Swap your cold beer for a warm cuppa during the 2019 Ashes Series

 The tea interval at a cricket match at Wormsley Park, Buckinghamshire.

The start of this year’s Ashes in England this week will no doubt have most cricket fans either staying up through the night or getting up at the crack of dawn to tune in.

For many, Dry July may have just finished but now there is no need to slip back into old habits by reaching for a cold one, especially when it’s chilly outside.

We know that Aussies love a good cuppa as much as the Brits. Research shows the tea market in Australia is worth $324 million* with half of Australians aged 14 or over drinking tea at least once a week – coffee is only slightly more popular!

Luckily, this year Victoria Bitter* has come up with a clever way for you to enjoy the flavour of beer while still reaping the warming benefits of a tea with a launch of a new limited edition tea bag ‘containing super pride hops with premium black tea leaves’ creating the perfect beer-flavoured morning drink.

With the Ashes 2019 series taking place at several iconic locations throughout England - Edgbaston in Birmingham, Headingley in Leeds, Old Trafford in Manchester, and Lord’s and The Oval in London – there’s plenty of time to enjoy a cuppa while watching the competition on the TV.

To help people make the most of the complete tea experience, VisitBritain has put together a handy seven-step guide to making the perfect flavoured brew:

Step 1: Boil the water 

Step 2: Warm your teapot, teacups or mugs

Step 3: Use cold, filtered water to fill your kettle

Step 4: Set the water temperature to between 95 and 60 degrees

Step 5: Pour the water into the warmed teapot or into the teacup / mug 

Step 6: Infuse the teabag or tealeaves once the water has boiled and brew to the desired strength

Step 7: Add your milk and then enjoy the brew! 

If you want to ensure your cuppa is being brewed the correct way, you can also check the official British Standard Institutions method.  

*https://www.victoriabitter.com.au/products/vb-tea
**https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/storm-in-a-teacup-how-melbourne-swapped-coffee-for-a-cuppa-20190701-p5231n.html

TASTE – August 2019

From pop-up restaurants serving gourmet classics to modern takes on traditional cooking, Britain continues to welcome new restaurants and food offerings to its already thriving culinary scene. Here are the latest restaurant openings and unveilings for visitors to get their teeth into.

 

Recently opened

 

The Samling, Lake District

 

The luxurious Lake District hotel, The Samling, has relaunched its food offering with the support of new Executive Chef Robby Jenks. Several new fine dining menus now cover lunch and dinner to give guests plenty of options, including a three-course set lunch Table D’Hote menu and The Choice Menu, offering three courses of à la carte dining. Both menus will include a delectable array of seasonal ingredients as well as some from The Samling’s own gardens. Dinner service will include the Choice Menu and a delightful five-course Tasting Menu packed with a unique fusion of cooking styles, flavours and tastes. The lunch menu options are priced at £25 per head for the Table D’Hote menu and £65 per person for the Choice Menu. The Tasting Menu costs £85 per person.

 

Feasts from the Middle East, various locations

 

Comptoir Libanais Group founder Tony Kitous launched Britain’s first high-end large-scale Middle Eastern catering company in June, having partnered with leading events designers Admirable Crichton. Feasts from the Middle East specialises in mezze, small sharable plates of food that aim to showcase the best of Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. The venture aims to bring an array of grilled meats, rice dishes and plant-based delicacies to events, award ceremonies, product launches, weddings and private parties across the UK.

 

The Mantl, Knightsbridge, London

 

Using traditional cooking methods over hot coals to create an authentic Turkish sharing experience, The Mantl in Knightsbridge offers refined food in a sleek, modern setting. Founder Serdar Demir’s carefully curated menu puts a focus on lesser-known Turkish dishes, including Smoked Sheep’s Yogurt, Smoked Eggplant, Feraye and Chargrilled Octopus. The house speciality Lamb Shish is lovingly prepared over four days, while the Pistachio Lamb Chops promise a mix of mouth-watering flavours. Deserts include the restaurant’s own take on Baklava and Chocolate Delights, a twist on Turkish Delight. A set lunch menu with two or three courses is also available at a cost of £14.90 per person and £17.90 per person respectively.

 

The Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire

 

To coincide with the opening of new kitchen space, chef owner Steven Smith has launched a selection of exciting new menus at The Freemasons at Wiswell. The award-winning gastropub in the heart of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire now includes Mr Smith’s Table and Bench, offering guests the chance to dine in the heart of the kitchen. The Kitchen Table seats up to 12 – with a minimum of six needed to book – and provides a premium space for guests to try out tasting menus or celebrate special occasions. Meanwhile the Kitchen Bench features four stools in front of the kitchen, enabling guests to watch their meals being made from scratch.

 

Glasshouse at the Gherkin, London

 

In partnership with Perrier-Jouët Champagne, the Iris Bar at the top of the Gherkin has been transformed into a luscious botanical greenhouse. With splendid views of the River Thames, all of level 40 has become an oasis of greenery where guests can try an inspired seasonal menu, a delightful array of botanical gin cocktails and Champagne pairings by Perrier-Jouët. Glasshouse at the Gherkin runs until 1 September.

 

High Tea at the Orangery, Rockliffe Hall, Yorkshire

 

Rockliffe Hall’s flagship 4AA Rosette restaurant, The Orangery, has launched an indulgent afternoon tea experience. Executive chef Richard Allen’s offering includes an abundance of sweet and savoury treats and takes inspiration from the restaurant’s tasting and à la carte evening dinners. Expect a modern take on a traditional favourite, as the menu includes Duck Egg Mayonnaise and Cured Cumbrian open sandwiches, Warm Whitby Crab and Wensleydale Cheese Tart with Garden Chard and Raspberry Short Bread with Rockliffe Estate Honey and Candied Lemon, all served with loose leaf tea or fresh coffee. The Orangery High Tea is available daily between 1pm and 3pm for £35 per person. A Champagne Tea, including a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, is priced at £49 per person.

 

Mahé Cookery School, Padstow

 

Chef Paul Ainsworth and wife Emma have continued to put their stamp on Cornwall’s culinary scene with the launch of their fourth venture in Padstow, the Mahé Cookery School. With space for up to five guests to hone their kitchen skills under the guidance of Michelin-starred executive chef John Walton, the kitchen will provide a range of courses including Pasta Masterclass, Bistro Cooking, Dinner Party Secrets and Sugar and Spice. From learning the essentials to making authentic Italian pasta, knowing how to create restaurant quality dishes at home and designing eye-catching deserts, each class will include one-to-one teaching and a wealth of expert advice. The adjoining Michelin-starred No. 6 restaurant, Mahé, will offer its cookery lessons during the day and a bespoke culinary experience at the Chef’s Table, capable of seating six guests in the evenings. A range of classes can be booked in the remainder of 2019, with prices ranging between £195 and £275 per person.

