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23/04/2013

Pubs, puffins and punting all make VisitEngland’s bucketlist!

The world’s largest greenhouses and its best mountain biking routes, a first edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets and Europe’s first international dark sky reserve all help make up VisitEngland’s “101 things to do before you go abroad”, revealed to mark St George’s Day.

The Eden Project, Dalby Forest, John Rylands Library and Exmoor National Park are just four of the nominations that were submitted by the public and chosen by the national tourist board, along with a panel of experts, in a bid to find the best and most quintessentially English things to see and do.

VisitEngland’s Chairman, Lady Cobham, commented: “The selection process wasn’t easy - we have such an embarrassment of riches in this country, that we couldn’t include every single landmark – but the end result is a mix of the most incredible and unique experiences, with something for everyone.”

What’s more, the nominations revealed some fantastic “well I never!” facts from around the country and a fascinating insight into how the English view their own country:

History & Heritage
Our history and heritage is held dearest to the heart, with the category generating over a third of the total submissions. Suggestions for castles, cathedrals and UNESCO World Heritage sites were in abundance, with Tintagel, Lincoln and Stonehenge all making the list respectively. Some hidden gems, which didn’t make the final 101, still deserve a mention: Who knew, for example, that the Chester Clock is the 2nd most photographed clock in the world (after Big Ben), that Ryde Pier is the oldest pier in the world or that Dry Doddington’s St James Church spire leans over one degree further than the Tower of Pisa?

Wildlife & Nature
Red squirrels, puffins and greater horseshoe bats jostled for position alongside Kent’s monkey orchids and snowdrops at Fountain Abbey in this, the 2nd most populated, category. It was this section which revealed that England is home to one of the most important wetlands in Europe (Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire) and the 2nd highest tidal range in the world (The River Severn).

Food & Drink
The food & drink section generated 100 suggestions, proof that we are very proud of our much-maligned culinary offerings. Cornish pasties, fish & chips, cream teas, oysters and gin all feature in the bucketlist, with England’s oldest pub (Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham) and Ian Fleming’s former watering hole (DUKES Hotel in St James’s) both securing a hotly-contested place on the list.

Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture was the most varied of all categories, with Europe’s smallest cinema (Screen 22, Nottingham), the book shop where the original ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster was found (Barter Books, Alnwick) and the world’s fastest car (ThrustSCC, Coventry Transport Museum) all jostling for position. With such a varied culture, encompassing art, museums, festivals and nightlife, it was a tough category to judge, but Manchester’s Football Museum, Newcastle’s nightlife and Banksy’s original street art all made the final cut.

Health & Fitness
As you would expect from a nation of sports fans, this category was also surprisingly varied. Yes, football,
rugby and cricket were well-represented, but so too were Olympic sports – a strong example of the Olympic legacy. Sailing in Weymouth and white water rafting in Essex both feature in the list.

Because it’s Awesome
Last, but by no means least: The 101st experience, chosen by none other than Wallace & Gromit. The pair had an enormous list of awesomeness to choose from such as View from the Shard (tallest building in Western Europe); Bristol Balloon Fiesta (Europe’s biggest ballooning event); and the World Gravy Wrestling Championships (Google it!). And the winner is the quirky, eccentric and incredibly English past-time of cheese-rolling. The annual event at Cooper’s hill in Gloucestershire is centuries old. You’d think we’d know better by now.

The full list can be viewed at www.101thingstodoinengland.co.uk, where you can see how many of the experiences you have done and create your own bespoke “to-do” list.

To agree the list, VisitEngland worked with Rough Guides’ Publishing Director, Clare Currie and a panel of expert judges, including Bill Oddie, Sonali Shah, Clemency Burton-Hill, Skye Gyngell and a Yeoman Warder from the Tower of London who each helped select 20 experiences in their respective categories: Wildlife & Nature, Health & Fitness, Arts & Culture, Food & Drink and History & Heritage. Wallace & Gromit were tasked with finding one overall “Because it’s Awesome” suggestion.

Ends


For further press information please contact:

Natalie Ashworth / Laura Dewar / Rebecca Holloway
VisitEngland Press Office
Tel: 020 7578 1447 / 020 7578 1437 / 020 7578 1429
Email: Natalie.Ashworth@visitengland.org/Laura.Dewar@visitengland.org /
Rebecca.Holloway@visitengland.org


Notes to Editors:

About England
• Historic yet contemporary, traditional yet cutting-edge, metropolitan yet wild: England is truly a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism.
• With ancient Hadrian’s Wall straddling the wild north and the world’s biggest indoor tropical rainforest nestled in the far south, England really is the ultimate mix of old and new as well as being home to some of the most iconic sites in the world, including Stonehenge, the honey-hued Georgian terraces of Bath and the towering peaks and glistening meres of the Lake District.
• Did you know that in 2010 there were 96.4 million domestic overnight trips in England, 25.5 million inbound visits and 872 million tourism day trips?
More information can be found on www.visitengland.com
About 101 Things to Do Before You Go Abroad
Designed to inspire the nation to take more holidays in England, 101 Things to Do Before You Go Abroad includes the best of the very best English experiences. From enjoying the thermal waters in Bath to taking in a Shakespeare play in Stratford-upon-Avon, the app will remind Britons of the fabulous range of experiences, only on offer here in England.

