As English Tourism Week kicks of this weekend, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive James Berresford gives us the low-down on what we can look forward to up and down the country over the next seven days.
This weekend sees the launch of English Tourism Week 2013; and I think it’s safe to say we have a fantastic week lined up.
Running this year from 16 to 24 March, English Tourism Week is designed to promote the value of this £97 billion industry at a national and local level. The week ran for the first time last year, and saw hundreds of attractions, hotels and other tourism businesses across England putting on special events, promotions and competitions to encourage more visitors through their doors and inspire people to become tourism ambassadors for their local area.
Bigger and Better
This year’s celebrations are set to be even bigger and better, with a host of tourism businesses and destination management organisations around the country getting involved to show their support for the industry. We know MPs are hitting the tourism trail on Constituency on Friday 22 March, with many going ‘back to the floor’ at local attractions, hotels and tourism information centres across England.
Tourism Minister Hugh Robertson got ‘on board’ with English Tourism Week last Thursday, taking to the Thames on the Dixie Queen Paddle Steamer at Tower Bridge in London. The Minister joined VisitEngland Chairman Lady Cobham, Chair of London & Partners, Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas and tourism businesses to launch the week and promote the importance of customer service in the industry, with a series of free WorldHost training sessions for tourism and retail businesses.
Ultimately, English Tourism Week is about inspiring people to discover what’s on their own doorstep, and there is plenty going on during the coming week to get everyone out and about, enjoying the fantastic tourism experiences on offer in their local area.
If you’re looking for inspiration, why not take a look at our English Tourism Week map? It is packed full of events, competitions and promotions taking place across England next week, from free guided walks and exhibitions to music and theatre events, 2-for-1 offers and free entry to attractions.
We’ve included some highlights below to get you started, so get involved in English Tourism Week and help us raise the profile of this valuable and growing industry.
Lights, Camera, Action: Blenheim Palace, the Star of TV and Film
Blenheim Palace is celebrating English Tourism Week with a special display of Inspector Morse’s famous Jaguar, which will be on display in the Great Court on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March for visitors to come and see. The display is part of the Palace’s current special exhibition Lights, Camera, Action: Blenheim Palace, the Star of TV and Film.
On the following weekend, visitors can enjoy two rare insights into the world of film with ‘Hollywood Costume’ on Saturday 23rd March by V&A Museum Curator Keith Lodwick and ‘Film Scoring’ on Sunday 24th March by British TV and Film composer Nicholas Hooper. For more details and to book, visit www.blenheimpalace.com.
Dinosaur Hunting on the Isle of Wight
The peaceful and serene Isle of Wight was once home to the likes of Iguanodon and Neovenator (a close cousin of the T-Rex). During English Tourism Week you can hunt for their remains by joining a popular guided walk along the beach at Yaverland. For more information or to book, visit www.dinosaurisle.com.
Discover Greater Lincolnshire Weekend
Many of Lincoln’s attractions will be open free of charge during Discover Greater Lincolnshire Weekend from 16 – 17 March, as part of English Tourism Week. Highlights include Lincoln Castle, where visitors can get a glimpse of the Magna Carta, the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral, and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, which has a significant collection covering all aspects of Lincolnshire’s social history. For more information, visit www.visitlincolnshire.com
Big Chilterns Weekend
To celebrate English Tourism Week, the Chilterns Tourism Network has organised the first Big Chilterns Weekend on 23 and 24 March 2013. The weekend has been designed to show off what makes the Chilterns an outstanding place to live, work and play, with free ticket giveaways to a great number of experiences including GoApe in Wendover Woods, Chilterns Brewery tours and even the opportunity to try a flight 2000 at the London Gliding Club in Dunstable. For more information, visit www.visitchilterns.co.uk
Free City of London guided walks
Residents and workers can enjoy the City of London daily walks programme for free and after work hours! 2 walks per day will leave the City Information Centre at 5:45pm with a qualified City of London Guide. Walking routes and themes include ‘Roman London’, ‘London’s River’, ‘Charles Dickens’ and ‘City in Spires’ – a tour of Christopher Wren churches. For more information, visit www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/englishtourismweek.
My Kent Big Weekend
The My Kent Big Weekend celebrates Kent’s unique and diverse tourism attractions by offering thousands of free tickets to a wide range of places. This is a special day for residents so that they can experience at first hand all that their county has to offer them, their friends and family. The seventh My Kent Big Weekend will take place on the weekend of 23 and 24 March, once again forming part of VisitEngland’s English Tourism Week. For more information and tickets, visit www.mykentbigweekend.co.uk/.