Jane Austen Festival

Jane Austen Festival

48 hours in…Nottinghamshire

Situated in the very heart of England, the county of Nottinghamshire is known as the land of Robin Hood, the heroic outlaw famous for robbing the rich to feed the poor. The legacy of Robin Hood resonates across the county, from the ancient oak trees of Sherwood Forest to the historic city streets of Nottingham, whose Sheriff was Robin’s main adversary.

One of England’s first industrial towns, Nottingham was an important centre for textile manufacturing. During Victorian times, the world’s finest machine made lace came from Nottingham’s Lace Market. As the industry declined, so did the city’s outlook – but today Nottingham’s many impressive examples of Victorian industrial architecture are the bricks of a rejuvenated city, with former 19th-century warehouse buildings converted into independent bars, restaurants and shops.

2017 is VisitEngland’s ‘Year of Literary Heroes’, and besides originating the myth and legend of Robin Hood, the region has other literary connections. Nottingham’s oldest public park, the Arboretum Park is known to be the place that inspired J.M. Barrie’s novel Peter Pan, while beyond the city is the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron and the birthplace of writer D.H. Lawrence. An inspirational place to these great writers, Nottinghamshire is sure to inspire you too. www.experiencenottinghamshire.com

 

TIME TO CHECK IN:

A 17th-century former farmhouse set in three acres of private grounds to the north of Nottingham, Cockliffe Country House Hotel is undergoing major renovation works, due for completion summer 2017. All guest areas and 11 bedrooms will be luxuriously refurbished, plus there’s a striking new architect designed banqueting room.

A converted Georgian townhouse in central Nottingham, the Lace Market Hotel is a stylish boutique option with 42 bedrooms, a smart restaurant, and its very own pub, the Cock & Hoop for more casual drinking and dining.

Located in Nottingham city centre, Igloo is a cool hostel that pairs vintage and up-cycled furniture with top-notch comforts like memory foam mattresses and flatscreen TV’s. There’s a choice of dorm rooms, sleepboxes, and single, double and family rooms, some with en-suite facilities.

 

DAY ONE:

10:00 SEE A CASTLE FULL OF HISTORICAL & ARTISTIC HERITAGE

Nottingham Castle museum & art gallery stands on the site of a 11th-century Norman castle built to establish the rule of law over this notoriously rebellious city – both the city and castle are associated with the legendary outlaw Robin Hood, as well as with significant kings including William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, and Richard III. The present building is an elegant Ducal Palace dating from 1678. Gutted by fire in 1831 by protestors demanding electoral reform, it was remodelled and reopened in 1878 as the first municipal art gallery outside London. Today its collection includes fine works by 17th-century Dutch and Northern European masters, as well as renowned contemporary artists including Grayson Perry, Wolfgang Tillmans and Sam Taylor-Johnson.

 

12:00 DISCOVER A HIDDEN WORLD BELOW THE CITY

Deep below the city of Nottingham is a hidden world of over 500 manmade caves, many of which date back to medieval times. The soft sandstone bedrock allowed for these hand-carved caves to be excavated. Many were created for use as pub cellars or storerooms, and some have fascinating historical significance. Beneath Nottingham Castle is a labyrinth of manmade caves that are integral to the castle’s history. In 1330, King Edward III is said to have entered the castle via these secret passageways to stage a coup d’état against his mother, Isabella of France and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, who together had conspired to depose and murder his father, Edward II. Mortimer was executed for treason, and his ghost is said to haunt a particular tunnel here known as Mortimer’s Hole. Visitors to Nottingham Castle may join a cave tour for an additional fee.

 

13:15 HAVE A CURIOUS LUNCH

The quirky Curious Manor and Curious Townhouse are surreal spaces for enjoying anything from brunch to late night cocktails, with menus that include burgers, hand stretched pizzas, and splendid afternoon teas. The latest addition Curious Tavern opened in October 2016, serving traditional tavern fare including freshly shucked oysters and hand-pulled cask stout. It’s also home to a new secret bar called Lost Property.

 

14:00 TAKE A ROBIN HOOD OR LACE HERITAGE TOUR

An award-winning tour guide, Ezekial Bone is best known for his Robin Hood Town Tour, visiting places throughout historic Nottingham that tell the story of the legendary outlaw. The tour concludes with a tankard of ale at Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, a historic inn dating from 1189 that claims to be the oldest in England. The city became a major centre for textile manufacturing during Victorian times, with the finest machine made lace in the world coming from here. This fascinating period is the subject of the new Nottingham Lace Market Tour, a 90-minute tour that threads its way around the city’s fine Victorian industrial architecture.

 

16:30 DELVE INTO A LACE ARCHIVE OR A VIDEOGAME MUSEUM

When Nottingham’s lace industry fell into decline, so did the streets surrounding the Lace Market, a neighbourhood known as Hockley. In recent years the area and its well-preserved Victorian buildings has enjoyed a resurgence, and is now home to modern creative and digital industries. Hockley buzzes with pavement cafes and independent shops such as Debbie Bryan, maker of individually hand cast brooches and knitted scarves inspired by British heritage – her studio has regular craft and design classes, and houses a unique Lace Archive. Grand 18th-century Willoughby House is a flagship store of pre-eminent British fashion designer and Nottingham native Paul Smith. Pixelheads may prefer the nostalgia of gaming at the nearby National Videogame Arcade, a playful museum sure to unleash your inner geek.

 

18:00 TOUR A HAUNTED MUSEUM AFTER DARK

A city associated with the outlaw Robin Hood, it’s appropriate that Nottingham’s National Justice Museum has Britain’s largest collection relating to law, justice, crime and punishment. Formerly the Galleries of Justice Museum, it reopened in April 2017 following a £1million refurbishment. New interactive activities and exhibition spaces now complement the museum’s grand Victorian courtrooms, 17th-century dungeon and 19th-century prison cells. As well as displaying many fascinating artefacts, it’s reputedly one of the world’s most haunted buildings and in 2014 was voted the most haunted building in Britain. Not normally accessible to the general public, its darkest and deepest corners are open for chilling Ghost Tours and Terror Tours on Friday and Saturday nights at 6pm.

 

19:30 DINE IN AN HISTORIC BOOTS PHARMACY

The Hockley area of Nottingham has many independent eateries, including Michelin Guide listed The Larder on Goosegate, whose daily changing menu is based around seasonal produce. It occupies a Victorian building that was once home to Jesse Boot’s first apothecary – he transformed M & J Boot, founded by his father in Nottingham in 1849, into one of Britain’s best-known high street retailers, and the restaurant décor retains many heritage and architectural features that echo the building’s history. Or enjoy award-winning North Indian cuisine at MemSaab.

 

DAY TWO:

09:30 GO IN PURSUIT OF AN OUTLAW

Once part of a royal hunting forest, Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve is the legendary stomping ground of Robin Hood. Located 1 hour north of Nottingham by car, the forest covers 450 acres including ancient areas of native woodland. Legend asserts that Robin and his band of Merry Men would hide inside the hollow trunk of an enormous oak tree known as Major Oak, thus evading enemies including the Sheriff Of Nottingham. Standing in the heart of Sherwood Forest, this epic tree is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old, and is so huge that since Victorian times its branches have needed the support of scaffolding. There are numerous trails through the trees and glades, and the forest is free to enter. Held each August is the annual Robin Hood Festival, with live-action re-enactments of Robin Hood’s exploits, plus medieval jousting, jesters and falconry.

 

12:30 HUNT FOR LUNCH

Robin Hood may have been skilled at archery, but with numerous country inns and restaurants around Sherwood Forest, hunting for lunch with a bow and arrow is no longer necessary. On the edge of the forest, the village of Edwinstowe has excellent options including Launay’s, whose seasonal menu fuses English and French cuisine, and Forest Lodge, an award-winning 18th-century coaching inn.

 

14:00 TAKE A LITERARY PILGRIMAGE

The famous writer D.H. Lawrence was born in 1885 in a red brick miner’s cottage in Eastwood, 30 minutes north west of Nottingham by car. Now the D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, its authentically recreated interiors offer an insight into the writer’s formative years. Awarded a VisitEngland ‘Hidden Gem’ accolade in 2016, it’s also a fascinating snapshot of what life was like in a small mining community during Victorian times. For more literary connections, nearby Newstead Abbey was the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron, and is also open to the public.

