Buckingham Palace ‘most desirable’ UK destination for tourists

Buckingham Palace is the prime attraction for tourists visiting the UK, The Telegraph has reported, citing separate research.

According to the research by Visit Britain, a trip to Buckingham Palace is a ‘dream’ activity for people in 15 out of 19 countries surveyed, including Australians, Americans, Chinese, Italians and Mexicans.

Earlier in 2013, and for the second consecutive year, Buckingham Palace also won an industry award for being the best attraction for group visits. The state rooms at the Palace are open to the public every August and September.

With new activities rising in popularity, viewing London from the Shard or the London Eye was voted the second most popular pastime. And, the poll revealed that more tourists preferred to go to Newcastle’s bars or to Oxford Street’s shops or to a Premier League football match than to take a trip to London’s West End for a musical evening. Watching a musical in London’s West End was voted last in a list of 18 ‘only in Britain’ activities.

Swedish visitors were the only ones to vote the West End among their top three experiences, and even American tourists preferred taking the mountain train up Snowdon, or spending a night in Newcastle’s bars instead of watching a West End musical.

The French prefer to spot wildlife in the Scottish Highlands, while Turks’ prefer a leisurely steam cruise in the Lake District. The Indians, Chinese and Argentineans have all ranked buying food from a fish and chip shop as the least attractive thing to do in Britain.

Football was the second most popular choice among men, though least popular for women, who preferred to go shopping.

Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive, said in the Telegraph: ‘Britain is a tourism destination that offers experiences for every taste. Where else in the world can you watch a top-flight Premier League game in the same afternoon as a tour around a quaint Cotswold village?

‘Our mixture of new culture and old heritage combines seamlessly to offer a unique experience which is envied across the world and currently enjoyed in record numbers.’

According to official data released two months ago, Britain has been enjoying a record year for tourism, with overseas visitors set to spend a record £20 billion this year. Foreign tourists made 22 million visits to the UK in the first eight months of the year, up 6 percent on 2012 despite the Olympic Games. The number of Europeans visiting the UK was up 17 percent on the same eight months a year ago, the report said.

Coronation Festival to sustain royal tourism boost

The boost to UK tourism last year from the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is set to continue into this coming summer with the staging of the Coronation Festival in London.

The festival, which is to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, is scheduled to take place in the gardens of Buckingham Palace over four days in July. Central to the event will be the coming together of over 200 companies that hold Royal Warrants of Appointment, for the first time on this scale.

Royal Warrants are only granted to companies that have supplied goods or services to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, or the Prince of Wales for at least 5 years. Among those exhibiting at the event are: Roberts Radio, Royal Brierley Crystal, Halcyon Days, Milborrow Chimney Sweeps, Austin Reed, Clarins, Gieves & Hawkes, Mappin & Webb and many more.

The all-ticket festival takes place from July 11 to 14, but Thursday July 11 is a Royal preview for invited guests only, with the event opening to the public from July 12 to 14. It will celebrate innovation, excellence and industry through trade and craft, enabling members of the public to sample and buy from the wide range of products and services that will be presented by exhibitors.

There will be four individual showcase areas: Design and Technology; Food and Drink; Style Pursuits and Pastimes; and Homes and Gardens. In addition there will be a section for The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association.

A Gala evening of entertainment will also be a feature of the event, and is intended to be a celebration of music and dance from over the past 60 years. Young talent from the UK and the Commonwealth will be included in the gala, which will showcase entertainers from a wide range of disciplines.

Buckingham Palace is expected to host 60,000 visitors during the celebration, with many more likely to come to London to experience the likely impromptu spin-offs of the main event.

Celebrating 60 years of the Queen’s reign at Buckingham Palace

The Queen ascended to the throne on 6 February 1952 and her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. She observed her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. 2012 is a very special year indeed; it is the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, an extraordinary occasion. The Diamond Jubilee marks an incredible 60 years of the Queen’s reign. Make the most of this remarkable occasion.

The very first British sovereign to commemorate 50 years on the throne in a noteworthy and momentous fashion was George III. The only other British queen to observe a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897. The revels of the Diamond Jubilee will focus around an extended weekend in 2012 on 2, 3, 4 and 5 June. Why not visit the UK during the festivities and take a thrilling London tour – discover just what is being planned for the Diamond Jubilee and see how you can become involved.

Even before June, many Diamond Jubilee related activities will take place both inside and outside of London. For example, the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, taking place on the 10, 11 and 13 May, promises a range of entertainment coming from musicians and dancers, as well as military and equestrian displays from all over the globe. This will all take place in the private grounds of spectacular Windsor Castle.

Similarly, there will be a Parade and Muster at Windsor on Saturday 19 May. Almost 2,500 troops from the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force will march through Windsor Castle and the town before the Queen. They will then gather in the castle grounds in front of an audience of over 3,000 Armed Forces personnel, their families, and veterans for a distinctive and singular event.

A range of diverse exhibitions also mark the Queen’s Jubilee. The Royal Collection has exhibitions at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Windsor Castle, and various other regal venues in the United Kingdom to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. Take a Buckingham Palace tour for a truly majestic experience. Or perhaps visit Windsor Castle and marvel at ‘The Queen: Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years’ exhibition.

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is due to open an intriguing exhibition entitled ‘Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames’ in April 2012. It will explore the affiliations between the Queen, the City of London and the River Thames. The illustrious National Portrait Gallery will display ‘The Queen: Art and Image’, a touring collection of images of the Queen. Additionally to this, the eminent Victoria and Albert Museum is showcasing a selection of portraits of The Queen by photographer Cecil Beaton, which will also tour around the UK.