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The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead is a flour mill that has been remodelled into a dynamic centre for cutting-edge exhibitions. Photo: Alamy
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Britain is engulfed in royal wedding fever and is suddenly looking shiny and new and full of fun and optimism all over again.

So what better time to visit than when one of the nation's favourite royals is marrying an American TV princess … and either relish the fairytale excitement or bask in the afterglow?

With just a few days to go before the big event itself, Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle on May 19, Traveller decided to ask five top British-born Australian experts in their various fields how to make the most of Poms and circumstance.

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A visit to the food halls at Fortnum & Mason in London will plunge you into a wanderlust of unknown foods and premium ...

A visit to the food halls at Fortnum & Mason in London will plunge you into a wanderlust of unknown foods and premium quality. Photo: Alamy

Some of their answers about the best historical sites to see, food to taste, cultural experiences to savour, Brit chic venues to hang out and architectural wonders to admire surprised us. But, together with a few more off-beat suggestions from the British High Commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings, and a list of the top five royal wedding places to visit, they provide a fascinating insight into today's Britain – and tomorrow's trip there.

THE BEST OF BRITISH BRITAIN'S TOP CULTURAL EXPERIENCES

From our cultural expert Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney, Scotland

What is it? A home to British fine art with major 20th century and contemporary artists, regarded as one of the finest collections in Britain.

Why should you visit? The building is an architectural gem, melding the old and new, and houses the collection of the late Margaret Gardner, a friend (and sometimes lover) of several key British artists of the 20th century St Ives School, including Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. It also presents an ambitious exhibition program that attracts international artists as well as locals.

When can you see it? Open all year, Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am to 5pm, and June to September Mondays too.

Essentials: See pierartscentre.com.

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BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England

What is it? A centre for contemporary art on the River Tyne

Why should you visit? It's a landmark industrial building, a flour mill remodelled into a dynamic centre for cutting-edge exhibitions.

When can you see it? Open every day 10am to 6pm, except Tuesday when it opens at 10.30am.

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Westminster Abbey is the cradle of the British monarchy.

Westminster Abbey is the cradle of the British monarchy. Photo: A. Hornak

Essentials: See baltic.art.

Angel of the North, Birtley, Lamesley, Gateshead, England

What is it? A massive 20-metre-tall steel sculpture of an angel with 54-metre-wide wings standing on the hilltop of an old colliery, completed in 1988.

Why should you visit? It's an iconic work by artist Antony Gormley, well worth stopping to visit. It can also be seen dominating the landscape from both the train and the motorway. This work of art has become the symbol of how art can help to regenerate a region.

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The area around the Cheddar Gorge has been making cheese since the 15th century.

The area around the Cheddar Gorge has been making cheese since the 15th century. Photo: Visit Britain

When can you see it? Anytime.

Essentials: See gateshead.gov.uk.

The Tate Modern, Bankside, Southwark, London, England

What is it? Britain's national gallery of international modern art, also holding the national collection of British art from 1900.

Why should you visit? For a true culture buff, no trip to the UK would be complete without a visit, and not just for the commissions in the spectacular Turbine Hall. It's especially thrilling now for Australians to see two of our artists in the new wing – look out for the Susan Norrie and Gordon Bennett, two of many co-acquisitions between the Tate and MCA supported by Qantas.

When can you see it? It's open Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm, and Friday to Saturday, 10am to 10pm.

Essentials: See tate.org.uk.

V & A Dundee, Scotland

What is it? The V & A (shorthand for Victoria & Albert Museum) is a new Scottish design museum opening in an eye-catching, curved, concrete building to look like a Scottish cliff-face.

Why should you visit? I am looking forward to the opening of this much-anticipated museum – Scotland's first Design Museum – in a stunning building by award-winning Japanese architect Kengo Kuma on the heritage waterfront of the River Tay in Dundee.

When can you see it? It opens September 15, 2018.

Essentials: See vandadundee.org.

* Dundee-born art historian Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, 60, started as curator for the Scottish Arts Council's travelling gallery, taking exhibitions in a converted bus around the country. She moved to Australia in 1999 to take up the directorship of the MCA and in 2011 received an OBE and the Australia Council Visual Arts Medal, and in 2016 was named NSW Creative Laureate.

BRITAIN'S TOP HISTORICAL SITES

From our history expert Professor Constant Mews, professor of medieval thought, Monash University, Melbourne.

Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London

What is it? One of the world's great churches, with a history stretching back over 1000 years.

Why should you visit? This is a must as it's the cradle of the British monarchy, the place where the kings and queens of England – and later Australia – were crowned and later buried. It's a living history of the creation of the monarchical divinity.