 

Or…

If you’d prefer to pamper your body, spend the afternoon at a luxury day spa. Surrounded by countryside in the east of the county, award-winning Eden Hall Day Spa is a peaceful sanctuary set in a beautiful old mansion. Or head farther north to the historic Ye Olde Bell Hotel. This AA 4-star Rosette hotel has a brand new purpose-built £multi-million spa open from Spring 2017, with state-of-the-art amenities including an indoor to outdoor vitality hydropool, Sabbia Med Sunlight Therapy, and Britain’s first and only ‘snowstorm’ spa experience.

 

19:30 HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL DINNER

Head back into Nottingham for a global smorgasbord of drinking and dining options. Nottingham’s newest bar and eatery is Bavarian-style The Bierkeller. Or enjoy world tapas at Bar Iberico, a new and casual sister venue to Iberico, a fine dining restaurant and Nottinghamshire’s only Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand entry.

 

HOW TO GET HERE:

Nottinghamshire is a county in the heart of England. Its principle city, Nottingham, is 1h 40m north of London by train. Located just over 30 minutes south west of the city, East Midlands Airport is a hub for budget airlines Jet2.com and Ryanair, with flights from many European cities.

2018 theatre: what to book tickets for now

Bright lights point to the stage in 2018 as a host of theatrical shows are set to dazzle audiences in London’s glitzy West End and around the country, showcasing the best of classic and modern theatre.

As the red curtains rise, get lost in passionate plays, smash-hit shows and flamboyant musicals, and celebrate show business in Britain. Here are ten shows for 2018 that are not to be missed.

LONDON

Network by Lee Hall at the Lyttelton Theatre, London

4 November 2017 – 24 March 2018

Breaking Bad fans will rejoice as actor Bryan Cranston is making his British stage debut in the new adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Network, a Paddy Chayefsky production depicting a dystopian media landscape where opinion trumps fact. Cranston recently won a Tony Award for his Broadway role in All The Way. Many shows are sold out or on limited availability so get your tickets quickly.

 

Pinocchio by Dennis Kelly at the Lyttelton Theatre, London

1 December 2017 – 7 April 2018

Featuring songs and score from the 1940’s Walt Disney film Pinocchio, this new musical production has been brought to the stage by the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the writer of Matilda the Musical. Expert puppetry will bring Pinocchio's world to life during his quest to become a real boy, from alpine forests to the bottom of the sea. For tickets, visit the website.

 

Hamilton: An American Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre, London

6 December 2017 – 30 June 2018

Following unanimous critical praise, 11 Tony Awards, and playing to celebrities, politicians and members of theatre royalty, this sensational Broadway musical is coming from New York to London’s West End to re-open the new Victoria Palace Theatre. Hamilton: An American Musical tells the story of the American Revolution through the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, incorporating hip-hop, rhythm and blues, pop music, and traditional-style show tunes.

 

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at Sadler's Wells, London

9 December 2017 – 27 January 2018

Matthew Bourne's sell-out interpretations of classic fairy tales as bold modern ballets are critically acclaimed. His new show at Sadler’s Wells transforms the Cinderella story into a war-time romance: a chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, who are together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.

 

Mary Stuart at Duke of York's Theatre, West End, London

15 January – 31 March 2018

Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out season at the Almeida Theatre in 2016-17, Robert Icke’s adaptation of Mary Stuart explores the backstage goings-on of politically crucial days in British history. Based on Friedrich Schiller’s royal tragedy written in 1800, this electrifying play focuses on Mary and Elizabeth I’s relationship, centering on an imaginary meeting between them. Following the run at Duke of York’s Theatre, the play will embark on a Britain-wide tour.

 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare at the Olivier Theatre, London

Spring 2018

Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, will bring A-listers Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff to the Olivier Theatre’s stage for Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. Ambitious and ruthless, the play will explore the destructive effect of power as the Macbeths try desperately to cling on to it. Keep an eye on the website for ticket information.

 

BRITAIN-WIDE

The Band: Take That's New Musical, Britain-wide tour

8 September 2017 – 14 July 2018

Featuring top hits of iconic British boy band Take That, this jukebox musical is a story about how music can define our lives. The protagonists are five teenage girls who adore Take That and aspire to meet their heroes as they grow older. The show will be performed in numerous cities, including Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool. For full tour dates, visit the website.

 

Shrek the Musical, Britain-wide tour
12 November 2017 – 6 January 2019

Shrek returns to the stage with his loyal steed Donkey and a 14-foot dragon to win Fiona’s heart in this all-singing, all-dancing, alternative fairy tale. Based on William Steig's book Shrek! and the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation feature film, this musical extravaganza will feature new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer. This Britain-wide tour includes venues in Abderdeen, Cardiff and Blackpool. For full tour dates and tickets, visit the website.

 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis at West Yorkshire Playhouse
29 November 2017 - 21 January 2018

A wonderland of magic and mayhem, this adaptation of the novel by CS Lewis follows siblings Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they set off on an adventure through the back of a wardrobe into the enchanting kingdom of Narnia. Directed by Sally Cookson, who recently bought to stage Peter Pan and the critically acclaimed sell-out tour of Jane Eyre, this timeless story will transport you into a faraway land. For tickets, visit the website.

 

Titanic: The Musical, Britain-wide tour

12 April – 21 July 2018

Maury Yeston's musical Titanic, which won five Tony Awards after opening on Broadway in 1997, will set sail on its first ever Britain-wide tour in April 2018. Following critical acclaim at Southwark Playhouse and Charing Cross Theatre, this tragic tale is based on real stories of passengers aboard the ill-fated ship, which catastrophically collided with an iceberg in 1517. The show will be performed in a selection of cities, including Edinburgh, Southampton and Birmingham.

Lifelong Rolling Stones fan visits Exhibitionism and gets surprise Meet and Greet with band

London voted favourite destination for Arts and Culture at Condé Nast ME Traveller Readers’ Awards


VisitBritain is delighted to announce that London has once again been voted as a favourite destination, this time for Arts and Culture, at the prestigious annual Condé Nast ME Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards.

The ceremony was held on 11 November 2015 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Dubai Palm Jumeirah, where VisitBritain’s Regional Director, Sumathi Ramanathan received the award.

Ramanathan said: “We are extremely proud that the UK has won this award and featured in the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice selection. We are particularly honoured to receive this award as it constitutes a direct vote of confidence from our GCC customers. With its unrivalled mix of history, culture, culinary gems and cutting-edge creativity, I’m confident that these accolades will keep coming as Britain continues to surprise and excite more visitors from the GCC.”

Visitors from the GCC markets have indicated their growing love of Britain as a holiday destination with record numbers visiting during the first six months of 2015. The latest results from the Office of National Statistics International Passenger Survey recently revealed that across the first six months of 2015 there were increases in visits, nights and spend from the GCC. Visits rose 2% set further a first 6 month record (282,000) while spend was up 3%, reaching new heights (£677 million). This surge in visitor numbers reflects the ever evolving and expanding tourism offer in Britain, from world class exhibitions, blockbuster entertainment and major sporting and cultural events.

While London remains to a leader in the tourism space, the cultural offering of cities outside the capital is world-renowned, and visitors will quickly discover that whether their preference is for old or contemporary, for art, dance or theatre – or even street art, street dance or street theatre – a vacation to Britain will entertain, inspire and engage them.

What’s new for 2016?

The cultural attractions of Britain are dynamic and always offer something new. 2016 is set to be another strong year for arts, theatre and film lovers, as well as for families.

