England became a unified state in AD 927 and, since the 15th century, has had a significant impact on the wider world, developing the English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world. Its beautiful and varied countryside is interspersed with quaint villages and cosmopolitan cities including the capital, London.

The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Engla land, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages.


A Fashionable Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough Hotel

Bring in the summer in styleon the 1st July, when this prestigious hotel teams up with fashion label Harvey Nichols to offer a luxurious Champagne Afternoon Tea and fashion show.

There’s nothing more quintessentially English than afternoon tea, especially when it’s in the luxurious surroundings of The Lanesborough Hotel. Bring in the summer in style on the 1st July, when this prestigious hotel teams up with fashion label Harvey Nichols to offer a luxurious Champagne Afternoon Tea and fashion show. Enjoy this renowned, traditional tea in The Lanesborough’s opulent restaurant Aspleys, whilst sipping on champagne, as models glide down the catwalk wearing the best of this seasons resort wear.

The Lanesborough is one of London’s most prestigious hotels, located in Knightbridge, opposite Hyde Park. It has won numerous awards for it’s delicious afternoon tea, including Best in London and an Award of Excellence, both by The British Tea Guild. A sumptuous tea, made up of dainty sandwiches and a mouth-watering selection of freshly baked scones, cakes and pastries, all washed down with champagne and a careful selection of tea varieties.

Whether you are on the hunt for a new holiday wardrobe, or looking for perfectly tailored swimwear to flaunt on the beach, this is the event for you. With designers such as Heidi Klein, We Are Handsome and Missoni, Harvey Nichol’s will showcase exclusive beachwear for you to draw inspiration for your holidays; A handpicked selection of the chicest swimwear options and cover-ups of the season.

There will also be advice from top designers Heidi Gosman and Penny Klein, on how to achieve that poolside look. The show will highlight their latest collection of chic, feminine and glamorous attire, perfect for that exotic trip abroad or weekend away in Britain. Don’t miss out on the chance to select your new resort wardrobe in the affluent surroundings of The Lanesborough Hotel.

The Lanesborough’s Fashionable Tea will be held on the 1st
July, from 4.00pm to 5.30pm and priced at £49.00 per person plus 12.5% service
charge. For reservations, please call 020 7259 5599 or visit www.lanesborough.com




All-Australian orchestra to perform at the City of London Festival

The annual City ofLondon Festival will begin this year on the 26 June and will end on the 16 July. Read More »

History of Royal Ascot

History of Royal Ascot

The 300-year story of racing at Ascot begins in 1711, when Queen Anne put the idea into motion to pursue her love of horse racing.


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend Royal Ascot

The 300-year story of racing at Ascot begins in 1711, when Queen Anne put the idea into motion to pursue her love of horse racing.

Ascot Racecourse is a famous English racecourse, located in Berkshire, and used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in Britain hosting nine of the UK’s 32 annual Group 1 races. Ascot is closely associated with the British Royal Family as it is approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.

Every year Royal Ascot is attended by HM Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family, arriving each day in horse-drawn carriages. The Royal procession takes place at the start of each race day, and the Queen’s Royal Standard is raised. This year the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Beatrice and Eugenie arrived together in horse-drawn carriages to celebrate the event’s 300th year.

The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious of the three enclosures, and is where the Queen and her entourage sit. Entry to the Royal Enclosure is strictly regulated: first-time applicants must apply to the Royal Enclosure office and be nominated by a current member; existing badge holders receive an invitation each year from Her Majesty’s Representative.

Ascot is famous for its extravagant gowns and headpieces. Millinery creations this year included birds, flowers and even a paint palette. Premier Admission is not as formal as the Royal Enclosure, but visitors still dress up, and fascinators are the norm.

The history of Royal Ascot is of great interest to many horse racing fans. Queen Anne, an equestrian sports fan, came across a clearing that looked perfect for racing while taking a carriage ride through the forest near Windsor Castle. The clearing was bought for just £558, and she ordered it to be prepared for racing. On 11 August that same year the Royal racecourse played host to its first race, ‘Her Majesty’s Plate’. However, following the death of Anne, racing at Ascot faded as King George I despised all sports.

