Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

Castle that Highlights Wayfarers Walking Vacations’ New Hike ‘Stars’ in ‘Downton Abbey’ Episode

December 10, 2014
Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of "Downton Abbey," highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey,” highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

A new highlight of The Wayfarers Walking Vacations 2015 program is also set to star in a Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey” on PBS’s hugely popular Masterpiece Classic series.

Alnwick (pronounced ‘Annick’) Castle in England’s Northumberland, will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode as Brancaster Castle. No stranger to the cameras, Alnwick was also the setting for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

The cast and crew spent two weeks at the castle last summer, filming extensively in the spectacular State Rooms, as well as in the castle’s grounds and at the semi-ruined Hulne Abbey in the Duke of Northumberland’s parklands in Alnwick. 

Visitors to Alnwick Castle in 2015 can explore a brand new Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming. It is rumoured that the episode, which will be screened on Christmas Day in the UK, is likely to air in the US at the end of season 5, which runs from Sunday, January 4 on Masterpiece on PBS.

The castle is a centerpiece of The Wayfarers’ new itinerary, ‘Northumbria – Land of Castles, Saints and Vikings’, based on the ancient kingdom of one of Britain’s most remote and beautiful landscapes.

It is one of three Walks new to the schedule. The others are in Italy’s Puglia region and a new take on the historic pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena in Tuscany.

A Wayfarers’ Downton Abbey vacation already includes a visit inside the ‘real’ Downton, Highclere Castle, in the south of England, other key locations and hiking amid classic English villages and countryside.

In festive spirit, the company, which has been providing all-inclusive hiking tours for more than 30 years, is offering ‘a walk in an envelope’ – Gift Certificates which can be redeemed by the recipient for a Wayfarers’ vacation in one of 20 countries across the globe.

The vouchers are available for values from $500, up to the full price of a Walk.

“Our Walk in Northumbria was designed before we knew Alnwick would be a location in Downton Abbey, because it is such a wonderful place, steeped in more than 700 years of history,” The Wayfarers’ founder Michael West said. “As on our Downton Abbey Walk, we aim to give our guests much more than just a sight-seeing stop – we really aim to get beneath the skin of a place and I guarantee that Northumbria will be unforgettable.”

“Meanwhile, our Gift Certificates are the chance for someone to give a truly wonderful gift of one of our Walks as a surprise on Christmas morning – or at any time of the year!”

Founded more than 30 years ago, The Wayfarers Walking Vacations was named by National Geographic Traveler as purveyor of one of the ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime,’ and by National Geographic Adventure as one of the ‘Best Hiking Companies,’ The Wayfarers offers an eco-sensitive walking vacation of both culture and fitness in 19 countries with 40+ itineraries.

Walks cover England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, New Zealand, Patagonia, Alaska, Colorado, Southwest USA, and a barging/walk combination in Burgundy, France.

Wayfarers Walks offer exclusive entrees into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are from 6-13 days and are rated on a five-level challenge scale. Price per person is all-inclusive from Day One: including all transfers, hotel accommodation, full board plus twice daily snacks, wine with dinner, tips, entrance tickets, maps and postcards.

The Wayfarers is a member of Trusted Adventures,, dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and supporting local economies.

The Wayfarers Walk Away Guide explains the benefits and practicalities of walking vacations and is guaranteed to inspire new walkers. Available at

The Wayfarers 2015 Brochure

For more information on all the Wayfarers Walks or the Gift Certificates contact, 800-249-4620 or email

Facebook The Wayfarers Walking Vacations; Twitter @wayfarers; Instagram Wayfarerswalks.


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WoodenBoat Magazine Contributor Peter Neill to Lead ‘Maritime Tour of England and Scotland’

February 19, 2014

Borton Overseas will present a “Maritime Tour of England and Scotland” lead by WoodenBoat Magazine Contributor Peter Neill.

The two week program, June 16-29, 2014, will explore the major maritime attractions in the United Kingdom.

The tour will depart New York City’s JFK airport on the evening of Monday, June 16, and guests will gather in London the following evening for a welcome dinner. From there, they will  embark on a journey of exploration, visiting museums, vessels, cities, waterways, and towns for two unforgettable weeks.

