Google have today announced the launch of the Google Street View Awards, a celebration of Britain’s best-loved streets as voted for by the public in a nationwide poll.
The awards, for Britain’s Most Picturesque Street, Best Foodie Street and Best Fashion Street, have been created in anticipation of further imagery being added to Google’s revolutionary Street View tool, which currently allows users to view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery in 25 British towns, including many of those nominated for the Street View Awards. Later this year, Street View will be rolled out to cover additional streets from around the UK.
Shortlisted nominations for each of the award categories have been compiled by a panel of experts from the worlds of food, fashion and travel including VisitBritain, TV personalities Julia Bradbury (Countryfile), Jeff Banks (The Clothes Show) and Brix Smith Start (Gok’s Fashion Fix), leading journalists Jo Elvin (Editor, Glamour) and Nicholas Lander (Restaurant Correspondent, Financial Times) and authors David Else (Editor of The Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain) and Richard Harden (Co-Editor, Harden’s Restaurant Guide). The experts were asked to nominate streets that fulfilled a pre-set criteria for each category. Their nominated streets highlight a series of British treasures ranging from famous tourist attractions such as London’s King’s Road, Royal Crescent in Bath and The Shambles in York to hidden avenues and courtyards such as Gold Hill in Shaftesbury and Pen Cei in Aberaeron, Wales.
Voting opens from today, and closes on Sunday 28th February. The winners will be announced in March. To vote, go to maps.google.co.uk/beststreets.
The winning street should offer a unique mix of mouth-watering options which could include fine dining, cafés, market stalls and delicatessens, all covering a diverse mix of food types and price points.
Richard Harden, Co-Editor of Harden’s Restaurant Guides said: “It’s great to have an award that stresses the variety of attractions you can find on the foodie front, across the UK. The nominations are so multi-various though, that the final verdict is certainly going to be a tricky one.”
The winning street should offer an eclectic mix of boutique and high street, designer and high street for all clothing tastes and ages. The winning street should satisfy both bargain-hunters and label-lovers.
Fashion designer Jeff Banks commented: “The final shortlist for Britain’s Best Fashion Street is a testament to the strength and diversity of the UK’s high streets. From the exclusive stores across London to the hip independent boutiques in Bristol’s Clifton Village Britain boasts an outstanding range of shops to suit all tastes and budgets.”
The winning street should be uniquely British and visually charming. It could be vibrant, full of character, diverse, walker-friendly or architecturally interesting.
David Else, Lead Author of The Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain, said: “As the lead author of the Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain, I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country, and seen many of these streets firsthand. The final shortlist reflects the wonderful variety of architecture in Britain, and I hope people have as much fun voting for their favourites as I had visiting them.”
The winning three streets will be crowned “Britain’s Best Street 2010” in each relevant category. Google will work with the winning streets to create a bespoke Google Street View tour, created to highlight the key retailers and points of interest, allowing the world to find out more about the nation’s final choices.
Competition is expected to be fierce as streets from all over Britain battle it out for the coveted awards. Is London’s Kings Road the undisputed home of fashion or will it be upstaged by Manchester’s trendy New Cathedral Street? Will Leeds’ food emporium, Call Lane, be crowned the most mouth-watering, with its diverse range of eateries, or will the nation’s love of curry challenge it with Birmingham’s Broad Street?
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive, VisitBritain said: “We are really pleased to be involved in this exciting project which will honour streets across the UK and help raise the profile of Britain internationally in an innovative way. The campaign received high levels of participation from overseas which raises the level of engagement with Britain.”
Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist for Google said: “We want to celebrate the beauty and culture of Britain and are really excited about the first ever Google Street View Awards. The awards will showcase some of Britain’s Best Streets across the UK and we hope people will get involved and vote online for their favourite.”
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About the Poll: The voting will be open on Monday 8th February, and will close on Sunday 28th February. The winners will be announced in March.
About the nominations: The panelists were asked to nominate streets in their relevant categories across 10 different regions in the UK. From these nominations, Google worked with VisitBritain to compile a shortlist of streets consisting of 21 nominations in the Best Fashion category, 20 nominations in the Best Foodie category, and 10 in Most Picturesque. These nominations reflect a broad and diverse offering from across the UK.
About Google Street View: Street View is a hugely popular feature of Google Maps which is already available in more than 100 metropolitan areas around the world. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps for Mobile. Google launched Street View imagery in UK in April 2009 allowing people to view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery in 25 British towns.
In areas where Street View is available, you can access street-level imagery by zooming into the lowest level on Google Maps, or by dragging the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street. You can check out a restaurant before arriving, make travel plans, arrange meeting points, get a helping hand with geography homework, or just explore and get to know your town better.
