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

48 timer i Newcastle

Newcastle er en helt utrolig misforstået by. Den har et ry for at være et sted, som kun festaber og fodboldfans tør besøge. Men tiderne har ændret sig.

Efter flere årtier af kunstbaseret forandring er Newcastle blevet omdannet til et vigtigt kulturelt knudepunkt i nord. Flodbredden er nu beklædt med gallerier og museer i verdensklasse, uafhængige butikker spirer frem, og spise- og drikkeudbuddet er blevet meget forskelligartet.

 

 

Dag 1

Tid til at tjekke ind:

Motel One Newcastle har en luksus atmosfære, der ikke går ud over dit budget. Skønt de elegante værelser i moderne industriel stil er små, opvejes dette i høj grad af hotellets centrale beliggenhed. Alternativt åbnede Maldron Hotel Newcastle i slutningen af ​​2018 på stedet, hvor det tidligere Newgate Shopping Center lå midt i byen. Hotellet tilbyder en række nye, moderne værelser, der passer til alle. For et mere overdådigt alternativ kan man booke en lejlighed i Vermont Aparthotel, hvor den ekstra forkælelse omfatter butlerservice og en Rolls-Royce med chauffør til at køre dig rundt i byen.

 

10.00 Vov dig ud og oplev byens industrielle fortid

Sæt kurs mod byens undergrund og de gamle victorianske tunneler, der blev bygget til at transportere kul og senere fungerede som beskyttelsesrum under anden verdenskrig. Book en rundvisning i tunnellerne og få et godt overblik over Geordie-historien, opdag mere om byens rige industrielle fortid og få et indblik i, hvordan livet var under krigen. Den velbevarede gamle godsvej fra 1900-tallet løber fra Town Moor til floden Tyne og giver en fantastisk mulighed for at vandre under Newcastles vartegn samt en enestående chance for at gå under Hadrians mur.

 

12.00 Lad dig forkæle til frokost på Newcastles klasse 1- marked

Hvis du føler dig småsulten, tilfredsstiller Grainger Market din sult efter mad, shopping og lidt historie. Dette overdækkede marked, der er anført i klasse 1 for historiske bygninger, har eksisteret i mere end 180 år og var engang det største marked i Europa. I dag er det lidt beskedent, men tilbyder stadig mere end 100 store boder, der drives af nogle af Newcastles mest innovative virksomheder.

 

13.00 Tag en tur tilbage i historien

Grainger Town, Newcastles historiske centrum, finder du strålende arkitektur fra flere tidsaldre i historien - kun London og Bath har flere klassiske, kategoriserede bygninger. Det er også hjemsted for Newcastle Castle. Den imponerende normandiske fæstning er en skøn påmindelse om det nordlige Englands turbulente fortid, et sted hvor hære blev samlet, og kriminelle enten blev fængslet eller henrettet. Oplev historien om Newcastle her og nyd en spektakulær udsigt fra brystværnet, før du lader dig henfalde i den nærliggende og imponerende St Nicholas Cathedrals fantastiske pragt.

 

14.30 Tag på en oplevelsesrejse

Lær om Newcastle og Tynesides historie gennem spændende udstillinger på Discovery Museum, tre etager med udstillinger, der fokuserer på områdets maritime, videnskabelige og teknologiske betydning for Storbritannien og resten af verden. Gå gennem dørene til den ikoniske bygning og stå ansigt til stavn med Turbinia, et kæmpe dampdrevne skib, der engang var den hurtigste i verden.

 

16.00 Vælg mellem et enestående udvalg af steder til eftermiddagste

Nyd en chance for at læne dig tilbage og slappe af ved at tage til Quilliam Brothers for et imponerende udvalg af te og dejlige, friskbagte kager. Der er mere end 60 typer af te at vælge imellem, samt en lille biograf og kunstgalleri der kan udforskes.

 

17.00 Træd ud på verdens første buebro

Hen over floden Tyne strækker broen Millennium Bridge sig, og den er nu en fast del af Newcastles skyline. Det var verdens første buebro, da den blev åbnet i 2001. Oprindelig blev den bygget for at fejre årtusindskiftet, og strukturen bliver jævnligt belyst om aftenen. Den har også medvirket i fodboldfilmen GOAL!, samt prydet den gamle et-punds mønt. Broen åbnes regelmæssigt for flodtrafik, og hele vippeprocessen tager kun 4,5 minutter.

 

19.00 Spis middag i luksuriøse omgivelser     

I de smukt restaurerede omgivelser i et af byens klasse 1-klassificerede huse fra det 16.-århundrede i byens historiske Quayside finder man Michelin-restauranten House of Tides. Her byder de på en afslappet og alligevel eksklusiv middagsoplevelse. En flerretters vinsmagningsmenu har fokus på naturlig, sæsonmæssig og bæredygtig mad, som ændrer sig i takt med årstiderne. Alternativt kan du prøve Blackfriars, en smukt bevaret restaurant, der serverer a la carte og menuer i en gamle spisesal i et munkekloster fra det 13. århundrede. Eller for en lidt mere snasket spiseoplevelse kan du igen begive dig under jorden for at få sætte tænderne i en lækker, saftig burger fra Fat Hippo.

 

21.00 Oplev Newcastles berømte natteliv

Nu kan du rigtigt forkæle dig selv med en aften i byen i Newcastle. Ernest er en afslappet natåben café og bar, der holder gratis DJ-fester i de fleste weekender. Kommunity er både en bar og et deltagende socialt rum, som er vært for danseaftener, filmvisninger, DJ-sessioner og raveparties om dagen. Den helt store bytur vil dog ofte finde sted omkring Bigg Market eller på Collingwood Streets såkaldte Diamond Strip. Global HQ er et lokalt sted for kæmpe  fester, der er åbne for alle. Der er flere klubber, hvor man kan danse natten lang så som Cosmic Ballroom, Think Tank, og Madame Koo.

 

DAG 2

10.00 Nyd nordens kunst

BALTIC ligger på den sydlige bred af Tyne-floden. I en enestående melmølle fra 1950’erne fungerer BALTIC som et hjem for kreativitet, og selvom der ikke findes en permanent udstilling, finder du hvert år flere supermoderne udstillinger. Værker af Rasheed Araeen og Heather Phillipson er blandt dem, der har været med i de seneste år, og der er et væld af regelmæssige workshops og rundture, man kan nyde. Biscuit Factory, der ligger i hjertet af Newcastles kulturelle område, er et stort uafhængigt kommercielt kunst-, håndværks- og designgalleri, der også er hjemsted for et bredt udvalg af kunstneriske værker fra mere end 200 kunstnere. Laing Art Gallery byder også regelmæssigt på udstillinger med historiske, moderne og samtidskunst med fokus på oliemalerier, akvareller, keramik, sølv og glaskunst.

 

12.00 Lad dig forundre af ægte engelsk kunst

Videre i kunstens tema kan du vælge at hoppe på bussen linje 1 fra Gateshead-afkørslen og køre en 20-minutters tur til Antony Gormleys spektakulære skulptur, Angel of the North. Det mest berømte stykke offentlig kunst i Storbritannien dominerer horisonten med en højden på fire dobbeltdækkerbusser og et vingefang som en jumbojet.

 

13.00 Smag på de lokale produkter

Tag tilbage til Newcastle for at prøve nogle af de gourmetoplevelser, der findes på Quayside Market, der er en ugentlig tilbagevendende begivenhed hver søndag hele året rundt. Prøv kvalitetsvarer og lokale råvarer, lige fra fantastiske hjemmebryggede øl til streetfood og vintage-tøj.

 

14.00 Lad Newcastles varierende geografi og historie blive blandet sammen

Tyneside er et område fyldt med naturhistorie, arkæologi og geologi, og det hele er samlet under ét tag på Great North Museum. Her kan du afdække den spændende historie om Hadrians mur, der er på UNESCOs verdensarvliste, før du gransker udstillinger om oldtidens Egypten, verdens kulturer og fossiler. Den berømte Dippy the Diplodocus fra Londons Natural History Museum er ligeledes at finde fra midten af maj til begyndelsen af oktober 2019 som en del af en landsdækkende tur.

 

16.00 Oplev Ouseburn Valley

I den østlige del af byen ligger det kulturelle kvarter Ouseburn Valley, fuld af ombyggede lagerhuse og fabrikker, der nu er hjemsted for mange små gallerier, kunststudier, kølige barer, caféer og pubber. Hvis du besøger byen om sommeren, anbefaler vi Ouseburn Festival, der en spændende blanding af mad, kunst, gadekunstnere, komedie og live musik, der finder sted i området. Festivaldeltagerne kan heppe på paraden, der foregår langs flodbredden, inden de går ud for at opleve festivalaktiviteterne, der finder sted i landemærkebygninger og på hemmelige steder.

 

18.00 Afslut besøget med en udfordring

Afslut dit besøg i Newcastle med at teste din snarrådighed hos Escape Key, en serie escape rooms, der er inspireret af byens historie. Find spor for at undslippe, mens du lærer om rædslerne under den Sorte Død i Plague, står anklaget for heksekunst i Witch eller kæmper for at redde verden i Cold War Bunker. 

 

Sådan kommer du hertil

Newcastle ligger i det nordøstlige England, tre timer med tog fra London. Newcastle International Airport ligger kun 25 minutters togtur væk fra byens centrum.

 

Britain’s top Game of Thrones® and medieval experiences

The epic television phenomenon Game of Thrones® returned this week for its 8th and final series, with the surviving characters set to battle it out for their seat on the Iron Throne. Based on the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin, HBO’s mega hit is renowned for its stunning filming locations, incredible battle scenes and unexpected twists.

Northern Ireland has provided the spectacular backdrop for a host of influential scenes throughout the series, and alongside visiting the locations, there are an abundance of fantastic Game of Thrones® and medieval experiences spread across Britain for visitors to enjoy.

