisers who want to embrace Manchester’s fantastic sporting culture is The National Football Museum. Guests who select the package from events specialists  have private access to the Level 1 gallery, can enjoy the Trophy Photo experience, and can even play the Be a Presenter Game for the ultimate themed evening.

Chill Factore

Chill Factore is one of Manchester’s newest and hottest attractions, despite being an indoor skiing and snowboarding venue. This is the perfect pick if you’re looking for a truly festive evening, with the (albeit fake) snow and seasonal decorations.

Imperial War Museum North

A great alternative option for the office Christmas party is the Imperial War Museum North, with its fantastic location on The Quays and state-of-the-art facilities making it one of the top picks for corporate gatherings.

Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI)

Another one of Manchester’s top museums in the MOSI, and this exciting and stunning venue is a great place to host a Christmas party. It’s the perfect choice for any organisations in the transport, science or engineering sectors.

Manchester Art Gallery

Book a Christmas party at the Manchester Art Gallery and your party could enjoy private access to the exhibits, which currently include Alexander von Wagner’s most famous work The Chariot Race and a Vivienne Westwood evening dress.

The Lowry

Another one for art lovers is the Lowry, which is named after one of Manchester’s most famous painters, L S Lowry. The building, located on the Manchester Ship Canal, with its magnificent and unique architecture, certainly stands out on the waterfront, making it one of the region’s most spectacular party settings.

The Berney Arms - not accessible by car

Norfolk – this quiet little corner of England

Norfolk is a great county to choose for a traditional family break at any time of the year, but it’s a particularly good choice for a summer holiday as there’s so much great coastline to explore. More and more families are choosing to stay within the UK for their summer break and given the stunning natural beauty which the UK has to offer, it’s easy to see why.

The Berney Arms - not accessible by car

From Hunstanton to Sheringham

Norfolk has a wealth of heritage, culture and stunning scenery to offer and one way to explore it is by taking the coast path which is one of twelve national trails and stretches from Hunstanton to Sheringham. The whole trail is within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so there’s plenty of breath-taking countryside to take in as you’re walking along. There’s lots of wildlife to look out for as you’re making your way along the coast path, which is great for keeping children entertained, and you may spot some interesting birds. You should also keep an eye out for seals as you pass Blakeney Point.


If you head into the city you’ll find a lively hub of activity with great shopping, restaurants and bars all set within the medieval lanes and historic architecture. You can’t miss the city’s impressive cathedral which is definitely worth a look.

Cherry Tree

As for accommodation, staying in one of Norfolk’s caravan parks means that you have plenty to do on site as well as exploring what the area has to offer. For example at Parkdean’s Cherry Tree Holiday Park, Mill Rd, Burgh Castle, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR31 9QR, you’ll find that there is a fantastic heated swimming pool (great for rainy days) and a kids’ club that offers plenty of entertaining activities for the kids when you fancy a bit of quiet time by yourself. Cherry Tree is conveniently situated for easy access to Gorleston Beach and the seaside town of Great Yarmouth, where you’ll find the Pleasure Beach, Model Village and Sealife Centre.

Staying in

Staying on a caravan park also means that there are plenty of other children for yours to play with and make new friends during their holiday. There’s evening entertainment provided so there’s no need to drive off-site every night. And of course, staying in self-catering accommodation, you can do as much or as little cooking as you feel like.

From countryside to coastline, from forests to farmland, Norfolk also has bustling city life, shopping and restaurants to keep city girls happy.

Castle and river in the Cotswolds

Walking Holidays in the Cotswolds

Walking holidays can be grand – sunshine, exercise, landmarks, and nature are wondrous, especially in combination with each other. While driving makes arriving to the destination quick, walking makes an adventure out of it. The Cotswolds are the perfect region to visit for walking holidays. There are more trails to complete than time allows, leaving the desire for more.

Castle and river in the Cotswolds

Bibury and the River Coln

This is just one of Cotswolds walks that pay homage to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (2012). This short stroll averages a completion time of 2 hours and covers 6.5 km. If embarking upon this trail in the summertime, butterflies and wildflowers will be plentiful upon entering the Ash Copse. Arlington Row is visible towards the end of the trail. The tiny Cotswold cottages of Arlington Row have an ancient history dating back to the 14th century. The trail ends next to the Bibury Trout Farm and Two Inns.

