City breaks might feel a little different these days, the bustling atmosphere has been replaced by the tentative social chatter of social distancing and the muffled conversations in masks. So we can’t go back to experiencing city breaks like we used to, but many of these urban centres are creating new attractions and experiences for the visitors, a chance to see the city from new angles and new perspectives.
Make your next city break a little different with the following finalists in the BGTW International Tourism Awards 2020.
Strawberry Field, Liverpool
Made famous by John Lennon in The Beatles hit, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, visitors to the city of Liverpool can now walk through the gates of Strawberry Field and see the former Salvation Army children’s home. Its peaceful garden is the centre of prayer and meditation, and is offering opportunities for meeting at a distance with Prayer Bubbles to pray for Strawberry Field, the local community, and the wider world.
However, this is not just another Beatles attraction. Strawberry Field is a wonderful museum integrated with a Steps to Work programme for young adults with learning difficulties and other barriers to employment.
The Cartoon Museum, London
Nestled in the back streets close to London’s premier shopping strip of Oxford Street is the small but entertaining Cartoon Museum. Following the development of British cartoons from the early 18th Century, illustrating the real and surreal (at times social, at times political, or just plain nostalgic, family-friendly fun – all the time funny), the Cartoon Museum is a little timeout from the hustle of modern cityscape.
As Lord (Kenneth) Baker says: “The Cartoon Museum is the only museum in London where you are expected to laugh out loud”.
Frankfurt’s reconstructed new ‘Old Town’, Frankfurt
A scan across Frankfurt’s city skyline along the Main River can deceive the eye into believing Frankfurt is all business among glass ceilings. A small urban surprise is awarded to those who dig beneath the modern surface, where narrow medieval streets and mushrooming timber houses of the Old Town reveal the city’s historical and traditions that are worth the wander.
This ‘new’ Old Town is a €200 million restoration, recreating the city to how it used to look prior to being destroyed in the Second World War. Using original blueprints the ‘new’ old town features exact replicas of individual houses that once stood on the site.
Visitors will be surprised to learn all of this isn’t just a tourist attraction. It’s a living community of around 200 residents complete with local shops, including bakers, butchers and daily necessity stores.
Macon Music Trail, Georgia, USA
It cannot be argued that Macon, as a city, has had great influences in the American popular music scene. Unlike many other ‘music cities’ where the focus is on one specific style, Macon’s genre spreads from gospel and funk, soul and rock, to country and the blues.
This led to the launch of the Music Trail in July 2019 by Visit Macon, putting music back into the heart of the city. As well as being a tourism initiative, the Otis Redding Foundation is offering classes to disadvantaged kids, and the reopened Capricorn Studios working with Mercer University as a music incubator for artists to rehearse and record.
Follow the trail and experience the music for yourself with a dedicated website and free guides and maps at tourist offices.
CopenHill: Copenhagen’s Epicentre for Urban Mountain Sport, Copenhagen
Difficult to believe that this outdoors sports ‘hill’ is in fact part of a waste-to-energy plant in the middle of Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen. As one of the most unique urban lifestyle concepts, CopenHill is part of Copenhagen’s goal to be the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025, and is a place for activities all year round.
From running, skiing, hiking and climbing, at the same time, burning enough waste to power 60,000 homes and heat 160,000 homes in the area with clean energy. This is an urban mountain with a mission for the future.