Loren Christie on new sights to enjoy in London
Canada AM travel expert Loren Christie
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2012 11:45AM EDT
Between the excitement of the Olympics and the Queen's Jubilee, 2012 is a year that is putting the great in Great Britain. All month I'll be taking viewers around the country from Edinburgh to London to the Welsh Coast.
Today's segment focused on the U.K.'s newest attractions, including The Harry Potter Tour at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, which opened a month ago. It provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter films.
This unique walking tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.
Highlights include the Great Hall, Dumbledore's office, the Gryffindor common room and never-before-seen treasures. Located 40 minutes north of London in Leavesden, make sure to make advance reservations. You don't need to be a Harry Potter fan to love it, anyone interested in movie making will be blown away.
Of course this year's two main events, the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee mean a slew of special concerts, events and attractions from the Cultural Olympiad's World Shakespeare Festival to a flotilla in honour of the Queen along the River Thames during the extended weekend of June 2 to 5.
Some other new attractions to check out in 2012 include:
Brighton Sea Life Centre celebrates its 140th anniversary in 2012, officially making it the oldest aquarium in the world. Restoration works currently taking place will restore the Victorian architecture back to its former glory. Guests will be immersed in the Sea Life experience from the moment they enter, with two new areas including a "Jelly Disco" and a behind-the-scenes tour.
The National Football Museum opens in May in Manchester. Highlights include a shirt from the world's first international match, played in 1872, the 1966 World Cup Final ball and the shirt worn by Maradona during the 1986 "Hand of God" quarter final match between England and Argentina.
What promises to be an event on a truly mammoth scale, WorldPride in London is expected to attract over one million visitors. Organized by InterPride, WorldPride promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities. The two-week festivities known as ‘Festival fortnight' will take place from June 23 to July 8, 2012, with the main parade being held on July 7.
If you are heading over to London, do check out the newly renovated Apex Temple Court Hotel. Situated just off Fleet Street, this landmark building was recently converted into a four-star contemporary hotel.