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August 17, 2010

Britain Calling: August 2010

Roald DalhBritain
Roald Dahl Day celebrates the work, life and legacy of one of the world’s best-loved storytellers.
It takes place on his birthday, 12 September, at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and in the nearby Gipsy House garden in Great Missenden in the south of England, where Dahl lived and worked. The museum’s special events and activities will be overseen by Miss Trunchbull, a character from one of his best selling books Matilda. Behind-the-scenes archive tours will offer a rare chance to view original Matilda manuscripts. Peter Bentley, author of The Great Dog Bottom Swap, will be running workshop sessions. Members of the Royal Shakespeare Company will entertain visitors with Matilda-themed storytelling in anticipation of the RSC’s production Matilda, A Musical opening in Stratford in November. Other events will include guided village trails, magicians and face-painting. Roald Dahl’s garden at Gipsy House, a short walk from the Museum, will be open free of charge for the day. Visitors can take a peek inside the author’s famous Writing Hut (above) and explore the maze and gypsy caravan that inspired Danny the Champion of the World. As well as Matilda, Dahl’s books for children include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and The BFG. Dahl died in 1990. Roald Dahl Day events and activities will also be taking place nationally throughout September.
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0AL


A couple sitting by the River Stour in front of Canterbury castle on a summer England
A two-week International Arts Festival takes place this October in the cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent.
The festival opens with a free community carnival parade through the city streets, followed by around 200 events featuring theatre, classical music, opera and dance, world music, comedy and talks, visual arts and walks. Many of the classical music concerts will take place in the city’s cathedral. For the opening concert the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio will perform with violinist Alena Baeva. The Armonico Consort with the Choir of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge will also perform in the cathedral, and the early music choir Stile Antico will give a concert in the eastern crypt. Jazz singer Stacey Kent and rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman will perform in Shirley Hall, and acts at the Festival Club, in the Canterbury Environment Centre, will include Evan Christopher’s gypsy jazz project Django à la Créole. Works from more than 100 artists will be on view as part of the festival’s visual arts programme, and some events will take place beyond the boundaries of Canterbury. For instance, a troupe of Russian dancers from the Rudolf Nureyev Russian State Ballet Academy will be dancing Swan Lake at the Theatre Royal in the nearby seaside resort of Margate.  Canterbury Cathedral was first established in 597 by St Augustine and was rebuilt by Archbishop Lanfranc in 1070–1077. Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. His martydom has since attracted many pilgrims, as told in Chaucer’s 14th-century stories Canterbury Tales.
Canterbury Festival, 16-30 October, Canterbury, Kent
River Thames London
The Southbank Centre on the banks of River Thames in London is to hold a cheese and wine festival in October.
The best of cheeses and wines from England, Scotland and Ireland will be on sale alongside products from round the world. Countries represented at the festival will include France (including Corsica), Holland, Italy (including Sardinia and Sicily), Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Austria.  The three-day festival will include tastings and demonstrations. Organic cheese-maker Bob Kitching will demonstrate how to turn milk into cheese in 40 minutes. Chef Yohan Alias from Le Café Maritime in Bordeaux will prepare and serve samples of regional French cuisine. A group of producers from Bordeaux will be showcasing cheese, wine and cognac. There will also be a mobile delicatessen dedicated to Sicilian cheeses and wines. Cheesemaking kits and cheesecakes will be on sale alongside hot savoury foods.  The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre and includes the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery and the Saison Poetry Library. The Cheese and Wine Festival runs from 15 to 17 October, 11am–8pm daily (6pm Sunday), free admission.
Southbank Square (behind the Royal Festival Hall), Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

 WalesDylan Thomas Festival
The theme of this year’s Dylan Thomas Festival will be the many Thomases who have contributed to the literature of Wales. A festival to the memory of the Welsh poet (pictured above with his wife Caitlin) takes place every year in the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, South Wales, between 27 October and 9 November, the dates of his birth and death. This year’s festival has the theme A Home from Home for the Thomases. As well as focusing on the life and work of Dylan himself, there will be events about R.S.Thomas, Edward Thomas, Wynford Vaughan Thomas, Gwyn Thomas and John Ormond Thomas.  Poets Andrew Motion, Gwyneth Lewis, Jo Shapcott, Alexis Lykiard, Mike Jenkins and the Canadian poetry and music troupe The Fugitives will take part in the festival. Peter Hain will discuss his new book on Nelson Mandela and there will be a one-man show about David Lloyd George, the only Welshman to have been a British Prime Minister.  This year’s festival exhibition includes a display on the Thomases and the first showing of some doodles by Dylan and artist and illustrator Dodie Masterman. Dylan Thomas (1914–1953) was a Welsh poet who wrote exclusively in English. As well as poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His best-known works include the ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood. Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 1RR

http://media.visitbritain.com/backstage/login.aspx?RefUrl=%2fbackstage%2fdefault.aspx Scotland
The 1930s racing yacht Bloodhound, once owned by the Queen, is now berthed alongside the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith, Edinburgh. The 19-metre (63ft) Bloodhound was a successful ocean-racing yacht. The royal family bought her in 1962 and both the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal learned to sail on the yacht on private family holidays in the Western Isles of Scotland. Prince Philip had much success competing with Bloodhound at the Cowes Week regatta around the Isle of Wight. The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust bought Bloodhound in early 2010 and she is the centrepiece of a new exhibition focusing on the Royal Family's passion for sailing. Visitors can view Bloodhound from a specially built pontoon. The chairman of the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, Rear Admiral Neil Rankin CB, CBE says: ‘It is with a great sense of pride that we welcome such an important part of royal sailing history to her new home, and just as we maintain Britannia for future generations to enjoy, we will similarly care for Bloodhound.’ From 2011 Bloodhound will be sailing on private charter during July and August each year and will not be on view to the public at Britannia. She is expected to be sailing on the west coast of Scotland or in the Solent on the south coast of England. The Royal Yacht Britannia was launched in 1953 and was used by the royal family for both private holidays and state tours round the world. The vessel can be visited daily 10am–4pm (9.30am–4.30pm July–Sept). Admission £10.50 adults, £9 seniors, £6.75 children 5–17, family ticket £31.
The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ

 Hotels
HotelCheval Residence leads London luxury serviced apartments market
On 16 June 2010, the Cheval Group of luxury serviced apartments rebranded to become Cheval Residences. The group, which consists of six properties across London, rebranded to form a single, harmonised business identity. Cheval Residences is London’s market leader in luxury serviced apartments. The collection of six properties offers a portfolio of 287 luxury apartments, which in hotel terms equate to five-star and five-red-star accommodation.Based in prime areas of London, including Knightsbridge, Kensington, Sloane Square and the City, the properties offer both long and short stays. The spacious apartments include top-of-the-range, fully equipped kitchens featuring fine china, crockery, cutlery, dishwashers and washing machines. They also offer the ultimate in comfort and convenience with sophisticated security systems, satellite televisions, direct dial telephones, a 24-hour concierge service and daily maid service as standard. Cheval Residences’ new logo has been designed by the world-renowned illustrator Chris Mitchell, who is famed for creating the prestigious BAFTA and Guinness logos. Cheval Residences is now symbolised by a majestic unicorn which is powerful, elegant. This not only links directly to the word "Cheval", but also embodies the company’s grandeur and unique attributes. The seven properties within the group have been renamed: Cheval Phoenix House; Cheval Calico House; Cheval Gloucester Park; Cheval Hyde Park Gate; and Cheval Thorney Court; while Cheval Apartments has become Cheval Knightsbridge. The Three Quays, which is due to open in April 2013, is now named Cheval Three Quays.
Website: www.chevalresidences.com
TuneHotels.com, London
The UK’s first TuneHotels.com hotel opens this August in Lambeth, near the River Thames in London.
Opening room prices for the 79-room hotel will be from around £35 per night. Guests will be encouraged to book early and online for the best room rates. Optional extras such as wi-fi, TV and hairdryers will cost from between £1 and £3 each.  The plan is to keep TuneHotels.com’s rates low by not offering the usual hotel facilities like conference rooms, gyms and restaurants. The new London hotel will be targeting both leisure and business travellers as well as locals who, it is hoped, will consider staying in the hotel an economical alternative to a taxi ride home after a late night in central London.  The Lambeth hotel is the first of 15 TuneHotels scheduled to open across the Greater London area by 2017. The Malaysian hotel chain already operates hotels in Malaysia and Indonesia and is a sister company to AirAsia-X which in 2009 launched long-haul flights between Kuala Lumpur and London.
TuneHotels.com, 118 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7RW

The Barclay House, Cornwall
A hotel in the small fishing town of Looe is promoting Cornish food and drink with a special foodie short break.
The Barclay House’s two-night short break includes a gourmet picnic prepared by head chef Benjamin Palmer. The picnic will contain the best Cornish produce, fresh seafood, homemade delicacies, and will be part of a boat trip along the West Looe river or out at sea and around Looe Island. Dinners at Barclay House’s two-AA-rosette restaurant and its sister restaurant, the award-winning Trawlers on the Quay, are also included along with two nights' bed and breakfast.
The daily changing menus at Barclay House are freshly prepared by Palmer using local ingredients including ‘day boat’ fish from the fishing trawlers of Looe, and local wine from the Cornish Camel Valley vineyards.  Built around 1890 as a Victorian family villa, Barclay House now has 11 bedrooms, eight luxury self-catering cottages, a heated outdoor swimming pool, sauna and gym. It is a 10-minute walk from the harbour at Looe. The hotel offers a 5% discount to guests who arrive by train.  The package is priced from £220 per person based on two people sharing a standard double/twin room. Room upgrades are available from £10 per person.
Barclay House, St. Martins Road, East Looe, Cornwall PL13 1LP

Lifehouse, Essex
A contemporary health spa with rooms will open in Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex this December.
Lifehouse day and stay spa is at Thorpe Hall in 54 hectares (135 acres) of grounds with historic gardens dating back to the 11th century. The gardens and waterways have been restored and the listed Georgian manor house set in the grounds has been preserved and incorporated into the new £30-million development. There will be 100 guest rooms. Spa facilities will include 35 treatment rooms, gym, yoga and Pilates studio, swimming pool, thermal spa area and a hairdressing salon. Guests will be able to choose from a range of treatments using Babor products made from plant-based ingredients. Lifehouse’s signature treatment will be a two-hour Oriental Bathing Experience, inspired by traditional oriental bath houses, and there will also be classes and workshops including weight loss programmes, detox, keep fit, homeopathy, martial arts, watercolour painting in the garden, Pilates, Tai’Chi, yoga and garden tours with the estate and garden manager.  Overnight packages at Lifehouse will cost under £250 per person per night, and include accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, access to all spa facilities and one 25-minute treatment. Guests must be aged 16 or over. Thorpe-le-Soken is just over an hour from London and a ten-minute drive from the small seaside town of Frinton. Lifehouse, Thorpe Hall, Frinton Road, Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex CO16 OJD
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