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Issue 73 Spring 2018 £2.75

Global campaign to boost inbound tourism launched

By Christina Eccles

NATIONAL tourism agency VisitBritain has launched a new global campaign for 2018 to boost inbound tourism to Britain. The ‘I Travel For…’ campaign uses short films and storytelling to shine the spotlight on unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations in Britain, alongside its globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions. The campaign aligns the passions that motivate people to travel with experiences that can only be had in Britain, inspiring overseas visitors to book a trip right now. VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, driving economic growth and creating jobs right across Britain. “It is also a fiercely competitive global industry and we are seizing the opportunity to build on the strong growth we have seen, showcasing that Britain is bursting with fun activities, adventure and wonderfully unexpected experiences to come and discover all year round.” The campaign has been developed based on VisitBritain’s global research into people’s motivations, passions and inspiration for travel including adventure, fun, relaxation,

discovery, culture, food and drink and the unexpected. The campaign uses these motivators to create tailored content for target audiences, which is then shared on Facebook and Instagram globally. As part of the global campaign, VisitBritain is also working with commercial partners, including BA and Expedia, across its key inbound visitor markets to convert the inspiration to visit Britain into bookings. Overseas visits to the UK are forecast to break through the 40m mark for the first time in 2018, reaching 41.7m, up 4.4 per cent on 2017. Spending by overseas visitors to the UK is forecast to reach £26.9b in 2018, up 6.8 per cent on 2017. Sally added: “By shining a spotlight and telling the stories of Britain’s exciting and contemporary culture, innovations in food and drink, the beauty of our countryside and vibrancy of our cities, we want to inspire even more international visitors to book a trip right now.” VisitBritain’s I Travel For... campaign is part of the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, which promotes the UK internationally as a place to visit, study, invest and do business.

Visits to regions up four per cent

Organisers of Keswick Mountain Festival have revealed two big name acts who will headline this year’s live music programme. Former Spice Girl Melanie C (pictured) and founding member of Joy Division and New Order Peter Hook, with his band The Light, will take to the stage during this year’s festival, to entertain thousands with the spectacular backdrop of Derwentwater and the Lake District fells. The festival will run from June 8-10 and will also include sporting events, outdoor adventures, high profile speakers, taster activities, exhibitor stands and camping for all of the family.

MORE international tourists are visiting the English regions than ever before, according to figures, which reveal in the first nine months of 2017 there were a record 12.7m visits to English regions outside London, up four per cent compared to the same period in 2016. Research released by VisitBritain showed: n International visitors spent £6.1b across England’s regions during this period. n There were 909,000 overseas visits to Wales from January to September last year, up 6 per cent compared to the same time in 2016. n In Scotland, overseas visits increased 14 per cent to 2.6m in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same time in 2016. n Of the English regions, the North West and the West Midlands had the largest percentage growth in overseas visits. VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Boosting inbound tourism throughout Britain is at the heart of our work, so it is very encouraging to see the growth across our nations and regions.”


Birmingham-based family travel website,, is celebrating 12 months of success, after welcoming 26m website visitors over the past year. Following the new website and brand re-launch in January 2017, the site has become the biggest website for family days out in the UK, also boasting the most engaged social media community in the sector. The past year has also been the start of exciting partnerships with leading attractions and family brands, including Go Ape, West Midlands Safari Park and Smyths Toy Superstores. CEO Paul Stobbs said: “The past 12 months have given us a really solid foundation for growth, and we’re really excited that over 17m families have put their trust in us to find great days out this year. We’re looking forward to building on everything we’ve achieved, and with the ambitious strategy we have in place for the next 12 months, 2018 is set to be another year of growth for”

Business delegates double spend if they extend stay BUSINESS delegates are likely to double their spend in Britain if they extend their stay for leisure following their event, according to new research by tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland. The Business Events Research; Delegate Spend and Trip Extensions report provides detailed research into business events delegates’ spending and travel behaviours. The report found business delegates attending an event in Britain who extended their trip for leisure purposes would, on average, spend double the amount of money (£1,942) than if they travelled home immediately after the event (£991). It also found the destination of the event was not a major factor in the delegates’ decision to extend their trip for leisure; the practicalities of flight timings, ease of travel and accommodation were considered

more important. VisitBritain/VisitEngland head of business events Kerrin MacPhie said: “Britain’s business events sector is going from strength to strength, and this research provides real insight into delegate booking behaviour when attending an event. “It also highlights key areas where British destinations can support organisers in the early stages of event promotion, including ease of travel and reasons to stay pre- and post-event. “Britain is an attractive destination for planners and delegates alike, from our infrastructure and accessibility, to our ease of access and diverse destination offer, Britain is a great place to hold global events.” The research measured two aspects of business event travel; the amount spent by delegates

at business events in Britain, and the behaviour of those delegates extending trips for leisure. It found that international delegates stay longer, on average 3.7 nights, when compared to domestic delegates, who stay an average of one night. International delegates attending events were also found to spend more, in part because registration fees for these events were higher. Overseas delegates from outside the EU spent more (£1,748) than those overseas delegates from within the EU (£990), and domestic delegates (£329). The research was commissioned and completed by VisitBritain/ VisitEngland, with funding from the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign and the governmentfunded Discover England Fund.