Shakespeare: In commemoration of the 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's England will host a range of new exhibitions in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, as part of the celebrations of Shakespeare's legacy. These include a new immersive theatrical experience at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a reimagining of New Place following a major restoration project, and Shakespeare's School room will be open for the first time at King Edward VI School. Meanwhile, at the RSC, a new exhibition will open, highlighting the work of the directors, writers, actors, designers and creative theatre makers who have shaped the RSC in its 130-year history.www.shakespeare.org.uk

Museums

The National Museums of Scotland will open ten new galleries in 2016 displaying National Museums Scotland’s internationally important collections of Science and Technology and Art and Design, showcasing more than 3,500 objects (www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/discover-the-museum/new-galleries). London’s Design Museum will be moving to the former Commonwealth Institute in London’s Kensington and under its copper-clad hyperbolic roof, this Grade II-listed building will boast snazzy new interiors by John Pawson (http://designmuseum.org). Beautifully located overlooking Porthmeor Beach in Cornwall in south-west England, Tate St Ives is undergoing refurbishment that will see the gallery space double and visitor experiences improved (www.tate.org.uk/about/projects/tate-st-ives-phase-two). And put 2018 in your diaries for the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum in Dundee, Scotland. It will be uber-modern in design and is architect Kenzo Kuma’s first British commission. www.vandadundee.org

Art

There’s plenty to get excited about in the art world towards the end of 2015 going into 2016. Liverpool will host the ninth edition of the largest contemporary art festival in Britain, Liverpool Biennial, which takes over the city for ten weeks (www.biennial.com). Birmingham’s Museum & Art Gallery in central England will show Enchanted Dreams: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Edward Robert Hughes (17 Oct 2015 – Feb 2016 – dates TBC), the first exhibition dedicated to Hughes and his work in more than a century (www.bmag.org.uk). The first-ever exhibition focusing solely on the portraits of Goya will run at London’s National Gallery (7 Oct 2015 – 10 Jan 2016) (www.nationalgallery.org.uk), while the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, north-east England, will host a new exhibition of the wonders of the ancient, modern and natural worlds built out of Lego – Brick Wonders (28 Nov 2015 – 31 Jan 2016).

Film

Tarzan: Tarzan, now living in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle, a plot that has led to filming taking place in several British locations. A visit to these destinations demonstrates Britain’s diversity as a film location. Windsor Great Park is 5,000 acres of parkland, comprising a Deer Park, formal avenues, gardens, woodland and open grassland. Kedleston Hall, close to the city of Derby, is a National Trust-owned 18th-century mansion, while Dinorwig Quarry in Llanberis, north Wales, is a former slate quarry and also home to the Welsh National Slate Museum. www.thecrownestate.co.uk/windsor/windsor-great-park www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kedleston-hall, www.museumwales.ac.uk/slate

Through the Looking Glass: In May 2016, Disney will release Through the Looking Glass, a sequel to Alice in Wonderland, with filming rumoured to be taking place in Britain. The Alice in Wonderland story was originally written by English author Lewis Carroll and Oxford is considered the birthplace of the story as Carroll lived there for most of his life. Create your own Alice adventure; download the app, Follow the White Rabbit, and follow a digital 3D audio-visual trail through Llandudno in north Wales where the real Alice used to holiday. www.alicetowntrails.co.uk

BFG

Roald Dahl classic, the BFG, is coming to the silver screen in 2016 and this year will mark the centenary of Welsh author Roald Dahl’s birth. Learn more about the author at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire, south-east England, or visit Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, and visit the Little Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay where Roald Dahl was baptised. www.visitwales.com, www.roalddahl.com

For lots of inspiring content on Film and TV, see VisitBritain’s LoveWall https://lovewall.visitbritain.com/film-and-tv

-End-

About VisitBritain:
VisitBritain is the strategic body for inbound tourism, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy.

A non-departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, we work with partners in the UK and overseas to ensure that Britain is marketed in an inspirational and relevant way around the world. Our partners include government agencies such as UKTI and British Council, airlines and operators, global brands such as Samsung and the English Premier League as well as the official tourism bodies for London, England, Scotland and Wales.

Our priority is to deliver a four-year match-funded global marketing programme which showcases Britain around the world. This campaign aims to secure an additional £2 billion in visitor spend.


Media contact:
Yasmine Rashed, Communications Manager, VisitBritain
Email:
yasmine.rashed@visitbirtain.org




London’s cultural landmarks lead Google search rankings as overseas visits rise: VisitLondon.com and the GREAT Britain campaign launch London’s Autumn Season of Culture

London is the most Googled city in the world for art galleries, performing arts and innovative art and design, according to new insights released by London & Partners, the Mayor's official promotional company for the city, and Google to mark the launch of London's blockbuster Autumn Season of Culture.

Search insights from Google show that London's theatres generate more searches than those in any other city, while international searches for globally renowned museums rank the Science Museum in London as the most Googled museum in the world*.

The Natural History Museum and the British Museum rank second and third according to Google, followed by The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

The data from Google also shows that London is the most searched for city in the world to visit. Separate research published by London & Partners and MHM reveal that in 2014/15 London's museums and galleries received 17.9 million overseas visits, accounting for 57% of the total 31.5 million visits.

Today VisitLondon.com, in partnership with the GREAT Britain Campaign, launches London's Autumn Season of Culture which will showcase the blockbuster exhibitions and events coming to the capital. At an evening event hosted at The Victoria and Albert Museum, leading figures from the capital's major institutions will celebrate the launch of their key autumn exhibitions. A new film previewing the coming Autumn Season, narrated by Downton Abbey star Jim Carter - the popular Mr Carson - and featuring a cameo appearance by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson will be premiered at the event.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "London is without a doubt the cultural capital of the world. Tourists are flocking to our great city in ever-increasing numbers, drawn by our exceptional cultural attractions and landmarks. Our world-famous museums, galleries, theatres and performance venues have done a terrific job creating and attracting the blockbuster exhibitions and events that form this spectacular Autumn Season of Culture in London. If you are planning to travel in the months ahead, London is a city not to be missed."

Commenting on being named the most Googled museum in the world, Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, says: "It's fantastic that so many people across the world are seeking out the Science Museum, and this new data provides yet more evidence of the world class status of British museums. Our most audacious exhibition ever, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, opens this September and I hope all those googling the Science Museum get the chance to visit."

The film of London's Autumn Season of Culture which is narrated by the Downton Abbey star, Jim Carter [film], goes behind-the-scenes at the city's leading museums and attractions as they prepare to launch their stellar line-up of blockbuster events and exhibitions. The film includes exclusive footage of a Russian lunar lander space capsule being lifted into the Science Museum for Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, special previews of The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern and Cycle Revolution at the Design Museum, and original evidence from London's criminal past, which has never been seen before by the general public, being prepared for The Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition at the Museum of London.

"London truly offers the best cultural experiences in the world, whether visitors come to enjoy our world-famous West End theatre, visit our incredible museums and galleries, or they simply come to take in the city's unrivalled history and heritage", said Jim Carter. "The Autumn Season of Culture features something for everyone, from Russian spacecraft, to incredible images of nature in action, as well some of the greatest artists that have ever lived. When I walk through London, from Buckingham Palace to the Tate Modern, I'm always taken aback by the spectacle of this awe-inspiring city."

Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, the Mayor's official promotional company for the capital which has led the Autumn Season initiative, said: "We launched the Autumn Season of Culture to underline the outstanding exhibitions and events taking place across London in the months ahead. Culture is the leading reason why visitors come to London and it is vital to the city's economy, contributing an estimated £7.3bn per year. By bringing together these events, we can attract new international audiences to experience the best of London's blockbuster cultural offerings, while underlining the city's status as a global cultural powerhouse."

The number of international visitors coming to London continues to rise. Last year 17.4 million overseas tourists visited the capital. The rise in international visitors is helping to drive record audiences at the city's museums and galleries. Research released by London & Partners and MHM Insights shows that London's museums and galleries are attracting record numbers of visits overall and seeing a sharp rise in overseas visits.

The number of international visits at London's museums and galleries has risen by more than 19 per cent over the last four years. The top overseas markets visiting London museums and galleries in 2014/15 show French and American visitors tied in first place, followed by Italy, Spain and Germany. Collectively these top five markets accounted for 9.7 million of the total of 17.9 million overseas visits recorded.**

Laurian Clemence of Google UK, added: "It's no surprise that London's museums, historical landmarks, performing arts scene and theatres are some of the most searched places in the world, by people interested in learning more about these places and those planning a visit. Throughout the year there is strong interest in London's cultural landscape just via the searches we see."

www.visitlondon.com/autumn

ENDS

Media Contacts

Rebekah Clement, Media & PR Manager - Leisure Tourism, London & Partners

E: rclement@londonandpartners.com

Ellie Wilson, Head of Tourism PR, London & Partners

E: ewilson@londonandpartners.com

London & Partners Press Office

E: press@londonandpartners.com

Notes to Editors

* The Science Museum is, on average, the most Googled museum in the world.