Racing returned to Ascot in 1720 and it soon became one of Britain’s most famous racing venues. King George IV initiated the first royal carriage procession on the track in 1825 and the tradition has continued ever since.

Royal Ascot is also an attraction for those who like to bet. Odds for each race are displayed at each betting company’s stand. Despite the rain, and the plentiful umbrellas, some 300,000 people attended Royal Ascot this year.

For this year’s results and more information visit www.ascot.co.uk


The Prince of Wales visits Painshill Park

His Royal Highness ThePrince of Wales, who is Royal Patron of Painshill Park Trust, recently visited Painshill, in Surrey, to view the ongoing restoration of the 18th-century landscape.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who is Royal Patron of Painshill Park Trust, recently visited Painshill, in Surrey, to view the ongoing restoration of the 18th-century landscape, and to unveil a plaque commemorating the rebuilding of the historic Five-Arch Bridge.

The Prince of Wales met many of the staff and volunteers who have been contributing to the transformation of Painshill since his last visit in 1995, and joined them in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Trust. Mr. Gordon Lee-Steere DL, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, greeted His Royal Highness and introduced Lady Hamilton of Dalzell DL, President of Painshill Park Trust – whose family’s ancestor The Hon. Charles Hamilton created Painshill in the mid 1700s.

The royal tour began in the walled garden, where His Royal Highness was shown exhibits about how Charles Hamilton obtained rare exotic plants for Painshill. The tour then visited the restored vineyard, still producing sparkling wine from vines similar to those planted in the 18th century. His Royal Highness was introduced to Painshill staff members and volunteers, and to teachers and children from nearby Horley Infant School.

The Painshill Park Trust, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, was formed in 1981 to restore the 158-acre landscape garden. Charles Hamilton created the garden between 1738 and 1773, inspired by Renaissance art and his tours across Europe.

After three decades of significant restoration, Painshill is now Grade I listed and currently welcomes 75,000 visitors every year. More than 100 volunteers, including women prisoners from the nearby HMP Send, are involved with the ongoing restoration.

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr. Gordon Lee-Steere DL, said: “We are delighted that His Royal Highness has come to Painshill to see the quite extraordinary restoration work that has taken place since his last visit here – and to meet some of those whose dedication and hard work has made it possible.”

The Prince finished his tour by unveiling a plaque to commemorate the start of rebuilding the Five-Arch Bridge. This is being funded by the Monument Trust, and is a key focus of the Painshill Restoration Programme, as replacing the bridge will allow water to flow freely through the entire lake and thus restore Hamilton’s long lake vistas.

For more information about the restoration, and details about visiting this gorgeous 18th-century landscaped park and gardens, visit www.painshill.co.uk.


Tower Bridge is restored to former glory

Finally, after three yearsof paint analysis, scaffolding, polythene and engineers, the most famous bridge in the world has been restored to all its former glory – Tower Bridge is back.


Finally, after three years of paint analysis, scaffolding, polythene and engineers, the most famous bridge in the world has been restored to all its former glory – Tower Bridge is back!

The restoration of Tower Bridge that takes place every 25 years was completed at the end of March. With the polythene removed and the paint dry, the bridge was once again ready to open for shipping. The first boat that passed through the bridge was the MV Dixie Queen at 5:30pm on Saturday 2 April. Bridge Master Eric Sutherns MBE said, “It’s fantastic to see the bridge finally divested of all wraps, scaffolding and cradles and standing proud in pristine condition again.”

Architect Sir Horace Jones and civil engineer Sir John Wolfe-Barry were the masterminds behind the creation of Tower Bridge in the late 1800s. It took 8 years, 5 contractors and 432 construction workers to build the bridge, which was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by the Prince and Princess of Wales – the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. At this time it was painted a greenish-blue colour and a chocolate brown – its current colours of red, white and blue were chosen for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1976.

