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Looking to unlock the best Britain has to offer? Check into Britain’s Heritage Cities – key destinations for memorable stays. Rich in great treasures from the past, they offer modern spa hotels, contemporary cuisine, and a lively cultural scene. Together, they are simply the best of Britain. The classic collection of cities features Bath, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Lincoln, Oxford, Stratfordupon-Avon and York. The elegant eight are magnificent masterpieces in their own right, and offer unique experiences to suit everyone. They are all are well served by air, road and rail making itinerary planning and visits easy and enjoyable. Nourished by natural hot springs, Bath offers a unique experience with stunning architecture, great shopping and iconic attractions. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe. Carlisle is ideally located between Scotland and the Lake District. Situated on the route of Hadrian's Wall – a UNESCO World Heritage Site - its ancient and turbulent past has given way to a vibrant, cultured city. Chester embraces 2000 years of history within the most complete city walls in Britain and its unique twotier Rows galleries take shopping to another level. Its mediaeval Mystery Plays return in 2013 for a first-ever performance inside the Cathedral.

Durham’s Cathedral and Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sit high on the peninsula and keep watch over the city streets below and will in 2013 welcome the visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels. With a rich heritage and surrounded by stunning landscapes, Durham is the jewel of the north-east and a destination where you can always stay a little longer. Lincoln is dominated by arguably Europe's finest cathedral, but there's more to a city break here than simply heritage and culture. With historic buildings, galleries, craft centres, boutique shops and year-round events, Lincoln offers a family-friendly mix of things to do. Oxford – the city of 'dreaming spires' – offers visitors a lot more than wonderful buildings. Discover 38 colleges each with unique architecture, or take a river cruise or a punt and explore its extraordinary beauty. Stratford-upon-Avon - the birthplace of William Shakespeare – is steeped in culture and history. Set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon, it’s home to the worldfamous Royal Shakespeare Company. York is the history of Britain in a city. Renowned for its exquisite architecture, tangle of quaint cobbled streets and the iconic York Minster, the city is fast developing a flourishing, cutting-edge scene. Want to know more about Britain’s Heritage Cities? Explore their unique character inside and discover some great, ready-made itineraries – or see them all at www.heritagecities.com.

Contents BATH P3 OXFORD P4 & 5 CARLISLE P6 DURHAM P7 LINCOLN P8 YORK P9 CHESTER P10 STRATFORDUPON-AVON P11

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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Bath

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Bath – the city built for pleasure The golden city of Bath has been welcoming visitors for over 2,000 years. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site – the only entire city in the UK to receive this honour, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe, including the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge. Bath’s stunning setting, world class attractions and superb range of quality accommodation make it the perfect short break destination at any time of year. Every step around this ancient city connect you with a fascinating past and at the heart of it all are the unique Roman Baths, where natural thermal waters still flow as they did over 2,000 years ago. See the water’s source, and walk where Romans walked along ancient stone pavements. Head across the road and you’ll discover the 21st century answer to the Roman Baths: the Thermae Bath Spa. Here, you can bathe in the mineral-rich waters as the Romans and Celts once did thousands of years ago, in a modern spa complex. The Spa’s piece-de-resistance is its roof-top pool – open all year round – with stunning views of the surrounding cityscape. Bath has a wide variety of museums and galleries covering all kinds of subjects that you wouldn’t expect including the Fashion Museum, the American Museum in Britain and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. For

Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum

exhibitions, there is the newly renovated Holburne Museum as well as the Victoria Art Gallery and Museum of East Asian Art. There are also lots of attractions dedicated to Bath’s history – look out for the Building of Bath Collection which tells the story of how Bath was designed and built, No. 1 Royal Crescent showing how a townhouse would have looked in its Georgian heyday and the Jane Austen Centre which celebrates the life and times of this famous writer who lived in the city for six years, and based two of her novels in Bath. Yet Bath is not buried in the past! A true city of Festivals, its year-round calendar of events, theatre and vibrant street entertainment, bring life and excitement to this beautiful city. With festivals celebrating literature, film, food, music – and of course Christmas – there is truly something for everyone. The city is also known for its sporting connections, from Bath Racecourse to Bath Rugby. Take in a home game at the ‘Rec’ for a truly memorable experience, set in the most picturesque of settings alongside the river and Pulteney Bridge.