**Across MHM's benchmarking group of London museums and galleries in 2014/15

The full report from MHM is available on request.

About London & Partners

London & Partners is the official promotional company for London. We promote London and attract businesses, events, congresses, students and visitors to the capital. Our aims are to build London's international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

www.londonandpartners.com/

Google methodology

Google uses a number of sampling, counting and rounding approximations to calculate its search data. As a result, lists may differ from one day to the next or from one visit to another. Google's internal tools are compiled using data from multiple sources, including Google Trends, Maps, YouTube, mobile and desktop and internal data algorithms.

MHM Insight methodology

The research is based on the analysis of year round visitor research undertaken by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre. Annually, 15,000 interviews are conducted across 13 museums and galleries in the capital.

Visitors are approached randomly on exit from a venue. Responses are captured electronically on iPads. Respondents can complete the survey in English or one of eight other languages including: French; German; Spanish; Italian; Polish; Japanese; Korean and Chinese. Interviews are conducted at weekdays and weekends, covering public holidays, school holidays and non-holiday periods, according to a sample frame which ensures that surveys were gathered according to the visit flow (footfall) at the venues.

The museums and galleries included in MHM's London benchmarking group are British Museum, IWM London, Museum of Childhood, Museum of London, Museum of London Docklands, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, V&A, Wallace Collection.

Broadcast Quality Film and Photography Access Details

FILM CONTENT AVAILABLE:

  • The Autumn Season of Culture film starring Jim Carter
  • Interview content with Jim discussing the Autumn Season of Culture
  • B-roll including behind-the-scenes previews of London's Autumn Season, soundbites from Jim Carter, Downton Abbey's Mr Carson, discussing the Autumn Season, soundbites on London's culture from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, GVs of London

HD broadcast quality and low res footage (with access media worldwide, all rights cleared including music) can be accessed via:

Newsmarket: www.thenewsmarket.com/londonandpartners

Dropbox: http://bit.ly/1p0Kykc

If you wish to embed the video it can be accessed here - YouTube: [Film]

PHOTOGRAPHS: Images of Jim Carter and preview photos from the exhibitions can be accessed from the following dropbox: http://bit.ly/1p0Kykc


TRY BEFORE YOU BUY BRITAIN

Listen to the grandfather clock chime in Anne Hathaway's cottage, take a leisurely stroll on the beach at Durdle Door, or enjoy the choir singing at Rosslyn Chapel. These are just some of the things international tourists can now do in Britain - before they even arrive.

The national tourism agency, VisitBritain, has commissioned a series of immersive 360 degree experiences giving overseas visitors an opportunity to step inside some of Britain's most-loved attractions.

As part of the Government's hugely successful GREAT tourism campaign, this activity from VisitBritain aims to drive more international visitors out across the nations and regions of Britain. International tourism continues to deliver economic benefits across the country, and the last two years have seen almost all other parts of the UK grow faster than London. By UK area, Yorkshire recorded the highest levels of growth in visits in 2014, followed by Scotland and the North East. For spending, Scotland leads the way with a 10% increase, followed closely by the East of England at 9% and the South East at 8%.

The entire panoramic series, and much more inspirational content, can be found on the new www.visitbritainblog.com site from Saturday 11 July. The panoramas were created by 360 degree specialist Rod Edwards.

Joss Croft, Marketing Director at VisitBritain said: "Not only will this immersive experience allow potential visitors to snoop around some of our greatest tourist attractions before they arrive, but it will inspire and motivate more travel across the country.

"London is a huge global asset for Britain - a dynamic, cosmopolitan and well-connected city that visitors aspire to visit. Our challenge is to encourage visitors to add to their holiday experience by exploring even more during their short time here and making sure they know how easy it is to get around."

In 2014 the UK welcomed a record 34.8 million international visitors, up by 6% on 2013. Altogether they spent another record £21.7 billion in our economy (also up 3% in real terms), directly supporting 500,000 jobs. As a result of the success of recent years, VisitBritain projects that the UK will welcome a record 42 million international visitors annually by 2020.

VisitBritain's activity already delivers economic growth across the nations and regions of Britain. Exposure to the GREAT tactical campaign doubles the likelihood of a visit to both Scotland and Wales. In addition, Wales saw a three-fold increase and Scotland saw a 50% increase in the number of nights spent in the destinations among those having been influenced by the GREAT campaign. VisitBritain will use its Countryside is GREAT campaign to continue re-balancing the country's tourism economy.

ENDS


For more information please contact Mark Di-Toro at VisitBritain:
mark.di-toro@visitbritain.org / 0207 578 1098

Notes to editors


The 360 degree series in full:

Anne Hathaway's Cottage - The Broad Solar Bedroom
Anne Hathaway's Cottage - The Parlour
Cardiff Castle - The Arab Room
Cardiff Castle - The Library
Chatsworth House
Conwy Castle
Durdle Door
Durham Cathedral
Portmeirion
Rosslyn Chapel
Salisbury Cathedral
Warwick Castle

About VisitBritain

VisitBritain is the strategic body for inbound tourism, ensuring that international tourism continues to deliver economic growth and jobs across the nations and regions of Britain.

Our strength is that we understand international customers and markets. VisitBritain's international network of offices, covering 22 markets, is a resource supporting the industry and destinations to grow the value of tourism exports. We are a founding partner of the GREAT campaign, working alongside organisations such as the FCO, UKTI and The British Council.

Locking in private sector funding: In the last three years we have raised £43 million from commercial partners - airlines, operators and global brands such as the English Premier League and Sony - to match fund international tourism marketing.

Customer Focused: We know what motivates overseas customers to travel and how to inspire them to choose Britain.

Bringing the best of British to the world

WHAT’S NEW in Britain in 2017

2017 is packed with exciting events, anniversaries, new attractions and key dates, making Britain a top destination to visit next year! From the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festivals and The Natural History Museum's new Blue Whale display to Hull's City of Culture 2017 and hot new hotel openings. For media, this means lots of fantastic story ideas to keep you coming back to Britain.


Anniversaries

70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festivals

Led by the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festivals were born in 1947 as a platform to celebrate art and culture and to bring nations together once again after global conflict. For 70 years that inspiration has been sustained, making Edinburgh and its festivals an unparalleled destination for visitors, performers, artists and thinkers from all over the globe. In 2017, the 12 major festivals of Edinburgh will mark this special 70th anniversary by transforming the historic city like never before with music, science, film, art, theatre, dance, literature and storytelling, as its festivals continue to dream, reflect, invent and celebrate - while looking forward to another 70 years.

www.edinburghfestivalcity.com

25th anniversary of the Premier League

The world-famous Premier League turns 25 in 2017. The inaugural season kicked off on 15 August 1992 and has been drawing international interest ever since. Attending a match is an unforgettable experience and high up on the must-do list of any visitor to Britain - you'll witness the players' skills, the fans' passion and be surrounded by the stadiums' electric atmosphere. As well as the opportunity to watch the crème de la crème of English and Welsh football (Scotland has its own league), attending a game is also the perfect chance to visit the clubs' destinations. Reaching from the far north-east of England (Newcastle) to the south of Wales (Swansea), over to London and across to the hip cities of north-west England (Manchester and Liverpool), following Premier League football also means discovering some of Britain's most exciting cities - and, of course, the opportunity to explore behind the scenes at many stadiums run tours.

www.premierleague.com

125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes short story

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Scottish author and physician, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was published in 1892. Now a popular TV series, London is almost a character in itself in the Sherlock stories and it's hard to imagine the detective living anywhere else. Explore the city as Sherlock did and visit some of his favourite haunts, including 221B Baker Street. While it doesn't actually exist, the exterior of the flat as seen in the TV series, is shot in this quieter west London road, 25 minutes' walk from Baker Street, at 187 North Gower Street. Other destinations include The Sherlock Holmes Museum, featuring a re-creation of his sitting room, as well as a gift shop. The Sherlock Homes Pub in Westminster is stuffed with memorabilia, including Dr Watson's old service revolver and his favourite food, Cumberland sausages.