VisitBritain has contributed to every category. VisitBritain is Britain’s national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain overseas. They work in partnership with thousands of organisations in the UK and overseas and seek to ensure that Britain is marketed in an appropriate way in 35 markets around the world. They also work to promote the tourism industry within the UK itself.
Roopa Gulati, Deputy Channel Head of Good Food, Chef and Author
A Cordon Bleu trained chef, Roopa blends western and Asian styles of cooking and has previously worked as a consultant chef with the Taj group of hotels. She is currently Deputy Channel Editor for Good Food Channel. She is a regular broadcaster for BBC Radio 4, and a restaurant critic for Time Out magazine and guides. Her features have been published in many magazines, including BBC Good Food and New York-based food and travel magazine, Gourmet.
Henrietta Green, founder of FoodLoversBritain.com
Henrietta is a leading expert on British local and regional quality food. She has won several awards including a Guild of Food Writers Award for the greatest contribution to British food and The Good Housekeeping Award 2006 for Outstanding Contribution to Food.
Nicholas Lander, Restaurant Correspondent at the Financial Times
Nick opened London’s L’Escargot restaurant and became the Food Critic at the Financial Times in 1989 writing under the byline of ‘The Restaurant Insider.’ He has written a number of books and works as a consultant for a wide range of clients including Fortnum & Mason’s and The British Museum.
Richard Harden, Co-Editor of Harden’s Restaurant Guides
Richard founded Harden’s Guides with his brother Peter in 1991. Initially just for London, Harden’s Guides launched their UK guide in 1998. Prior to founding Harden’s Guides Richard was a Barrister.
Chloe Scott-Moncrieff, Food & Drink Editor of Metro
Chloe has worked for Metro since 2003, initially as a freelancer, becoming the Food and Drink Editor 3 years ago. She writes Metro’s popular Gastro Girl blog and sits on the panel of the Great Taste Awards and World Cheese Awards. She has also written about food for the Saturday Telegraph Magazine, Country Life and Waitrose Food Illustrated.
Jeff Banks, Fashion Designer
Jeff has been a pioneer within the UK fashion industry since he founded Clobber in 1966. He’s been a regular on TV since launching The Clothes Show on BBC in 1987, presenting over 320 episodes. His clothing is sold in leading department stores and he’s opened a range of Jeff Banks stores around the world. He designs a range of corporate clothing for companies such as BAA and Barclays.
Jo Elvin, Editor of Glamour
Jo has worked on a number of British magazines including TV Hits, Sugar, B Magazine and New Woman before launching Glamour in 2001. She is a regular guest on GMTV and LK Today and has written for The Observer, Evening Standard and The Independent.
Brix Smith-Start, fashion retailer and TV personality
Brix began her career within the British band, The Fall in 1983. In 2002 she launched the clothing store, Start, with her husband Philip Start. Brix is now a regular face of fashion on TV appearing on Gok’s Fashion Fix, The Culture Show and LK Today.
Hannah Sandling, Stylist and TV personality
Hannah can regularly be seen on TV commenting on fashion, style and celebrity on BBC Breakfast, Five News and GMTV. As a celebrity stylist Hannah has worked with Sienna Miller, Dita Von Teese and Emma Bunton. She has a column within Fabulous Magazine and has written two books.
Scott Henshall, Fashion Designer
In 1998 Scott became the youngest designer to show during London fashion week and since then he’s grown famous for dressing celebrities in show-stopping red carpet designs. The Scott Henshall Mainline Collection is stocked around the world and he’s developed a successful label specifically for Japan.
Amber Morales, Fashion Editor of the Daily Mirror
Credited with revamping Sunday night primetime television and dubbed “The Lady of the Lake District”, Julia is one of the small screen’s most popular and versatile presenters. Having taken the helm on BBC One’s rural affairs show Countryfile alongside Matt Baker in 2009, the show’s ratings have since soared to over six million viewers.
David Else, Lead Author of The Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain
David wrote his first travel guide book in 1983 and since then he has written or co-written over 25 Lonely Planet guides covering the UK and many other parts of the world. David also writes and broadcasts about travel and outdoor activities for newspapers, magazines and websites.
Frank Barrett, Travel Editor at the Mail on Sunday
Frank joined the Travel Trade Gazette as a graduate trainee and has worked in travel journalism his entire career. He has written for The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times before becoming the Travel Editor of the Mail on Sunday in 1994. He has written several travel books and has won multiple awards, including the prestigious British Press Award for travel feature writing.
Lisa Minot, Travel Editor of The Sun
Lisa started her career in journalism at just 15 and by 19 was Editor of her local newspaper. She has worked at The Sun newspaper for 20 years, 10 of which as their Travel Editor.