Wood-fired hot tubs and a working farm are just some of the attractions at a new holiday park set to open at the end of March. Family-run business Wigwam Holidays Brecon gives visitors a flavour of farming life while staying in one of six running water deluxe wigwam cabins, two of which have wood fired hot tubs. The newest addition to the Wigwam Holidays Network, this new site is located on the border of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is perfect for stargazing as the park has been awarded the coveted Dark Sky status. At Script Media, we try to get things right but occasionally, we make mistakes. If you have a complaint about a story featured in our magazine or on our website, please, in the first instance, contact us by email: ce@scriptmedia. We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice as demanded by the Independent Press Standards Organisation. For details on the code and what to do should you be unsatisfied with the way we handle your complaint, please visit

Investment announced by Loganair

SCOTLAND’S airline Loganair has announced significant investment in services from Stornoway, with a new timetable designed to further improve links to Manchester and England’s North West region. Following the announcement of the first ever non-stop services linking Stornoway with Manchester, Loganair is increasing flights this summer to two non-stop services per week In addition to the Saturday service announced from June 23 through to September 1, a Wednesday flight will operate from June 27 to August 29. Loganair MD Jonathan Hinkles said: “This is fantastic news for the tourism industry on Lewis and the Western Isles in general. It also allows greater flexibility of business and leisure trips from Lewis to the North West of England. “A combination of the Wednesday and Saturday flights will provide options for three, four, seven, 10, 11 and 14-night stays at both destinations, increasing flexibility whether for those using the new non-stop links to access the wide variety of onward flights for both leisure or business trips from Manchester Airport, and for those from England’s North West using the new non-stop services to reach the beautiful Western Isles for long or short holiday breaks.”

Contacts EDITORIAL Judith Halkerston group editor Christina Eccles reporter 01226 734463 ce@scriptmedia. Dominic Musgrave production editor

PRODUCTION Stewart Holt – studio manager – Laura Blackburn – graphic designer Ben Thornley – graphic designer Scott Firth – graphic designer ADVERTISING Tony Barry sales and marketing director 01226 734605 CIRCULATION Kelly Tarff 01226 734695 Web: Twitter: @Destukmag



Meet ... Elmer the Elephant

THE North East charity behind the successful Great North Snowdogs event has unveiled the star of its next, free, public art trail. The trail of 61 sculptures, inspired by the animated film The Snowman and The Snowdog, which covered North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle and Northumberland for nine weeks in autumn 2016, attracted more than 676,000 people. Organiser, St Oswald’s Hospice, has now revealed that popular children’s storybook character Elmer the Elephant will be the inspiration for a second, similar trail. Elmer’s Great North Parade will take place for 10 weeks starting on Monday 19 August 2019, with individually decorated statues of the character positioned throughout Tyne and Wear. The parade will also be supported by a regionwide learning programme for schools and children’s groups and will culminate in a farewell weekend on November 2 and 3 2019. This will enable people to see the sculptures herded together for the final time, before they are auctioned to raise money for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice. Project lead Jane Hogan said:

“Elmer was a natural successor to the Snowdog for a number of reasons, not least because he celebrates his 30th birthday this year, making him almost the same age as the hospice. “But there are also connections to our work at the hospice. Elmer promotes values such as bravery, friendship and diversity and, like all elephants he lives in family groups, where they protect the young and vulnerable and mourn each other’s deaths. And, of course, elephants never forget.” Figures show that Great North Snowdogs boosted the region’s economy by more than £16.5m and raised a massive £367k for the hospice’s children and young adults’ service, which made a second trail inevitable, according to the Hospice’s chief executive James Ellam. He added: “It was the first time an art trail of its kind and scale had happened in Tyne and Wear and the response was overwhelming. “So, we are delighted to once again be working with creative producers Wild in Art, along with Elmer’s publisher Andersen Press and headline trail sponsor Tyne and Wear Metro, to bring Elmer’s Great North Parade to the region.”

Organisers not surprised Pitlochry is among the top places for romance ORGANISERS of one of the UK’s most popular outside events – The Enchanted Forest near Pitlochry – say they’re not surprised the town has been voted one of the most romantic choices for a winter break. Organisers of the awardwinning sound and light show say the Highland Perthshire town is a magnet for romantic visitors. The organisers receive regular enquiries from couples who visit the event every October and want to use it as a venue for proposals. The Enchanted Forest takes place at Faskally Wood on the outskirts of Pitlochry, which

was recently named third most romantic town in the UK for a winter break by the website Chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, Ian Sim, said: “During The Enchanted Forest event we receive three or four requests every week from people wanting to propose there. “The combination of beautiful scenery, including a loch, and the stunning sound and light show clearly are working some kind of magic on our visitors.” Last year’s sell-out Enchanted Forest event attracted a record 73,000 visitors.

New addition revealed


MADAME Tussauds Blackpool has announced an epic new addition, with the upcoming launch of its new MARVEL SUPER HEROES area. The previously undeveloped space will add 5,501 sqft to the existing public footprint within the attraction, so guests can experience something truly out of this world. Visitors will step right in to the action and come face-to-face with their favourite comic book and film heroes, with four distinct zones and interactive experiences. The attraction takes inspiration from the original comics as well as the blockbuster films.

General manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool, Matthew Titherington, said: “We are thrilled to announce the addition of Marvel Super Heroes to the attraction, in an amazing UK first. “The new area will be a mustvisit destination for all Marvel fans, offering the chance to get up close and personal to their favourite characters from the big screen. “We are working closely with Merlin Magic Making and Marvel on the design and build to ensure the new attraction is authentic to the comics and offers unique experiences.”


National Park to welcome campers as byelaws come back into effect By Christina Eccles LOCH Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is preparing to welcome campers to its loch shores as the second season of camping management byelaws come into effect. The seasonal byelaws cover certain parts of the National Park between March and September and were introduced in 2017 to protect some of the area’s most popular loch shores from environmental damage caused by the high volume of visitors and issues with antisocial behaviour from some campers going back a number of years. The byelaws create Camping Management Zones, where between March and September, campers need to camp in a designated camping permit area or a campsite. In 2017, more than 16,000 people camped in the new permit areas and the newly created low-cost campsite at Loch Chon. Feedback gathered from people who camped was extremely positive with 87 per cent of those who responded said they would recommend staying in a permit area to others. Chief executive of Loch Lomond

and The Trossachs National Park Gordon Watson said: “Camping is a great way to enjoy the National Park and we’re pleased with how things went last summer. “The feedback we received through our online surveys and what the rangers experienced from speaking to people face to face was overall very positive. “But we know that the camping byelaws are still relatively new so it’s important that we continue to make

people aware of how they work and encourage them to plan ahead. “We have continued to gather feedback from a broad range of people over the winter, including visitors, communities and partner organisations and are using that to inform how things work for 2018. “There will be some visible changes this year such as new pitch surfaces, better water facilities, and connectivity for online bookings at Loch Chon campsite.