Experiences in Northern Ireland

The Game of Thrones® Tapestry

Already eclipsing the length of the famed Bayeux Tapestry, the Game of Thrones® Tapestry at the Ulster Museum details every key moment from the monumental series. Designed and finished by hand but weaved by a state-of-the-art machine, the tapestry reveals the highlights of every episode from Seasons 1-7 on linen sourced from Ferguson’s Irish Linen, one of Northern Ireland’s last surviving linen mills. The Season 8 panel is set to be completed once the show reaches its finale.

When? On display until 28 July 2019

Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition

The official exhibition of the HBO show comes to the TEC Belfast in April, providing an in-depth look into the world of Westeros and beyond. From authentic props and sets to weapons and armour, Game of Thrones™: The Touring Exhibition uses an array of immersive environments and interactive displays to transport visitors to the heart of the Seven Kingdoms.

When?  11 April – 1 September (April to May, 10am-7pm; June to September, 9am-8pm)

Glass of Thrones

 

Visitors to Belfast can now discover a brand new installation, Glass of Thrones. As each episode of Season 8 airs, a beautifully crafted, freestanding stained-glass window will be placed in a location in the city. Illustrated by hand and stained by an artist in Bangor, Wales, each window focuses on a House from the show and depicts the most exciting and talked-about moments from the family’s history. The first window, unveiled on 15 April, focuses on the Starks. By the end of Series 8, the windows will form a new Game of Thrones® trail, leading fans across the city to the final window at the Titanic Studios, where much of the show has been produced.
 

When? 15 April onwards

Doors of Thrones

Having been hit hard by Storm Gertrude in 2016, felled trees from the Game of Thrones® filming location known as The Dark Hedges were carved into 10 intricately designed pub doors, each telling the story of an episode in Game of Thrones® Season 6. Each door is set near to one of Northern Ireland’s filming locations for the hit show, allowing visitors to embark on a Journey of Doors from Cairncastle and Cushendun Caves to pubs and hotels in Belfast, Ballintoy and Newcastle, among other locations.

When? Year-round (pub and cafe opening times vary)

Explore Castle Ward

Used as Winterfell when filming Season 1 of Game of Thrones®, Castle Ward is packed full of exciting themed experiences for fans to enjoy. Home to the Stark family in the hit show, visitors can dress up in full costume and fire arrows at a replica of the Winterfell Archery Range that has been carefully recreated in the courtyard. Cycle around the many filming locations as part of a cycle tour or visit the Winterfell Master-at-Arms for Game of Throws, an axe throwing experience new for 2019. Alternatively, fans can meet the real Direwolves, Odin and Thor, as part of the Direwolves tour, providing unique insight into the dog breed used for filming.

When? Year-round (booking in advance is required)

Giant Tours Ireland

Explore Northern Ireland’s lesser-known filming locations on a specialist tour with Giant Tours Ireland with Flip, the stand-in for Hodor during Season 6. The private tours take in many of the filming points that larger tour groups do not have the time or space to see, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the mysterious and beautiful backdrops that Game of Thrones® is renowned for.

When? Tours on selected days throughout the year (booking in advance is required)

Tour Tollymore Forest

Venture into Tollymore Forest Park and discover all of the different scenes it features in as part of an exciting guided tour. Be transported to the Haunted Forest north of the wall as part of the immersive experience, set foot on The Kingsroad and explore The Wolfswood near Winterfell while donning Stark coats for added effect.

When? Daily tours at 10am and 3pm (advance booking is required)

Be amazed by The Dark Hedges

Having featured as The Kingsroad on the path to King’s Landing, The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland is one of the country’s most photographed spots. The rows of mature beech trees on either side of Bregagh Road in County Antrim date back to the 18th century and helped form the setting for Arya Stark’s escape, cementing their place in Game of Thrones® folklore.

When? Year-round

Find out more about Game of Thrones® filming locations at discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones. Alternatively, download the interactive app to discover all 26 incredible filming locations at discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/attractions/game-of-thrones/game-of-thrones-app/

Please note, the aforementioned experiences in Northern Ireland are independently run and are not affiliated with, sponsored or endorsed by HBO, nor anyone associated with Game of Thrones®

Experiences in Scotland

Discover the secrets of Winterfell

Take a unique guided tour of Winterfell at Doune Castle in Scotland, the stunning backdrop used throughout Game of Thrones® and also featured in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Explore one of Scotland’s best preserved castles, its huge Great Hall and exquisite courtyard design.

When? Tours run throughout the year (advance booking is required)

See falconry in action

Get hands-on with owls, buzzards, hawks, falcons and eagles as part of tailor-made bird of prey experiences with Falconry Scotland. Operating on an appointment-only basis from two sites, Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Spa and another at Shieldaig Lodge in the West Highlands, expert falconers provide flying demonstrations and handling sessions, as well as archery experiences.

When? Dalhousie Falconry operates year round; Shieldaig Lodge opens from 12 April 2019 (booking in advance is required)

Axe Throwing for all

Competitors of all abilities, ages and nationalities can compete at the Axe Throwing Scottish Open 2019, held in the beautiful grounds of Scone Palace. Participants across various categories can camp on site, while the Scottish Knight League is also hosting a Medieval Fighting Championship.

When? 4-5 May

Experiences in England

Walk the real life wall

Built by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, Hadrian’s Wall once marked the border of England’s wild northern frontier. Much like the Wall in Game of Thrones®, the historic landscape and its crumbling forts remains an imposing sight. The best-preserved Roman site in the country at Housesteads Fort, the Temple of Mithras near Brocolitia Fort and the impressive Vindolanda Museum all provide a fascinating look into the region’s turbulent past.

When? Year-round (Housesteads Fort is open 10am-4pm in the winter, extended to 10am-6pm from March - September; the Vindolanda Museum is open daily 10am-5pm in the winter, extended to 10am-6pm from April - September)

Find adventure at Warwick Castle

Journey back to medieval England with a stay at Warwick Castle’s Knight’s Village, a set of themed tents, lodges and suites where guests can sleep like royalty. Take a trip through 1,000 years of history during the immersive Castle Dungeon experience, featuring carefully created sets and surprising special effects alongside a cast of historic characters. Or venture outside to see the world’s largest siege machine in action – a colossal replica of a Trebuchet that is fired in the shadow of Warwick Castle’s walls.

When? Warwick Castle opens at 10am (closing times vary depending on dates and events)

Fight it out in Battle Archery

Mixing the skills of archery with the tactics of paintballing, Battle Archery is a thrilling action-packed game using bows and foam-tipped safety arrows. Based in Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, different mission scenarios require a range of different strategies, but the soft arrows make for a pain-free experience.

When? Weekends and selected weekdays on request (booking in advance is required)

Experience a medieval banquet

Dine with knights, acrobats and jesters as part of an immersive banquet-theatre experience in St Katherine Docks, London. Don period dress and enjoy a song and dance while tucking into a Medieval Banquet as part of a fantasy meal out to remember.

When? Wednesday to Saturday at 7.15pm, Sunday at 5.15pm

Develop swashbuckling sword skills

Try out sword fighting at the London Longsword Academy, providing an opportunity to master a diverse set of medieval and Renaissance weapon styles. Get hands on with a longsword, messer, rapier or dagger in a safe and controlled environment that welcomes everyone from beginners to expert martial artists.

When? Classes take place on weekday evenings using different weaponry

Celebrate history at a Medieval Festival

See history brought to life at medieval festivals across England, while marking famous battles and discovering what life was like in medieval times. England’s Medieval Festival fills the grounds of Herstmonceux Castle, in East Sussex, and features everything from re-enactments and jousting to stage shows, music and dance, camping and medieval banquets. The Bosworth Medieval Festival provides a modern take on the battle, alongside a medieval market, a living history encampment and author talks, while the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival includes a dramatic re-enactment and impressive Sunday parade. Colchester Medieval Festival and Oyster Fayre Market features an array of period stalls and a combat arena where visitors can watch demonstrations of arms and armour. The annual Traquair Medieval Fayre hosts a cannon firing display and demonstrations of ancient crafts, giving visitors the opportunity to try their hand at willow weaving, watch chainmail making in action or trial Longbow archery. A sword and shield making workshop should keep children entertained too.

When? 25 May (Traquair Medieval Fayre), 15-16 June (Colchester Medieval Festival), 13-14 July (Tewkesbury Medieval Festival), 17-18 August (Bosworth Medieval Festival) 24-26 August (England’s Medieval Festival)

Watch jousting in action

Hear the crash of lances and the thunder of hooves as armoured horsemen go head to head in jousting tournaments across Britain. The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds is hosting the International Jousting Tournament, with knights from four nations set to battle it out for the ultimate prize. Watch as jousting lances splinter at Leeds Castle in May, or catch two weekends of medieval mayhem at the Loxwood Joust in August, packed full of workshops, experiences and delicious food to feast on. Kent’s Hever Castle also hosts regular jousting tournaments throughout July and August.

When? 19-22 April (Royal Armouries Museum); 25-27 May (Leeds Castle); 3-4 and 10-11 August (Loxwood Joust); 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28 July, 10-11, 17-18 and 23-26 August (Hever Castle).

Take a seat at the Knight’s Table

Sample delightful food at Arundel’s Knight’s Table Restaurant, with a menu that features classic meals from the bygone era, alongside more contemporary options. Think rotisserie chicken, delicious pies and a hog roast, as well as a carvery on selected days. Just what is needed after a visit to the spectacular Arundel Castle.

When? Wednesday to Sunday (opening times vary on those days)

See knights fight it out

Be transported back to the heart of a medieval encampment and watch as rival knights battle it out at Bolsover Castle’s Knight’s Tournament in May. Try on armour, discover more about the Middle Ages and get a taste for old-fashioned combat before the winning knight is crowned in the Grand Finale.

When? 25-27 May

Experiences in Wales

Feast in Welsh tradition at Ruthin Castle

The medieval feasts at Ruthin Castle take diners back to when the Earl of Warwick hosted extravagant feasts during the 16th century. Guests are encouraged to dress in traditional clothes and are entertained in the banqueting hall with a mix of Welsh and English song. Expect an evening of dining with daggers while toasting with mead and goblets of wine.

