NEW YORK, March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Last night, British Airways and VisitBritain kicked off "The Big British Invite ( www.thebigbritishinvite.com)" with a star-studded soiree featuring some of the hottest, up-and-coming talent from New York to London. Hosted by Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens and GRAMMY ® Award-winning singer/songwriter Estelle with appearances by Alexa Chung, Atlanta de Cadenet, Kate Foley, Tali Lennox and Zanna Roberts Rassi, the opening night reception was the highly-anticipated precursor to an exciting two-day consumer pop-up in New York City on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24. Free-of-charge for all members of the public 21 and older, The Big British Invite sold out in record time – affirming that interest in British culture is far from waning. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130322/NY82017-a )(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130322/NY82017-b ) The Big British Invite showcases the prolific scenes shaping contemporary England, Scotland and Wales – from food and fashion to music and nightlife. This experiential journey is designed to whet the appetites of travel-savvy New Yorkers by offering a first-hand glimpse at life today on the other side of the pond. Through interactive installations and partnership with cool, cutting-edge British brands, such as Fluid Movement, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Wah Nails and Liberty London, this first-of-its-kind event series occurring in the heart of Manhattan is 15,000-square-feet of cheeky, good fun. "Everyone understands the allure of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, but there's more to Britain than these towering beacons of pageantry. Britain is a veritable tour de force for the arts, literature, contemporary music, cocktail culture and more," said Karen Clarkson, Vice President of North America for VisitBritain. "We want to inspire a new wave of New Yorkers to experience the best Britain has to offer – whether that's an afternoon exploring the Tate Modern or an evening enjoying a dram of whiskey among the sprawling hills of Speyside." "British Airways hosts more than 3,000 travelers between New York and London every day, and with refreshed aircrafts, smarter cabins and elegant lounges we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our customers. This interactive pop-up tribute to new Britain is just one example of how we surprise and delight international travelers," added John McDonald, Americas Vice President, British Airways Now Boarding "The Big British Invite" The two-day, pop-up event series will transport guests into a British Airways lounge, where they will embark on a journey through Britain. After checking in with their flight attendant, visitors will interact with some of the hippest retailers, food fixtures and nightlife denizens. For the couture-clad and fashion-obsessed, luxury retailer Liberty London will host scarf styling sessions for ladies and gents looking to add some panache to their wardrobes. Inspired by the sartorial leanings of rock legends, such as Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols, a homage to punk fashion will feature the styles popularized by British designers dating back to the 1970s and culminating with the trendsetters of today. WAH Nails, East London's first style-centric nail bar, bookstore, gallery and boutique, will offer experimental express manicures. For culinary adventure seekers, the West Village's very own Highlands Restaurant Group will whip up delicious dishes highlighting the cuisines of Scotland. The Edible Cityscapes installation will showcase famous British landmarks and buildings using confectionary concoctions from The London Candy Company. For cheese connoisseurs, savor a taste of authentic Waleswith delectable dairy delights, such as Caerphilly, Collier's Cheddar and Red Dragon. Visitors looking to quench their thirst can take a tumble down the rabbit hole, as Sanderson brings its decadent Mad Hatter's Tea to Manhattan's masses. This tea with a twist is the perfect afternoon elixir, especially when paired with sweet and savory bites presented in Sanderson's playful crockery from Luna and Curious. Exquisite London-based home wares shop House of Hackney will lend an irreverent flare to this high tea experience with a selection of its whimsical wallpaper. For spirits enthusiasts, the renowned London bartending collective Fluid Movement will shake and stir drinks featuring Beefeater 24, a modern interpretation of a classic English gin. The gents behind the Victorian style bars Worship Street Whistling Shop and Purl will dazzle audiences with a theatrical cocktail demonstration that will leave guests craving a tipple or two. Compliments of Chivas Regal, whisky aficionados can unwind with a glass of 12-year-old scotch at the Arrivals Lounge. Music aficionados and comedy buffs will enjoy the smattering of installations designed with them in mind. Legendary Glaswegian concert venue King Tut's Wah Wah Hut will excite music lovers with a chance to browse a specially-curated, contemporary collection of tunes from the latest and greatest UK artists. A pair of headphones and a hot beat will delight visitors to the Silent Disco Rave with tunes curated by top British DJs, such as It girl Chelsea Leyland. Famously well-known for their outspoken nature and general knowledge, black cab drivers will invite guests to hop in the back of their ride and see if there's someone daring enough to outwit them – all for fame, glory and a highly-coveted prize. With the backing of the No. 10 GREAT campaign, British Airways and VisitBritain bring "The Big British Invite" to New York as part of a global initiative. This major undertaking by the UK's leading premium airline and the national tourism agency encourages visitors to delight in a better island vacation. Customers booking a flight to London with British Airways before March 31, 2013, for travel through May 31, 2013, will receive two nights free hotel accommodation. Visit ba.com/bigbritishinvite to take advantage. With 12 flights departing from New York to London daily, British Airways offers a flexible schedule and choice of four cabins, to cater to every need and price point. All customers can enjoy complimentary meals, beverages, amenity kits, blankets and pillows. Those in Club World Business or First cabins may enjoy pre-flight dining and relax in the British Airways lounge before boarding. About British Airways: British Airways, part of International Airlines Group, is one of the world's leading global premium airlines and the largest international carrier in the UK. The carrier has its home base at London Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport and operates up to 750 flights a day to more than 70 different countries. In the past 12 months the airline carried over 34 million customers. The airline currently has a fleet of more than 240 aircraft.