Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘travel review’ Category

 The weather may not be anything to write a postcard home about – but the West’s tourism industry enjoyed a twin boost yesterday.

Key visitor attractions featured prominently in the first global TV adverts for a decade and new research showed up to 17 million Brits will holiday at home this year.

VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, yesterday unveiled its international TV campaign to attract overseas visitors to the country.

The adverts will be screened around the world, and include Stonehenge, Glastonbury and the Cotswolds.

Stonehenge is already in the spotlight because of the summer solstice, and VisitBritain say the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most important prehistoric monuments on the planet.

As well as the 5,000-year-old site, there are money Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in the surrounding landscape, and Avebury, the largest stone circle in Europe, is nearby.

Glastonbury is synonymous with the annual music festival taking place at the weekend, with international superstars such as U2, Coldplay and Beyonce, as well as theatre and circus performers and much more.but VisitBritain also point to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, and the iconic Tor, along with myths and legends about the Isle of Avalon, King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail.

The agency adds: “For many visitors, the Cotswolds represent everything that is quintessentially ‘English’, with villages and churches of honey-coloured limestone set among gentle hillsides, cottage gardens, beech woods and drystone walls.”

Historic sites include Sudeley Castle and Chedworth Roman Villa, while VisitBritain urges tourists to sample local produce such as Gloucester Old Spot pork, Tewkesbury mustard and the famous Cotswold cheeses.

Other locations in the TV adverts include London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral, the Lake District, Snowdon in Wales, Edinburgh Castle and the Highlands.

Celebrities such as actress Dame Judi Dench, fashion icon Twiggy and chef Jamie Oliver – who has restaurants in Bath and Bristol with another opening in Cheltenham this summer – star in them.

The campaign kicks off a major marketing push that seeks to build on the global impact of the Royal Wedding, with the Olympics next year also guaranteeing the international spotlight.

It will concentrate on the current most important tourism markets, such as the US and Western Europe, and the big growth areas for the future, including China and India.

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: “This is our first global TV campaign for 10 years and marks the start of an ambitious marketing programme. With the eyes of the world on us, we have an opportunity to showcase Britain and then to close the sale with great travel deals and offers from our partners.

“This campaign aims to inspire visitors to come and explore for themselves. Over four years, we aim to attract four million extra overseas visitors, who will spend £2 billion across Britain.”

Meanwhile a new survey has found nearly 40 per cent of Britons will stay at home this summer as families strive to balance household finances.

Many of them will instead enjoy ‘staycations’, with the West sure to cash in.

The poll was carried out for savings bank ING Direct, and chief executive Richard Doe said: “It’s not surprising that the summer holiday is often being sacrificed.”

Visiting Britain ? Visit the West Country!

Wessex Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – the Best Tours in Wiltshire

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Modern tourist attractions such as the London Eye and Cornwall’s £86 million Eden Project rank alongside historic sites including Stonehenge among the “Seven Wonders of Britain”, according to a survey published today.

The British equivalent to the original Seven Wonders of the World span a 4,000-year period from prehistoric Stonehenge in Wiltshire to the 450ft wheel which was erected on the South Bank of the River Thames to mark the millennium.

The remaining four attractions on the list were Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, York Minster, Windsor Castle and Hadrian’s Wall.

More than 2,500 adults from across Britain took part in the survey, which was commissioned by the Yellow Pages telephone directory.

A parallel survey of teenagers aged between 13 and 17 also recognised traditional attractions but listed Staffordshire theme park Alton Towers as one of their favourites.

Both adults and teenagers agreed on their choice for the Eighth Wonder of Britain – defined as a culturally significant site that is not currently regarded as a tourist attraction – by selecting the Angel of the North, Antony Gormley’s giant sculpture on the outskirts of Gateshead.

Alan Britten, English Tourism Council chairman, said: “It’s the mixture of old and new attractions that is a source of fascination for overseas tourists and a source of pride among the people who live here.

“The Yellow Pages survey reflects our own experience of the endless allure of these ‘must-see’ sites. They are the crown jewels of our tourist attractions.”

John Condron, chief executive of Yell, publisher of Yellow Pages, said: “We hope this timely survey encourages people to get out and explore or rediscover the ‘Wonders’ in their own regions.”

 
The ‘seven wonders of Britain’


The London Eye and Eden Project rank alongside historic sites such as Stonehenge among the ‘seven wonders of Britain’, according to a survey commissioned by Yellow Pages. Here, in no particular order, are the seven winners.
 
