Despite the uncertain world situation, British tourism officials
are keeping their chins up with enthusiastic promotions of new
attractions for the 2003 travel season, including:
Royalty Reigns: It’s another year to focus on Queen Elizabeth
the first one. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death
of Good Queen Bess and the end of the Tudor dynasty.
Castles and palaces around the kingdom will stage re-enactments
and Elizabethan-style productions will continue to be featured in
London at the Shakespeare’s Globe (www.shakespearesglobe.org), the
reproduction of the Bard’s theater.
The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich (www.nmm.ac.uk), the
palace where Elizabeth was born, will feature a collection of her
personal belongings and paintings. Hatfield House
(www.hatfield-house. co.uk), north of London on the site of the
palace where she grew up, stages regular Elizabethan-style
banquets. And Hampton Court Palace (www. hrp.org.uk) will offer
food and entertainment of the period.
From May 23 through April 18, 2004, Kensington Palace State
Apartments in London will feature “Hats and Handbags: Accessories
from the Royal Wardrobe.” These are the accessories of the current
Queen Elizabeth, who has considered them a vital part of her
working wardrobe over the years.
Pigeons to pedestrians: Trafalgar Square is being transformed
into a pedestrian space, which London city planners hope will
reduce noise and pollution. A staircase will link the plaza
directly to the National Gallery, where new areas of the building
will soon open to the public. Open-air entertainment, a café,
public restrooms and elevators for the handicapped all are being
added. Officials say the project will open in late summer.
Museums: It’s the 250th anniversary of the British Museum in
London. Celebrations will begin on June 7, founding day, with free
admissions. From May 23 through November 23, “London, 1753”
exhibits will look at the city as it was when the museum opened and
London was the largest city in the world.
At the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, the Art
Deco style of the early 20th Century will be featured.
A new Fashion and Textile Museum is scheduled to open in May at
83 Bermondsey St. in southeast London. It will feature the work of
local and international designers, as well as rotating exhibits.
Bath: Five historic buildings in this city of Roman baths have
been restored as part of the creation of the new state-of-the-art
Thermae Bath Spa, scheduled to open in May.
This spa will have an open-air rooftop pool, fed by the area’s
natural thermal waters, with a view of the surrounding countryside.
Beatlemania: John Lennon’s childhood home in suburban Liverpool
is scheduled to open to the public in April, under the stewardship
of the National Trust.
Walking tours: In May, visitors will be able to walk the new
Hadrian’s Wall National Trail, which marks the northernmost
frontier of the Roman Empire. Built around A.D. 122, the
73-mile-long wall runs from Wallsend-on-Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway
from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. Walking and driving tours are
available, and there are plenty of accommodations along the way,
which welcome wall explorers. www.hadrians-wall.org