200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen

One of the most widely read authors in English literature, Jane Austen died on 18 July 1817 in Winchester, south England. To mark the 200th anniversary of her death, Austen fans can visit Jane Austen's former home in Chawton, near Alton in Hampshire, south England, around an hour by train from London. Here, everything will gear-up for the 2017 ‘Jane Austen 200' commemorations, as well as in wider Hampshire. The charming house was where she spent the last eight years of her life, wrote Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion, and revised Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. Now called the Jane Austen's House Museum, it runs a programme of events throughout the year to keep even the most ardent of Austen aficionados happy.

www.janeausten200.co.uk

20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series

Since the release of J.K. Rowling's first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on 30 June 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide, inspiring the popular film series. All eight movies were filmed in Britain, with locations spanning England, Scotland and Wales. While in London, Potter fans shouldn't miss a priceless photo opportunity at Platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross Station. Would-be sorcerers can try their hand at pushing a trolley through the brick wall between platforms nine and ten, otherwise known as the portal to the wizarding world. And a must-visit for any discerning Harry Potter fan is the Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter, a dream come true for muggles - young or old - who watched and loved the movies and books.

To celebrate the anniversary, The British Library in London is launching a new exhibition about the magic of Harry Potter, set to open on 20 October 2017 it will run until 28 February 2018. From medieval descriptions of dragons and griffins to the origins of the philosopher's stone, the exhibition will take readers on a journey to the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Look out for an extraordinary range of wizarding books, manuscripts and objects, with original material from Bloomsbury's and J.K. Rowling's archives, that will sit alongside centuries-old British Library treasures. #HarryPotter20

www.bl.uk, www.harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/uk/harry-potter-20

Attractions and openings


Blue Whale comes to the Natural History Museum after 35 years of Diplodocus display

The central display in the Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall is set to change in the summer of 2017, as long-serving resident ‘Dippy the Diplodocus' is being replaced after 35 years with a blue whale skeleton, which will mark the beginning of a decade of transformation for the museum.

www.nhm.ac.uk

New interactive gallery at the Science Museum - Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery

Featuring live event spaces, hands-on experiments and state-of-the-art interactive exhibits. Visitors to the gallery will be able to walk through a giant Orrery with a canopy of stars, take part in live chemistry experiments, and whizz down the friction slide!

www.beta.sciencemuseum.org.uk/wonderlab/#overview

British Music Experience moves from London to Liverpool

This new permanent attraction in Liverpool has moved from London to Liverpool and opens at the historic Cunard Building on the Pier Head, 11 February 2017. The attraction will feature more than 600 artefacts and over 90 hours of digital content highlighting how music has influenced British culture over the last 70 years.

www.britishmusicexperience.com

Liverpool World Museum's new Ancient World gallery

February 2017

The museum has been inspiring children of all ages since 1853. Its popular Ancient World gallery is currently being revamped and is set to open early next year. Alongside 4,000 objects - many of them previously unseen by the public - there are plans for a brand-new Mummy Room as well as interactive displays.

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

V&A improvements

The interiors of west London's Victoria and Albert Museum have been undergoing a daring series of redesigns, upgrades and expansions. Among them, 2017 will see the opening of a new main V&A Shop at the heart of the museum and the completion of the £49.5 million Exhibition Road Project. Designed by the Amanda Levete Architects, the project will create a grand new entrance to the museum from Exhibition Road, a magnificent open courtyard, and a purpose-built gallery to house temporary exhibitions.

www.vam.ac.uk/page/e/exhibition-road-building-project

New Hadrian's Cavalry exhibition

8 April - 10 September 2017

1 - 2 July: largest Roman cavalry re-enactments ever seen in Britain

Taking place at ten attractions across the full 150-milelength of Hadrian's Wall, Hadrian's Cavalry will be a wall-wide exhibition celebrating the elite Roman cavalry regiments that guarded Hadrian's Wall and projected the power of Imperial Rome 2,000 years ago. The six-month exhibition is a once in a lifetime opportunity for visitors to explore the role and daily life of the cavalry forces of the Roman army. On 1 & 2 July, the largest Roman cavalry re-enactments ever seen in Britain will take place throughout the day at Bitts Park in Carlisle, with a troop (turma) of 30 Roman cavalrymen coming together to perform ancient training exercises.

www.hadrianswallcountry.co.uk/events/hadrians-cavalry-2017

New National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket, east England

In 2016 the National Horseracing Museum moved to Palace House in Newmarket (around 90 minutes' drive from London) and is the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art. As well as live thoroughbred horses in the Rothschild Yard and a four-acre paddock, the centre will include a new museum that celebrates the sport and science of horseracing. The move to Palace House means the museum will occupy the last remaining element of King Charles II's racing palace in Newmarket, a town synonymous with the ‘sport of kings', and home to two racecourses, the Rowley Mile and July Course.

www.nhrm.co.uk


RHS Flower Show, Chatsworth

7 - 11 June 2017

For the first time in more than a decade, the Royal Horticultural Society is embarking on a new show in the expansive 1,000 acre grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. It will join the current portfolio of shows at Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace, Tatton Park, and Chelsea in London but expand the experience with an immersive horticultural event based on ‘Design Revolutionaries'. The event will celebrate the creative genius and conceptual thinking of gardeners and garden designers from the past and present, including Lancelot ‘Capability' Brown. Provisional dates for all RHS Flower Shows in 2017 are:

7 - 9 April: RHS Flower Show Cardiff
23 - 27 May: RHS Chelsea Flower Show
7 - 11 June: RHS Chatsworth Flower Show
4 - 9 July: RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
19 - 23 July: RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

www.rhs.org.uk/chatsworth-show

Film & TV-inspired holidays

Step into these films and TV series due for release in 2017 with a visit to the British landscapes they were filmed in.

T2: Trainspotting - UK release date 27 January 2017

A continuation of the Trainspotting saga, T2: Trainspotting reunites the original characters in and around the country of Scotland and will star Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle. The cast have been spotted filming at locations across Edinburgh and Glasgow.

www.visitscotland.com

Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur - UK release date 24 March 2017

This epic adventure film retells the story of the famous legend. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the cast includes Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey and Jude Law. British locations used in the film include Snowdonia in north Wales, the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye, plus Windsor Great Park and the Forest of Dean on the border of England and Wales.

www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/highlands

www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/isle-skye

www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk,

www.wyedeantourism.co.uk

Disney's Beauty and the Beast - UK release date 17 March 2017

An adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love. The cast includes Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen, and was filmed on location in London and Surrey in south-east England.

www.visitlondon.com

Kingsman: The Golden Circle - UK release date 16 June 2017

Twentieth Century Fox's The Kingsman: Secret Service returns in 2017 with its sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle. See Eggsy and Marlin work together to take on a new villain with the help of the American agency: Statesman. Filming locations for this action-film include Birmingham in England, and London.

www.visitbirmingham.com

Paddington 2 - UK release date 24 November 2017

Paddington fans can rejoice as the nation's favourite furry friend is back with Studio Canal's sequel Paddington 2. It will feature the same cast as the first movie with a new addition playing the villain. Shooting for the movie will start this autumn in London, England.

www.visitlondon.com

Poldark

Cornwall's favourite hero returned to US TV screens with a second series on 25 September. Filmed in and around Cornwall in England, fans can now book Poldark tours around the movie locations in the seaside county. www.poldarktours.co.uk

Victoria

Already a hit in the UK, the new TV drama Victoria airs in the US from January 2017. Based on the life of Queen Victoria in her early reign, the series stars Jenna Coleman and features eight episodes. Mostly filmed in Yorkshire, locations include Harewood House in Leeds, Castle Howard, and Beverly Minster, which stood in as Westminster Abbey.

www.harewood.org, www.castlehoward.co.uk, www.beverleyminster.org.uk

Sherlock series 4

Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's much loved book series, the Sherlock TV series has seen huge success in the UK and will be returning to PBS in America for series four in early 2017. Excitingly, there are also rumours Avengers star Tom Hiddleston could feature. Based in Victorian and Georgian England, London has proved to be an ideal location for filming throughout the previous three series. www.visitlondon.com

Broadchurch (Series 3)

Crime-thriller Broadchurch returns for a final series in 2017 with David Tennant and Olivia Colman reprising their roles. It will continue to be filmed on location in Dorset at Bridport and West Bay, as well as Clevedon in Somerset, England.

www.visit-dorset.com

Hot new hotel openings in 2017


London's West End gets its biggest budget hotel

Hotel operator Accor is set to open the new 583-room Ibis Styles Piccadilly Circus hotel in 2017 on the site of the huge Trocadero building between Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street. It will be the West End's biggest budget hotel and around 80 percent of its guests are expected to be tourists. The prime central location and proposed price per night (£100 to £150) will make Ibis Styles unique; most hotel openings in the heart of the West End in recent years have been luxury five star hotels. Over the centuries the site has served as a tennis court, circus, theatre, exhibition space and music hall, as well as a tearoom and restaurant until the mid-Sixties. In the Eighties it was turned into an indoor theme park with rides, cinemas and shops but closed in February this year.

www.ibis.com

Scotland Yard Hotel

The original Scotland Yard police station is set to become a new five-star luxury hotel, opening in early 2017 following a £50 million refurbishment to the historic building. Scotland Yard was made known to millions reading the novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and was the centre of the infamous ‘Jack the Ripper' investigation in 1888. The new hotel combines luxury bedrooms - costing up to £10,000 a night - with two bars, a library, and dining rooms.

