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18mm

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B E S T O F B R I TA I N Volume 1

18mm

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Volume 1


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Chapters | Best of Britain

Luxury Lifestyle Chapter 6 -

Chapter 1 -

Best of Britain

Fashion Chapter 7 -

Chapter 2 -

Business Tourism & Events

Food & Drink Chapter 8 -

Chapter 3 -

Olympic Overview

Design & Interiors Chapter 9 -

Chapter 4 -

Hotels

6 | Best of Britain

Health & Beauty Chapter 10 -

Chapter 5 -

Fine Dining & Cuisine


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Corporate Social Responsibility

Chapter 11 -

Chapter 16 -

Corporate Profiles

Conferencing & Exhibitions

Chapter 12 -

Chapter 17 -

Financial Services

Media, Marketing & Education Chapter 18 -

Chapter 13 -

Biotech & Pharmaceuticals

Entertainment & Shopping Chapter 19 -

Chapter 14 -

Innovation

Setting up in Britain Chapter 20 -

Chapter 15 -

Construction & Engineering

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Chapter 1 | Best of Britain

8 | Best of Britain


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Best of Britain | 9


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Digby, Lord Jones

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As I internationalised the CBI over the first few years of this decade and during the 45 overseas ministerial visits I made as Minister of State for Trade & Investment in 2007/2008, I came to the firm conclusion that the one country that does the UK harm more than any other, that appears to take great delight in accentuating our faults and never giving us due credit for our achievements and talent is in fact the UK... yes...ourselves! The media feeds us a diet of bad news (good news loses the battle for column inches) but apparently we have only ourselves to blame as that’s what sells newspapers! However, consider these facts for a moment: I

The UK is the Destination of Choice for Inward Investment in Europe and is second only to the USA in the World.

I

10 | Best of Britain

The most productive car plant in Europe and the


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most productive in the World is in the UK:

people in the UK), the BBC and, of course, it’s not

Nissan’s plant in the North-East.

Paris, not Madrid, not Moscow or New York but

Almost half of every Rolls-Royce-powered Airbus

London which will host the 2012 Olympic Games.

that flies anywhere in the World has been built in I

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This is SUCCESS on the grand scale. We engage

the UK.

globally. We make brilliant traders. We have a

We have four Universities in the Top Ten in the

reputation around the world for being an open market,

World and only the USA has more than we have

welcoming goods and services, investment and the

in the Top Hundred.

people who bring their talent to work hard and help

This tiny island on a lump of granite in the North

make Great Britain great. We have a reputation for

Atlantic accounts for over 14% of the entire

being innovative and inventive. In fact, in a 21st

global GDP of creative industries, from textile

Century where the developed world will only survive

design to architecture, from advertising to music

on delivering added-value, quality and branded goods

and films.

and services, the UK is in the right position at the

The Number One location for Financial Services

right time to make the most of the global upturn when

in the World is the City of London (in spite of all

it comes (and it surely will!) but we will only succeed

the mayhem).

if we keep investing in our skills base, keep being

I could go on; Pharmaceuticals, Premiership

open to the best the world has to offer and, more

football, Formula One (which employs some 50,000

than anything else, believe in ourselves!

Best of Britain | 11


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United Kingdom - Facts The United Kingdom is made up of Great Britain (England,

Best of Britain

Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland, and is one of the twenty seven member states of the European Union (EU).

Capital cities I

London – England

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Edinburgh – Scotland

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Cardiff – Wales

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Belfast – Northern Ireland

Area Land and water: 152,033 square miles Population

S C O T L A N D

UK approximately 60.6 million (England 50,714,000; Wales 2,977,000;

I

N

Edinburgh

Scotland 5,108,000; Northern Ireland 1,733,000)

I R E L A N D I

Belfast

E N G L A N D

W A L E S I

12 | Best of Britain

Cardiff

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London


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Languages The two official languages in Britain are English and Welsh, English being the most widely spoken. Scottish Gaelic is also spoken in some parts of Scotland. People The majority of the population is English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. However, Britain is an extremely diverse nation with a strong culture of racial integration and unity. Religion Most people are Christian (71%), although all other religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism are freely practised. About 23% of Britain follow no particular religion. Weights & measures

UK Domestic Tourism:

Government

Historically Britain used the Imperial System, but new

I

The UK is a constitutional monarchy that is a

EU regulations make use of the Metric System

trips (-2%) of one night or more, spending 21.2

representative democracy, where Queen Elizabeth II

compulsory with the exception of a few items, for

billion (+1%)

is recognised as the head of state, and the elected

example distance and speed are measured in miles

Prime Minister – Gordon Brown – is the head of

and miles per hour.

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Economic profile

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK,

The UK is a leading trading power and a financial

accounting for 2.9% of UK Gross Value Added and

centre. Agriculture is an important industry and highly

worth approximately £85.6 billion:

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47.8 million overnight trips to friends and relatives spending £4.8 billion

Latest data (2005) estimates that the English took

efficient. Primary energy, like coal and oil, are major contributors to the economy, but services like banking

Spending by Overseas Residents £ billion

and insurance are the greatest contributors.

Visits to the UK Fares to UK carriers

870 million tourism day trips in England, spending 16.0

£37.4 billion.

2.9 Employment:

Currency Britain uses the pound sterling.

Spending by Domestic Tourists £ billion

The sign for the Great British Pound (GBP) is £.

Trips of 1+ nights

21.0

Day Trips

44.8

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18.8 million overnight business trips spending £4.5 billion

British Tourism Facts

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76.8 million holidays of one night or more spending £14 billion

Government.

Time zone

In 2007 UK residents took a total of 123.5 million

Rent for Second Ownership

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1.0

29 October – 26 March:

Over 2 million jobs are sustained by tourism activity in the UK, either directly or indirectly

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Of these an estimated 1.45 million jobs are directly related, some five per cent of all people in employment in the UK

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Inbound Tourism to the UK:

25 March – 29 October: UTC + 1

Total visits for 2007 are 32.8 million visits, a +0.2% increase compared with 2006, with an decrease of

Climate

-0.3% in spending to £16 billion. The UK ranks sixth

Britain has a fairly temperate climate. The weather

in the international tourism earnings league behind

can vary greatly from day to day, but generally

the USA, Spain, France, Italy and China.

summer (June-August) is a warm 14-25°C, and winter (December-February) is a cool 1-4°C.

The top 5 overseas markets for the UK in 2007 were: Country Visits (000)

Major UK holidays 2009

USA

3,587

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1 January

Germany

3,385

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2 January (Scotland only)

France

3,323

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17 March (Northern Ireland only)

Irish Republic

2,975

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10 and 13 April

Spain

2,158

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4 and 25 May

Country Spend (£m)

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13 July (Northern Ireland only)

USA

2,554

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3 August (Scotland only)

Germany

1,217

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31 August (England, Wales and

Irish Republic

969

Northern Ireland only)

France

865

25 and 28 December

Spain

848

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Best of Britain | 13


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Economic Overview

Economy of Great Britain The UK economy is well placed to see early recovery from the current economic downturn. In November 2008, the Government set in place new measures to stimulate the economy. VAT was reduced and public spending increased with the intention of helping maintain levels of demand and consumption.

The UK is the world’s fifth-largest economy, with a

sixth-largest manufacturing economy. As a customs

GDP of GBP £1.19 (US $2,345) billion in 2007 and

union the EU allows for imported goods to be freely

the Economist Intelligence Unit has forecast that the

circulated around member states once the initial

UK will have the most stable business environment

customs duty and other charges have been paid.

of all the major European economies for the period

Membership of the EU, and access to its 500 billion

2007-2011. This recent success is attributable to a

consumers, is a pivotal aspect to the UK’s continued

fundamental economic stability achieved through

pre-eminence in trade.

business friendly regulation and legislation, a highly

The UK Government is committed to easing

skilled workforce, a deserved reputation for innovation

constraints on local business and research carried

technology and promotion of trade, globalisation and

out by The World Bank shows that it takes only 13

open markets.

days to set up a business in the UK, compared to

As it has been for centuries, the UK is a leading

14 | Best of Britain

the European average of 32 days. As a Government

trading nation, and it is now the second-largest

body, UK Trade & Investment has a vital role in this

exporter and third-largest importer of commercial

process: they help local businesses to internationalise

services globally. Internationally, the financial services

and expand their influence into foreign markets, while

sector is in a strong position. Thanks to inspired

at the same time working tirelessly to facilitate high

management and innovative products, the

value overseas investment. In 2007, the UK was the

manufacturing sector powers on despite fluctuations

largest recipient of foreign direct investment in Europe

in global trends, allowing the UK to remain the world’s

while consistently being the largest recipient globally


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of investment from the US, and it has achieved an impressive record for outward investment too. The UK Government has legislated economic policies that have contributed significantly to the past success and the continued strength of the economy. Policies guarantee that the pound will remain competitive, while economic strategy ensures stability. The Bank of England has full operational independence in determining interest rates. In terms of local business, the Government recognises the impact of regulation on entrepreneurial activity and the need for regulation to be a presence that does not hamper growth and innovation. Exactly the same can be said of Government policies regarding taxation. The UK has a relatively lightly taxed economy, with the overall tax burden being far below the EU average. Standard rates of VAT are also the lowest in the EU, with a wide range of essential goods such as food and children’s clothing

Best of Britain | 15


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Economic Overview

14-15-16-17 Economy:Layout 1

being exempt from VAT taxes altogether. At 28%

a business. The UK is also an extremely stable

possible business need. In addition, purchasing

the top corporate tax rate is well below most of the

political environment in which to do business, having

property in the UK is a simple procedure, and most

UK’s major competitors. Personal tax rates, with the

one of the most transparent and least corrupt

importantly there are no restrictions on buying by

highest band at 40%, are among the lowest in Europe

Governments in the world - ahead of France, Japan

overseas companies. Extensive networks of science

and add significantly to the attractions of citizenship

and the US according to Transparency International

parks and business incubators cater to the particular

for potential immigrants. Generous tax allowances,

(2008). The hub of European business activity, the

needs of start-up firms and provide a valuable platform

such as substantial research and development tax

UK has the least restricted business environment in the

for future growth. The UK has been divided into 12

credits, and an extensive network of double taxation

area and as a result has attracted foreign investment

investment regions, each of which has its own

treaties which ensure that business coming over to the

from massive corporations such as Microsoft,

development agency whose sole function is to

UK does not get taxed twice, are further incentives

Coca-Cola and Motorola, to name but a few.

promote growth in the area. Businesses based in the

for overseas investors.

