SOURCE: VisitBritain


October 31, 2009 03:00 ET

VisitBritain Says the Countdown Is On

October 31st Marks 1,000 Days Until the London 2012 Olympic Games

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 31, 2009) - Need a good reason to visit Britain? How about 1,000 great ones. Saturday October 31st marks 1,000 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To start the official countdown -- and in the spirit of friendly competition -- we've pulled together a list of what sets Britain apart from the crowd. Add them all together and you've got 1,000 unique things to see and do in Britain -- one for every day until the torch is lit and the Games begin.

Visit the 1 and only Buckingham Palace

Visit the official London residence of the reigning monarch, Elizabeth II. The Queen opens up her home to visitors every summer, allowing access to the palace's 19 state rooms and views of the gardens. At other times of the year, check out some of the Queen's unrivalled art collection in the Queen's Gallery, or visit the working stables of the Royal Mews, home to the horse-drawn carriages and cars used for coronations, State visits, royal weddings and the State Opening of Parliament.

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Check out the UK's 4 Capital Cities

Explore one of the four capitals that put the united in kingdom -- London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. Soak up the history, from the Tower of London to Edinburgh Castle, and enjoy exciting 21st-century attractions, such as Belfast's W5 Interactive Science Centre and Cardiff's top arts venue, the Wales Millennium Centre. All four cities can also be relied on for top-quality shopping, restaurants and nightlife.

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Get a bird's eye view from one of Britain's 6 Observation Wheels

Take a different view of the UK from one of the country's six giant observation wheels: besides the famous London Eye, there are wheels in Windsor, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield and Weston-super-Mare. The city-based wheels give a unique perspective on the UK's changing urban landscapes, where historic and contemporary architecture sit side by side. Meanwhile, the wheels at Windsor in Berkshire and Weston-super-Mare in Somerset offer unrivalled views of breathtaking countryside. For more information, go to,

Spend 7 Minutes on the new 'Javelin' train service

Count the minutes it will take the new trains to travel from St. Pancras in the centre of London to Stratford International station in the heart of the Olympic Park in the city's East End. But you don't have to wait for the London 2012 Games to ride one of the smart new trains that will be become the 'Javelin' train shuttle at Games-time, because they're due to come into full service in the south-east of England in December 2009.

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Admire 12 New 2012 Works of Art

See the dozen new works of art specially commissioned for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad that will soon be on display around the UK. Expect the unexpected, like "Adain Avion", a project by artist Marc Rees, who has taken the fuselage of an abandoned DC9 plane and transformed it into a mobile art space, which will tour Wales, pulled by teams of local athletes, stopping at "nesting sites" along the way.

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Explore 14 Major Roman Sites on Hadrian's Wall

Follow the route of Hadrian's Wall, which the Roman emperor built to keep his enemies at bay, and countdown 14 major Roman sites along the way. The 84-mile Hadrian's Wall Path traces a coast-to-coast route along its length, from Wallsend to the salt marshes of the Solway Estuary. You don't have to do it all at once -- parts of the trail have been earmarked for shorter walks, too.

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Discover Britain's 15 National Parks

Stride out in Britain's 15 top areas of countryside. From the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland to the waterways of the Norfolk Broads in East Anglia and the heaths of Dartmoor in Devon, these rural highlights have been singled out for special protection so that everyone can enjoy them -- now and in the future.

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Uncover 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Tick off Britain's list of places deemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the settings for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing competition is on the Dorset coast -- with neighbouring East Devon it is a World Heritage site, also known as the Jurassic Coast because its rocks are a treasured record of 185 million years of the Earth's history.

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Visit 38 Oxford Colleges

Walk amid Oxford's dreaming spires. This premier seat of learning, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, dates back to around 1096 and is blessed with stunning architecture, ancient and modern. Today's visitors can take a closer look inside the different colleges. But check opening times, so as not to disturb the studious inhabitants. Cambridge, too, lets visitors admire its 31 colleges.

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Explore 45 Free Museums and Galleries

Get free entry to some of the country's top museums and galleries. Alongside big hitters like The British Museum, you'll find some more intriguing collections, across the country, such as the National Football Museum in Preston, Lancashire, and the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

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Enjoy 55 Seaside Piers

Stretch your legs on a pier to get a true flavour of the traditional British seaside. The innovative Victorians built these extraordinary pleasure promenades with their pavilions and theatres. Travel to the Isle of Wight to see the oldest, Ryde Pier, which dates back to 1814, or to Southend-on-Sea in Essex to walk on the longest, which stretches 2,158 metres into the sea.

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Place a bet at 61 Racecourses

Get under starters orders at one of Britain's race meetings. Whether you prefer flat racing or jumps, there are plenty of racecourses across the country where you can lay a bet and enjoy a thrilling day out. Head for Royal Ascot on Ladies Day if you find fashion as interesting as the runners and riders. Or go to Aintree for the spectacle of the Grand National.

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Hit the slopes at 67 Ski Resorts

Hit the slopes at Britain's snow resorts. The main centres for traditional outdoor winter sports are all in the Scottish Highlands, including Cairngorm, Glencoe, Glenshee, Lecht and the Nevis Range. But there are plenty more artificial ski locations across the country to sharpen your skills on, from dry slopes to snow centres.

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Soak up the sun at 131 Blue Flag Beaches

Feel the sand between your toes on one of Britain's Blue Flag beaches. This international seal of eco-approval has been given to a swathe of beaches around the UK coast that have met Blue Flag's strict criteria to ensure you a great day out by the sea in a clean and user-friendly environment.

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Tickle your tastebuds at 133 Michelin-star Restaurants

Taste the delicious flavours created in the nation's Michelin-starred kitchens. Britain has spent years as the butt of bad cooking jokes, but now it has established its culinary credentials and is home to some of the world's top chefs. You'll find those stars shining right across the country, in gastro-pubs as well as fancy restaurants.

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Sniff and swirl at 383 Vineyards

Raise a glass to Britain's wines, fast becoming the envy of Europe's viticulturalists. Travel to Kent and Sussex to try their award-winning sparkling wines. Gloucestershire and Cornwall's Camel Valley are also winning fans around the world. There are even vines being grown as far north as Cheshire these days.

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With a thousand days to go, and a thousand great things to see and do, there has never been a better time to visit Britain. Go now and let the Games begin.

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Contact Information

  • For further information, please contact:
    New York:
    Paul Gauger
    Tel: (212) 850-0330
    E-mail: Email Contact
    Danielle McKinlay
    Tel: (212) 850-0357
    E-mail: Email Contact