Rares Dumitru, our National Account Manager, recently visited England and toured several cities. We want to keep you updated about travel to England, so we chatted with Rares and got him to offer some insight into his trip, including his highlights as well as his tips on how to sell England travel to your clients.
1. Where did you travel?
I travelled to London, Coventry, Birmingham, and Stratford-upon-Avon.
2. What is the number one thing agents should know about the United Kingdom?
The United Kingdom is open! There are no current travel restrictions in England, so there’s no limit on what travellers can do while on vacation.
3. What is the biggest misconception about England?
That Brexit changed everything about the United Kingdom when it comes to travel. It didn’t. While it’s not a part of the European Union anymore, the travel experience for North American visitors is the same as it was before. Visitors from the US and Canada still do not require a visa and are welcomed with open arms when travelling across the kingdom.
4. What was your favourite hotel and why?
We saw quite a few hotels on our trip, but a couple stood out to me. The Londoner in London has a great location in Leicester Square, fantastic amenities including a spa and whisky bar, and great views of the city from the top floor bar/terrace. The Telegraph Hotel in Coventry was also great for its quirky decor and history—the building used to house the offices of the city newspaper, which used to print four editions every day! The decor certainly reminds you of those days.
5. What new things did you learn about England?
That Birmingham is hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the entire city is buzzing with activity. It will definitely be the place to be this summer for anyone who likes sports and wants to be a part of the year-long celebrations.
6. What was your favourite local experience?
Cruising the Thames River from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. It’s a great way to see a lot of the London landmarks. As well, when you get to Greenwich, you have a chance to visit the Maritime Museum, which you should not miss. A couple other picks were visiting the Transport Museum in Coventry, which offers a great glimpse into the history of bicycles, motorbikes, and cars made in the city over the past 150 years, including iconic brands such as Jaguar and Triumph. And visiting Birmingham University, which has one of the best art collections in the world at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. You’ll find masterpieces from Botticelli, Van Dyck, Toulouse Lautrec, and Renoir.
7. What was your favourite individual destination?
I loved Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s so much more than Shakespeare. It really offers you a glimpse into what life was like in an English town 500 years ago.
8. What were your favourite local restaurants?
There were two places that blew me away. One was Killingworth Castle in the village of Wootton, which serves classic English fare with a modern twist. It’s well on its way to getting its first Michelin star. The other is Asha Restaurant in Birmingham, which has the best Indian food ever. Everyone from Tom Cruise to Jay Z has dined here. The chicken that has been marinated in yogurt and spices for over five days is heaven on a plate.
9. What would be the perfect complement as an extension to this trip?
I would recommend taking a day trip from London to Coventry by train, which only takes 45 minutes, and then extending the trip with a visit to Oxford, one of the world-famous university towns. It’s one of the most important centres of education in the world and has beautiful architecture.
10. What are your top three tips for agents who want to sell England?
One: Travel times between these spots are less than two hours, which makes England an ideal option for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time on the road, but rather experience new places.
Two: Think beyond the usual London-centric itinerary. There are so many things to do for families and for people who are interested in history, arts, and architecture in cities and towns beyond London.
Three: England is great for groups. As well, hotel rates are much more accessible outside of London, so think beyond the capital when planning.