 

Boringdon Hall Hotel, Devon

 

The five-star country hotel Boringdon Hall launched its Tasting Menu to Remember package in June, giving guests the opportunity to transform their special memories into a bespoke culinary experience. The package includes the creation of a five-course tasting menu with matched wines from head chef Scott Paton to be enjoyed in the intimate surroundings of The Gallery dining room, an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s luxury suites, a welcome gift and a 60-minute treatment each at the hotel’s luxury Gaia Spa for £975 per couple. Each menu will be unique to each couple and will feature an array of skilfully executed dishes and seasonal local produce.

 

The Furnace Kitchen, Ironbridge Gorge Museums

 

Celebrity chef Marcus Bean launched the Furnace Kitchen at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums at Coalbrookdale in late July, offering a variety of brunch, lunch and snack options. Mixing British classics and European cuisine, visitors will be able to sample homemade cakes and tasty light bites, as well as fresh oven-roasted pizzas from the on-site pizza oven. Open to museum visitors and the public every day from 8.30am to 5pm, as well as on selected evenings, the restaurant is located in the former Long Warehouse of the historic Coalbrookdale Company, once the loading bay for rail wagons.

 

Bill’s Baker Street, London

 

Having undergone an extensive transformation, Bill’s Restaurant and Bar opened another new-look London restaurant in June at Bill’s Baker Street. Modern décor and luxurious seating have been combined with an enhanced evening menu, packed with cocktails and delicious treats. Seasonal additions include Steak and Rarebit Pie and Vegan Black Bean Chilli, while the cocktail menu features favourites such as a Coconut and Raspberry Daiquiri and an Apple and Elderflower Collins.

 

New menus

 

Little Kolkata, Covent Garden, London

 

To celebrate the sunshine, popular Bengali restaurant Little Kolkata has introduced a brand new seasonal menu. With more than 20 new dishes and a fresh summer drinks menu to sample, guests can choose from highlights including spicy jumbo prawn with coconut cream and green chilli, and beetroot croquettes with green chutney. Hidden away behind bustling Covent Garden, and with a restorative range of summery cocktails including spiced gin, Campari and Martini Rosso on offer, this little gem is the perfect spot to savour authentic Bengali cuisine in the heart of London.

 

Patisserie Valerie, nationwide

 

Sweet-toothed staple Patisserie Valerie has started the first stage of its redevelopment with a brand new summer menu. Focusing on ethical produce, fine ingredients and creativity, diners can choose from a range of tasty treats such as strawberry gateau with vanilla sponge, whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  With a brand new cold drinks range produced with British drinks brand Cawston Press, a new all-day brunch menu, and a wide range of plant-based and vegetarian options, the new menu is the sweetest way to savour summer.

 

Coming soon

 

Story by the Sea, Carbis Bay, Cornwall

 

Critically acclaimed chef Tom Sellers and the team from Restaurant Story are relocating to the Cornish coast for six weeks from early August. The exclusive residency in Carbis Bay, titled Story by the Sea, promises a delicious five or six-course menu that takes inspiration from the ocean and Cornwall’s incredible surroundings, alongside a carefully crafted cocktail menu. Restaurant Story also intends to work alongside ocean campaigners Parley to remove 50 tonnes of plastic from the seas during the residency at the Carbis Bay Estate, by creating a series of limited edition upcycled tote bags. Running from 2 August to 14 September, the pop-up restaurant will be open every day throughout that period. Experience the set five-course lunch menu from £95 and the six-course dinner menu from £125 per person.

 

Kindling, Brighton

 

Opening in September, ‘land-sea-fire’ concept Kindling promises to deliver a range of delicious vegetarian, ethically-sourced meat and sustainable fish dishes under the mantra “good food, done well”. Created by husband and wife team Ramin and Jane Mostowfi, the duo behind ground-breaking vegetarian restaurant Food for Friends, the restaurant will feature reclaimed wood, elegant décor and a wood-fired grill, for an ethical dining experience with style.

New exhibitions to see in autumn and winter

From the announcement of the Turner Prize winner to a host of incredible installations and one-off exhibitions, Britain’s galleries are preparing to welcome a wide array of exceptional art as autumn and winter approaches. At sites across the UK, works from emerging and renowned national and international artists are set to go on display, showcasing everything from the power of photography to the mastery of the portrait.

Keith Haring – Tate Liverpool, Liverpool

The first major UK exhibition of renowned artist and activist Keith Haring is at Tate Liverpool until mid-November. Taking inspiration from underground club culture, graffiti and pop-art in 1980s New York, Haring’s works explore societal issues including racism, homophobia, drug addiction, AIDS awareness and the environment. He developed a fashion line with Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, designed record covers for David Bowie and Run DMC, and directed a music video for Grace Jones during a career that was tragically cut short. More than 85 of the late artist’s works will be displayed in Liverpool, as well as an array of photographs, posters and videos that capture the essence of 1980s New York street culture.

When? Until 10 November 2019

William Blake – Tate Britain, London

An icon of British art, the works of William Blake have inspired artists, musicians and performers around the world. In recognition of the talented painter, printmaker and poet, the Tate Britain is exhibiting more than 300 original works as part of an immersive experience that showcases Blake’s visionary art as he wanted it to be viewed close to 200 years ago. The largest display of his works in Britain for more than 20 years, the exhibition will include his resplendent watercolours, paintings and prints, highlighting the enduring impact that Blake had on the art world.

When? 11 September 2019 – 2 February 2020

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things – V&A, London

Delve into the creative world of fashion photographer Tim Walker and discover his unmistakeable style at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. His pictures, photographic sets, films and special installations showcase his inventiveness, creativity and style, with Wonderful Things including ten new series of photographs that are heavily influenced by the collections in the V&A.

When? From 21 September 2019

Anthony Gormley, Royal Academy of Art, London

The Royal Academy of Art welcomes Turner Prize winner Anthony Gormley in September, hosting the most significant set of works for more than a decade. As part of an exhibition detailing his illustrious 45-year career, the sculptor and creator of the Angel of the North is set to fill part of the Royal Academy with seawater. Focusing on his use of organic and industrial materials, the exhibition will also include a number of Gormley’s early works, detailing the journey of how he became one of Britain’s most celebrated sculptors.

When? 21 September – 3 December 2019

Mark Leckey – Tate Britain, London

Turner Prize winning artist Mark Leckey’s exhibition will see a life-size replica of a motorway bridge from the Wirral, in Merseyside where he grew up, acting as the setting for a new audio play. Featuring new and existing work, and titled O’ Magic Power of Bleakness, the ghostly theatrical experience focuses on a group of teenagers and draws inspiration from folklore and Leckey’s own childhood memories. Since coming to prominence in the 1990s, Leckey’s works have focused on the ties between technology and popular culture, as well as on young people and nostalgia, resulting in powerful and topical artworks, exhibitions and experiences.