When can you see it? Open Monday to Saturday to visitors, and on Sundays and special religious days to all worshippers.

Essentials: See westminster-abbey.org.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

What is it? A ring of standing stones around four metres high, weighing around 25 tonnes, thought to date from 2000BC.

Why should you visit? It's the greatest cathedral of pre-Roman and pre-Christian Britain, and the Iron Age. It offers a wonderful kind of learning about the Stone Age, a place of huge astronomical wisdom in the way the stones were arranged and a great insight into an amazing culture that goes back to the beginning.

When can you see it? The site is open every day from 9.30am to 7pm but tickets for each time slot are best booked in advance.

Essentials : Phone (+44) 370 333 1181. See english-heritage.org.uk.

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England

What is it? It's one of the oldest cathedrals in England, founded in 597, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of Anglicans worldwide.

Why should you visit? It's more about the spiritual side than Westminster, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of history and it's less visited than it should be. It contains all those memories of Thomas Becket, the archbishop murdered there by knights of King Henry II in 1170. It then became one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages.

When can you see it? It's open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm or 5.30pm depending on the season, and 12.30pm to 2.30pm on Sundays.

Essentials: See canterbury-cathedral.org.

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

What is it? It's an 800-year-old medieval market town in England's West Midlands, where William Shakespeare was born in the 16th century.

Why should you visit? It's the home of Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers in the English language of all time. The town itself is a nice village, but it has huge significance in terms of the creation of English culture. It's also a great place to see one of his plays.

When can you see it? The house where Shakespeare was born, grew up and lived with his wife Anne Hathaway is open 9am to 5pm in spring and summer, 9am to 4.30pm in autumn and 10am to 3.30pm in winter.

Essentials: See shakespeare.org.uk.

Liverpool

What is it? England's fifth largest city is in the north-west of the country, with a large port and also on the Mersey.

Why should you visit? Liverpool was the destination for huge Irish migration and is the port from which so many English and Irish migrants left bound for Australia and for America. It was also an important site of the Industrial Revolution, and saw the emergence of "the other Britain" in the 1960s, with huge local pride, and the popularity of groups like the Beatles.

When can you see it? Anytime

Essentials: See visitliverpool.com.

* Surrey-born Professor Mews, now 64, came to Australia in July 1987 and left only for spells of study at Princeton and Cambridge and five years of teaching in Paris. He is now also director of the Centre for Religious Studies at Monash.

BRITAIN'S TOP FOODIE TASTES

From our food expert, Michelin-trained chef Matt Kemp, the executive chef at the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa

The Harwood Arms, Fulham, London

What is it? London's only Michelin-starred pub, serving the best British produce with a focus on game and wild food

Why should you visit? I will always head to a good old English pub to start with – nothing beats it. They have so much character and history and you can easily be sitting in a pub that is 400-500 years old, which I still find amazing! Buy the Michelin Guide and AA guide to find the perfect pub as you travel around the UK. But I would also always try to go to my close friend and Aussie expat Brett Graham's pub The Harwood Arms because it is British cooking at its finest.

When can you see it? The pub serves lunch Tuesday-Saturday, noon-2.15pm, and Sunday, noon-2:45pm, and dinner Monday-Saturday, 6.15pm-9.30pm, Sunday, 6.15pm-9pm.

Essentials: See harwoodarms.com.

Shambles Market, York, England

What is it? A historic old market, dating back to Viking times, by a narrow cobbled street of 15th century timber buildings voted the prettiest street in Britain, specialising in fresh produce, deli items and baked goods, with a street food area.

Why should you visit? Some of these old English markets were founded 1000 years ago and were the reason a town came to exist in those areas so they are rich in history. The Shambles Market is truly a fantastic experience as it's about local produce with a real genuine character. Markets are a must-see to get a real feel for the food, culture and taste of the region.

When can you see it? Open seven days, 9am to 5pm.

Essentials: See shamblesmarket.com.

Harrods Food Hall, Harrods, Knightsbridge, London

What is it? The whole floor of one of the world's most famous upmarket department stores given over to fine food from around the world.

Why should you visit? Craving the flavours of luxury and fine foods? Get a taste of how the wealthy live and go to a couple of the amazing food halls like Harrods, Selfridges or Fortnum and Mason as you will find yourself in a wanderlust of unknown foods and premium quality which will open your eyes to what really can be bought.

When can you see it? Monday to Saturday, 10am to 9pm, Sunday, 11.30am to 6pm.

