Must see in Europe

There are plenty of places I would love to visit in Europe that are both famous and beautiful, but there is no way I would ever get to see them all. Here are just 3 of the places I am going to try to visit by the end of the year!

1. Bruges

One of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe, Bruges attracts thousands of people to its cobbled streets on a yearly basis and it’s not just famous for its beauty. Bruges is bursting with history and popular museums such as The Groeninge museum and the Memling museum as well as its fantastic market’s and churches.

2. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame

On the Île de la Cité in Paris stands the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The site where the Cathedral stands has been a place of worship since Roman times and the building as it stands today took over 200 years to complete! You can also get up close to the gargoyles but only if you fancy walking the 387 steps to the top of the tower!

3. The Scottish Lochs

There are hundreds of Scottish Lochs all over Scotland and it would take forever to explore them all. The beautiful Loch Lomond is the largest of the fresh water lochs and is easy to reach from Glasgow, but the most famous is the Loch Ness thanks to the Loch Ness Monster!

So there are my top 3 places to visit in Europe, what are yours?

20/05/2011 at 4:30 Leave a comment

Route for the Olympic Torch Revealed

Posted by Becky

This week those of you who applied for tickets to the London Olympics 2012 will find out if you have been successful and what events you’ll be seeing, With this knowledge in hand you can start planning your London break and enjoy the build up to the world biggest sporting event. With just over a year to go until the big event, Olympic officials have now announced the route that the Olympic torch will take across Britain.

A symbol of the Olympic Games the torch is steeped in history, since the 1936 Games the Olympic torch has followed the tradition of being lit in its ancient home of Greece and then embarking on a relay of Greece before travelling to the host country for a tour. Arriving in the UK on 18th May 2012 the torch will leave Land’s End on the 19th May and travel 8,000 miles on a 70 day relay. The Torch will travel through many cities across the country including York, Manchester, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham, Leicester, Oxford, Southampton and Dover as well as taking a trip to the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the Hebrides. With over 8,000 Torchbearers expected to take part there are plenty of opportunities to get involved before the Torch arrives at the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on the 27th July.

Will you be visiting London during the Olympic Games, or perhaps take part in a tour of the Olympic Park. Are you on the torch route? Has it missed your bit of the country out? Will you be nominating anyone to take part and be a torchbearer?

18/05/2011 at 8:56 Leave a comment

Eurovision Hopes for 2011

The time has come for the annual Eurovision song contest. Whether you’ll be voting for your favourite short break destination or picking the cheesiest or most sparkling entry over 125 million viewers across the world will watch the Eurovision final. Hosted by Germany the Grand Final is broadcast from the Dusseldorf Arena and will air on BBC One tonight. Following two Semi Finals on the 10th and on the 12th of May the final will feature acts from across Europe all competing for the winning place. Countries that have made it through to the final are Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Lithuania, Hungary, Ireland, Sweden, Estonia, Greece, Russia, France, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Moldova, Germany, Romania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Slovenia, Iceland, Spain, Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia.

With commentary by Graham Norton the country’s eyes will be on Ireland and the United Kingdom entries. Over the past ten years neither country have done very well but throughout the contests history Ireland have won 7 times and the United Kingdom 5 times. During the 1990’s the UK and Ireland achieved the number 1 and 2 spot in 4 of the decade’s contests.

With Ireland’s entry being sung by X-Factor contestants Jedward and the UK utilising the boy band Blue, Duncan James having recently starred in Legally Blonde the musical will this boost their votes from the rest of Europe?

So will you be watching the Eurovision contest? Do you have a party planned and who do you think will win this year? Or will you be avoiding the whole thing?

14/05/2011 at 11:29 Leave a comment

Top Free things to do in London

With millions of people visiting London every year the Capital is a hive of activity. Whether you are planning on visiting London on a theatre break, take in a concert at The O2, walk in the shadows of Royalty or simply experience the buzz of the city there is plenty to keep you entertained. With plenty of intriguing sights, attractions and points of interest that are available to see for free your London break doesn’t have to cost you the earth. Here is our selection of some of the best free activities:

Museums & Art Galleries:

Spend a day as a culture vulture and plan a visit to one of the many galleries and museums London has to offer. From the renowned Natural History Museum and National Science Museum in Kensington to the inspired Tate Modern, National Gallery and British Museum or the Imperial War Museum there is plenty to choose from and something to suit all tastes.

The Royal Parks

With eight Royal Parks across the City there is plenty of parkland for you to enjoy, whether you are exploring the heritage site of Greenwich or strolling through Regents Park you’ll feel a million miles from the hub of London. Many of the parks have their own unique treasures such as the Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens or the Diana Memorial in Hyde Park.

Changing of the Guard

Witness the spectacle of The Queen’s Guard as they perform the Changing of The Guard ceremony at Buckingham, Palace. Conducted on the grounds in front of Buckingham Palace the ceremony takes 40 minutes to complete. From May to July you can see the Changing of the Guard every day at 11.30am, throughout the rest of the year the ceremony is only performed on alternate days.

Festivals and Markets

Coincide your London break with one of the city’s many festivals. From the Notting Hill Carnival to New Year celebrations, Firework displays and International festivities the city comes alive. London is also home to hundreds of spectacular markets from the renowned Camden Market to the historic Spitalfields and the world famous Portobello road.

These are just a few suggestions on free activities to do on your London break. Do you have any ideas, what are the best free attractions in London?

13/05/2011 at 7:54 Leave a comment

Life’s a beach

While we may not all be able to jet of to the Seychelles at a days notice, like the newly wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we do have the luxury of some of the finest beaches around. The annual Keep Britain Tidy awards saw 70 beaches in the UK claim the internationally recognised ‘Blue Flag’ with Cornwall having five of the cleanest beaches in England! As well as that 108 beaches received Quality Coast award with 32 of those winning both, meaning we have over 146 award winning beaches right on our doorstep – a perfect excuse to get outside and start discovering the UK’s Coast.

At this time of year when the weather is starting to get warmer there is no better place than relaxing by the beach where ever it is. If you choose a late hotel deal by the beach or a few days in a seaside resort you won’t be able to resist popping down to the sea front and squeezing in a few ice creams or enjoying a quick paddle. As well as that with so many beaches waving the blue flag proudly you are sure to have one only a few hours drive from where you are!

I love a trip to the sea side so I asked some of my good friends on Facebook which of our blue flag beaches they preferred and of course which does the best ice cream and fish and chips! Bridlington is looking like the one to beat so make sure you get your votes in.

Where is your favourite beach? Share your beach knowledge in the comments box below!

12/05/2011 at 8:38 Leave a comment

Shrek competition

Shrek the Musical is one of the hottest new shows to hit the West End, since its opening last week it has already had rave reviews for the 4 stars of the show! Nigel Lindsay takes on the role of Shrek with Richard Blackwood as his sidekick Donkey. Amanda Holden is delighting preview audiences with her role as Princess Fiona and Nigel Harman completes this fantastic cast as the role of Lord Farquaad, the King with a height complex!

Fancy winning a pair of tickets to see the fantastic Shrek in London or 1 of 5 pairs of Shrek ears?! Just find us on Twitter @superbreak and RT our comp to be in with a chance.

1.       This competition is open to UK residents only and entrants must be 18 years of age or over. When contacted the prize winner must provide proof of age.

2.        Employees connected with this promotion from superbreak.com, any employees of third party prize suppliers and promotional agencies and their families are excluded from taking part in this prize draw.

3.        One winner will be randomly selected by an independent person from all the entries after the closing date (on 16th May 2011). The winner will be notified by e-mail.

4.        Maximum of one entry per person. Bulk or third-party entries are not accepted.

5.        The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

6.        The prize includes: Two tickets to see Shrek the musical at London’s Theatre Royal on Monday 23rd May.

7.        The Prizes are as stated, non-negotiable, non-transferable and there is no cash alternative or different holiday option. The promoter reserves the right (a) to substitute alternative prizes of equivalent or greater value and (b) in exceptional circumstances to amend or foreclose the promotion without notice. Your statutory rights remain unaffected.

8.        If winners are unable to take the prizes, a redraw will take place.

9.        superbreak.com accepts no liability for the prize or for any loss or damage arising from its issue.

10.     Winners accept prize at own risk. Winners should obtain their own travel insurance and ensure they’re fit to travel.

11.     superbreak.com may wish to use winners’ names for editorial and publicity purposes on the superbreak.com website. It is a condition of entry to this prize draw that you agree to this use of your name. The Promoter’s privacy policy applies and can be found by clicking here.

12.     Winners’ names & city of residence may be obtained by sending a sae to: superbreak.com, Eboracum Way, York, YO31 7RE 28 days after the closing date. Please state the competition title. Please do not send entries to this address.

