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Road Trips / Top Gear Travel / TV Travel / Cars / Britain Travel / Awesome Stuff / Racing / → All Tags
Fun fact: BBC's Top Gear is the most popular automotive show in history, broadcasting in about 170 different countries. Hundreds of millions of people tune in and watch the ragtag trio of presenters race, destroy cars, and chide each other in the process every week, so there is a pretty good chance you're one of those fans. If so, good news! The Top Gear Test Track is now open to the public, for a price of course.
That’s right. You can drive on the same track at Dunsfold Park (near Guildford in Surrey) where they do most of their tests and challenges, visit the Top Gear TV Studio, and catch a glimpse of that looming Boeing 747 in the process. The Top Gear Track Experience, as it's called, offers 8 different options ranging from the “Star In a Reasonably Priced Car” timed laps to off-roading in a Land Rover Defender.
Travelers to the United Kingdom will be in for a surprise next Monday, August 4, when the country suddenly turns off the lights.
The Telegraph explains:
The Houses of Parliament, Blackpool Illuminations and Tower Bridge will go dark on August 4 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.
They are among hundreds of sites taking part in Lights Out, a Government-backed project aiming to achieve a nationwide switch-off from 10-11pm – the hour in which Britain declared itself at war with Germany 100 years ago.
The Foreign Office will leave a single lamp burning in a room overlooking the Cenotaph, and another in a room overlooking St James’s Park. The inspiration for the event is the remark made by Sir Edward Grey, foreign secretary, on August 3 1914.
Knowing that war was imminent, he gazed out at gas lamps being lit in St James’s Park and said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Photo Gallery / Fashion Travel / Flight Attendants / Pilots / Virgin Atlantic / Virgin / Airline Uniforms / Vivienne Westwood / Vivienne Westwood for Virgin Atlantic / Richard Branson / Travel News / London Travel / Britain Travel / Beauty Travel / → All Tags
The Virgin Atlantic look is sharp, iconic, sizzling; there’s no denying the head-turning appeal of a crisp white blouse tucked into a scorching red pencil skirt, topped off with red heels. But, with the celebration of the airline’s 30th Anniversary this year, it’s about that time for a snazzy refresh so as to continue “flying in the face of ordinary,” as the airline’s slogan goes. For this, Virgin Atlantic paired with UK designer and punk powerhouse Vivienne Westwood. The new uniforms were just unveiled July 1 in London, and will roll out for all Virgin Atlantic staff, from cabin crew to flight crew, and desk agents to Clubhouse hospitality.
Alas, a flash of the new uniform as it swishes down the airplane aisle isn't enough to appreciate the detail. Aside from the fact that it’s now easier to care for with a new tech “nano finish" (the earlier uniform was dry clean only) and yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, there are small secrets hidden in every dart and under each lapel, telling the story of the collaboration between England’s flag-carrying airline and one of the country's most iconic fashion influences.
Although the uniforms don’t officially take flight for the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet until September 1, keep an eye out for a preview on your next VS flight; crew have been heading to the airline’s Base near Gatwick Airport to pick up their full looks since this past weekend. Here's what to look for:
Very quickly - before we get to the travel news in this post - can we just make a simple request? As you're about to read, airport security is getting bumped up across the world. This happened just as the 4th of July weekend kicked off. So things are going to be hectic enough without you idiots grinding checkpoints to a halt by trying to smuggle actual, real life, exploding fireworks on board airplanes. For fuck's sake.
Now that that's out of the way.
As we told you last Monday, various branches of the U.S. intelligence community have concluded that Yemen-linked jihadists, operating out of Syria, may be plotting to take down American and European airliners. The scheme would involve terrorists with Western passports slipping through security armed with a new generation of undetectable explosives. We suggested you might soon be seeing enhanced screening procedures.
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A little riddle for you: What costs $35 per person, doesn't allow you to take photographs, and is gold all over? Ding ding dingthe State Rooms at London's Buckingham Palace, which opens very soon for their annual round of public tours. To be specific, the Queen's address will accept visitors from July 26 - September 28, 2014.