The trip’s highlights include:

  • The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich
  • The newly restored clipper ship Cutty Sark
  • The Royal Observatory
  • The Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth
  • The Steamboat Museum at Lake Windermere
  • The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy, Scotland

The Tour Host, Peter Neill, is past Director of the South Street Seaport Museum, New York, and former President of the Council of American Maritime Museums and the International Congress of Maritime Museums. Presently he is Director, World Ocean Observatory; Chair, Ocean Classroom Foundation; and frequent contributor to WoodenBoat on maritime heritage subjects. He and his wife, Mary Barnes, have been the Group Leaders for prior WoodenBoat travel programs in Norway, Denmark, and The Netherlands.

For details, visit

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LondonTown Contest: Win a Free Two-Night Stay at a Go Native London Apartment

November 19, 2013 has teamed up with Go Native Apartments to treat one reader to a complimentary two-night stay at one of their London properties. Providing an alternative accommodation option, Go Native Apartments have properties in many popular London locations including Hyde Park, Paddington, Chelsea, Canary Wharf and Aldgate. With fully equipped kitchen, living and dining areas, the luxury serviced apartments, studios and suites provide the freedom to relax and cook during your stay.

To have a chance of winning the complimentary two-night stay, answer the following question: How many acres does Hyde Park cover?

Send your answer to by midday on Saturday 30th November with ‘Go Native’ as the subject and your full name, postal address and contact telephone number within the body of the email. The winner will be selected at random and will be able to choose the date and location of their stay (subject to availability).

For visitors who prefer a traditional hotel stay, London hotels for all budgets can be found and booked on is a leading Internet site for London. With over 18 years of experience assisting visitors in finding inexpensive London hotels, sightseeing tours, ticket information and events. Visit

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Londontown Offers Discounted Hotel Rates for World Shakespeare Festival

April 1, 2012

High School productions of Shakespeare such as this modern interpretation of "Romeo & Juliet" by Great Neck High School, keep the Bard very much alive. A World Shakespeare Festival, Globe to Globe, starts in April with the Globe Theater outside of London as the hub © 2012 Karen Rubin/

Britain’s best loved playwright, William Shakespeare, is to be commemorated this year with a series of global events and performances, starting on the occasion of his birthday (and anniversary of his death), April 23rd. The World Shakespeare Festival will run until November.

To help traveling fans find a reasonably priced London hotel, the website has announced discounted hotel rooms close to the Globe.

37 international companies, performing in 37 different languages will be taking part in 37 plays, from a Korean Midsummer Night’s Dream to a Portuguese Romeo and Juliet. Othello is to be interpreted as a hip hop extravaganza by award-winning American troupe the Q Brothers.

The festival centers around Shakespeare’s Globe, where Globe to Globe is running between April 21 to June 9. The Globe is an exact replica of Shakespeare’s 16th Century theater, built just 200 yards from the original site. The theater was constructed using the materials and techniques of its Elizabethan forbear.

Among the London hotel rooms available are deluxe double rooms at the Club Quarters St Paul’s, a 10 minute walk from the theater. For the duration of the festival, the Club Quarters is offering 75% off the standard rate, with deluxe double rooms starting at 99 pounds.

Club Quarters also have a London hotel close by in Gracechurch – Club Quarters Gracechurch – less than 15 minutes walk from the Globe. They are offering deluxe double rooms at the same discount as their St Paul’s establishment, with nightly rates starting at 99 pounds (when booking through

To view more discounted London hotel rooms, and to find out more about the World Shakespeare Festival, visit

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Scotland Launches Year of Events, Festivals, Activities Highlighting Active, Adventurous Destination

January 7, 2011

Scotland has launched a year of exciting activities and events with the announcement of Active Scotland. The year-long program of events, festivals, and activities will outline Scotland as a must-visit active and adventure destination and showcase the best of Scotland to the world.

Active Scotland builds upon on the success of Homecoming 2009
and the Year of Food and Drink – which runs until May 2011, in showcasing Scotland around a common theme.

On January 1, visitors and Scots came together to signal the start of Active Scotland at the Scottish capital’s famous One o’ Clock run – a fun run or walk from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Park and part of Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay celebrations.