When? 24 September 2019 – 5 January 2020

Turner Prize 2019 – Turner Contemporary, Margate

Renowned for recognising the best in visual art, the Turner Prize 2019 will be showcased at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Awarded annually for an outstanding presentation of art work in the previous year, the Turner Prize can be won by any artist born, living or working in Britain. Four artists are shortlisted for this year’s award – Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Oscar Murillo, Tai Shani and Helen Cammock. The awards have been hosted in London every other year since 2011, but this marks the first time they have been presented at a venue with direct links to innovative artist JMW Turner – after whom the prize is named. The Turner Contemporary is built on the site of the artist’s lodging house and can be reached from London by train in 90 minutes.

When? 28 September 2019 – 12 January 2020

Artist Rooms: Roy Lichtenstein – Hatton Gallery, Newcastle

Explore the influential work of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein at Newcastle’s Hatton Gallery from late September. Part of the Artist Rooms programme of exhibitions, which display modern and contemporary art of international significance in smaller cities around Britain, the Roy Lichtenstein collection showcases cultural and political change in America from the 1960s to the present day. Expect abstract patterning, ambiguity and eye-catching works from one of the leading figures of the pop art movement.

When? 28 September 2019 – 4 January 2020

The Mackintosh Festival, Glasgow

The life and works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are celebrated annually in October at locations across Glasgow with close ties to the famous Scottish architect, artist and designer. Developed by members of the Glasgow Mackintosh Group, including The Glasgow School of Art, The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow Museums and the Lighthouse, the Mackintosh Festival features an array of workshops, exhibitions, walks, talks and performances for people of all ages. A full programme of events will be unveiled in August.

When? 1-31 October 2019

Rembrandt’s Light – Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Designated the Year of Rembrandt as it marks the 350 years since the Dutch Master’s death, 2019 will see a host of related exhibitions across Europe. Rembrandt’s Light at the Dulwich Picture Gallery is part of the celebration, and will include 35 carefully selected works that detail Rembrandt’s mastery of light and visual storytelling. This includes the chance to see the captivating painting Philemon and Baucis – on-loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, USA – in Britain for the first time. A number of the Dutch painter’s other works are also set to be displayed on British shores for the first time, while award-winning cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, renowned for his work on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Mars Attacks, will provide lighting assistance for the exhibition, helping to showcase Rembrandt’s works in the best way possible.

When? 4 October 2019 – 2 February 2020

Gauguin Portraits – National Gallery, London

Discover how French artist Paul Gauguin revolutionised the portrait at the first ever exhibition devoted solely to his portrait works. Bringing together a set of around 50 extraordinary works in the National Gallery’s Salisbury Wing, the exhibition will include an exciting array of paintings and 3D objects from public and private collections around the world. To coincide with the exhibition, a special event will run in cinemas across Britain from 15 October, titled Gauguin from the National Gallery. The documentary will explore the life and work of Gauguin, with the biopic featuring scenes shot in Tahiti, France, the Marquesas and Britain, before taking cinema goers on an exclusive filmed tour of the National Gallery’s exhibition.

When? 7 October 2019 – 26 January 2020

Lucian Freud Portraits – Royal Academy of Art, London

More than 50 paintings, prints and drawings from Lucian Freud go on display as part of one eye-opening exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in October. Spanning a period of nearly seven decades, his self-portraits showcase his extraordinary development as a painter and provide insight into the mind of a modern master of British art. The collection traces the fascinating evolution of Freud’s works and his portraits provide a gripping insight into the process of ageing, displaying a lifetime of art in just one showing.

When? 27 October 2019 – 26 January 2020

Dora Maar – Tate Modern, London

The largest retrospective of French photographer, painter and poet Dora Maar ever held in Britain goes on display at the Tate Modern in November. Renowned for symbolic photography and photomontages, Maar was an icon of surrealism and had close ties with Pablo Picasso, with whom she worked closely to create a series of images and portraits using experimental photographic and printmaking techniques. This ground-breaking exhibition seeks to explore Maar’s long career in the context of work by her contemporaries.

When? 20 November 2019 – 15 March 2020

Vivian Suter – Tate Liverpool, Liverpool

Taking inspiration from the tropical landscapes of her home region of Panajachel in Guatemala, Vivian Suter’s immersive installation of hanging paintings is set to dominate the Tate Liverpool’s Wolfson Gallery. The first solo display of her work in Britain, the large-scale installation, titled Nisyros, has close ties to the environment and the outside world, as Suter leaves her artwork outdoors to be exposed to the elements. As a result, an array of natural elements can be found in her creations, from twigs and volcanic matter to imprints of her dog’s paws.

When? 13 December 2019 – 15 March 2020

The Emmy Nominations reveal the shining lights of Britain

The 71st annual Emmy Award nominations have shone the spotlight on a host of ground-breaking British and Britain-filmed dramas, comedies and thrillers. From Amazon’s Fleabag (produced by the BBC) to A Very English Scandal and Game of Thrones, the nominations reveal some of the UK’s best talent, both in front of and behind the camera. And while London leads the way when it comes to screen-worthy backdrops, the nominations feature a host of other locations dotted around Britain that are well worthy of taking centre stage. 

 

Killing Eve, London

 

Nominated for nine awards including Outstanding Drama Series, the AMC/BBC America series Killing Eve has gripped audiences since it first aired in 2018. Starring Sandra Oh and English actress Jodie Comer, both of whom received nominations for the Outstanding Drama Actress award, the thrilling spy series has featured many iconic British locations, with London the star of the show. While much of the drama was shot in West London Film Studios, visitors to the city can check out featured locations including the Barbican, known for its iconic Brutalist 60s architecture, not to mention Trafalgar Square, the Tate Modern and the Southbank. Filming also took place outside Guy’s Hospital and on Blackfriars Bridge in Southwark, inside the ornate art-deco Banking Hall in east London, and at The Observatory Photo Gallery near St Pancras – a gallery, photography school and café featuring an ever-changing range of exhibitions. Fans of London’s nightlife will recognise the legendary Fabric, which doubled up as the nightclub in Berlin in Series One, while those looking to travel further afield can get a little taste of Russia in north London at Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End – the building’s art deco interiors were used to film the scenes at Hotel Atlasov.