When? Feasts take place on a selected day or two each month

Venture into the dragon’s lair at Caerphilly

Come face to face with dragons at Caerphilly Castle! The 12th-century fortress is home to the Cadw dragon family, a set of incredible dragon models that form part of an audio-visual display. A set of medieval-inspired siege engines regularly catapult ammunition into the moat of Wales’ largest castle too, demonstrating the incredible engineering and ingenuity that existing in the medieval period.

When? Year-round (opening times vary by season)

Top ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Britain will be awash with green in mid-March as St Patrick’s Day celebrations sweep across the major cities. Marking the death of the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick, communities in Ireland and across the Irish diaspora come together to celebrate on 17 March – a Sunday in 2019 – with a host of colourful parades, exciting musical performances and a wealth of other events.

London

London marks St Patrick’s Day with an annual parade through the capital’s streets, featuring striking decorative floats, incredible marching bands and performances from Irish dancing schools and sports clubs. The 1.5-mile procession meanders its way from Piccadilly past some of London’s most iconic landmarks on its ways to Whitehall. As a celebration of London’s diversity and welcome, the theme for 2019’s parade is #LondonIsOpen.

The St Patrick’s Day Festival packs Trafalgar Square from midday and features performances from renowned Irish artists and special guests, alongside an abundance of craft stalls, delicious food and a family friendly area in Pall Mall offering themed workshops and activities.

When? 17 March (St Patrick’s Day Festival, 12pm – 6pm)

Manchester

A stunning parade from the Irish World Heritage Centre to Albert Square is the focal point for the Manchester Irish Festival, which runs from the start of March and culminates on St Patrick’s Day. Featuring an array of floats and representation from each of the Irish counties, the Manchester Irish Festival Parade is one of many events held in the city. The Manchester Irish Festival Market takes pride of place in front of Manchester Town Hall, offering Irish foods, crafts and souvenirs in abundance, as well as children’s rides and entertainment.

The Castlefield Hotel is also hosting a St Patrick’s night whisky tasting and 3-course supper, featuring a delectable range of Irish themed food and a selection of fine Irish whisky.

When? 1-17 March (Manchester Irish Festival), 7-10 March (Manchester Irish Festival Market), 10 March (Manchester Irish Festival Parade), 15 March (Whisky Tasting)

Birmingham

A week-long festival in the build up to St Patrick’s Day celebrates diversity and multiculturalism in Birmingham. The launch night event, featuring traditional Irish music and dance, a delightful 4-course dinner and a performance from Birmingham Irish band Salt Creek gets proceedings underway, before the festival is completed with a spectacular parade around the Digbeth area of the city – taking place on St Patrick’s Day itself in 2019.

When? 9-17 March (9 March, launch night; 17 March, Parade at 12pm)

Edinburgh

Join the Scots Music Group for Café Ceilidh to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, an afternoon session of songs, poems, music and stories that recognise the patron saint. The Cowgate St Patrick’s Festival is another cause for celebration, taking place over 3 days at 5 venues and performance spaces.

When? 19 March (Scots Music Group), 15-17 March (Cowgate St Patrick’s Festival)

Belfast

Eye-catching floats and performers in magnificent costumes form just part of Belfast’s spectacular carnival parade as it weaves its way from Belfast City Hall to Writers Square. An open air concert in Custom House Square will follow, headlined by the Vengaboys and including an array of Irish artists showcasing traditional music, dance and song. St George’s Market will offer traditional Irish food and music, as well as plenty of handmade crafts.

When? 17 March (Carnival Parade, 12.30pm; Custom House Square, 1.15pm; St George’s Market, 10am – 4pm)

Newcastle

Paddy Fest will return to the heart of Newcastle city centre for St Patrick’s Day 2019, featuring 4 days of events and entertainment. Beginning with Let’s Play Darts, cheese festival Cheesetoon will follow on Friday with 25 stalls offering an array of cheesy concoctions. Saturday of Paddy Fest will feature authentic Irish bands and a handful of DJs, as well as screens showing the final matches of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament, before the event is rounded off with the biggest Bongo’s Bingo! to be held in the north-west of England, taking place in Times Square.

When? 14-17 March

Liverpool

Liverpool will march to the sound of drums, flutes and pipe bands on St Patrick’s Day, as the annual parade makes its way from the Old Irish Centre in Mount Pleasant into the centre of the city.

When? 17 March (12pm-3pm)

Armagh

The Home of Saint Patrick Festival showcases Irish culture, song and dance, and recognises the leading role that St Patrick had in converting Ireland to Christianity many centuries ago. Both the Armagh Robinson Library and Armagh County Museum host an array of artefacts, manuscripts, collections and rare books that relate to the role of the city in early Christian Ireland. An abundance of cultural events take place throughout the festival period, including parades, lectures, concerts and church services.

When? 8-18 March

New Year extravaganzas – where to welcome in 2019

2019 is almost upon us and Britain is preparing to celebrate the new year in style. Which destination will you choose to say farewell 2018, hello 2019?

LONDON

The capital is world-famous for its New Year’s Eve fireworks display over the London Eye, the largest such annual display to take place in the UK. Crowds gather all along the South Bank to hear Big Ben chime midnight as they enjoy the rainbow of colours lighting up the sky as they welcome in another year. This has been a ticketed event since 2014 and you can get yours here. Of course, even if you don’t get tickets to this coveted event, there are plenty of other ways to see the famous fireworks; head out onto the water on board one of City Cruises New Year’s Eve cruises on the River Thames for example, or book a table at one of the capital’s top restaurants that boast views overlooking the Thames, such as Galvin at Windows or the Aqua Shard.

Of course, London has numerous different venues that host their own special New Year’s Eve extravaganzas; how about partying the night way underneath the skeleton of Hope the blue whale, the largest creature to have ever lived, at the Natural History Museum’s New Year’s Eve Party Animals event? On the night you can also try your luck at Musical Bingo, sample edible insects, explore two blockbuster exhibitions, and dance the night away in the Silent Disco.

There’s also Silent Disco fun to be had at the City of London’s Grade II-listed Banking Hall, a stunning Art Deco building. Or be transported back in time to some 1940s-style fun, courtesy of live big bands and a swing dance class at the Blitz Party New Year’s Eve at Shoreditch’s Village Underground, which will be transformed into an air-raid shelter for the occasion.

EDINBURGH

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is one of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations. This year, on 31 December, Scottish indie sensations Franz Ferdinand will top the bill at the Concert in the Gardens main stage in the Scottish capital’s iconic West Princes Street Gardens, supported by Metronomy and Free Love. The gig will be followed by a jaw-dropping firework display over Edinburgh Castle and, a ticket for Concert in the Gardens also includes access to the famous Street Party! Every reveller to the Street Party will receive a free dram of host Johnnie Walker’s whisky to see in the new year and guests can throw some shapes at the silent disco. Alternatively, you can toast 2019 with a whirl or a jig at the Ceilidh under the Castle event before enjoying the fireworks display.

Like London, Edinburgh has a multitude of venue choices to see in the New Year; arts and music institution located in the Old Town, Cabaret Voltaire, is hosting its ‘Psychedelic Wizard of Oz’ event, where the year turns back to 1990 and guests are whisked down the Yellow Brick Road on a journey to Oz. If classical music is more your thing, head to the stunning 19th-century building McEwan Hall, which will host Symphonic Ibiza, classic Ibiza anthems played by a 20-strong orchestra.

NEWCASTLE

Considering that little ones also like to enjoy the fun of welcoming in a new year but may not be able to stay up until midnight on 31 December, Newcastle in north-east England is putting on brilliant family friendly fireworks display at the Newcastle Civic Centre. The afternoon will be packed with entertainment such as music and street theatre before the fireworks display at 6pm.

For a more mature evening, check out the New Year’s Eve celebrations at the iconic Sage Gateshead, where orchestral pop band The Divine Comedy will be performing alongside after guests have enjoyed a four-course meal. Or you could head to music venue the O2 Academy for a party led by Monta Musica, one of Newcastle’s most well-known music producers. Beer lovers should head to the Wylam Brewery, which will host The Whole Hogmany III at Exhibition Park Palace of Arts – expect a hog roast, 36 taps of craft keg beers and pop-up bars, a street food village, a gin palace and fireworks at midnight.

MANCHESTER

Marking the end of the north-west England city’s Christmas season will be a spectacular fireworks display outside the iconic Manchester Hall in Albert Square. Poignantly, big screens will display poetry and messages during the event, including This is the Place by Tony Walsh, which was embraced by the city following the attack on the Arena earlier in the year.

Manchester’s venues also put on great parties come 31 December. Want to time travel back to the 1990s? Head to All Star Lanes for a New Year’s Eve with a ‘90s twist – come dressed in your finest neon and dance to the party tunes of the decade at this popular bowling alley. Journey further back in time to the 1920s for a Gatsby-style celebration at The Fitzgerald in the bohemian Northern Quarter, where live entertainment, burlesque dancers, DJs and a jazz band will evoke the Roaring Twenties. And, if you’ve got the stamina, you can party for 24 hours at The Liquor Store’s famous New Year’s Eve party. Start at midday on New Year’s Eve and keep on celebrating until midday on New Year’s Day. Keeping you energised will be live music, pizza, games and prizes plus a Jager Fountain.

CARDIFF

Wales’ capital city will be heralding the new year with a spectacular firework display at the beautiful City Hall. And a great spot to watch those is from Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland (which runs until 6 January), particularly if you’re skating on its ice rink during the special New Year’s Eve 11.30pm-midnight slot. Other attractions to enjoy on the night include a fun fair with some hair-raising rides including The 90ft Tower!

Elsewhere in the city centre, Cardiff’s pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants will be packed with revellers enjoying a whole range of parties. Fond of a craft beer or two? Check out the New Year’s Eve party at BrewDog Cardiff, which will host a ‘BREW Year party’. Tickets include limited edition beers, tapas and a table for your party. Another ‘Brew Year’s Eve’ can be found at the Brewhouse & Kitchen, where a dinner party ticket gets you a three-course meal before the music and dancing starts.  