Prior Park Landscape Garden

Bath is also a celebrated shopping centre, with a reputation that goes back to Georgian times. It is often said that Bath has more shops than cities twice its size – and it certainly could be true with a host of designer boutiques and top quality outlets sitting alongside all of the essential high street favourites. Don’t miss Milsom Street, ‘Britain’s Most Fashionable Street’ and the adjacent Milsom Place for designer fashions and contemporary dining. While the new SouthGate development blends perfectly with the stunning Bath architecture to create a 21st century shopping experience in a beautiful Georgian setting To make the most of Bath, there are guided walking tours, open top bus tours and even balloon flights for a

Roman Baths

Jane Austen’s Bath

unique view of the city and surrounding countryside! And if all this leaves you feeling hungry or thirsty there is a mouth-watering selection of restaurants, pubs and tea shops on every street. Try a local delicacy, the Sally Lunn Bun, at the oldest house in Bath, still made to the original secret recipe, or the Pump Room restaurant which offers a delicious menu and a taste of Georgian grandeur in the heart of the city. The location of Bath makes it easily accessible – close to junction 18 of the M4 for drivers, and with a central train station on the main Bristol to London Intercity line for those arriving by train. Bristol is the closest airport, just 15 miles away, and is one of Britain’s fastest growing airports, serving over 110 direct destinations.

www.visitbath.com/groups

Royal Crescent

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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Oxford

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From the city of Dreaming Spires... ...Oxford to the wondrous countryside of Oxfordshire, there are so many fantastic things to see and do here for all groups.

Blenheim Palace

Whether your groups are culture vultures visiting our historical gems such as Britain's Greatest palace - Blenheim Palace, Christ Church college or the Ashmolean Museum or they like to indulge in a spot of retail therapy at Bicester Village - we can provide an array of activities all year round to keep your groups coming back for more. If your groups are interested in gardens then look no further. We have an excellent choice of gardens from the first Botanical Garden in Britain to marvellous landscaping at Blenheim Palace, Stowe and Buscot Park. If you are looking for that relaxing break, Oxfordshire has all the ingredients needed. The idyllic villages located in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds offer some of the most stunning scenes in England and our market towns are hidden gems and offer great local experiences throughout the county. For itinerary ideas please visit our website www.visitoxfordandoxfordshire.com/group-travel

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www.visitoxfordandoxfordshire.com


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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Oxford

Oxfordshire’s Hidden Accommodation in Oxfordshire Secrets for Groups  Broughton Castle will open especially for private group tours  Learn how to grow an orchid by a Chelsea Gold Winner at

Newington Nurseries  Take a curator tour of the Ashmolean Museum and discover more

about this fabulous museum  Didcot Railway offer evening visits for groups  Get up close and personal with the animals at the Cotswold

Wildlife Park  Be guided on a cycle with Bainton Bikes and see the fabulous countryside of Oxfordshire3  Treasure Hunts and Ghosts Trails at Oxford Castle Unlocked

