With less than 21 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, excitement is starting to build throughout the UK as our GB teams get finalised and the Olympic Torch continues on its long journey across our nation. If you were planning a short break to London this summer but have decided it will be too busy with the Olympic crowd, fear not. There are a huge range of fantastic attractions in some of the top UK cities that rival the most popular visitor destinations in the Capital. We’ve put together our list of some great alternatives, so you won’t miss out if you decide to give London a miss.
The Wheel of York
At 135 metres tall the London Eye is the tallest Ferris Wheel in Europe. A prominent feature of the London skyline, the giant wheel has become an iconic symbol of the city. Outside of the capital, breathtaking city views can also be admired from the top of the Wheel in York. Standing 60 metres tall the Wheel is located on the banks of the River Ouse and is superbly placed for taking in the sites that the beautiful city has to offer. From the striking gothic architecture of the York Minster to the historic city walls punctuated with bars and gates, you’ll be amazed at what you can see even if you’re not at the lofty height achieved on the London Eye!
Sea Life Centre Birmingham
Considered the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Sea Life collection of 28 centres in the UK, Sea Life London Aquarium is one of the top visitor attractions in London, drawing in the crowds with a breathtaking collection of 500 marine species. You can also be amazed by life under the sea at Sea Life Centre Birmingham. In the heart of the nation’s second city, this Sea Life Centre is home to over 1000 awe-inspiring creatures and has recently added a 4D cinema that brings to life the tale of the adorable Sammy the Sea Turtle. This is a great place to take children this summer for a fun and educational day out without the hassle of getting around busy central London.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
An icon of British Royalty at the heart of the capital, Buckingham Palace is undoubtedly a firm favourite with visitors to the city. At the other end of the British Isles, the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is similarly rich in history and grandeur. Known as the palace that houses Her Majesty during the annual Holyrood Week, the palace is the splendid setting where The Queen receives the Keys of the City of Edinburgh in an ancient tradition that pledges the city’s loyalty to the Monarchy.
Madame Tussauds Blackpool
Madame Tussauds in London is a well known and hugely popular attraction that promises fun for all the family with its collection of uncanny waxwork models of famous figures. However, you don’t have to travel all the way to London to take some snaps alongside your favourite celeb as Madame Tussauds in Blackpool has its very own assortment of look-a-likes. From loveable comedian Alan Carr to the stars of Mancunian soap Coronation Street, this top northern attraction is jam packed with seriously impressive models. My personal favourite is of David Beckham mid-sit up! Cor.
The Lion King Bristol
2012 will see an exciting range of top West End shows embarking on tours of theatres around the UK. From The Phantom of the Opera to Oliver!, these touring productions will give new audiences the chance to experience the thrill of Theatreland closer to home. From September the magical The Lion King musical will come to the Bristol Hippodrome, where theatre-goers will be transported to the heart of the African savannah to follow the heart-warming story of Simba’s journey to become King of the Pride Land.
Will you be braving London on a short break this summer or will you give one of these alternative attractions a try?