Britain's National Parks - which park matches your personality?

How would you describe yourself – are you an adventurous explorer? Besotted with period drama? A sports’ fan? A wildlife enthusiast? Or even a budding astronomer? Whatever your interests you’ll find your perfect match in one of Britain’s National Parks. Fifteen of them stretch from the south of England to the north of Scotland and are blessed with rich and varied landscapes. Each has its own specific personality, moulded by the communities that have lived and worked on the park’s land for centuries. Whichever way your passions lie, click here to discover a few of Britain’s characterful National Parks you may want to make friends with…

Back with a bang! Where to celebrate Bonfire Night in Britain

If you’re travelling in Britain on or around 5 November, you’ll have the chance to experience something uniquely British – Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, where fireworks light up the skies and huge bonfires are lit. It’s a tradition stretching back centuries, celebrating the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Many British towns and cities host their own events; here’s where you can expect to find some of the most spectacular fireworks displays in 2018.

Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival, London

There’ll be guaranteed ‘oohs’ and ‘aaahs’ at one of the biggest and most impressive fireworks displays in the UK, held at north London’s Alexandra Palace (affectionately known as Ally Pally) between 2 – 3 November. There’ll also be plenty more to enjoy than the fireworks and the bonfire; ice-skating sessions at its rink – plus a special Ice Disco for after the main fireworks’ display – a laser show prior to the fireworks, a huge German Bier Keller taking over Ally Pally’s Great Hall, live music, circus performances of high-wire walking, plus tasty treats at the Street Food and Craft Beer village. All of this with the added bonus of incredible panoramic views over the London skyline.

Battle Bonfire and Fireworks Display, East Sussex, south England

Said to be the town where Guy Fawkes sourced his gunpowder, Battle in East Sussex (around two hours from London) understandably puts on a fabulous free, non-ticketed event. Hosted by the Battle Bonfire Boyes, the day (3 November in 2018) begins with the ringing of the church bells and a children’s procession, that leads to a competition for the best fancy dress and the best Guy (the effigy created to put on the bonfire). By 6pm the Guy is taken up the High Street to kickstart another procession that ends at the bonfire and a fabulous fireworks display commences.

Fireworks at the Fort, Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend, north-east England

The night sky over north-east England’s River Tyne will be lit up with multi-coloured fireworks on 2 November when the event kicks off at Segedunum, a major site on Hadrian’s Wall. The beauty of celebrating Bonfire Night at this location is the chance to explore the museum exhibits at the Fort first, the most excavated fort along World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall. It has a fantastic interactive museum (free entry after 4pm on the day), plus a full-scale reconstruction of a bath house and a section of the Wall. Catch fabulous views of Hadrian’s Wall from its 35-metre high viewing tower, which, for the first time this year, will be the offering exclusive, limited number, VIP seats for the fireworks display.

Sparks in the Park, Cardiff, south Wales

This annual event is attended by around 20,000 people making it one of Wales’ biggest and best firework displays. At Cardiff’s Bute Park on 3 November, a huge bonfire will be lit, with an earlier fireworks’ show taking place for young children before the main event later in the evening. There’s plenty to occupy visitors before then, with food stalls, fairground attractions and live entertainment.

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, central England

This fireworks’ extravaganza takes place in its gardens of one of England’s most beautiful stately homes over the course of two nights, on 2 and 3 November. The lighting of the bonfire kicks off proceedings, followed by a children’s fireworks display and culminates with the grand finale fireworks display. Wrap up warm and explore the grounds for live music, circus performances, dancing and feasts of hog roasts and mulled cider. This year guests can also buy tickets to a two-course dinner in Chatsworth’s Cavendish restaurant before entry to the bonfire and fireworks event.

Lewes Bonfire Night, East Sussex, south-east England

Probably one of the quirkiest celebrations of Bonfire Night, the 5 November will see the return of this remarkable festival in the tranquil town of Lewes on England’s south coast. Six separate Lewes Bonfire Societies, including visiting bonfire societies from all over Sussex, celebrate Guy Fawkes Night across various parts of the town, each with their own fireworks, traditions and up to 30 processions, which then all come together through the streets of Lewes. It’s quite the spectacle.

The Tar Barrels of Ottery St Mary, Devon, south England

You can’t get a better example of the charm of English eccentricity than this…the Tar Barrel tradition, which is centuries older and began after the Gunpowder Plot. The event started with the townspeople of Devon town Ottery St Mary rolling burning barrels down the streets on 5 November, which then progressed to the current tradition of people carrying full-sized, lit tar barrels through the streets instead! This year the event takes place on 4 November (as 5 November falls on a Sunday) and this pyrotechnic wonder is accompanied by a fireworks’ display and bonfire.

Tartantastic Fireworks Extravaganza Show, Edinburgh, Scotland

Charity Scottish Love in Action is hosting three Tartantastic Fireworks Extravaganza Shows, huge family-friendly fundraising events, the first on 2 November, the next two on 4 November. Not only are visitors treated to a large-scale fireworks display, there will also be traditional Scottish music from pipe bands as well as a performance by the Fire Circus theatre and enough food stalls to satisfy all hungry stomachs. This year there are a limited number of VIP tickets available, which includes access to the VIP lounge and refreshments.

 

9 reasons to visit Scotland’s islands in autumn and winter

Ten of the best ghostly tours and haunted houses in Britain

Get ready to be spooked this Halloween with these spine-chilling experiences and haunted houses.