For smaller firms, which often require nursing

UK have access to a wide range of finance and

particularly in the early stages of their development,

incentives, with the long-established and extensive

that is consistently recognised as among the most

ample sources of support and finance are available

UK banking industry offering a variety of commercial

favourable in the world. It has many features that make

because the UK Government recognises the value of

loans, mortgages and credit facilities. UK and EU

it exceptionally attractive to large foreign companies

entrepreneurial initiatives. This includes determined

government organisations also offer a wide range of

seeking to expand, but it also provides a unique

and structured support for companies protecting their

grants and incentives to qualifying businesses,

springboard for small firms or new ventures. The World

intellectual property rights. Commercial property is

particularly those involved with R&D.

Bank has ranked the UK as the sixth best country in

available in abundance and the property market

the world and the best in Europe in which to operate

offers a wide range of options designed to suit every

The UK business sector provides an environment

16 | Best of Britain

For a comparatively small cluster of islands the UK has a remarkable record where research and


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the economy, and this workforce is not only

one of the world’s largest overground and

substantial in quantity, being the second-largest in

underground railway networks, and the transport

the EU, but remarkably impressive in substance and

network in the rest of the country is correspondingly

skills. The UK leads Europe in terms of availability of

first rate. Airports, including Heathrow, Europe’s

qualified staff. Employment is currently at record

largest air hub, provide rapid links to mainland Europe

levels, with an employment level of 74.4% compared

and the rest of the world. Communications networks

with the EU average of 65.3%.

are as well developed, with the UK having one of the

The UK workforce does not consist only of home-grown Britons. Immigrants form a vital part of the country’s diverse labour market, while foreign

most extensive broadband markets and one of the strongest ICT infrastructures in the world. While the UK economy moves confidently into

entrepreneurs make an essential contribution to the

the future, the nation’s rich heritage should not be

thriving business sector. A UK passport is a sought-

forgotten. It is no surprise that a country that produced

after document. It is not only a booming economy

Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Charles Darwin, the

development expenditure is concerned, and it

but a high standard of living that attracts people to

Beatles and Monty Python should be characterised

generates an impressive 5.5% of world research. R&D

British shores. Free healthcare, low personal taxes,

by innovation and entrepreneurship. The robust,

activity is a high priority, and as the nation is home

highly rated education facilities, a wealth of culture,

never-say-die attitudes of its citizens and a proud

to the world’s top two universities for science (the

history and tradition, and abundant recreation and

tradition of transparent and democratic Government

venerable but cutting-edge Oxford and Cambridge),

leisure pursuits (plus those much-loved institutions

have worked together to create the optimal

and the top six universities in all of Europe, it is small

fish and chips, the Royal Family and the Sunday

environment for long-term foreign investment.

wonder that so many leading global businesses

roast) make the UK an ideal place in which to make a

Home-grown businesses, R&D, communications,

choose to focus their R&D expenditure on the UK,

home and a very attractive destination for foreigners.

transport and Government initiatives and legislation

where they can be sure of benefiting from access to

As a result London has become one of the world’s

are among the best and most advanced in the world,

first-class resources. Government support for

truly international cities, with a community that speaks

and the British never stop to rest on their laurels.

innovation is strong, barriers to entrepreneurship are

over 300 languages. The Government has initiated a

Education and training facilities are outstanding,

the lowest in the world, and the research base is

new immigration system which is aimed at making the

providing the nation with a strong and diverse

second only to that in the United States.

process more straightforward, but most importantly

workforce more than capable of supporting the

is also a points-based system designed to attract the

booming economy. The skilled and talented are

most skilled and talented workers.

attracted to working in the UK because of the enviable

The fact that the UK is home to so many world-class universities and centres of research and development, which are located all around the country,

In 2007 London was voted the top city for

standard of living, combined with favourable tax rates

means that the country has a highly skilled, flexible

business in Europe for the 18th consecutive year.

and infrastructure.The UK is the destination for anyone

and dynamic labour force. The large population of

Multiple key indicators show that it is the world’s

who wants to participate in a time of boundless

60.6 million provides a strong workforce to support

leading financial services centre. The city also boasts

opportunities.

Best of Britain | 17


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Top 20 reasons to do business in the UK Best of Britain

The UK is Europe’s leading investment destination for companies relocating and developing their global business.

1. A safe haven. The UK’s underlying economic stability and its principles-based regulatory system, will see it well set to take full advantage of recovery when it comes. 2. Foreign investment. The UK is a monetary-magnet to foreign investors, being the second highest recipient in the world and attracting more than any other nation in Europe. 3. Productivity. Manufacturing accounts for over half of UK exports and the advanced engineering sector is a national success story. 4. Innovation. Research and development facilities of the highest quality abound, and concepts and firms with an innovative approach find a warm reception in a country where the social climate welcomes progressive ideas and change. 5. Stability. As one of the most politically stable and least corrupt countries in the world, with centuries of democratic government, the UK is a particularly sensible and safe place in which to conduct business and make longer-term investments.

18 | Best of Britain


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15. Skills and labour. With a strong, flexible and diverse labour force, the UK can cater to every possible business need. 16. Olympic fever. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be held in London for the third time in the event’s history. The budget runs into billions and contracts will be awarded to local businesses both big and small. 17. Safety. By international standards, the UK is an extremely safe country with low levels of street crime and violence and a famously organised and proactive police force. 18. Lifestyle. Residents enjoy a very high standard of living in the UK, with superb education facilities, publicly funded health care and low personal taxes. 19. Entertainment. The UK is a great place to visit and a great place to live, with a remarkable heritage of art and entertainment. The culture of creativity in which Shakespeare lived has strengthened and diversified in more recent times with some of world’s best music, film and theatre being produced and enjoyed. 20. Cultural activities and leisure. Visit some of the world’s top museums and 6. London. One of the most diverse cities in the world in

11. Transport. Get where you need to go quickly and efficiently

galleries, dine out at superb international standard, shop till you drop, and enjoy an endless number of

which over 300 languages are spoken, this vibrant

– the world-class UK transport network offers

recreational pursuits. Food and drink, a beautiful

and international city is also one of the best European

everything from cheap and plentiful local and

countryside, outdoor activities from the tranquil to

business centres.

European flights to public transport links meeting

the extreme, sports events and scintillating nightlife

every possible need. Train, tram, taxi and tube, the

are all available when the time comes to relax and

UK has it all.

unwind.

7. Headquarters. More foreign companies have chosen the UK as their European headquarters than any other nation on the European continent.

12. Communications. With one of the strongest ICT infrastructures in the world and an extensive broadband market, the

8. Language. Visiting and resident businessmen find it easy to

UK’s progressive communications network is a global leader.

communicate, as English is the international language for business and the most widely spoken language in the UK.

13. Tax. Corporate tax rates at 28% maximum are well below most of the UK’s main competitors, and the

9. Heathrow. Heathrow is the largest air hub in Europe and

highest personal tax band of 40% is one of the lowest in the EU.

provides rapid links to the rest of the world and easy access to the 27 member states of the EU. Regular expansions maintain efficiency.

14. Accommodation and property. Accommodation options from five star hotels right through to self-catering apartments are available,

10. Infrastructure. By every possible standard the UK’s infrastructure

and for those who want to buy, for business or residential purposes, purchasing property in the UK

measures up to the most advanced and progressive

is a simple and straightforward process with no

in the world.

restrictions for foreign businessmen.

Best of Britain | 19


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Maximise your global potential Best of Britain

In this time of global economic uncertainty it is more important

20 | Best of Britain

than ever that businesses, whatever their country of origin, raise their game to secure their future. Competition in international markets is increasingly fierce and partnership with a proven winner with an outstanding and long respected record of trade and success in attracting investment can be your key to growth.


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With the UK as your partner you are choosing a

UK is one of the most regulated business

and customer-focused. No other organisation is better

world-class location for international business which

environments in Europe.

equipped to support globally-minded companies.

is the leading recipient of inward investment in Europe

At this time of unprecedented change UK Trade &

Every year, we help hundreds of overseas firms, from

and only second in the world after the USA. It has a

Investment (UKTI) can help your company at every

hi-tech start-ups to global industry leaders who all

vibrant and diversified economy and a unique

step of the way. It is the UK Government’s

discover the potential for new global growth from a

combination of success, confidence, innovation,

international business development organisation and

UK base. Our clients cite consistently the importance

quality and ambition to make it a truly global economic

can provide the support that you need to help your

of UKTI support in helping them to overcome barriers

powerhouse. The UK as a base offers easy access

business grow and prosper.

to new business and investment opportunities. For

to the European single market of over 500 million

UKTI boasts an unrivalled network of specialist

us, understanding our customers’ needs is vital.

people and a bridge across the Atlantic into the

advisers throughout the UK and in British embassies

Americas. It is a springboard for global growth.

and diplomatic posts across the world. It leads an

Games less than four years away, the eyes of the

To ensure the long-term stability of the UK, the

With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic

inward investment network which includes the English

world are firmly on the UK. This provides a perfect

Government has set in place new measures to

Regional Development Agencies, International

platform for UK-based companies to showcase their

stimulate the economy with the intention of helping

Business Wales, Invest Northern Ireland and Scottish

expertise and do business in overseas markets and

maintain levels of demand and consumption and

Development International. The network works with

for firms across the globe to make the most of all that

remaining competitive on the world stage. For over

inward investors at all stages of their decision-making

the UK has to offer.

a decade, economic performance has shown

cycle, becoming their advocate in Government and

resilience and stability. Recovery from the recession

with other public bodies. We also help build the

organisation that helps UK-based companies succeed

of 1990-1992 was better than any other G8 country

capacity of UK-based firms to export and offer strategic

in the global economy and assists overseas companies

and the UK then went on to experience its greatest

impartial advice and research, political support in

to bring their high quality investment to the UK.

period of sustained growth in 150 years. The World

overseas markets and introductions to key contacts.

Bank’s Doing Business Report 2009, states that the

UKTI is innovative, professional, entrepreneurial

UK Trade & Investment is the Government

For information: www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000.

