Six Must-Do's in Great BritainWords by Courtney Kellar
Great Britain has always held a certain fascination and iconic history, but with the rise of the show Downton Abbey, it has found itself thrust back into the limelight. In fact, a leading UK-based hotel representation company, HotelREZ, recently created a free mini travel e-guide featuring the best of Great Britain and inspired by the series. The comprehensive guide includes actual locations where the series was filmed, tips on British traditions and recommendations on independent hotels in England, Wales and Scotland. You can read the full e-guide here.
For destination wedding couples and honeymooners, we had HotelREZ narrow down their recommendations to six must-do activities in Great Britain. For more information on visiting this iconic island nation or continental Europe, or for more recommendations on activites and accomodations, visit blog.hotelrez.co.uk.
1. Go for Afternoon Tea
Any visit to Britain would not be truly complete without a traditional afternoon tea experience. This most quintessential of British customs started in the 17th century by the hand of Lady Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. The traditional afternoon tea consists of a pot of tea (usually you are given a selection of teas to choose from) served with a lush selection of dainty finger sandwiches, warm scones served with clotted cream and a variety of fruit preserves, cakes and pastries. At most places you can choose from a full afternoon high-tea experience or a smaller (and less expensive) cream tea, which includes warm scones with clotted cream and preserves being served with your tea.
2. Take a Drive Through the Cotswolds
Located in south central England, the Cotswolds area actually encompasses several English counties, mainly Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but also parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. There are plenty of scenic routes available including The Romantic Road, two circular drive routes departing from Cheltenham, England’s Regency Spa town, which will introduce you to the Cotswolds along country roads leading through peaceful river valleys, country towns and honey-coloured stone villages complete with manor houses, churches and traditional pubs.
3. Stay at a Countryside Manor
Many former royal residences and heritage manors in the British countryside have been transformed into beautiful luxury hotels. These are grand hotels with centuries of history, exquisite interiors and flawless service, so if you’re dreaming of that authentic aristocrat British break, an overnight stay at one of these beautiful hotels is an experience you won’t forget. Take a look at HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts’ collection of Great British Countryside Hotels for some inspiration.
4. Tour Highclere Castle
Also known as the real-life Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle is a stately home in Hampshire, England. Designed in the Gothic revival style and with elements of both Elizabethan and Jacobean styles, this Grade I listed building is composed of a 3-storeyed mansion following a design by Sir Charles Barry in 1839-1842, and bears a resemblance to the Palace of Westminster in London (the most famous of Barry’s designs).
5. Watch a Cricket Match
Like all things British, cricket is built on tradition, full of hierarchy, and yes, almost impossible for an outsider to understand! But above all, this is a gentleman’s sport – a glorious, charming throwback to a proper, gentler age. One of the best grounds in the world to watch a cricket match is none other than the ‘Home of Cricket’ itself: the Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood, London.
6. Visit Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire
Waddesdon Manor is an exquisite Grade I listed country house in the village of Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire, England. The manor, built between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, was constructed in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château in the Loire Valley. You can stay in the heart of the action at the Five Arrows Hotel, which stands at the gates of Waddesdon Manor and offers uniquely designed rooms with original antique furniture from the manor.
Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Zen Whisk via Flickr, Davide Gorla via Flickr, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts, Yann via Flickr, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts, © Lemmonlolly via Wikimedia Commons & Waddesdon Manor ©The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, Rothschild Collections
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