“There will also be some additional signage in places where people told us it was needed to make the Camping Management Zones clearer. “Work is also underway to build another new low cost campsite at Loch Achray in time for the peak summer season which will provide further low cost camping opportunities at this popular spot. “We’ve also made changes to our website and online booking system that will help improve the overall experience for people coming to camp.” Wild camping, in accordance with the Outdoor Access Code, is still permitted outside of the Camping Management Zones. There are also private campsites throughout the National Park offering a full range of facilities. Gordon added: “We are committed to providing great camping experiences for everyone while at the same time protecting the park’s unique environment for the future. “We will continue to gather feedback and further improve things throughout this season and look forward to welcoming many more people to enjoy camping this summer.”

Operator opens third Aparthotel chain opens hotel in city centre in city’s Corn Exchange


TRAVELODGE has officially opened its third hotel in Inverness – the company’s 43rd Scottish hotel. Inverness City Centre Travelodge is located on Academy Street and has been built in a record time of 15 months. It is the company’s first hotel in Inverness to feature a Bar Café offering a great value breakfast, dinner and bar menu. The new hotel was officially opened by The Provost of Inverness and Area, coun Helen Carmichael and Travelodge’s new UK operations director Nigel Mackenzie. Nigel said: “I am thrilled to be officially opening my first Travelodge

in Inverness in my new role as UK operations director. “We are delighted to open our third hotel in Inverness and bring our great value Bar Café offering to the city. “With year on year growing visitor numbers to Inverness and the Scottish Highlands, there is a desperate need for good quality and great value accommodation within the area. “With the opening of Inverness City Centre Travelodge, we now operate four hotels across the Highlands and we are seeking a further hotel site in Aviemore.”

APARTHOTEL chain Roomzzz has opened its doors in the Manchester Corn Exchange. The opening of Roomzzz marks the completion of a three-year renovation project for the Corn Exchange, as the aparthotel joins 14 restaurants which have moved into the iconic building over the last few years. CEO of Roomzzz, Naveen Ahmed, said: “Building on the brand’s success in the thriving city of Manchester, Roomzzz is delighted to be launching its second Manchester aparthotel in the iconic Corn Exchange – the excellent

location and vibrant food and drink offering make it the perfect venue for guests looking to enjoy the variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment the city has to offer, as well as our welcoming and exceptional service. “Thanks to its central location and great transport links, it caters for all guests, from city explorers to corporate travellers, who can expect the home comforts and customer service they’re used to from the Roomzzz brand, allowing them to feel right at home in the heart of Manchester. We look forward to welcoming guests.”


Fun for all the family at Ribby Hall By Dominic Musgrave THERE’S something for everyone at Ribby Hall – a five-star holiday park and village set in 100 acres by the village of Wrea Green, just a few miles from Blackpool. Breaks are midweek, full-week or weekend and I arrived with my wife and two young children – Beth (9) and Joseph (7) – on a frosty Friday evening in January. Soon, keys in hand, we’re parking outside our home from home. We stayed in Poppy, one of the supersmart little cottages sleeping six. There are three bedrooms, two twins and a master with en suite bathroom. The living/dining room has a wall-mounted TV while there’s a nice fitted kitchen should

you want to cook for yourself, which we did on the first night given our fairly late arrival. There are loads of dining options on-site to cater for all tastes. During our stay we treated Joseph to whatever he wanted as it was his birthday the following weekend. He could choose from the tapas bar or the thriving family-friendly bar and grill. But instead he went for a good old takeaway pizza, which was absolutely delicious. After a good night’s sleep we woke up on the Saturday refreshed and ready for some fun. I felt particularly alive as I took part in a Stages indoor cycling class at 9am in the state-of-theart health club, which left me invigorated.

If you’re worried about entertaining the kids, you needn’t be as there’s something on morning, noon and night. Our first port of call was the fantastic swimming pool complex, which reopened last spring following a £1m refurbishment. It features interactive water features, a pirate themed children’s splash zone, brilliant water slides, a water fountain and 25-metre pool. We all agreed that it was great fun, and the 90 minutes flew by. After lunch I took football-mad Joseph to watch nearby AFC Fylde, who ply their trade in the Vanarama National League, while the ladies had a leisurely wander round the paths by the ponds and woodland trails before enjoying tea and cake

at The Tea Room. In the evening we enjoyed the entertainment in The Bar and Grill and all agreed that Ribby Hall has a really nice village feel to it. As the weather on Sunday morning was cold and crisp we decided to explore what else was on offer and, after letting the children have a go on a couple of the playgrounds dotted about the site, we opted a for a game on the nine-hole mini golf, which features famous holes from courses around the world! The fresh air gave us an appetite so we packed the car, said a sad farewell to Ribby Hall and enjoyed a hearty Sunday dinner in a pub at the nearby village of Wrea Green. We will definitely be returning.