AND FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT…

Britain is well-known for its quirky traditions, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Here are a just a few that might tempt you to spend a New Year’s Eve quite unlike any other you’ve experienced…

Fireball Ceremony at Stonehaven – in a pretty harbour town just south of Aberdeen in north Scotland is an astonishing ceremony where a group of people parade through the High Street swinging flaming balls above their heads, accompanied by bagpipers, as the clocks strike midnight on 31 December. The fireballs are then thrown into the harbour waters. Its free for visitors to watch and the event culminates in a fireworks display.

Comrie Flambeaux Procession – Scotland is well known for its love of Hogmanay celebrations and the small village of Comrie in Perthshire, around 90 minutes from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, is no exception when it comes to celebrating. This ancient fire festival – originally believed to cleanse the village at the start of each year – sees people bearing torches through the village before poles are lit and bagpipes played at midnight. Before this all happens there’s a children’s fancy dress parade and fireworks display earlier in the evening.

The Allendale Tar Bar’l – this fire festival takes place in the Northumberland town of Allendale in north-east England, around 45 minutes’ drive from Newcastle. More than 40 local men, bedecked in fancy dress, form a procession through the town carrying whisky barrels containing burning hot tar. The music-led procession ends at a ceremonial bonfire at midnight and the party begins!

15 incredible ways to celebrate World Gin Day in Britain

Shaken or stirred, with tonic or in a cocktail, the popularity of gin continues to boom and, with more than 160 gin brands across the UK according to the Gin Guild, plus a host of boutique distillers opening, Britain continues to lead the gin revolution. As World Gin Day celebrates its ten-year anniversary on 9 June with a four-day festival in London, make sure these British gin experiences are on your to-do list.

 

England

Stay at Britain's first gin hotel, Portobello Road Gin’s Distillery hotel, London

Book into The Distillery on Portobello Road; this gin lovers' paradise is home to two gin bars, stocking a huge range of gins (including the famous Portobello Road Gin) and the Ginstitute, the hotel's gin museum and blending room, which runs masterclasses showing you how to make your own gin blend.

 

Embark on a Gin Journey tour, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle

The Gin Journey takes its guests in a chauffeur-driven carriage to five bars in your city of choice, including a local gin distillery, with samples of specially selected premium gin in each. Other tours on offer in London include ‘The Gin Masters Masterclass’ for a chance to learn all about the various styles of gin and its manufacturing from a master distiller.

 

Head for London’s largest collection of gin, London

Featuring more than 500 gins and 30 tonics the Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room is seriously impressive, offering the discerning gin lover more than 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings, plus new gin cocktails.

 

Order gin from a ‘Bath’, Bath

The Canary Gin Bar in the south-west England city of Bath, is a haven for gin-lovers due to its vast collection of the spirit on offer. A micro-distillery has also been launched at the bar and has created its very own type of gin, ‘Bath gin’.

 

Enrol in gin school, Leicester
Join the Gin Experience at the 45 Gin School in Leicester and tour the home of Burleighs London Dry Gin, before selecting and distilling your choice of botanicals and bottling your own 70cl bottle of gin, under the guidance of a master distiller.

 

Feast on cake and gin, London

Hayman’s English gin makers and Brigit’s Bakery have joined forces to offer a Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea Bus Tour of London. Tours on the charming, vintage Routemaster bus take in some of London’s most iconic landmarks as a bespoke B Bakery Afternoon Tea is served with Hayman’s Gin infused treats and three seasonal Hayman’s Gin cocktails.

 

Scotland

Indulge in gin pamperingm, Glasgow

Created by the people behind Glasgow’s first dedicated gin bar – Gin71 – the Gin Spa is the world’s first botanically inspired day spa. Find bespoke treatments using the bar’s passion for gin mixed with natural botanical ingredients and sip on a complimentary gin cocktail that comes with every treatment.

 

Venture to the far north for gin, Shetland

Take a tasting tour at the UK’s most northerly gin distillery; the Saxa Vord Distillery on the Shetland Isles. Its recipes infuse gin with either locally harvest apple mint or bladderwrack seaweed to give it a unique Shetland twist.

 

Sail on a gin cruise, Edinburgh

The people behind Edinburgh’s Juniper Festival, Scotland’s first-ever gin festival, now offer special gin tasting events on board its Juniper Cruise. Heading out from Edinburgh on the Lochrin Belle canal boat, its two-hour tasting session teaches guests about gin’s fascinating history while sampling five Scottish gins. Cruises run until November and the Juniper Festival itself takes place at Summerhall, Edinburgh, between 1-3 June.

 

Gin along the North Coast 500, Caithness

Ask someone else to drive this stunning road trip along 500 miles of the far north of Scotland as you’ll want to stop by these two gin distilleries en route and sample the goods. Head to the new visitor centre of the Dunnet Bay Distillery, in Caithness, to discover tales of illicit distilling and the history of prohibition in the local town of Wick, before sampling its flagship gin Rock Rose. Further along near Inverness is the intriguing Glen Wyvis, 100% owned by the local community with a new distillery that aims to be 100% powered by green, renewable energy.

 

Mix gin with chocolate, Perth

The Perth Chocolate and Gin Street Festival, an hour north of Edinburgh, is a haven for those with a passion for chocolate and a love for gin. Coming to the city this November (17-18), there’ll be gins to try from all over the UK and a chance to see how well the two products go together in the chocolate and gin pairing event.  

 

Wales

Buy biosphere-inspired gin

Taste and take home the unique Pollination Gin, distilled by the family run Dyfi Distillery, located in the UNESCO World Biosphere of Dyfi in north-west Wales, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. It’s produced in very limited small batches, made from foraged botanicals from within the biosphere, pure grain spirit and locally drawn spring water, making it a special gift to take home.

 

Sample sea-inspired gin

Fans of seafood should put this on their must-try list; a small batch gin made with a variety of botanicals infused with seaweed from the Welsh coast, Dà Mhìle Seaweed gin is pretty special. Find out more of how this unusual gin is made with a tour of the distillery near Ceredigion in west Wales, two hours from Cardiff.

 

Northern Ireland

Take Northern Ireland’s very first gin tour

The Belfast Gin Jaunt launched last year and takes guest to five bars to try seven different gins – including three distilled locally – starting at a Victorian Gin Palace and finishing three hours later at the city’s famous Cathedral Quarter.

 

Explore Northern Ireland’s first craft gin

Find out the fascinating story of how Northern Ireland’s first craft gin – Shortcross Gin – came about in a tour of its distillery on the Rademon Estate in County Down, one of Ireland’s oldest historic estates located just half an hour from Belfast. And, of course, the essential tutored tasting of the end product.

Accommodation Update - April 2018

Read on for the latest Accommodation Update, brought to you by VisitBritain's Destination PR team.

 

LONDON

New and upcoming openings

The Principal London
April 2018
The latest addition to PRINCIPAL hotel group will be The Principal London, in the former Hotel Russell on Bloomsbury’s Russell Square. The Grade II-listed building, which first opened in 1898, is being restored into a glamorous 334-bedroom hotel and hub for modern travellers and Londoners. The new hotel will have a top-notch neighbourhood restaurant, a hedonistic cocktail bar, and a coffeehouse that morphs into a wine bar by night. Artwork and accessories will tip a nod to the area’s rich literary and artistic heritage. PRINCIPAL also plans to open hotels in Birmingham and Liverpool in 2018.
www.phcompany.com/principal

 

Hotel Indigo London – 1 Leicester Square, London
April 2018
In the heart of London's West End, this new boutique hotel from the Indigo hotel group will feature rooms that evoke the glamour of the West End and views over Leicester Square. The venue will also have a rooftop pan-Asian restaurant that is inspired by 1920s Shanghai with oriental cocktails and sharing plates.
www.hotelindigo.com

 

Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road, London
April 2018
The newest addition from Z Hotels will be in the heart of Soho, within walking distance to local shopping and the new Crossrail station opening in December 2018. The rooms will offer a modern interior, complete with facilities such as a 40 inch TV with Sky, complimentary WiFi and air conditioning.
www.thezhotels.com/tcr

 

Vintry & Mercer hotel, London
Summer 2018
Vintry & Mercer will open in the City of London’s historic Vintry Ward, a two-minute walk from Cannon Street Station. The independent hotel takes its name and inspiration from the Vintry Guild (est. 1363), which traded wines in the area, and the Mercer Guild (est. 1304), which traded fine fabrics. In a nod to this rich past, the 92-bedroom hotel will blend references to these historic trades throughout its rooms, hallways and dining spaces, with bespoke fabrics, old trading maps and an evolving menu of wines. There will be a restaurant and wine bar, roof terrace and underground speakeasy cocktail bar too. Vintry & Mercer is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
www.vintryandmercer.com

 

Long-lead

Refurbs & expansions

Renovation of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park complete, London
Summer 2018 (TBC)
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel is undergoing a multi-million-pound renovation. The hotel remains open throughout the 18-month renovation, which will add two new luxurious penthouse suites, make the existing 181 rooms and suites even more luxurious, and refurbish the hotel’s restaurants and bar.
www.mandarinoriental.com/london

 

SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ENGLAND

New and upcoming openings

Seven, Essex
February 2018
Southend-on-Sea’s first boutique hotel has opened, on the cliffs of the town’s Clifton Conservation Area. Seven has 37 beautifully designed bedrooms, including five top-floor ‘Estuary’ suites (which make the most of the views of the iconic Southend Pier and the Thames Estuary), a cocktail bar with more than 30 types of gin, and an outdoor sun terrace. The hotel’s 70-seater restaurant, Aurum, is overseen by Simon Webb, who led England’s team at the 2018 Culinary World Cup, and emphasises modern, local food.
thesevenhotel.co.uk

 

