England Travel Guide
Photo Gallery / New Routes / Little Red / Virgin Atlantic / Scotland Travel / Edinburgh Travel / Airline News / EDI / LHR / → All Tags
Yesterday we brought you coverage of the fanfare upon the Edinburgh arrival of Little Red, Virgin Atlantic’s new domestic UK service, flying from London-Heathrow to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester. Today, it’s time for a photo dump...but also some thoughts on the interior and the overall LHR-EDI flight experience.
Was it as well planned as Branson’s kilt-flashing incident?
The short answer: yes, pretty much.
Last year NBA commissioner David Stern was going on and on about London and how his league would play a couple games there next year. Well next year has turned into next month, as a couple NBA teams are going on a pretty far road trip to play a pair of regular season games at London’s O2 Arena on March 4 and 5.
The New Jersey Nets are set to square off against the Toronto Raptors for two nights in a row, but there’s way more basketball to be experienced next month in the UK. The NBA is bringing a sort of traveling basketball road show around the country—so don’t worry if you can’t make it to London—thanks to something they’re calling NBA Basketball Week. The fun starts on February 25, and there will be stops in Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, and Newcastle as they try to spread basketball around the globe.
We’ve been following public bike sharing around the globe for quite some time, and we even got to test out the famous Vélib bikes in Paris not too long ago. The latest city to join the craze is London, and we’re sure that the Barclays Cycle Hire will only get bigger and better with the royal wedding just a few months away, not to mention the Olympics in 2012.
Things kicked off last summer, but the real fun began last month when things were opened up to the general public with fewer restrictions and no specific membership requirements. London’s bike rental program works pretty similar to others, so all you need to do is find a bike rack, throw down a few bucks—Pounds Sterling in this case—and then start pedaling.
In the U.S., theme parks are always competing to offer visitors the most extreme experiences, with roller coasters that get bigger and scarier every year. But it looks like the Yanks will be bested by the Brits for the 2010 season, as a theme park and resort in Staffordshire, England is unveiling what it calls the world's first Psychoaster (not pictured). As The Sun explains, Alton Towers Resort, the U.K.'s largest theme park, is putting the finished touches on Thirteen, a roller coaster that combines physical and psychological fear to create an experience so intense, it will be restricted to riders between the ages of 16 and 55.
Now that that the New Moon juggernaut is slowing down, most of the cast is getting some time to relax too. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart just arrived back in L.A. last week but Rob's apparently already planning a romantic holiday getaway. According to OK! Magazine, Rob has been working on securing a cozy cottage in the English countryside where he and Kristen can spend some time alone. “He’s enlisted the help of his mom, Clare, to find a cottage where he and Kris can spend a few days together,” an insider revealed to OK! Magazine. “They [Rob's parents] think she’s perfect for Rob and told her they’d like her to join them for Christmas dinner,” the source added.
Not everyone can be luckily enough to have dinner with RPattz and his fam this Christmas but you can enjoy a relaxing holiday in the English countryside. Several U.K. agencies specialize in renting country cottages including the aptly named English Country Cottages which rents vacation homes in England, Scotland and Wales. Most of the cottages come equipped with all of the necessary creature comforts, like washer and dryers, TVs and full kitchens. You can see pictures, maps, rates and available dates for all of the homes offered by English Country Cottages on their website.
We love airplanes, you love airplanes, so let's go look at airplanes! In our Prime Plane Spotting series, we'll let you in on all the best spots to whip out your cameras and binoculars for a piece of the aviation action.
Alright, let's talk Airbus A380s for a moment. They are currently like the holy grail of airplanes to be spotted, and although it is totally possible to watch the behemoths during takeoffs and landings as well as on the tarmac, maneuvering their butts around, you've got to do some planning to catch them.
To spot them in action, we recommend popping a squat with your camera outside of London-Heathrow Airport's nearby Tube stop at Hatton Cross. As well as a parking lot and easy connection to the city by underground train, Hatton Cross has a grassy area where diehard plane spotters already spend their weekends propping their telephoto lens-cameras up on tripods and drinking milk tea from a thermos.
The fact that this made-from-surveillance-camera-footage music video came out of England shouldn't surprise us in the least. After all, the UK is where you'll find airports planning to implement facial-recognition technology.
But however creepy all these cameras are, it's still pretty cool. Maybe making videos with closed circuit cameras is the 21st century equivalent of waving to your friends back home via webcam?