Oxford Castle Unlocked

In Oxford and Oxfordshire you will find accommodation to suit all budgets from 5 star city centre hotels to family run B&B's and boating holidays on the River Thames. We have places to stay to suit groups of all sizes. Our wide selection of accommodation in and around Oxfordshire, offer some great facilities to help you relax. Enjoy a game of golf or treat yourself to a luxury spa in one of our many quality hotels which all welcome groups – The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa and the Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa. Try The Old Swan and Minster Mill in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds or the award winning Bay Tree Hotel in the Macdonald Randolph Hotel stunning market town of Burford. If you’re looking to be located in the centre of the county for easy access to all our great attractions, then try The Deddington Arms Hotel or Heythrop Park Resort. You are spoilt for choice in the centre of Oxford for hotels. Looking for 5 star quality? Then try the Macdonald Randolph Hotel and visit the relaxing Morse bar, or if you want to be locked away, stay in one of the converted cell rooms at the Oxford Malmaison and try to escape! Cotswold Lodge Hotel and Best Western Linton Lodge are a stones throw from the centre. The Oxford Hotel, Hawkwell House and Four Pillars Hotel also offer excellent retreats for groups.

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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Carlisle

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Citadel at night

Old Tullie House

Carlisle Cathedral

Discover Carlisle & Hadrian’s Wall country With its wealth of attractions, Carlisle is perfectly located within a compact and visitor friendly historic quarter. Enjoy the ambient feel of a city centre laden with shops, pavement cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Experience year-round events and activities to suit all ages and stay in quality, affordable accommodation. Venture a little further afield and experience nearby Hadrian’s Wall and other rural delights. In its 2000 year history, Carlisle has seen Celts, Romans, warring families and invading armies leave a legacy for you to explore. In Carlisle’s Historic Quarter, there’s a generous helping of culture. Here, you will find a castle,

cathedral and museums in a compact area, criss crossed with ancient thoroughfares. The magnificent Castle, founded in 1092 by William the Conqueror’s son, stands as testament to years of feuding over the English-Scottish border. Overlooking the River Eden, it once witnessed the incarceration of Mary, Queen of Scots. Within the castle’s inner ward lies Cumbria’s Military Museum.

Carlisle City Centre (Love Parks Week)

Carlisle Cathedral is the peaceable face of Carlisle’s past. Founded in 1122 it is an example of ecclesiastical excellence with beautiful grounds with stained glass windows from the 14th 20th centuries, fine wood carving and Brougham Triptych altarpiece and a spectacular and distinctive ceiling. Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery is a must see and boasts a diverse range of history, arts and culture. Browse the Jacobean Old Tullie House and continue through the ages taking in all five fantastic galleries offering a wealth of exhibits from fun, interactive activities, to super modern touring exhibitions. Do not miss the Roman Frontier Gallery – a permanent showcase of the museums Roman collection including items on loan from the British Museum. The beauty of Carlisle is its ability to blend unique heritage with all the modern day facilities of a vibrant city centre - there’s a cosmopolitan feel within the old walled city. The city

centre hosts an array of pavement cafes from which to sit and watch the world go by or take a well earned break whilst shopping or browsing. Shopping is an absolute delight with superb department stores, high street names, small boutiques & craft shops unique to Carlisle, all rubbing shoulders amongst a tree lined, flower decked pedestrianised area. Check out the Lanes Shopping Centre or the splendid traditional Victorian Market Hall. Carlisle is often host to a number of International street markets throughout the year, not forgetting the very popular Christmas markets and Farmer’s Markets on the first Friday of each month. Carlisle is perfectly located close to the Scottish Border and The Lake District and enjoys excellent transport links, beautiful parkland and rural areas.

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www.discovercarlisle.co.uk

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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Durham

Durham: Dramatic, delicious and divine

Durham is one of the world’s most fascinating and varied counties, with wild coastline and blissfully peaceful countryside cradling the spectacular peninsula of the city itself. Durham is a jewel that seamlessly combines a medieval past with a modern vibrancy. The city skyline presents the visitor with one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe, with Durham Cathedral and Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) keeping watch over the winding streets below. Durham Cathedral is regarded as one of the world's finest buildings and shares the peninsula with Durham Castle, one of Britain's largest and best preserved Norman strongholds. Visit the wonderful Crook Hall - home to quintessentially English gardens, Durham University's Botanic Garden set amongst beautiful woodlands on the southern outskirts of the city, the Durham Light Infantry Museum acclaimed as one of the finest regimental museums in the country, and Durham University's Oriental Museum, where you can come face to face with the coffin of an Egyptian cat! The banks of the winding River Wear below provide a peaceful retreat for walks and boat trips or rowing in the heart of the City. Durham is an extraordinarily green city, with many quiet retreats and spaces in which to