13.     The promoter of this competition is superbreak.com, Eboracum Way, York, YO31 7RE

14.     This promotion is governed by English law.

10/05/2011 at 4:27 4 comments

Liverpool Lights Up

Posted by Becky

Brimming with a vibrant city culture and a rich heritage Liverpool is a great destination for a short break. From the infamous Cavern Club to the historic docks, the Beatles Story, Liverpool Philharmonic and the buzzing Liverpool ONE shopping complex the city is a hub of activity.

If you are planning on taking a Liverpool break during May then you may well see have the opportunity to see one of the city’s most unique festivals, the Light Night Liverpool event takes place on Friday 13th May and is host to a hive of arts, culture and music. With many of the events and activities being free it’s the perfect time to see Liverpool in a new light.

From five in the evening to late through the night over 50 Liverpool venues will open their doors, from the Tate Gallery to the iconic Cathedrals there is something to for everyone to enjoy. The festival is also the launching date for Liverpool’s first international photography festival and the Liverpool International Carnival.

Why not hop on one of the guided tours and enjoy all the sights with an insight into the history that makes Liverpool what it is. With almost 100 events to choose from the Light Night Liverpool festival is an excellent chance to explore the city.

Will you be visiting Liverpool this May? Have you been to the Festival before, what were the best bits of the night?

06/05/2011 at 10:27 Leave a comment

Keep the kids happy this summer!

As we quickly approach the school summer holidays its time to start thinking about the best ways to keep the children entertained this summer. With over 6 weeks to keep them out of trouble we have come up with our top 3 ways to keep the kids occupied!

1. Attraction Breaks

With a whole host of attractions up and down the UK to choose from the summer holidays is the perfect time to enjoy some fun family time. With popular attractions like Alton Towers and Legoland to choose from you will find something to suit children of all ages and many different theme park experiences.

2. Pontins Holiday Resorts

If you are looking to get away for a few days a short break in one of the fantastic Pontins Parks is a great way to keep the kids happy. With all sorts of activities ranging from Crazy Golf or even Human Table Football and plenty of live entertainment and beautiful scenery you will be struggling to get the kids to leave!

3. UK Events

There are so many events taking place this year that the children will just love. Batman Live the UK tour is hitting many top cites including London, Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester and is a must for comic fans of all ages. With amazing special effects, action stunts and acrobatics you will see Gotham City as you have never seen it before! Not forgetting the amazing Dr Who Experience at London’s Olympia. A chance to step inside the TARDIS and enjoy a fully interactive adventure!

So that’s my top 3 ways to keep the little ones entertained this summer, but what are your top tips?

05/05/2011 at 9:58 Leave a comment

How did you watch the wedding?

Source: The Mirror

Many people opted for a short break or a last minute hotel deal over the double bank holiday weekend. But where ever you went you could not escape that on the 29th of April 2011 Prince William married Kate Middleton in London’s Westminster Abbey. The fairytale day started with the arrival of many guests including Sir Elton John and his partner as well as David and Victoria Beckham before the guests of honour. Hotels in London were set to burst as the truly perfect day was shared by over 1 million well-wishers lining the streets of London, as well as the 24 million people in the UK and an estimated 2 billion worldwide who tuned in to see the happy couple.

In the run up to the wedding a lot of talk followed who exactly would design Kate’s dress and on the day no one was disappointed. The stunning dress, designed by Sarah Burton, assistant of late designer Alexander McQueen is now the talk of the wedding dress world. Many dress makers have already recreated the look just hours after it was revealed!

Rumour has it that the original dress will be placed on display for members of the public to see it in its full beauty. (Yey!) Kensington Palace and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London are possibilities to showcase this fantastic British design which I am sure will have hundreds of people queuing up to see it. The new Duchess of Cambridge also followed tradition and left her bouquet at Westminster Abbey on the grave of the unknown warrior, which has already seen thousands of people visiting it.

So as the biggest event to hit London this year has now drawn to a close we have to start preparing ourselves for next years 2012 Olympics and the Queens Diamond Jubilee!

How did you spend the big day?

04/05/2011 at 9:19 Leave a comment

Royal Breaks

The big day is almost upon us and as many of us have now come to terms with the fact that our invites weren’t lost in the post we can look at other ways to spend a day like royalty. There are many ways to catch a glimpse into how the Royals live and many short breaks that will let us experience life as a Royal so here is my top 3 Royal themed breaks!

1. Buckingham Palace – Private Tour

Enjoy a grand tour of the State Rooms and marvel at the grand gilded ceilings and sparkling chandeliers. Get to see first hand where the Royal Wedding guests mingled on the big day!

2. Edinburgh Military Tattoo

There is no better view than the magical backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and the breathtaking shows from the Military bands including the world famous Massed Pipes and Drums.

3. A Royal Day

Begin your day with a visit to the Royal Mews, home to the magnificent Gold State Coach, then head to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace before ending your visit with a walk along the south side of the garden, with its amazing views of the west front of the Palace.

So don’t worry if you weren’t invited to tomorrows wedding you can still enjoy a Royal break of your very own!

28/04/2011 at 3:35 Leave a comment

The Royal Wedding is upon us…


With the wedding of the year just a few days away Royal Wedding fever is at its peak. If you can’t make it down to London to see the event don’t worry with the host of TV programmes that were on over the Easter Weekend and more scheduled to coincide with the couple’s special day you are sure to catch a glimpse of the Royal celebrations wherever you are.

Sunday saw the broadcast of the American made William & Kate: The Movie, charting the ups and downs of William and Kate’s relationship in a retelling that could only be done by the Americans. The made for TV film is released on DVD on the 25th April and will also be shown on Friday the 29th April too.

A worldwide phenomenon Will and Kate – A Royal Engagement, has been sold by the BBC to 32 broadcasters across the globe. While many tourists are descending on a London break to enjoy the wedding plenty are happy to stay at home and enjoy it from the comfort of their sofas.

Many popular programmes are jumping onto the Royal Wedding too with channel four showing a Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding and a special edition of Come Dine with Me following four people as they organise their own street parties for the Royal Wedding.

So what will you be watching? Will you be joining in the Royal Wedding themed programmes, enjoying the history of the Royal Weddings or tuning out completely?

25/04/2011 at 8:35 Leave a comment

Short Beaks with Ramada Jarvis…

When planning your break away there are lots of things to consider, where to go, what to see and most importantly where you will stay.

With over 47 properties throughout the UK Ramada Jarvis hotels are an ideal base for your short break. Whether planning a trip away with family, a country retreat or city getaway there is plenty of hotels to choose from.

Ideal for the long weekends and half term breaks Ramada Jarvis has a range of stylish hotels close to key cities and top attractions. For those seeking the adrenaline and exhilaration of high octane rides there are hotels within easy reach of Alton Towers, Drayton Manor, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures. For a more relaxed break there are a host of Ramada Jarvis hotels surrounded by serene countryside, offering landscape gardens, picturesque views and the perfect escape from everyday life. If it’s a romantic city break you are after Ramada Jarvis has hotels in vibrant cities across the country including London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

With a great selection of three and four star hotels offering a range of rooms throughout England, Scotland and Wales you are sure to find the ideal hotel to suit your needs.

22/04/2011 at 10:16 Leave a comment

Ivor Norvello nominations

The nominations for this year’s Ivor Norvello Awards have been announced and popular acts on the diverse list include Tinie Tempah, Kylie, The xx and Plan B. These prestigious awards, which recognise excellence in song writing, have categories including Best Song Musically and Lyrically, Best Television Soundtrack, Best Original Video Game Score and Songwriter of The Year. The awards will take place in London on May 19 and the nominations are already causing a huge buzz around the industry.

The Ivor Norvello Awards are highly sought after by artists due to the nominations coming from professional song writers. They are also well known for their commitment to song writing talent over commercial viability, which is why so many songs and artists that are nominated may not always make the UK Top 40.

Past winners of a Norvello Award include Bryan Adams who has just announced his tour including dates at the O2 Arena and Paolo Nutini who will play at the refurbished York Barbican Centre later this year.

Who do you think will walk away with the awards?

21/04/2011 at 3:06 Leave a comment

Superbreak’s Top 10 Theatre Bloggers

When planning and booking a theatre break sometimes the hardest bit is choosing what show you want to see. From drama to musical, acclaimed plays and award winning comedies there are hundreds of shows to choose from. Luckily there is a host of great theatre blogs on the web providing useful insights, reviews, theatre & industry information and more. Offering all you could need to select your favourite musical, see something out of the ordinary or catch the latest hit show. Here is our guide to the best theatre bloggers out there.

1. http://www.thestage.co.uk/blogs/

The first port of call for theatre buffs and industry experts The Stage has a great array of blogs. From their TV Today blog which covers what is going on on television, to their Education and Training blog, which relates articles and other things on training in performing arts, via Podacasts and Shenton’s view. A Great go to place for any information on the performing arts.

2. http://carouseloffantasies.blogspot.com/

Carousel of Fantasies is an onsite portal for Matt Trueman’s thoughts and reviews of this and that. He is theatre critic and frequent contributor to Time Out and Culture Wars. His unique reviews cover numerous plays and theatrical productions across London and do not shy away from criticism.