The restoration cost a staggering £4 million, and was funded by Bridge House Estates. This ancient City trust dates back to 1097 when monks founded a charity that charged Londoners a toll for crossing London Bridge. The main purpose of this trust is still to maintain all five City Bridges: London, Tower, Southwark, Blackfriars and Millennium Bridge. This trust is now worth £700 million and continues to give grants to charities in Greater London.

When the restoration began in 2008, Patrick Baty, a paint specialist, was brought in to determine how the bridge was painted when it was first built in 1894. By taking samples of paint from all over the bridge he was able to discover that the Clean Air Act of 1956 had actually improved the quality of London’s atmosphere, as there was no soot between the layers of paint.

The Tower Bridge Exhibition, inside the most famous bridge in the world, is a must-see attraction for any tourist in London. The exhibition ‘London in Black and White: A Photographic Celebration’ which opens on Thursday 30 June, will allow visitors to see a collection of rare images from London’s past.

For further information visit www.towerbridge.org.uk


Giant plant flowers at Eden Project

The Titan Arum, a giant rainforest plant, and the biggest flower ever to be grown indoors, has just flowered at the Eden project in Cornwall. It flowered from 30 May to 5 June, and reached a height of 2.91m, towering over visitors. Read More »


Eventful times in 1066 Country

1066 Country has a fabulous calendar of upcoming events. Ideally situated for day trips into or out of London, explore the region’s beautiful gardens, vineyards, historic castles and picturesque towns and villages. You will be tempted to stay longer…

1066 Country 1

A packed programme of spectacular summer and autumn events awaits you in 1066 Country. Ideally situated for day trips into or out of London, the region’s beautiful gardens and vineyards, historic castles and picturesque medieval towns and villages offer so many attractions that you will no doubt be tempted to stay longer.

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week begins August with a bang, bringing a carnival atmosphere to the fascinating old fishing quarter of the town. Many of the events will take place in the new dedicated Stade Open Space area, right next to the soon-to-open Jerwood Gallery.

For more things maritime, try the Rye Maritime Festival (14 August), which celebrates life on the ocean wave in the hometown of Captain Pugwash’s creator, John Ryan. Stroll along Bexhill’s newly developed seafront, and call in at the iconic 1930s modernist De La Warr Pavilion, which takes a quirky look at beach life, turning its rooftop into a sandy beach complete with deckchairs, Tiki Bar and even pedaloes until mid September.

1066 Country 2Medieval history lovers will delight in Bodiam Castle’s Grand Medieval Weekend (13-14 August) and Herstmonceux Castle’s Medieval Festival Weekend (27-29 August). Both feel straight out of a glorious storybook, and are renowned throughout Britain.

In September, just as other destinations are winding things down, 1066 Country steps up the pace, with an Indian summer of events. Art is high on the agenda, with the Coastal Currents Arts Festival and Open Studios taking place at venues across Hastings and 1066 Country all month.

The celebrated Rye Arts Festival runs from 10 to 25 September, hosting its customary top-quality line-up of nationally and internationally respected speakers and performers.

New for 2011, Battle mounts its own art trail, with an original look at life in The World Turned Upside Down (17-25 September). Finally, Warhol at the De La Warr Pavilion (from 24 September) takes us into January 2012.

Food lovers: Don’t despair! The colourful Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival rolls into town on 17 and 18 September for its 6th year, and won’t fail to delight with its mix of local seafood stands, vineyard owners from around the region, fisher folk demonstrations and talks and live music provided by talented local musicians.

For further details of what to see and where to stay in 1066 Country visit


Adventure and action in stunning Staffordshire

Perfectly situated in the Heart of England, Staffordshire is a stunning place to visit, particularly at this time of year, when you can make the most of the superb events planned throughout the summer months…

Staffordshire 1

Perfectly situated in the Heart of England, Staffordshire is a stunning place to visit, particularly at this time of year, when you can make the most of the superb events planned throughout the summer months – from peaceful nature walks within the deer on Cannock Chase to madcap macaques mayhem in Trentham Monkey Forest.