 

Fleabag, London

 

Fleabag is the British show that’s taken the world by storm with its darkly comedic look at life as a young single woman in London. With 11 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Actress for writer and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the series is set and filmed in Dartmouth Park in Camden, north-west London. Visitors to the area can dine at the real life setting for the Guinea Pig Café, a thriving Turkish restaurant called Bold Café & Restaurant on York Rise. Alternatively, head on over to Smith & Wollensky in Covent Garden – the luxurious steak restaurant was used as the backdrop to the spine-tinglingly awkward family dinner at the start of Season Two. Art fans can explore Tate Modern, where Fleabag’s godmother’s ‘Sexhibition’ scene was shot, while those enraptured by the ‘hot priest’ can visit the Parish Church of St Andrew’s, Kingsbury, where many of the scenes were filmed. Alternatively, those with a passion for Fleabag and Downton Abbey can get their fix of both at Hedsor House. The location of Fleabag’s silent retreat, the Thames-side mansion has been graced by guests including George Clooney and Brad Pitt and also featured in the hit historical drama.

 

Brexit: The Uncivil War, London

 

Charting the lead up to the 2016 referendum and the Vote Leave campaign, HBO’s Brexit: The Uncivil War scooped a nomination for Outstanding Television Movie. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, the director of the Vote Leave campaign, much of the film takes place around Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of the ‘Tate Plotters’ who met in secret at Tate Britain, or get a bird’s eye view of the Houses of Parliament from the London Eye, which also featured in the film. Alternatively, why not head to Kensington Gardens, where key scenes were recorded, or enjoy a stroll along the Southbank and across Lambeth Bridge, a favourite running route of Cummings in the film.

Game of Thrones, Northern Ireland

With an incredible 32 mentions, the fantasy epic Game of Thrones has set the record for the most Primetime Emmy nominations for a show in a single year, with Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series making the list. Filmed in destinations across Europe, it’s Northern Ireland that has provided some of the most memorable backdrops to the show, including Castle Ward, which doubles as Winterfell. Fans of nature can visit Tollymore Forest in County Down, the setting of the Haunted Forest North of the Wall and the home of the Direwolves, while those keen to cross the Dothraki Sea can do so at the Glens of Antrim. Visitors looking to wander the Kings Road should head to the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, while those looking to explore more can immerse themselves in the world of fire and ice with Discover Northern Ireland’s list of attractions and filming locations.

 

 

A Very English Scandal, across the UK

 

Starring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal charts the real-life 1979 trial of former MP Jeremy Thorpe, who was accused of the attempted murder of his former partner, Norman Scott. Snaffling four nominations including Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Grant) and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or TV Movie. The first series to be granted permission to film at the Old Bailey inside Court One, the movie showcases diverse locations around Britain, from iconic London landmarks to lesser- known highlights including Manchester Town Hall. Visitors can explore the ornate lobby of the Old Bailey, visit the Palace of Westminster, or head over to the Hoover Building in Ealing – an architectural city icon that doubled as Blackpool in the film! Those looking to travel further afield could explore Saunton Sands, a golden beach on the North Devon Coast that features as California in the film, or take a trip to the historic village of Chittlehampton. Alternatively, why not visit Bridgend in Wales – an idyllic town just 20 miles from Cardiff which doubled as Dublin in the drama.

 

 

Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool, Liverpool

 

With an impressive six nominations including Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live from Liverpool, British presenter James Corden was the most-nominated person at this year’s Emmys announcement. Filmed on location in Liverpool, the Carpool Karaoke episode revealed some of the city’s highlights through the eyes of Beatles legend, Sir Paul McCartney. Follow the footsteps of Corden and McCartney with a trip to Penny Lane and Tony Slavin’s Barber Shop, which was immortalised in the hit song. Visit Penny Lane Flowers for some of the freshest blooms in the city and explore 20 Forthlin Road, McCartney’s childhood home, before heading to The Philharmonic Dining Rooms. Known as the ‘most ornate pub in Britain’, the pub is located just a stone’s throw from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and was the setting for McCartney’s surprise gig at the end of the live show.

Accommodation Update - July

Summer is here and with it comes numerous exciting hotel openings and transformative accommodation refurbishments across Britain. From 16th-century hotels to brand new developments by superstar footballers, there’s something to suit every taste on a trip to Britain.

Recently opened

Dakota, Manchester

Situated in the heart of Manchester, brand new design hotel Dakota offers sleek, sophisticated luxury. The elegantly-decorated guestrooms range from a classic double room to a two-bedroom grand deluxe suite. With a neutral palette of warm creams, greys and taupe, the rooms also include luxury facilities such as rainfall en-suite showers and full Sky Sports and Sky Movie packages, making this understated hotel a welcome addition to Manchester’s quality accommodation offer.

The Queen’s Head, The Lake District

The newly refurbished 17th-century pub The Queen’s Head is a family-friendly accommodation nestled in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside. Now a part of the Askham Collection the hotel welcomed its first guests in mid-April and offers family-sized rooms and dog-friendly accommodation ranging in price from £130-190 per night (based on two people sharing with breakfast).  

Hotel Indigo, Statford-upon-Avon

The quirky 92-room Hotel Indigo boasts a 16th-century, Grade I-listed façade. Originally a public house, the rooms are inspired by the area’s rich cultural and historical roots. Perfect for visitors looking to experience Shakespeare country, double rooms start from £149 per night including breakfast.  

 

Coming soon

The Newt, Somerset

Opening its Georgian doors on 29 August 2019, The Newt is a brand new luxury hotel and spa in Somerset. Set in Hadspen House, this 17th-century building was remodeled in the Georgian era, giving the house and gardens a suitably regal atmosphere which beautifully offsets the contemporary décor. With gardens ranging from parkland and woods to orchards, a state-of-the-art Cyder Cellar and a luxury spa, plus afternoon tea made using produce from their garden, The Newt offers a unique place to stay that’s bursting with local character.

MAMA Shelter, London

The stylish hotel chain MAMA Shelter will soon be coming to London, with a new 193-room hotel in the trendy Shoreditch area. Due to open in September this year, MAMA Shelter boasts a fun design ethos with an emphasis on socializing and has been described as halfway between a cosy family home and a sexy nightclub. Aimed at a millennial market, there will be ping-pong and a modern dining space for both guests and the general public to enjoy.

The Stock Exchange, Manchester

Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Winston Zahra are set to open their new hotel, The Stock Exchange, in Manchester in November. This sleekly designed hotel is housed in what was once the Northern Stock Exchange, a Grade II-listed building dating back to 1906. It will offer understated luxury throughout their guestrooms and signature suites, one of the most impressive of which was formerly the boardroom of the building.

Recently refurbished

Formby Hall Gold Resort & Spa, Southport

The newly refurbished Formby Hall Gold Resort & Spa is now offering a spa experience using Made For Life Organics products plus a new range of treatments. This luxurious 76-bedroom hotel and golf resort sits in the north-west of England, close to the buzzing cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Rooms are available from £149 per night, based on two sharing on a bed and breakfast basis.