3. http://www.encoretheatremagazine.co.uk/

Encore Theatre Magazine is ‘put together by a group of British theatre workers to ask whether we have the theatre we want, the stages we need, and the drama we deserve.’ Their reviews are not just of the shows themselves, but with an original twist also review the London theatre scene and how it can move forward to deliver what the theatre going public deserves.

4. http://www.blowstar.blogspot.com/

Blowstar is Johnny Fox’s honest and personal views on the world of performing arts with a little travel, food and music thrown in. Going since 2007 this blog is a great place first call for theatre reviews for London shows and further afield, show previews and general entertainment.

5. http://tttcritic.blogspot.com/

If it has happened in a theatre then chances are you can read about here. Started as a teenager Robs blog has progressed from the Teenage Theatre critic to the Tyro Theatre Critic. Age may have changed his vision of the world but his honesty towards theatre remains untouched.

6. http://oughttobeclowns.blogspot.com/

Reviews of plays within London and beyond. From large scale productions to smaller, intimate productions, Ian has seen them all. Although by his own admission his love of theatre is bordering on obsession, if you are looking for an honest review you will find it here.

7. http://roguezentradi.blogspot.com/

An American perspective on London theatre. With an MA in theatre from a British drama school, this blogger covers a wide range of theatre productions that you may have seen, or may still want to see. With some culture blogs thrown into its ideal for those seeking information on the arts and theatre.

8. http://www.viewfromthestalls.co.uk/

Play reviews straight from the heart of Scotland. Tired of the same clutter shown in the cinema, this blog seeks out plays that do not rely on start power to draw in the crowds. Honest reviews of the plays you might not have seen, but probably should and most likely will want to.

9.http://www.theatrejunki.com/

Not just a review of theatre productions, but the current issues within theatre and entertainment. Written by an aspiring producer and graduate of theatre management, this blog covers a wide variety of everything theatre related.

10. www.thepublicreviews.com

Public Reviews was set up to allow volunteer reviewers a chance to voice their opinion and allow others to read reviews from the people that count – the public! Honest and insightful reviews from everyday theatre goers.

Do you read any of these blogs or do you have any good theatre blog suggestions? How do you plan what you’d like to see at the theatre or keep up to date with theatre news? And, if you’ve already booked your London theatre break, why not check out our free London Theatre Guide.

21/04/2011 at 1:48 Leave a comment

Britain’s Got Talent

This weekend saw the return of Britain’s Got Talent to our screens and millions of hopefuls line up for their chance to impress the judges. As they searched up and down the UK for talent for the first time the show headed to Liverpool to check out the city that brought us The Beatles, The Lightning Seeds and The Zutons.

The judging panel this year has seen also seen a slight tweak with the introduction of comedian Michael Mcintyre and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff as well as popular judge, and Shrek The Musical actress, Amanda Holden. The show started off with a bang and as the weeks go on we are sure to see a range of acts that will keep us glued to our seats.

The show already had its “Susan Boyle” moment early on thanks to 19 year old Michael Collings who has already been tipped by Justin Beiber as one to watch. The dates for the Britain’s Got Talent tour have been announced and despite the show only being in its first week it’s already proving to be popular.

What do you think of the new judges and this years acts so far?

20/04/2011 at 9:23 Leave a comment

Weekend Breaks at the Beach

Posted by Becky

With the weather turning warmer and long weekends ahead now is the perfect opportunity to head to one of the UK’s award winning beaches for a great day out or relaxing weekend break.

Across the country there are a host of long reaching sandy beaches perfect for all the family. With many awarded blue flag status you can be assured of excellent quality sand and clear crisp sea. From the South Coast of England, to cosy beaches in North Yorkshire and hidden gems of Wales and Ireland there are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from. Here is a small selection of some of the award winning beaches throughout the UK.

Bournemouth, Dorset

Four of Bournemouth’s beaches have been awarded the blue flag. Spreading across seven miles there is something for everyone. From relaxing beach chalets to exhilarating watersports and picturesque scenery staying in Bournemouth hotels you are close to it all.

Whitby West Cliff, Yorkshire 

At the heart of the Yorkshire Coast, Whitby is a town full of character and home to one of the county’s best beaches. The West Cliff beach stretches out as far as the eye can see, with iconic beach huts, hidden caves and historic pier it is an ideal place to spend the day.

Tenby, Wales

With unspoilt beaches and historic town walls Tenby is a hugely popular destination. Set in Pembrokeshire Tenby offers a beautiful resort with plenty to do. From surfing to paragliding, walking along the beach to visiting the medieval castle there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

Portrush, Ireland

Within easy reach of the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and the Bushmills distillery the small beach of Portrush offers a secluded haven. Close to the town of Coleraine there is plenty to do in this small resort.

Whether in search of a quiet beach, somewhere to play with the family or eager to get in the water the UK has a great range to choose from. So where will you be heading? Do you have a favourite beach or coastal town?

19/04/2011 at 10:54 Leave a comment

2 weeks until the Royal Wedding

Posted by Danielle

In exactly two weeks time London as we know it will be full of people celebrating the Royal Wedding. Crowds will have waited hours to catch a glimpse of the future King and Queen of England as they travel the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace for the kiss on the balcony.

It is thought that Kate Middleton has opted out of spending the night before the wedding in Buckingham Palace and has instead decided to spend the night in one of London’s top hotels. The Goring Hotel is one of London’s most prestigious 5 star hotels that has recently undergone a £150,000 refurbishment ahead of the big day. The 5 room suite Kate is expected to spend the night before her marriage to Prince William will be oozing with character for the nervous bride to be.

People are going crazy for the Royal Wedding which will see millions world wide tune in to watch the day unfold. People are commemorating the day by buying tea towels, mug, plates and even knitting the Royal Wedding! Not to mention the hundreds of parties that have been planned to celebrate the day in style. One lucky person even found the face of Kate Middleton in a Jelly Bean!!

Superbreak has also gone Royal Wedding crazy with our very own Royal Wedding Party competition; if you haven’t already you have to check it out.

Have you seen Kate in the Jelly Bean or in any other food item!?

15/04/2011 at 10:20 Leave a comment

QHotels Getaway

If you are thinking of a relaxing getaway this Easter/Royal Wedding Bank Holiday break then you are probably in need of a little bit of inspiration. How does hotels surrounded by acres of lush green gardens, hotels in buzzing city centres, rejuvenating spa treatments and championship golf courses, sound?

Our good friends at QHotels have just that! With 21 4* hotels all over the UK including popular destinations like Manchester, Cambridge and Stratford-upon-Avon you are sure to find the perfect hotel for your short break.

If you are just looking at a night away from it all why not look at one of the Fantastic Friday offers from QHotels? A one night stay with a sumptuous dinner and buffet breakfast, perfect for a getaway to recharge the batteries. But this amazing offer is only available until the end of April so you have to act quickly.

Have you visited a QHotel?

14/04/2011 at 2:10 Leave a comment

Betty Blue Eyes Opens….

Posted by Becky

Opening at the Novello Theatre this week Betty Blue Eyes is the first original musical Cameron Mackintosh has produced in ten years. Famed for his involvement in hit shows such as Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, and Cats Mackintosh is one of the West Ends leading producers, with his company Delfont Mackintosh owning seven theatres across London.

Betty Blue Eyes is a Quintessentially British comedy, adapted from Alan Bennett’s award winning film ‘A Private Function’ the story is set in 1947 Yorkshire amidst the struggles of rationing and unemployment in Post-war Britain. With a Royal Wedding on the horizon rations are thrown out of the window as an illegal pig ‘Betty’ is brought in for local dignitaries to enjoy at a royal feast. With the pig stolen and a food inspector on the lookout the story is full of comedic twists and turns.

The £2.5million production opens in a social environment which in some ways parallels the setting of the story. With the nation concerned about the economic climate, rising unemployment and a wedding on the way Betty Blue Eyes cuts through the everyday strains of life to release a fresh new musical comedy into the world.

With an array of British talent in the film, including Maggie Smith and Michael Palin as Gilbert and Joyce Chilver, the musical has a lot to live up to. With Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith in the lead roles Betty Blue Eyes features a wealth of British talent. Plus with music by the renowned George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and directed by Laurence Olivier Award-winner Richard Eyre the show is a sure fire hit.

Will you be going to see Betty Blue Eyes? Do you think it reflects the current climate?

13/04/2011 at 11:22 Leave a comment

Britain’s Got Talent Returns

The Fifth series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent is set to air this Saturday night and is expected to draw in record numbers of viewers. Fronted by Geordie due Ant & Dec this year’s show sees a change to the judges with David Hasslehoff and Michael McIntyre joining Amanda Holden instead of Simon Cowell & Piers Morgan. Though previous judge Simon Cowell will be coming back to judge the live finals.

With a fresh dynamic in place and a new audition process a range of different acts have been put through the audition rounds, there have been less dance acts as in previous years and more young singers and illusionists. Last year’s Britain Got Talent saw a mixture of dance acts, singers and gymnasts perform alongside a dancing dog, drummer and comedian, with acrobatic group Spelbound winning the final.