Best of Britain | 21


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British Expertise

Best of Britain

Promoting professional services worldwide

22 | Best of Britain


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British Expertise is a trade association dedicated to

of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. The many

helping companies to develop their international

companies attending had an excellent programme

The strengths of British Expertise are:

business. We have about 220 members who range

organised for them.

I

from large corporate consultants to a wide variety of

Excellent networking both with potential clients and between experts in many

Our programme of meetings ranges very widely,

different disciplines;

other smaller and more specialised consulting

from a few member representatives meeting a UK

companies; and about 25 highly-skilled individual

Trade & Investment officer from a diplomatic post

members. There are also construction companies

abroad, to a large gathering to meet the mayor and

British and other Governments, and the

with international interests. Members work in a wide

others from a major Chinese city, to our major events

international financing institutions, on

range of market sectors, and in many different

of the year - our House of Lords Reception and our

behalf of our members;

disciplines. Their combined global reach means there

Annual Awards Dinner.

are member companies working in nearly every

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Our website contains much information about us,

country around the world. British Expertise was

including a programme of our events, and access

founded in 1966, and has accumulated considerable

to our weekly newsletter. The website provides a list

respect from Government and private sector agencies

of members with information about them.

with whom we work.

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membership start at £750 plus VAT for the smallest

trade missions, almost all on behalf of UK Trade &

companies. There is also a one off application fee of

Investment Sector Teams responsible for exports in

£200 (£300 for larger companies) plus VAT. Contact

power, environmental goods and services, sports

us for a no commitment discussion about the value

and leisure infrastructure, ports and construction. A

of membership for your company. Individual

typical mission is one we completed recently to Brazil

membership is also available.

for UK Trade & Investment, to look at opportunities

www.britishexpertise.org

for British companies arising from Brazil hosting the

+44 (0) 20 7222 3651

Wide ranging market intelligence, including information from our programme of meetings, conferences and overseas seminar missions, meeting key people from both private and public sector clients, and the development

Our annual subscriptions for Corporate

In 2008-9 we have a programme of over 20

A proven ability in effective lobbying of the

agencies; I

An expert source of know-how in developing and winning business worldwide, and in helping our members to overcome problems.

2014 FIFA World Cup, and Rio de Janeiro’s hopes

Best of Britain | 23


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East of England Development Agency Best of Britain

The East of England Development Agency is the driving force

24 | Best of Britain

behind sustainable economic growth and regeneration across the six counties of the East of England region – Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.


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The Ideas Region The East of England region is a modern-day hub of ideas and innovation, with the highest level of investment in research and development of any UK region and world-leading environmental expertise and centres of excellence. The region benefits from its flourishing market towns, complimented by areas of outstanding natural beauty and is right on the doorstep of the London Olympics 2012. The East of England has outstanding and constantly growing international and domestic transport links, with two London airports – Luton and Stansted - within the region, fast access to London, easy routes to Europe and seven major seaports. The port of Felixstowe is the fifth largest in Europe and handles 40 per cent of the UK’s container traffic. EEDA looks to capitalise on the assets of the region and act as the driving force behind sustainable economic growth. Despite its already dynamic economy which contributes around £110 billion annually to the UK’s gross value added (GVA) - almost ten per cent of the UK total - the East of England is one of the fastest growing regions both in terms of economy and population. 82% of the population are economically active – the highest proportion in the UK. And this thriving economy is based around worldleading research institutions including the University of Cambridge - an institution associated with more Nobel prize-winners than any other in the world. More businesses start-up in the East of England than in any other region and this is testament to the comprehensive and leading business support offer available across the region.The EEDA-funded Business Link service provides a on-stop-shop for businesses of all sizes and all stages of development. Enterprises in the region also benefit from initiatives such as EEDA’s Business Map, which help businesses find the support they require quickly and easily via an interactive online tool. The Business Map (www.bizmapeast.co.uk) facilitates the process firms go through finding tailored support packages, whether it be for advice on finance, recruitment, international trade or marketing to name a few. For more information on the region please visit: www.eeda.org.uk.

Best of Britain | 25


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East Midlands Development Agency Best of Britain

England’s East Midlands is an incredible place to establish and grow your business in the UK, as well as to live, work and relax.

There are many places waiting to be discovered, such

advantage in niche sectors including life sciences,

as magnificent stately homes that provide a glimpse

food & drink and environmental technologies.

into the past; inspiring countryside with sweeping

transport links and groundbreaking academic research

cities combining shopping with night life; historic

have drawn and retained leading companies like

market towns; and locations that have inspired

Rolls-Royce, Toyota, Bombardier and AstraZeneca

movie makers.

to our vibrant cities and dramatic countryside.

England’s East Midlands is easily accessible at

Whether you need assistance with relocation,

just an hour from London. London St Pancras’

expansion or collaboration, the International Investment

Eurostar connection means we’re on Europe’s

Team are here to help your business. We provide free,

doorstep and the rapidly expanding East Midlands

confidential advice as part of the government-funded

Airport also offers a wide range of international flights,

East Midlands Development Agency (emda).

plus a dedicated freight hub. Our region has previously been named the number one business location in the UK by independent advisors Deloitte. We have world-class capabilities

26 | Best of Britain

Low operating costs, high living standards, rapid

hills and dramatic rocky outcrops; cosmopolitan

Start your success story. Call +44 (0)115 988 8400, email locate@englandseastmidlands.com or visit www.englandseastmidlands.com To find out about emda, visit www.emda.org.uk

in transport technologies such as automotive,

or go to www.enjoyeastmidlands.com to discover

aerospace and rail. The region also has a competitive

England’s East Midlands.


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Best of Britain | 27


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London Development Agency Best of Britain

Time for London - This vibrant, multi-cultural capital is a world

28 | Best of Britain

leading destination city. Rapid economic development has driven London’s success. The capital now attracts nearly 6% of all foreign direct investment made anywhere in the world, the highest share of any European city.


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The opportunity to visit London is now.

legacy of sports development and economic

London welcomed over 15.4 million staying visitors

regeneration, the city’s investment in jobs and

in 2008, and tourism generates £15 billion a year for

infrastructure is set to benefit London for generations

the city. London’s ever-changing and diverse cultural

to come.

means there is always something new, whether it is on the world-famous West End stage or one of the new music venues. Visitors can choose from 240

The opportunity to invest in London is now. London is a financial and business hub; home to

museums and 238 free attractions. The city retains

33% of European HQs of global Fortune 500

its fantastic historical features, such as the Royal

companies. What’s more, London accounts for more

Botanic Gardens, Tower of London, Maritime

than half of all European banking activity. Every year

Greenwich, Westminster Palace and Westminster

150,000 people move to the city.

Abbey which are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With over 300 languages spoken and 14 different

London is the best-connected global city. Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport,

faiths practised it is no surprise London is also a

and London’s position at the Greenwich Meridian

world-class destination for food-lovers. The choice

means that it is open for business to Asia, Europe

is staggering - you’ll find cuisine from over 70

and America all during the standard business day.

countries and over 6,000 restaurants. From gastro pubs and Michelin stars to local cafes and markets, London’s food scene caters for everyone’s tastes. From Wimbledon to the Oval, from Wembley to

The opportunity to study in London is now. Around 30,000 different courses are offered across the city’s 43 universities and colleges. Students

the Hackney Marshes, London already offers

from all around the world flock to our world-class

world-class sport. And when London hosts the 2012

educational institutions.

Olympic and Paralympic Games the world’s eyes will

London’s opportunity is now.

be on the capital. With a public commitment to a

www.lda.gov.uk

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One NorthEast The North East has a long history of providing a vibrant base

Best of Britain

for international business expansion. More than 500 leading

30 | Best of Britain

global companies are located in the region, making it one of the most dynamic parts of the European Economic Area – the world’s largest trading block.


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Around 40% of companies listed on the Dow Jones have operations in North East England. They include 3M,Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Procter & Gamble. Investment opportunities High growth sectors such as Energy & Low Carbon Technology, Chemicals, and Automotive & Advanced Manufacturing; have proved a magnet for ambitious companies. And there is increasing potential in key areas like Healthcare & Life Sciences, as well as Digital Media and Animation. A third of UK pharmaceutical production is carried out in the region. Over 200 pharmaceutical, speciality chemical and biotechnology companies employing 34,000 people produce £9bn of GDP. Clusters of firms in North East England make up 58% of the UK petrochemical industry and comprise a fifth of Britain’s process manufacturing capacity. Public investment in renewable energy technology is creating opportunities for expanding and innovative businesses. This is attracting global players. Clipper Windpower is developing the world’s largest offshore wind turbine in the region. Combined heat and power specialist Yanmar has its European research centre here. Valued and well supported international firms are involved in a drive to produce the next generation of products, in emerging fields such as printable electronics, functional materials, advanced processes and low-carbon energy. The region’s network of centres of excellence are generating many commercial opportunities, and at the same time provide vital support to ambitious firms – from university spin-offs to foreign firms locating here. www.northeastengland.co.uk +44 (0)191 229 6200

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Northwest Regional Development Agency Best of Britain

England’s Northwest is one of the largest regions outside London and the South East. The region has a thriving £111 billion economy, bigger than 15 EU countries, and a population of almost 7 million people.

The region has an impressive reputation as a highly

architecture of its World Heritage Site, this really is a

successful business location, home to 247,000

world-class city. Elegant and ancient, the city of

businesses and a talented and productive workforce

Chester is full of 21st century delights. This walled

of over 4 million people. Producing 50,000 talented

Roman city is perfect for pampering, sophisticated

graduates every year it is also home to one of Europe’s

shopping and fine dining.

largest concentrations of universities. With some of Europe’s most beautiful countryside

none – the professional football game was born here

including the world famous Lake District National

– as well as the literary heritage of the Romantic poets

Park and a stunning coastline, England’s Northwest

and the history of popular music that goes hand in

boasts an outstanding quality of life. Easily accessible

hand with the Fab Four, and you’re spoilt for choice.

via 3 international airports that connect to 270

Here you’ll also find England’s Golf Coast, the highest

destinations worldwide, it’s a great place to live, work

concentration of championship links courses in the

and visit.

world, as well as Aintree Racecourse, host of the

Sophisticated and stylish Manchester is the original 24-hour city. With legendary shopping and

32 | Best of Britain

Add to this a sporting heritage that is second to

world renowned John Smiths Grand National. With the myriad events, performances, exhibitions

cutting-edge clubs and bars set in a city renowned

and gigs that keep the region buzzing all year long,

for its progressive urban design. Liverpool is truly

we guarantee you’ll be hooked.

awe-inspiring; with more museums and galleries than

www.enw.co.uk/invest

anywhere else outside London and the iconic

+44 (0)1925 400 495


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Best of Britain | 33


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South East England Development Agency Best of Britain

The South East of England is the Gateway to Europe. Transport

34 | Best of Britain

connections are strong, with Eurostar stations at Ebsfleet and Ashford, air links via Gatwick and ferry and freight services at the main sea ports of Dover, Folkestone, Portsmouth and Newhaven.


