2.6 Million Choose London For The Festive Season

With the holiday season upon us, more than 2.6 million people have already booked to travel with British Airways to London over the festive and New Year period.

Friday, December 21 is the peak travel day, as nearly 102,000 customers will travel across the airline’s network on that day alone. Even on Christmas Day, more than 27,000 people will travel with British Airways.  January 2, 2013 sees most people traveling after the Christmas break, with over 91,000 people flying with the airline that day.  It’s estimated that in 2013 tourism figures will grow with 31.7 million people visiting the UK.

 With so many people coming to London, British Airways has asked its crew to share some of their favorite London hot spots in a festive themed video.  British Airways crew member Mark Rainbow gives his expert take on some of the best things to do in London this winter. Customers can see Marks tips on  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_nb-494by4

Mark Rainbow – British Airways Customer Service Manager

With the arrival of December London has transformed into a winter wonderland.  With the glow of the capitals eateries, tourists flying in to join the hustle and bustle of the shopping scene and the lashings of festive decorations draped across the capital.  As British Airways crew we get to experience a lot of cities around the world.  Over years of flying we find some of the best places to eat, drink and be entertained.  For me London can be one of the most Romantic cities in the world.  When London has that magical mix of festive lights, crisp blue winter skies and warm inviting restaurants there is simply no better place.  My perfect winter day is a great mix between the world famous locations and some hidden gems.  My hidden London is filled with Winter Picnics and hot chocolate or shopping in the backstreets of Primrose Hill and Islington, topped off with ice skating at the Natural History Museum.  I still love some of the better-known places. There is afternoon tea at the Langham, the magic of Hamleys toyshop and indulging in some holiday shopping in Fortnum and Mason.

The Winter Picnic

Londoners absolutely love a summer picnic in a beautiful park or by a cool river, with sandwiches, champagne and strawberries aplenty, but a winter picnic is my secret to a perfect day.  The best place in London for a winter picnic is Primrose Hill.  It gives an absolutely amazing view of the London skyline and is dotted with the same lampposts you would see in Sherlock Holmes.  It might sound a bit like a Jamie Oliver recipe but all you need is some warm clothes, a blanket each, a Hamper stuffed full of winter goodies, and a big flask or rich warm hot chocolate.

Shopping Essentials at Hamleys and Fortnum & Mason

For me winter in London is all about finding your inner child and indulging in little luxuries. Hamleys and Fortnum & Mason are perfect for that.  Hamleys is like stepping into Santa’s very own workshop.  Its crammed full of entertainers, color and toys.  There is something for everyone and even if you’re not buying it’s still definitely worth a visit.

Fortnum and Mason is a different world, for me it is luxury defined.  The store has some amazing bars, restaurants and of course shopping.  My favorite part of the store is their ice cream parlor; it’s never too cold for an ice cream from there.  They do the best Christmas ice cream sundae ever! It’s Christmas pudding; chocolate and vanilla ice creams topped with toasted nibbed almonds, orange sultanas, F&M cognac butter and whipped cream.  And to top that all off it’s served with a mini mince pie.

Ice Skating at the Natural History

One of my fondest childhood memories was visiting the Natural History Museum.  As a child I was fascinated by dinosaurs and the fact I could go and see something millions of years old.  In the last few years there have been winter ice skating rinks popping up all over London, and one of the capitals best ice skating rinks is set in the grounds of the museum.  The surrounding trees are dotted with fairy lights, and the museum itself is beautifully lit.  As the museum is located in picturesque Kensington there is plenty to do afterwards.

There is so much more to explore, and I am guessing my perfect day will have a few extra locations in 2013.

British Airways customers can now capture and share their own ideal personalized travel guides and more on facebook.com/britishairways or on their mobiles with the Perfect Day app for iPhones. For more information or to book you perfect day visit ba.com.

-Notes to Editors-
 

Locations visited in Video 

1. London Heathrow Terminal 5

2. Primrose Hill – Winter Picnic

3. Islington, Camden Passage – Specialist book and antique shops

4. The Langham, London – Hotel

5. Hamleys – Toy Shop

6. Fortnum and Mason – Department Store

7. Natural History Museum – Ice Skating Rink

8. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland– Amusement Park

 1. Analysis taken from the Annual Population Survey (APS) from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS): http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_287932.pdf

 2. VisitBritain’s 2013 forecast:

                                                m/£bn              growth

Volume                                     31.7                   3.0%

Value (nominal)                          19.0                  2.5%

 - visitors between July to September 2012 felt they had been warmly welcomed and would recommend a holiday in Britain.  83% of departing overseas visitors during July-September reported they had felt either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ welcome in Britain (a statistically significant increase on 79% reporting this in Q3 2011).

- 85% of visitors said they were now ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ likely to recommend a holiday in Britain to their friends and family – and if we assumed that this proportion of visitors do recommend visiting Britain for a holiday to just one friend or relative that would be 7.5 million personal recommendations for Britain.

3. To view the Annual Review go to: http://www.visitbritain.org

4. Festive and new-year period (Saturday, December 1, 2012 to Monday, January 6, 2013).

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