Big Ben Big Ben, London
Photo: Peter Jordan, PA
 
Hadrian's Wall Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
Photo: John Giles, PA
More arts news
 
Eden Project Eden Project, Cornwall
Photo: Barry Batchelor, PA
 
London Eye London Eye
Photo: Martin Argles, Guardian
 
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Photo: Tim Ockenden, PA
 
Stonehenge Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Photo: Sean Smith, Guardian
 
York Minster York Minster, Yorkshire
Photo: John Giles, PA
 
The ‘eighth wonder of Britain’


Angel of the North Angel of the North
Antony Gormley’s giant sculpture on the outskirts of Gateshead, the winner among ‘culturally significant sites not currently regarded as tourist attractions’.
Photo: Owen Humphreys, PA


Good choice!
The Best Tours in British History
HisTOURies UK – Private Guided Tours

Read Full Post »

A chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ at the Roman Baths Museum.

Roman Bath Tunnel Tours

The tour includes

·        The main museum stone store with material dating from Roman to Victorian times from all parts of Bath and the surrounding area

·        The King’s Spring Borehole supplying water to the Pump Room and the new Thermae Bath Spa buildings

·        Georgian vaults under Bath Street and the water pipe that supplies the spa

·        Rooms of the Roman bath house not on public display, including the unusual circular laconicum

·        The chance to handle some of the items which have been excavated in Bath and are now stored in the various vaults.

Although we do walk through most of the public areas of the site we do not stop in them and visitors are advised to visit them before or after the tunnel tour, during the normal public opening hours

A chance to look ‘behind-the-scenes’ at the stores of the Roman Baths Museum. See and handle objects in the reserve collections and find out why and how they care for them. 
Visit the vaults around the Roman Baths. See parts of the Roman Baths and temple not on public display and discover the hidden Georgian and Victorian history of the site. Numbers are strictly limited so advance booking is necessary on 01225 477779

http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/

The Roman Baths is one of the largest tourist attractions in South West England. Find out more about charges, opening times and the facilities that we offer at the Roman Baths in the links to the left. Please allow at least 2 hours to get the most from your visit.  Bath is often combined with a day trip to Stonehenge and the Cotswolds from London.  A private guided tour allows over 2 hours in Bath rather than the 45 minutes many coach operators allow.

Stonehenge and Bath Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

Read Full Post »

Bath Abbey Tours

Bath Abbey Tours

As part of an on-going project, led by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, looking at possible future improvements to the Abbey, this month sees the start of a series of archaeological digs in and around the building, which dates back to 1499, (it’s the third church on the site, the original Anglo-Saxon Abbey Church was founded in 757).  There will be seven digs in total, six in the Abbey: choir vestry, shop, near the Montague Tomb, Alphege Chapel, South Transept, and one near the font; the seventh will be outside, between Kingston Buildings and the Abbey.

The digs, which will be carried out by two local firms, Emerys, who will be responsible for the building work and reinstatement, and Cotswold Archaeology, who will carry out the archaeological observation and recording.  The purpose of the digs is to discover what may or may not be possible in terms of ensuring the Abbey is fit for the 21st century.  One possibility to be explored is the installation of an underfloor heating system, drawing on the springs that feed the nearby Roman Baths.
The Abbey will remain open during the work, and whilst visitors may find a few views to be limited and some of the Victorian pews missing, it is also hoped that they will be able to observe some of the archaeological work, perhaps via closed circuit television.

There is an air of excitement at the Abbey as everyone looks forward to seeing ledger stones that have been invisible for 150 years and underground views that were hidden from their predecessors, as well as looking forward to new possibilities.

The work has been made possible due to a generous donation from the Friends of Bath Abbey, who are very interested in the Abbey Development Project.   If you are interested in becoming a Friend, or making a donation, visit http://www.bathabbey.org/friends.htm

 For further information about the Abbey, including the times of services, its history and information about visiting, please visit www.bathabbey.org

BBC – Historic Bath Abbey hosts big archaeological dig

Tower ToursBath Abbey

A Tower Tour gives visitors to the Abbey a chance to look at the building from a very different perspective. There are 212 steps to the top of the Tower

Neeldess to say we offer guided tours of the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey.  Visit our website for more details.
Bath Tourist Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

Read Full Post »

Filming in Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a perfect loction for film and television productions. Working with South West Screen, VisitWiltshire and Wiltshire Council seek to encourage new productions and film making in the area, making it a very ‘film friendly’ part of England. Film Friendly

Wiltshire is a favourite with filmmakers, taking centre stage in a whole range of productions from swashbuckling adventures to Jane Austin classics. Wiltshire continues to be popular with television and film crews, making an ideal location for anything from traditional period dramas to gothic horror films featuring Hollywood stars.