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It is also known as the economic powerhouse of the UK, contributing more than £12bn net to the UK Exchequer. Globally, it is the 20th largest economy. The South East is a successful and prosperous region, offering its eight million people a good quality of life, the highest employment record in the UK and the second highest per capita income. Skills too are top of the agenda, as the South East workforce is one of the most highly qualified in the UK. Visitors can find both rich historic heritage and modern culture in an area that arcs around London, from Dover in the east to the New Forest in the west

GlaxoSmithKline. It is strong in the electronics,

and Milton Keynes in the north. There are ancient

defence, aerospace and marine sectors and can

castles at Hever, Leeds and Arundel; historic

compete on a global stage to attract and support

battlefields such as Hastings; stately homes such as

inward investment from areas as diverse as China,

Blenheim; and world famous towns such as Oxford.

Australia, the United States and Europe.

The many coastal towns and ports offer iconic

With a world class natural heritage to preserve,

buildings like Brighton Pavilion, Bexhill’s de la Warr

part of SEEDA’s work is to be environmentally-friendly

Pavilion and the spectacular 170-metre high Spinnaker

and to reduce its carbon footprint. This is key to

Tower in Portsmouth.

ensuring that economic prosperity goes hand in hand

SEEDA, the South East England Development

with creating a sustainable and lasting social legacy.

Agency, supports high value manufacturing, attracting

www.seeda.co.uk

global brands including Microsoft, Vodafone and

+44 (0)1483 484200

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South West England The South West combines an exceptionally beautiful

Best of Britain

environment with a refreshing, free-thinking attitude valuing

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success in both life and work.


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The region has a population of over 5 million and an

our world-beating industries, from aerospace, with

economy worth over £90 billion a year that’s grown

9 of the UK’s 12 key aerospace companies in the

more over the last 6 years than any other UK region

region, to a growing environmental technologies

outside London.

sector employing around 100,000 people, and from

South West England is attractive not only to

an Oscar-winning creative industry sector worth

visitors (it’s the UK’s most popular tourism destination)

£8 billion, to the world’s second largest concentration

but also to businesses, investors, students and those

of silicon designers (the first is in the US) along our

seeking to share an enviable quality of life.

very own Silicon Gorge.

It’s the most popular relocation choice for

You’ll also find thriving areas of excellence in

professionally qualified people in the UK and it’s easy

robotics technology, telecoms, marine science,

to see why, it has the countries highest levels of

technology research, computing, interactive

motivation in the workforce, the highest

technologies, automotive manufacturing and food

life-expectancy for men and women, and over 170,000

and drink – there’s just not the space to talk about

VAT-registered businesses (1,500 foreign-owned)

them all, visit swengland.com for more information.

offering exciting and career-enhancing opportunities. The region also has an exciting tradition of

With over 60% of the UK’s Heritage Coast, almost half the UK’s designated bathing waters, around 25%

innovation and entrepreneurship typified by the likes

of England’s sites of special interest and 4 UNESCO

of Brunel and James Dyson - no surprise then that

world heritage sites, it’s easy to see why the South

it has the UK’s highest proportion of self-employment

West is somewhere you can grow not only your

outside London, Britain’s best business survival rates

business, but your life as well.

and spends more on research & development than

South West England - Business. Life. Inspiration.

the national average.

www.swengland.com

This spirit of energy and innovation is reflected in

Best of Britain | 37


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Advantage West Midlands At the centre of England, the West Midlands Region comprises

Best of Britain

the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire and the boroughs of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Each area has its own distinctive landmarks and personality - from the vibrancy of Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, to historic market towns like Ludlow in Shropshire and picturesque rural areas such as the Vale of Evesham. The region offers an excellent quality of life, with competitively priced accommodation in a range of delightful settings, from urban chic to pleasant suburbs and charming rural towns and villages. There is an excellent in-region transport network, which makes commuting a popular option.

Worcestershire County Cricket Ground

We have a wealth of leisure and diverse cultural

38 | Best of Britain

opportunities across the region. From Michelin-starred restaurants to original balti houses in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle, delicious food is always round the corner. Our arts and entertainment scene is as exciting as you’ll find anywhere in the world, with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the worldrenowned Belfry golf course just some examples of


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Selfridges, Birmingham

Warwick Castle

Severn Valley Railway

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the world-class facilities to be found here. As you would expect of the region that gave the world Shakespeare and the dictionary, the West Midlands has some of the finest universities, higher education establishments and further education colleges in the country. MBA courses in Aston and Warwick are ranked among the best in the world. This is a truly diverse region, which enjoys a welldeserved reputation for innovation. It is a region responding to the needs of business, ensuring skills are aligned to the needs of employees, employers and the economy. From the Construction Centre of Excellence in Birmingham, which aims to train students in the construction trade to the Ludlow Vocational Training Centre in Shropshire, opportunities are endless. The West Midlands Region – where anything is possible. www.thewestmidlandsregion.co.uk +44 (0)121 380 3500

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Yorkshire Forward Mention the region Yorkshire and Humber and many people

Best of Britain

anticipate some kind of rural idyll populated by weathered men

40 | Best of Britain

in flat caps. Whilst the region does indeed boast some of the UK’s most stunning landscapes, new visitors to the region are often surprised by the dramatic skyline that confronts them as they come off the M62 into Leeds or exit the train station in Sheffield.


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As well as rolling hills and rugged coastline, Yorkshire and Humber is home to a diverse mix of buzzing cities and towns – and one of only three regions in the UK to be fully broadband enabled. Leeds, the self-made capital of the region has seen billions of pounds of private development in recent years and Bradford has been tipped as one of the UK’s top cities poised for growth. Hull, the region’s gateway to Europe, is home to the latest World Trade Centre and is alive with new development, whilst Sheffield has transformed its industrial pedigree for the 21st century and now leads the way in advanced manufacturing and metals. The region is also home leading the way in key industry sectors. Food and Drink, Healthcare Technologies, Advanced Engineering, Environmental Technologies and the Creative and Digital Industry are all thriving in Yorkshire and Humber and last year attracted over £320 million of overseas investment. Educational attainment levels in the region are constantly climbing, and whilst the cost of living in the region remains significantly better value than many other parts of the country, the quality of life offered in the region is high. And for the environmentally conscious, Yorkshire and Humber is the only region in the UK to set itself targets for reducing carbon emissions – 20% by the year 2010. All this shows, that the benefits of living and investing in Yorkshire and Humber are unparalleled. The question is – what’s keeping you from the region that has it all? www.yorkshire-forward.com +44 (0)113 394 9600

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Northern Ireland Among the smallest UK and European regions, Northern

Best of Britain

Ireland is also now one of the most dynamic economies.

42 | Best of Britain

At the heart of Northern Ireland’s vibrant business scene and increasing success in global markets is its workforce which is among the youngest and best educated in Europe with a strong work ethic.


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While Northern Ireland has a long industrial and commercial heritage, the region is also one of the

Page 2

grades than other parts of the UK. Far-sighted investment to create the world’s most

cleanest and greenest parts of Europe, making it a

advanced telecommunication network and a modern

magnet for tourists from most parts of the world

infrastructure of high quality science parks, research

especially those seeking activity holidays including

centres of excellence and technology incubators have

fishing and hill walking as well as golf on the region’s

encouraged the growth of innovation led clusters in

world class courses.

ICT, financial services, aerospace, life sciences and

Among other benefits of a largely pollution-free

nanotechnology, as well as more traditional industries

environment are a reputation for food that’s natural,

such as food and drink, engineering, and oil and

wholesome, richly flavoured and traceable, and a

gas equipment. All are focused on global business.

sharp focus on environmental technologies including wave, wind, solar and biomass energy. Although part of the UK and an integral part of the

Superb telecommunications and a hub for several major airlines mean that Northern Ireland is also within easy reach of the huge European marketplace,

European Union, Northern Ireland now has its own

making the region an ideal nearshore location

locally-elected government committed to economic

particularly for technology companies. It’s hardly

growth through advancing entrepreneurship,

surprising that Northern Ireland has attracted

innovation and international exchanges. Assisting this

technology industry leaders in ICT and software,

commitment are two research focused and industry

financial services and life sciences from the US,

linked universities within an overall education system

Europe and India aiming to grow business in Europe.

that produces students with consistently higher

www.investni.com

Best of Britain | 43


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Scotland With a long-standing reputation for innovation and creativity it

Best of Britain

is no surprise that modern-day Scotland has one of the most

44 | Best of Britain

transformed economies in Europe.


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From a reputation forged in the heavy manufacturing

Scotland’s economic development agency Scottish

and engineering industries of the 19th and 20th

Enterprise, is the country’s inward investment and

centuries, modern-day Scotland is a country that is

international trade organisation. SDI works to both

both rich in opportunity and innovation.

attract foreign investment and partnership into

By adapting to a decline in these traditional areas

Scotland, as well as helping home-grown companies

through a focus on modern, knowledge-driven

take full advantage of the opportunities in international

industries, Scotland has built a diverse and

markets.

successful economy. Scotland has developed a reputation as a world

In the past year alone SDI has helped secure over 2,500 high value jobs, as well as helping over 700

class location, and earlier this year it was named

high potential organisations within Scotland to do

European Region of the Future in 2008, by the

business internationally.

