Take three: Iconic British vehicles
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From unprecedented numbers of boats filling the Thames to pay wet and windswept tribute to the Queen, to unprecedented numbers of cars filling the few lanes of London's road network not designated for the use of Olympic VIPs, it's a summer where British transportation ingenuity is being celebrated and critiqued like never before. With that in mind, it seems apposite to salute the best of British travel traditions on four wheels, two wheels, and no wheels at all.
While our island's motoring heritage might not quite be top rank, when it comes to ploughing through muddy fields in a hefty hunk of four-wheel-drive metal, the UK has few peers. For decades, the tracks and trails around Eastnor Castle near Malvern have served as a testing ground for Land Rovers and Range Rovers, throwing everything the British countryside and weather can muster at each new edition of the venerable off-road vehicles before they are allowed into the hands of the brand's buying public (presumably they have another centre that simulates the hazards of the West London Waitrose run).
Nowadays the Eastnor paths double as the Land Rover Experience, where punters can put a variety of Land Rover products through their paces, carefully guiding classic Defenders and spanking new Discoveries around rocks, through streams and over hills under the (thankfully) watchful eye of qualified instructors. It's both an exhilarating and eerily relaxing ride, as you lock in that centre differential and ease down an impossibly steep seeming muddy bank with both feet off the pedals, chancing a quick glance at the sumptuous scenery as it glides by.
For those who prefer their classic British engineering more urbane and emission-free, Tally Ho Cycle Tours lead a street-level appreciation of London's nooks and crannies atop another vintage vehicle: the Pashley bicycle. It might not be quite Brad Wiggins levels of physical exertion, but with the rest of the city snarled up in traffic and squeezed on heaving tube carriages this summer, your spot on a classic Brooks saddle might be the most comfortable, and freely moving, seat in town.
Finally, what tribute to UK transportation would be complete without an acknowledgement of the sort of engineering acumen that perhaps did more to ensure the continuity of British way of life than any other? Classic Warbirds provides trips up in a Tiger Moth - the iconic little aircraft that taught many World War Two pilots to fly - including sorties over the Derwent Reservoir in Derbyshire, where practice runs for the famous 'Dambusters' raid were carried out. Tally ho indeed!