Essentials: See harrods.com.

The Cheddar Cheese Company, Cheddar, Somerset, England

What is it? The area around the Cheddar Gorge has been making cheese since the 15th century and this is a working dairy that's kept the same traditional process going.

Why should you visit? The UK has some of the most amazing cheeses in the world, in my opinion. I went to Cheddar Gorge where cheddar originated and visited one of the oldest cheese-makers in the area, which was an unreal experience. It is quite amazing what they do and the history in those factories is always a treat to learn.

When can you see it? Seven days a week, 7am to 5pm.

Essentials: See cheddaronline.co.uk.

Elystan Street, Chelsea, London

What is it? A restaurant by chef Phil Howard who trained under Marco Pierre White and previously had The Square, which had two Michelin stars for 17 years.

Why should you visit? It's one of the best restaurants in Britain, with light, clean and flavourful dishes.

When can you see it? Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Essentials: See elystanstreet.com.

* Born in Romford, Essex, Matt Kemp, 47, worked at some of London's top hotels and restaurants before moving to Australia in 1992 and joining the three-hatted Banc team, and then opening Restaurant Balzac, Burlington Bar & Dining and The Devonshire before going to Manly's Boilerhouse and finally Byron Bay.

BRITAIN'S TOP BRIT CHIC HANGOUTS

From our style icon, internationally renowned fashion designer Alice McCall, whose brand is stocked across the globe in Britain, the Middle East, US and Asia Pacific region.

Sketch, Mayfair, London

What is it? A two Michelin-starred "destination" for food, art and music in a converted 18th century building, and dubbed Britain's most expensive restaurant. Customers are asked to dress stylishly.

Why should you visit? The Gallery where afternoon tea and dinner are served is so pink and pretty and the sofas are so comfy, it's like dining in a powder room … and the food is great!

When can you see it? Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Essentials: See sketch.london.

The Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London

What is it? A museum recognised as the centre of natural history and research in the world, including specimens collected by Charles Darwin.

Why should you visit? It's the best museum in London. The architecture is impressive and my girls love that museum; we like to go there every time we make a trip to London. It feels like you are travelling back in time.

When can you see it? Open daily, 10am to 5.50pm.

Essentials: See nhm.ac.uk.

Electric Cinema, Notting Hill, London

What is it? A cinema with 65 leather armchairs, two sofas and six double beds that opened in 1911.

Why should you visit? Being there is like travelling back to the 1920s. It's one of the oldest cinemas in London and you can still feel that old atmosphere, while lying down on a sofa or bed and enjoying a movie.

When can you see it? Open from 9am Monday to Saturday, and from 10am on Sunday.

Essentials: See electriccinema.co.uk.

Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill, London

What is it? The world's biggest antiques market with more than 1000 dealers.

Why should you visit? I love meandering down Portobello Road antique hunting, and especially Alice's Antique Shop.

When can you see it? From 8.30am on Saturdays.

Essentials: See portobelloroad.co.uk.

Liberty London, Oxford Circus, London

What is it? A department store in the West End selling luxury goods dating from 1875.

Why should you visit? I like going there because it is an authentic department store. Their cafe is cute for an afternoon tea.

When can you see it? Monday to Saturday, 10am to 9pm, Sunday, noon to 6pm.

Essentials: See libertylondon.com.

*London-born Alice McCall, 40, was a stylist for celebrities like Kelis, Marianne Faithfull and Blondie before helping launch Kate Moss' career. She came to Australia in 2003 and became a full-time fashion designer.

BRITAIN'S TOP ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS

From our architectural expert, Neil Stonell, managing partner of leading firm Grimshaw Architects in Melbourne

The Commonwealth Institute, now the Design Museum, Kensington, London

What is it? The former home of the Commonwealth Institute which was designed by RMJM and built in 1962. This distinctive copper-roofed building originally housed a permanent exhibition on "all the nations of the Commonwealth".

Why should you visit? After an £80 million makeover completed in 2016, it's now home to the London Design Museum, offering visitors a great insight into the history of contemporary design, and visiting exhibitions.

When can you see it? Open daily, 10am to 6pm.

Essentials: See designmuseum.org.

The Leadenhall Building, City of London

What is it? A 50-storey tower designed by British architects Richard Rogers and Graham Stirk, it's more familiarly called the "Cheesegrater'' due to its unique shape, which results from preserving views of some of London's landmarks including St Paul's Cathedral.

Why should you visit? Apparently more than 80 per cent of the building was prefabricated and then subsequently assembled on-site. The building plans to have a restaurant, so you will be able to enjoy the design and have a meal or a drink at the same time.

