What a difference a decade makes - discover the delights of contemporary Britain in 2009 - from only $1999* return!
To celebrate the wealth of exciting new attractions and experiences showcased in Britain in the last ten years, from today, Australians have an amazing opportunity to visit some of the innovative developments that have been unveiled since 1999 - from only 1,999 dollars! From architectural feats such as the London Eye and the 'the blinking eye' (Gateshead Millennium Bridge) - to the regenerated waterside cities of Glasgow and Cardiff, there are many modern wonders to be explored, in addition to the long-established favourite icons such as Big Ben and Edinburgh Castle.
British Airways is currently offering return flights from Australia to the UK, from only $1,999*. A free return trip between London and the following cities is also included: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Jersey and Newcastle. So why not make a visit to Britain this year to discover the difference since 1999!
Shop 'til you drop at one of the many retail emporiums that Britain now boasts. The Bullring in Birmingham is a haven for happy shoppers, housing 142 shops, with the flagship futuristic Selfridges department store taking centre stage. If boutique is more your bag, head to the revamped Spitalfields area in London, where there are several streets of unique outlets, as well as the infamous market. Or hop on a flight to Glasgow to discover a shopaholics dream - one of the largest retail therapy sites in the UK, with no less than five separate shopping areas within the city.
Culture vultures and history buffs can immerse themselves in the abundance of experiences to materialise in the last decade. The Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, proudly tells the story of Scottish history, people and culture, whilst the Imperial War Museum North, in Manchester, illustrates how war has shaped the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. This museum was also the first building in Britain by world-renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind. Across The Pennines, Bradford is home to the National Media Museum, charting the history of British television.
Significant anniversaries are being celebrated in 2009 - Henry VIII will return for his 500th anniversary (since his accession to the throne), with special events being held at the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, whilst Darwin 200 will recognise 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth with a series of celebrations to mark the impact that his theories continue to have on our lives. North of the border, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish bard Robert Burns, famed for penning Auld Lang Syne, will be commemorated throughout the year with a series of Homecoming celebrations across Scotland. Highlights include whisky month in May, plus the largest ever clan gathering in Edinburgh, in July.
Sports fans will not be disappointed with the ongoing opportunities to soak up the atmosphere at the impressive array of 'cathedrals of sport', such as the Millennium Stadium in Wales and Wembley Stadium in London. Take in a behind-the-scenes tour of the changing rooms, emerge victorious from the tunnel and run onto the hallowed turf, in the footsteps of sporting legends from around the globe. With The Ashes kicking off in Wales (for the first time ever) in July and The Open taking place in Turnberry, Ayrshire, later that month, there's a feast ahead for spectators in 2009.
Foodies can indulge in a range of taste sensations across the country, with the plethora of farmers markets that provide wide-ranging options to sample regional produce. Borough Market in London has enjoyed a renaissance since 1999 and continues to champion a sumptuous selection of British food and drink. Food fans can also savour the flavour of regional Scottish food at the Taste of Grampian food and drink festival in Aberdeenshire. Alternatively, tastebuds can be tantalised in the Channel Islands at the Grand Jersey Festival of Food, which utilises local produce and features appearances from celebrity chefs.
For garden lovers, a visit to the unique Alnwick Gardens, close to Newcastle, is a must. One of the most exciting contemporary gardens in the world, Alnwick not only has the biggest collection of European plants, in the Ornamental Garden, but also houses a poison garden and one of the largest tree houses on the planet. The landscape is most definitely eclectic, and there is an ever-present aquatic theme, thanks to the spectacular cascading water features throughout the grounds. Additionally, The National Botanic Garden of Wales was the first national garden of its kind to be created in the new millennium. This vast expanse of greenery covers 150 acres and is home to the largest single span glasshouse in the world - The Great Glasshouse, designed by Norman Foster.
Many of the developments in the last decade have sympathetically enhanced the existing icons in Britain - exemplified by the Millennium Bridge across the River Thames, linking the old (St Paul's Cathedral) and the new (Tate Modern) - perfectly showcasing the juxtaposition of the classic and the contemporary, in Britain.
With the rich variety of experiences this year, there has never been a better time to visit Britain!
For further information, please visit www.visitbritain.com.au/ba