Jim Mather, Scottish Government Tourism Minister, said: “Our diverse and beautiful landscape makes Scotland a fantastic destination to be active, whether you are visiting or you live here – and spotlighting this incredible selling point makes perfect sense.

“Through the Year of Active Scotland in 2011, the tourism industry will work together to promote the vast range of activities Scotland has to offer. From gentle coastal walks to long-distance treks through challenging terrain, open canoeing on a tranquil loch to the thrill of white-water rafting down a fast flowing river, or the fun of a family bike ride to the rush of mountain biking through forests – Active Scotland has something to offer those of all ages and abilities.

“Through Active Scotland we are aiming to sustain the momentum of the Year of Food and Drink. There are obvious links between eating delicious, healthy food and drink and being active – and we intend to exploit these opportunities as these two focus years overlap.”

Active Scotland appeals to everyone, from gentle walkers to adrenaline junkies. Moreover, Scotland’s diverse landscapes and cities make a fantastic destination in which to be active, while a growing reputation for adventure sports has put Scotland on the map as Europe’s Adventure Capital.

Scotland offer endless opportunities for adventure, from snowboarding and ice climbing in the mountains to canyoning in the water, and from skiing in the Cairngorms to mountain biking in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, and Fort William, visitors are spoilt for choice. Not forgetting that visitors can get out and about in the Home of Golf, with over 550 golf courses throughout the country.

Whatever your choice of activity, Scotland is a fantastic visitor destination all year round, with activity experiences for all levels of ability, all within easy reach of major hubs and cities.

Scotland has a wide range of active and adventure-based activities taking place throughout 2011, the Year of Active Scotland, from much watched spectator events such as St. Andrews Golf Week and the Johnnie Walker Golf Championship, to Rugby events, the Mountain Bike World Cup, and Highland Games throughout the length and breadth of the country. Here are just some of Scotland’s active and adventure events for 2011.

April 9
Scottish Borders
Rugby 7s was founded in Melrose in 1883. The game of rugby 7s is now played on an international stage from Hong Kong to Scotland and is testimony to its founder in the Scottish Borders town, Ned Haig. 2011 is the 128th playing of the Melrose Sevens and it is proposed to continue an extended tournament with guest teams coming from far and near.
Tel: +44 (0)1896 822993

April 10 – 16
St. Andrews
The St. Andrews Golf Week is an annual event for amateur golfers and is held in St. Andrews – The Home of Golf. The St. Andrews Golf Week was established in 1974 and continues to attract golfers from all over the world. In 2010, there were golfers from fourteen different countries including USA, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Scotland, Germany, Norway, India, Ireland, Singapore, France, and England.

April 29 – May 6
Thurso, Northern Highlands
Lying at 59 degrees north, Thurso is the most northern wave spot on the planet to host a professional surfing event, with waves which on their day can rival the north shore of Hawaii. With its inspired mobile format, the Coldwater Classic Scotland is free to choose between Scotland’s prime surfing venue and the fast reef break of Thurso East, the shallow hollow at The Bowl of Brim’s Ness, and the classic beach break of Strathy.

May 1 – 10
Speyside, Aberdeenshire
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2009. Held each year during the first long weekend in May, the festival creates an opportunity for visitors to enjoy a visit to Speyside before the start of the main tourism season. The festival invites visitors to celebrate Scotland’s national drink through an inventive and wide-ranging program of whisky-inspired events, some educational, all of them fun. There are unique tours and tastings, many at distilleries not normally open to visitors, opportunities to meet whisky experts, matching food and whisky events, a local food fair, master classes and lectures, wildlife walks with whisky treats, art and craft, mountain biking tours, family fun days, and many more entertaining events.

The Drambuie Pursuit has always been an amazing experience. An epic journey for strong minds, wills and bodies. Just as Bonnie Prince Charlie inspired an army, changed history, and nailed the impossible because of something he truly believed in – we now want you to run in his footsteps for a cause that you hold dear. The Drambuie Pursuit is a once-in-a-lifetime, energy-charged adventure challenge across the Scottish Highlands, starting on the Isle of Skye and ending in Inverness. En route, you’ll compete in an array of exciting mental and physical challenges, including white-water rafting, abseiling, mountain biking, and kayaking.