escape and reflect. As well as an abundance of activities to do in the day, you will find that the evenings in Durham City are rich in entertainment with modern theatre, intimate restaurants and homely pubs. Leaving the city behind, new experiences are waiting for you in the stunning scenery of the Durham Dales, the Vale of Durham and Durham’s Heritage Coast, all of which offer the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and active or hands on with history. Step back in time to 1913 at Beamish - the Living Museum of the North, to see how the region’s industrial past has shaped the modernity of today. If you crave culture, The Bowes Museum, a building as impressive as the exhibits inside, houses a stunning collection of European fine and decorative arts. Durham’s offer lies in its fascinating history, rich heritage and stunning landscapes. Located only 3 hours from London by train, Durham sits proudly at the heart of the North East of England, acting as a perfect base from which to explore the wider region.

www.thisisdurham.com

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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Lincoln

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Steeped in History; Brimming with Life Lincoln is one of Europe's must see historic cities. The Cathedral Quarter not only boasts one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in the breathtaking Cathedral - but also Lincoln Castle, built by William the Conqueror and the Medieval Bishop's Palace. These world class attractions are located in the uphill area of Lincoln, where cobbled streets are lined with independent boutiques and places to eat. A visit into the Cathedral is an essential on any itinerary. A range of tours are available, from floor to roof top and the Wren Library is a must see. Visitors can buy a Visit Lincoln Pass that represents savings on admission prices into the Cathedral, Castle and Bishop's Palace. The atmosphere is magical - and can be topped off with a stay at The Lincoln Hotel with rooms offering stunning views of the Cathedral. You can dine in style too at the award winning Green Room Restaurant and enjoy a meal prepared using locally source Lincolnshire produce. Complementing this rich history and heritage is Lincoln's vibrant waterfront, cultural and high street areas. Packed with shops, venues, bars and

restaurants and a lively marina, this is a side to Lincoln that is lesser known. The annual events and festivals programme means there is nearly always something going on in the city, with great gigs, stand up and more performing in our venues. Just outside the city, visitors can enjoy Doddington Hall & Gardens, a range of parks and nature reserves and the fascinating Lincoln Road Transport Museum. Lincoln has a wide selection of accommodation to suit every budget with the recent opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton and the imminent arrival of a city centre Premier Inn. For more information, www.visitlincoln.com Follow @visit_lincoln

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City sightseeing tour in front of Lincoln Cathedral


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Britain’s Heritage Cities - York

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There's never been a better time to enjoy our lively, walled, riverside city with its beautiful historic streets, vibrant café culture, stunning museums, world class attractions and fabulous shopping. Try out the thriving restaurant, pub and café scene or a ghost walk in the most haunted city in Europe!

Time to explore, time to visit York You can now take a mouth-watering journey and discover how York became the UK's home of chocolate at York's newest visitor attraction - York’s CHOCOLATE Story. Watch the Chocolatiers at work in captivating chocolate-making demonstrations, where you'll get to taste some of their delicious creations! Check out the new Chocolate Trail www.visityork.org/chocolate or collect your copy of the trail at the Visit York Information Centre. York Minster Revealed project is a five-year project generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This will include the unveiling of an elliptical stainedglass Orb (October 2012), and interactive galleries with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see, at close range, some of the magnificently restored panels of the Great East Window, England's artistic equivalent to the Sistine Chapel. Also improved access to the South Transept,

Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt will totally transform the experience of visiting York Minster. (Spring 2013) Mallard 75 – On 3 July 1938, Mallard raced down Stoke Bank at 126mph to set a new steam locomotive world record. That record still stands. In 2013 the 75th anniversary of Mallard’s achievement is being celebrated with a series of commemorative events including a never-before-seen line up of all six surviving A4s at the National Railway Museum in July. York Groups Desk The York Groups Desk offers an accommodation booking service for groups of 10 or more. We can also provide detailed itineraries and event information and arrange tailor made walking tours of the city – a great way to discover York’s hidden gems. Don’t forget to ask us about York Pass, the perfect way to see the city. Available for 1, 2 or 3 days.

www.visityork.org

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The Shambles


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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Chester

Ghosts, Mysteries and Oddfellows Chester is a must-see treasure. Its 2000 years of heritage include the most complete City Walls in Britain, the oldest racecourse in the country and the unique two-tier Rows shopping galleries. The city is also home to the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain where 7000 spectators watched gladiators fight. Chester celebrates the return of its word-famous Mystery Plays in 2013 inspired by stories from The Bible. They’re being performed inside the 1000 year old Cathedral for the first time in history. The magical 700 year old extravaganza takes place 26th June-13th July with performances at 7.30pm. The audience can also dine in the Cathedral’s Refectory, where monks used to take their meals. Chester Mystery Plays are only performed every 5 years. Visit www.chestermysteryplays.com for details. It’s just one of a host of events and festivals staged in the City every year from plays in the park to ghosts after dark. You’ll find full details on www.visitchester.com, plus the latest where to stay information. Check out Oddfellows, the latest addition to Chester’s boutique hotels offer.

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Just outside the City is Chester Zoo, one of the UK’s most popular attractions. Visit www.chesterzoo.org for details. Nearby is Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet – the UK’s largest – offering designer fashion and accessories at desirable discounts plus a new M & S store – the largest outside of London. You’ll discover a host of stately homes, gardens and canals around Chester including Tatton Park, the most complete Georgian Estate in the country, home to the perennial RHS Show (24th-28th July). In 2013, Tatton Park is celebrating the life and works of Beatrix Potter in 2013, featuring a series of the artist’s original watercolours. Its Biennial in 2014 will be centred on the roots of myth and the nature of memory.

www.visitchester.com


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Britain’s Heritage Cities - Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-Upon-Avon - Steeped in culture and history in the heart of England Stratford-upon-Avon is the town where William Shakespeare was born and is buried. Every year, millions of people celebrate his life and work by visiting the town. Situated in the heart of England, on the banks of the river Avon, Stratford attracts visitors from all over the world and there are many attractions in the town that can enhance your visit. Royal Shakespeare Company One of the world’s best-known theatre ensembles, the Royal Shakespeare Company performs the works of Shakespeare, his contemporaries and new writing, throughout the year in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the heart of their new home, which reopened in November 2010, are two thrust stage auditoria, the 1,000 seat Royal Shakespeare Theatre and 450 seat Swan Theatre, bringing audiences and actors closer together in the best possible setting to experience live theatre. If you don’t have time to see a performance then why not enjoy the stunning views from the Tower, discover theatrical secrets on a Theatre Tour, spend time exploring the free exhibitions or enjoy freshly prepared, locally sourced food in the new Rooftop Restaurant and Bar. For details of what’s on, or to find out more about browsing the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon please visit www.rsc.org.uk The Shakespeare Houses Visit one of the 5 Shakespeare Houses and Gardens - Shakespeare's Birthplace is a fascinating house that offers a tantalising glimpse into Shakespeare's early world. It's a special place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime or discover where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride Anne Hathaway at her picturesque family home with stunning gardens. Each of the 5 houses has something for everyone.

The RSC

There is something to suit everyone and all budgets - unique attractions, historic buildings, stately homes, idyllic villages, health spas, golf, leisure, cycle ways, vineyards, canals, undulating countryside and winding rivers. With so many things to do, see and experience come and Discover Stratford.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

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www.discover-stratford.com

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Britains heritage cities