How others see us

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
the front of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is on the list of places to see

It always fascinates me when I am abroad to flick through the travel pages of newspapers to see if there is anything written about the UK and Ireland.


Because the stories they write tend to reveal what they think their readers should see and some of them are so different from what we might visit on a day out. Equally what they omit is just as revealing.

Here I was in Sydney with the Escape section of The Sunday Telegraph which was using its crystal ball to forecast what holidays might be like in 2019.

I was more interested in a story by Kerry Parnell who subtitled her story as “London reigns as the capital of cool” which may or may not come as a surprise to readers. But the article was called “The Royal Treatment” which gives a clue as to the type of attraction that was to be suggested for visitors to see.

as is Highclere House where Downton Abbey was filmed

The Hard Rock Hotel opens in London next March and visitors can upgrade to Rock Royalty (see the clever link to the story’s title) whilst the writer’s second choice is to visit any or all of five locations linked to D-day, the 75th anniversary of which is held next year. The closest I got to the royal link here is that the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and IWM Duxford should be on your visiting list. What about the start of

WWII which began eighty years ago in 1939?

No sooner will the year end in which Meghan Markle married Prince harry than the third choice is to travel up to the place of Holyrood to see the exhibition about the wedding. That is linked with some other royal events such as Kensington Place opening an exhibition about the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, and other exhibitions on Osborne (he Isle of Wight home of Victoria and Albert and a reminder that Buckingham Palace is open from June to September. Actually the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace is open for a longer period of time than the palace proper.

Another royal link is the Coals Drop Yard area behind Kings Cross described as a new neighbourhood and an “arty shopping precinct.” But I am lost in finding a royal context in the next three suggestions, Tate Britain’s Van Gogh exhibition, Highclere House where Downton Abbey is filmed (maybe it’s the aristocratic links) and the Cricket World Cup. More obvious is the plug for a new hotel, The Langley in Buckinghamshire which was the home of the Duke of Marlborough. (whose wife, Sarah, was the sometime confidant of Queen Anne.)

Britannia © Marc Miller

Of the remaining suggestions, visiting the royal yacht Britannia in Leith and the newish hotel on board a lightship I can follow and the Christian Dior exhibition at the V&A (because there is a dress once worn by Princess Margaret) but going to Longleat Safari Park to see koalas (king of Aussie cuddly things perhaps?) and a couple of other hotels in London is beyond me.

If you were interested in places with royal links would these be your choices next year?

For my money I would re-visit the British Library to see the Anglos-Saxon exhibition which has the Domesday Book (William the Conqueror) and Asser’s Life of King Alfred the Great plus an array of gold from the Staffordshire Hoard. It is the 270th anniversary of the execution of Charles I in London so visiting places such as his battlefields, palaces and castles (Carisbrooke and Oxford for example) could be a choice.

But what of all the other attractions of the UK? Maybe the writer has another story in mind to cover those.

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