Previous Britain’s Got Talent winners include opera singer Paul Potts, street dancer George Sampson, and Diversity. The show has also launched the careers of Susan Boyle, Flawless and Stavros Flatley. As with previous years the finalists will go on to tour the country in a live show, including a performance at London’s O2 Arena.

So will you be watching Britain’s Got Talent? Who have been your favourite acts so far?

12/04/2011 at 2:53 Leave a comment

Theatre News

 

If like me you are a HUGE Tim Minchin fan and didn’t get to see Matilda during its run in Stratford, you will be pleased to hear its heading to London’s West End! The Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical version will arrive in autumn and composer Tim Minchin and the RSC have confirmed the run of the Roald Dahl classic. It’s not yet known where the show will call home, but hopefully it won’t be too long before we find out!🙂

As well as that, the full cast has been announced for Much Ado About Nothing. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are headlining the show alongside Tom Bateman who will take up the role of Claudio, with Alex Beckett and Joshua Berg starring as Borachio and Titus respectively. The play is only open for a limited season and marks David Tennants first return to the stage in over three years, since his role of Hamlet.

This coming week also is the opening of the much anticipated Betty Blue Eyes, Cameron Mackintosh’s new West End production. Featuring a £100,000 robotic pig and co-starring Sarah Lancashire better known for her role as Raquel in Coronation Street.

Will you be checking out any of these shows?

08/04/2011 at 1:08 Leave a comment

Aliens invited to the Royal Wedding?

Posted by Danielle

With the big day only weeks away there is still plenty of speculation arousing over the Royal Wedding. Kate Middleton has kept the designer of her wedding dress firmly under wraps and the couple are now deciding on where about they want to call home.

But the most recent speculation is that the wedding will not only be watched by over a billion people worldwide, there might also be a few hundred extraterrestrials joining in the celebrations. The National UFO Centre has apparently reported expecting a significant amount of UFO sightings surrounding Westminster Abbey on the 29th of April. The Royal Family are said to have an interest in everything UFO related which makes ET even more likely to visit on the Royal Wedding weekend! Although this story has more of an April Fool ring to it than anything else.😦

But in true British fashion people are going all out in a bid to make the double bank holiday weekend count and are in the middle of organising parties up and down the nation to celebrate the big day. Those who are planning on celebrating in London are getting ready to join the thousands of people already booked to stay in the capital over this Royal weekend.

How will you be watching the wedding?

07/04/2011 at 9:37 Leave a comment

An insight into the Royal Wedding Party…

With the Easter holidays approaching and less than four weeks to go to the Royal Wedding we here at Superbreak have launched an exciting new Royal Wedding Party competition celebrating the double bank Holiday.

With daydreams of spring time, chocolate and a Royal occasion on the horizon our competition combines the best of Easter and the Royal Wedding to bring you some superb prizes. Sat in the Superbreak offices the plan was formulated, we just needed some chocolate eggs, spring paraphernalia, a couple of volunteers and the all important masks. Not to forget the prizes.

With a great range of prizes from a 3 night stay in London to a superb chocolate hamper form Hotel Chocolat we knew we were on to a winner.

When filming ensued there was fun and chaos and plenty of chocolaty mess but eventually it was over and everyone survived, just about. See what happened and join in the fun and enter the Royal Wedding Party competition to win great prizes.

06/04/2011 at 2:12 1 comment

Get Spooked with a Paranormal Activity Break…

Posted by Becky

Many towns and cities in England claim to be the most haunted in the country with thousands of people flocking to glimpse a sight of a ghost or some paranormal activity. The ancient city of Chester cites itself as the most haunted City in England with over 2,000 years of history and 120-160 haunted sites in central Chester.

For those who like to get up close and personal with the spiritual world The Best Western Premier Queen Hotel in Chester has created an evening of Paranormal activity for you to enjoy. With a ghost tour of Chester and a psychic gathering in the evening it’s enough to get anyone spooked.

Chester is not the only famous haunted city York and Edinburgh also claim the title and with plenty of Ghost walks taking place across the UK you are sure to find one wherever you stay on your short break.

With a host of historic sites across the UK it seems Ghosts are all around us. Chillingham Castle in Northumberland is home to several chilling ghosts and even conducts its own haunted tour around the castle and grounds. Borley Rectory in Essex is surrounded in legend and despite the fact it no longer stands the village of Borley is still visited for its ghostly feel.

If you are planning a London break you can still get you fill of the paranormal. 50 Berkeley Square is the most haunted house in England; white Highgate cemetery and the Tower of London offer an array of ghostly stories to appease any appetite. Or why not have a night at the theatre and experience an evening of fear and unease at the acclaimed Ghost Stories.

Do you enjoy being scared? Have you ever seen a ghost or do you even believe in them?

02/04/2011 at 10:01 Leave a comment

Mother’s day breaks….

This weekend people all over the country will be treating their mum to a special day. Whether sending a bouquet of flowers, turning up with her favourite chocolates or having a day of pampering the 3rd April is dedicated to all mums across the UK.

If you still haven’t yet got round to planning your Mother’s Day breaks, not to worry there is still plenty of time to get something organized. From a relaxing day out to a sumptuous Sunday lunch there is plenty to do to show your mum you care. For that extra special feeling a whole host of hotels from country locations to city destinations offer a superb range of revitalising spa breaks. Treat your mum to a relaxing day enjoying massages, treatments and the peaceful tranquillity of being looked after.

Alternatively why not book her a treat for the future and make the experience last that little bit longer, a trip to London to see her favourite musician in concert, or perhaps to see an exhibition. With so many great shows in the West End there is sure to be one that will be the perfect theatre break for your Mum. Maybe Dirty Dancing, Legally Blonde or a classic like Les Miserables.

What will you be doing for your mum this weekend? Will it be a small token or have you got something special planned?

01/04/2011 at 8:11 Leave a comment

Royal Lego?

Source: The Mirror

With less than a month to go not a day goes past with out some details of the Royal Wedding splashed across the papers. People are coming up each day with unique ways to commemorate this huge day, some are knitting the Royal Wedding, others are buying limited edition Oyster Cards or a tea towel, but for visitors of Legoland they can visit Buckingham Palace and witness the day for themselves.

Legoland which reopens on Friday has created a mini “Buckingham Palace” with the couple sharing a kiss in front of a cheering crowd. The miniature couple are joined by a Lego version of a pregnant Victoria Beckham and Sit Elton John among others. This display marks the 15th anniversary of Legoland and will sure to draw huge crowds when the park reopens on Friday.

Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets of London to celebrate the huge event on the 29 April and many more worldwide are expected to watch the day as it unfolds on TV. Kate is expected to arrive at Westminster Abbey in a 1997 Rolls-Royce and after the ceremony the couple will return to Buckingham Palace in a 1902 horse drawn carriage.

The Royal day has been announced as a bank holiday allowing everyone the opportunity to commemorate the day. Some lucky people have been quick to get the most out of the weekend, which falls only days after the Easter break, giving an unusual double bank holiday.

What are your plans for the double bank holiday?

31/03/2011 at 11:25 Leave a comment

A Month to go!

 

With a month to go before William and Kate say “I Do” Royal Wedding fever is gripping the world. With lots of details regarding the Royal Wedding still to be released it’s fair to say the count down is well and truly on.

The double bank holiday celebration will see people returning to work for only 3 days before enjoying another 4 days holiday to help celebrate the Royal Wedding. People have begun to add finishing touches to street parties and have started to make arrangements for staying in hotels in London for the big day.

Today also marks the day of the first images of a limited edition Royal Wedding Oyster Card, which is available from the 21 April, featuring the happy couple.

But there are those looking to escape London and the Royal Wedding over this very busy period. Many are choosing to watch the events unfold in the comfort of their hotel with a weekend break in England.

Where will you be on the 29 April?

29/03/2011 at 10:42 Leave a comment

Dancing on Ice Final

 

After weeks of sequins, twirls and daredevil routines Dancing on Ice is coming to an end this Sunday. This year’s three finalists are former Eastenders actor Sam Atterwater, children’s TV presenter Laura Hamilton and Richard Madeley’s daughter Chloe Madeley and it really is anyone’s game!

Each of the three final contestants will perform their favourite routine from the series and then will have the chance to show a routine where they have controlled everything from lights, costumes, moves and music. Following previous years the last two finalists will perform an updated version of Bolero accompanied by violinist David Garrett.

The Dancing on Ice Tour already has a host of name set to appear and with dates confirmed including Manchester and Wembley the tour is set to be a huge success.

Who do you think will win Dancing on Ice 2011?

26/03/2011 at 11:29 Leave a comment

Summer Holiday’s choices

 

As we are now officially in spring it is the time when most of us start to plan when and where we will be going on holiday. One of the biggest problems everyone comes up against is do we choose all inclusive or self catering, packages or a do it yourself approach, flights, ferry or a Eurostar Break, Europe or further away? There is so much to think about and so little time!!

Flights

Personally I prefer to choose my own flights. It means I can fly when I want and I can choose to avoid the massive cues at the airport. Early morning flights are ideal as it means I can travel down after work spend a night in one of the airport hotels before flying out and arriving to my destination feeling refreshed and I haven’t had to rush. 🙂

Hotels

One of the advantages to planning your own holiday is choosing every single detail; you are in control of where you stay and how long you stay there. There are so many hotel offers to choose from with so many different star ratings at least this way you have the option to tailor make your holiday to your requirements.

Money

Budgeting can be a massive issue when you go away; there is so much to take into consideration such as food, drinks, gifts and excursions. Which is why deciding between all inclusive and other board basis or going totally self catering is a tough call. Looking around before you travel for the best exchange rate is crucial to make sure you get the most out of your holiday money and you can enjoy yourself with out worrying.

FUN!

After you have made all your decisions on where to go, how to get there and how long for, packed your suitcase and changed your money the only other thing to do is enjoy your holiday!

How do you choose your perfect summer holiday?

25/03/2011 at 10:23 Leave a comment

London Restaurant Week 2011

Posted by Becky

From the 21st March to the 3rd April London celebrates its fifth annual restaurant week. Throughout this week restaurants across the Capital offer discounted dining and special offers to entice people in. Those of you planning on taking a London break during this time can discover a superb range of flavours and cuisines for a fraction of the usual price.

From high profile Michelin starred restaurants to cosy bistros and celebrity chefs hundreds of London restaurants take part in this yearly event. Running through to Mothers Day it offers the perfect opportunity to treat your mum to a weekend break in London with the added extra of luxury dining at affordable prices. No matter what the reason for your London break you are sure to find a restaurant to suit your tastes.

Some of the restaurants taking part in the event include Harrods restaurant, Gary Rhodes W1 Brassierie, a selection of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants and afternoon tea in Palm Court at the renowned Langham Hotel. With a host of flavours ranging from traditional English to Asian, French, Italian and International, there are dishes to get everyone’s mouth watering.

Will you be planning a break to coincide with London restaurant week? What is your favourite London restaurant or cuisine?

22/03/2011 at 11:20 Leave a comment

UK Theme Parks Open Their Doors

With the end of March fast approaching theme parks across the UK open their doors for the 2011 season. Plus with plenty of extended weekends left in the year and the approach of the May half term there is ample opportunity to enjoy a weekend break at one of the UKs top attractions.

Opening on the 17th March Thorpe Park is the first of the big theme parks to let the public in. Situated just outside London Thorpe Park is known as the nations thrill capital. Home to Saw the ride, Saw Live and a collection of some of the most thrilling rides the park is not for the faint hearted.

Ideal for the whole family Drayton Manor opens on 19th March. With over 100 rides including Thomas Land, Ben 10 and Marvin the Martian plus 15 acres of zoo land there is something to please all tastes.

Winner of Theme Park of the year in 2010 Chessington World of Adventures opens on the 26th March. Just 12 miles from London the park offers 9 themed lands full of adrenaline fuelled rides, its own Sea life centre and a Zoo with over 1000 animals. Giving plenty to keep you entertained.

At the heart of Staffordshire Alton Towers also opens on the 26th March. Featuring a host of heart pumping rides, a water park to splash out in and attractions throughout the park Alton Towers is renowned throughout the UK.

For those of you with young family Legoland opens on the 1st April, featuring over 50 million Lego bricks there are plenty of rides and activities for you to enjoy. Legoland is celebrating its 15th birthday in 2011.

What is your favourite theme park, are you a thrill seeker or do you shy away from the heights and speeds? Will you be enjoying a day out with family or friends?

18/03/2011 at 9:10 Leave a comment

Comic relief 2011

Posted by Danielle


The best of British comedy will be coming together on March 18th for Red Nose Day helping to raise money for charities involved in comic relief.  People across the UK are gearing up to raise money throughout the day and are planning to do something funny for money.

Britain’s Got Talent duo Ant and Dec have been gate crashing as many TV and Radio shows as they can to raise money, popping up on 10 different TV shows and 23 radio shows in one day! DJ Chris Moyles is also trying his hand at making some money and is attempting to break the record for the longest radio show ever at 51 and a half hours. He has been joined by a number of celeb friends including Lily Allen and Davina McCall and at just over the halfway point he is well on his way to smashing his target of £100,000.

As normal the evening’s entertainment will bring a host of special guest stars including a selection of TV specials. Dr Who will be taking a Red Nose Day trip in the TARDIS and some top British comedians will star in a parody of period drama Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs.

Here at Superbreak we have a red themed clothing day, a sweet and savoury snack stall and lots of other fun and games throughout the day. How are you raising money for Comic Relief?

17/03/2011 at 2:56 Leave a comment

2012 a year for London

So far 2012 is looking to be a huge year in London; we have the Olympic and Paralympic games, the Queens Diamond Jubilee and Robert Redford has announced a four-day arts event based on the Sundance film festival to take place at the O2 arena. People from all over the world are expected to attend these massive events and hotels in London are expecting to see a huge demand in the coming few months as more details are confirmed.

2012 Olympics

On March the 15th 2011 the London 2012 Olympic tickets went on sale as hype around the event begins to grow. With the unveiling of the countdown clock in Trafalgar square marking 500 days until the opening ceremony, the UK is certainly on its way to a huge Olympic event. But less than a day after Rowers Pete Reed and Andy Hodge and sailors Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson revealed the clock it ran into a few technical difficulties and stopped at 500 days, 7 hours, 6 minutes and 56 seconds.

Sundance London

Also expecting to draw huge crowds of people to hotels near the O2 Arena is the announcement of a four-day arts festival; Robert Redfords Sundance London will run from the 26-29 April and will include films, discussions and live music acts. The four day multi-discipline arts festival has previously been a showcase for independent cinema and launched the careers of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Amy Adams, as well showcasing popular films such as The King’s Speech and Winters Bone.

Diamond Jubilee

Another big year for the Royal Family will happen in 2012 with the extended weekend in June to mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Celebrating 60 years of the Queens reign the festivities will run from June 2-5 and to add to the event the late May bank holiday has been pushed back to Monday 4th June, with an additional Jubilee bank holiday on Tuesday 5th June.

2012 is going to be one heck of a year in London and these events are just a small selection of what will be happening, will you be visiting any of these huge events?

16/03/2011 at 3:41 Leave a comment

Legally Blonde Picks Up Three Olivier Awards

If you are a fan of London theatre breaks then you are probably aware that last night the 35th Laurence Olivier Awards took place in London’s West End. Broadcast across the BBC via Radio 2 and the BBC red button the prestigious awards were held at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

With a host of celebrity’s and theatre fans attending the Laurence Olivier Awards is a key night in theatrelands calendar. The fun loving show Legally Blonde the musical was top of the awards list receiving awards for Best New Musical, Best Actress in a Musical for Sheridan Smith and Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Jill Halfpenny. Having already scooped four awards at the What’s on Stage Awards in February Legally Blonde is defiantly a must see show.

The American play Clybourne Park won the MasterCard Best New Play award while listeners of Radio 2 were able to vote for the Audience Award For Most Popular Show choosing from a selection of West End shows. More than 43,000 theatre goers voted in the category with the Queen based rock musical We Will Rock You taking the award.

The York Theatre Royal’s London production of The Railway Children at Waterloo Station won the Best entertainment show and was seen by 165,000 people in London alone. The event uses a real train on the old Eurostar platform to capture the much loved story of three children, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis, whose lives are dramatically altered after their father is arrested on suspicion of being a spy.

So what shows have you seen and which would you rate as the best? Will you be heading on a London theatre break this year or will you be waiting for the shows to come to you.

 

14/03/2011 at 1:44 Leave a comment

My short break list

If like me you have been thinking about whether to spend two weeks in the sun or take lots of lovely short breaks over the year you will know the pressure is on to find something affordable and relaxing. After weeks of weighing up the pros and cons of a long haul break I have decided there is just too much that I want to do to commit to two weeks at once! There are many places in the UK and Europe that I haven’t been to yet and many I want to go back to and I am ready to put that right! Here is my top 5 list of places that I plan on visiting in 2011!

London

This year there are so many great shows opening that it would be impossible to not have London Theatre Breaks on the top of my list. I plan on seeing Ogres, Wizards and Musical legends before the year is out and I know this is one break that will not disappoint.

Amsterdam

A trip to Amsterdam on a P&O ferry is probably one of the easiest ways to enjoy travelling. After you arrive in Hull Ferry Port you can relax as you leave your car behind and you sail off for a nice relaxing break in one of Amsterdam’s hotels. With plenty of onboard entertainment and lots to see and do when you arrive, you won’t miss the car at all!

Edinburgh

There are so many nice hotels in Edinburgh that you will be spoilt for choice. My ideal break in Edinburgh would be a long girly weekend including lots of fine food and pampering, the perfect weekend break and exactly the way to relax after a long week.

London – again

I know this is already on my list BUT I am a little bit excited about the Royal Wedding. Since my invite was lost in the post, I am having to find a different way of experiencing it. I can’t wait to watch the day unfold and can’t think of a better place to be than Westminster on the morning of the 29th of April.

Paris

I have been to Paris many times but I haven’t turned it into a Eurostar Break. Like with Amsterdam I am all for leaving the car at home and really enjoying my holiday without having to drive around looking for car parking spaces.

There are so many amazing things going on this year and fantastic places I want to visit that all I have to do now is start saving!!

What are your plans for the summer?

11/03/2011 at 1:42 Leave a comment

Just 50 days to the Royal Wedding….

With just 50 days left to The Royal Wedding have you got your plans organised, whether planning a trip down to London or celebrating it in your own way there’s not long left until the big day. With the wedding taking place in London the capital city will be full of both overseas and home visitors who are travelling on a London break especially to enjoy the festivities of the Royal Wedding.

The 1981 wedding between Princess Diana and Prince Charles had 600,000 people filling the streets of London to join in the royal celebrations, with 750 million people watching at home. With Kate’s dress yet to be decided on the couple have much to do before the big day.

With the marriage taking place in England the honeymoon in Scotland, and with Prince William being based in Wales the majority of the UK is involved in the wedding of the year. Plus with the wedding falling so soon after Easter there is plenty of time to celebrate in style, you can take an extended London break during the Royal celebrations and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the Capital and still have time to recover before going back to work.

What will you be doing for the Royal Wedding? Are you planning on booking a London hotel or will you be enjoying the day in your own way, perhaps getting together with neighbours for a regal tea party.

09/03/2011 at 2:02 Leave a comment

The Wizard of Oz Review

Posted by Mike

The Wizard of Oz

Yes, there’s a dog in The Wizard of Oz. He scampers about, gets carried a lot, and (on the night I was there) didn’t poo on the stage. That’s the first and last mention of the Westie (one of four) who ‘plays’ Toto, and is apparently the only thing many other critics focused on. It’s quite amazing how they managed to ignore the rest of the show and the cast, and churn out 500 words on a dog. They’re really giving their readers what they want.

The Wizard of Oz has never been a particularly popular stage show over here, but when Andrew Lloyd Webber picked the L. Frank Baum classic the subject of his new TV talent search, it was obvious that popularity would soon soar.

Like previous TV casting sessions for Oliver!, Joseph and the Sound of Music, the hunt for Dorothy on BBC1 gave the musical an audience outside normal theatre fans, and for that reason attention on The Wizard of Oz and its lead is significantly greater than it is for other new productions.­

However, The Wizard of Oz 2011 rises to the challenge admirably, and only the coldest-hearted of critics could fail to find something to love here. A not inconsiderable amount of the success lies with the creative teams’ decision to not attempt to replicate the 1939 film wholesale, regardless of how much it upsets Oz-purists.

Director Jeremy Sams’ has assembled a cast who (for the most part) have created characters which are quite distinct from traditional interpretations.

Northern ingenue Danielle Hope has revitalised Dorothy, and although she is always going to be compared to Judy Garland, she holds her own; the youngster retains the gentle yet powerful vocals she displayed during the audition process. However – through no fault of her own – her performance of Over The Rainbow is a tad anti-climactic; Lloyd Webber’s score downplays the big note at the end of the song, and deprives Danielle Hope of her chance to show her naysayers exactly what this new West End star can do. That said, her acting alone should be enough to silence most critics. Sweetly strong, with a natural, easy presence, Danielle Hope’s Dorothy is as good as anyone could have wished for.

Edward Baker-Duly rids the Tin Man of the easygoing nice-guy schtick he has been lumbered with for decades and instead imbues him with the attitude of an off-duty superhero, throwing in deadpan humour and martial-arts stances. He is matched by the Cowardly Lion (David Ganly) who has dispensed with the overdone “Pud ’em up, pud ’em up” character with the voice of a backward farmhand we’ve seen in a hundred am-dram productions in favour of a slightly more realistic character…. or, at least, as realistic as a talking Lion in a fantasy world can be, He’s funny too, with jokes about A Lion In Winter and being a proud friend of Dorothy doing much to enamour him to the adults in the audience.

The witches bring with them echoes of Wicked. Glinda the good witch (Emily Tierney) is more tits-and-teeth than you remembered and has with a nice line in false friendliness, while the Wicked Witch’s intelligence and humour is pushed to the forefront. It’s a nice touch, and one that is much needed if The Wizard of Oz is going to be relevant for a 21st Century audience.

The Wicked Witch is played with huge gusto by Hannah Waddingham, who gets some of the best lines in the show, and definitely the best of the new songs; a stomping number called Red Shoes Blues. Lloyd Webber has teamed up with Tim Rice to add a few songs to those already made famous by the movie, and while they are perfectly serviceable, it’s hard to see any entering the pantheon of showtune classics.

Two of these new songs are given to the Michael Crawford who plays the Wizard/Professor Marvel, which is just as well, because without them he’d be hard to notice. Perhaps his recent illness has something to do with it, but West End legend Crawford is underpowered and distinctly uncharismatic.

While we’re on the subject of disappointments, the flying monkeys have to come in for some criticism. Unlike Wicked, where the freakish creatures flood the stage, here we get one flying (well, dangling) monkey and two who walk about a bit. They look freaky enough, but just not particularly scary, and they hardly fill you with fear for Dorothy and her friends.

The same, however, can’t be said of the twister that hits Dorothy’s home. Across the board, the technology and design on display in The Wizard of Oz is just incredible. With the smart use of projection, the tornado devours the entire stage and sucks in the audience in a way that rivals the 3D cinema.

Director Jeremy Sams and designer Richard Jones have created a visual masterpiece that makes the most of the Palladium’s revolve and modern stage technology. Every penny they spent is there for all to see. Seriously, this is a very, very good-looking show. Like the film, as the story moves from Kansas to Oz, the washed-out sepia tones are transformed into an intense technicolour explosion with pieces of set rising and falling and appearing from nowhere thanks to the hydraulic, tilted revolve. When the Wicked Witch’s spindly, Gothic castle grows from the centre of the stage, it’s simply jaw-dropping.

Those who dislike The Wizard of Oz aren’t going to find anything here to change their minds, but for those of us with souls, it’s a mightily impressive production.

Ignore the joyless critics who delivered po-faced verdicts on something they didn’t want to watch in the first place, this is the West End at its very best.

09/03/2011 at 9:41 Leave a comment

Royal Wedding Website Launch…

Source: The Mirror

The 2nd March 2011 saw the launch of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s very own Royal Website, which is promising to share all the details in the run up to the Royal Wedding. In its first eight hours the site saw over 200,000 hits with views from over 180 countries and was launched the same day as the Government opened a web page for people planning Royal Wedding celebrations.

The site – officialroyalwedding.org – includes video footage of the couple’s engagement as well as a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. There are even rumours that the wedding is to be streamed live on the site so that people all over the world can join in the Royal celebrations. It is planned to keep up to date will all news regarding the wedding and will follow the day’s celebrations as they happen.

So far the Wedding is looking to draw a huge crowd of people travelling to London to help celebrate this remarkable day. Hotels in London are filling up fast and people are beginning to plan their street parties well in advance of next months wedding and the double bank holiday break.

How will you be celebrating?

05/03/2011 at 10:54 Leave a comment

Bank Holiday Breaks to Change?

As part of a new tourism strategy discussions are being held to replace the current May Day bank holiday with a new National Bank Holiday. Ideas for the new bank holiday include making St Georges Day in to a National holiday in England, St David’s day a National holiday in Wales or Trafalgar Day in October. The strategy is aiming to boost tourism to the UK by extending the summer in the hopes of bringing in an extra four million overseas visitors during the next four years.

Bank holiday has always been a time for celebration a time to get together with friends and family, to relax and getaway for an extended break. The traditional May bank holiday has been around for centuries and is a day surrounded by festivities and folklore to welcome the coming of summer. Incorporating English customs such as Morris Dancing, May Pole Dancing and the crowning of the May Queen the May Bank Holiday is steeped in tradition. Changing the bank holiday to the 23rd April will still allow you to enjoy a spring short break, taking advantage of the longer days and the warmer weather, while moving it to October may cause you to retreat into the warmth of your house as autumn draws in.

What do you think about changing the Bank Holiday? Do you think it will encourage extra visitors to the UK?

04/03/2011 at 10:48 Leave a comment

Festivals announce line up 2011

Posted by Danielle

T in the Park, V and Glastonbury are among the first festivals to announce their line up for the 2011 summer of music and I am very excited! Between them they have welcomed some of the biggest names in music, the likes of Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Jay-Z, Blink 182 and Kings of Leon to name just a few are some of the stand out performances of the last few years in festival history.

