Tourist attractions

Warner Bros Studio Leavesden

The studio was built in 1940 by Havilland Aircraft Company and the Air Ministry of Great Britain. The building was originally a hangar where airplanes where made during the World War II. The hangar was located in the tiny village Leavesden in Hertfordshire, UK. After the war was over the hangar got shut down and wasn't used anymore.

A film company called Eon Productions needed space to film their new James Bond movie Goldeneye. They found the old hangar, which had a lot of space and turned it into a studio in 1994. Later in the year 2000, Heyday films acquired to use the studio for the first Harry Potter movie. Other companies used the studio too, but it was mostly occupied by the Harry Potter sets. The Sherlock Holmes movie made in 2009, starring Robert Downy Jr. contains scenes filmed on the Harry Potter set, due to the movies' similar environment.

On the 21 of March in 2010, there was a fire in the studio. Luckily, not much damage was done and it was easily restored. Later the same year at the finishing scenes of the last Harry Potter movie, Warner Bros announced that the studio was going to be a permanent European base.

After filming all Harry Potter movies, the crew was left with many amazing and fantastic artefacts which they just couldn't throw away. The Warner Bros wanted to preserve and show the costumes, sets and artefacts to the public. On the 31 of March 2012 it was finally time to open the doors of the studio and let the fans of Harry Potter come a little closer to the magic. The story of Harry Potter was maybe over, but the fans had at least the opportunity to visit Hogwarts and return to the land of wizards.

Dumbledor's office, picture taken in August 2013  

Model of Hogwarts, picture taken in March 2012  

Text: Sanida Bosnjakovic

Sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Warner Bros Studio Leavesden. Uppdated 06.02.2017

Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. Uppdated 22.02.2017

Buckingham Palace

The Buckingham House, today known as the Buckingham Palace, was originally the home of the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. It was designed by William Winde. The Buckingham House was built on the property of the family Buckingham; it has been in private ownership for over 150 years. King George III bought the house for his daughter Charlotte, who later became Queen in 1761. The Buckingham house became known as the Queen's house.

In the 19th century The Buckingham House became bigger. The architects John Nash and Edward Blore constructed three more wings to the central core which was the house itself. The Buckingham Palace became the residence of the British Monarch during Queen Victoria's rule in 1837.

The palace is where people turn to in good and in bad times, to mourn and to celebrate. The palace is also where The Queen welcomes her political guests. Meetings with the Queen are held at the palace, such as dinners, lunches and garden parties. The Prime Minister also visits the Queen in the palace for their weekly meetings. The palace has 775 rooms, of which 78 are bathrooms and 19 staterooms that can be visited by the public during summer. 

The Buckingham Palace in London, the Photo was taken in April 2009  

Text: Sanida Bosnjakovic

Source:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Buckingham Palace. 22.02.2017

The Royal Household. Uppdated 19.02.2017

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London. The name comes from Marie Tussaud. She was born on December 1st, 1761 in Strasbourg, France, her birthname was Marie Grosholtz. Her father died before she was born.

       Madame Tussauds in London, photo taken in March 2004  

 Her mother moved to Bern, Switzerland, to work for Dr. Philippe Curtius as a maid. He worked with wax-figures to illustrate anatomy. Philippe felt like an uncle to Marie. He taught Marie the art of wax-modelling, and when she was six years old he moved to Paris to start a wax museum and he took her with him.

At the age of sixteen she made her first wax figure, of Voltaire. And at the age of 17 she became the art tutor of King Louis XVI of France's sister, Madame Elizabeth. During the French Revolution she was imprisoned for three months awaiting execution, but she was released thanks to a friend helping her out.

Philippe died 1794 and left the wax-collection for Marie to inherit. After that she spent 33 years travelling in Europe, during that time she also married Francois Tussaud. In 1802 she accepted an invitation of Paul Philidor to exhibit her work in his show at the Lyceum Theatre, London. Philidor took half her profits so Marie did not fare very good financially because of him.

She was unable to move back to France because of the Napoleonic Wars. So instead she travelled throughout Great Britain and Ireland exhibiting her collection. In 1835 Marie settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened a museum. One of the main attractions in the museum is the Chamber of Horrors. People often say that the name of the attraction was invented by someone at a magazine called Punch in 1845, but she came up with the name herself as early as 1843.

A lot of the older wax-figures had to be built up again because of a fire in 1925 and a bombing in 1941, which destroyed some of the figures. The oldest figure in the collection is the one of Madame du Barry, who was made by Curtius in 1765. Marie Tussaud made a self-portrait, which is now in the entrance of her museum. She died in her sleep on April 15 1850.

Today Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London. The wax-figures that are there today include historical and royal figures, sports stars, artists, film stars and famous murderers.

Some of the figures are Adolf Hitler, the members of One Direction, Beyonce, Barack Obama among others. Madame Tussauds' headquarter is in London, Europe, but there are other Madame Tussauds' all over the world to, in Asia, Australia and North-America. For example one of the well-known museums are in Berlin, Germany.

A ticket to Madame Tussauds is combined with other tourist-attractions in London, a ticket for two attractions in London cost 39£ online, one for three attractions cost 48£ online and one for four attractions cost 55£ online.

Text: Elvira Söderlund

Sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. , Madame Tussauds 22.2.17

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. , Madame Tussauds 1.12.16

Entertainment Group 2016

Lake District

The Lake District which is also called The Lakes orLakeland, is located in the North-West of England, it is one of the fifteen national parks in Great Britain. The national park is located in Cumbria, in a mountain area.

The highest point in Lakeland is Scafell Pike (978 m). The park reaches 51 km from east to west and about 64 km from north to south.

The Lakes became famous in the 19th century when William Wordsworth started writing poems about them. The Lakes are the most popular among artists, writers and photographers. The Lakes are a popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells).

The Lake District is one of the most populated national parks. The economy is mostly based on tourism but there are still farmers, particularly sheep farming has been a major industry since the Roman times. There is also a quite important stone industry. Another thing is gastronomy, meaning that Lakeland is probably the best place to eat great food at in Great Britain.

In this area of mountains there are a lot of bigger cities as Keswick, Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere. Some of the mountains in The Lakes are, as mentioned, Scafell Pike (978 m), which also happens to be the highest mountain in England, Helvellyn (712 m) and Skiddaw (709 m).

A view of the northern ascent facing south, 25 June 2009  

Text: Elvira Söderlund

Sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc, Lake District, 18.02.17

Wikimedia Foundation Inc, Lake District, 22.02.17

The Lake District National Park Authority 

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is located in England, north of Salisbury and is a monument from the Bronze Age. Stonehenge is two rings of stones, surrounded by earthworks. The inner stone circle is made of a kind of stone that doesn't come from the surrounding area, they are called bluestones because they are blue. Stonehenge was added to UNESCO's list of world heritage sites in 1986. Stonehenge was built in different phases over a period of 2000 years. The weighed of the stones is about 4 tons each.

Many early historians had theories about Stonehenge, Inigo Jones who thought it was an roman temple. Later it was thought to be built by the Danes. William Stuckeley said in 1740 that the Stonehenge was connected to the druids. In 1800 John Lubbock could determine that Stonehenge was from the Bronze Age.

It is very hard to determine the building techniques used by the Stonehenge builders. Various authors suggest that supernatural methods were used to move the stones, usually claiming that the stones would be impossible to move any other way, because of the massive size of stones. How the stones could have been moved without wheels or some kind of system to pull the stones is not yet known.

There are also myths about Stonehenge. The "heel stone" or "Friars's Heel" is a stone that's leaning inwards to the stone circle. According to folklore it was the devil who bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, and brought them to Salisbury. One of the stones fell into the Avon. The devil said, "no one will ever find out how these stones came here!" A friar replied "that's what you think" and the devil threw the stone, and the stone hit the friar's heel. The stone struck the ground and is still there.

Stonehenge is also associated with the Arthurian legend. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was Merlin who decided that the monument should be moved from Ireland, where it had been built on Mount Killaraus by giants who took the stones from Afrika. Monmouth says that after Stonehenge was rebuilt and both Ambrosius Aurelianus (a fifth century king), Uther Pendragon (Arthurs father) and Constantine III (a roman general) were buried inside the ring of stone.

When Stonehenge first opened to the public, people were allowed to walk among them and even climb on them. But because of erosion it has been forbidden to touch the stones since 1977. Today there is a visitors centre and tourists are allowed to walk among the stones and view them from a distance bur are not allowed to touch the stones.

You can visit Stonehenge every day between 9:30 and 17:00 but it's open longer in the summer. The prise for an adult is £15.50 and for children £9.30. If you want to guarantee entry the day you chose you have to book in advance.

Text Sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc, Stonehenge, 18.8-16

Wikimedia Foundation Inc, Stonehenge, 21.2-17

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; Constantine III (Western Roman Emperor); 23.12-16

Stonehenge, 21.2-17

English heritage; Stonehenge; 22.2-17

Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a freshwater lake and is great Britain's second deepest lake. Loch Ness is best known for the Loch Ness Monster, also known as Nessie. The "Loch Ness centre and exhibition" is located in Drumnadrochit and the natural history and legend of the Loch Ness are examined there. There are also boat cruises, that give visitors a chance to look for the "monster".

The nature around Loch Ness is beautiful, but Loch Ness wouldn't be as famous as it is today without the Loch Ness Monster. The Loch Ness Monster is a mythological lake monster that allegedly lives in the Loch Ness Lake. Many people say they have seen the "monster" but no-one has convincing evidence that the "monster" actually exists.

The most popular theory is that it is a plesiosaurus, a shrimp and fish eating reptile which is said to have been extinct for 65.5 million years. Other theories are that it is a seal with a very long neck or even a very big eel. Another and the most likely theory is that a circus stopped at the lake and let there elephants cool off in the lake. The "monster" that the people saw was the elephants trunks.

Loch Ness has one artificial island, and is called crannog. The island was probably built during the Iron Age. Before the construction of the Caledonian canal there was a second island, Dog Island, but when the water level rose was the island was submerged under water.

Text sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; Loch Ness; 20.2-17

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; Loch Ness-odjuret; 10.1-17

Viator; Loch Ness; 21.2-17

Big Ben

Big Ben is a name for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, but is usually used when you talk about the clock and the clock tower. Elizabeth tower is the official name of the tower, sense it was renamed in 2012 to celebrate the Dimond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Before that it was known as the clock tower.

The clock tower was finished in 1859. The tower has proven to be very reliable during the years. Only once sense 1856 has the clock completely stopped working, in 1976. Big ben has even survived the Second World War.

Augustus Pugin designed the clock tower. The tower was Pugin's last design before he died. Pugin also designed the clock, and under every dial is the latin inscription: domine salvam fac reginam nostram viktoriam primam, which means, O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the first. There are five bells in the tower, the great bell else known as Big Ben and four quarter bells which plays quarter hours. Big Ben is believed to be named after sir Benjamin Hall who were chief commissioner of works when the bell was made.

The clock is a cultural symbol for the UK. In a survey in 2008 it was found out that the Big Ben tower was the most popular landmark in the UK. It is also the most iconic film location in London. During the New Year´s celebrations in the UK the media turns to the chimes of Big Ben to welcome the new year.

Text sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; Big Ben; 27.1-17

Foundation Inc; Big Ben; 20.2-17

London & partners; VISITLONDON.COM; 22.2-17

London Eye

The London Eye is a big Ferris wheel in Great Britain. It is located in the entertainment and commercial district South Bank in London, near the river Thames. It has also been called the Merlin Entertainments London Eye and the EDF Energy London Eye, by its owners The British Airways London Eye. In September 2014 they signed an agreement with Coca Cola, who are going to sponsor them for two years, so from January and then on it has also been known as the Coca-Cola London Eye.

The London Eye is 135 meters tall and has a diameter of 120 m. On the highest place you can see up to 40 kilometres in all directions on a clear day. Many call it the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel, but it was only the world's tallest when it was raised in 1999. Now it is Europe's tallest Ferris Wheel and the most popular attraction in the United Kingdom.