As we've experienced in past years, travelers to London will be clamoring to get in, not only to tread on the Queen's lush carpets and gawk at heirlooms, but to view this year's exhibition on "The Royal Childhood" and what it's like to grow up living in a palace.
Tickets for walk-ups will be rare to nonexistent, so going online for guaranteed tix is the best route. Here's how to do it:
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Nearly two months after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a directive allowing air travelers to use personal electronic devices (PEDs) from gate-to-gate, the rest of the world is finally beginning to follow along.
British Airways yesterday became the first international airline to declare gadgets safe for use throughout entire flights, even during take-off and landings, and without the wait for the airplane to reach 10,000 feet.
This is not something the airline has just up and done on its own; BA secured clearance for the change from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after passing safety tests. Expect more such news from European airlines in 2014, as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is next to relax gadget rules on flights.
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Hey, what's the deal with the unmarked Boeing 747 in the background of test track shots on BBC Top Gear?
A quick Google search revealed that we're not the only curious ones, as the plane is part of a Wikipedia article on the former airfield where Top Gear films:
Google / Google Street View / Google Maps / Britain Travel / LGW / Travel Technology / Travel Tech / London Travel / → All Tags
It's been only a couple of years since Google Maps made the leap into airports, mapping the inside of - depending on what kind of a day we're having - either our favorite or absolutely least favorite places in the world. Since then the Mountain View kids have not only expanded their airport offerings, but have even gone inside actual airplanes 'waiting' on the tarmac. What's left to do?
Do more and go bigger, obviously. TechCrunch reports that Gatwick Airport has become the newest location to receive Google's 360 degree panoramic Street View treatment. The UK airport - the second busiest in the country - is now apparently open to virtual touring. It only required stitching together 2,000 overlapping photos, matching the results to the airport's actual layout, and uploading everything. Piece of cake.
Shopping Travel / Souvenirs / What Everyone's Buying / Cornwall Travel / Britain Travel / Naked Travel / Nude Travel / → All Tags
Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.
We've already told you about the popularity of the priest pin-up calendars in Rome, and those of gondoliers in Venice, but it turns out that the UK is keen to get in on the action with their own mildly scandalous calendar.
You know you've traveled to a special place when every photo you snap on a smartphone is, in itself, a mini masterpiece. This is the phenomenon we're currently experiencing in Cornwall, the southwesternmost region of Britain.
Once marketed as "the Italy of England," Cornwall is only 4 hours by train from London's Paddington Station. We purchased a 40 GBP ticket on First Great Western railways and, after passing through Exeter and Plymouth, alighted at Bodmin Parkway only a short drive away from the surfing beach at Polzeath, the sailing harbour of Rock, and the mom & pop shops of Wadebridge. Last night, we ate fish & chips on a cliff just after a misty rain had slicked the path.
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Downton Abbey just started its fourth season last night—at least overseas—and here at home the television series was mostly snubbed during last evening’s Emmy Awards presentation. They only brought home one piece of hardware, as the show scored a trophy for outstanding music composition. Regardless of what the award show says we know you still love the show, so that’s why we wanted to let you know that you can now visit Downton Abbey.
It sounds like it’s a temporary thing, so you better free up your calendar as soon as possible. Highclere Castle—that’s where a lot of the show is filmed—will be open to those willing to shell out the cash, as it’s going to be available to check out as part of a little bit of a vacation package.
There's something special about imbibing while in transit, but trains always seem to get a bad rap when it comes to beverages, perhaps because dining cars aren't always the most appetizing places to pop a tab. Virgin Trains understands, and though passengers on their high-speed lines around England can always enjoy a complimentary gin & tonic in First Class, the company is now offering a special beer called "Tilting Ale."
The brew, a Virgin beer that's not a "virgin" beer, is a partnership between Virgin Trains and Redwillow Brewery in Macclesfield, Cheshire. It's available now, costs only £2.95 a bottle, and comes with an appropriate flavor description: