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Tropical plants in Wales - DOC 1


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									Britain Calling                                                               March 2008

Behind the scenes at Wembley Stadium
It is now possible to take an extensive tour of the new Wembley Stadium in north-west
London. It includes a visit to the changing rooms and the players’ warm-up zone, the VIP
reception area and the royal box, the press conference room, the treatment rooms and the
dugouts where the team managers sit. Fans can experience walking on to the pitch from the
players’ tunnel, as well as climbing the steps to the royal box to lift a replica football trophy.
   Wembley Stadium’s Managing Director Alex Horne said: ‘Wembley has quickly re-
established itself as a world-class venue having now staged 25 major sports and entertainment
events in an incredible first year. It is a breathtaking stadium with a truly unique heritage and
I would urge anyone who is a fan of football, sport, music or architecture to visit London’s
most exciting attraction. Come and follow in the footsteps of your heroes and be part of the
magic of Wembley.’
   Stadium Tours depart daily every 15 minutes from 9.30am to 5.30pm, except on public
holidays and during the build-up to and break-down from major sports or music events. They
take around 90 minutes and are subject to availability and change. Tours cost £15 for an adult,
£8 concessions and children under 16.
Wembley National Stadium
Wembley, London HA9 0WS
Tel: +44 844 800 2755 (booking line)
Website: www.wembleystadium.com/tours
Press contact: Kirsty Bowles
Tel: +44 20 8795 9617
Email: Kirsty.Bowles@wembleystadium.com
Britain Calling                                                              March 2008

Adventure Golf in Blackpool
The Pleasure Beach at Blackpool, which welcomes nearly six million visitors a year, has a
new attraction for 2008 – an Adventure Golf course. The 12-hole course is designed to
entertain both young and old, with water hazards and a spectacular figure-of-eight on hole 9 –
the first of its kind in the UK.
    Adventure Golf represents almost half a million pounds of investment in the Pleasure
Beach, following £8 million in 2007 for a looping roller-coaster called Infusion, the only one
in the world completely suspended over water. They are just the latest in a string of new
attractions in the famous park. In 2000 the opening of Valhalla marked Britain’s biggest
privately funded millennium investment. Costing £15 million to build, Valhalla is the biggest
dark ride ever to be constructed. The £12-million Pepsi Max Big One opened in 1994, when it
was the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in Europe at 72 metres (235 ft) high, with speeds of up
to 135 km/h (85mph).
   The Pleasure Beach, Blackpool is open daily from 12 March (excluding selected Mondays
and Tuesdays until 20 May). Entrance is free. Admission to the rides is by wristband (£11–
£25 for adults and children 11 and over), or by individual ride ticket.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool, Lancashire, FY4 1EZ
Tel: +44 870 444 5566
Website: www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com
Press contact: Anne Froggett
Tel: +44 1253 336331
Email: anne.froggett@bpbltd.com
Britain Calling                                                           March 2008

Theatre in a London park
The Open Air Theatre in London’s Regent’s Park is the only permanent professional outdoor
theatre in Britain. Since it opened in 1932, the theatre has entertained thousands of people
every summer with its successful seasons of Shakespeare, classics, opera, musicals and family
shows. The steeply raked auditorium with 1,240 seats is one of the largest in London, yet
somehow the theatre seems very intimate. Regulars turn up early to picnic on the lawns of the
park, or to visit the theatre’s bar and café set among trees lit by fairy lights.
    For 2008 the new Artistic Director, Timothy Sheader, has chosen Shakespeare’s Romeo
and Juliet and Twelfth Night; a new production of Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical Gigi;
and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream re-imagined for young audiences. Golden
Globe winner and Fiddler on the Roof Oscar nominee Topol will be making his grand return
to the London stage to perform the role of Honoré in Gigi.
    And the British weather? Sheader says: ‘Weather and climate add a thrilling contribution
to our work, making the complicity between performer, text and audience a truly unique event
at every performance. Regulars know to come prepared with rugs and raincoats – just in
   This year’s productions run from 2 June to 13 September, with ticket prices from £10 to
Open Air Theatre
Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4NR
Tel: +44 844 826 4242
Website: www.openairtheatre.org
Press contact: Ryan Petersen
Tel: +44 20 7494 3665
Email: ryan@thecornershoppr.com
Britain Calling                                                              March 2008

The composer and the opera singers
The German-born composer Handel spent many years in England. From 1723 until his death
in 1759 he lived at 25 Brook Street, in London’s West End. The house, just off Bond Street, is
now the Handel House Museum.
   This year the museum is holding an exhibition that reveals the public and private lives of
the first great women opera singers – the superstar celebrities of the day. Handel and the
Divas will look at the careers, rivalries, successes, failures and stories of scandalous behind-
the-scenes behaviour that made the first divas the talk of 18th-century London.
   The exhibition also tells tales of opera house riots caused by rival singers and offers a
glimpse of a particularly extravagant part of London society through a collection of objects,
portraits and scores gathered from collections in the UK and Europe. Handel and the Divas
will be complemented by a series of live music events performed in the very rooms in which
Handel worked with the singers celebrated by the exhibition.
   Rock legend Jimi Hendrix, who died in 1970, had a flat at the top of 23 Brook Street, next
door. Visitors to the Handel Museum can pre-book a guided tour of the Hendrix apartment on
selected dates.
   Handel House Museum is open 10am–6pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and
Saturdays, 10am–8pm Thursdays and noon–6pm Sundays (closed Mondays, including Bank
Holidays). Handel and the Divas runs from 30 April to 16 November. Admission: £5 adults,
£4.50 concessions, £2 children.
Handel House Museum
25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB
Tel: +44 20 7495 1685
Website: www.handelhouse.org
Press contacts: Kirsten Canning, Michael Barrett
Tel: +44 20 8295 2424
Email: kc@thepressoffice.uk.com
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

York’s new Quilt Museum
Europe’s first museum dedicated to quilting and textile arts opens on 7 June in the medieval
St Anthony’s Hall in York. The Quilt Museum and Gallery will become the national
headquarters of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles and its Heritage Collection.
   The earliest known signed and dated quilt, a 1718 patchwork coverlet, is among some 600
quilts in the Guild’s collection, which also includes miniature pieces, quilted clothing, tools
and equipment. As well as showing the Heritage Collection, the museum will hold a
programme of special textile exhibitions from the UK and abroad.
   The inaugural exhibition, Quilts in Time: Journey from Bed to Wall, will run from 7 June
to 28 September, featuring quilts from the Guild’s own collection as well as items borrowed
from contemporary quiltmakers.
   Later in the year, Quilting Across the Globe (1 October–31December) will present quilts
from the collection of the International Quilt Study Centre in Nebraska – the first time the
IQSC has sent an exhibition outside the USA.
   St Anthony’s Hall was originally built as the headquarters of a religious guild in the 15th
century. It has since served as a workhouse for the poor, a magazine store during the reign of
Charles I, a military hospital, a prison and a school.
Quilt Museum and Gallery
St Anthony's Hall, Peaseholme Green, York YO1 7PR
Tel: +44 1904 613242
Website: www.quiltmuseum.org.uk
Press contact: Jean Hunter
Tel: +44 1759 306156
Email: jean@jhunterdid.plus.com
Britain Calling                                                           March 2008

Tours of the Palace of Westminster
The site where the UK Parliament sits is officially known as the Palace of Westminster
because it was the main residence of the kings of England from the 11th century until 1512,
when a fire forced them to move out.
    During the Summer Recess, when Parliament does not sit and Members of Parliament
work away from Westminster, the Palace offers guided tours for the public. Tours start at
Victoria Tower and end in Westminster Hall, taking in both Chambers – the House of Lords
and the House of Commons – as well as other State Rooms. The layout of the Palace is
intricate, with its existing buildings containing nearly 1,200 rooms, 100 staircases and well
over 3km (2 miles) of passages. Among the original historic buildings is Westminster Hall,
used nowadays for major public ceremonial events.
   The Palace is open for tours this year from 28 July to 27 September, Monday to Saturday
inclusive (not on Sunday or Bank Holidays). Tours take about 75 minutes. Foreign language
tours in French, Spanish, Italian and German are offered at set times. Admission: adults £12,
students and seniors £8, children 5–16 £5, children under 5 free, family ticket (max two
adults) £30.
Houses of Parliament
Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 2PW
Tel: +44 0870 906 3773 (ticket booking)
Website: www.parliament.uk
Press contact: Steven Catherall
Tel: +44 20 7219 8051
Email: catheralls@parliament.uk
Britain Calling                                                           March 2008

All the Courtauld’s Cézannes on view
The Courtauld Gallery holds the most important collection in Britain of works by Paul
Cézanne (1839-1906). An exhibition opening this summer presents the entire collection for
the first time. Major paintings such as the iconic Montagne Sainte-Victoire and Card Players
will be shown alongside rarely-seen drawings and watercolours.
    Also on display will be a previously unexhibited group of nine autograph letters in which
Cézanne reflects upon the principles of his artistic practice. Extensive new research by the
Courtauld’s Department of Conservation and Technology will add fresh insights into the
artist’s working methods and techniques.
    This celebration of the Courtauld’s Cézannes is the climax of the 75th anniversary
programme of the Courtauld Institute of Art, one of the world’s leading centres for the study
of the history and conservation of art and architecture.
   The exhibition runs from 26 June to 5 October. The Courtauld Gallery is open daily
10am–6pm (last admission 17.30). The admission charge (adults £5, concessions £4) includes
entrance to all temporary exhibitions and displays. Admission is free on Mondays from 10am
until 2pm (excluding public holidays).
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN
Tel: +44 20 7848 2526
Website: www.courtauld.ac.uk
Press contact: Sue Bond
Tel: +44 1359 271085
Email: info@suebond.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                              March 2008

Ancient trucks and buses on show
Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire is one of the most important historic transport
attractions in the UK. This year a special Leylands at Crich event will celebrate the history of
Leyland Motors, once the world’s fifth largest producer of trucks and buses. The Leyland-
designed Atlantean radically changed the shape of buses all over the world.
    Leylands at Crich on July 13 celebrates the 10th birthday of the Leyland Society and the
100th birthday of the oldest surviving British-built motor bus – the 1908 Leyland X2 from the
collection of Mike Sutcliffe, MBE.
   Crich Tramway Village is a restored period village that is the home of the National
Tramway Museum and its archives. It is open on weekends in March and daily from 21
March until 2 November. Admission: £10 for adults, £9 seniors, £5 children 3–15, £28 family
(two adults, three children).
Crich Tramway Village
Crich, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 5DP
Tel: +44 1773 854321 (information line)
Website: www.tramway.co.uk
Press contact: Cara Marchant
Tel: +44 1773 854321
Email: Cara.Marchant@tramway.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                         March 2008

A colouring book visits Carmarthen
The Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Wales is to hold an exhibition of etchings by the English
conceptual artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. My Giant Colouring Book is a Hayward touring
exhibition from the Arts Council Collection, London.
   The Chapman brothers’ work is experimental and they constantly push the boundaries of
contemporary art. Many of the images in this collection explore the dark and subversive
themes for which they have become infamous. The Chapmans were nominated for the Turner
Prize in 2003.
   The Oriel Myrddin Gallery is in a Victorian building that was once the Art School in
Carmarthen. It is a contemporary craft gallery and shop showing a changing programme of
exhibitions. My Giant Colouring Book is at the gallery from 26 April to 31 May, open 10am–
5pm Mondays–Saturdays. Admission free.
Oriel Myrddin Gallery
Church Lane, Carmarthen SA31 1LH
Tel: +44 1267 222 775
Website: www.orielmyrddingallery.co.uk
Press contact: Meg Anthony
Tel: +44 1267 222 775
Email: MAnthony@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
Britain Calling                                                           March 2008

Universities battle it out on the Thames
The annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge universities is London’s greatest free
sporting spectacle. The race creates a festival atmosphere on the banks of the Thames, and
marks the start of the English ‘social season’. Tens of thousands of people come to the river
to join in the celebrations and watch the Oxford and Cambridge crews as they race over the
four-and-a-quarter-mile (7km) course from Putney to Mortlake. This deadly serious
competition always attracts a global television (and now internet) audience.
    The idea for a rowing race between the universities came from two friends – Charles
Merivale, a student at Cambridge, and his Harrow schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth (nephew
of the poet William Wordsworth), who was at Oxford.
    On 12 March 1829, Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford and a tradition was born. To
this day, the loser of the previous year’s race challenges the opposition to a re-match.
Cambridge currently lead the series by 79 to 73. Cambridge won last year’s race but Oxford
won the previous two encounters.
    This year’s University Boat Race, the 154th, takes place on 29 March, starting at 5.15pm.
It will be viewable round the world on www.itv.com. The course is easily accessible by
public transport.
Website: www.theboatrace.org
Press contact: John Collard
Tel: +44 20 8971 9241
Email: johnc@sports-impact.com
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

Edinburgh’s military spectacular
For three weeks in August, the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle becomes a nightly stage for
hundreds of musicians and dancers from round the world. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is
often thought of as a very Scottish tradition and it does include very traditional and stirring
massed pipes and drums.
   But performers from all over the world also travel to Scotland’s capital to take part in the
Tattoo. This year the 150-piece Golden Eagles from Missouri, one of the most televised
university marching bands, will be appearing, and a highland dance troupe of 50 dancers from
Canada will join forces with the Tattoo’s own Highland Spring Dancers.
   From Singapore comes a detachment of Gurkha pipes and drums together with a 55-strong
police military band, an all-woman police pipe band and an animated act reflecting aspects of
Singapore’s social and cultural roots. Norway is sending His Majesty The King’s Guards
Band with its drill team and there will also be performances by the massed bands of the Royal
Marines, 100 musicians drawn from across the UK led by the Marines’ Corps of Drums.
   This year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the 59th, runs from 1 to 23 August, with 90-minute
shows at 9pm Monday to Friday, 7.30pm and 10.30pm Saturday. Tickets are priced between
£13 and £47.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo
32 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QB
Tel: +44 131 225 1188
Website: www.edintattoo.co.uk
Press contact: Alan Smith
Tel: +44 131 225 4783
Email: administration@edintattoo.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                           March 2008

What well-dressed wells are wearing
From May until the end of September, villages and towns in the Peak District and Derbyshire
revive the ancient ceremony and craft of well dressing.
   Well dressings are mosaic pictures made from natural materials such as flower petals,
leaves and berries. These are pressed into clay and held in a wooden frame that is displayed
on the site of a well or in some other public place. A dressing will last for about a week,
depending on the weather.
   The art of well dressing may have originated in Pagan times as a ritual performed to give
thanks for the supply of fresh water. Alternatively, the custom may have been introduced into
Britain by the Romans. Another theory connects the celebration with outbreaks of the plague.
   Most well dressings have a religious theme, although recently more secular pictures have
appeared. The dressings that are on a well are blessed by the local clergy.
Website: www.visitpeakdistrict.com
Press contact: Ellen Outram
Tel: +44 1332 594 545
Email: ellen.outram@derby.ac.uk
Britain Calling                                                              March 2008

The mystery of Chester
Mystery plays were one of the earliest forms of drama in medieval Europe, when stories from
the Bible were enacted by members of town guilds. They were suppressed in England in the
16th century, but have since been revived in several towns and cities.
    At Chester in north-west England, mystery plays are performed every five years in front of
the city’s Cathedral. The plays, originally created in the 14th century, tell the story of
mankind from the creation with Adam and Eve through the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ
to the Day of Judgment.
   This theatrical spectacular is performed by hundreds of amateurs under professional
direction. It is one of the largest community projects in the UK. This year’s production
involves a revolving stage and special effects with water, pyrotechnics, circus skills and world
music and dance.
   The surviving original manuscripts of medieval mystery plays are mostly in the possession
of prestigious libraries in the UK and USA, although one, The Scourging of Christ, is still
held by the City of Chester.
   This year’s Chester Mystery Plays will be performed on Cathedral Green from 28 June to
19 July, at 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, with additional performances at 1.30pm Saturdays.
Tickets are priced between £9 and £25.
Chester Mystery Plays
Tel: +44 1244 304 618 (box office)
Website: www.chestermysteryplays.com
Press enquiries: press@chestermysteryplays.com
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

Britain celebrates silversmiths
The first British Silver Week is being held this year from 10 to 17 June. There will be
silversmithing workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations of silversmithing techniques
around the country in some 25 locations, including London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bath,
Stratford upon Avon, Nottingham, Cambridge, Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells. Events will
take place in galleries, fine jewellers and assay offices.
    The week will highlight the work of more than 100 of the UK’s top and upcoming
silversmiths. Selected silversmiths have been invited to make limited-edition pieces to display
the finest workmanship in contemporary design. Exhibiting silversmiths include Malcolm
Appleby, Rod Kelly, Wayne Meeten, Roger Millar, Pamela Rawnsley and Fred Rich.
    British Silver Week is the brainchild of Gordon Hamme, whose ambition is to mark what
he calls ‘the renaissance of excellence in UK silver-making and a resurgence in buying
interest by corporate and private buyers alike.’
Website: www.britishsilverweek.co.uk
Press contact: Pamela Willson
Tel: +44 20 7221 0343
Email: pamela@pamelawillson.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

Early music in historic York
Early music is defined as music written in medieval times through to the 18th century. So it is
fitting that Britain’s premier festival of early music is held in the historic city of York.
   York’s annual Early Music Festival attracts visitors from all over the world who come for
the mix of medieval architecture and world-class musicians, performing in a city that has been
inhabited since pre-Roman times.
   The festival runs from 3 to 12 July, with concerts in venues that include York Minster and
the National Centre for Early Music – an award-winning restoration of a medieval church.
This year’s festival takes as its theme ‘Exile: music written for a strange land’, focusing on
musicians, composers and their families whose politics, religion or personal ambitions led
them to spend time away from home.
   Guest artists for 2008 include Jordi Savall, Rolf Lislevand and Pierre Hantai; the Harp
Consort directed by Andrew Lawrence-King, presenting The Play of Daniel in York Minster;
Yorkshire Baroque Soloists performing Handel’s Israel in Egypt; the Choir of New College,
Oxford; the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment directed by Rachel Podger; London
Baroque with Emma Kirkby; and Joglaresa.
York Early Music Festival
Tel: +44 1904 658338 (box office)
Website: www.ncem.co.uk
Press contact: Gill Baldwin
Tel: +44 1904 645738
Email: gill.baldwin@ncem.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

A fortnight of free art in Dorset
From 24 May to 8 June, more than 800 artists who live in Dorset in south-west England will
be opening their studios to the public. Dorset Art Weeks claims to be the UK’s largest free
festival of visual art, when artists’ work can be seen in over 340 settings that include barns,
thatched cottages, contemporary spaces and historic buildings.
   This is the 9th festival organised by Dorset Visual Arts, and it will showcase ceramics,
mosaics, painting, photography, jewellery, sculpture, textiles, drawings, calligraphy and
furniture. The organisers look forward to building on the success of the last event in 2006,
which generated £1.1 million in sales with artists enjoying over 100,000 studio visits.
   The festival’s founding member and featured artist is Britain’s pre-eminent furniture
designer, John Makepeace OBE. He says: ‘There is no substitute for the experience of
meeting artists, hearing about their work first-hand and being able to purchase and
commission items directly from them.’
Dorset Visual Arts
1 Cross Tree Close, Broadmayne, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8EN
Tel: +44 1305 853100
Website: www.dorsetartweeks.co.uk
Press contact: Gemma Ward
Tel: +44 1202 701828
Email: gemma@lizleanpr.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                            March 2008

Gloucestershire’s alternative Olympics
The world might be watching Beijing this summer but in Chipping Campden in
Gloucestershire, locals and visitors will be involved with Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick
Games, where key sports include spurning the barre and shin-kicking.
   The Cotswold Olimpicks are held annually on the first Friday after the UK’s Spring Bank
Holiday. They were first staged by a local barrister Robert Dover in 1612, continued annually
until 1852, and were reinstated for the Festival of Britain in 1951.
   The event attracts thousands of spectators and features some well-known countryside
games such as tug-of-war, obstacle races and wrestling as well as the bizarre shin-kicking.
For the shin-kicking competition two contestants fill their trouser legs with straw, then hold
arms and kick each other in the shins until one of them is so bruised that he cannot stand the
pain and gives in.
   This year’s Cotswold Olimpicks begin at 7.30pm on 30 May. After the games, there is a
bonfire and firework display followed by a torchlight procession to Chipping Campden town
square for floodlit dancing and other entertainment.
Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks
Dover’s Hill, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
Website: www.olimpickgames.co.uk
Press contact: Francis Burns
Tel: +44 1384 274041
Email: burnsfda2@btinternet.com
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

Jazz returns to Brecon
Every year the historic market town of Brecon in Mid Wales stages one of Britain’s most
stimulating jazz festivals. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008, HSBC Brecon Jazz
promises an exciting programme this year, with more than 80 events and free street
entertainment over the three days 8–10 August.
   The full programme will be announced soon, but there are already rumours that Van
Morrison will be joining the line-up of jazz greats, blues legends and emerging young Welsh
and British talent. Last year’s stars included Mose Allison, Ray Gelato, Humphrey Lyttleton,
Andy Sheppard, the Mingus Dynasty Band and Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues
   Full updates will be available on the website below, and tickets will go on sale in May.
HSBC Brecon Jazz
Lion House, Bethel Square, Brecon, Powys LD3 6JP
Website: www.breconjazz.co.uk
Press contact: Gaynor Thomas
Tel: +44 1874 625511
Email: gaynorthomas@btinternet.com
Britain Calling                                                           March 2008

More heritage on eBay
Five new TopLots Heritage Auctions are planned following the success of last October’s pilot
auction. The new auctions will focus on Museums and Galleries (in May), Historic Houses,
Castles and Gardens (June), Steam and Transport (June), Performing Arts (September) and
All Heritage (October).
   TopLots offers the opportunity for anyone – individuals, families, companies and groups –
from anywhere to bid on eBay for special behind-the-scenes access to experiences offered by
the UK’s range of arts and heritage organisations.
   The first TopLots auction appeared on eBay last October and generated vital new funds for
the participating museums, galleries and heritage properties. Around 120 individual lots from
over 60 heritage attractions across the UK were on offer, and 17% of the website traffic was
from overseas.
   Tammy Windsor from Anchorage, Alaska, successfully bid for two ‘castle experiences’ as
part of her first ever trip to the UK – an overnight stay at the haunted Dover Castle in Kent
and an exclusive personal tour of 700 year-old Ripley Castle with Sir Thomas and Lady
Ingilby. Tammy said: ‘I have always been fascinated with castles as we do not have any in
Alaska. It was one of the best experiences of my life.’
   New lots this year include going behind the scenes at the Tower of London to explore
‘secret’ spaces, joining in the ancient Ceremony of the Keys or taking a private after-hours
tour of the Jewel House. Also on auction is the opportunity to be the first member of the
public ever to ride in the UK’s only operational original World War II Panzer III tank.
Website: www.toplots.co.uk
Press contact: Jean Hunter
Tel: +44 845 130 1621
Email: j.hunter@development-partners.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                            March 2008

A musical anniversary in Mid Wales
The Gwyl Gregynog Festival in mid-Wales is one of the UK’s oldest musical festivals. It is
held in the intimate setting of the Music Room at Gregynog, a mock-Tudor country house set
in 70 hectares (750 acres) of landscaped grounds and wooded parkland in Tregynon village,
five miles from Newtown.
   This year’s festival runs from 13 to 22 June, and the Festival Director Dr Rhian Davies has
created a world-class anniversary celebration to mark its 75th birthday.
   Gwendoline and Margaret Davies founded the Gregynog Festivals of Music and Poetry
which, from 1933 to 1938, attracted leading figures such as Gustav Holst, Adrian Boult and
Walford Davies. Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams also stayed at the Hall as guests
of the sisters, and Vaughan Williams conducted the Gregynog Choir in a performance of
   This year’s artists include tenor Andrew Kennedy, the Badke Quartet, chamber choir
Tenebrae, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, French pianist Pascal Rogé and the strings of the
BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Gwyl Gregynog Festival
Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, Powys SY16 3PW
tel: +44 1686 625007 (box office)
Website: www.gwylgregynogfestival.org
Press contact: Duncan Foulkes
Tel: +44 1686 650818
Email: duncan.foulkes@btinternet.com
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

Ramsay takes off at Heathrow
March 2008 sees the launch of Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food at the newly built Terminal 5 at
Heathrow. Plane Food will be a 180-seat fine dining restaurant in the world’s busiest
international airport. Stuart Gillies will oversee the menu together with Nathan Johnson.
   The menu will be based on Ramsay’s Boxwood Café and includes dishes such as risotto of
butternut squash, parmesan and amaretti, macaroni gratin, treacle cured bacon and maple
syrup and rare roast beef. Desserts will include hot chocolate mousse and honeycomb ice
cream. There will be an afternoon tea menu and a bar offering a cocktail list and a range of
wines available by the bottle and glass.
   Celebrity chef Ramsay started his career as a teenage professional footballer. He trained in
hotel management and came to London to work with Marco Pierre White. In 1998 at the age
of 31, he set up his first wholly-owned restaurant, Gordon Ramsay in London.
   Today his restaurants have won many accolades including numerous Michelin stars. His
books and television programmes Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares have
won him a large following around the world.
   Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opens on 27 March. Designed by Richard Rogers, it will be the
biggest free-standing building in the UK and will be used for arrivals and departures for
British Airways flights.
Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food
Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport
Website: www.gordonramsay.com
Website: www.heathrowairport.com/terminal5
Press contact: Anna Dickinson
Tel: +44 20 8600 3600
Email: anna@saucecommunications.com
Britain Calling                                                              March 2008

Bournemouth makes waves
Bournemouth on England’s south coast has plans to enhance Britain’s growing reputation as a
top destination for surfers. The resort faces the relatively calm waters of the English Channel,
so work has begun on building an artificial surf reef at Boscombe Beach. It will be one of
only four in the world (the others are in Australia and New Zealand).
   The reef will be built from several sand-filled geo-textile bags 30 metres in length. It will
double the height of waves on this part of the coast and increase the number of good surfing
days at the resort. The design and construction will cost approximately £1.6 million
   To complement Europe’s first artificial surf reef, designers Wayne and Gerardine
Hemingway, the creators of fashion label Red or Dead, have been commissioned to design
super beach huts on Boscombe seafront overlooking the reef. The ‘Surf Pods’ will include
double-sized and single units – and penthouses. They will be fitted with mains electricity and
some will have hot and cold running water.
   Bournemouth has the third largest population of surfers in England and is known for the
high quality of its beaches.
Website: www.bournemouth.co.uk
Press contact: Jo Mountain
Tel: +44 1202 456 537
Email: jo.mountain@bournemouth.gov.uk
Britain Calling                                                            March 2008

Blanc’s new brasserie in Winchester
Celebrated chef Raymond Blanc has opened his eighth Brasserie Blanc, in the cathedral city
of Winchester. French-born Blanc came to England in 1972 to work as a waiter. He became a
chef and his Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons restaurant, hotel and cookery school has won
many awards.
   The two-Michelin-starred chef’s aim is to create the best brasseries in England, serving
good quality, freshly prepared food at a price representing excellent value. The menu offers a
selection of both classic and modern French dishes using seasonal and local ingredients.
   Winchester is England’s ancient capital and former seat of King Alfred the Great. It is on
the edge of the South Downs, an hour from London.
   A new Brasserie Blanc is scheduled to open in Bath this autumn.
Brasserie Blanc
Jewry Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8RZ
Tel: +44 1962 810870
Website: www.brasserieblanc.com
Press contact: Sarah Mojab
Tel: +44 20 8600 3600
Email: sarah@saucecommunications.com
Britain Calling                                                               March 2008

Sleep Inns turn Purple
The Real Hotel Company has re-branded its nine Sleep Inn hotels around the UK and
launched them as Purple Hotels. It has also opened new Purple Hotels at Glasgow/ Airport
and Braintree/Stansted.
   The Purple brand styles itself as no-frill chic and is offering clients a service that is cool,
functional and affordable. Rooms are ‘10% bigger than our rivals’ and have large beds and
walk-in power showers. Each hotel has a lobby café/bar that serves ‘all you can eat’ hot and
cold buffet breakfasts and is open all day and evenings.
   The rebranded hotels are at Baldock, Birmingham Star City, Cambridge, Derby,
Doncaster, City of London, Peterborough, Shrewsbury and Tewkesbury. The Real Hotel
Company plans to open 4,000 rooms in Purple Hotels across the country before the 2012
   Prices range from £55 to £85 outside London and £155 to £190 in London midweek.
Purple Hotels
Premier House, 112 Station Road, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 7BJ
Tel: +44 20 8233 2001
Website: www.purplehotels.co.uk
Press contact: Deborah Parritt
Tel: +44 20 7483 0030
Email: pr@adhocpr.com
Britain Calling                                                             March 2008