The Ferris wheel has 32 gondolas, and each takes up to 25 persons. The capsules are numbered from 1-33 even though there are only 32, because number 13 doesn't exist because of "bad luck". It takes about 30 minutes to circulate once around, the wheel rotates at 26 cm per second. Because of the slow speed, it doesn't usually stop to take on passengers, only for disabled or elderly passengers. Seating is available in the capsule but people are free to walk around too.

The capsules that rotate around the ferry wheel 

The London Eye was designed by architects Frank Anatole, Nic Bailey, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, Julia Barfield and David Marks. The wheel was built in parts and then floated up along the Thames. When the wheel was complete, it was raised slowly into an upright position. The construction was a European project and The Netherlands, UK, Italy, Germany, The Czech Republic and France helped to supply parts.

The opening hours depends on the season. In the winter the wheel is usually open from 11.00-18.00. and in the summer 10.00-20.30. The only time it is closed is on Christmas day (25th) and in January for the annual maintenance. On special occasions the opening hours are a bit longer, for instance on Valentine's Day and around Christmas. One ticket for an adult to the London Eye costs about 26,50€ and for a child 18,50€. They have many special offers, for example London Eye + River cruise on the Thames for 36,40€.

All in all it is a really beautiful and popular tourist attraction. It has won over 85 awards for national and international tourism, engineering achievement and excellent architectural quality.

Text: Katarina Rönnqvist

Sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc., London Eye, 10.02.2017

London & Partners, visitlondon.com - Coca-Cola London Eye, 1.04.2011

London Eye Management Services Limited, Coca Cola London Eye, 20.02.2017

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a road junction in London in the City of Westminster, where Regent Street, Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street meet. It is called Piccadilly Circus because one of the street names is Piccadilly and then the word circus comes from the Latin word meaning circle. This circle is the round open space where the streets meet. In this area you can find for example famous statues, many shops, theatres, restaurants and nightclubs. Around 100 million people walk through Piccadilly Circus every year.

The Piccadilly name first appeared in 1626 after a man called Robert Baker started to sell piccadillies. Piccadilly Circus was created in 1819. For a while around 1858 it was known as Regent's Circus. When Shaftesbury Avenue was constructed, the Piccadilly circus lost its circular form, but the name did not change. The junction has been very busy in traffic ever since the opening, especially when it lies in the middle of a theatreland. In 1906 the tube station was opened under Piccadilly Circus.

In the past the Piccadilly Circus was covered in neon advertising, and was then called Monico, after the café Monico. Now there is only one place with big neon advertising, between Shaftesbury Avenue and Glasshouse Street. The companies who are showed on the neon signs are Coca Cola, Hyundai Motor Company, Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo, McDonald's, Samsung and LG Electronics.

The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain was raised in 1892-1893. On top of the fountain is a statue of Anteros from the Greek mythology who was the God of requited love. The statue was raised to honour Lord Shaftesbury and his work, he was a well-known philanthropist and a politician. At the beginning Shaftesbury Memorial was in the centre of Piccadilly but after World War II it was moved to the south-eastern side of Piccadilly circus.

The Criterion Theatre opened 1874 and is a underground theatre on the south side of Piccadilly Circus. The theatre takes up to 588 people on three levels and was designed by Thomas Verity. The theatre has played many of William Shakespeare's plays.

On the north-eastern side of Piccadilly Circus you can find London Pavilion, which is a shopping mall that connects with Piccadilly Circus tube station in the basement. It was first built to a music hall in 1859, and then reconstructed in 1934 into a cinema. In 1986 it was rebuilt into a shopping arcade. 

Piccadilly Circus is well know and many musicians and artists have mentioned it in their work. For instance the Swedish singer Pernilla Wahlgren performed at the music competition Melodifestivalen 1985 with the song Piccadilly Circus, which was written by Lars Andersson and Bruno Glenmark. The song is a schlager and pop song that is about a love meeting at Piccadilly Circus.

Text: Katarina Rönnqvist

Sources:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. , Piccadilly Circus, 22.02.2017

Strawberry Tours, 1.1.2017