May – September
Throughout Scotland
Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year. Each one has a mix of piping, athletic events, and Highland dancing.

May 28 – 29
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
The Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens is a rugby union sevens tournament, part of the IRB Sevens World Series, held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. It has the honour of being the last event in each season’s IRB Sevens.

June 2 – 5
The Angus Glens Walking Festival is a walking opportunity which will open your eyes, stimulate your senses, and reveal to you many of the hidden treasures of this enigmatic part of Scotland. The award winning 4-day festival is now engraved in the very fabric of Scotland’s outdoor activities calendar. Each year the festival includes evening entertainment, as well as walks to suit all tastes and abilities. Experienced mountain leaders, guide groups, countryside rangers, and estate managers support the walkers’ experience with their knowledge of local history, wildlife and farming.
Tel: +44 (0)1307 473168

June 4 – 5
Fort William
A stunning celebration of two-wheeled action in the Highlands. The Fort William World Cup is one of 9 events taking place in Europe, Canada, and USA, from April to September. At a World Cup, riders can compete as individuals, for factory teams or for their National Teams, and there are few restrictions on entry other than a minimum standard of UCI points. Although the Olympics (XCO only) and the World Championships medals are the best recognized titles in mountain biking, they are both one-off competitions, whereas the World Cup overall title is the best reflection of performance over a range of different courses through the season.
T: +44 (0)131 555 3820

June 23 – 26
The Royal Highland Show is held by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, founded in 1784 to promote the regeneration of rural Scotland. Occupying almost a three-hundred-acre site right next to Edinburgh Airport on the western fringe of Scotland’s Capital City, the event is an annual “must” for the major herds, flocks, and studs across the UK, as well as being firmly in the calendar of a huge variety of businesses, which take trade stands to promote and sell their products. The 170th Royal Highland Show in 2010 attracted 187,600 visitors over 4 days making it an all time record for the event and ensuring it continues to be one of the UK’s top agricultural shows and Scotland’s leading international agricultural event.
T: +44 (0)131 335 6200

July 7 – 10
Loch Lomond
The Scottish Open has been played at Loch Lomond since 1996, just two years after the course was opened. In that short time, the tournament and the venue have grown in stature, with brilliant notices from the world’s best golfers, to become a highlight of the European Tour. The course nestles in 660 acres of the Clan Colquhoun Estate and is surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the mountains and loch. The course is criss-crossed by streams, awash with marshes and cloaked in fabulous mature trees.
T: +44 (0)141 887 2992

Gleneagles, Perthshire
Diageo is proud to be the host and sponsor of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on its 11th anniversary. Held over The PGA Centenary Course, venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup, this is one of the leading events on The PGA European Tour International Schedule of Events and will welcome some of the best golfers in the world to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

August 25 – 27
Dunoon, Argyll
The biggest highland games in the world, the Cowal Highland Gathering has all the traditional elements of a highland games. The Highland dancing competitions and the heavy events are always the crowd pleasers, especially tossing the caber! But is also a great family day out with lots of other entertainment on offer, including a food fair, with a focus on Argyll speciality produce.
Tel: +44 (0)1369 703206

September 3
Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire
Each year the village of Braemar in Royal Deeside, Scotland, invites people from all over the world “to come over the hills” to attend the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games. The gathering is always held on the first Saturday in September, and it is perhaps the most famous Highland Games anywhere. It features the finest Pipe Bands, pipers, Highland dancers, and athletes in a beautiful setting surrounded by hills. The patron of the gathering is Her Majesty the Queen. The Braemar Gathering has been regularly attended by members of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria first attended in 1848. Indeed, King Malcolm Canmore held games nearby almost 1,000 years ago so there is a long “pedigree.”
Tel: +44 (0)1339 755377

Inner Hebrides
2010 marks the 24th anniversary of the Tiree Wave Classic – a festival which attracts top windsurfers from all over the world. The backdrop on the remote island of Tiree also pulls in photographers and film crews to capture stunning shots. The festival also incorporates an Event Village giving visitors the chance to try out new activities and hone their skills.