Financial Times fdi (Foreign Direct Investment) Magazine, ahead of 38 other regions. A robust infrastructure and a highly skilled

The organisation is particularly focused on a number of key industries which play a central role in the international economy, and where Scotland has

workforce, combined with a competitive cost base,

been identified as having the potential to

means that Scotland offers excellent potential as a

successfully forge a role for itself on the global stage.

business location for both new investors and indigenous companies. Scottish Development International (SDI), part of

Life Sciences, for example, has experienced significant growth in recent years in Scotland thanks to high levels of biotechnology expertise, a culture

Best of Britain | 45


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Best of Britain

44-45-46-47 Scotland:Layout 1

of innovation and continuing research and technology excellence. The Translational Medicine Research Institute, for

Scotland also has real strengths in the energy

produce and most skilled food and drink producers

sector, thanks to some of the most favourable energy

in the world and as a result its food and drink industry

resources in Europe. As well as experience in oil and

is thriving. It currently generates over £7.5billion per

example, is harnessing the power of four Scottish

gas technology, Scotland is also a world leader in

year for the country’s economy and accounts for 23

medical schools and NHS Trusts together with

pioneering alternative energy sectors such as offshore

percent of total manufacturing exports. Internationally

substantial investment from international

wind, hydro and fuel cell technology. Renewable

famous whisky brands, fresh seafood and meat,

pharmaceuticals company Wyeth. This groundbreaking

energy has experienced explosive growth in recent

coupled with innovative speciality products, have

project has joined together dispersed resources to

years, and this is set to continue as the need to find

helped to make Scotland’s food and drink industry

create a powerful network of clinical and scientific

alternatives to conventional power sources becomes

exceptionally vibrant, which offers real growth potential

excellence of world significance. Ultimately this project

more pressing.

for the future.

will develop faster ways of getting new cures from the laboratory to the patient. In addition, Edinburgh BioQuarter will establish

An effective business infrastructure to support

Despite recent global events, Scotland also has

this sector is currently being developed through the

significant strengths in Financial Services. Over the

Energetica project, which aims to create a global

past two years it has been the largest single sector

Scotland as one of the world’s top ten centres for

hub for business development covering all energy

for inward investment and high-value jobs coming to

biomedical commercialisation. This £1.2billion public-

technologies. At its heart is a technology corridor

Scotland. Clearly recent events both globally and within

private sector project brings together, public

spanning 30 miles from Aberdeen north to Peterhead,

Scotland’s banking sector will impact on this success

healthcare, academic research, extensive commercial

designed to attract and grow technology companies

in the immediate-term, however, the country’s skills

laboratory and business headquarters space all on

in a high quality environment.

and strengths – such as a highly skilled workforce and

one location.

46 | Best of Britain

Scotland is home to some of the best natural

competitive operating cost base – remain as strong


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Facts ■

Scottish Development International (SDI) is the single point of contact for all international business development needs.

It employs 230 people within both Scotland and in 23 countries across the world including the USA, the Far East and across Europe.

It works with all industries, with a focus on areas which have been identified as giving Scotland a real competitive advantage: life sciences, financial services, energy, electronic markets, tourism and food & drink.

SDI attracts investment into Scotland to enhance Scottish competitiveness and generate positive economic impact. It also works with Scottish companies to help them make the most of opportunities in international markets.

as ever and provide a strong base for the future. Next year Scotland will celebrate Homecoming 2009, a year-long programme of events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of national poet Robert Burns, as well as the Scotland’s contribution to the world such as golf, whisky and innovation. This celebration of Scotland’s heritage will showcase all that’s best about the country and clearly demonstrate what sets Scotland apart on the global stage. www.sdi.co.uk Tel: +44 (0) 141 228 2828

Best of Britain | 47


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Wales A stronger Wales can help business weather the storm. The

Best of Britain

economic crisis of 2008 underlines the fact that every country is affected by global trends. But devolution of power to Wales has given us the opportunity of an economic strategy that suits our needs best.

And the signs are that, despite the international

economic sectors (14 in all) which have strong growth

climate, this flexibility is proving a major plus factor

potential – industries that will propel the world

drive up the value added by people at work and

in attracting new investors and supporting local

economy out of the current downturn.

encourage faster progress towards a knowledge-

indigenous businesses. Major new investments by companies such as Amazon in Swansea, Takao in Ebbw Vale, McKesson at Bangor and HSBC at Newport indicate continued

This helps concentrate public sector investment where the returns are optimal but does not exclude businesses in other sectors. We have backed this up by streamlining help for

Welsh competitive advantage as a destination for

industry through a new ‘Flexible Support for Business’

international business.

system.

And while the downturn poses problems, Wales

This helps people who wish to start, maintain or

One of our key objectives as a government is to

driven, sustainable economy. And – in common with other smaller nations – we are turning our handy size to great advantage in pursuing that goal. A bit like our star rugby wing Shane Williams, recently named International Rugby Board Player of the Year for 2008, our country is proving its agility in

is equipped as never before to respond positively –

grow a business in Wales – with straightforward

and in the process enhance its competitiveness and

access and a team of proactive Welsh Assembly

economic sustainability.

Government relationship managers who keep closely

and we are promoting further collaboration between

in touch with companies.

businesses and universities, with emphasis on

For example, we have identified a range of key

48 | Best of Britain

the global marketplace. In Wales, active networking is second nature,


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commercialisation of research and development. One result is a unique initiative –Technium, an all-Wales network of high-quality business innovation and incubation centres specifically designed to

green technologies and products. We live in a country with enormous assets – the greatest of which is our people. With major world corporations alongside a growing

nurture young technology-based businesses with high

number of local businesses, Wales is proving well

growth potential.

equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century.

This activity is backed by Centres of Excellence

Ieuan Wyn Jones

– again, linked with Welsh universities – which

Deputy First Minister and Minister for the

encourage businesses to make the vital link between

Economy and Transport

innovation and enterprise.

International Business Wales can explain their

We have recently launched a new Green Jobs

business support and how they can take you through

Strategy for Wales, which aims at making existing

every step of relocating/expanding in Wales.

jobs more sustainable and carbon efficient – and also

Visit the IBW website on: www.ibwales.com

generate a range of new jobs based on emerging

+ 44 1443 845500

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Chapter 2 | Business Tourism & Events

50 | Best of Britain


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Best of Britain | 51


Business Tourism & Events

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Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman, VisitBritain Britain’s £85 billion visitor economy is our nation’s fifth largest industry, accounting for 3.5 per cent of the economy and employing 2.1 million people. Every year millions of British and international travelers experience a warm welcome here at quality accommodation, attractions, destinations and events that remain second to none.


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Despite ever-increasing competition from the latest

and taking advantage of travellers’ niche interests.

‘hot spots’ around the world, we continue to see new

We continue to convert interest about visiting Britain

routes opening into ports of entry and retain our own

to ‘action’, providing services to help consumers not

‘brag factor’. The best of Britain is our world-leading

only ‘look’ at all our destination offers, but also to

business reputation, a home and work for some of

book, travel, stay, tell and keep in touch.

the most vibrant and diverse communities in the world.

Britain is a destination that hosts a rich calendar

It is our creative industries – fashion, music, film,

of cultural, social and sporting occasions and,

culture, architecture and literature – that help us stand

following the success of Liverpool’s celebrations as

out from the crowd. It is these strengths that continue

European Capital of Culture, accepts the Olympic

to draw visitors from around the world and keeps

torch from China and begins a four-year Cultural

them returning again and again.

Olympiad. As well as London and Britain being host

VisitBritain continues to lead the industry to

city and host nation of the 2012 Games, Wales

ensure we remain one of the most visited destinations

welcomes the Ryder Cup in 2010 and Scotland the

in the world. Staying at the forefront of new technology

Commonwealth Games in 2014.

as the internet continues to be important in ensuring

Such major events represent a once-in-a-lifetime

that the world is aware of the destinations and visitor

opportunity for our visitor economy and – as the

experiences to be enjoyed here.

spotlight turns from Beijing to London, from China

As well as addressing issues like sustainability and responsible travel, quality and welcome, initiatives

to Britain – we will be ready to build momentum and galvanise Britain to welcome the world in style.

are addressing newer, younger generations of visitors

Best of Britain | 53


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About Britain Have fun, indulge in trips to historic houses and royal palaces, be enthralled with stories of romantic landscapes that have inspired our literary greats.

Events and destinations galore! Tour dreamy chocolate-box villages, along miles

The best places to stay Britain offers a huge range of quality-assessed,

Glyndebourne or the Big Chill. This is a destination favoured by the world’s film-makers and home to

of canals and waterways, stopping off at World Her-

‘star-rated’ accommodation to delight. Where a warm

characters as diverse as Harry Potter and James

itage Sites. Enjoy this country’s unrivalled social sea-

welcome and quality is assured – no fear of half-built

Bond, Beatrix Potter and Elizabeth I.

son and its calendar of world-renowned and more

hotels or half-baked holiday ideas here. Idyllic cottages

eccentric events – from Ascot to Henley, London

by the sea and cosy B&Bs, chic city hotels, self-

Fashion Week to the Edinburgh Festival, cheese

catering properties and guesthouses that epitomise

rolling to worm charming.

the very essence of an British break. Holidays on

masses of regeneration giving many a new lease of

boats, campuses, camping and caravan parks. At

life. Discover contemporary architecture like the

hostels and holiday villages. In crofts, thatched

Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Selfridge’s in

cottages and barns, oast houses and farmhouses.

Birmingham or London’s City Hall. Whet your appetite

Best for business With easy accessibility from all parts of the world and the ongoing commercial regeneration of its capitals and regional cities, Britain offers centuries of heritage, inspiring countryside, world-class events and

Our cities have come on leaps and bounds with

for café culture, world-class restaurants and A cultural country 2008 celebrated Liverpool’s position as European

unique cultural experiences. For the world’s business

Capital of Culture and the start of our four-year

community, Britain boasts exclusive experiences for

Cultural Olympiad. We’re home to national museums

incentive programmes, unusual accommodation and

and galleries with free entry, unusual collections at

meeting places, and venues with state-of-the-art

smaller attractions, theatre, ballet and opera to tickle

facilities for exhibitions and conferences.

your fancy, alongside the sounds of Glastonbury,

54 | Best of Britain

City breaks

acclaimed gastro-pubs. And if that’s not enough, there’s shopping for every budget and music and nightlife for every taste. Rural retreats Explore thousands of miles of coastline and acres of achingly beautiful countryside. Places where –


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whatever the weather – there’s walking, riding, cycling, zorbing or coasteering. Get out and about in national parks, visit seaside resorts to make castles on stretches of golden sand or hunt for fossils on rockier shores. Family friendly Travelling with 2.4 children or an extended family, with a partner, a pooch or a pack of mates – whatever ‘family’ means to you and whatever your interests, Britain has something to offer. Family-friendly attractions, accommodation with room to spare, kids clubs and all-in-one centres, there’s so much to do that you need never be bored. www.visitbritain.com

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Sustainability As well as meeting its Kyoto obligations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Britain already benefits from a wealth of protected green spaces. This is a nation of more than 3000 miles of National Trails or Long Distance Paths, 14 National Parks, 80 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Scenic Areas, and more than half a million acres of countryside, moorland, beaches & coastline protected by the National Trust.