Kingham to Chipping Norton

The Cotswolds Conservation Board put forth a series of walks to enable the public to take day strolls with the convenience of public transportation at the end of the trail. The route from Kingham to Chipping Norton is accessible by two paths. Allot 3 hours for the 9.7 km path and 5 hours for the 15 km path. If taking the long path, venture a short way south of Adlestrop to Lower Oddingtion to visit the Fox pub, which also serves as a bed and breakfast. Upon resumption of the trail, stop at The Chastleton House. Entry to this rare Jacobean home is first-come first-served and access cannot be certain. The end of the path lies in the town centre of Chipping Norton.

The W.A.S. Way

As the newest way-marked trail in Gloucestershire, The W.A.S. (Walk around Stroud) Way encircles the parish of Stroud. This 16 km path requires only 5 hours, making the perfect day stroll. Markings are located at 16 different checkpoints to ensure no confusion. Sturdy shoes are essential, as there is variable terrain. Spectacular scenic views show off the regions that lie beyond Stroud and Deverow Hill. Stroud’s Old Cemetery and surrounding land provides refuge to wildlife as the Local Nature Reserve.

Cotswold Way

Feeling adventurous? Traversing most of the length of the Cotswold escarpment is the Cotswold Way. This path stretches over 164 km with the origin city of Bath and the concluding city of Chipping Campden. Much of the way is comprised of countryside and picturesque towns; however, many landmarks reside along the pathway. The Sudeley Castle is one of few castles left in England that still maintains a residence. If wishing to view the castle by tour, make sure to plan beforehand. To reach the highest point in the Cotswolds, follow the path to Cleeve Hill. Complete the holiday with a well-deserved tipple and Toad in a Hole from the Eight Bells pub in Chipping Campden and then retire for the day in a luxury Cotswold Cottage.

Perhaps a self-planned walk is not ideal. Several businesses throughout the region specialise in planning walks for folks of all needs. When driving an automobile, the world seems so small and little, seemingly insignificant things remain unseen. When walking, the beauty of those “insignificant” things truly shines through – making the world, which was once small, now large again. When visiting the Cotswolds, take the time to take a walk!

Stonehenge - unmissable

Round-up of some of the best places to visit in the UK

When you visit somewhere new it’s great to come away feeling as though you’ve experienced life just as the locals live it! This means cramming in as much of the culture as possible into your activities; sight-seeing, food and drink and, of course, the nightlife.

If you are leaning towards the UK for your travels this year, keep in mind the vast differences between each region. A week in London alone will not give you an insight into the whole of the UK.

Here is our guide to five destinations that greatly differ from one another, offering a smorgasbord of UK culture for you to remember long after your return home.

Stonehenge - unmissable


As England’s capital city, London is a thriving city for those who love to work hard and play even harder. Take a ride on the London Eye to get a bird’s eye view of the city, or visit Buckingham Palace and really see how the royals live. You can also see all your favourite celebrities in the world-famous Madame Tussauds museum, which has hundreds of waxwork replicas of well-known faces for the perfect photo opportunity.


Get a taste of Scotland with the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Whether you visit the animals at the renowned Edinburgh Zoo, or wander around the 72 acres of the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, there is something for everyone in the capital of Scotland. With stunning architecture to wow you on every street corner, you can top it all off with a trip to Edinburgh Castle, which sits proudly on its own volcanic rock overlooking the rest of the city.


Voted one of the top city break beach destinations, Brighton beach offers a lovely promenade with a throng of cafes and bars to keep you well fed and refreshed. It’s easy to get around in this compact city, with major attractions including the famous Brighton Pier, the historic house of Preston Manor, or Brighton Museum and Art Gallery for a sample of the arts.

Lake District

Experience the beauty of the English countryside with one of the UK’s top holiday destinations, the Lake District. Situated in the North West, this stop-off on your tour will show you just how lush and green the UK can be. Visit the tranquil Lake Derwent, or sample some British heritage at Wray Castle, where famous author Beatrix Potter found inspiration for some of her most well-known tales. You can also visit the Beatrix Potter museum to learn everything there is to know about the children’s author.