Liverpool strikes gold with new hotel in Martins Bank building

Principal Hayley Group is converting the historic Martins Bank building in Liverpool into a 227-room luxury hotel with a spa, bar and restaurant. Designed by noted architect Herbert James Rowse and completed in 1932, the Martins Bank building is considered to be among the finest classical buildings built in England during the interwar period, and was used to hide Britain's gold during WW2. Due to open late 2017.

www.ph-hotels.co.uk

Southampton's first luxury five-star hotel

Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa is due to open in June 2017 at Ocean Village. Highlights will include 85 luxury bedrooms, a jetty restaurant featuring a rooftop champagne bar, and the decadent harbour Spa, with gym and swimming pool.

www.harbourhotels.co.uk/hotels/southampton-harbour-hotel-spa

Eden Project Hotel, Cornwall

A £6million hotel is set to open at the Eden Project in Cornwall next year. The hotel will have 115 bedrooms and has been designed to ‘blend into the countryside'. It will have access to the main Eden Project site, as well as being close to the perimeter of its outer estate.

www.edenproject.com

Woolsington Hall Hotel & Spa, Newcastle
Woolsington Hall is undergoing a luxury renovation, transforming the historic building into a 34-bedroom, five-star hotel and leisure complex - the first of its kind in Newcastle. Due to open by early 2017, the site will also be complete with a restaurant, lodges, golf course, spa, and a cookery school.

www.woolsingtonhallhotel.co.uk

Z Hotel, Bath

Offering compact luxury rooms in city centre locations, Z Hotels will be opening its first property in the south-west of England next year after a £14 million development. Z Bath will offer 148 bedrooms and, following in the footsteps of all other Z Hotels, offer luxury bed linen on handcrafted beds, 40" LED TVs with Sky Sports and Movies at no extra cost, power showers and free high speed Wi-Fi throughout. There will also be complimentary cheese and wine each evening for guests.

www.theZhotels.com

Q1 2017: Nobu Hotel

Master sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa is opening his first European hotel, the Willow Street Hotel in London's Shoreditch, in 2017. It will have 150 bedrooms and a statement restaurant: a dramatic five-metre high space in the basement with imaginative creations from Nobu himself.

www.nobuhotels.com/london-nobu-hotel, www.nobuhospitality.com

Spring 2017: The Ned, City of London

The former Midland Bank headquarters is being turned into a new five-star hotel, The Ned. Redesigned with the glamour of a 1930s transatlantic ocean liner as inspiration, the hotel will have 252 suites, a rooftop bar with landscaped terraces, a health spa, and a range of restaurants and cafes, including a New-York-style deli.

www.thened.com

Summer 2017: New LEGOLAND Castle Hotel at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Berkshire

Situated on the edge of the popular theme park resort, the 61-room LEGOLAND Castle Hotel will bring to life an enchanted world of brave knights and princesses, wily wizards and jolly jesters. Families will be able to choose between two imaginatively themed room types - Knights and Wizards - each with separate sleeping areas for adults and children. Colourful LEGO touches and models will feature throughout - from the lobby's giant LEGO Wizard to the a la carte Tournament Tavern Restaurant, indoor Jester's Play area and outdoor Playground. Special guest benefits will include early entry to the park, fast track access on selected rides and LEGO gifts and collectables. Booking will open in mid-October 2016.

www.legoland.co.uk/castle

PR contact: tansy@freerange.eu

Summer 2017: Hotel Du Vin, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Malmaison Hotel du Vin Group is creating a new luxurious 48-bedroom Hotel du Vin in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. The hotel will have 48 luxurious bedrooms, a bistro du vin, meeting and private dining rooms, and a banqueting room with the capacity to seat 80 guests.

www.hotelduvin.com

PR contact: malhdv@hudsonsandler.com

Events

UK City of Culture 2017: Hull, Yorkshire

All year

For 2017 Hull will be the UK City of Culture and host the Turner Prize, one of the biggest events in British art, at Hull's Ferens Art Gallery. Organisers have separated the year into four different "Seasons", each with its own theme: Made in Hull (January - March), Roots and Routes (April - June), Freedom (July - September), Tell The World (October - December)

www.hull2017.co.uk

Scotland's Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology

All year

2017 will celebrate Scotland's Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology. It will be a chance to showcase its rich history, heritage and archaeology, ranging from the remains of its earliest settlements going back thousands of years, through to the turbulent times of the Middle Ages and on to the Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

www.visitscotland.org/business_support/advice_materials/toolkits/yhha.aspx

Wales' Year of Legends

All year

The Year of Legends proposes to explore more of Wales' distinctive history, culture, heritage and mythology. In addition, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and one of the most prestigious club competitions in European football, the UEFA Champions League Final, will be played in Wales' capital Cardiff in 2017 - a fantastic opportunity to showcase Wales to the world and watch the emergence of new footballing legends.

www.visitwales.com/explore/traditions-history/discover-welsh-myths-legends

Women's Rugby World Cup

The event will hosted by Ulster Rugby alongside the Irish Rugby Football Union in August 2017. It will culminate with the world's top female rugby players coming together for the semi-finals and positional play-offs in the Kingspan Stadium Belfast in Northern Ireland's capital. In September, Kingspan will also open a new education and heritage centre, exploring the history of rugby in Ulster.

www.rwcwomens.com

Women's Cricket World Cup

The scene is being set for a thrilling 2017 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in England, with confirmation of London's iconic Lord's Cricket Ground as the venue. Lord's is the home of cricket; playing its perfectly manicured wicket is the pinnacle of international cricketing ambition. Take a guided tour of Lord's and follow the footsteps of international cricketers through the Long Room, a cricketing art gallery and gateway to the hallowed turf. Tours run seven days a week (with some exceptions) from the MCC Museum, one of the oldest sporting museums in the world.

www.icc-cricket.com


Exhibitions

Major new exhibitions: late 2016 and 2017

Leonardo da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, south Wales

14 October 2016 - 6 January 2017

Ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection, showcasing the extraordinary scope of the artist's interests and his use of different media - pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point.

www.glynnvivian.com

Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the National History Museum

21 October 2016 - 20 September 2017

Marvel at startling images produced by photographers' passion for the natural world.

www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions.html#sthash.lpRyQklr.dpuf

Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line at the British Library, London

4 November 2016 - 1 March 2017

Uncovering the fascinating story of how maps became everyday objects for the first time in the 20th century.

www.bl.uk/events/maps-and-the-20th-century-drawing-the-line

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition at the 02 Arena, Greenwich, London

18 November 2016 - 3 September 2017

Get to know the characters of Star Wars on a whole new level, with 200 original costumes, props, models, and pieces of artwork to discover up close.

www.starwarsidentities.com

Shakespeare in the Royal Library in The Drawings Gallery at Windsor Castle, south-east England
Runs until 11 December 2016

Marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, this display draws on material in the Royal Library, including works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare's plays. It will examine aspects of the playwright's life, work and influence, and celebrate his longstanding connection with Windsor and the royal court.

www.royalcollection.org.uk/whatson/event/794586/Shakespeare-in-the-Royal-Library

Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe at Windsor Castle, south-east England

