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Win a (Classy) London Vacation

September 26, 2009
Westiminster: the Houses of Parliament.

Westiminster: the Houses of Parliament.

Is it a conflict of interest if I tell you NOT to enter the New Year’s travel sweepstakes at VisitLondon.com? AngloFiles hopes to win, see, so you’ll be bringing down our odds. But then I couldn’t resist sharing. For one thing, unlike tacky “Tour Mme. Tussaud’s and Universal Studios!”-type contests, this one sounds like it would be fun no matter whether you’re a first-timer in London or someone who uses words like “barmy” and “lovely” and reflexively looks right before crossing. For another thing, it starts December 29, and finding a really special way to ring in the new year can be so hard!

Even having seen most of London’s major landmarks myself, I wouldn’t sniff at the three-hour chauffeured drive-by of those plus “celebrity homes, famous film locations, music landmarks” and other cultural high- (and low-) lights.

     Horseguard, February 2009.

Horseguard, February 2009.

As for the visit to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, yes, I know snow in London is rare and sparse enough that a serious, New England-style dump can shut the whole city down, but still, ice skating could be fun.

Six nights in a four-star hotel, a day trip to Paris, behind-the-scenes art tours? I’ll take it. If I win it. Or maybe you’ll take it …

Oh, funny little side note: Anyone who’s ever wondered whether Canadians may be smarter than the rest of us North Americans will be intrigued by this tidbit from item #4 on the contest’s terms and conditions page: You are not a winner until your entry has been validated. If you are a Canadian resident, before being declared a winner you must correctly answer, unaided, a mathematical skill-testing question. Wow — “unaided,” no less!

Jacqueline French in public affairs at Visit London was herself mystified by this queer stipulation when I asked her about it, but was kind enough to track down its source for me (even though I phoned her well past six, her time, on Friday night). It was not a prank (or a site-hack), she confirmed, but a nod to Canadian gaming laws. Here’s one account from a (presumably U.S.) family who encountered the same, complete with the math challenge skill test!

Good luck to you if you try it. Be sure to pencil the bubbles completely.

London Snow by Paolo Camera.
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