Like VisitEngland on Facebook to share how many of the 101 experiences you have already done and create your own bespoke bucket list.


The full 101 list is as follows:

Food & Drink
1. Oysters in Whitstable, Kent
2. Have a pint in England’s oldest pub, Nottingham
3. Fish ‘n’ chips in Aldeburgh, Suffolk
4. Ludlow Food Festival, Shropshire
5. Tour Brixham Fish Market, Devon
6. Mix martinis in Bond’s spiritual home, London
7. Indulge with The Pudding Club, Cotswolds
8. Eat a proper Cornish pasty, Cornwall
9. Tour a Gin Distillery, Devon
10. Afternoon Tea At Bettys, Yorkshire
11. Go for a curry in Birmingham, West Midlands
12. Start the day with a full English, London
13. Eat chocolate in York, Yorkshire
14. Brixton Village and Market Row, London
15. Taste Grasmere gingerbread, Lake District
16. Dine in Bray, Berkshire
17. Tour an English vineyard, Surrey
18. Taste Colston Basset stilton, Nottinghamshire
19. Drink real cider in an orchard, Herefordshire
20. Have a truly English cuppa, Cornwall

History & Heritage
21. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
22. Ancient history in Northumberland, Northumberland
23. Punt along The Backs, Cambridge
24. Visit the Code-Breakers, Bletchley Park
25. Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln
26. Royal Armouries, Leeds
27. Ride the Settle-Carlisle steam train, Northern England
28. Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent
29. Maritime history in Buckler’s Hard, New Forest
30. Visit Stonehenge, Wiltshire
31. Chester Rows, Cheshire
32. Sleep at Hampton Court Palace, Greater London
33. See the Changing the Guard ceremony, Buckingham Palace, London
34. Royal Observatory at Greenwich, Greenwich, London
35. Follow in Roman footsteps, Bath
36. Tower of London, London
37. Portsmouth Historic Dockyards, Hampshire
38. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
39. Windsor Castle, Berkshire
40. York Minster, Yorkshire

Arts & Culture
41. Experience London’s South Bank, London
42. A weekend in Brighton, Sussex
43. Visit free museums and galleries, London
44. Follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps, Hampshire
45. Dress up for Royal Ascot, Berkshire
46. Devote a weekend to football, Manchester
47. Art in Margate, Kent
48. See the Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire
49. Have a night on the toon, NewcastleGateshead
50. Escape to Another Place, Merseyside
51. John Rylands Library, Manchester
52. Take a Magical Mystery Tour, Liverpool
53. See Banksy’s graffiti, Bristol
54. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire
55. Dress up for Bestival, Isle of Wight
56. Tate St Ives, Cornwall
57. Shop ‘til you drop at Birmingham’s Bullring, Birmingham
58. Discover Shakespeare’s Stratford, Warwickshire
59. Ashmolean Museum, Oxfordshire
60. Watch an open-air play, Cornwall

Wildlife & Nature
61. Farne Islands, Northumberland
62. Holkham Beach, Norfolk
63. Catch the Severn Bore, Gloucestershire
64. Eden Project, Cornwall
65. Twitch on Lundy Island, Devon
66. See exotic plants and animals, Scilly Isles
67. Glimpse rare red squirrels, Dorset
68. Spot Deer in the City, Surrey
69. Roam the Peak District, Peak District National Park
70. Search for monkey orchids, Kent
71. Spot damsels and dragons, Cambridgeshire
72. Join a bat patrol at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
73. The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
74. Bempton Cliff’s bird colonies, Yorkshire
75. Dartmoor’s ponies, Devon
76. Malham Cove, North Yorkshire
77. Snowdrops at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire
78. Havergate Island, Suffolk
79. Dungeness, Kent
80. Watch starlings circle West Pier, Brighton

Health & Fitness
81. Coasteering in Cornwall, Cornwall
82. Scale England’s highest peak, Lake District
83. Sail like an Olympian, Dorset
84. Walk to the White Horse at Uffington, Oxfordshire
85. Go ice skating on the Fens, Cambridgeshire
86. Walk the South West Coast Path, South West England
87. Pony trekking in The New Forest, The New Forest
88. Mountain biking in Dalby Forest, North York Moors National Park
89. Soak in Bath’s thermal waters, Bath
90. Caving in the Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Dales National Park
91. Canoe along the Wye Valley, Herefordshire
92. Wild swimming in Grassington, Yorkshire Dales National Park
93. Surfing in Newquay, Cornwall
94. Rock climb in the Peak District, Peak District National Park
95. Up at The O2, Greenwich
96. Trek from coast to coast, Northern England
97. Learn the art of mountain biking, Lake District
98. Go Ape in Sherwood Pines, Nottingham
99. Walk the Pennine Way, Northern England
100. Raft down an Olympic course, Essex

Because it’s Awesome!
101. Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire