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RABBIE’S TOURS Traveling in the UK includes the welcome element of surprise, but driving on the other side of the road, or getting lost can steal away some of the joy. The solution is Rabbies’ sixteen-passenger comfortable mini bus back-road tours. Rabbie’s takes travelers off-the-beaten-path on fully guided tours with opportunities to explore destinations on your own. Our two-day excursion took us on picturesque country roads, with visits in

of handpicked antiques and contemporary furnishings tied together with botanically inspired wallpapers. The rooftop gardens provide seasonal vegetables and a separate terrace is home to dozens of beehives where St. Ermine’s 350,000 Buckfast honeybees spend their days sipping nectar from the royal blossoms. When the tank feels empty, the hotel’s Caxton Grill serves those freshly picked veggies together with dry-aged steaks grilled in an indoor charcoal oven. And St. Ermin’s also has a film-noir-worthy history.

the Cotswold’s, Bath, and Oxford. Along the way, our driver entertained us with interesting historical facts and local lore, while we had plenty of time to explore the destinations on our own. Rabbie’s Tours leads explorations throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. rabbies.com WARNER BROS. STUDIO TOUR LONDON – Plan to spend a full day at The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour and walk in the footsteps of the witches and wizards of Hogwarts, through the Great Hall, along Diagon Alley, and climb aboard the Hogwarts Express locomotive on Platform 9 ¾. New in 2017 is The Forbidden Forest, where the enormous arachnoid, Aragog, is hiding amidst 12-foot thick trees. Up-close encounters of the films’ artifacts reveal the visual effects that make creatures like the 30-foot long Basilisk come alive. Aside from Harry Potter fans, the detailed props, costumes, scale models and technical set renderings are inspiring for any budding actor, filmmaker, or set designer. wbstudiotour.co.uk CHAMPAGNE AFTERNOON TEA AT THE RITZ THE MAKING OF HARRY POTTER


At Europe’s darkest hour, the hotel was used as a covert HQ for officers of Britain’s Secret Service and Naval Intelligence and Churchill is said to have held historic, clandestine meetings in its darkened rooms, sending coded messages on pieces of silk. If you’re curious, youmight ask about the secret tunnel to the House of Westminster. stermineshotel.co.uk SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, AT THE SHARD, TING RESTAURANT TĪNG, the signature restaurant of Shangri- La, Asia Pacific’s leading 5-star hotel, is on the 35 th floor of the iconic Renzo Piano skyscraper, The Shard. The scrumptious 5-course tasting menu with wine pairings is matched only by the electrifying 360-degree views of London. Dine while the setting sun casts a magical wash of colors on the city below and you’ll have an evening worth remembering. shangri-la.com/london/shangrila

The Ritz hotel has been serving afternoon tea since 1906, while resident pianist Ian Gomes, who used to perform for Frank Sinatra, has been serenading guests for 22 years. Servers wear white gloves and tails, so why not order the Champagne Afternoon Tea? Savory bite-sized cheddar cheese with chutney and Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter sandwiches are followed by freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserves. Somehow we found room for the mini cakes and pastries almost too pretty to eat. As for the dress code: jacket and tie for men, save your tennis whites for Wimbledon.



theritzlondon.com – Jordana Koffsky


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