The Libertines to launch The Albion Rooms hotel, Kent
Spring/summer 2018 (TBC)
The Libertines will open The Albion Rooms hotel, restaurant, bar and studio in Margate this summer. The hotel occupies a five-storey Victorian building overlooking the sea and Margate’s bandstand; it was formerly The Palm Court Hotel, which garnered terrible reviews on TripAdvisor. The band is currently ensconced in the building writing their fourth studio album, due for release this summer; The Albion Rooms’ individually designed guest rooms will open fully once the new album has been recorded. Until then, The Libertines have said that the public will be invited to take part in the creative process at the hotel…
www.thelibertines.com

 

New hotel, lodges and ecology island at Feldon Valley Golf Club, Cotswolds
October 2018
A boutique hotel is being created as part of an extensive, multi-million-pound development of Feldon Valley Golf Club at Lower Brailes near Shipston-on-Stour. The complete renovation will see the existing club redesigned, new external terraces overlooking the course and the construction of a new 13-bedroom hotel and four lodges. The refurbished golf course will also have an ‘ecology island’ to support wildlife.
www.feldonvalleygolf.co.uk

 

Long-lead

New The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
Autumn 2018
The latest addition to the litter of Pigs across the country will be The Pig at Bridge Place, in a 16th-century manor house near Canterbury. The intriguing old building has hosted some legendary parties and gigs in its time – Led Zeppelin even played here in the 70s. The place has a wealth of period features including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled rooms and lots of nooks and crannies. The new hotel will have 28 bedrooms: seven bedrooms and numerous cosy bars and sitting areas in the main building; seven romantic ‘hop pickers’ huts’ on an island within the grounds; and two bedrooms in a newly restored gate lodge. Twelve more bedrooms will be in a new, carefully detailed Coach House, which will also feature a conservatory restaurant supplied by a kitchen garden and the best producers from within a 25-mile radius. A casual Kitchen Larder in a converted barn will serve wood-fired cooking.
www.thepighotel.com

 

Refurbs & expansions

The Fish hotel re-opens, Cotswolds
6 March 2018
This award-winning part boutique hotel, part adventure hideout on the 400-acre Farncombe Estate will re-open following an extensive, £4 million renovation. There will be a new seafood-inspired restaurant by Chef Martin Burge, three luxury treehouses (available from May), 10 new bedrooms in the Coach House (from June), and five hideaway huts (from July). There will also be a new cinema room, new bathrooms and improvements in all rooms and suites, a dog agility course and a woodland kids play area.
www.thefishhotel.co.uk

 

Goodleaf treetop camping, Isle of Wight
April/ May 2018 (exact date TBC)
Goodleaf on the Isle of Wight will be unveiling a new tree top experience in 2018. Taking place in the grounds of historic Jacobean manor house Northcourt, in Shorwell, Goodleaf Tree Climbing will offer Tree Top Camping for the very first time on the Isle of Wight. Sleeping in special ‘Tree Boats’ imported from the USA, climbers will learn the ropes with recreational tree climbing experts Goodleaf, before spending the night sleeping high in the canopy of a beautiful 15 metre beech tree in this beautiful location deep in the rural heart of the Island. Supper can be taken at the local pub The Crown Inn in Shorwell before ascending into the canopy, relaxing and enjoying a bird’s eye view from your “bed for the night”. Breakfast will be delivered to you in your hammock by the instructor. 
www.goodleaf.co.uk 

 

MIDLANDS AND EAST ENGLAND

Long-lead

New University Arms hotel, Cambridge
August 2018
Cambridge’s most historic hotel will relaunch following a two-year, £80-million refurbishment and design collaboration between architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki. The revamp will transform Cambridge’s landmark original hotel, which dates from 1834, into a world-class establishment. The 192-bedroom hotel will be quintessentially English in style, with the ambitious literary and academic spirit of Cambridge as one of its defining characteristics. The building’s 1960s and 1970s extensions will be replaced with a classically designed building, rooms and suites will be beautiful and ‘playfully’ designed, and there will be underground valet car parking, fitness facilities, and a library curated by leading London bookshop Heywood Hill. Parker’s Tavern, the hotel’s destination restaurant and bar, will pay homage to the communal dining halls of Cambridge colleges, with classic British dishes re-imagine using produce from fields, fens and sea.
www.universityarms.com   

 

Hotel Indigo, Stratford-upon-Avon
December 2018
An exciting new boutique hotel will open in Stratford-upon-Avon following a multi-million-pound restyling of the historic Falcon Hotel. The characterful Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon will have strong links to William Shakespeare. With parts of the building dating back to the 15th century, the hotel chain plans to retain much of the structure’s original charm while offering luxury accommodation. Guestrooms will include flat-screen TVs, rainfall showers, luxurious toiletries and free wifi. There will also be a new state-of-the-art kitchen and restaurant led by a celebrity chef, a sociable bar and lounge, and a new gym and meeting room.
www.ihg.com/hotelindigo

 

SOUTH-WEST ENGLAND

New and upcoming openings

Z Hotel, Bath
June 2018
Z Hotel will open its first property in the south-west of England. Following a £14 million development, Z Bath will offer 145 bedrooms with luxury bed linen on handcrafted beds, 40” LED TVs with Sky Sports and Movies at no extra cost, power showers and free high speed wifi throughout. The completed development will also include a Byron Burger and Zizzi.
www.theZhotels.com

 

Hotel Indigo Bath
June/ July 2018
The new Hotel Indigo Bath will be located in a Georgian terrace, close to Bath Spa train station on the site of the former Halcyon serviced apartments and Pratt's Hotel. The boutique hotel will have 166 bedrooms, a fitness centre, a private members club and a restaurant launched by celebrity chef Mike Robinson.
www.hotelindigo.com

 

Gara Rock, Devon
Summer 2018
The new Gara Rock promises to be one of the finest boutique retreats on the UK coastline when it re-opens under new ownership. It’s located on cliffs with fabulous views along the coast near Salcombe. The new Retreat will have new restaurant offerings, five new loft rooms and sea view apartments, new spa facilities and a new bar. The management team is made up of locals, many with strong links to the property and its history; Gara Rock used to be the site of cottages used by 19th century coastguards employed to help prevent illegal smuggling and watch for boats in difficulty. In fact, the coastguards’ old Lookout will be the new bar – and the only bar in Salcombe to capture such stunning sunset views.
www.gararock.com

 

Long-lead

Artist Residence, Bristol
November 2018 TBC)
A brand new eclectic boutique hotel is set to open in an old boot factory on Portland Square in late 2018. Artist Residence already has fun, eccentric hotels in London, Brighton, Oxford and Cornwall. Their arty interiors are created by artists in return for board. Rooms from £120 B&B.
www.artistresidence.co.uk

 

Refurbs & expansions

New ten treatment room destination spa at St Michael’s Hotel & Spa, Falmouth 
Opened early 2018
A ten treatment room destination spa, featuring a hydrotherapy pool, hammam, rasul and spa café has now opened at St Michael’s Hotel and Spa. Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth has recently expanded the resort, with a focus on wellbeing. A brand new Health Club opened in the summer of 2017, including a 17m indoor swimming pool, extensive gym and three studios. In addition, new beach house rooms and suites have been added, which offer spectacular views across Falmouth Bay and additional space for families. A new entrance and arrivals lounge, along with a refreshed restaurant will soon follow.
www.stmichaelshotel.co.uk  

 

Gwel an Mor opening, Cornwall
July 2018
The five-star resort of Gwel an Mor overlooking Portreath on the north Cornish coast will be home to a collection of super cosy, one-bedroom lakeside retreats from winter 2018. These perfectly formed bolt holes will offer couples a relaxing hideaway, with the satisfaction of having the facilities and activities of the wider resort on tap.
www.gwelanmor.com

 

New lodges and suites at Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa, Cornwall
July 2018
Carbis Bay Hotel is opening eight new lodges and seven suites including one super suite, introducing a new level of luxury to the sparkling shores of St Ives. The lodges and suites will offer guests a prime position on the award-winning Carbis Bay Beach with infinity views of the Atlantic Ocean. In conjunction with the suites, there will be a new state-of-the-art conference, restaurant and events venue. With impressive views across the ocean, the space will boast a large function suite with seating for up to 160 and a rooftop terrace with a retractable roof and access to the South West Coast Path.
www.carbisbayhotel.co.u

 

YORKSHIRE

Refurbs & expansions

Beverley Arms reopens, East Yorkshire
Autumn 2018 (TBC)
Located in the historic Georgian Quarter of the charming Minster town of Beverley, the Beverley Arms hotel will have 38 new high-quality bedrooms and a restaurant and bar with seating for around 150 people when it reopens after a £6 million redevelopment. The transformation includes the relocation of the bar and main staircase and the development of a smaller accommodation block, along with the creation of a new Georgian-style conservatory and courtyard dining area. Overall, there will be a total of 38 new high-quality bedrooms and a restaurant and bar with seating for around 150 people.
www.thwaites.co.uk

 

NORTH-EAST ENGLAND

New and upcoming openings

Ramside Hall Hotel to launch six luxury treehouses, Durham
June 2018
Visitors to County Durham will soon be able to stay in accommodation unlike anything else currently on offer in the region. Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa will launch three luxury treehouses in June, with another three to follow. Built on stilts behind one of the hotel’s golf courses, the two-bedroom treehouses will have private living rooms, state-of-the-art bathrooms with free-standing copper baths, and unrivalled views across the 18th fairway and green of the Prince Bishops golf course. The treehouses are the latest development in an ongoing multi-million-pound makeover of the family-owned hotel, which has also created an additional wing, a second championship golf course and an award-winning spa in recent years.
www.ramsidehallhotel.co.uk

 

Long lead

Maldron Hotel Newcastle
January 2019
A new four-star hotel will open in Newcastle city centre later this year. It will be part of the Newgate Street redevelopment and have 226 air-conditioned bedrooms, a bar, a restaurant and business centre facilities. 
www.maldronhotels.com

 

NORTH-WEST ENGLAND

Refurbs & expansions

Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester
October 2018
Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are transforming Manchester’s old Stock Exchange building into a 39-room boutique hotel with two onsite restaurants operated by celebrity chef Michael O’Hare: The Man Who Fell to Earth and Are Friends Electric. Opening dates and details are sketchy at the moment, but there’s no doubt this will be one of the most interesting new hotels in Manchester in 2018.
www.stockexchangehotel.co.uk

