22 MAR 2017: For the first two days in March, the city of Brighton played host to travel writers, agents and tour operators from around the world at Explore GB. The message was that Great Britain was open for business, but every supplier had their own way of conveying that. Here’s how they responded when we asked, “what’s new?”

Cotswolds’ Tourism Sally Graff and Anna Sanders

Just 90 minutes from London the Cotswolds has market towns, and beautiful villages, including Prince Charles’ home at Highgrove in Tetbury. There’s Bibury, a chocolate box village that most people include in their tours and the not-so-visited areas like Chipping Campden, known for the arts and crafts movement.

A variety of accommodations means you can stay in a great manor house with a roaring fire or a quaint B&B.

Destination Wales Paul Evans and Simon Thomas

Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world (641).

Cardiff is a vibrant, compact city with two main streets offering shopping, international cuisine, and attractions. There are choices from luxury five stars to charming B&Bs and tours where you can stay in a castle every night.

English Riviera Tourism Company, Carolyn Custerson

The Southwest coast of England is called the English Riviera because of its mild climate. It is the only destination in England where palm trees grow wild, but it is renowned for being the birthplace of Agatha Christie, where you can visit her holiday home (Greenway Estate) in Devon.

The resort is made up of three towns, Torqua, Paignton and Brixham, offering 16 major attractions, more than any other seaside resort in the UK.

Glasgow City Marketing Company Anne Marie Daley and Shona Mathie

When asked on social media, “What makes Glasgow a great place to visit?” the response without exception was that the people make Glasgow so great. With all the Hiltons and Marriotts that you would expect, there are also a few unique places where special, old buildings that have been renovated and turned into hotels.

Canadians are the top fourth international market thanks to a great relationship with Air Transat, and WestJet who launched their service from Halifax in 2014.

The View from The Shard, Lauren Thomas

The Shard opened in 2013 and is the tallest building in Western Europe. On a clear day you can see for up to 40 miles. It’s a popular spot for private events, like Sky High Yoga and Silent Discos where guests wear headsets and dance to the music of one of four different DJs.

The Shard has hosted three Morning Gloryvilles, which is a morning rave (no alcohol) for healthy living, where people go to a specified London destination, at 6:00 am to dance.

Visit Scotland, Martina Majerova, Marion Cosse

50 Million people can claim Scottish history, so family-reunion travel is to be expected. Scotland welcomes a high number of multi-generational travellers whose itineraries include castles, landscapes and traditions.

This year is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter: JK Rowling wrote the book in Edinburgh where she still resides, and a number of Scottish landmarks are considered inspirations for settings in the Potter series.

Visit Isle of Wight, Abigail Fox

The Isle of Wight is the dinosaur capital of the UK, with more evidence of their existence on the Island than anywhere else in Europe. The key area for dinosaurs is Wealdon Outcrop on the west coast but people do fossil hunting at Compton Bay dinosaur where footprints are evident in the sand when the tide goes out.

Queen Victoria’s country home is on the island, including beautiful gardens and the bathing huts she used to use when she went for a swim. It is open to the public.

Visit Belfast, Jac Callan

Belfast is probably one of the fastest changing parts of Ireland. The city has become cool and is getting a reputation for nightlife and restaurants.

Titanic Belfast (on the site of the shipyard where the RMS Titanic was built) was named The World’s Leading Visitor Attraction at the World Travel Awards, beating out the Taj Mahal, Rio de Janeiro and the Great Wall of China.

Tourism South East, Zeenat Turner

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel in Southeast England. Conan Doyle was also a medical doctor and The Portsmouth Museum will be displaying his memorabilia.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral and the only item of clothing that has been authenticated as being something she wore (a Pelisse coat) is going to be exhibited this year.

A new film coming out called Victoria and Abdul is about Queen Victoria (played by Dame Judy Dench) and her relationship with one of her servants from India taking place on the Isle of Wight. Many scenes were filmed at Osborne House, her summer home.

Marketing Manchester, Emma Gordon

Manchester is an inventive city, transformed since the industrial revolution with a balance of contemporary and old, it is a city of Arts and Culture and festivals.

A popular attraction is The Lowry (three theatres, art gallery, café, restaurant and bar) on Salford Quays, where a permanent exhibition is dedicated to artist L S Lowry. Beside it is the Imperial War Museum, which offers an innovative look at war and conflict around the world. Also is the BBC where one can enjoy behind the scenes tours.

High end Manchester Arndale, is where footballers’ wives like to shop and Trafford Centre is a destination in itself (Laser Quest, Lego Land, Aerial Extreme, Paradise Island Adventure Golf, Odeon Cinema, Sea Life).

 

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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini delivers her original spin on alternate Tuesdays in her column Without Reservations. (Formerly titled, Notes from A Broad)

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