If you watched the Olympic opening ceremony last night and wished you were taking part, here are some ideas for how to live it for real thanks to VisitBritain.com
If you liked the countryside … The countryside scene that opened the show took inspiration from the Somerset village of Glastonbury whose ‘Tor’ (hill) sat at one end of the stage, crowned by a tree. In reality, the Tor is topped by a 15th century church tower and is one of the most spiritual places in England, from which you can see three counties: Dorset, Wiltshire, and Wales.
If you liked the festival atmosphere … Folk singer Frank Turner, a Winchester-born former Eton student, played on the Tor, creating the atmosphere of the British festival season. Still to come on this year’s calendar are V Festival and the Strummer of Love, both of which have Frank Turner on the bill. Other highlights are Festival no. 6, a new boutique festival in Wales, and old favorite Bestival on the Isle of Wight, with Stevie Wonder and New Order.
If you liked the towering chimneys … The countryside idyll gave way to towering chimneys, hailing Britain’s Industrial Revolution. The industrial cities of Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool recently ranked 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively in a survey of the most popular destinations in the UK. Manchester attracts football fans to Old Trafford and the new National Football Museum, Birmingham boasts the Bullring, a state-of-the-art shopping centre, and Liverpool is a thriving cultural city that hosts the Liverpool Biennial– the UK’s largest contemporary art festival – in October.
If you liked 007’s dramatic entrance … Possibly one of the most exciting points in the Opening Ceremony was the arrival of 007 with The Queen – and one of the most exciting events after the Games will be the release of the 23rd Bond film Skyfall. It is the 50th anniversary of Bond in film, which began with Sean Connery in Dr No. The Barbican is celebrating with an exhibition of 50 Years of Bond Style.
If you liked Lord Voldemort … The Dark Lord was vanquished again at the stadium to the delight of Potter fans. The films were shot all over Britain, and it is possible to visit Platform nine and three quarters at Kings Cross, the Great Hall (Christ Church College, Oxford), and the site of Madame Hooch’s first flying lesson (Alnwick Castle) as well as dozens more Harry hotspots.
If you liked Mr Bean’s triumph … The opening scene of Chariots of Fire, spoofed by Rowan Atkinson’s well-loved character Mr Bean, was filmed on West Sands beach in St Andrews, Scotland. It’s one of the finest beaches in Britain with golden sand and has the famous golf course just behind it.
If you liked The Full Monty, Trainspotting and ‘I think I love you’… Dozens of British film favourites featured in the ceremony and it is possible to visit hundreds of iconic film locations all over Britain. The British Film Location app features more than 300 locations from Bridget Jones to Braveheart.
If you liked Hey Jude … Sir Paul McCartney played and Beatles tunes featured on last night’s soundtrack. Liverpool celebrates 50 years of the Fab Four this year, with a Love Me Do weekend festival that will include a record-breaking attempt on 5 October, with thousands singing Love Me Do at the city’s historic Albert Dock.
If you now want to go clubbing … The soundtrack to the Opening Ceremony, put together by DJ duo Underworld, had hundreds of dancers on stage in brilliant neon. If this has inspired you, head to any of Britain’s buzzing cities for a night on the town. Fabric, the Dalson Superstore, and Plastic People are good London options, The Factory in Manchester was recently reopened by New Order’s Peter Hook, Liverpool has Cream, Newcastle has digital and Edinburgh – where Trainspotting is set – has Cabaret Voltaire.
And if you liked the torch … Find out more about Thomas Heatherwick, the architect who designed the flower-shaped Olympic cauldron at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, which is staging an exhibition on Heatherwick Studios – or catch a London bus. Heatherwick was behind the newly designed red buses.
• Americans made 2.7 million visits to the UK in 2010 and spent US $3.2 billion (GBP £2.1 billion) – placing them in the UK’s top three most important markets for visitors. Britain remains Americans’ favorite long-haul destination. The US remains top spot in terms of market value for inbound tourism.
• Visitors traveling to Britain can find out more information from visitbritain.us plus purchase money and time saving local transport, sightseeing, attraction, theatre, and tour tickets from visitbritainshop.us.
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