 

WALES

Refurbs & expansions

The Exchange Hotel, Cardiff, South Wales
Early 2018
The Exchange Hotel has opened in Cardiff’s former Coal Exchange, where the world’s first million-pound business deal was struck. The building played a vital role in industrial Cardiff in the 19th Century and a multi-million pound renovation has transformed the building into a luxury 200-suite hotel with 2 unique and stunning meeting and conference venues with the capacity for up to 600 people.
www.exchangehotelcardiff.co.uk

 

The Swan at Hay relaunches after £1million makeover, Hay-on-Wye, Mid Wales
Early 2018
The Grade II listed Georgian hotel, located in the famous book town of Hay-on-Wye, has been fully refurbished and restored to its former glory. Expect 19 beautifully decorated en-suite bedrooms, banquet facilities for up to 120 people, and rooms equipped with characterful log-burning fires. Guests can now enjoy the Market Bar; complete with an Aneurin Jones original painting, the 1812 bar with informal dining area, and the Green Room, the hotel’s garden room restaurant.
www.swanathay.com

 

SCOTLAND

New and upcoming openings

Blervie House, Forres
Late 2017
Blervie is an exceptional Scottish Country House combining the best of a bygone era with best of today’s modern day conveniences.  Blervie sits in extensive private grounds surrounded by woodland in the middle of Malt Whisky Country. Guests staying at Blervie have many delightful rooms from which to relax and enjoy the superb garden and distant views of the Moray Firth and the Black Isle after they have been touring the many attractions in the area.
www.blervie.com

 

Radisson Red Hotel, Glasgow
Spring 2018
This new hotel philosophy connects with a millennial mindset through art, music and fashion. The Radisson Red hotel, located next to the SECC Hydro, will have an amazing 174 rooms to choose from. There will be a chance to enjoy great food, fine wine and craft beer in the rooftop bar, whilst taking in fantastic views of the river Clyde.
www.radissonred.com

 

The Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar
Summer 2018
This hotel is being restored to the splendour of its Victorian heyday. Situated in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, this historic hotel, will be reimaged as a globally acclaimed cultural destination, offering luxury accommodation across 46 bedrooms. There will be a spectacular restaurant with a wood fired grill, two bars, a fire room, library and cinema.
www.thefifearms.com

 

The Machrie Hotel, Isle of Islay
Summer 2018
Campbell Gray Hotels will be opening The Machrie, an exceptional hotel for the truly breathtaking Isle of Islay. Whether you’re just looking to explore this stunning island, home to some of the world’s finest whiskies, birdlife, seafood and dramatic coastal seascapes, or you’re taking on the challenge of the links, The Machrie will be the perfect place to start your stay.
www.campbellgrayhotels.com/machrie-islay-scotland

 

Fingal – The Royal Yacht Britannia’s Floating Hotel, Edinburgh
September 2018
Launching in spring 2018, this major investment by the Royal Yacht Britannia will provide the ultimate luxury experience: a floating hotel berthed at The Shore, Edinburgh. The 23 beautifully styled cabins, all named after Stevenson lighthouses, are inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime heritage. With a cabin for every occasion - guests will be able to choose their own private balcony, a duplex cabin or, for that special occasion the stunning presidential suite. All of this a short stroll from two Michelin starred restaurants in the vibrant Leith neighbourhood.
www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

 

Innside by Melia, Glasgow
November 2018
The Spanish hotel company is bringing its sleek style to Glasgow with this new 175-room premium brand hotel.
www.melia.com

 

Motel One, Glasgow
November 2018
Motel One Group will open its new £22 million hotel next to Glasgow Central Station. It will have a One Lounge, which is the living room, breakfast café and bar all in one.
www.motel-one.com/en/hotels/glasgow

Britain’s best coffee houses – the new British brew

Brits may be stereotyped as avid tea drinkers, but it hasn’t stopped a growing coffee culture brewing across the nation.

With award-winning roasters and World Barista Champions, an emphasis on ethically sourced, independently roasted and perfectly brewed flavours, plus “third wave” coffee tastes from Aeropress to cold-drip methods, it’s clear there’s more to Britain’s caffeine fix beyond regular chain-café coffee.

 

Brighton: Small Batch Coffee Roasters

This family-run coffee house roasts its own Arabica coffee, sustainably sourced from local farmers in over 20 countries. Now a powerhouse in local coffee culture, Small Batch has eight locations, serving everything from the classics to their own unique blends and cold brews.

 

Bath: Colonna & Small’s

Co-owned by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, a three-time winner at the UK Barista Championships, this speciality coffee hub is all about flavour. The menu changes weekly for that reason, rotating seasonal coffees from across the world, sourced by expert roasters all over the UK.

 

Bristol: Full Court Press

This minimalist interior matches the slick menu which features two filter blends and two espresso blends that change weekly. The coffee comes from individual farms and co-ops all over the world, as well as some 30 roasters in Europe, enticing people to keep coming back.

 

London: Prufrock

Owned by World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies and UK Barista Championship Head Judge, Jeremy Challender, this café scooped Time Out’s ‘Best Coffee In London’ accolade. Hand-brewed filter coffee is the star of the show in this two-floor wonderland where each week, three coffees are showcased on the brew-bar while you ask the baristas their secrets.

 

Birmingham: Quarter Horse Coffee

What makes this independent roaster so special is you can see the roasting process in action at its on-site roastery. Premium beans, sourced from all over the globe from entrepreneurial female producers in places such as Colombia and Guatemala, are roasted weekly for maximum freshness.

 

Leeds: Laynes Espresso

This espresso bar is not only is a sleek hangout where you can try dedicated brews (and some of the best sweet treats in the city from Porterhouse Cake Co) it’s also an educational space offering classes for hobby baristas through to professional qualifications.

 

Manchester: Pot Kettle Black

This inviting space in the Victorian-era Grade II-listed Barton Arcade was set up by two local Rugby League stars who wanted to serve artisan coffee in atmospheric surroundings, alongside a menu of healthier food choices including gluten-free and vegan options.

 

Sheffield: Steam Yard

Steam Yard’s owners wanted to keep the alternative, independent spirit of Sheffield’s Division Street alive and this café, with its cool concrete-wood-leather interior, still retains touches of its industrial past. Set in a Grade II-listed building, it serves coffee from London’s award-winning Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and is also known for its speciality coffee-doughnut combo, known as the “Steve McQueen”.

 

Newcastle: Flat Caps Coffee

For coffee brewed in three ways – Filter, Aeropress and the old-fashioned Syphon – head to this bohemian basement café. Owned by a UK Barista Champion finalist and former banker, Joe Meagher, the café sources its beans from roasting companies around the UK and Europe.

 

Edinburgh: Brew Lab
Brewed with meticulous detail and precise brewing techniques, you can try single-original filter and cold brew coffees alongside traditional espresso roasts at Brewlab where a weekly changing coffee menu and locally produced food add to the charm.

 

Cardiff: Quantum Coffee Roasters

Resembling a funky science lab, Quantum loves experimenting with its brewing methods, using V-60 and Chemex pour-overs, I-brick and cold brew towers to get the perfect brew from their in-house roasted blends.

 

Belfast: Established

One of the pioneers of Belfast’s growing coffee scene, the fine coffee blends and tempting brunch menu are a big draw at this cool, minimalist café in the Cathedral Quarter. There’s also a dedicated training room where visitors can learn how to brew better coffee at home.

What's hot for 2018 - Britain

2018 Destination Hotspot: Bristol

The southwest England city of Bristol attracts everyone from culture vultures on the trail of Banksy to engineering aficionados keen to learn about Isambard Kingdom Brunel. 2018 sees the opening of Being Brunel, a museum dedicated to the fascinating life and works of the aforementioned engineer, who was one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution; he gave Britain dockyards, the Great Western Railway, the magnificent Bristolian landmark the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the impressive ss Great Britain, a popular visitor attraction in the city.

Bristol is synonymous with art, as the hometown of street artist Banksy, but did you know the much loved animated characters Wallace and Gromit hail from there too? Summer 2018 will see a new public arts trail from Aardman Animations, which promises to amuse children and adults alike. For nocturnal entertainment, Bristol’s cultural scene is brimming with options ranging from Britain’s oldest continually working theatre, the Bristol Old Vic – currently undergoing a revamp that will be revealed in 2018 – to the world-class music venue St George’s Bristol, also getting a facelift for 2018 that will include a glass sound wave sculpture suspended in the foyer, based on a musical score by the composer Philip Glass.

Each July Bristol hosts #Upfest, Europe’s biggest, free, street art and graffiti art festival. More than 250 cutting-edge graffiti artists from all over the world descend on Bristol to paint visual spectacles around the city, resulting in 30,000 square foot of artwork created over the weekend.

And cameras at the ready for the 40th anniversary of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta in summer 2018; the free spectacle transforms the city skyline, peppering it with hundreds of brightly coloured hot air balloons. It’s the city’s largest outdoor event and the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

Click for more on Bristol

Spotlight on: Northern England Walks

From soaring mountains and picturesque moors to outdoor galleries and historic pubs, Britain is a walking paradise. Lace up your boots and let your feet take you exploring through Northern England in 2018, especially the newly claimed UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Lake District.

  • Newcastle and Gateshead will host the Great Exhibition of the North: a major exhibition showcasing art, culture, design and innovation from the north of England. The 77-day exhibition will start with an opening ceremony on 21 June 2018 at the Quayside, featuring a bridge of illuminated drones over the River Tyne. During the event, three themed walking routes will guide visitors to venues and attractions: The Arts Circuit, Design Circuit and Innovation Circuit. 
     
  • A fort-ridden Roman defensive barrier erected to keep out the Picts (modern-day Scots), much of Hadrian’s Wall still stands today. Linking the shipbuilding eastern town of Wallsend with the west-coast Solway Firth, its mostly-flat Hadrian’s Wall Path specialises in barren and beautiful scenery, despite including the cities of Carlisle and Newcastle at either end.
     