A trip to the UK would not be complete without a visit to Wales and its bustling capital city, Cardiff. If you are a Doctor Who fan, enjoy the Doctor Who Experience with impressive special effects and filming with star, Matt Smith. Soak up the Welsh history at the open air, St Fagans National History Museum with over 40 historic buildings, including a Victorian school and a medieval church. There is also a growing reputation here for fine dining, as well as a lively nightlife that will see you through to the early hours.

If you have time to fit all five destinations in, you are sure to get a fantastic overview of the UK and all it has to offer. Make sure you are prepared before you catch that flight though, by exchanging your rand for pounds sterling. You can get great exchange rates, ensuring that you get the most for your money while on holiday. Be sure to pack a raincoat too, as the UK weather can be very unpredictable with glorious sunshine one day, and torrential rain the next.

St Agnes Lighthouse

Three Beacons in the Sea: The Lighthouses of Scilly

British lighthouses remind us that we are a sea-faring nation: they have a powerful romantic appeal. They were built, sometimes costing lives, in the wildest and loveliest corners of the British Isles.

Most continue to fulfil their original function. The lights are now automated, and the lonely life of the lighthouse-keeper is part of history, but the lighthouses still stand up to the wildest storms.

The Scilly Isles, in the Atlantic to the west of Cornwall, are subject to very violent winter storms, and they have been the scene of numerous shipwrecks over the centuries. Two of the three lighthouses of Scilly are still in use. They are surrounded by beautiful scenery, so those that plan to visit the Isles of Scilly are advised to go and enjoy these vistas.

St Agnes

St Agnes Lighthouse

St Agnes Lighthouse, built in 1680, is the oldest on the Scilly Isles, and it is only the second lighthouse ever built in Cornwall. The light is no longer functioning but the lighthouse still towers above St Agnes and serves as a marker for boats during the day.

In the early days, a coal fire was used to create the light, but an oil lamp amplified by mirrors was introduced in 1790.The last fire iron used for the coal fires can be seen on display in Tresco Abbey Gardens.

The light has been out since 1911, when a smaller automated light was built on Penninis Head, but the old lighthouse still dominates the island. It is the main landmark of St Agnes, the smallest inhabited island of the Scillies.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse

This is one of the most dramatic of British lighthouses. The small rocky outcrop where it stands climbs vertically up from 45 metres beneath the sea, four miles to the West of the Scilly Isles.

Shipwrecks around the Scillies were common in the 18th century, and included a major naval disaster in October 1707 when a whole squadron of the fleet foundered off the islands. 2,000 sailors were lost.

It was realised that the lighthouse at St Agnes was not enough to protect shipping from Atlantic storms, but it took nearly 150 years for another to be built.

The Bishop Rock lighthouse, started in 1847, was a feat of engineering and endurance. The first version was designed to rest on screw-piles rather than a solid base, as a way of withstanding the ferocious Atlantic storms. That idea didn’t work, and the lighthouse was swept away by a storm in 1850 when it was nearly complete.

The next one was built on traditional lines, with a solid base. A dam had to be erected and the sea pumped out, in order for work to proceed on the foundations. A team of workmen was housed on a small uninhabited islet nearby, where granite blocks were transported from the mainland.

In these harsh conditions, with work only possible at peaceful intervals in the often wild weather, the new lighthouse took seven years to complete. In 1858, the light was turned on. However, an 1881 survey revealed that the structure was suffering badly from its regular battering by the elements. To strengthen the structure, a massive granite platform was bolted into the rock, so that the force of the storms could be partly absorbed before hitting the lighthouse. The work was completed in 1887, and the Bishop Rock lighthouse has continued its work since then.

Round Island Lighthouse

1887 was also the year when a third lighthouse, Round Island Lighthouse, was completed, on a small island adjacent to St Helen’s. An ancient burial cairn was destroyed during its construction.

Round Island lighthouse is in another precarious place, with the 62 foot tower built on a 115 foot high mass of granite. Steps were cut into the rock for access, and top-soil was shipped to the island so that the incumbents could tend a small vegetable garden within the lighthouse walls. The lighthouse was automated in 1987 so nobody weeds the garden.