There’s much to be excited about: there is a new rollercoaster ride at Drayton Manor to get the adrenaline pumping, new treasure trails across the county allowing you to discover the mysteries in Staffordshire, an exquisite cultural experience at the new Shugborough Revisited.

The opening of ‘Ben 10: Ultimate Mission’ heralds the arrival of Europe’s first ever Ben 10 themed rollercoaster and is part of an amazing new Cartoon Network Street for Drayton Manor, which features a diner for hungry thrill-seekers.

Staffordshire 2For outdoor pioneers and mind-bending adventure why not try brand new Staffordshire Treasure Trails? You can purchase five thrilling Treasure Trails for less than ten pounds and follow the trails to solve clues, travel unchartered territory and see the greatest historic and most picturesque sights in Staffordshire. You can even win a £1,000 cash prize at the end.

For an inspiring journey back in time, explore bygone years at Shugborough – The complete working historic estate. Brand new for 2011 is Shugborough Revisited – previously visitors have only been able to access the state rooms at Shugborough and a small part of the first floor, but Shugborough Revisited gives visitors the chance to get lost in the grandeur and wander through the elegant mansion and private apartments of the Earl of Lichfield.

The beautiful arboretum island garden at Shugborough will also be open to visitors for the first time. With a new sculpture trail entitled ‘West to East’ with sculptures inspired by North American, European and Asia culture.

If you like your history a little more grisly, embark on a voyage of Anglo Saxon discovery and visit the county’s touring exhibition of glittering items from the famous Staffordshire Hoard. The displays are set to feature more than forty star items from the world’s largest find of Anglo Saxon gold, including the pectoral cross, the biblical inscription and the seahorse.

The series of exhibitions run from the 2nd of July – 18th of September and chart the footsteps of the Mercians starting in Stafford at Shire Hall Gallery (2 -24 July), moving to Lichfield Cathedral (30 July – 21 Aug) and finishing at Tamworth Castle (27 Aug – 18 Sept).

For a truly natural high, the Staffordshire Peak District has it all – explore invigorating moorlands, limestone dales, rugged gritstone crags, steam train tracks and meandering canals. Pull on your boots and explore on foot, get on your bike and have a ‘wheely good time’ or charter a trusty steed and horseride through miles of dedicated trails and tracks and discover your own favourite corner of the Peak District.

For more information visit www.enjoystaffordshire.com


Winterbourne House

A glimpse of Edwardian life

Winterbourne House is celebrating its first anniversary of opening to the public after an extensive renovation project that has restored the building to its original Edwardian Arts and Crafts appearance.


Set in 7 acres of botanic gardens, Winterbourne is rather a hidden gem, just a mile from the centre of industrial Birmingham, but with the feel of a country house. It was originally built in 1903, following the contemporary Arts and Crafts philosophy spearheaded by William Morris and John Ruskin.

It was bequeathed to the University of Birmingham in 1944 and used as office space, and then as storage space, for many years. The botanic gardens, inspired by the colour-oriented planting ideas of Gertrude Jekyll, were opened to the public first; the restoration of the house was a major project that was completed just last year.

Today, the house has been fully refurbished in a style true to the Edwardian period, with exhibitions giving an insight into what life was like for the original owners in the early 1900s. You can learn about John Nettleford’s work in industry and as a social reformer, and Margaret Nettlefold’s designs for the garden.

If a day spent imagining yourself back into the time of E M Forster’s Howards End appeals, then Winterbourne House is the perfect place to go. What’s more, the summer events are now in full swing, so the garden will host performances of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and alfresco jazz by candlelight.

Visit the Winterbourne House and Garden website to find out more.


The English Music Festival

The English Music Festival is an annual celebration of music by British composers, held in a number of beautiful venues in Oxfordshire. Its 2012 festival will coincide with the Diamond Jubilee Read More »

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