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British Waterways has been the catalyst for over

It is an initial step in helping more tourism businesses

£2 billion of waterside regeneration amidst 3000 miles

improve their existing practices and signal to visitors

of navigable waterways and 138 beaches throughout

that they recognise the increasing importance and

Britain and Ireland have Blue Flag status, meeting

value of sustainable good practice.

strict environmental and safety criteria.Throughout

Participants commit to four fundamental

England, Scotland and Wales, 27 World Heritage Sites

sustainability requirements and, over a period of two

– from Gwynedd’s castles and the Dorset and East

years, meet or work towards at least 23 relevant ‘good

Devon ‘Jurassic’ coast to Edinburgh and Neolithic

practices’ from a total menu of 50, such as insulating

Orkney – are safeguarded for future generations and

buildings and water tanks, using low-energy lighting,

the pleasure of visitors and residents alike.

collecting rainwater, using locally-sourced produce

We are also among the first in the world, where businesses are actively signing up as members of the

or promoting eco-friendly travel such as cycling. The entry-level programme aims to prepare

Green Tourism Business Scheme and the national

businesses for more formal accreditation under an

tourism organisation for England as launched a new

existing and well-established sustainable certification

programme, Green Start, to help accommodation

scheme, such as the Green Tourism Business Scheme

providers and visitor attractions take the first steps

(www.green-business.co.uk), endorsed by Britain’s

towards becoming sustainable businesses.

national tourism agency.

Run by VisitBritain, Green Start aims to encourage

You can find businesses who have committed to

a rapid, widespread and significant increase in the

making a Green Start and those who are members

adoption of sustainable tourism principles, while

of sustainable certification schemes, such as the

avoiding the burden of too much bureaucracy.

Green Tourism Business Scheme by searching on

Participation provides tourism managers and

www.visitbritain.com and

operators with a stepping stone towards accreditation

www.enjoyengland.com.

by a validated sustainable accreditation scheme.

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Business Tourism & Events

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De-Luxe Britain Britain has always excelled at luxury – Rolls Royce cars, Harris tweed, Connolly leather, Wilton carpets, Paisley shawls – most of it aimed at a small elite of aristocracy and arrivistes, it must be said. These days, though, the whole world wants luxury, so Britannia has shaken her skirts, booked in for a facelift and upped her game.

There has been an unprecedented rise in luxury hotels, bars, shops and spas, many of them in gorgeous historic buildings, others in exciting new builds. Plans are afoot to bring luxury shopping to the heart of the City (London’s financial centre), companies such as Dhillon Hotels and Crazy Bear are renovating historic coaching inns, and the Italian designers Missoni will open their first UK hotel in Edinburgh in 2009. But that’s all to come. Here’s a thumbnail guide, for the man – or woman – on a mission to luxuriate now: Skylon, royal Festival Hall, London This airy, light-filled contemporary restaurant was the final flourish in 2007s’ energetic re-design of the 1951 Royal Festival Hall, which now finds itself on one of the liveliest stretches of the Thames. The Skylon was a steel, aluminium and wire sculpture that came to symbolise the re-energising of post-war Britain; the restaurant has taken the colours and design features of the period and updated them, with bespoke standard lamps, finned bronze chandeliers, walnut floors and a glamorous raised bar. Book a table with a river view, order from the formal restaurant or from the grill (the menu is European with a nod to traditional British) and watch the north bank light up at night. Skylon, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1. Telephone: 020 7654 7800. www.skylonrestaurant.co.uk Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, Avon Around 2000 years after the Romans recognised the quality of Bath’s mineral waters, Bath’s baths re-opened in their modern incarnation. The architects, Grimshaw, had to work with five historic buildings – including the Cross Bath, an open-air thermal pool fed by its own hot spring and once used by Celts and Romans – as well as designing a modern one, the New Royal Bath, on the site of the city’s old indoor swimming pool. The result is a pleasing jumble of old and new, golden stone, glass and steel, offering treatments that the Romans certainly never enjoyed: dry flotation, body wraps and Shiatsu massage, to name but a few. Loll about in the steaming pool on top of the New Royal Bath, admiring wonderful views

58 | Best of Britain


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of the ancient abbey and the spectacular city.

Fortnum & Mason, London

whole hotel, which was originally built in 1865. The

Thermae Bath Spa, The Hetling Pump Room, Hot

Mess with a 300-year-old much-loved London

latest addition, opened in late 2007, is The Landau

Bath Street, Bath. Telephone: 0844 888 0844.

landmark at your peril - but the management at

restaurant, which has its own entrance and can also

www.thermaebathspa.com

Fortnum & Mason, the classy food emporium on

be reached from the hotel, through a corridor lined

Piccadilly, celebrated their tercentenary with a £24

with wine bottles. The restaurant has walls of soft,

Highgrove Shop, Tetbury, Gloucester

million transformation. After a little initial grumbling, it’s

brushed gilt panelling, timber floors, antique brass

The Duchess of Devonshire started it all with a grand

widely recognised as a success: the glass-domed

chandeliers and Chinoiserie silk screens. The chef,

farm shop at Chatsworth, her enormous stately home

atrium brings in light, there’s a new fresh food section

Andrew Turner, specialises in cosmopolitan food

in Derbyshire. That was followed by the hugely

(featuring fish and game from some famous British

and regional British produce.

successful Daylesford Organics in Gloucestershire,

estates) and a wine bar, 1707, on the lower ground

The Langham London, 1c Portland Place,

opened by the Bamford family (of JCB digger fame),

floor. The four restaurants include the revamped – but

London W1. Telephone: 020 7636 1000.

which now has several London outlets. Now the

pleasingly recognisable – brasserie, The Fountain,

http://london.langhamhotels.co.uk

Prince of Wales has joined in, opening a shop in the

where you can indulge in anything from Darjeeling

pretty village of Tetbury, near his Gloucestershire

tea to Champagne. Other floors groan with clothes,

Ffynnon Townhouse, Dolgellau, Wales

estate of Highgrove. The shop is in a grey stone listed

china and glass, bed and bathware, stationery,

The appetite for turning lovely Welsh buildings into

building, with shutters painted Provencal blue, and

games and gifts. It must have worked: it’s packed.

boutique hotels hasn’t abated; this little three-suite

sells everything from stationery and homewares to

Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1.

hotel in a Victorian rectory at the foot of stunning

gardening tools and the Duchy Originals organic food

Telephone: 020 7734 8040.

Cader Idris, on the southern edge of Snowdonia, has

range. Opened in March by the Prince of Wales and

www.fortnumandmason.com

all the luxe credentials (Egyptian cotton sheets, spa

the Duchess of Cornwall, all its products are ethically

baths, goosedown duvets, TV/DVD, wi-fi), and also

and environmentally sourced and, wherever possible,

Titanic Spa, Huddersfield, Yorkshire

welcomes families. A fourth suite is just about to open,

locally produced. All profits go to charity.

What the original workers at this Yorkshire textile mill

there is a butler’s pantry with fridge and a room service

Highgrove Shop, 10 Long Street, Tetbury,

would do if they could see it operating today we can

menu, including children’s options. It must run in the

Gloucestershire. Telephone: 01666 505 666.

only imagine: they came into the Colne Valley in

family; the owner’s brother-in-law has an eight

www.highgroveshop.com

Linthwaite from outlying villages to put in a long day’s

bedroom art hotel called Manorhaus in Ruithin

work at the rather forbidding Victorian mill, while

(www.manorhaus.com).

Loch Ness Lodge, Scotland

today’s visitors check into the ground floor spa – all

Ffynnon, Brynffynnon, Love Lane, Dolgellau,

Until now one of the top sports for visitors to Loch

contemporary slate, tile, wood, leather and glass – to

Gwynedd. Telephone: 01341 421774.

Ness was probably monster-hunting. But with the

use the saunarium, mud chamber or ice room, float

www.ffynnontownhouse.com

opening of the purpose-built, exclusive-use residence

to heaven in one of the treatment rooms, or use the

of Loch Ness Lodge, there are many more

hair & nail bar. The mill’s eco-credentials are

opportunities including fishing, shooting, golf on

impeccable, with its own borehole, solar panels and

nearby championship courses and walking, kayaking

heat system using woodchip technology. There are

and mountain biking. The Lodge, which opened in

rental apartments if you want to stay and a spa

2007 can cater for up to 14 guests in the seven

hotel is due to open in 2009.

individually styled en suite bedrooms, with additional

Titanic Spa, Colne, West Yorkshire.

accommodation in the neighbouring Loch Ness

Telephone: 0845 410 3333.

Cottages, has its own spa, and aims to combine the

www.titanicspa.com

latest technology with traditional luxury facilities. Just 15 minutes by road from the Highland capital of

The Landau at The Langham, London

Inverness, with its air and rail links, the lodge also has

The Langham hit the headlines a couple of years ago

its own private helipad.

when it opened the most expensive suite in the world

Lodge at Loch Ness, Brachla, Loch Ness-side,

– complete with its own colossal Sharon Marston

Inverness, IV3 8LA. Telephone: 01456 459469

fibre-optic chandelier – and has been quietly

www.loch-ness-lodge.com

completing a David Collins Studios re-design of the

Best of Britain | 59


Business Tourism & Events

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Business and Events Britain is one of the leading destinations in the world for international and British visitors to do business.

London continues to rival Frankfurt and New York

into a hotel to a contemporary purpose-built

Our museums and galleries, theatre and performing

despite challenges for its business reputation. For

conference centre, a tree house or brand new sports

arts, live music and events, are among the best in the

many in the international business community, the UK

stadium. All combine Britain’s rich cultural offerings

world. Visitors rate Britain eighth out of 35 countries

is the only choice when planning meetings,

with value for money, top quality food and wine, and

as somewhere with rich cultural heritage and fourth

conferences, exhibitions and incentive trips. And it

superlative service.

as an interesting and exciting place for contemporary

shows: 27.5 million international and British business

Britain is also renowned for its social season and

culture such as music, films, art and literature.

visits are now made to all parts of the country with

internationally acclaimed calendar of sporting and

visitors spending over ÂŁ9 billion in local economies,

cultural events. As well as hosting the Commonwealth

riences: from literary heritage in Hay to the music,

at venues and hotels, during their stay.

Games in Manchester in 2002 and Liverpool as

comedy, film and fringe performances of Edinburgh,

This is a destination of world-beating facilities and

Our festivals cover the entire spectrum of expe-

European Capital of Culture 2008, winning the 2012

from the music of Glastonbury to Ludlow or the

superlative experiences. From vibrant cities with their

London Olympic and Paralympic Games has put

Bristol Organic Food Festival, to the new Manchester

own distinct characters and state-of-the-art facilities

Britain firmly on the agenda of major corporations

International Festival comprising entirely new works.

to stately homes and historic venues found nowhere

and international associations looking to place their

Is it any wonder the buzz about Britain is so often

else in the world, the range of UK destinations and

meetings, as well as the organisers of sporting,

focused on our cultural achievements or that our

venues is incredible. From a mediaeval castle,

cultural and business events. And with good reason.

festivals help keep millions of international and British

Georgian stately home or ancient prison converted

60 | Best of Britain

Britain has long been known for its cultural appeal.

people visiting year after year?


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Our calendar combines the appeal of London’s West End theatre performances with opera, ballet and live music around the country. And our sporting events hold something for every visitor: Wimbledon and Lords, Ascot and the Grand National, the Henley Regatta and the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, Five Nations Rugby and, of course, Premier League football. Year after year we’re hosting some of the world’s biggest events: from 2009’s Twenty20 World Championships, followed by the Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010 and in 2014, when Glasgow welcomes the return of the Commonwealth Games. Like our sporting stars themselves, business tourism and major events in the UK are a great, all round success.

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Business Tourism & Events

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The Best of Britain and Ireland on show 2009 The leading travel trade show promoting tourism in Britain and Ireland is growing to be even bigger and better from 2009. After almost 25 successful years, it is being extended to bring the enormous diversity of visitor experiences available in the UK to both the trade and a much wider consumer audience as Best of Britain and Ireland from 26 – 29 March.

Best of Britain and Ireland will also be an integral part of British Tourism Week from 23 – 29 March 2009 as we focus on generating greater consumer awareness of the British holiday experience. Backed by Britain’s national tourist boards, Best of Britain is a unique hybrid event where both the trade and consumers can experience the very best that Britain has to offer. Over the first two days, it will create even greater opportunities for tourism businesses of all sizes to attract new business from the UK. The trade days will continue to offer the opportunity to meet with and be inspired by the diversity of visitor attractions, accommodation, tour operators, transport providers, entertainment agencies and destinations and feature the workshops, seminars, events and networking that attract over 3,500 visitors.

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Subsequent days will be an exciting interactive celebration of domestic tourism for the general public. Here consumers can discover face-to-face the best of Britain and Ireland’s destinations, attractions, accommodation, experiences, food and drink, history and culture, and areas of natural beauty. Bringing alive the UK’s passion for value-for-money and sustainable leisure time. As well as areas dedicated to the different nations and regions, consumers will follow ‘event trails’, exploring active, coastal, countryside, delicious, heritage and luxury Britain and Ireland. The new show will take place at ExCeL in London’s Docklands. As well as its reputation as a major international gateway, transport links to and from the capital will make it even easier for exhibitors and consumers to take part. The move will also help the industry capitalise on trade and consumer marketing activities in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and provide an opportunity to showcase Games’ venues to travel and tourism trade buyers from around the world. www.excel-london.co.uk

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Chapter 3 | Olympic Overview

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Best of Britain | 65


Olympic Overview

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The London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games London 2012 has sport at its heart and London at the centre, but it is more than London and more than sport. It is a games for London, the UK and the rest of the world, for sport and culture, for volunteers and business.


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In 2012 sport really is coming home as the next

To achieve all our ambitions for 2012 and its

Summer Games return to a country which I frequently

legacy we must build on and accelerate the impressive

boast has either invented or codified just about every

start London has made with its preparations for the

major world sport. Drawing on our heritage, imagination

Games. Excellent progress is already being made in

and ingenuity we are going to stage the greatest

the Olympic Park on venues that we are committed

Games ever, entertaining the world with a sporting

to making fully accessible to ensure the London

and cultural extravaganza and making it a summer

Games are the most inclusive ever.

they will never forget. The Olympic handover from Beijing marked the

Along with the physical changes, we are working hard to ensure that our kids and future generations

beginning of a great challenge to ensure London

of young people are inspired by this wonderful

delivers a spectacular and memorable Games and

sporting occasion to become more active and take

I am determined we will be left with a real lasting

up sport. But it is not only sport. The next four years

legacy for Londoners for years after the athletes and

also sees an increased nationwide programme of

visitors have departed.

cultural events happening around the country as part

Our goal is to transform the east of London with thousands of new homes and jobs regenerating one

of the Cultural Olympiad. The next few pages will highlight just some of

of the most deprived communities in the country.

the far reaching benefits that hosting the 2012

And the 2012 Games will also leave a legacy of huge

Games will bring to London for decades to come.

improvements to London's transport network, with projects like the East London Line Extension and the North London Line upgrades benefiting Londoners right across the capital. Combined with the new Crossrail line, these improvements will make London

Boris Johnson

one of the best connected cities anywhere in the world.

Mayor of London

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Olympic Overview

An Olympic Host City In 2012, London will host the Games of the XXX Olympiad. This will be the third time the British capital has hosted the Games, the first being in 1908 and the second in 1948. On August 24 Beijing handed the Olympic flag to London at the Closing Ceremony to mark the passing of the Summer Games to its next host city.

As a host city, London will offer visitors a huge

sporting history will be revealed through special

the family from plays and musicals in the West End

diversity of entertainment and culture during the

exhibitions while the Cultural Olympiad programme,

to live music and clubs. Visitors to the capital can

Games. The city is the number one international

a key part of London’s 2012 activity, will celebrate the

also enjoy the range of London’s cuisine from around

tourist destination in the world and athletes from all

best of arts and culture making it accessible to all

the world, including a wide variety of fine dining

over the world will enjoy home support from the huge

audiences, mirroring the Olympic Games’ celebration

options.

number of communities in the city representing

of sport.

countries from around the globe. With well over 200

In the build up and throughout the Games, London

Already new hotels are being built for the Games and there is accommodation to suit all tastes and

languages spoken in the city, different communities

will have a mixture of sporting and non-sporting events

budgets. By the time the Games arrives in London

around the capital will follow teams from their

across the city, many of them for free. Several big

there will be around 120,000 rooms available for

countries and there is no doubt that local supporters

screens will show the sporting action live from the

visitors ranging from budget level accommodation

will be cheering their teams alongside visitors from

stadiums while festivals of world culture, food and

through to five star luxury across the city.

around the world.

music will also be running.

During the Games a large number of cultural

As a popular tourist destination, London’s offering

With London preparing itself for the arrival of the world’s largest sporting event we look back on the

offerings will be available for visitors to attend with

is already world class with over 200 free attractions

key points from the two previous Olympics held in

music, arts and performance creating a festival

including popular museums and galleries. There is a

London and forward to some of the iconic venues

atmosphere around the city. London’s Olympic and

wealth of history to discover, entertainment for all

that will host events in 2012.

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Olympic Overview

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LONDON 1908

stadium, Dorando Pietri of Italy, collapsed several

Games of the IV Olympiad

times and ran the wrong way. Not far from the

The 1908 Summer Olympics were originally handed

finish, two officials took him by the arms and

to Rome, Italy. However, on 7 April 1906 Mount

brought him to the line. As a consequence, after

Vesuvius erupted devastating the Italian city of

crossing the line he was disqualified. The Gold

Naples. To deal with the crisis authorities diverted

medal went to American Johnny Hayes who was

urgent funds to the reconstruction of Naples. The

second but the glory went to Pietri. Since he had

relief effort plunged Italy into an economic crisis and

not been responsible for his disqualification,

saw the country cancel its plans to stage the 1908

Queen Alexandra awarded him a Gold cup the

Olympics. The Games were subsequently awarded

next day.

to London and opened on 27 April 1908. White City Stadium acted as the centre piece for

I

The ‘Halswelle Affair’ in the men’s 400 metres,

the Games. The arena had a 68,000 seat capacity

saw British runner Lieutenant Wyndham Halswelle

with a swimming and diving pool and platforms for

impeded by one of his American rivals John

wrestling and gymnastics in the infield. White City

Carpenter. When the judges disqualified

Stadium, which went on to become a greyhound

Carpenter and ordered a re-run, the other two

racing and speedway track, hosted various sports

Americans promptly withdrew, leaving Halswelle

until its demolition in 1985.

to race for the Gold alone.

Key points from the 1908 London Olympic Games: I

I

The distance of the marathon was established at

For the first time athletes marched into the stadium by nationality at the opening ceremony.

42.195km (26 miles and 385 yards) The original distance of 25 miles was changed to

I

The 1908 London Games were also the first to

26 miles so the marathon could start at Windsor

include winter events, as had originally been

Castle and then changed again at the request of

proposed for the Games. There were four figure

Princess Mary so the start would be beneath the

skating events, although these were held months

windows of the Royal Nursery. To ensure that the

after other events which is why the 1908 Games

race would finish in the front of the King, the

opened on 27 April but closed on 31 October of

finish line was moved again by British officials.

that year. This made the 1908 Games the longest in Olympic history.

I

Oscar Swahn from Sweden, aged 60, was the oldest ever competitor to earn an Olympic Gold medal, winning the running deer shooting, single shot.

I

I

The sports of diving and field hockey made their

1908 London Olympic Games at a glance:

first appearance.

I

Open 27 April; close 31 October

I

22 National Olympic Committees.

This Games prompted the establishment of

Finland, Turkey, and New Zealand

standard rules for sports and selection of judges

(as part of the team from Australasia) made their first appearance

from different countries rather than just the host nation.

I

The most famous incident of the Games came

I

2,008 athletes (1,971 men and 37 women)

I

at the end of the marathon. The first to enter the

70 | Best of Britain

110 events


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LONDON 1948

I

A women’s canoeing event was held for the first time.