This year Glastonbury is looking forward to welcoming Beyonce and U2 to the main stage. Last year U2 were forced to pull out at the last minute and were replaced by Muse, but as not to disappoint Muse were joined on stage by U2’s guitarist Edge who can’t wait to get back onto the main stage this year. Elbow have also hinted at a possible main stage Glastonbury appearance but as of yet this hasn’t been confirmed.

V so far is looking to have one of the summers biggest events and performers as Eminem was confirmed as a head line act. Since his amazing appearance last year at T in the Park Eminem has played some enormous shows following the release of his newest album Relapse. Rihanna and N-Dubz are also down to appear at V which so far has a huge line up.

After selling out in under an hour last week T in the Park has announced Foo Fighters and Artic Monkeys into their mix, while Leeds and Reading will announce their acts on the 21st of March the same days that their tickets go on sale.

What do you think about this year’s festival line up?

03/03/2011 at 11:53 Leave a comment

Colin Firth Inspired Short Breaks

Following the announcement of the 2011 Oscar winners all eyes are turned to Britain as The Kings Speech picked up four awards including best actor for Colin Firth. Firth is renowned for his role in the BBC’s small screen adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and has since gone on to star in several British films.

With many of his roles being filmed in England the Hampshire born actor has brought worldwide focus on to home turf. Fans of the actor can visit his film locations on short breaks across the UK.

Those of you seeking London breaks can see 33 Portland Place where the scenes at Lionel Logue’s (Geoffrey Rush’s character) from The Kings Speech were shot. While the famous fight scene from Bridget Jones Diary was filmed at Bedale Street, near Borough Market. The Victorian drama Dorian Gray in which Firth plays Lord Henry Wotton was filmed across London including Greenwich, Central London and Highgate.

If you are seeking a relaxing county escape rather than a city break then there are plenty of destinations to choose from. The renowned Pride and Prejudice was filmed in several locations across the UK including Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Oxfordshire.

Or if you are planning a city break then find yourself a Marseille hotel and relive the moment when Firths character Jamie from Love Actually pronounces his love for Aurelia at the city’s Old Port. Supposedly set in Spain this scene was filmed in the South of France.

So have you seen The Kings Speech, which is your favourite Colin Firth film and have you been to any of the locations?

28/02/2011 at 11:57 Leave a comment

Coming to a theatre near you!

Posted by Danielle

The West End is a very busy place this year with plenty of fantastic new shows opening. But as so many are opening there are others which are preparing themselves for a UK tour, here are a pick of our top travelling shows to keep an eye out for this year.

1 Ghost The Musical

Arriving in Manchester at the end of March, Ghost The Musical is on tour before finally heading to the West End and its new home the Piccadilly Theatre. The show is already beginning to cause a lot of interest as the hype begins to grow ahead of the first performances. Ghost, London will star Richard Fleeshman (Coronation Street and Legally Blonde the Musical) as Sam Wheat and Cassie Levy (Hair, Wicked and Hairspray) as Molly Jensen and features a completely original musical score from Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics.

2. Mamma Mia

After a very successful run in the West End Mamma Mia will be heading to Glasgow and Manchester. Ex Corrie star Richard Standing and his wife West End actress Sara Poyzer have been cast together for the show which features a host of ABBA’s greatest songs including Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All, SOS and Knowing Me Knowing You. Since premiering in the West End Mamma Mia has been seen by over 45 million people around the world and still remains one of the most popular shows.

3. We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You will be arriving in Edinburgh in December and due to its success in the West End is already beginning to cause a storm. Hotels in Edinburgh are already beginning to fill up quickly for the announced performance dates as people are taking the opportunity to see this fantastic show. Created by Queen and Ben Elton, the show features over 24 classic hits such as Killer Queen, Radio Ga Ga and We Will Rock You. We Will Rock You is also part of a series of eight Royal Mail stamps to celebrate the diversity of British Theatre the stamps are onsale now and feature shows including Spamalot and Billy Elliot.

Dirty Dancing and Grease are also set to go on tour later this year, what shows will you be catching as they come to a theatre near you?

25/02/2011 at 11:44 Leave a comment

NME Awards Announced

Posted by Becky

The NME awards are one of the most recognised awards in the music world. Formed in 1953 the awards tune in on the best modern bands of the time, with past winners including Cliff Richard, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Lulu, Manic Street Preachers, Blur, Travis and Radiohead even Marilyn Manson and Kylie have made the list. Last night the ceremony took place at London’s Brixton Academy with Muse picking up Best British Band and My Chemical Romance taking the best International Band award.

Laura Marling, winner of Best solo artist, will play at the Honeyfest event for those seeking Wiltshire breaks this April while U2 have announced they will headline at Glastonbury, winner of Best festival for the 3rd year in a row. Fans of My Chemical Romance can see them at this year’s T in the Park festival or for a more intimate experience venture to the village of Dores near Inverness for the best small festival RockNess. If wellies and tents are not for you then find a Milton Keynes hotel to stay in and see Dave Grohl the winner of the God like genius award when he plays there with the Foo Fighters in July or sample a Manchester hotel to see best Album winner Arcade Fire when they play at the MEN Arena in August.

Who will you be looking forward to see in the coming year? Will you be heading out to any festivals over the summer?

24/02/2011 at 11:29 Leave a comment

The coming of Spring….

Posted by Becky

March heralds the approach of Spring and this year the month is packed full of events and occasions. Starting with St David’s day on the 1st of March and fitting in Pancake Day, St Patrick’s Day and much more.

If you are planning on going on a short break during March then there is plenty to keep you entertained. In Cornwall they celebrate St Piran’s Day, the national day of Cornwall, with a host of festivities, and a day of activities in Redruth’s Recreation Ground and town centre including live music, stalls and sports events.

This year Pancake Day, also known across the globe as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras falls on the 8th March. Those staying in London hotels during this time will be greeted with a day of Pancake races. The famed Great Spitalfields Pancake Race offers an afternoon of fun while the Parliamentary Pancake Race sees members of the Houses of Parliament racing against members of the press while carrying pan loads of pancakes.

Stay in London long enough and you could glimpse the red carpet as the annual Laurence Olivier Awards take place on the 13th of the month. With all nominations announced there is a lot of buzz around this year’s most respected and prestigious theatre awards.

The spring equinox occurs on the 20th March, while the clocks go forward toward the end of the month on the 27th, providing longer hours of daylight in which to enjoy your breaks.

What will you be getting up to this March? Planning a pancake feast or celebrating the Mardi Gras in Style as they do in New Orleans. Perhaps you are eagerly awaiting the announcements of the Laurence Oliver Awards so you can plan your next theatre break.

23/02/2011 at 9:51 2 comments

Royal Wedding Invite…

Source: The Mirror

 

The weeks are quickly beginning to pass and before we know it we will be enjoying a double bank holiday and the most talked about wedding of the year. Every day new details of the Royal Wedding are beginning to emerge and people are thinking up new ways to celebrate over the consecutive long weekends. Many are choosing to take a short break in the UK or even overseas, but a select few people will be spending the 29th of April in London inside Westminster Abbey as they join the happy couple.

Some of the big names rumoured to be attending are David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Kanye West and Boris Johnson. However, Barack and Michelle Obama and French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni didn’t make the list. This is because the wedding isn’t considered a full state occasion due to William not yet being the heir to the throne.

The guest list comprises of more than 50 members of the Royal Family, 200 members of the British Government, including Prime Minister David Cameron and 80 guests from various charities Prince William is associated with. Although most of the 1,900 guests will be family and friends it does also include several Kings from across the world.

So as the dream guest list is slowly leaked to the press, who would you most want to attend your wedding?

22/02/2011 at 3:31 2 comments

Do you know your Patron Saint?

Posted By Becky

St David's Day

Across the UK and Ireland people celebrate their nationality with a day of festivities and parades. Embracing national traditions and displaying emblems of their country the Patron Saint days are a time to celebrate who you are and where you have come from. With March fast approaching Wales will be getting ready to celebrate St David’s Day. St David’s Day Festival Week 25 February – 6 March 2011 will take place in Cardiff and will include changing of the guard at Cardiff castle, a parade through Cardiff and a celebration of Welsh music by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.


St Patrick's Day

The 17th March is one of the biggest Patron Saint Days worldwide with huge parades taking place across America, Australia, the UK and of course Ireland. St Patricks Day is a chance for Irish and Irish descendents across the world to celebrate their Irishness and embrace all that it means to them. In the UK there are big parades in Birmingham, Manchester and London’s Trafalgar Square.

St George's Day

The 23rd April is England’s National Day and time to celebrate St George. Famed for the slaying of the dragon and medieval legends St George holds a mythical quality for the English. The day will be celebrated across England with celebrations taking place in Bristol, Birmingham and across many villages and towns. London will hold an event in Trafalgar Square with live bands, food stalls and performers. The day is also a celebration of one of England’s greatest playwrights, Shakespeare and there will be additional events at the Globe in London and a host of Shakespeare related festivities in Stratford-upon-Avon.