White Horse Inn, South Downs National Park

Having undergone a complete refurbishment under new ownership, the Grade II-listed 18th-century White Horse Inn is ready to welcome guests. Nestled in the tranquil South Downs National Park and sleeping up to 16 guests, the Inn is a charming base from which to explore the surrounding area. The accommodation is spilt into five rooms in the main house, one refurbished cottage and one brand-new luxury lodge in rear garden, giving guests a fantastic range of places to stay. Overnight accommodation for two adults with a hearty breakfast starts from £130 per room per night.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London

The historic JW Marriott Grosvenor House on London’s Park Lane has unveiled a ‘multi-million dollar’ renovation. The ground floor has been thoughtfully re-imagined in order to complement the views over Hyde Park, while the design of the hall and guestrooms has also drawn influence from the park itself, with a flowing foliage theme and seasonal colour palette throughout.

One Aldwych, London

Iconic luxury hotel One Aldwych in London’s Covent Garden has recently reopened its doors, welcoming guests to an entirely new look. The extravagantly spacious lobby has been transformed into a cocktail bar and lounge, with ceiling-height windows that highlight views over The Strand. Originally designed by Mewès & Davies, the architects also responsible for the Ritz hotels in Paris and London, the hotel now also offers an exclusive guest-only lounge, cinema and impressive health club.

Discover the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site

Britain has a new UNESCO World Heritage Site after Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire was granted the prestigious status.

It means the UK is now home to 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a list which includes Stonehenge, the city of Bath, Blenheim Palace, Hadrian’s Wall and the Tower of London.

The home of the Lovell Telescope, the world’s third largest steerable radio telescope, Jodrell Bank is a working scientific observatory and a leading tourist attraction.

First used to track the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite – the world’s first artificial satellite – Jodrell now operates the UK’s national e-MERLIN radio telescope and is the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array – a ground-breaking project to build the world’s biggest telescope.

Jodrell Bank’s addition to the World Heritage Site list is in recognition of its outstanding scientific heritage and of its role in the development of radio astronomy.

The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre acts as a site of inspiration for budding scientists of all ages, while its 35-acre gardens are popular for walks and picnics.

Families can explore scientific theory and discover more about space in the Planet Pavilion, find out about the inner workings of Jodrell Bank in the Space Pavilion and enjoy science shows and exhibitions in the Stars Pavilion.

An exciting array of interactive screens, games and displays explore space, encouraging people of all ages to discover more about the solar system and the extent of the universe.

Telescope Walking Tours take place daily at 3.15pm, with additional tours at 11.45am at weekends, offering visitors the chance to find out more about how the Grade I-listed Lovell Telescope works. The tours last around 45 minutes and are free with general admission to the site.

Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Britain include Durham Castle and Cathedral, the Ironbridge Gorge, the old and new towns of Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Forth Bridge, the waterfront in Liverpool, Maritime Greenwich and the Dorset and East Devon Coast.

Vintage experiences in Britain

As the Goodwood Festival of Speed (4-7 July 2019) casts the spotlight on classic cars and motorsport generally, it’s a reminder that Britain is packed full of thrilling vintage experiences. From fashionable afternoon teas to car shows and literary walks, there’s ample opportunity to experience the delights of the past, in the present.

 

Goodwood Festival of Speed

A global celebration of car culture, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is renowned for showcasing the best of the glamour that accompanies motorsport. From the Hillclimb event – the centrepiece of the festival where fans can get up close to the cars and bikes in action – to the showgrounds and arenas, the motoring garden party has something for everyone. The FOS Future Lab provides a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry, while the First Glance Paddock showcases the latest from the production line. Visitors can be wowed by motorsport displays in the Arena, see thrilling extreme sports in the Goodwood Action Sports area and watch as drivers hurtle their way around the Forest Rally Stage.

When? 4-7 July

Pret-a-Portea: Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley

Sit back and relax with a vintage afternoon tea, inspired by the iconic designs of Christian Dior. This season’s Pret-a-Portea offering from The Berkeley enables guests to tuck into the Dior Coutre Collection, where landmark pieces have been transformed into delicious biscuits, bakes and fancies. Expect to see the iconic Bar Jacket from the 1947 catwalk show that formed a ‘New Look’ in biscuit form, as well as a reference to the Junon Dress worn by Theo Graham at Le Pre Catalan in Paris in 1949. The afternoon tea includes an array of elegant canapés, sandwiches and tasters, as well as a loose leaf tea from the hotel’s extensive collection. Pret-a-Portea is priced at £60 per person, while a range of champagne options are also available at additional cost.

When? Until 29 September

Silverstone Classic

An action-packed weekend of historic motor racing at the renowned Silverstone circuit awaits those attending the Silverstone Classic. The world’s biggest classic motor racing festival includes more than 20 races and demonstrations, featuring more than 1,000 vehicles, and is accompanied by an eclectic mix of music and entertainment. The family-friendly event includes Rocking and Racing, a set of musical performances from tribute acts to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival, as well as a vintage funfair, crazy golf and Street Car Shootout drag racing. There’s also a shopping village crammed with vintage clothing and memorabilia and football coaching from the Chelsea FC Foundation.

When? 26-28 July

Atomic Festival   

Dive into a world of classic cars and retro music at Atomic Festival, a 1950s weekend of fun at the Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. As well as a line-up of bands and DJs playing rock and roll and dance floor fillers in four venues, expect to witness drag racing involving hot rods, classic trucks and motorcycles, an array of classic car displays and even a hotly-contested soap-box derby. Enjoy fairground rides and crazy golf by day, as well as jive classes, burlesque shows, films in a ‘vintage’ cinema, and much more. Saturday tickets for Atomic cost from £45 and Sunday tickets from £40. Weekend, camping and glamping options are also available.

When? 27-28 July

Passion for Power

Hundreds of exotic supercars converge on Tatton Park, in Knutsford, for the Passion for Power Classic Motor Show, offering an exciting day out for all the family. The show encourages classic and supercar owners to attend, while the Dream Cars Pavilion showcases some of the rarest, fastest and most spectacular vehicles on the planet. Alongside a variety of trade stalls and car clubs that are attending, there’s an abundance of food and drink options on site. Tickets for Passion for Power cost £9 for adults and £6 for children, while those under 10 go free. All visitors will need to pay for entry to Tatton Park in addition to the costs of the show.

When? 17-18 August

Twinwood Festival

A buzzing celebration of vintage music, dance and fashion, Twinwood Festival, near Bedford, is spread over four days of the August Bank Holiday weekend. The Main Arena will take people on a musical journey from the 1920s through to the 1960s, while more than 100 vintage acts are set to perform at 16 different venues across the site. The fashion of that era is also the keystone of the festival, and with more than 100 traders and boutiques on site, selling everything from vintage clothing to homewares, there’s ample opportunity to get into the retro spirit. A set of vintage salons and a barbershop only adds to the festival’s charm. A three-day adult ticket costs £109, with adult day tickets priced at £49 each for Saturday and Sunday and £29 for Monday. Child tickets cost £8 per day, or £15 for a three-day ticket. Those with three-day tickets can access the festival on Friday for free, while non-campers can purchase a Friday ticket for £25, or £5 for children, provided they have purchased another day ticket as well.