  • The Lake District is Britain’s first national park to be awarded the momentous UNESCO World Heritage status. Picking out one view in the Lake District is a tricky task because the area is so geographically blessed with beautiful landscapes. One of the best vistas is looking east from the top of Cat Bells hill across the lake of Derwentwater to the mountain of Skiddaw. Cat Bells is one of the most popular hills in the area; it’s also a short, sharp, steep climb of 451 metres – but is worth the effort. 

    For more incredible views, Stony Cove Pike from Kirkstone Pass is another to add to your list. This undulating odyssey, starts and triumphantly finishes at Britain’s third-highest boozer, the wood-beamed Kirkstone Pass Inn. In between, scree-ridden moorland, dark green hills, glinting lakes and isolated slate-roof crofts unfold either side of Stony Cove Pike’s windblown summit.

    Frequently lauded by real ale enthusiasts, The Spinners Arms in Cumbria is an ideal haunt for those who appreciate the culinary complexities of a good pint. It’s almost equidistant to the North Pennines, the Lake District National Park, and Northumberland National Park, so it’s an ideal spot to rest those weary legs after a day of countryside rambles.
     

  • There are three reasons to tackle the seaside sortie, the Craster to Low Newton Coastal Walk. Firstly, you start in the spiritual home of kippers (cold-smoked herrings), a classic British breakfast. Then there’s the chance to relish the finest coast on north-east England, including flower-mottled dunes and the lonely ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, originally built by rebels seven centuries ago to repel King Edward II. The final incentive is Low Newton’s Ship Inn, beloved for its microbrewery and handpicked-crab sandwiches.
     
  • The Peak District is an area of contrasting natural beauty, with moors and dales, rivers, springs and caverns. At its heart is the Peak District National Park, loved by millions for its breath-taking views, relaxation, inspiration and adventure. Head to Edale to get stuck into some characteristically dramatic Peaks terrain – it’s the starting point for the Pennine Way walking trail, and offers low-level ambles and more challenging hikes.

Cultural Liverpool

Since claiming the title ‘European Capital of Culture 2008', Liverpool has experienced a renaissance in art and culture. As a modern cultural hub, Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other UK City Region outside of London. It is home to an impressive collection of museums in which to discover the city's 800-year-old history, while the arts scene has its feet firmly planted in the modern day, with the spruced up Albert Dock home to the Tate Liverpool and FACT media arts centre.

The world-famous Terracotta Warriors arrive at the city’s World Museum in February – their new home until October. This exciting exhibition will be a major part of Liverpool’s year-long 2018 celebrations, marking 10 years since the city donned its Cultural Capital title.

The Liverpool Biennial of contemporary art is in residence from 14 July until 28 October 2018. Every two years, the city’s public places, unused buildings and galleries showcase thought-provoking contemporary art. Founded in 1998, the Biennial has commissioned 305 new artworks and presented work by more than 450 artists from around the world. It’s a chance to head out on a cultural treasure hunt through the city to discover unusual and unexpected places through art.

Scotland’s UNESCO Triangle
Boasting three UNESCO awarded creative cities, just 100 miles apart - music (Glasgow), literature (Edinburgh), and design (Dundee) – Scotland is a must see destination in 2018.

Where to go: The V&A is one of London’s – if not the world’s – best museums, and Dundee is getting a new outpost of the museum, due to open in early 2018. The V&A Dundee will be uber-modern in design and is architect Kenzo Kuma’s first British commission.  The new museum will showcase world-class touring exhibitions from the V&A, as well as the best of Scottish design.

Visit Glasgow for its eclectic mix of architectural styles, including the art nouveau buildings by celebrated designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of famed Glasgow-born architect’s birth, which will be commemorated by Glasgow Museums with a new exhibition of unseen works in the summer. As part of the city’s celebration, the original Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms and the famous Salon de Luxe are being renovated and will reopen with a new visitor centre on 7 June 2018.

Explore the capital Edinburgh and find history on every corner, in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of its Old and New Towns. Discover the city’s stunning settings for world-famous novels, the scenery that inspired revered poets and the birthplaces of some of the most-loved storybook characters.

Adrenaline filled adventure breaks, breath-taking road trips, buzzing music festivals, and a jam-packed events calendar - Scotland hosts legendary activities and endless things to do for the young or young at heart throughout 2018 as it celebrates its Year of Young People.  The celebrations kick off in a spectacular Torchlight Procession on the 30th December, as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2017.

A culture vulture’s guide to Britain in 2018

New looks, new exhibitions, and display spaces are on the cards for a host of British museums & galleries.   

  • In January 2018, London’s world-renowned contemporary art space, the Hayward Gallery, will re-open in the Southbank Centre after major refurbishment. The opening marks its 50th anniversary, and will see the first major British retrospective of the work of acclaimed German photographer Andreas Gursky. 
     
  • In March, more than 100 of Picasso’s greatest works of art are being brought together for a “once in a lifetime” exhibition, Picasso 1932, at Tate Modern. This landmark show is a collaboration between the Tate Modern and the Musée National-Picasso in Paris and will be the first solo exhibition of Picasso’s work to be held at the gallery. It focusses on 1932 - a pivotal year in the artist’s life, and marked the height of his affair with young lover Marie-Thérèse Walter, who he immortalised in his famous Le Rêve (The Dream), which has never before been shown in Britain.
     
  • Taking a lead role in Cook 250 – the 250th anniversary celebrations of Captain Cook’s first expedition from London to the Pacific and Australia (on 26 August) – the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich is opening four new permanent galleries in 2018 in its East Wing. The new ‘Endeavour Galleries’ will expand the museum’s exhibition space by 40 per cent, with each one dedicated to different themes: Pacific Encounters, Polar Worlds, Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, and Sea Things. The museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection. While his expedition began from Plymouth, Cook spent his early life and career at Great Ayton, Staithes and Whitby in Yorkshire, where his boat the Endeavour was built, with a number of Cook-related attractions in the area.
     
  • 2018 also marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy, and the institution will reveal its new revamp in spring. Connecting the Royal Academy’s two buildings - Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens - for the first time, there will be new dedicated spaces for exhibitions and displays across the site, including a new Architecture Studio and café.
     
  • In autumn 2018 the British Museum will open the Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic world and a new Japan gallery. The museum is also adding the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia, which will open in November 2017.
     
  • Dippy, the Natural History Museum’s iconic diplodocus skeleton cast, stood in the entrance of the London museum for more than 30 years. Marking a period of transformation for the museum, Dippy was replaced in July with Hope, the blue whale skeleton, so is going on tour across Britain. The tour will run until the end of 2020 – in 2018 Dippy will be on show in museums in Dorset (south-west England), Birmingham (central England) and Belfast (Northern Ireland).
     

Lights On

See some Britain’s famous attractions brighten evenings with dazzling displays of light and installations.

  • After its debut in 2016, the capital’s largest night-time festival, Lumiere London, is back in 2018 - bigger, brighter and bolder. More than 40 British and international artists will transform the city and offer new perspectives on the capital’s iconic architecture, streets and landmarks. Taking place over four nights between 18 and 21 January 2018, festival locations will include King’s Cross, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Westminster. Covent Garden, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo are being added as new destinations for 2018.
     
  • Returning in October 2018, illuminating York encourages the exploration of the city through the imagination of artists, using the medium of light in all its forms. This bi-annual festival lights up one of the UK’s most beautiful cities, transforming its historic buildings into stunning works of art

Top 10 reasons to visit Wales in the Year of the Sea

Thanks to new direct flights from Australia to Cardiff (May 2018), it’s even easier to catch a rugby match, wind through the shopping arcades and take to a gig in one of Cardiff’s hip side-street venues before venturing out along the epic Welsh coastline, fringed with rugged cliffs & wide sandy bays.

One of the toughest and largest sailing events in the world, the Volvo Ocean Race, will arrive in Cardiff Bay in May 2018. It will be the first time the race fleet has returned to British shores in 12 years.

If your tastes run to high octane adventures then Wales is probably your spiritual birthplace. Its coastal craziness includes the sport of coasteering which involves cliff jumping, caving and wild swimming – all in one afternoon.  (Those after a good leg stretch may find the 1,400 km Wales Coast Path more to their liking. Head out to Skomer Island for to spy out the plethora of puffins or watch out for soaring red kites as you drive through the picturesque Breacon Beacons. 

Stay somewhere extraordinary in one of Epic Retreat’s glamping-style pop-ups, inspired by famous Welsh myths and legends. Or wake up deep in the forest, in the heart of the Welsh mountains, in your very own treehouse.

North Wales is a thrill seeker’s paradise. Here you’ll find the world's fastest (and Europe's longest) zip line, a revolutionary inland surf lagoon, and giant trampolines strung in the caverns of a disused slate mine.

Go stargazing in a Welsh dark sky park. Granted ‘International Dark Sky’ status, the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks both offer an abundance of dark sky spying spots to get your astronomer juices flowing.

Party in a weird and wonderful Italianate village by the sea. For 4 days every September, Portmeirion is taken over by one of the most unique music festivals in the world: Festival No.6: “a bespoke banquet of music, arts and culture”.

With 641 Welsh castles to choose from, it’s easy to conquer a castle in 2018. For some of the finest examples, head for the castles and fortified towns of Gwynedd. Follow the trail to explore the UNESCO World Heritage quartet of majestic castles - Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech.

Annual Updates

Hot hotel openings

  • Easter 2018: Royal Yacht Britannia’s new Boat Hotel - Edinburgh, Scotland
    A floating 'boatique' hotel aimed at luxury travellers is putting its anchor down next to the Royal Yacht Britannia, the former royal yacht of Queen Elizabeth II and one of Edinburgh’s biggest tourist attractions.  The lavish new 23-room hotel will feature balconied cabins, plush duplex apartments and Art Deco-inspired interiors.
     