St Andrew's Day

Scotland’s National Day is much later in the year with St Andrews Day falling on the 30th November. The day was made an optional public by Scottish Parliament so may Scots will take the day off work to celebrate their heritage. Events usually take place in Edinburgh’s St. Andrew Square and cultivate a range of free events known as the St. Andrew’s Do

What are you doing for your National Day? Will you be joining in any parades or flying your national flag?

16/02/2011 at 10:28 Leave a comment

Royal Wedding Announcement…

Source: The Mirror

 

On the most romantic day of the year Prince William and Kate Middleton announced the Bridesmaids, Maid of Honour, Best Man and Page Boys for their wedding in April. As guessed William has asked his brother Prince Harry to be his Best Man and Kate has asked her sister Philippa Middleton to be Maid of Honour, the other roles are a mixture of close family friends, cousins and godchildren of the couple.

Packages for the Royal Wedding are still available as most hotels in London begin to quickly fill up ahead of the big day. Millions of people from all over the world are arranging to travel to London for this historic day and millions more are expected to tune in to watch the day unfold.

With the countdown on until the big day there are still lots of details to be confirmed by the palace. Many blogs and newspapers are speculating about who will design Kate’s Wedding Dress and when this is announced it will be sure to set the fashion world alight.

So with William breaking Royal Wedding tradition by opting for one best man instead of two supporters and Harry never shy of having a good night out, what do you think the stag do will be like?

15/02/2011 at 5:39 Leave a comment

Schedule Announced for London Olympics 2012….


The Olympic Schedule has been released for the London 2012 Olympic Games giving you plenty of time to decide which of the sports you want to see before tickets go on sale from the 15th March.

With 8.8 million tickets on sale for over 600 sporting sessions millions of people from across the Globe will descend on London between 25th July and the 12th August. Over 2.5 million tickets will be available for £20 and under so visiting the London Olympics doesn’t have to cost you the earth. However as with previous host cities prices in London are expected to increase during the Olympic period so finding an inexpensive meal or London hotel could be a challenge.

The majority of Olympic events will take place around the Olympic Park in East London but some sporting events such as Mountain Bike Racing and Sailing spread out into other areas of the country. The football events take place in Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Coventry and Cardiff as well as the infamous Wembley stadium.

London last hosted the prestigious games in 1948 but only won 23 medals, three of them Gold. While at the last Olympics in Beijing Great Britain won 47 medals, 19 of which were Gold. Will you be going to the London Olympics or hiding away from the hustle and bustle? Do you think Team GB will triumph at the games?

15/02/2011 at 12:58 2 comments

Theatre Break Numbers Soar in 2010…

Posted by Becky

No matter what state the financial climate people will always go on theatre breaks. Rain or shine people flock to London to see the latest West End spectaculars and the firmly established favourites. Last week the Society of London Theatre announced that 2010 saw record attendances at London theatres, with more than 14 million theatregoers enjoying one of the many productions on offer and both plays and musicals receiving a high number of audience members.

The year’s achievements will be celebrated at the esteemed Laurence Olivier Awards, with nominees to be announced on the 7th February and the awards to be honoured on the 13th March. The awards will take place at the renowned Theatre Royal on Drury Lane recently home to Oliver! and soon to host Shrek the musical.

With plenty of new shows opening in 2011 the trend is sure to continue. If you are planning a trip down to the capital you can look forward to seeing an array of fantastic new shows. From Shakespeare to legendary Rock n Roll stars and ghostly apparitions there are plenty of shows to choose from and something to suit all tastes.

Were you one of the 14 million people who descended on the West End? What did you see and what are you looking forward to seeing next? Will you be taking any theatre breaks in 2011?

04/02/2011 at 9:13 Leave a comment

Time to Welcome in the Year of the Rabbit…

On the 3rd of February it is the start of the Chinese New Year and millions of people across the globe will begin celebrating in the Year of the Rabbit. Steeped in years of tradition the Chinese New Year is the biggest festival of the year in Chinese communities, incorporating the time honoured rituals of centuries gone by with parades, dances, feasts and festivities. Although Chinese New Year actually takes place on Thursday 3rd February, many towns and cities throughout the UK are celebrating over the weekend of the 5th & 6th February.

If you are thinking of joining in the celebrations here is our guide to the top UK destinations to see in the Chinese New Year:

London

Home to the largest celebrations outside of China, London know how to celebrate in style. Taking place on the 6th February the festivities are spread out across Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, and Chinatown. Enjoy an array of dances and acrobatics plus traditional Chinese dragons and lions and the chance to try some delicious Chinese food.

Manchester

Welcome in the New Year at the free outdoor event taking place across Manchester’s China Town and Albert Square. Featuring amazing lion dances, Kung Fu demonstrations by the Shaolin Martial Arts Monks, award-winning acrobatics, and folk dance demonstrations. Plus with street markets, stalls and a fire work display all happening on the 6th February it is a vibrant hive of activities.

Nottingham

Ongoing celebrations throughout January and February make Nottingham one of the best cities to celebrate the year of the rabbit. The Lakeside Arts centre is home to a range of activities, workshops and even dragon boat racing, plus there will be a spectacular firework display at the centre on Sunday 6th February.

Liverpool

Across Liverpool there are free events and activities taking place on the 6th February. From the Lion, Dragon and Unicorn Parade in the Chinatown area to traditional performances at the Pagoda there is something for everyone.

What will you be doing for the Chinese New Year? Will you be visiting a parade, tasting the cuisine or perhaps saying goodbye to the year of the Tiger with some traditional Chinese lanterns.

02/02/2011 at 9:28 Leave a comment

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While we may not all be able to jet of to the Seychelles at a days notice, like the newly wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we do have the luxury of some of the finest beaches around. The annual Keep Britain Tidy awards saw 70 beaches in the UK claim the internationally recognised ‘Blue Flag’ with Cornwall having five of the cleanest beaches in England! As well as that 108 beaches received Quality Coast award with 32 of those winning both, meaning we have over 146 award winning beaches right on our doorstep – a perfect excuse to get outside and start discovering the UK’s Coast.

At this time of year when the weather is starting to get warmer there is no better place than relaxing by the beach where ever it is. If you choose a late hotel deal by the beach or a few days in a seaside resort you won’t be able to resist popping down to the sea front and squeezing in a few ice creams or enjoying a quick paddle. As well as that with so many beaches waving the blue flag proudly you are sure to have one only a few hours drive from where you are!

I love a trip to the sea side so I asked some of my good friends on Facebook which of our blue flag beaches they preferred and of course which does the best ice cream and fish and chips! Bridlington is looking like the one to beat so make sure you get your votes in.

Where is your favourite beach? Share your beach knowledge in the comments box below!

06/06/2011 at 3:52 Leave a comment

Increase in London Theatre Breaks

The number of people taking in a show during their London break has increased with the appearance of celebrity stars in West End productions. The past year has seen a host of big names take to the stage to huge acclaim including Keira Knightly and Damian Lewis in The Misanthrope, Martin Freeman appearing in Clybourne Park and David Suchet perform in the award winning All my Sons. With further TV and film stars turning to the stage audience numbers are increasing as more of us are taking theatre breaks.

With Lend me a Tenor opening this week starring TV presenter Matthew Kelly, and the news that Justin Lee Collins will take on a role in the West End debut of Rock of Ages the world of theatre and television collide and cry out to a larger audience. The pull of a star name has increased the number of visitors to the West End and opened it up to fresh eyes.  With Sheridan Smith winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her role as Elle Brooks in Legally Blonde the Musical it shows that stars of the screen can make the move to the stage and do so with great success.

Who would you like to see make the move to the West End? Do you think it would work?

03/06/2011 at 3:08 Leave a comment

Shrek the Musical: Review

When I was asked to go down to London to see a preview performance of Shrek the Musical I jumped at the chance. Shrek has always been one of my favourite films and I was eager to see exactly how this would play out on stage. With a top cast confirmed I knew I was going to be in for a treat and I wasn’t disappointed.

Two giant story books opened the show as we were introduced to Shrek’s parents as they sang him on his way to an unassuming fairytale world followed by Princess Fiona’s story into the tower. We were introduced to enchanting new songs from the fairy tale cast as they danced and sung their way through the story and the floor to ceiling scenery was amazing. Towards the end of the show the fantastic dragon that was controlled by puppeteers (with helpful tips from the fab War Horse cast) swooped down across the audience to huge cheers and the show ended on a huge high note.

The show is perfect for children old and young and it was great to see so many children enjoying the performance and singing along to the songs they knew. Unlike some adaptations, the story followed the film pretty well a few bits were added and changed to make it work for the theatre but they never took away from the flow of the musical. Nigel Harman as Lord Farquaard easily got the most laughs of the evening as he strutted around on his knees for the whole show, but the cast as a whole were fantastic!

Previews for Shrek started on the 6th of May with the official opening next month and so far the show has had nothing but fantastic reviews, I won’t give away any more of the story instead you should head down to see the musical for yourself!

27/05/2011 at 1:53 Leave a comment

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