Experts Reveal What Tops Their Bucket List

Expert panel, judging VisitEngland
VisitEngland’s expert panel: top row, L-R: Yeoman Warder, Barney Chandler; VisitEngland’s Chairman, Lady Cobham; Skye Gyngell; Sonali Shah. Bottom row, L-R: Bill Oddie; Wallace; Gromit; Clemency Burton-Hill; Rough Guide’s Clare Currie.

A panel of experts, including Wallace & Gromit and Bill Oddie, have spent weeks trawling through over 800 submissions to select the top 101 things to do before you go abroad in time for English Tourism Week (16th – 24th March 2013).

VisitEngland’s Facebook app, which asked people to nominate their favourite things to see and do in England, had such an enormous response that the tourist board had to enlist a team of experts to select the cream of the crop.

Wallace & Gromit, Bill Oddie, Sonali Shah, Clemency Burton-Hill, Skye Gyngell and a Yeoman Warder from the Tower of London each had their own entries to judge from the following categories; Food & Drink, History & Heritage, Arts & Culture, Health & Fitness, Wildlife & Nature and Because it’s Awesome.

The complete 101 list, alongside the winner of the ‘Because it’s awesome’ category, judged by Wallace & Gromit, will be revealed on St George’s Day (23rd April). In anticipation, and to celebrate English Tourism Week, here’s a sneak peek of the ultimate English bucket list…

Bill Oddie – actor, bird-watcher and former presenter of BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch

Category: Wildlife & Nature

“There are just a few places that I would recommend to anyone and feel absolutely confident that they would have an unforgettable experience. The Farne Islands in Northumberland is – or are – one of them. I’d recommend April to early September, with June and July for maximum bird activity. I have visited sea bird colonies all round the world and believe me the Farnes are the best place to literally walk amongst terns, shags, kittiwakes and the photogenic and endlessly entertaining puffins. Simply the best.”

Sonali Shah – host of World Triathlon series, Crufts reporter and part of the London 2012 presentation team

Category: Health & Fitness

“I’ve chosen coasteering in Cornwall as my ultimate pick because it sounds like a super-charged version of something many of us will have tried as kids on a seaside holiday. The variety of activity – the sport involves swimming, jumping, diving, climbing and scrambling – would make it a totally adrenaline-packed experience, but you can also push yourself only as far as you want to. It’s a unique way of exploring one of England’s most stunning coastlines and I can’t wait to try it myself!”

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, on the South Bank, London.

Clemency Burton-Hill – regular face on BBC2’s Culture Show and BBC Proms

Category: Arts & Culture

“The ultimate Arts & Culture pick for me would be the South Bank of the Thames – incorporating in such a concentrated space the Saatchi & Hayward Galleries, the National Theatre, the BFI, the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, outdoor book stalls and other cultural shops, and a little further down, the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern. Plus breath-taking views of magnificent cultural landmarks.”

Skye Gyngell – Michelin-starred chef, formerly of the Petersham Nurseries in Richmond and now culinary director at the soon-to-open country house hotel, Heckfield Place

Category: Food & Drink

Eating oysters in Whitstable has to be a favourite of mine. I love oysters, they really are one of my favourite treats, and growing up I remember reading books that Whitstable featured in. So I think the combination of the two, a food I really love to eat and a town I read about thousands of miles away, makes this a special choice for me.”

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
The ruins of Tintagel Castle, Cornwall.

Barney Chandler – Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London and guardian of the country’s culture and traditions

Category: History & Heritage

“I’ve chosen Tintagel Castle in Cornwall because these incredible ruins, perched on a cliff top, are steeped in legend and mystery – they’re said to be the home of King Arthur. I remember visiting this beautiful village as a child and still recall the spectacular setting of the castle to this very day.”

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