· The Most Clever Music Video of the Year (So Far) [WorldHum]
· Band Record CCTV Video [BBC]
· Dystopia Travel: British Airports Getting Face Scanners [Jaunted]
· Videos coverage [Jaunted]
Love or loathe the English? The latest Rough Guide for England has a few choice things to say about them. First the bad news: It says that English people are quarrelsome, contradictory and "obsessed with toffs and C-list celebrities."
The good news is more, well, quaint, than good. The Rough Guide people decided that England is
A country of animal-loving, tea-drinking, charity donors, where queuing remains a national pastime and bastions of civilization, like Radio 4, are jealously protected.
We've heard a few complaints about the British before so this quirky Rough Guide assessment comes as no surprise. But since we love a good cup of tea, we haven't struck England off our visiting list just yet.
T5 at LHR / British Airways / London Heathrow / LHR / Airports / → All Tags
British Airways' exclusive Terminal 5 at Heathrow is going through some predictable growing pains after receiving its first flights yesterday. We're not sure anyone expected a completely smooth ride--if they did, bless their overly optimistic hearts--but the extent of the kinks and bad publicity is probably a bit worse than anticipated.
According to Reuters, "nearly 70" flights were canceled yesterday, and "a fifth of flights" today, resulting in "chaos" after a "shambolic" opening. (Short-haul flights are most at risk of disruption.) Yep, that sounds about right. How about three months for T5 to really get into some kind of comfortable groove?
If you're holding off on making your way through T5 until things settle down, consider flipping through a photo tour from Flickr user terminal5insider's albums. It'll whet your appetite while the poor souls stuck in London today play guinea pig.
· Heathrow Terminal 5: Not quite a high five [Telegraph UK]
· What did go wrong at Terminal 5? [BBC]
· Q&A: travel advice for Heathrow Terminal 5 passengers [Times UK]
· LHR Terminal 5: FAQ, information and updates [FlyerTalk]
Anyone with a fear of being stuck at the top of a ferris wheel would not have been happy on the London Eye on Monday. There was no big drama--just a malfunctioning tire--but engineers decided to immediately stop the ferris wheel completely.
That meant that about 400 tourists were trapped in the capsules, some of them 450 feet off the ground, for over an hour. Depending on who you listen to, this was either absolutely fine or a complete nightmare.
Naturally enough, the London Eye spokesperson said they were in full contact with all the visitors and had them open the capsule's emergency pack supplies of water, blankets and even commodes. But at least one of the passengers saw it otherwise and said it was horrible: they had poor communication with staff and got panicked into almost stampeding when they were finally let out. Just goes to show that there are a lot of different views from a ferris wheel.
· Hundreds Stuck in Mid-Air on London Eye [Guardian]
· London Eye Flyover [Jaunted]
Britain Travel / Buses / England / → All Tags
Older travelers in England have been pleased to learn that from April 1, they'll be able to travel on local bus services for free. The free travel applies during off peak hours, all weekend and for two full weeks over Christmas, and a survey's already suggested bus use among pensioners will increase by at least a quarter as a result.
Hilary Bradt, the founder of Bradt Travel Guides, the publishers of books usually related to exotic destinations like Madagascar or Kyrgyzstan, is one of the Brits who's very pleased about the new scheme. To celebrate, she's planning an April trip from Land's End to Lowestoft--which means from England's most westerly point to the most easterly--using only the free bus services.
She thinks traveling across England for free like this will take about a week, covering about 370 miles. Sure, it's slow, but it's also free. And in Britain you can pay a lot of money for a slow, late transport service.
· Pensioners Given Free Bus Travel [BBC]
· England Travel [Jaunted]
London tourists with a spare hundred pounds (and up to 5 mates) can now get a special behind-the-scenes tour of those famous buildings, the nearly one-thousand-year-old Houses of Parliament. British Tours has just started putting on their private tours that can have you following in the footsteps of whichever British politician you particularly idolize, whether it's Maggie Thatcher, the handsome Tony Blair or the historic Winston Churchill. The bit that sounds especially sexy is when you get to:
View the Queen's Robing Chamber, where the Monarchs get changed for the State Opening of Parliament.
Come on, we know you've all wanted to see Queen Lizzie without her clothes on. Is that why they call it the House of Commons?
· New Private Tours of Parliament [Emediawire]
· London Eye Flyover [Jaunted]