Sector gears up for an early Easter By Christina Eccles


BUSINESSES in the South West tourism sector, which supports 180,000 jobs, are bracing themselves for the impact of an early Easter. This year Good Friday falls on March 30 and the early holiday has a major impact on those businesses that bring thousands of people into and out of the region. Hotels, holiday parks, tourist attractions and travel experts are already making provision for the early break. Sales and marketing director at Bakers Dolphin, which has been providing holidays for people in the region for over 126 years, Amanda Harrington, said: “The Easter break traditionally heralds the start of the tourism season, and is often one of the busiest weekends of the year. “Even though this Easter is early, we are confident it will kick-start a strong season, so it’s important to remind people to not rest on their laurels if they are hoping to get away, and to book now.” Catering to holidaymakers and locals staying in the South West, the Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare is one of the region’s most popular and well known tourist attractions, pulling in thousands of visitors over key bank holiday weekends. Co-owner Michelle Michael added: “Although an early Easter is a tricky

The Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare. one, as it usually means that people haven’t yet fully recovered from the Christmas spending, we are gearing up to offer our customers more than ever before to help combat this. “There’s a host of exciting new things happening on the Pier and we’re even hoping to showcase some brand new Virtual Reality rides in time for Easter. We’ve recently revamped our Tiffany’s and Sundaes food outlets which will mean a new experience for visitors and all areas of the Pier will be open for people to enjoy. In the coming months we have even more new developments for everyone to look forward to, including a programme of exclusive

treats for Grand Pier Members. “Member treats can be anything from Free Soft Play to the free Easter Egg offer we will be running from Good Friday until Easter Sunday. “Weather will be a factor in visitor numbers over the break – great weather will mean flocks of people so we need to be prepared. Having said that we’re guaranteed to be busy over the actual four day bank holiday, no matter what the weather or the date, as people gravitate to the seaside on bank holidays to enjoy the atmosphere and buzz. “Further plans in place include our continued daily offers for our annual

pass members on retail, food and drink and events. We also run a Kids Eat Free offer in our main outlets which means that our overall offer is a great value day out. “Anyone enjoying the rides on the Pier will also be able to take advantage of the unlimited rides wristband for adults and children throughout the holiday period.” Another Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole Caves, is taking impressive steps to ensure a good Easter break by extending their Easter offering to three weeks from the end of March until mid-April. General manager Daniel Medley added: “Because of the early Easter this year and with school holidays in different regions being spread over a three week period, we’ve decided to extend our offering. “During school holidays we always increase our activity, with additional attractions and fun for visiting families, so this Easter we will be offering this between March 23 and April 15. This Easter each child will receive a special treat and we’re putting on daily Easter Circus Shows. “Our visitors come from all over the UK and beyond, so we don’t want anyone to miss out because all the dates vary. Our visitors come first so if it means we have to increase our staffing levels and make arrangements to extend holiday offers, we want to do that.”


Pet-friendly holiday home is a ‘pawsome’ addition WILLERBY has unveiled the UK’s first ever pet-friendly holiday home at the Manchester Caravan and Motorhome Show 2018. Following the success of the petfriendly concept that was trialled at The Lawns in September, Willerby has officially launched the Simply Pawsome Pack that can be applied to a selection of holiday home models in its 2018 range. The new option which caters to animal lovers, includes several interchangeable and specially adapted features to suit each dog owner. From the stable door which will

keep pets safely inside (while ensuring ventilation in hot summer months), to the addition of a dog gate to cordon off areas where dirty paws and dog hairs have restricted entry. Other features include a Willerby dog bowl and outdoor tap to stop mucky pups bringing in dirt. Marketing director Kirsten Bolton said: “It came as no surprise that as a nation of dog lovers, our petfriendly option was a hit with the public and our dealers. “We hope this new addition to the Willerby portfolio will mean the whole family can enjoy spending more holiday time together.”

Bournemouth has been named the best UK beach in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award. Photo credit: Bournemouth Tourism.

Bournemouth beach tops Travellers’ Choice Awards The Ravenglass Railway Museum in Cumbria has received a prestigious award from the Heritage Railway Association at its annual awards ceremony at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham. The museum scooped the award for Large Groups in recognition of its comprehensive re-development and extension project which opened in June 2017. The award is given annually for outstanding achievement by a member body of the Heritage Railway Association. Pictured are Brian Simpson, chairman of the Heritage Railway Association, with the team from the Ravenglass Railway Museum.

BOURNEMOUTH has been named the best UK beach in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, as well as the fifth best in Europe and 14th in the world. Bournemouth’s seven mile stretch of sandy beach has something to offer everyone with its traditional seaside attractions, famous beach huts for hire, watersports and stunning views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks. The bay also boasts its own micro-climate, giving it some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK. Head of operations in tourism

services Chris Saunders said: “The beaches are raked and cleaned daily to the highest standard, experienced rangers are present year-round to ensure the safety and comfort of visitors, including the operation of the LV= KidZone and the regular land trains, while RNLI life guards are stationed at regular intervals along the beach. “Furthermore, Bournemouth Seafront is benefiting from a series of far reaching improvements, including the upgrading and landscaping of Pier Approach and a slick, modernised Tourist Information Centre.”

The Grand in York joins Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection THE Grand Hotel & Spa in York – Yorkshire’s only AA-rated five-star luxury hotel has announced it will join Preferred Hotels & Resorts as part of the LVX Collection. The Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection represents renowned properties across the world that feature the finest accommodations coupled with attentive and exclusive personal service. These worldly and illustrious hotels, located in vibrant city centres or destination escapes, provide guests with notable inspirations and memorable experiences through exceptional dining, entertainment and spas. The Grand Hotel & Spa has established a global reputation for its first-class service, impressive bedrooms and fine dining. Following its £15m development, The Grand will be doubling the number of five-star hotel rooms in York in 2018, providing a supremely opulent experience for both visitors

The Grand Hotel & Spa with York Minster in the background. and city locals craving an escape from everyday hustle and bustle. Its expansion will also include a new luxury Executive Lounge and an Arrivals Lounge, both of which will be opening in the coming months.

The Grand has recently opened a brand-new restaurant, The Rise, serving modern cuisine across a Yorkshire tapas-style ‘small plate’ concept, allowing guests to enjoy a feast of sharing dishes in

an immersive and social dining experience. The Grand’s three AA Rosette fine dining restaurant, Hudsons by Craig Atchinson, also relaunched in 2017 with a new concept, allowing Craig and his team to provide an intimate fine dining experience with fantastic quality and attention to detail through a nine-course tasting menu and wine flight. Philip Bolson, general manager at The Grand Hotel & Spa, said: “We are delighted to become a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection. We offer a supremely luxurious experience for our guests and we firmly believe this partnership will reinforce our standing as one of the finest hotels in the North of England. “The £15million redevelopment will allow us to share our experience with even more guests and partnering with Preferred Hotels & Resorts marks another important milestone in our development.”