The Scillies are famous for their bird-life, including the iconic puffin. Round Island is notable for breeding seabirds, and it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Landing is not allowed except for lighthouse maintenance.




Britain’s Strangest Summer Festivals

As the summer months roll around, cities and towns all over the world gear up for one of the rites of the season: festivals. Most people expect celebrations of food and music or a commemoration of an important historical event or figure, but in some parts of the U.K., a simple strawberry festival is not enough. Why gorge yourself on strawberry jam when there are far more interesting activities in which to partake?

Interesting activities abound in every corner of Britain during the summer. From toe-wrestling to cheese-rolling, Britain may hold the monopoly on the strange and unusual. Not convinced? Check out these five wacky events competing for space on your summer to-do list.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, Gloucestershire

Cheese-rollingWhile most people enjoy cheese on a sandwich, in this small village in the Cotswolds, catching a rolling wheel of cheese as it careens down a hill allows for serious bragging rights. The traditional event, held on the Spring Bank Holiday in May each year, is believed to have started over a century ago as farmers competed for the rights to graze on the town common. Others claim the event started as a pagan tradition to honour spring. In either case, these days thousands of spectators and participants from all over the world congregate in the village of Brockworth to chase large wheels of cheese down a steep hill. The cheese can reach speeds of up to 112 kilometres per hour on the hill, so this is not for the faint of heart — although anyone can enter. And the prize? A wheel of cheese, of course.
Dunmow Flitch Trials, Great Dunmow, Essex

Feel the need to prove your marital bliss? Do you love bacon? Then head to Great Dunmow in mid-July to compete in the Dunmow Flitch Trials, where you and your dearly beloved compete with other happy couples to convince a panel of judges you have not argued, offended each other or wished you had not gotten married at any point in the previous year. If you can manage that, your prize is a flitch of bacon or half a pig cut lengthwise.

International Bognor Birdman, Bognor Regis, Sussex

Since time began, man has attempted to fly with varying degrees of success. Those who want to release their inner Wright Brother have the chance at the International Bognor Birdman Competition (also known as Bognor Birdman) each July in Sussex. Professional and amateur aviators fling themselves off the end of a long pier into the ocean to see who can stay airborne the longest. Professional aviators often use hang gliders, but the real show is the amateur division, in which participants don crazy costumes (think flying donuts and woodland creatures) before crashing their contraptions. There are other Birdman competitions around the world, but the Sussex event is the oldest and most popular.

Town Crier’s Championship, Blackpool

If you’re planning a summer holiday in Blackpool, keep in mind in the middle of July, town criers from all over England congregate in the town’s centre for the annual Town Crier’s Championship. The rule is simple: The loudest voice wins. The competition includes a number of side events as well, such as a prize for the best-dressed crier.

If you want to witness the Town Crier’s Championship in Blackpool, don’t wait till the last minute to arrange your travel plans.

World Toe-Wrestling Championships, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

A popular charity event, the World Toe-Wrestling Championships attract thousands of spectators and participants who want to show what their toes can do. In each event, two combatants sit opposite each other, interlock their toes and attempt to wrestle their opponent’s foot until it touches a marker on either side. The winner receives bragging rights for the next year and all of the proceeds go to a local charity.

These are a few of the unusual and strange festivals you’ll find around Britain this summer. So if you don’t have the budget or the time to travel to a major event, check to see what’s happening in your area. Chances are, there is something out of the ordinary.

Picture credit: Mike Warren

Manchester Central Library

5 things to do in Manchester

Manchester has an incredible amount to offer if you’re looking for a break away. This vibrant city is packed with attractions, culture and heritage. There is a great music scene (head down to The Factory), plenty of night life and lots to entertain the whole family!

Manchester Central Library


First thing’s first though – you can’t visit Manchester without noticing the loyalty that not only the locals, but the whole world, have for the resident football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United. The Manchester United Museum and Tour is open every day, apart from Saturday match days. A family ticket will set you back £48, a little on the steep side, but the younger fans in particular will be delighted in seeing the inside of the stadium. Manchester City also offer stadium tours every day at £15 for an adult ticket, or £10 for concessions.

