Birmingham welcomes VisitEngland’s ‘Fan in a Van’

Rachel Kershaw, officially named “England’s biggest fan” by national tourism board VisitEngland, starts the seventh week of her 70-day journey around the country in a vintage camper van with an action-packed trip to Birmingham this weekend.

Fan in a van Rachel Kershaw

Fan in a van Rachel Kershaw

Rachel, winner of the nationwide contest ‘Fan in a Van’, is travelling the length and breadth of the country, exploring towns and cities illuminated by the Olympic Torch Relay. By creating updates for Facebook and Twitter, blog posts, photographs and video footage of her amazing trip, it’s hoped Rachel will help inspire the rest of the country to take a holiday at home this year.

Together with her camper van ‘Rosie’, she will be hosted by Visit Birmingham, the city’s leisure tourism programme, on a tour of some of the city’s key attractions. She will take a step back in time and find out about Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and will also discover the history and magic of chocolate at Cadbury World.

Rachel’s itinerary also includes a trip on Birmingham’s famous canal network from Sherborne Wharf Heritage Narrow Boats and a meal at the new Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill in The Cube. She will be staying at Clent Hills Camping and Caravanning Club Site.

Rachel commented: “I am so excited about visiting the Jewellery Quarter, eating lots of chocolate at Cadbury World and seeing Birmingham from the canals. I have been on an exciting adventure over the past six weeks and I’m really enjoying seeing so much of the country and trying something different at each destination.”

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Visit Birmingham, said: “Rachel can expect a fun-filled weekend of activities in Birmingham, which will show off many of the attractions that make the city a popular choice for visitors.

“With fantastic culinary and retail destinations and a diverse cultural heritage, Birmingham has recently received international praise from publications including The New York Times and continues to attract nearly 33 million visitors a year.”

Rachel was chosen from a shortlist of 12 other potential ‘Fan in a Van’ hopefuls by a judging panel comprising Lady Cobham, VisitEngland’s chairman, Martin Dorey, author of The Camper Van Coast Book and Sally Shalam, Brit-centric travel journalist.

Lady Cobham said: “What Rachel doesn’t know about England by the end of the trip won’t be worth knowing! Rachel will be England’s official number one fan and chief inspiration officer for the country. This is a brilliant opportunity to explore England to the full and will, I’m sure, inspire the Great British public to take a holiday at home this year and enjoy what we have on offer during this very special year.”

Follow Rachel and Rosie’s journey yourself on Twitter @faninavan or by reading Rachel’s travel blog on