Eco-friendly eating in London
The team behind Acorn House, London’s acclaimed eco-friendly restaurant, has opened the
Water House by the Regent’s Canal in Hoxton, north London.
   Water House Restaurant aims to be the most sustainable, ethical and community-focused
restaurant in the capital. Energy-saving measures include the installation of 90% recyclable
hydrocarbon fridges which use only 30% of the normal power required. Solar and hydro-
energy provide electricity, CFL bulbs have been fitted and drinking water is filtered in-house.
    Wormeries are used to digest raw food, a hot compost manages the garden’s waste and
experimental bokashi systems transform cooking oil into a compostable substance. The
kitchen will send most of its food waste to be composted then delivered back to help grow the
next batch of vegetables in its sustainable garden.
   The Water House is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The ingredients served in the
restaurant are fresh, seasonal, organic and, wherever possible, local.
   The restaurant is owned by the Shoreditch Trust and has been developed in collaboration
with Eat Green. The owners have pledged to train local people in the ethos of eco-friendly
best practice in the restaurant trade.
Water House Restaurant
10 Orsman Road, London N1 5QJ
Tel: +44 20 7033 0123
Website: www.waterhouserestaurant.co.uk
Press contact: Jori White PR
Tel: +44 20 7734 7001
Email: tara@joriwhitepr.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                            March 2008

Business at a famous racecourse
Liverpool, this year’s European Capital of Culture, has a racecourse that is also a notable
business venue. Aintree is the home of the Grand National and hosts business meetings for
top level executives, product launches for up to 500 guests and conferences for up to 400
delegates. All of the areas, including the 30 glass-fronted syndicate rooms, overlook the
historic racecourse. There are also 3,700 sq metres of exhibition space with vehicular access.
   Aintree can also offer business visitors a Golf Centre (the longest nine-hole course in the
country) and The Grand National Experience, an insight into the history of the world’s most
famous steeplechase.
   The course itself has a 4,000-seat capacity. Two new grandstands were opened in 2007, as
well as a purpose-built equestrian centre. This year’s Grand National will be run on Saturday
5 April.
Aintree Racecourse
Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool L9 5AS 

Tel: +44 151 523 2600
Website: www.aintree.co.uk
Press contact: Rachael Penfold
Tel: +44 151 522 2922
Email: rachael.penfold@jockeyclubracecourses.com
Britain Calling                                                            March 2008

Conference centre in Welsh spa resort
The Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort has opened £1-million conference facilities. The new
conference centre, which links the hotel with the leisure club, covers almost 1,115 sq metres
(12,000 sq ft) and can accommodate 700 seated delegates for a theatre-style conference or
400 for a banquet or dinner. The area can also be broken down into smaller sections, allowing
for two or three events to be hosted at the same time.
   The business and conference facilities at this 4 star hotel cater for groups of 10 to 700
delegates. There are ten multi-functional meeting and conference suites which can be tailored
to suit specific requirements. Each room has natural daylight and is fully air-conditioned.
Technical support ranges from organising specific seating plans to bespoke sound and visual
systems, building backdrops and complete exhibition sets.
   The hotel, which includes the largest health spa in Wales, also has two championship golf
courses. It is 15 minutes from Cardiff city centre, international airport and Bridgend, a two-
hour drive from London and 45 minutes from Bristol.
Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort
Hensol Park, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan CF72 8JY
Tel: +44 1443 667800
Website: www.vale-hotel.com
Press contact: Peter Bibby
Tel: +44 29 2066 0119
Email: pbibby@effcom.co.uk
Britain Calling                                                            March 2008

Birmingham’s new space
The UK’s first Deaf Cultural Centre has opened in Birmingham. It is a contemporary and
flexible space over three floors that can be used for festivals and exhibitions, and can
accommodate meetings and conferences of 20 to 160 delegates in theatre style. In addition to
the main meeting space, there is also a café/bar, a library and resources room, an IT area and
an outside terrace with access to the café/bar area.
   A £35-per-day delegate rate (weekdays and weekends) includes hire of the main room, a
syndicate room, internet access and full catering.
   The Deaf Cultural Centre is close to Five Ways in Birmingham, a short walk from the city
hotels on Broad Street and Hagley Road.
   As well as bringing together diverse elements of the deaf community and deaf culture
under one roof, it is a space where deaf culture can be celebrated, explored and represented
through a series of community and leisure projects, arts, exhibitions and social events.
Deaf Cultural Centre
Ladywood Road, Birmingham B16 8SZ
Tel: +44 121 246 6100
Textphone: +44 121 246 6101
Website: www.deafculturalcentre.com
Press contact: Ian Skelton
Tel: +44 121 246 6100
Email: ianskelton@hotmail.com

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