Jim Carter, aka, Carson the Downton Abbey butler
Jim Carter, aka, Carson the Downton Abbey butler

Today VISITLONDON.COM, the official Visitor Guide to the capital, together with the GREAT Britain campaign, have launched an international search to find London’s Official Guest of Honour, who will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience London as never before. The capital city and its most famous residents and locations are rolling out the red carpet and have together created a city break made up of amazing magic moments.

 The winning guest will be invited to London in February 2015 and will have the unique honor of opening Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge in the world, seeing a West End musical with international singing star Jessie J and visiting the Science Museum with renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking.  Downton Abbey’s butler Carson – actor Jim Carter – will provide the winner with afternoon tea at Lord’s Cricket Ground; and the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, will take the Guest of Honour behind the scenes of the Houses of Parliament.
The Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton will personally cook a meal for the Official Guest of Honour at one of the capital’s best restaurants and both the world-famous singer and conductor, Plácido Domingo and British ballerina and “Strictly Come Dancing” judge Darcey Bussell will take the winner to one of their favorite theatres in the world, the Royal Opera House. As part of the experience, the Guest of Honour will fire the guns from HMS Belfast, walk the red carpet at a film premiere in Central London, and meet the English tennis star Tim Henman for a VIP tour of the All England Tennis Club, which hosts The Wimbledon Championships.
To apply to be London’s Official Guest of Honour, entrants must go to Visitlondon.com, submit a short film or image and in 70 words describe their perfect day in London. The closing date is 9th December 2014 and participants must be aged 18 and over. For all terms and conditions see the visitlondon.com website.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “London is ready to welcome our Guest of Honour in style. This is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the greatest city in the world, in the greatest possible way and I know the winner will take home something special, something unique, something that they will never forget.”
Music star Jessie J adds: “My career began on the legendary stage of Aldwych Theatre with my first professional performance so I’m absolutely thrilled to give London’s Official Guest of Honour a personal tour of this iconic venue.”
Plácido Domingo, the world-famous opera singer and conductor, said: “I first performed at the Royal Opera House in London in 1971 as Cavaradossi in Tosca and I am delighted to be able to show the Guest of Honour around one of my favourite Opera houses in the world and a special place for me.”
The Guest of Honour will be announced in January next year and will be invited to visit the capital in early February 2015 with an accompanying guest. They will stay in a luxury suite, the official Guest of Honour residence, at Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street. London’s Official Guest of Honour will be hosted throughout the break by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company, which has worked with partners across the capital to make this dream trip come true.
The Official Guest of Honour experience will also have a chance to be a Keeper for the day at ZSL London Zoo and receive an All Access Pass to London’s most celebrated fashion hub, Oxford Street, including VIP styling and a £5,000 shopping spree. Highlights of the spectacular two-week holiday experience will be captured on film for the rest of the world to see.
London has experienced a post-Olympic 2012 tourism boost with significant increases in the numbers of people visiting the city. In 2013, according to official figures, the city welcomed a record 16.8 million international visitors. The respected Mastercard Global Cities Index, which recently announced that London was the most visited city on earth, has also projected the capital will host 18.7 million international visitors in 2014. Find out more at their website.
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