The county was used as the backdrop in productions such as The Wolfman, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Creation, as well as TV series such as Lark Rise to Candleford and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Wilton House (photo: Will Pryce)Anyone who enjoyed the cinema version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, will recognise not only Wilton House – which doubled as Pemberley, the family seat of Mr Darcy – but also the magnificent gardens at Stourhead, where Lizzie initially rejects his proposal of marriage.

Filming The Young Victoria at WiltonThe film on the life of Queen Victoria: Momentum Pictures’ The Young Victoria, features Wilton House. Wilton was used to double for Rosenau Castle, Prince Albert’s Coburg and Buckingham Palace.

The National Trust’s Mompesson House in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close achieved celebrity status as the London home of Mrs Jennings in the 1995 Oscar-winning version of Sense and Sensibility, when the leading parts were played by Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman. Wilton House’s Double Cube room was also used for ballroom scenes in the film.

Channel 4's Team Team at Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral took centre stage in the TV production of Mr Harvey Lights a Candle and Old Wardour Castle experienced some modern-day drama when it was used for the filming of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, while other starring roles have been played by Breamore House and Church (Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders); Heale House (The Portrait of a Lady) and Houghton Lodge (The Buccaneers and Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage).

Stonehenge is an iconic location – used in the BBC production of Tess of the D’Urbervilles; the lake at Fonthill Bishop was used in the film Chocolat, and Trafalgar House near Salisbury has been used for several films including Amazing Grace.

Filming Cranford at LacockThe village of Lacock, with its cottages and inns dating back to the 15th century was the backdrop to the recent BBC production of Cranford. The village is much admired by film makers; the National trust village and nearby Abbey has played host to a variety of classic films and costume dramas including Pride and LacockPrejudice, Harry Potter and the 2008 film production of The Other Boleyn Girl.

Castle Combe has been called the “prettiest village in England”. A favourite with film makers this stunning village is located at the southern tip of the Cotswolds. The village has played host to many filming productions, the most famous of these being Doctor Doolittle filmed in and around the village in 1966, and recently the village had a major role in Stardust and The Wolf Man.

Lark Rise to Candleford (photo: BBC)Pride and Prejudice was also filmed at Luckington Court, Chippenham, the BBC Tess of the D’Urbervilles was also filmed in Corsham, Walk Away and I Stumble for ITV was filmed in Calne and Chippenham, and North Wiltshire is also the location for the BBC’s Lark Rise to Candleford. The unspoilt streets of  Bradford on Avon make the town a perfect location for films. Scenes from the Charles Darwin biopic, Creation, were filmed in the town.

Longleat house and safari park has been used for a number of film productions and is the location for the BBC’s Animal Park.

Wiltshire also has more unusual film locations: aircraft hangars and runways at Kemble and Hullavington, and with such a big presence on Salisbury Plain, the British Army has many locations available for filming. Swindon provides a useful urban location a short distance from London along the M4 motorway or by train, the STEAM railway museum and designer shopping village provides hstorical and contemporary locations. Swindon has been used as a backdrop for film, television drama and advertising. Norman Foster’s Renault building in West Swindon appeared in the James Bond film A View to a Kill and the Motorola Building in North Swindon was used as a filming location for the James Bond film The World is Not Enough. The National Science Museum outpost at Wroughton airfield, the house of Lydiard Park and the Cotswold Water Park provide unique locations near Swindon.

The Young Victoria filmed at Wilton House

Scenes from Saving Private Ryan were set on the Wiltshire Downs.Kennet“Africa and the plains of America are just over an hour away from London”, or so the movie makers have found. Rolling hills, majestic horizons, open skies and a real sense of space, together with a South West Screen “Film Friendly” star rated council are just some of the reasons for filming in the area.

VisitWiltshire staff will smooth the way for a hassle free shoot.

>>Read more about filming in Wiltshire in an article in Your Wiltshire magazine

Wiltshire can offer Neolithic monuments, stone circles, Saxon and Civil War battlefields, peaceful villages where the old rural traditions are still alive, or historic towns such as Devizes and Marlborough both with unique shopping quarters which make them stand apart. Marlborough has reputedly one of the widest high streets in Europe and is home to Marlborough College, while Devizes has an impressive Market Place.
The area has first class road and rail links with the rest of the country and over half of it is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is rich in industrial heritage related to the Kennet and Avon Canal and local industries such as brewing still survive today, with beer still delivered to local hostelries by dray. 