  • Summer 2018: Britain’s first Hard Rock Hotel, Marble Arch, London
    Hard Rock International is opening its first London property inside the existing Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch, transforming it into the 900-room Hard Rock Hotel London. The hotel will follow the music theme, featuring rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia and offering a new live performance venue.
     
  • Eden Project Hotel, Cornwall, south-west England (opening date TBC)
    A £6million hotel is opening at the Eden Project in 2018. The Eden Project Hotel will have 115 bedrooms and has been designed to blend into the countryside, with access to the main Eden Project site.
     
  • Vintry & Mercer, Cannon Street, City of London, early 2018
    Located in London’s historic trading centre near St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, the 92-bedroom hotel Vintry & Mercer is named after two of the City’s historic professions: vintners, who traded fine wines, and mercers, who sold fine silks. Both trades will be reflected in the hotel’s design. For food and drink, there will be Vintry Kitchen, serving Mediterranean food; rooftop Mercer Terrace; and DND, (Do Not Disturb), an underground cocktail bar.
     
  • Hawkstone Hall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Autumn 2018
    Hawkstone Hall, a Georgian country mansion in Shropshire, is being transformed into a 40-bedroom hotel and wedding venue. Refurbishment of the main hall and 12 suites will be complete in summer 2018. By autumn, all works are due to be complete, resulting in a total of 40 suites and bedrooms.
     
  • Dixie Dean Hotel, Liverpool, 2018:
    A 100-bedroom hotel in honour of Everton footballer Dixie Dean is due to open in Liverpool city centre next year, opposite The Shankly hotel, which similarly celebrates Scottish footballer and manager Bill Shankly (the two men were great friends). The Dixie Dean Hotel will have restaurants, bars and an events space, and showcase memorabilia from the footballer’s career.
     
  • George Best Hotel, Belfast June 2018
    The developer of The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool (themed around Liverpool Football Club's legendary Scottish player and manager) is building a new 80-bedroom hotel in Belfast, named after and inspired by Manchester United and Northern Ireland football legend, George Best.

Britain on the big screen
Britain is playing a starring role in several new 2018 movie releases, and providing the inspiration for the blockbuster remakes of two classic British tales: Peter Rabbit and Robin Hood.

  • Phantom Thread - 2 February 2018
    Set in the fashion world of 1950s London, Phantom Thread revolves around the life of fashion designer Charles James, played by Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis. James was commissioned by royalty, and British and American stars including Marlene Dietrich. This will be Day-Lewis’s final film performance – the star recently announced his retirement. He’s been spotted filming in Lythe, a village located in the North York Moors National Park near Whitby beach. Other nearby filming locations include the Victoria Hotel at Robin Hood’s Bay and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Grosmont.
     
  • Peter Rabbit – - 22 March 2018
    Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a mischievous blue-jacketed rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden is getting a star-studded live-action and computer-generated motion picture remake. James Corden will voice the lead role of Peter, while Rose Byrne stars as Bea. The voices of Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie and Daisy Ridley (of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will also feature. The majority of filming has taken place in Australia, with additional location scenes shot in the towns of Ambleside and Windermere in Lake District in Cumbria, north-west England, which was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Beatrix Potter is synonymous with the Lake District – it was her home and its natural beauty and plentiful wildlife inspired many of her literary creations. Fans can visit her house, Hill Top, and in London, the V&A Museum holds the world's largest collection of Potter's drawings, literary manuscripts and correspondence.
     
  • Robin Hood: Origins – 23 March 2018
    According to legend, heroic forest-dwelling outlaw Robin Hood was a highly-skilled archer and swordsman who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. Robin Hood: Origins aims to give a new spin on the legend, starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, and Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlet. Filming mainly took place in DubrovnikCroatia, but Robin Hood’s original stomping ground was Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England. The forest is the setting for the annual Robin Hood Festival in early August – a medieval gala of entertainment, food and drink, activities, and live-action re-enactments. This will be the festival’s 34th year, and follow the reopening of the Sherwood Forest visitor centre in early 2018. For more content on Robin Hood-inspired forest adventures around Britain, see the VisitBritain media centre.
     
  • Han Solo: A Star Wars Story
    This upcoming second Stars Wars Anthology film, following the 2016 film Rogue One, will centre on the adventures of young Han Solo. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, alongside Woody HarrelsonEmilia ClarkeDonald Glover and Thandie Newton. Filming has taken place at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, and a port scene was shot in Southampton, Hampshire.
     
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 - Late 2018
    The second instalment of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series follows the adventures of Newt Scamander, with London as one of the key filming locations. 
     
  • Mary Poppins Returns – 25 December 2018
    It's been 53 years since the original Mary Poppins popped onto our screens with her magical bag and flying umbrella. In 2018, she's back – played by Emily Blunt – to visit the grown-up Banks children in this Disney musical sequel, which takes the action forward to London in 1935. Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke (who starred in the original film) also feature in the cast. London filming locations include St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and outside the Bank of England.

New theatre shows
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for theatre in Britain with hot new shows and A-listers galore.

  • The Band, Britain-wide tour  8 September 2017 – 14 July 2018
    The new musical celebrates the music of hugely popular British boy band Take That, featuring their best hits. The show premieres in Manchester in September and then tours around Britain. For full tour dates, visit the website.
     
  • Hamilton: An American Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre, London  21 November 2017 – 30 June 2018
    Following unanimous critical praise, 11 Tony Awards, and playing to audiences full of celebrities, politicians and members of theatre royalty, sensational Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical is coming to London’s West End. The musical is about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and incorporates hip-hoprhythm and bluespop music, and traditional-style show tunes.
     
  • Network by Lee Hall, at the Lyttelton Theatre, London  November 2017 – March 2018
    Good news for fans of Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston – he’s making his British stage debut in the new adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Network, by Paddy Chayefsky. Cranston recently won a Tony Award for his Broadway role in All The Way.
     
  • Pinocchio by Dennis Kelly, at the Lyttelton Theatre, London 1 December 2017 – 7 April 2018
    The world premiere of John Tiffany’s new musical production of Pinocchio, which has been specially arranged for the stage, with songs and score from the Walt Disney film and expert puppetry.
     
  • Matthew Bourne's Cinderella  at Sadler's Wells, London  9 December 2017 – 27 January 2018
    Matthew Bourne's sell-out interpretation of classic fairy tales into 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, 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  5 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 will transfer to the Duke of York’s Theatre for a limited run.
     
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare, at the Olivier Theatre, London  Spring 2018
    Rufus Norris will direct A-listers Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff in Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy.

Championship sport
Britain is world-renowned as a host of major sporting events. In 2018 the following championships will take place:

  • European Championships 2018 – Glasgow, Scotland  2 – 12 August 2018
    Glasgow 2018 is part of a brand new multi-sport event combining the existing European Championships for aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon - plus a brand new Golf Team Championships. During 11 days of exhilarating sporting action, 3,000 of the best athletes on the continent will compete. At the same time, Berlin will host the European Athletics Championships.
     
  • World Indoor Athletics Championships 2018 – Birmingham, England  1 – 4 March 2018
    One of the biggest sporting events of the year, this indoor athletics championship will feature more than 400 competitors from 150 countries at the Arena Birmingham.
     
  • Women’s Hockey World Cup – London, England 21 July – 5 August 2018
    The world’s best female hockey teams from 15 nations take to the field at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This will be the first time England has hosted a Hockey Women's World Cup, and will be the biggest standalone hockey event the United Kingdom has ever seen. 

2019 stories and beyond

  • Opening of RHS Garden Bridgewater, north-west England
    Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) currently has four gardens across the country, and in 2019 will open the gates of its fifth. The 154-acre (62-hectare) RHS Garden Bridgewater will be in Salford, near Manchester in north-west England. The garden will bring the lost historic grounds of Worsley New Hall (built in the 1760s and demolished in the 1940s) back to life.
     
  • The Silverstone Heritage Experience opens, central England
    The Silverstone circuit in southern England is the current home of the Formula One British Grand Prix. The Silverstone Heritage Experience will explore and explain the circuit’s history and heritage with a multi-million pound visitor experience.
     
  • A big year for cricket, England and Wales
    Britain will be on the itineraries for cricket fans in 2019, with two major competitions taking place. The Cricket World Cup will be contested in venues in England and Wales between May and July, while the England vs Australia Ashes series will also be played at grounds including Lord’s and Edgbaston.
     
  • London museums unveil new looks
    London’s Science Museum will open its new medicine gallery, and the Royal College of Music and Geffrye museums will reopen after complete overhauls.
     
  • New rail museum in Leicester, central England
    A new £18million rail museum will open in Leicester, central England. It will house locomotives from the National Railway Museum and Great Central Railway – the Uk’s only double-track mainline heritage railway.
     
  • Glastonbury festival moves to a new site (and potentially has a new name)
    The festival will not run in 2018 – organisers say it could move venue for 2019 to protect the site where it is held, and will possibly be run under a new name, the Variety Bazaar.

2020

  • 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower
    The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth, southern England, which carried the pilgrims to America, with a big series of events planned to mark the anniversary. Plymouth Museum, currently shut for a three-and-a-half-year redevelopment, will reopen in time for the anniversary.
     
  • The England Coast Path opens
    The England Coast Path, a new national trail around all of England’s coast, is scheduled to open in 2020, becoming one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world.
     
  • 250th birthday of poet William Wordsworth
    England will mark the 250th birthday of poet William Wordsworth, who has strong links to the Lake District in north-west England. The Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage (Wordsworth’s first family home and where he wrote some of his greatest work) will be overhauled in time for the anniversary.
     
  • New arts centre for Manchester
    Manchester, north-west England, will be the site of a new arts and theatre venue, The Factory, in 2020, which will provide a permanent home for the Manchester International Festival.
     
  • Dorset museums
    A new dinosaur museum, Jurassica, will open in a quarry in Dorset. A £13million redevelopment of Dorset County Museum will be complete, with it becoming a ‘world-class contemporary museum’.
     
  • Restoration of the National Botanic Garden of Wales
    The National Botanic Garden of Wales’ 18th century and landscape will be restored to its heyday, with reconstructed dams, cascades, weirs and falls.