When can you see it? The public space area is open seven days.

Essentials: See theeadenhallbuilding.com.

The Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury, Somerset

What is it? The most recognisable stage in the world at the largest festival in the world.

Why should you visit? It's also a kit-of-parts structure, and I religiously try to visit. I've been going since the 1980s – certainly whenever I can get tickets – and it has a wonderful mix of headline acts, emerging musical artists, arts, and occasionally bizarre culture. It's taking a break in 2018 but if you're visiting Britain in late June 2019, this festival is a must … if you can get tickets.

When can you see it? June 26 to 30, 2019.

Essentials: See glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.

The Eden Project, Cornwall

What is it? Founder Tim Smit's vision for "the eighth wonder of the world" is now 18 years old and attracts more than a million visitors a year to Cornwall, completely revitalising the local economy.

Why should you visit? It's a landmark for our practice in terms of design and scale. With its indoor rainforest biomes, seasonal activities such as ice skating and a 660-metre zip line, and various performances from top groups as part of the "Eden Sessions", it's well worth the trip at any time of year.

When can you see it? Open seven days, from 9am to 6pm or 8pm, depending on the season.

Essentials: See edenproject.com.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

What is it? It's a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, as well as the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Why should you visit? I used to regularly visit during school holidays with my family while growing up, and the nearly 300-year-old palace's beautiful landscaped grounds and interiors offer a fascinating window into the past.

When can you see it? Open seven days, 10.30am to 5.30pm.

Essentials: See blenheimpalace.com.

* Born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Neil Stonell, 52, joined the London office of Grimshaw in 1997, relocating to Melbourne in 2002 where he is now jointly responsible for leading the practice's Australian operations with a number of award-winning projects.

THE TOP FIVE HARRY AND MEGHAN SITES TO VISIT IN BRITAIN

1. Windsor Castle, an hour's drive west of central London, where Harry and Meghan will marry in its St George's Chapel. The castle is open – bar royal weddings – seven days, from 9.30am to 5.15pm, with the chapel open every day except Sunday. See royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle.

2. Frogmore House is the 17th-century English country house nearby, bought by George III for Queen Charlotte and the burial place of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, where the reception will be held, and the venue for the engagement photos. Unfortunately, it's only open to the public three days a year.

3. Violet Cakes in Dalston, East London, owned by Claire Ptak, is making the lemon elderflower wedding cake. Pop into the bakery/cafe for a coffee and a slice. See violetcakes.com.

4. The Dean Street Townhouse is the restaurant and hotel in London's Soho where the couple had their first date. Have a meal there, or stay the night. See deanstreettownhouse.com.

5. Kensington Palace, where the couple live, is open to the public seven days a week, but the tours don't go anywhere near their cottage. See hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace.

FIVE MORE CLASSIC MUST-DO BRITISH EXPERIENCES

From Menna Rawlings, British High Commissioner to Australia

1. Hever Castle. A beautiful old country house, built in the 13th century, with fabulous gardens – including a giant topiary chess set and 4000 rose bushes. It was home to Anne Boleyn and her family. Located in Kent, just 50 kilometres south-east of London. See hevercastle.co.uk.

2. Royal Tunbridge Wells. A beautiful place to live (as I do when I'm based in the UK) or to visit. A former spa town, it still has an air of Old England, with cobbled streets and an area called the Pantiles which looks much as it did in the 17th century. It has great fish and chip shop too. See visittunbridgewells.com.

3. Soho, London. Something completely different. In the heart of London, Soho buzzes with vibrancy and quirkiness, with great pubs, bars, theatres and restaurants. London's gay community is centred on Old Compton Street. A great place to hang out and watch London life go by. See visitlondon.com.

4. Rhossili Beach, Gower, South Wales. Just beyond Swansea on the South Wales coast, the Gower is a beautiful peninsula of sandy beaches, cliffs and hills. The jewel in the crown is definitely Rhossili – voted Wales's Best Beach in 2018: five kilometres of sandy shore and (if you can brave the cooler waters) there is great swimming and surfing to be had. See visitswanseabay.com.

5. Snowdon, North Wales. Travel north to discover the highest mountain in Wales – more than 1000 metres above sea level. Reach the summit the hard way on foot, or for a gentler experience (between May and October) take the Mountain Railway, opened in 1896, from Llanberis to the Summit Station. Either way, fabulous views over North Wales await you if the weather is good, and you can enjoy a cup of tea at the UK's highest cafe at the top. See visitsnowdonia.info.

from traveller.com.au

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