When? 23-26 August

The Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show

Welcoming motorcycles from the 1960s, 70s and 80s to the Staffordshire County Showground, the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show is one of two annual Stafford Classic Bike Shows. The 26th edition of the show in October is set to feature more than 900 traders, dealers and autojumble stands, with parts and products to help enthusiasts. Visit the Off-road Hall and Grand Prix Paddock to discover rare bikes and see some of the machines in action. Tickets are priced from £12 for adults, while children under 15 go free. The other show – the Carole Nash International Classic Motorcycle Show – takes place on the weekend of 25-26 April 2020.

When? 19-20 October

Vintage Adventure Tours

Experience the picturesque beauty of the Lake District from high up in a 1929 vintage car with Vintage Adventure Tours. In addition to eight carefully designed tours that take in different parts of the incredible landscape, guests get sole use of the 1929 Model A Ford Phaeton, meaning they can create their own trips and touring routes too. Zip along country lanes in the only vintage car in Britain that is registered for private hire – tours are priced from £195 for up to four people, while bespoke route costs vary based on time and distance travelled. Advance booking is a must.

When? All-year-round, dependent on availability

Sail on a Traditional Wherry

Experience sailing along the waters of the Broads National Park the traditional way aboard an Edwardian wherry yacht. As one of only three surviving vessels from the period, each more than 100 years old, a range of trips are available to experience the rivers as in Edwardian times, taking in the changing scenery and rare wildlife within the National Park. Part of the English National Park Experience Collection, scheduled trips are available for booking – lengths and prices vary.

When? Trips on selected dates

Literary footsteps in Exmoor

Discover the ancient traditions of Exmoor National Park and follow in the footsteps of literary greats, including poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and author R.D Blackmore on a Literary Footsteps tour. The vintage walking trail explores the lands that provided inspiration for their work, before the day is rounded off with a delicious Devonshire Cream Tea or a drink in a traditional pub. Tours are priced from £50 to £80, with half-day and full-day walking options available, and must be booked in advance.

When? Trips on selected dates

Jane Austen - The Dancing Years

Be transported back to the Regency Period and imagine Hampshire life for celebrated author Jane Austen in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Jane Austen’s Dancing Years Tour explores the picturesque villages, many that are largely unchanged from Victorian times, before taking in the Jane Austen House Museum at Chowton where she spent her last years. Tours are priced on a per person basis and vary dependent on the size of the tour party.

When? All-year-round, dependent on availability

London Design Festival 2019

The London Design Festival (LDF) returns to the capital for a 17th time in September, marking a citywide celebration of all things design. An eclectic mix of events, fairs, workshops and exhibitions spanning nine days, the festival will feature numerous specially commissioned works from renowned international designers.

Formed by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans in 2003, the festival seeks to bring together creative individuals from around the globe to promote London as a global powerhouse for art and design. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) acts as a hub for the festival – taking place from 14-22 September – housing a number of innovative installations and hosting the festival’s thought-leadership programme: The Global Design Forum. Visitors can listen in to inspirational talks, take part in debates and workshops, and enjoy daily tours.

Encompassing trade shows, exhibitions and installations across the capital, London Design Festival dives into the world of design innovation and its impact on everyday life.

Design Districts

In order to make as many of the London Design Festival’s 400 events and installations as accessible as possible, events are clustered into Design Districts – groups of events all within a short distance of each other. The number of districts has increased alongside the festival’s popularity, with ten areas set to showcase the best in design in 2019.

Bankside Design District

Running along the banks of the River Thames from Borough Market to Oxo Tower Wharf, the Bankside Design District will champion the region as ‘London’s Other Side’ in celebration of the area’s thriving creative industries. Alongside innovative installations by Tate Edit and The Africa Centre, the iconic Oxo Tower Wharf will showcase craft and design from its abundance of designer-maker shops and studios.

Brompton Design District

As the oldest of LDF’s designated districts, the Brompton Design District is renowned for having a focus on progressive and responsible design. Expect an array of installations and exhibits that explore the theme of Nature/Nurture for 2019, with designers urged to reassess human relationships with nature to determine how design can aid preservation. Leading international designers including Marlene Huissoud and Jorge Penades are among those taking part.

Clerkenwell Design Quarter

The Clerkenwell Design Quarter is preparing for its eighth year and brings together an array of multidisciplinary design strands dotted across the historic part of London, stretching from the boundaries of EC1 to the Barbican and Hatton Cross. The region hosts new product launches and events from showrooms and retailers, as well as plenty of bars, pop-ups and restaurants.

Marylebone Design District

Home to a diverse collection of design retailers, galleries and workshops, the Marylebone Design District has everything from small independent designers to internationally famous brands. As well as exclusive launches, there’ll be a number of partner-hosted demonstrations and workshops for the duration of the festival.

Mayfair Design District

The Mayfair Design District seeks to showcase how this small portion of London is embracing modern art and design. Established galleries and pop-up spaces host inspiring exhibitions, while major estates including The Crown Estate, the Pollen Estate Commission and the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estate have all commissioned architecture. A number of international collaborations put a further focus on the importance of design in an area rich with regeneration.

Pimlico Road Design District

A creative hub just minutes from Sloane Square, the Pimlico Road Design District is home to internationally renowned designers, studios and an abundance of shopping opportunities. Known for its antiques, art and fine furniture, the district provides a unique insight into design in Belgravia.

Shoreditch Design Triangle

Since being established in 2008 to aid collaboration among designers in the East End, the Shoreditch Design Triangle mixes exhibitions and installations with product launches, talks, tours and workshops, as well as numerous culinary options. Past years have seen as many as 60 individual events, showcasing everything from furniture and accessories to lighting, prints, cookware and textiles.

Victoria Connections Design District

With a theme of Connections: people and places, the Victoria Connections Design District will showcase the role that design has played in creating the Victoria that exists today. This newly formed Design District launched last year and different forms of design will be highlighted at a variety of events and activities, delving into the area-wide transformation that has occurred in recent years.

West Kensington Design District

Another newly formed district, having first made an appearance in 2018, the West Kensington Design District will bring together exciting cultural institutions, leading design destinations and numerous events for the duration of the festival.

Kings Cross Design District

A new district for 2019 to coincide with the widespread development of the region, the Kings Cross Design District is recognition that the area is now a thriving hub of design, architecture and creative industries. Expect an extensive programme of events, including large scale public installations, contemporary design event, designjunction, and plenty of other exhibitions.

