The UK is packed with exciting attractions that could be earning you commission, reports Katie McGonagle
We Brits love a good moan. Whether it’s the weather, the recession, or the price of a pint, it’s all fodder for our natural-born sense of national pessimism.
Amid all that grumbling, though, we risk missing out on the natural assets around us. From Roman ruins to 21st-century cities, royal palaces to rolling hills and dales, the British Isles has a raft of attractions both natural and man-made. Find out how they could be earning you money – and helping you to nurture client loyalty for booking breaks abroad – as we look at a handful of highlights.
1 ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO
The Edinburgh Festival is a well-known feast of fringe theatre, daring comedy and performing arts, but how much do you know about the military tattoos, held in the impressive esplanade of Edinburgh Castle? The event originated in 1950 and now attracts more than 200,000 spectators each year to see massed pipes and bands, fireworks, a lament by a lone piper, and a rousing march along the Royal Mile.
Book it: Over-55s specialist Grand UK Holidays has a five-day Edinburgh Tattoo itinerary, from £379 departing August 12. The tattoo is also included on August departures of its Highland Highlights tour.
2 WARWICK CASTLE
Founded by William the Conqueror, visited by Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, home to the notorious Kingmaker of the Wars of the Roses – Warwick Castle is like a who’s who of British history, complete with treason, treachery and a host of historical figures. It has loads to keep kids entertained too, including Horrible Histories Foul Fayres over Easter, half-term and summer holidays, and the Warwick Castle Unlocked; four new rooms opened to the public for the first time in generations.
Book it: Day tickets for two adults and two children (aged four-11), including the Castle Dungeon and Merlin: The Dragon Tower, start at £75.84.
3 THE COUNTRYSIDE
There are acres of beautiful British countryside from the delightful dales in Derbyshire to the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire. The views are free, but there are plenty of ways to get commission. Inntravel’s walking holidays include Northumberland, the Waveney Valley, Cotswolds and the Peak District; adventure tour operator Explore has trips to Snowdonia, Ben Nevis, the Orkneys and Outer Hebrides; or get to know which hotels are within easy reach of the best countryside and earn on the accommodation.
Book it: One such example is Holme Lacy House, a Warner Leisure Hotel in the Wye Valley, Herefordshire. Three nights’ half-board starts at £210 in June.
0808 141 1111
4 LONDON EYE
The capital is attraction-central, but none shows off its glorious cityscape better than the London Eye. The giant Ferris wheel’s enviable South Bank location offers superb views and an unmissable opportunity to spot other London landmarks. Clients can upgrade to champagne flights or private capsules for special occasions. Annabel Cove, business development manager at Do Something Different, says: “The London Eye plus dinner was our best-selling ticket for 2012, and its popularity isn’t wavering. Customers want to make the most of their precious free time, so pre-booking attractions and tours helps budget for their travels and guarantees availability.”
Book it: Dinner in Covent Garden plus a 30-minute evening flight on the London Eye costs £40 for adults and £33 for under-16s.
020 8090 3890
Young or old, this seaside resort has entertainment to suit and remains one of the UK’s most-visited cities, with iconic landmarks such as the Pleasure Beach, Illuminations and Blackpool Tower. For older clients, recommend a stroll along the promenade and a twirl around the Tower Ballroom. Youngsters will want to head straight for rides on the central and south piers, the Pleasure Beach or one of many family-friendly attractions.
Book it: Attraction World’s Big Ticket covers seven venues: Blackpool Tower Eye, Dungeon, Circus, Ballroom and Jungle Jim’s indoor play, plus Madame Tussauds and SeaLife – for £49, valid for 90 days.
attractionworld.com0871 700 8888
6 HADRIAN’S WALL
The UK’s rich heritage is one of our greatest assets, but it’s not all about palaces and prime ministers. Explore the ancient history of these isles with a visit to Roman ruins such as Hadrian’s Wall, Chester or Bath. Visitors can explore the area on foot with the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail, or take the family – youngsters study Roman Britain in primary school – to the child-friendly Roman Army Museum at Carvoran fort.
Book it: Three nights at Hoseasons’ Kielder Water Lodges in Northumberland, about an hour’s drive from Hadrian’s Wall, starts at £619 for a family of five sharing a three-bedroom lodge during the summer holidays.
0844 847 1144
7 THE EDEN PROJECT
This is more than just a haven for green-fingered gardeners, it’s a tribute to environmental conservation at its best. Two vast greenhouses, biomes, are kept at Mediterranean and tropical temperatures to house thousands of plant species from around the world. The attraction is three miles outside St Austell in Cornwall, and is easy to combine with seaside breaks or as a day trip from southwest resorts.
Book it: Great Rail Journeys’ Torquay and the Eden Project by Train is a five-day rail tour along the Devon coast, from £345 including half-board accommodation.
8 GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
Legend has it this natural wonder was the result of a battle between Irish giant Finn McCool and his Scottish counterpart, but finding out it was really a result of ancient volcanic activity does nothing to diminish its appeal. The vast network of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns stretches out into the sea on the northern coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Book it: Shearings Holidays’ five-day coach tour, Belfast & Giant’s Causeway, starts at £339 including four nights’ half-board accommodation, and two excursions (April-September).
0844 824 6351
9 SEASIDE ESCAPE
The Canary Islands have better weather, Florida has more theme parks, but none of them have the old-fashioned charm of a British seaside break – and if it comes with the odd summer shower and sand in your sandwiches, that’s all part of the fun.Holiday parks are great for families – especially if they have indoor facilities for rainy days – but the coast is a winner for any age group, so don’t discount the older market or younger groups of travellers looking for a short break.
Book it: Two adults and two children sharing a standard self-catering apartment at Butlins Bognor Regis, which has this year introduced a traditional funfair on-site, starts at £466 from July 26.
0845 070 4742
10 THE WEST END
Come back to the capital for one of the best commission-boosters around: the West End. A visit to one of London’s longest-running shows is a must for entertainment value alone. Other big cities such as Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester also have thriving theatre scenes.
Book it: Tap into the recent success of Les Miserables with tickets to the show plus a night at the three-star Bedford Hotel from £115.50 with Superbreak (Monday-Thursday).
0871 221 1515
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