Manchester now even has a dedicated football museum but if you’re looking for a buzzing football experience, book tickets for a United vs City match. The atmosphere at a local derby is fantastic and is not something you’ll get in a museum! The next date is Saturday 8th April 2013!


Manchester boasts the longest indoor ski slope in the UK at Chill Factore. You can take part in lessons, or just pop along for the day and try out skiing, snowboarding, extreme sledging and even snow sphereing (getting inside a giant orb and rolling down the slope)! An adult ski ticket is £20, but there are often special offers, particularly during the school holidays. It certainly costs a lot less than a trip to Aspens. Don’t forget to wrap up warm though!

Manchester Canal

The canal that runs through the city is over 35 miles long. As an alternative to the open top bus tours, how about going on a canal tour? Mersey Ferries offer a cruise that takes you all the way from Salford Quays to Liverpool. It costs £38 for an adult and takes around 2.5 hours. You then return by bus, seeing Manchester from a different angle. Oh and did I mention that there is a licensed bar on board?

Pub Staggers

And talking of bars, Manchester is very proud of its beer. Real Ale pubs are thriving in the city and there are plenty to choose from. CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) have put together 5 “pub staggers”, each starting at one of the city’s rail stations. There is no charge (apart from the beer), simply print off your route from .

Canal Street

Canal Street is in the middle of Manchester’s Gay Village. The city has a thriving LGBT scene and Canal Street has some of the best bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the area. The best time to visit is during Manchester Pride Festival – this year from the 16-26th August. The money raised goes to local LGBT projects. The bars and restaurants have outside seating during the summer months, so grab a cocktail and watch the world go by!

There is much more to do of course and on top of that, there are always ongoing events in Manchester.


London Tours for Film and Literacy Fans

If you’re heading to London for your holiday you will probably be thinking about visiting all the top London attractions. You will need a few days as there is plenty to see and do. You will probably have a huge list of top attractions to visit in London such as Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Big Ben, The Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the National Gallery. But there are lot places to visit which are not classed as top London attractions but which you may enjoy just as much especially if you love English films.

Daniel Craig in swimsuitGreat Britain is well known for some top films and TV shows which have caused a stir worldwide. Think Harry Potter, James Bond, Notting Hill and more recently Downton Abbey. Due to the popularity of these films and shows you can now go on tours and get up close and personal with stars from these shows as well as seeing the buildings and locations used in the filming. Tours are great for fans but also budding film makers alike. Also many of these tours will take you past some of these top London attractions so you will be killing two birds with one stone as it were.

My name is…

James Bond is probably the world’s most famous fictional secret agent and is well known around the world. You can now go on a James Bond tour and see the secret offices of James Bond in London HQ, visit lots of locations from the films For Your Eyes Only, Die Another Day and the latest Bond film Skyfall. You will get the chance to see costumes and learn about how the films were made. This would be an ideal tour for any budding film makers. Those wanting a more VIP experience can be picked up in a Rolls Royce and taken to the Bond in Motion museum and see over 50 cars which were used in films from the past 50 years. And to top it off you could actually meet an actor or production member.

Don’t forget your wand

Harry Potter is the most successful film franchise ever. 7 Harry Potter books have been translated into 67 languages and the popularity looks set to continue. J K Rowling recently admitted it was hard to say goodbye and if she had a great idea she would write another Potter book. The Warner Brothers Studios based in Leavesden Studios are now open to the public so fans can take a look as tome of the sets and props used in the making of these films. The tours are endless; you can go on a walking tour of London and see many of the locations used in the films, go on a tour of Oxford and Lacock and see some beautiful historical English villages and see scenes from Hogwarts School, or of course the ultimate tour of the Warner Bros Studio.

Dowton Abbey

Downton Abbey is another great British export. There are Downton Abbey tours of the villages used in the show including a visit to Highclere Castle where you can enjoy lunch and wonder around the beautiful scenic grounds. Another popular period drama is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This year is the 200 year anniversary of Jane Austen’s most famous novel. Today her stories are more popular than ever and she is recognised as one of the most important novelist that England ever produced. Fans of Jane Austen can go on tours and events which are being held this year to celebrate this milestone.

So if you’re a fan of British films and English literature, one of these tours should be on your list of things to do. There are plenty of tours to choose from all running throughout the year for every budget.