Games of the XIV Olympiad The 1948 Summer Olympics in London were held after a 12-year interruption caused by the outbreak

I

17-year-old American Bob Mathias won the

of the Second World War. These were the first Games

decathlon Gold only four months after taking up

since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

the sport. He is the youngest athlete in Olympic history to win a men’s athletics event. When

The Games opened on 29 July at the 85,000-seat capacity Wembley Stadium and closed on 14 August

asked how he intended to celebrate his victory,

1948. A leisure ground since the 1880s, Wembley

Mathias replied, ‘I’ll start shaving, I guess’.

Stadium is the world-famous home of the English national football team having re-opened in 2007

I

Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands was the world record holder in six events, but, according

following a complete redevelopment.

to the rules of the day, was only allowed to enter four. She won all four: the 100m dash, the 80m

Highlights of the 1948 London Olympic Games:

hurdles, the 200m and the 4x100m relay. I

First Games to be shown on home television.

I

Olympic pictograms were introduced for the first

London. The Czech star won the 10,000m gold

time. There were twenty of them — one for each

medal and was second in the 5000m, and would

Olympic sport and three separate pictograms for

return to the Games in 1952 and 1956 to establish

the arts competition, the opening ceremony and

himself as one of the top distance runners the

the closing ceremony. They were called ‘Olympic

world has seen.

I

Athletics star, Emil Zatopek, made his mark in

symbols’ and intended for use on tickets. I

Two athletes who became Olympic champions in 1936 managed to defend their titles twelve years later. They were Ilona Elek of Hungary in women’s foil fencing and Jan Brzak of Czechoslovakia in the canoeing Canadian pairs 1,000m.

1948 London Olympic Games at a glance: I

Open 27 July; close 14 August

I

59 National Olympic Committees

I

4,104 athletes (3,714 men and 390 women)

I

136 events

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Olympic Overview

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London 2012 The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will open on 27 July 2012. After beating strong competition from Paris, New York, Moscow and Madrid, London was awarded the Games on 6 July 2005. The focus of the London 2012 Games will be the Olympic Park in east London. Up to 180,000 spectators a day will enter the Park to enjoy the Games. The main venues include an 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium and the Cycling Velodrome as well as Fencing, Hockey, Handball and Basketball arenas. All venues will be easily accessible through a network of footbridges and walkways. Venues are situated around the city with many being tourist attractions already which will see some of the great sights in London forming an integral part of the Olympic delivery and experience for those visiting for the Olympics. Here are just a few -: Earls Court – Volleyball Originally opened in 1937, this major exhibition centre will host the Volleyball competition. Easily reached by London Underground or bus transport, Earls Court has hosted major performances by The Rolling Stones, Queen, Elton John, George Michael and Madonna. Located in west London, Earls Court is within

competitors and spectators. Dorney Lake is owned

is situated on top of a hill, with sweeping views across

easy reach of London’s Natural History Museum, the

by world-famous Eton College but offers year-round

the River Thames to St Paul's Cathedral and beyond.

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) and the Science

public access. Many visitors enjoy visiting the

The park is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site

Museum. These three popular attractions are in the

surrounding beautiful Park and Arboretum.

which also includes the Royal Observatory and the

top 10 of the most visited places in London and together welcomed over eight million visitors last year. Eton Dorney – Rowing

Nearby Windsor Castle is an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen. As well as a Royal home,

The Royal Observatory is, of course, home of

Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle in the

Greenwich Mean Time at Longitude 0°. Every place

world and has been a fortress for over 900 years.

on Earth is measured in terms of its distance east or

Dorney Lake is a world-class rowing and flat-water canoeing centre near Windsor, 25 miles west of London. A 2,200 metre, eight lane course with a separate

Old Royal Naval College.

west from the Greenwich Meridian. The line itself Greenwich Park – Equestrian Greenwich Park will host the Equestrian, Modern Pentathlon and Paralympic Equestrian events.

return lane, Dorney Lake will host the Rowing and

Temporary seating for 23,000 spectators will be built

Flatwater Canoe/Kayak and Paralympic Rowing in

for the Games.

divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth, just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres. Greenwich Park is also one of the UK’s top film locations. Stars including Harrison Ford, Pierce

2012. In 2006, Dorney Lake hosted the Rowing

At 74 hectares (183 acres) Greenwich Park is

Brosnan, Hugh Grant and Angelina Jolie have all shot

World Championships with high praise from both

London’s oldest Royal Park, dating back to 1433. It

scenes here. The Park itself has been used in several

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period dramas based on classic novels such as the 1995 version of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility, starring Kate Winslet & Emma Thompson. You can also spot scenes from Greenwich Park in Layer Cake (2004), the crime thriller starring the current James Bond, Daniel Craig. Horse Guards Parade – Beach Volleyball London will have its very own beach during the Games with the Beach Volleyball competition taking place in one of the most historic venues in the city. Temporary seats will be erected for 15,000 spectators during the Games and the Prime Minister could almost watch the competition from the Prime Minister’s official London residence at 10 Downing Street. Situated directly opposite Horse Guards Parade is

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world-famous St James’ Park. Horse Guards Parade dates from 1745 and takes

Olympic Handball Arena

Olympic Overview

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short stroll away at the other end of St James’ Park

to the music, theatre, film and cultural events that will

and Trafalgar Square just round the corner, Horse

take place throughout the summer of 2012. Famous

its name from the soldiers who have provided

Guards Parade is probably one of the best situated

musical performances at Hyde Park include the 2005

protection for the monarch since the restoration of

and iconic venues at the London 2012 Games.

Live 8 concert for 200,000 people with U2, Robbie

the monarchy in 1660. The Parade is the setting for various military ceremonies throughout the year and hosts the

Williams, Coldplay, Sting and many others. Hyde Park - Triathlon

In 2007, Hyde Park was the centre piece for the

Hyde Park will host Triathlon during the Games.

Prologue at the Grand Depart for the Tour de France,

Trooping of the Colour, an impressive display of

At 142 hectares or 350 acres, it is one of London’s

when the world’s largest annual sporting event came

pageantry that marks The Queen’s official birthday

eight Royal Parks and has been open to the public

to the British capital for the first time ever.

each year in June.

since 1637.

Hyde Park is home to Speaker’s Corner which

Horse Guards Parade was the traditional entrance

The park is home to a number of grassroot sports

to the Royal Palaces and is still guarded by mounted

clubs, including the Serpentine Swimming Club, whose

place for public debate. Famous speakers here

sentries from the Queen's Household Cavalry. The

members swim in the Serpentine Lake whatever the

include George Orwell, Karl Marx and the Russian

Changing of the Guard still takes place here every

weather – even on Christmas Day.

revolutionary Lenin. The park is home to the Diana,

morning, seven days a week. Just off Whitehall, with Buckingham Palace a

74 | Best of Britain

Hyde Park lies in the heart of London’s worldfamous West End. The park is expected to be home

dates back to the 1770s and is London’s most famous

Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain which was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 6 July 2004.


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London’s legendary wax figure museum is also near by.

Underground and London City Airport.

During the Games, Lord’s will host 6,500 spectators with an Archery range created on the outfield of the main ground and the Nursery ground. Lord’s will return to its traditional role as the home

Wimbledon – Tennis The home of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and the setting for the internationally renowned

of cricket, providing a base for the Marylebone Cricket

Wimbledon tournament since 1877, this venue will

Club and Middlesex County Cricket Club after the

host the Tennis in 2012.

2012 Games.

Wimbledon is the only remaining major grasscourt tennis venue in the world and 30,000 specta-

Regent’s Park – Road Cycling finish Also one of the British capital’s famous Royal

Located in south-west London, Wimbledon is

Parks, Regent’s Park has been open to the public

within easy reach of Kew Gardens, which was officially

since 1845. The park was originally used by King

inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites on 3 July

Henry VIII as a hunting ground.

2003 and is one of 4 World Heritage sites in London.

Situated close to the Archery at Lord’s Cricket

London Underground, train, and bus links provide

Ground and the West End, Regents Park will make a

transport to Wimbledon from where you can get to

great setting for the finish of the Road Cycling events

many other parts of London. Nearby Richmond Park,

in 2012 with 3000 temporary seats built for spectators.

is the largest of London’s Royal Parks at almost 1000

Located to the north of the London’s West End, Image courtesy of Andrew Witnell/Paul Rapson

tors will be able to enjoy competition in 2012.

Regent’s Park is the largest grass area for sports in

hectares (2500 acres) and is home to around 650 free roaming deer.

Central London and is also home to an Open Air Theatre and ZSL London Zoo. North Greenwich Arena – Basketball The North Greenwich Arena is a major music and entertainment venue which will play host to Basketball and Gymnastics during the London 2012 Games. Also known as The O2 and located in south-east London, it includes a state-of-the-art concert arena,

Oxford Street – the heart of London’s shopping,

music club and exhibition space. Re-opening to critical

restaurants and entertainment for all is within easy

acclaim in 2007, the North Greenwich Arena is a

reach of Hyde Park.

world-class entertainment hub with bars, restaurants and cinema screens.

Lord’s Cricket Ground – Archery Lord’s Cricket Ground, which will host the Archery competition, has been home to cricket since 1814

ExCel – Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Table Tennis In 2012 this 100 acre campus will host a number

and regularly hosts both test matches and one day

of Olympic and Paralympic sports including Boxing,

international matches. In 2009 Lord’s will also play

Fencing, Judo and Table Tennis

host to the ICC World Twenty20 competition – this

ExCeL is an international exhibition and conference

will be the second ICC World Twenty20 competition

centre located on London’s east side which plays

with the inaugural tournament having taken place in

host to a number of large public shows including the

South Africa in 2007.

Motor Show and the Boat Show.

Lord’s is in St John’s Wood, north-west London

Situated in a stunning waterfront location, ExCeL

and close to Regent’s Park, also an Olympic venue

is located in the heart of London’s Royal Docks and

hosting the Road Cycling in 2012. Madame Tussauds,

easily accessible by Docklands Light Rail, London

Best of Britain | 75

Best of Britain intro vol 1  

V o l u m e 1 Health & Beauty Fine Dining & Cuisine Design & Interiors Food & Drink Chapter 10 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 6 - Cha...

Best of Britain intro vol 1  

V o l u m e 1 Health & Beauty Fine Dining & Cuisine Design & Interiors Food & Drink Chapter 10 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 6 - Cha...

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