Wedgwood wins gold WORLD of Wedgwood in Stokeon-Trent has been awarded a Gold Accolade by VisitEngland in recognition of its outstanding visitor experience. The prestigious award has been given to the top 21 scoring attractions in the annual assessment by VisitEngland and celebrates excellence within the visitor attraction sector for businesses that go the extra mile to provide a first-class day out. Head of World of Wedgwood,

Chris Perkins, said: “We aim to deliver the very best visitor experience to all of our guests from a warm welcome at the reception desk to engaging tours and immersive experiences, not to mention an exceptional afternoon tea! “Winning the VisitEngland Gold Accolade is down to a fantastic team effort and we’re proud to be recognised alongside other leading attractions for our outstanding guest experience.”

Service to link Isles of Scilly with Land’s End THE Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has announced the start of a new helicopter service from Land’s End Airport to the Isles of Scilly from May this year. Island Helicopters will operate yearround up to six days a week from Land’s End Airport, with up to eight return flights a day. The flight time will be approximately 15 minutes. Island Helicopters will be operated by Gloucester-based Specialist Aviation Services, in partnership with the Steamship Group, using a new 10-seater AW169 aircraft. SAS is no stranger to Cornwall and already operates the Cornwall Air Ambulance from Cornwall Airport Newquay. Passengers can park at Land’s End Airport or a new park and ride service will chauffeur them from Penzance train station or their accommodation to and from Land’s End Airport in just 15 minutes. Island Helicopters will complement

and integrate with the existing Skybus fixed wing flights from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter Airports, and the seasonal Scillonian III ferry which sails from Penzance. Together they carried 214,000 passengers last year. Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group Andrew May said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Island Helicopters to Land’s End Airport and look forward to sharing our modern facilities, which already handle more than 60,000 passengers a year. “We know there is demand from thousands of people who have really missed the helicopter since it stopped in 2012. “We’ve listened to that demand, investigated what we believe can work, and have partnered with SAS to make it happen. “This gives visitors and islanders more choice over how they travel and makes the transport network more resilient, which is exactly what our customers say they want.”

The Ordnance Pavilion, an ‘architectural intervention’ celebrating the Ordnance Survey and the impact the mappings have had on our human and cultural interaction with the landscape, has been unveiled on the Langdale Estate in the Lake District. The piece was created by MUTT – an art, architecture and design studio based in London and Liverpool – and the studio was inspired by the laborious process of remeasuring the landscape over roughly 30 years – something that seems completely alien in our GPS navigated world of today. It is one of six newly commissioned, contemporary pieces of art installed at various locations across the Lake District as part of Lakes Ignite, in response to the Lake District becoming a World Heritage site. The Ordnance Pavilion will be in situ on the Langdale Estate, close to Wainwrights inn, until July.

Excursions continues to impress


NOW in its 42nd year the Excursions™ one day-group travel show, which took place at Alexandra Palace recently, continued to impress both exhibitors and visitors alike with many attending the dynamic exhibition for the first time. Special guests who attended the show by personal invitation from coach tour operators enjoyed exclusive access to the Mary Rose Experience where they discovered more about Henry VIII’s favourite ship and were able to handle some replica artefacts and real objects from the Mary Rose. They were also treated to a wine reception and sommelier presentation from Denbies Wine Estate on arrival. Honoured to be asked by Tourism South East to host the VIP area within the show floor, Paul Griffiths, head of operations/managing director (trading company) at the Mary Rose Museum, said: “The event was an amazing success and it was fabulous to meet hundreds of group trip organisers and give them a flavour of what the Mary Rose experience has to offer. “Hosting the VIP area also gave us the chance to give a more in depth

briefing on the Mary Rose and for visitors to get their hands on genuine Tudor artefacts. We can’t wait to exhibit again next year.” Many exhibitors took the opportunity to launch something new at the show including Greatdays Travel Group, the New Lanark Mill World Heritage Site and the Belgian Tourist Office-Wallonia, while others brought along their mascots including Lenny the Lemur from Marwell Zoo and Roman legions in full costume from Butser Ancient

Farm. The hourly matinee shows presented by Groups Direct in association with James R Hearn attracted a large audience with realistic tribute artists performing popular songs from both Frankie Valli and Shirley Bassey, while the Hambledon Vineyard feature stand was constantly busy with visitors enjoying a free tasting of their refreshing sparkling wine. The new Visitor Connect system, which enables visitors to keep in

contact with the exhibitors they have spoken to after the show from a simple scan of their badge barcode proved a great success. Emma McMillan, groups director from Dave Urquhart Travel, was particularly impressed with the new system. She added: “The scanner was very quick and easy to use enabling us to add notes for future reference, saving juggling around with paper or tablet computers.” Delighted with Excursions™ ongoing success, organiser Anna WilsonBarnes, travel trade marketing manager at Tourism South East, said: “We were very pleased to welcome a large number of quality visitors this year, all eager to see the growing number of exhibitors at the show. “Already the post event feedback has been fantastic and we would like to thank all those who came along to the show, and our many exhibitors, for making it a great day out. “We were also very pleased AGTO chose Excursions™ as the venue for their AGM for the second year in succession and look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2019.”