Filming near Marlborough and Devizes include: Time Team – Reconstruction of a timber structure that was excavated at Durrington, Walk Away and I’ll Stumble – Tamzin Outhwaite (2 part drama featuring Avebury), Flog it – Pewsey, How Long is a Piece of String – Savernake Forest and Kennet and Avon Canal, History Mysteries – Open University, and Derek Acorah’s Ghost Town – Devizes, and Wilton Windmill was used for The Victorian Farm produced by Lion TV for the BBC series The Victorian Farm.

The Wolfman filmed in Wiltshire

  Latest NewsCastle Combe
Steven Spielberg  filming War Horse in Castle Combe

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has to shot his most recent film in Castle Combe.  Based on the 1982 book by author Michael Morpurgo, the War Horse, it will feature Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Harry Potter star Emily Watson among the cast. The film is now in post-production and is due for release by Disney in 2011.

>>View coverage of the filming in The Daily Telegraph
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/

We offer private guided sightseeing tours of all these locations.
Wiltshire Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in History

Read Full Post »

If websites like TripAdvisor are riddled with fake reviews, where will the traveller go for authentic advice ?

TripAdvisor
Bravo TripAdvisor

A report by the travel website, Travolution, this month, confirmed my suspicions that tour operators are being approached by companies promising to post positive reviews on websites in return for monthly fees or discounts on their services. The report claims that such companies can avoid the protection measures that websites have put in place, by posting the reviews from different locations around the world. The report even claimed that one tour company had received a number of reviews before it had even started operating tours.

 To be fair to TripAdvisor it has already begun imposing disclaimers. It admits that it is aware of several companies offering paid-for positive reviews and claims that they have been penalised appropriately.

But I fear that if it was possible to unearth all the fake reviews, there might not be enough red pen to go around. Like drug users in sport, the people committing the offences are nearly always one step ahead of those trying to catch them.

“In fact, all that is required to upload these travel “truths” is an anonymous username and email address (which can easily be faked).”

“TripAdvisor’s successful business model appears to be based upon a minimum of checks, an arrogant disregard for accuracy and truthfulness, and a customer-service regime that is virtually non-existent. It is too easy for tour companies to write their own reviews, or pay others to write them. It is too easy for reviewers to post untruthful or damaging reviews, or for travel companies to ‘sabotage’ their competitors”

“Why should the fate of a business be controlled by “anonymous” users who don’t even have to verify or validate their actual visit? ”

  Several travel companies have embraced these user-generated websites, employing staff to contact clients after they have completed their tour (to right any wrongs and encourage positive feedback). The bigger operators and some smaller ones (you know who you are) send out emails encouraging clients to post reviews; tourist boards, such as VisitScotland and VisitLondon, include TripAdvisor ratings on their websites.

TripAdvisor has taken steps to counter fake reviews. Last year disclaimers began appearing when reviews came under suspicion of being fake. The company said that it uses specialist software and algorithms to screen reviews and has a team of moderators to investigate suspicious postings.

“Advisor has turned into a whining fest where unhappy powerless people can become powerful…kind of like the kid that got picked on in school. “

Users are aware that little tricks – adding an element of critique to a glowing review, saying something positive before you slate a particular tour, using different email addresses and computers, reviewing other operators to establish a track record – can help them get around the detectors. Many UK tour operators are very active with this technique.

There are even websites to help you circumvent the rules. “Writing fake reviews is a great option for almost any business,” said Bob McClain of Wordsmithbob.com, a site that offers a masterclass in the craft.

www.ihateTripAdvisor.org.uk
http://www.Wordsmithbob.com
http://www.independent.ie/travel/travel-advice/tripadvisor-can-we-trust-it-2382242.html
http://tripadvisorwatch.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/tripadvisor-pay-review-fake/
http://www.travolution.co.uk/articles/2010/01/22/3184/exclusive-fake-review-firms-are-not-an-issue-says-tripadvisor.html
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk

Fortunatly we have only great reviews on tripadvsor (not sure after this article is published  though?) However if I could easily manipulate tripadvisor reviews anyone could  – you have been warned!
Do more research, use your common sense and do not rely on Tripadvisor – dont believe everthing you read, good or Bad!

External Links

Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK The Best Tours in History

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: