Travel trends just got patriotic

Date Posted: 23/08/2012

PIctured: The Royal Crescent in Bath. Jane Austen lived in Bath for some time, and drew on the city for inspiration.

2012’s bumper year of sporting, cultural and royal events has boosted both pride in our own heritage and history, and overseas interest in English culture.

VisitEngland has predicted that both staycationers and international visitors will be embracing Englishness - quirks and all - and in 2013 English anniversaries of note include Pride and Prejudice, Doctor Who, and Jack the Ripper (200th, 50th and 125th respectively).

‘Literatours’ and Jane Austen’s bicentenary

Next year’s 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice follows hot on the heels of Charles Dickens’ bicentenary and the World Shakespeare Festival, creating a thirst for literary tours - or literatours, if you will.

Whilst Shakespeare devotees headed for Stratford-upon-Avon and Dickens fans made a pilgrimage to Kent, literatours for Austen advocates traverse the country.
From Hampshire where Jane was born, to Bath where she lived and drew inspiration for Persuasion and Northanger Abbey and up to Derbyshire, home to Chatsworth House (aka Darcy's Pemberley Lodge).

Norwich – city of literature

Group travel organisers could also head to Norwich, the first English city to be awarded the UNESCO City of Literature and one of only six cities in the world with the permanent accolade.

The award was given in recognition of Norwich's literary past, from the first battlefield dispatch (1075) to the first woman published in English (Julian of Norwich - 15th century).

Horrible histories – England’s murky past

2013 also marks 125 years since the streets of east London were at the mercy of Jack the Ripper; the unidentified serial killer whose legend is a source of dark fascination.

This follows on from this year’s 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch trials and the opening of the Blackpool Dungeons, fuelling a growing interest in the murkier elements of England's past for a group trip.

Visiting groups with a brave disposition can try a Jack the Ripper walking tour of Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane; a new Gangster tour - a two-hour trip into London's criminal underworld led by Stephen Marcus, better-known as Nick the Greek in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; or the Battle of Bosworth, a chance to join in a re-enactment of the War of the Roses.

Space and Sci-Fi adventures

Next year we also celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who, and coupled with 2012's opening of the Star Wars Miniland Experience at Legoland Windsor, which depicts several famous scenes using Lego bricks, the anniversary should spark an interest in English sci-fi tourism.

People organising group travel could try a visit to the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham where visitors can launch rockets, board an airship and spin in a gyroscopic chair.

Or at Spaceport, Wallasey visiting groups can become virtual astronauts in the 360-degree, fully immersive Space Dome show; fly through the galaxy in the Space Explorer craft; admire the Solar System and Milky Way or venture into the Alien Zone.

Set-jetting

This perennial tourism favourite shows no signs of abating. Boosted by this year’s opening of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter and the planned expansion of Pinewood Studios - where most of the James Bond films were shot, including Skyfall -  set-jetting is more popular than ever.

2013's contribution to the trend includes the release of Alan Partridge: the Movie and Jack the Giant Killer, a Ewan McGregor film based on the fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk and filmed largely in Somerset and Norfolk.

A continuing favourite is Britmovie Tours' James Bond experience which takes in ten famous James Bond locations, including Goldfingers' golf course.

Breaks fit for Royalty

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations fresh in everyone's minds and more milestone events in 2013 - including the 60th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's actual coronation, the 600th anniversary of the coronation of Henry V and the 175th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria - it's the perfect time to enjoy a regal group break.

So why not enjoy a group holiday at The Westleton Crown in Suffolk where William and Kate celebrated their first wedding anniversary; a day trip to Kensington Palace, which will become their marital home next year; or a tour of Cambridge, the English county of which the royal couple are Duke and Duchess?

Olympic inspired trips

Set sail in Weymouth, home to the London 2012 sailing events, or show your ‘canoe-do’ attitude at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Newly built for the Olympic canoe slalom competition, the Hertfordshire centre will be open to groups after the games to allow us amateurs to experience the thrills of Olympic-standard wild rapids.

For a spot of cycling, head to the Isle of Wight. Voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten cycling destinations in the world, thanks to its varied terrain, over half of the island is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with 30 miles of heritage coast, cycling is a good way to go slow and savour the scenery.

For further group travel information visit www.enjoyengland.com.

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