Musical enters its third year in the West End – book now with Super Break

Motown The Musical announces new cast

Super Break is promoting theatre packages to see Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre, which is celebrating entering its third year in the West End with a new cast. Featuring an incredible selection of Motown’s most recognisable hits, Motown The Musical has audiences dancing in the aisles every night and is currently on sale until 5 January 2019. Super Break’s packages combine overnight accommodation with tickets to the show and are fully commissionable to agents. The new West End cast will be led by Jay Perry as Berry Gordy, Natalie

Kassanga as Diana Ross and Carl Spencer as Marvin Gaye. They join David Albury who continues in the role of Smokey Robinson. Cruz Lee-Ojo, 11 years old from Uxbridge also joins the Company to share the role of Young Michael Jackson, Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder with Tumo Reetsang, 12 years old from Southwark, London. The show offers the chance to discover the story behind the sound that moved the world. With just $800 borrowed from his family, Berry Gordy founded Motown records and launched the careers of Diana Ross and the

Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and many more. Featuring fifty classic Motown hits including ‘My Girl’, ‘Dancing In The Street’, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ and ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, Motown the Musical is a musical sensation with real soul.

Super Break packages start from £112.50 pp For more information visit Super Break national sales or call 01904 436000 manager Graham Balmforth.

News from around the theatres ...

By David Thomas

TO the celebrated Café De Paris in the heart of London’s West End for the launch of Strictly Ballroom The Musical which previews at the Piccadilly Theatre from the end of March. Starring Will Young, Jonny Labey and Zizi Strallen, the show is based on the cult romantic comedy from Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet) one of the funniest films of all time as well as being a passionate love story woven around some phenomenal dance numbers. Also previewing from the end of March, TINA – The Tina Turner 12 Musical, at the Aldwych Theatre, is

one of the most eagerly anticipated musicals to arrive in the West End for many years. In the title role will be the supremely talented Broadway Star, and Tony Award Winner, Adrienne Warren, and I confidently predict that Adrienne will win both awards and hearts on this side of the Atlantic. One show that is definitely no stranger to the West End, Chicago The Musical makes its triumphant return on March 26 with Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Junior (Jerry Maguire) taking the role of Billy Flynn for the first 14 weeks with the dream team of Sarah Soetart, Josefina Gabrielle and Ruthie Henshall returning to the show to reprise the roles of Roxie Hart,

Velma Kelly and Mama Morton. But with all this exciting talent about to burst forth onto the West End stage, I’d like to raise my glass (of Tizer) to two actors coming to the end of their current West End commitment, Cedric Neal and Lucy St Louis, who have been wowing audiences as Berry Gordy and Diana Ross in Motown The Musical since it opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in March 2016. Cedric and Lucy have been a total revelation, as anyone fortunate enough to see Motown The Musical will testify, and I for one cannot wait to see what Jay Perry and Natalie Kassanga bring to the roles. Enjoy London, enjoy your shows, see you soon!

David Thomas


Plenty of dog friendly places in Shakespeare’s England HOME to the world’s most famous playwright, majestic Castles, unique heritage, great theatre, culture and glorious gardens, Shakespeare’s England offers everything for a short break. With many families having pets and preferring to take their beloved dog away with them, Shakespeare’s England also offers a range of petfriendly places to visit, eat and stay! Attractions to visit The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust allows dogs in the grounds of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Hall’s Croft, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s cottage (except Mary Arden’s Farm due to livestock). Take part in “Shakespaw’s Day” on August 25 at Anne Hathaway’s cottage when visitors can bring a picnic and enjoy the dog show. Categories include waggiest tail and best recall, plus there are prizes and rosettes. Visitors also receive 30 per cent off single house tickets when they bring their pooch. Enjoy a guided tour of Stratfordupon-Avon with Stratford Town walk and Ghost Walk which also welcomes dogs. Kenilworth Castle also accepts dogs on leads and there are plenty of places where dogs can ‘lap up heritage’. Water bowls are available outside the visitor centre and tea-room. Dogs are also permitted on the Warwick and Stratford Trivia Trails. Please note one team member will

also accepts dogs in their ground floor room which has its own patio and side entrance. Cost is £10 per night per dog. Blankets and bowls are also provided.

have to wait outside with their dog while the others look for answers. Bicester Village now offers four dog strollers for guests bringing their dogs however it is down to the discretion of each boutique whether they allow the stroller in the store. Fargo Village in Coventry welcomes dogs in the majority of their shops including Backhaus, the onsite coffee shop/café. They even have a doggie boutique selling treats, clothing, bandana’s and dog beds! Fargo also hosts a dog show in aid of Sukis Canine Rescue on May 28. Free admission into the village but a small charge per class to enter the dog show.

Places to Stay The Stratford Hotel has recently become a dog friendly venue and provides beds, bowls & treats. There is a supplement of £20 per room per night. The Mercure Shakespeare Hotel also welcomes dogs and can supply a small dog cushion or slightly larger doggy bed! Cost is £10 per dog per night. The hotel hosted five dogs over Christmas so is a popular choice! Chesford Grange near Kenilworth is dog friendly and charges a small supplement. Some bedrooms have patio doors that open directly onto the grounds, ideal for an early morning walk. Adelphi Guest House in Stratford

Places to eat and drink Peach Pubs which operates The Almanack in Kenilworth, The Rose & Crown in Warwick and The One Elm in Stratford permit dogs in their bar areas and always have treats for well-behaved pooches. The Globe in Warwick also permits dogs into its bar area and provides dog treats. Some bedrooms on the ground floor are dog friendly and charge £20 per dog. The Bell at Alderminster welcomes well behaved dogs in the bar and provides dog bowls and treats behind the bar. Often on a Saturday in shoot season the number of dogs in the bar outnumbers humans! Hathaway’s Tea Rooms in Stratford-upon-Avon also has a dog friendly garden and Susie’s Café Bar at The Other Place (Royal Shakespeare Company) welcomes dogs and provides dog treats! Dogs are also very welcome at The Fleece Inn in the pub and in the bedrooms. Surrounded by countryside and in the beautiful village of Bretforton near Evesham, customers can enjoy a walk then relax with a drink. The pub offers free dog treats and sells locally made Pont & Pierce dog treats, Pawsecco and Dog Beer.

‘AutoScience’ fun at the British Motor Museum this Easter VISITORS are invited to join in with some ‘cracking’ fun activities this Easter at the British Motor Museum. Starting with a traditional Egg hunt over Easter weekend, followed by two weeks of ‘AutoScience,’ where the science that drives our cars is brought to life with live science shows, family tours, Technic workshops, and a Secret Mission family trail. Families can join in with a traditional Easter Egg hunt (with a motoring twist of course!) over the Easter weekend from 30 March – 2 April. Plus there will be daily drop in craft activities suitable for all the family. The AutoScience Easter activities will run from April 3 to 15. The AutoScience Live shows take place every day at 11am (Science of KAPOW!), 2.15pm (Science of Speed) and 3pm (Science of KAPOW!). Each show lasts 25 minutes and is full of cool interactive demonstrations by our ‘mad scientists’ Professor Pickle and Doctor Pumpkin as they explain the science that drives our cars. Visitors can also join Professor Pickle or Doctor Pumpkin on the AutoScience Family Tour which takes place every day at 1.30pm and gives families an insight to the Museum in a fun and

relaxed way lasting no more than 20 minutes. For LEGO® Technic fans, AutoScience Technic Workshops will take place daily from 10am to 3pm, a chance to get hands-on to design, build and test your own LEGO® Technic machine. Race it along the ‘Track’ with the fastest car of the day winning the title ‘Champion Designer’ as well as a prize. The AutoScience Secret Mission Trail also runs daily, just pick up a trail sheet from the Family Station and follow the photo clues around the Museum to find the seven Secret Mission boxes – solve the answers to collect a reward sticker. Emma Rawlinson, life long learning officer for the British Motor Museum, said: “From Easter Egg hunts to AutoScience shows with our very own ‘mad professor’ – as well as family tours, trails, and craft activities, we have plenty to keep the whole family entertained this Easter whatever the weather!”. All activities are included in Museum admission and are suitable for three years plus with adult supervision. During busy periods family activities may move to a timed ticket basis. To avoid disappointment please check on arrival with the Family Station as places are limited and are subject to availability.



More than 90 new exhibitors confirmed for British Tourism & Travel Show 2018 LAKE District Estates, Cornwall Gold, Bateaux London, Visit Blackpool, Port Sunlight, Enjoy Tees Valley, Lovers Canal Cruises, Visit Coventry & Warwickshire, Chester Zoo, Dreamland, Visit Brussels, and Exeter Cathedral are just some of the new big names preparing to meet thousands of travel trade buyers at this year’s British Tourism & Travel Show, which returns to the NEC Birmingham on March 21 and 22. Firmly established as the largest domestic tourism event for the UK and Ireland’s travel trade, visitors will benefit from seeing the latest tour and corporate packages, initiatives and incentives from over 250 leading visitor attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs. Explore even more in 2018 With only a handful of stands remaining, the 2018 show has seen a strong exhibitor uptake from a raft of first time exhibitors, representing the length and breadth of the British Isles, Europe and beyond. Key names to join the line-up include: Poole & Bournemouth Tourism, Swanage Railway, Tiernan


“We’re keen to celebrate the fabulous hidden gems of the English countryside. “And we’re looking forward to having the opportunity to really champion Cogges, and the region, for its beauty and heritage at the show.”

Travel, Marketing Manchester, Lincoln Christmas Market, Imagination Workshop, Dewars Aberfeldy Distillery, Giant Hospitality, West Midland Safari & Leisure Park, Travel By Knight, Up at the O2, Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew, Mission Room, Sterling-K Ltd (Wildtouch), Land Rover Experience Solihull, THG Holidays, Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck, Forth Boat Tours, Gatatu Safaris, Usunhome Group, Grassroot Tours and Travel, Bullitt Hotel Belfast, C.I Travel Group, Chill Factore, and Cogges Manor Farm. “What better time to visit the British Tourism & Travel Show than during English Tourism week,” said Kim Hall, marketing manager at Cogges Manor Farm.

The UK’s tallest Victorian Gothic folly – Hadlow Tower in Kent – is now available to rent as a luxury holiday cottage. Once used as a landmark by Luftwaffe pilots on their way to London, the tower provides 360 degree views across the Medway valley. Rising to 170ft tall, the tower was considered important enough be included in the top 100 most endangered historic buildings in the world in 1998 World Monument Fund. Now after a £4m restoration, it can be rented for week long and short break stays; sleeping six guests in three bedrooms.

2018 – the year of… Known for its rugged coastlines and vibrant waterways, Visit Wales is celebrating its ‘Year of the sea’ for 2018. Its latest initiative ‘The Wales Way’ promotes three new national routes on the coast, through castle country, and across mountainous heartland. These can also be crossed by loops and links, so that visitors can create a custom-built ‘Wales Way’ road-trip for their customers. New exhibitors to join the Visit Wales pavilion include: Destination Wales (THG Holidays), South West Wales, Welsh Water Visitor Attractions, Giant Hospitality, Great Little Trains of Wales, Newport, The Metropole Hotel & Spa, and Rhondda Heritage Park. They’ll join returning exhibitors: Slate Caverns, Celtic Royal Hotel, Royal Victoria Hotel Snowdonia,

Cadw, Wales Millennium Centre, and Royal Mint Experience. Visit Scotland is promoting the ‘Year of young people’ for 2018. This features 12 months of events, activities and ideas, like adventure breaks, road trips, and music festivals, for young people or those that are ‘young at heart’. New openings also include the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee and the VisitScotland Expo 2018. The latest exhibitors to join the Visit Scotland stand include: Love Loch Lomond, Forth Boat Tours, New Lanark Mills, Strathmore Hotels, and Visit Aberdeen. Food and Drink Trail – NEW Traditional food and drink products, influenced by history and heritage, are a key part of tourism and travel around the British Isles. That’s why this year the show will feature its first food and drink trail. From Cornish fudge to Scottish whisky, the trail is an exciting way to meet the exhibitors and sample classic cuisines from around the country. A map will be provided in the printed show guide, showing which relevant stands to visit.