Runs until 8 January 2017

To celebrate The Queen's 90th birthday year and her support of British couture and millinery, this exhibition has toured Britain and ends its run at Windsor Castle. Explore significant events in The Queen's life and the nation's history through an unprecedented collection of couture and accessories exclusively designed for these occasions. www.royalcollection.org.uk/whatson/event/794179/Fashioning-a-Reign

Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies at the Imperial War Museum, London

Runs until 8 January 2017

Featuring film industry props and set designs from classic films including Apocalypse Now, Casablanca, Saving Private Ryan, Atonement and War Horse.

www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-london/real-to-reel-a-century-of-war-movies

Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery at the V&A Museum, London

Runs until 5 February 2017

Featuring over 100 surviving examples of exquisite hand-made English Medieval embroidery, revealing the artistic skill of the makers and the world in which they were created.

www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/opus-anglicanum-masterpieces-of-english-medieval-embroidery

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the V&A Museum, London
Runs until 5 February 2017

The exhibition addresses the practicalities of underwear and its role in the fashionable wardrobe while highlighting its sensual, sexual appeal. Around 140 garments and accessories for men and women are on display, alongside fashion plates, photographs and films, advertisements and packaging to introduce changing concepts of the ideal body.

www.vam.ac.uk

You Say You Want A Revolution: Records & Rebels 1966-1970 at the V&A Museum, London
Runs until 26 February 2017

This major exhibition examines the optimism, ideals and aspirations of the late 1960s, expressed through music, fashion, film, design and political activism. Fascinating objects are paired with an immersive soundtrack and theatrical three-dimensional design, investigating the cultural upheavals and the changes within the law that took place during the revolutionary years.

www.vam.ac.uk

The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 at Barbican Art Gallery, east London

23 March 2017 - 25 June 2017

The first major UK exhibition to focus on Japanese domestic architecture from the end of the Second World War up to now.

www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=19951

Fire! Fire! at the Museum of London

Runs until 17 April 2017

Discover the capital before, during and after the Great Fire of London with this interactive exhibition marking the 350th anniversary of this disastrous event, including rarely seen artefacts from 1666.

www.museumoflondon.org.uk//museum-london/whats-on/exhibitions/fire-fire

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A Museum, London

13 May 2017 - 1 October 2017

The first international retrospective of one of the world's most iconic and influential bands.

www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/pink-floyd

A History of Fashion in 100 Objects at the Fashion Museum, Bath, south-west England

Runs until 1 January 2019

A fascinating collection of garments and fashion accessories drawn from the museum's world-class collection that created the look of the times - from the 1500s to the present day.

www.visitbath.co.uk/whats-on/a-history-of-fashion-in-100-objects-p1995403


Stage

Theatre


An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre, London

4 March - 30 September 2017

This award-winning, thrillingly staged Broadway musical features some of the greatest Gershwin music and lyrics ever written.

www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk

42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London

20 March 2017 - 22 July 2017

Broadway's biggest show is set to make its West End debut next year. Young Peggy Sawyer is fresh off the bus from small-town America and just another face in the chorus line on Broadway's newest show. But when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy might just have the shot at stardom she's always dreamed of.

www.42ndstreetmusical.co.uk

Sleepless: The New Musical, Plymouth and London

25 March 2017 - 17 April 2017 at The Lyric - Theatre Royal Plymouth, south-west England

Dates TBC: London West End run (theatre TBC)

Based on the popular 1993 comedy film of the same name starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, this new musical will premiere in Plymouth before its first West End run. Former pop star of British girl band Girls Aloud, Kimberley Walsh, is set to star as the female lead. The American Film Institute (AFI) lists the film version of Sleepless in Seattle among the Top 10 Best Romantic Comedies of all time.

www.sleeplessmusical.com

The Girls, Phoenix Theatre, London

28 January 2017 - 22 April 2017

The true story of the Yorkshire Calendar Girls, a group of ordinary ladies who achieved something extraordinary. This new musical comedy has brought together the writing talents of pop legend Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, who grew up in the same village in the north of England and have been friends for 25 years. The musical originally opened at The Grand Theatre in Leeds, where it received standing ovations at every performance.

www.thegirlsmusical.com

The Band, details TBC

2017 dates TBC

Not content with two musicals showing in the West End, Take That frontman Gary Barlow will add a third to his bow. Featuring the songs of Take That, The Band is being created in association with Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, and will tour Britain in 2017.


Extended London West End shows and musicals in 2017

The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017

Winner of 4 2014 Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Actor In A Musical. Rolling Stone says, 'The Genii of South Park hit Broadway, and history is made. Mormon is on its march into legend'. It's The Book of Mormon, the Broadway musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez.

www.bookofmormonlondon.com

The Mouse Trap, St Martin's Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017
Agatha Christie's most famous stage mystery sees a group of people in a country house cut off by snow. The gathering realise that there is a murderer in their company and the hunt begins to find the identity of the killer. This tour will travel across the UK to more than 20 locations.

www.the-mousetrap.co.uk

The Bodyguard, Dominion Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017

The Bodyguard, based on the smash-hit film that starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, is wowing audiences at the Domion Theatre, London, starring Beverley Knight as Rachel Marron.

www.thebodyguardmusical.com

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Running until 7 January 2017

Roald Dahl's delicious tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Mr Willy Wonka comes to life in this hit West End musical directed by Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes.

www.charlieandthechocolatefactory.com

Show Boat, New London Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017

Daniel Evans' popular production set on and around a Mississippi river barge theatre during legislated racial segregation in 1880s southern America is based on the novel by Edna Ferber, and credited as one of the first musicals with a song and narrative structure as we know them today.

www.showboatmusical.co.uk

Stomp, Ambassadors Theatre

Running until 8 January 2017

Now in its 13th year in the West End, the Olivier Award-winning percussion extravaganza brings audiences the universal language of rhythm theatre, comedy and dance.

www.stomplondon.com

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Gielgud Theatre

Running until February 2017

This highly acclaimed Olivier Award-winning production is based on Mark Haddon's popular novel. It tells the story of fifteen-year-old Christopher, who finds a dog that has obviously been killed, and goes about investigating who did the deed. But Christopher's extraordinary brain is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, so how will he investigate the mystery further?

www.curiousonstage.com

Les Miserables, Queen's Theatre

Running until 4 March 2017

In October 2010 Cameron Mackintosh's legendary production of Boublil and Schonberg's Les Miserables celebrated its 25th Anniversary in London and is now the world's longest running musical. This international award-winning musical sweeps its audience through an epic tale of passion and destruction, against the backdrop of a nation in the grip of revolution.

www.lesmis.com/uk

Mamma Mia, Novello Theatre

Running until 4 March 2017

Join the ultimate feel-good party at the world's sunniest and most exhilarating smash-hit musical.

www.mamma-mia.com/london.php

The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty's Theatre

Running until 4 March 2017

This multi-award winning musical continues to captivate audiences at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End, after more than 12,000 performances.

www.thephantomoftheopera.com/london

The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

Running until 2 April 2017

Disney's musical phenomenon The Lion King continues to captivate audiences of all ages. Combining dazzling staging and highly imaginative costumes, masks and puppets, this astonishing show at the Lyceum Theatre uses breath-taking theatrical magic to tell the story of Simba - join him now in his epic journey to reclaim his kingdom!

www.thelionking.co.uk

Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

21 November 2016 - 11 March 2017

Thirty-five years after the ground-breaking original Broadway production, this UK and West End premiere of the sensational and iconic Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls comes to the Savoy Theatre in November, 2016.

www.dreamgirlswestend.com

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre, London

Running until May 2017
A new play by Jack Thorne, inspired by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, will debut in London's West End this year. It sees Rowling's hero all grown up, working for the Ministry of Magic and a father of three school-age children. The play is presented in two parts, which are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

www.harrypottertheplay.com

Billy Elliot The Musical

Touring the UK until May 2017

Based on the successful 2000 film, this West End production with music by Elton John tells the story of one boy's battle against convention to pursue his love of dance. Check tour dates and venues on the website.

www.billyelliotthemusical.com

Thriller - Live, Lyric Theatre

Running until 1 October 2017

Moonwalking into the West End after three UK tours and standing ovations across Europe, Thriller - Live is a spectacular, high-octane show celebrating the career of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.

