Across the “pond”, London is abuzz with activity and excitement following the Olympics in 2012. As the spotlight was directed towards London, the business capital and favorite tourist city responded with a mission to create a unique and iconic vision for the future, while holding onto its roots and celebrating the very things that make London the diverse, exciting, and historic city that it is today.
Prior to the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, plans were put into motion for the development of Queen Elizabeth Park, formerly the Olympic Park. Knowing the amount of space, time, and money it was going to take to build the Olympic Park, builders and investors decided they wanted more than just a platform for the Olympics, they wanted something they could in the future turn over to the citizens of London and visitors alike, to make a permanent and beneficial part of the city. This summer will be the much-anticipated opening of North Park and the Copper Box, a multi-event arena. North Park offers visitors green parklands surrounded by waterways and a business district that will be home to press and broadcast centers. The Copper Box will be a part of the park where visitors will be able to take part in or watch a great array of sporting events. Though this is just the beginning of the transformation and bulking-up of the former Olympic Park, with the next projected opening being South Park in Summer 2014.
From this 72-story skyscraper which opened in June 2012, the view from The Shard provides a great opportunity to see London in a way that very few have had the chance to experience. Standing at 1,016 feet, The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe, and provides a remarkable 360-degree panoramic view of England’s capital city in an attraction appropriately called “The View”. The Shard is quickly becoming a London icon and a must-see for tourists, visitors and locals alike. The View is open from 9am to 10pm daily, offering visitors a chance to observe very different cityscapes throughout the duration of the day. Be sure to have clients book tickets in advance to avoid lines and save money.
Wartime London Tour
For all the history buffs out there, the Wartime London Tour is the tour of all WWII tours - one of the best that London has to offer. Evan Evans Tours does a wonderful job of bringing the war torn history of London to life. With period-dressed, well-informed, and passionate guides, clients tour London in a refurbished, vintage Ensignbus, used during the blackouts in the London bombings. JAX FAX took part in the City Tour, and there is also a Westminster Tour offered. Over the course of the four-hour city tour, your clients will have a chance to see the very visible scars of London’s past. Though much has changed since WWII, there is still much intact from the war, including Air Raid Shelter signs on buildings and an unbelievable amount of bomb and shrapnel damage, which can be found in almost every part of the city, hidden in plain sight. Though the bombings were devastating to London, they actually helped to unveil a bit of ancient history. Due to damage from the blasts, and the destruction of buildings, parts of the city were being exposed, layers peeled away. One of those layers revealed the Roman-built London Wall, dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century. The Wartime London Tour is one not to be missed, a truly exciting and educational experience.
For tennis enthusiasts, Wimbledon is a mecca of sorts. Wimbledon, the world stage of tennis, was originally a croquet club. In 1877 the club decided to host a little tennis tournament in order to raise funds to fix their pony plow, a piece of equipment used to maintain the croquet grounds, and the rest is history. Tours are directed by Blue Badge tour guides, and take about an hour and a half to complete, offering clients a chance to see some of the most recognizable and exclusive parts of the grounds. While on the tour, clients also have a chance to visit the Wimbledon Museum, which offers a fascinating and interactive look into the history of the grounds and the beloved tennis tournament. While at Wimbledon, be sure to have your clients stop in the cafe and enjoy some strawberries and cream, the classic Wimbledon treat!
Tea At The Goring Hotel
The Goring Hotel (www.thegoring.com) boasts classy and elegant accommodations fit for English royalty, most recently hosting the Middleton family during the royal wedding. Celebrating over 100 years of top-notch service, the Goring offers 69 bedrooms, including several different suite options, each decorated with silks and rich fabrics creating an atmosphere of luxury and sophistication. The Goring is known for offering the quintessential British tea, overlooking the private gardens from the comfort of their warm and smart lounge. With a well-crafted tea menu of classic British blends, as well as several house and exotic blends, there is sure to be one to please any palate. Afternoon tea is a must-do experience while in London, and no one does it better than The Goring.