Landmark Projects

The London Design Festival will see Finsbury Park Square, in Broadgate, transformed by British designer Paul Cocksedge’s landmark project, Please Be Seated. Marking the most ambitious of British Land’s commissions to date, the installation will feature curves for people to sit on and walk under. Made from scaffolding planks, the project represents a reimagining of how building wood is used.

Trade shows and exhibitions

This year marks 25 years of 100% Design, a trade event that showcases innovative exhibitions, panel discussions and talks from some of the biggest names in design. Renowned as being a centre of design and innovation, the show features a stellar line-up of more than 400 exhibitors, inspirational installations and thought-provoking experiences that push the boundaries of design.

Designjunction will return to King’s Cross, presenting an exciting range of over 200 internationally known design brands for four days from 19 September. Now in its ninth year, the exhibition features pop-up shops, temporary structures and brand activations, alongside the latest developments in furniture, lighting and technology design.

The London Design Fair takes place from 19-22 September and welcomes 550 exhibitors from around the world to the heart of East London at the Old Truman Brewery Site near Brick Lane. Independent designers and more than 300 established brands are involved, while a host of international country pavilions showcase innovations from particular parts of the globe.

Focus/19 includes an array of collection launches and immersive events from 600 international brands, spread over six days from 15 September. The Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, hosts Design Discovery Tours, meet the designer sessions and workshops that explore various elements of design, accompanied by talks from world-class speakers.

Installations

French-born designer Camille Walala will attempt to create an ‘urban living room’, transforming South Molton Street in Mayfair into the Walala Lounge, featuring 11 unique, geometric and boldly colourful benches for the public to enjoy. Surrounded by international boutiques and cafes, the design aims to make Molton a place for reflection and relaxation.

Matthew McCormick’s Falling Sky multi-storey design-art installation will hang in the V&A for the duration of the festival, with a focus on global warming and its impact on life. Manually crafted from reflective aluminium, the installation is designed to mimic frost-like formations that are seemingly frozen in time.

The V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance galleries will be home to Rony Plesl’s unique glass installation Sacred Geometry, featuring hexagonal glass tree trunks. Marking the first time the exhibition has been seen outside of Plesl’s native Czech Republic, it details how new technology enables glass to be casted into any array of 3D shapes.

Tate Modern

Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern’s collection of contemporary art is the most extensive in the country. Offering free admission to the majority of the pieces, including Picasso, Rothko, Dali and Matisse, there are also after-hours ‘Tate Lates’ events on the last Friday of every month, as well as ticketed exhibitions. One such exhibition coinciding with the LDF is ‘Takis’, one of the most celebrated artistic voices to come out of 1960s Europe.

The Design Museum

Kensington’s Design Museum will host the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition in September, showcasing the best ideas that the design industry has seen over the last 12 months, as voted for by the public and experts.

Where to eat

In a former tram-generator building, Tramshed offers high-quality food, with many sharable dishes. Meals are served with a backdrop of Damien Hirst artworks, most notably his ‘Cock ‘n’ Bull’ installation. Run by renowned chef Mark Hix, the East End eatery is a unique blend of food, art and style.

Located in Hyde Park, Chucs Café is a modern architectural gem in itself. Designed by iconic architect Zaha Hadid, the café is located in the ‘Magazine’ extension of the Serpentine Gallery. Open from breakfast to dinner, it serves everything from fresh salads, pizza and fish dishes.

Inspired by the traditional tearooms of 1960s Hong Kong, Duddell’s serves high-end Cantonese cuisine in a richly decorated Grade II deconsecrated church. Found in London Bridge, in the shadow of the Shard, the elegant interior is complemented by ‘museum-quality’ art exhibitions, displayed all year round.

Where to drink

In the trendy area of Dalston, Hackey, Untitled Bar serves cocktails by celebrated mixologist, Tony Conigliaro, in a tinfoil-covered, minimalist space.

Within the new Battersea Power Station’s Circus West Village is the luxe-1960s inspired bar and restaurant No29 Power Station West. With a cocktail menu ranging from ‘Long & Fresh’ to ‘Short & to the Point’, this is a bar carefully designed and curated for a modern yet homely atmosphere.

Lyaness (formerly Dandelyan) has an interior as rich as its reputation, and is renowned for its flavoursome cocktails. With a multi-award winning bartender dubbed ‘Mr Lyan’, Lyaness is located in the Sea Containers hotel, overlooking the River Thames.

Where to sleep

In the heart of Shoreditch, The Hoxton Hotel offers rooms ranging from ‘Shoebox’, which although a money-saver, does not scrimp on style, to the bigger ‘Roomy’ size. The ‘Concept’ rooms, each individually designed by a local artist, offer a unique design experience, while the Hoxton Grill offers American dishes, served all-day. Prices start from £109 per night.

Found near Spitalfields and Brick Lane, Leman Locke offers an over-night experience lying somewhere between relaxed apartment living and boutique hotel. Every inch of the aparthotel is design-led, with a refreshing pastel colour scheme, simple industrial-chic furniture and space-saving layouts. Prices start from £180 per night.

With ten unique bedrooms located in the heart of London’s West End, Artist’s Residence offers eclectically designed rooms and suites. Luxury additions include roll-top baths, floor-to-ceiling windows and a rainfall shower. The Tate Britain, the Saatchi Gallery and the hub of the London Design Festival, the V&A are all within walking distance. Prices start from £215 per night.

Discover Britain’s musical legends on the trail of Rocketman

Telling the story of multi-Grammy award-winning superstar Sir Elton John, Rocketman dives head-first into the colourful world of rock and roll. The masterful biopic charts his rise to fame, from his origins as youngster Reginald Dwight to the fabulously flamboyant world of Elton John. Taron Egerton stars as the leading protagonist, as Rocketman explores Elton’s relationships with manager John Reid and lyricist Bernie Taupin, among others. In collaboration with Taupin, Elton has released more than 30 albums to date and has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. But Elton isn’t the only British artist to change the face of music history. From The Beatles to Queen and David Bowie, Take That to the Rolling Stones, Britain is a cultural mecca for music fans, and whether you’re visiting London or Liverpool, there’s a musical experience that perfect for you.

London

A hive of musical activity throughout the ages, London really came into its own in the swinging 60s, when up-and-coming bands from across the world flocked to soak up the creative vibes and jam together. It was from his parent’s home in Pinner, North London, that a young Reginald Dwight formed Bluesology – the first step on his path to stardom. Indeed, the names of two band members, Elton Dean and John Baldry, were used to create his solo stage name – Elton John! Fans of the charismatic star can walk in his footsteps on a Pinner Walk, which takes in Elton’s childhood home, spectacular views from Pinner Hill Golf Club and his first gigging venue. Having welcomed Elton as a weekend pianist in the 1960s, Northwood Hills Hotel may be gone, but the building lives on as Namaste Lounge, a modern Indian restaurant, bar and shisha lounge. If you’re a rock fan on a trip to the capital you can also discover the former haunts of Led Zeppelin, The Clash and Amy Winehouse on a Rock Legends minibus tour, or visit the London flat that all four Beatles shared on the Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Tour of London, which also reveals the history of artists including U2 and Elton himself. Alternatively, why not go time travelling on the Swinging 60s bus tour, which transports you back to the music-defining decade.

Liverpool

Elton has close ties to Liverpool thanks to his auntie, while drummer Nigel Olsson, who has played drums alongside him for half a century, was born in the Wirral. The city is packed full of music-themed tours and experiences to enjoy. You can discover the history of Liverpool supergroup The Beatles and a whole host of other British artists at the British Music Experience.  With a section dedicated just to the Fab Four, you can see letters written by fans of the band, clothing worn by Ringo and John, and a whole range of memorabilia from the band’s travels in the 1960s. Other highlights include outfits worn by David Bowie, the Union Jack guitar played by Noel Gallagher at the pinnacle of Oasis’s fame, and even lyrics written by Adele.

Manchester

As the birthplace of Oasis, The 1975 and The Smiths, Manchester is no slouch when it comes to musical heritage. If you’re inspired by Rocketman to get back to your musical roots and Manchester is your destination of choice, why not jump on one of Manchester Music Tours sightseeing trips? Founded by Craig Gill, the drummer of Inspiral Carpets, the tours reveal the history of famous artists, bands and venues throughout the decades, from The Stone Roses to Joy Division. You can even travel in rock star style and take the tour from the comfort of a Manchester taxi. And from two-hour group tours to private itineraries, Manchester Music Story Tour has something for every fan – you can even do a combined tour of three British music cities, taking in the highlights of Manchester, London and Liverpool.

Edinburgh

From bagpipes to the Bay City Rollers, Scotland’s capital city has a rich musical history that’s well worth discovering. Elton’s first solo concert in 1972 was at the city’s Festival Theatre in Nicolson Street, then called the Empire, while the extravagant musician has also wowed crowds at Edinburgh Castle and Easter Road in the past. If you’re visiting the city, why not check out Edinburgh Music Tours, which offer 1.5-hour tours of the city’s musical highlights. For over 18s only, the tours finish in one of Edinburgh’s most famous folk bars, where you can discover more about the legendary acts that have played there over a wee dram or two.

Glasgow

A hot spot for up-and-coming musicians over the years, Elton wouldn’t have been out of place trying to forge his career in Glasgow! A favourite stomping ground of bands including Oasis and Manic Street Preachers, the city’s bars and pubs have played host to many a struggling artist both before and after they made it big. You can find out more about this epic musical heritage on a Glasgow Music City Tour, enjoy traditional folk music on the Scottish Trad Trail Tour or visit the historic music venues of yore on the Merchant City Tour.

Dotty for Downton - discover the filming locations of the Downton Abbey movie

The feature length Downton Abbey movie hits the screens in September, with the new trailer providing plenty of reasons for fans of the period drama to get excited.

Director Brian Percival’s feature length production will welcome back the stars of the hit ITV series, last seen on screens in 2015. And there are ample opportunities to visit the real Downton Abbey, both before and after the movie lands in UK cinemas on 13 September.

What to expect from the movie?

Set around a year after the finale of the TV series, in 1927, the Downton Abbey movie will revolve around a royal visit from His Majesty King George V and Queen Mary.

It will once again follow the aristocratic Crawley family and their dedicated staff on the fictional Yorkshire estate. Starring old favourites including Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Lesley Nicole and Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter will also return as Carson the butler in a bid to restore Downton to its former glory.

See the real Downton Abbey!

The picturesque star of the movie, and of the past television series, Highclere Castle near the Hampshire/Berkshire border doubles up as the famous setting for Downton Abbey. The home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, the stunning period property and 5,000-acre estate features Jacobean Revival architecture from Sir Charles Barry which dates back to the 1820s. In addition to the country house are its pristine grounds, landscaped by renowned gardener Capability Brown in 1770, and designated a Sight of Special Scientific Interest since 1991.

Events at Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle opens for a limited period during the summer, and on selected other dates for special events throughout the year, giving Downton Abbey fans a chance to experience the impressive building first-hand.

When? The Castle and Gardens, as well as an onsite Egyptian Exhibition, will be open to the public from 7 July 2019 to 2 September 2019, although the Castle is closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

Downton Abbey Live Open Air Concert

Fans can prepare for the forthcoming movie release by taking in the TV show’s magical soundtrack this June. Set in the grounds of Highclere Castle, the Chamber Orchestra of London will join forces with the TV show’s composer John Lunn on piano for an exclusive open air concert. Hosted by Jim Carter, renowned for his portrayal of Mr Carson, the Downton Abbey Live open air concert aims to bring the TV phenomenon to life on 22 June.

When? 22 June, from 4pm

Costumes, Cocktails and Castle Tours

Just in time for the Downton Abbey movie release, Highclere Castle is hosting Costumes, Cocktails and Castle Tours on the weekend before it hits cinemas. Visitors can tour the castle, walking in the footsteps of the stars, while taking in a spectacular collection of costumes from the 1920s era. Highclere’s own cocktail van, ‘Josephine Vanessa’ will also be on site serving up a delicious array of refreshing drinks.

When? 7-8 September 2019. Grounds open from 10am to 6pm, with access on the Castle limited to the type of ticket. Morning ticket access from 10.30am to 12.30 pm. Afternoon ticket access from 12.20pm to 2.30pm.

Real Lives and Film Sets – Special guided tours

Once the film is released, fans of Downton Abbey will be able to set foot in many of the locations were the scenes were shot as part of exclusive special guided tours. Real Lives and Film Sets will enable visitors to explore the beauty of the State Rooms, climb the Great Oak Staircase and be immersed by the extensive Egyptian Exhibition – which details the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by the fifth Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter – while discovering more about the rich and varied history of the site. Tours also include a seasonal buffet at the estate’s Coach House Tea Rooms.

When? Tours on selected dates in September (14, 17, 20, 25, 28, 29) and October (16, 17, 23, 24) with morning sessions starting at 10.30am and afternoon sessions starting at 2.30pm for entry to the Castle.

Beamish Open Air Museum

Used as a backdrop for the upcoming Downton Abbey film, the renowned Beamish open air museum in County Durham explores life in North East England in the 19th and 20th centuries. The 1900s Town allows visitors to discover how families lived and worked in the build-up to the First World War, supported by highly engaging and thought-provoking Pit Village and Colliery experiences. A recreated tramway, a 1940s farm, an Edwardian style railway station and 1820s Pockerley are among the other star attractions.

When? Open daily from 10am to 5pm until 3 November 2019, with reduced opening hours of 10am to 4pm during the winter. Beamish is closed on selected days during the winter.