www.thrillerlive.com

Matilda The Musical, Cambridge Theatre

Running until 15 October 2017

This multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company was inspired by the beloved book by Roald Dahl.

www.matildathemusical.com

Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre

Running until 4 November 2017

Wicked has been casting its magical spell over audiences of all ages across the world since 2003 and continues to be a record-breaking hit. It has become the 16th longest-running West End musical of all time and earlier this year announced its 21st booking extension.

www.wickedthemusical.co.uk

Jersey Boys, Piccadilly Theatre

Running until 16 April 2017

The smash hit jukebox musical has extended its booking period until next year. It dramatizes the formation, success and eventual break-up of the 1960s rock 'n roll group The Four Seasons, with songs including Big Girls Don't Cry and Can't Take My Eyes Off You.

www.jerseyboyslondon.com

Aladdin - Disney's New Musical, Prince Edward Theatre

Summer 2016 - 1 April 2017

Brought to theatrical life by a legendary creative team, Disney's Broadway musical Aladdin sweep its audience into beautiful spectacle. The musical has been a smash hit on Broadway and includes all the memorable songs from the film including A Whole New World, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and Arabian Nights. www.princeedwardtheatre.co.uk

Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre

Running until 6 May 2017

This feel-good, colourful, multi-award-winning show was inspired by true events and boasts music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper. Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price, who has reluctantly inherited his father's Northampton shoe factory. Trying to live up to his father's legacy, he finds inspiration in the form of Lola and they join together to make shoe history.

www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre

Running until 22 July 2017

Beautiful is the untold story of Carole King's journey from schoolgirl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin to her playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and her remarkable rise to stardom.

www.beautifulmusical.co.uk



Opera

Cinderella (La Cenerentola)

A new production of Rossini's sparkling comedy performed by an exciting international cast. A much-loved fairy tale, but not quite as you know it. Sung in Italian with English subtitles.

16 - 25 February 2017: Leeds Grand Theatre, Yorkshire, north England

2 - 4 March 2017: Theatre Royal, Newcastle, north-east England

9 - 11 March 2017: The Lowry Salford Quays, Manchester, north-west England

16 - 18 March 2017: Grand Opera House Belfast, Northern Ireland

www.operanorth.co.uk/productions/cinderella

The Royal Opera House, London

16 January- 4 July 2017: La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi

Joyce El-Khoury, Ekaterina Bakanova and Corinne Winters lead three excellent casts in Richard Eyre's much-loved production of Verdi's most famous opera.

23 March - 25 April 2017: Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Antonio Pappano and Renato Balsadonna conduct two great casts led by Ermonela Jaho and Ana María Martínez in Puccini's deeply poignant opera.

21 June - 15 July 2017: Otello by Giuseppe Verdi *NEW*
Antonio Pappano conducts a new production of Verdi's thrilling Shakespeare-inspired opera directed by Keith Warner, starring Jonas Kaufmann and Gregory Kunde in the title role.

19 - 20 July 2017: The Merchant of Venice by André Tchaikowsky, Welsh National Opera *NEW*

Tchaikowsky's Shakespeare-inspired opera is an important rediscovery in 20th-century opera and receives its London premiere in this new production directed by Keith Warner.

5 - 16 July 2017: Turandot by Giacomo Puccini

Andrei Serban's striking staging of Puccini's final opera. In ancient Beijing, beautiful Princess Turandot decrees that she will marry the prince who can solve three riddles. Those who fail are put to death. Music of exotic colour and overwhelming power, including the famous and instantly recognisable ‘Nessun Dorma'.

www.roh.org.uk

Le Vin herbé (Love's Poisoned Chalice), Welsh National Opera

16 February - 25 April 2017

16 February: Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff, Wales

21 March: Milton Keynes Theatre, south-east England

28 March: The Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol, south-west England

4 April: Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales

18 April: Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Devon, south-west England

25 April: Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, south England

Spring 2017 brings Frank Martin's touching re-tell of the Tristan and Isolde story, Le Vin herbé, (meaning the spiked drink).

www.wno.org.uk/season/loves-poisoned-chalice

Glyndebourne Festival 2017

Britain's most famous opera festival has another brilliant summer schedule for 2017:

20 May - 8 July: Hipermestra by Francesco Cavalli *UK premiere*

21 May - 19 June: La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi

11 June - 6 July: Hamlet by Brett Dean

25 June - 27 July: Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss

13 July - 23 August: Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti

26 July - 26 August: La clemenza di Tito by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

www.glyndebourne.com/festival_2017

Dance


Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes - UK tour *NEW*

An intoxicating drama where life imitates art with

World's top travel bloggers arriving in Inverness for Social Travel Summit

The global social media spotlight will be on Inverness next week when nearly 50 of the world's top travel bloggers arrive for a social media conference.

The Social Travel Summit, this year sponsored by VisitBritain and held in the UK for the first time, brings together popular travel bloggers and the travel industry to explore trends and insights on online travel marketing.

Bloggers from 17 countries including China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands and the USA will be attending the summit, held from 19 - 21 September and organised by travel network iambassador. The bloggers will also have the chance to see the best of ‘destination Britain' and share these travel experiences with their social media followers during pre and post event trips.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

"We know the powerful role social media plays in promoting Britain to overseas visitors so we're thrilled to be bringing this summit here for the first time. I look forward to seeing some fantastic content created by the world's top bloggers as they tour the country, sharing their stories online and inspiring more visitors to book a trip to Britain."


VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said:

"For Inverness to host the first Social Travel Summit to be held in Great Britain is a fantastic achievement for the Highland capital. The digital domain plays a hugely important role in reaching potential and returning visitors and the tourism industry needs to embrace new ways of working to succeed in a competitive global market."

Social media is at the heart of VisitBritain's domestic and international #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments' campaigns which showcase the incredible experiences that can only be had on a trip in Britain. The campaign invites people to share their amazing UK travel experiences using the hashtag #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain), which will also be used by the travel bloggers attending the summit.

Figures from last year's Social Travel Summit held in Hamburg show that more than 500 images and blog posts were created during the summit and shared globally, reaching an estimated four million people.

Research by VisitBritain shows the influence social media has in positioning Britain as a destination of choice for international visitors, offering unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with potential visitors in a timely way, with the right messages, demonstrating an understanding of their world and motivations for travel.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, 5% up on 2014, and spending up 1% to £22.1 billion.


ENDS


Notes to Editors:

• The Social Travel Summit is sponsored by VisitBritain with substantial support from VisitInvernessLochNess and VisitScotland

  • The Social Travel Summit has received funding from the VisitScotland National Conference Bid Fund and the Highland Council Common Good Fund

• For more information on #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments': https://www.visitbritain.org/great-britain-home-amazing-moments-campaign

Quotes from some of the top bloggers attending the 2016 Social Travel Summit (for press use):

• Landlopers blogger Matt Long (USA) said:

"The Social Travel Summit is always a fantastic opportunity to meet with like-minded peers and learn from them in a collaborative environment. I'm thrilled that the conference is being held in Inverness this year - it's one of my favourite destinations in Britain and an ideal place from which to launch a great trip around the country."
http://www.landlopers.com
Voyages etc. blogger Adeline Gressin (France) said:
"As a professional travel blogger and co-founder of the French travel blogger collective I can't wait to be inspired by the latest social media travel trends and ideas at the summit in Inverness. Britain has so much to offer travellers with its vibrant culture, amazing people, fantastic food and breath-taking landscapes."
http://www.voyagesetc.fr

· Travel Dudes blogger Melvin Bocher (Germany) said:

"The Social Travel Summit is the most important conference for professional travel bloggers and influencers as it provides invaluable opportunities to network and connect with leaders in digital travel marketing. Our job is to inspire our audiences to travel and so Scotland, with its stunning landscapes, is an ideal location for this event."
http://www.traveldudes.org/

· The Shooting Star blogger Shivya Nath (India) said:

"The moment I heard that the 2016 Social Travel Summit is being held in the Scottish Highlands, I knew I had to be part of it. Networking with the travel blogging industry while exploring dreamy countryside landscapes - I can't think of a better way to take my work as a travel blogger to the next level."
http://the-shooting-star.com/

For more information please contact Alisha Lewis at VisitBritain: alisha.lewis@visitbritain.org
/ 020 7578 1128 or 0749 060 3773