Most Instagrammed UK sights revealed

BIG Ben is the UK’s most Instagrammed sight, according to research from travel experts Expedia. Expedia has looked at the volume of Instagram posts and number of unique hashtags over the past year to come up with a list of 12 of the most Instagrammed spots in the UK. With more than 2.5m Insta posts this year alone, Big Ben is far and away the most captured UK sight on the social network. The sight that took the second spot was Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Cub, which had more than 490,000 snaps last year, followed by Stonehenge in third place, the New Forest in

fourth and Snowdonia in fifth. Project manager at Expedia, Kasha Dubaniewicz, added: “So many people now use Instagram to share their travel experiences with friends and family and it’s not hard to see why – the social network is free, easy to use and creates beautiful photos in a matter of moments. “We wanted to find out which of the UK’s destinations prove the most popular with Instagram users, so we looked at the most-captured, most-hashtagged sites so far this year. “While it’s not a surprise to see Big Ben at the top of the list, some of the others have proved to be a little more surprising.”


New World Rugby Museum opens at Twickenham A NEW World Rugby Museum has been opened at Twickenham with over 38,000 exhibits in cutting edge interactive displays for group visitors to explore. Flexible start times are now available for both group travel organisers and educational visits to the museum, now housed in the South Stand at Twickenham Stadium. The World Rugby Museum is the definitive home for everything and anything about rugby. Featuring more than three times as many objects, the new museum will display memorabilia from around the world and from all eras, making it a must visit for all rugby fans. The move has also been made in time for the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations. The new location presented an opportunity for the museum to improve its content and modernise its interpretive methods, says museum curator, Phil McGowan. “The cutting edge new museum is bigger, better, brighter and more interactive than ever before and will offer groups and educational visitors exciting hands-on interactive exhibits plus events and education and research facilities,” he added. “It houses the world’s most prestigious collection of rugby memorabilia. This includes commentary, film and match-footage from the most iconic moments, memorable tours and greatest players in the history of what is the world’s most dramatic team sport”. The museum began life as the ‘Museum of Rugby’ in 1996 before

rebranding as the ‘World Rugby Museum’ in 2008. The new museum has been designed in partnership with Mather & Co. Its collection – that includes the RFU and Harry Langton rugby collections – has increased significantly since 1996, and the move represents an opportunity to become more object focused and better tell the true story of rugby from around the world. Its interactive galleries will encourage participation at all levels of the game and give younger visitors the opportunity to find out ‘What Kind of Rugby Player’ they are. The new gallery will feature more than three times as many objects as it did in its previous East Stand location, covering iconic teams, such as the 1924 New Zealand side, the 1900s Wales teams, the 1971 and 1974 British & Irish Lions sides, as well as the 2003 England team. The World Rugby Museum can be visited as part of a combined stadium tour and museum package or as a standalone attraction. April sees new public tour times with additional tours on weekends and school holidays going forwards. Education groups will benefit from enhanced facilities within the museum including a new education space and interactives linked to the free workshop or seminar offered as part of the visit providing a hands-on learning experience. Group and education tours are booked on request with flexible start times and operate during museum opening times.

Houses of Parliament to host ‘Voice and Vote’ exhibition

TICKETS are now available for ‘Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament’, a major public summer exhibition between June 27 and October 6. Groups are welcome to combine a visit to this free exhibition in historic Westminster Hall with a tour of the Houses of Parliament. The exhibition uses immersive and interactive technologies to tell the story of a century of women’s voices in Parliament, the journey towards universal suffrage and the first female MPs. Lost historic spaces known as ‘The Ventilator’, ‘The Cage’ and ‘The Tomb’, which were used to segregate women from the business of Parliament, are recreated. The exhibition features key historic objects from Parliamentary collections and a series of significant items on loan from around the UK. One of the star loans reveals the story of Alice Hawkins, a WSPU suffragette from Leicester who was jailed five times for campaigning for women’s rights. The loan from Alice’s family to the Voice and Vote exhibition includes her original Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) sash, a ‘Holloway’ portcullis brooch and her hunger strike medal, awarded by the WSPU for “a gallant action”. It is the first time these items have been put on public display. Joanne Marriott, Alice Hawkins’ great, great grand-daughter, said: “I am proud to loan these objects to Parliament, it is a fitting tribute to the vital work that Alice carried out.

Alice Hawkins Photos credit: Parliament WOA She was just one woman, but now we can really appreciate how crucial her, and all the other women’s, dedication and sacrifice was to our democracy. Alice was an inspiration to our family and to the women of today and the future.” Melanie Unwin, co-curator of the ‘Voice and Vote’ exhibition, added: “This exciting exhibition should really give the public a sense of the barriers that women had to overcome to participate in democracy. “We are delighted to be able to feature Alice Hawkins, whose extraordinary story will be brought to life by these rare surviving items which celebrate her bravery and commitment. “We are very grateful to the family for allowing them to be displayed in public for the first time in the ‘Voice and Vote’ exhibition, where I’m sure they will prove inspirational.”

An iconic Lake District hotel has appointed a new head chef. Chris Lee, whose previous experience includes heading up an Antony Worrall Thompson kitchen, has joined the team at Laura Ashley: The Belsfield Hotel. After stints at neighbouring Bowness hotel, The Ryebeck and The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, Chris wants to bring his rustic yet refined style of food to one of the longest running hotels in the Lake District. He said: “The Lake District is awesome, and I’m thrilled to have a new opportunity to create food that customers want to experience. The Belsfield is iconic and the region has so much to offer, local ingredients such as Cartmel Valley Game make cooking and working in the Lake District unrivalled.” 15

Destination UK Spring 2018  
Destination UK Spring 2018  

Promoting UK tourism to the world's travel trade