 

5 chilling experiences

 

For The Love Of Horror – Manchester, north-west England

Your nerves will be stretched to their very limit as you explore a new creepy experience from Monopoly Events, who will transfer the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester into a chilling immersive attraction that will make you quake in your boots! Dare you enter the Nightmare Zone, where you’ll be greeted by horror movies’ most frightening characters, before you attempt to battle your way through a zombie outbreak? Meet those real-life creatures that always crop up in horror films, the tarantulas and cockroaches to snakes, before you heroically move on to a ‘mad monster after party’ and experiencing all the other horror attractions. Prove to friends and family you survived it all with a snap in the interactive ‘exorcist’ photo booth.

 

Wicked Nights at Blackgang Chine – Isle of Wight, south England

Walk through a ‘land of twisted imagination’ at amusement park Blackgang Chine’s new horror event, Wicked Nights at the Cursed Mill. Pluck up all your courage as you approach hair-raising live action experiences and scream like you’ve never screamed before on the Cliffhanger roller-caster. Still feeling brave? Hop on board the sinister ghost train before keeping your wits about you as you compete in games and activities at the Freaky Fair.

 

Muncaster Castle – Cumbria, north-west England

Muncaster Castle celebrates the spookiest time of the year in a truly ghostly fashion, as befits a castle known to be one of the most haunted in Britain. Don your finest Halloween fancy dress before making your way bravely through the dark and eerie Meadowvole Maze, be prepared to jump out of your skin as you listen to scary tales of fear and terror, and who knows what you might find lurking in the Ghostly Grotto! In between being spooked you’ll be entertained by the Muncaster Monster Cabaret – a mix of conjurors, fire-eating and aerial acts. 

 

Journey to the Underworld – London, England

Are you brave enough to embark on a Journey to the Underworld? This is a journey where you’ll discover the ‘Greatest Love Story Never Told’ at Pedley Street Station in Shoreditch, east London, as Funicular Productions brings a new enigmatic theatre experience to life. Get ready to encounter a thrilling combination that takes you through a story of fantasy, danger, fear, hope and love, as well as feast on a ‘last meal in paradise’ before your journey to the underworld. It’s here you’ll try to outsmart ‘the seductive Gatekeeper, the hunched Harbinger, and the damnable Dark One’.

 

Ghoulies Haunted House – Liverpool, north-west England

After bringing a live-action scare attraction and horror-themed bar to the residents of, and visitors to, Liverpool on a year-round basis it’s unsurprising that Ghoulies Haunted House is upping the scare factor come Halloween. This year, a character that may be innocuously called Kavity the Clown will be roaming the Haunted House, but you can guarantee it will be as scary as clowns get…and with a lot of laughs thrown in. If you enjoy this, come back any time of year to experience the venue’s horror-themed cocktails and events such as Scaryoke Karaoke, the Brain Dead Quiz and Boogeyman Bingo.

 

5 of Britain’s most haunted houses

 

Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland, north-east England

Chilling by name and chilling by nature, this 13th-century castle in Northumberland was the scene of bloody battles and eerie intrigue for centuries. Its rooms and gardens are lovely places to explore but to properly experience one of the most haunted castles in Britain, head into its Torture Chamber and join an evening Ghost Tour for a more unnerving encounter.

The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, west England

For nearly 900 years the Ancient Ram Inn has stood in the Gloucestershire village of Wotton-under-Edge and brings with it stories of a gruesome and bloodthirsty history. Not only that, there have been numerous reports of supernatural events taking place here, making it a frontrunner for spookiest house in Britain. If that doesn’t petrify you, stay overnight here – although whether you’ll get a good night’s sleep is another matter…

Newton House, Dinefwr, Pembrokeshire, west Wales

The gorgeous Dinefwr Estate is a beautiful 18th-century park landscaped by Capability Brown, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tales of ghosts and ghouls roaming the grounds. Newton House, in the centre of the park, has a ghostly visitor each night in the form of Lady Elinor Cavendish. The tale goes that she was betrothed to a man she didn’t love and, when she ran away from him and escaped back to Dinefwr to her family, her suitor strangled her. Visitors should listen out for muffled voices and watch out paranormal activity from the servants’ basement…

St Briavel’s Castle, Gloucestershire, west England

Looked after by English Heritage, this castle is now a youth hostel and if you enjoy the thought of hearing all the creepy tales about this 800-year-old castle, this is the place for you. Maybe you’ll sense the spine-chilling atmosphere as you explore the castle and feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck as you read pleading notes carved into the walls by prisoners held here centuries ago.

Glamis Castle, Scotland

Known as one of the most haunted castles in Scotland, Glamis Castle – 20 minutes’ drive from Dundee and, incidentally, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother – is said to be home to many spirits…which makes sense when you learn it’s been standing since 1372 and was said to have inspired Shakespeare’s Macbeth. There’s many a spooky tale of historic dark deeds to be heard, especially around Halloween on one of its ghostly tours…

 

7 British festivals foodies you should visit in 2018

Let the British food festival season begin! Come for the amazing food and world-renowned chefs and stay for those extra twists that deliver true British style. We pick seven to have on your radar this summer.

 

Pub in the Park, various locations

When and Where: Bath, south-west England (8-10 June), Tunbridge Wells, south-east England (6-8 July), Knutsford, Cheshire, north-west England (7-9 September)

Why: There’s nothing quite as quintessentially British as the pub and world-renowned chef Tom Kerridge – owner of the first pub, the Hand and Flowers, to be awarded two Michelin stars – is bringing the pub, first-class food and music to the great outdoors this summer. Sample dishes from top British pubs, including the Hand and Flowers and Tom’s other Michelin-starred pub The Coach, while dancing the night away to Razorlight, Jamie Cullum and KT Tunstall.

Getting there: Bath can be reached in 1.5 hours by train from London, Tunbridge Wells in one hour and Knutsford in three hours.

 

Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall

When: 26-29 July

Where: Port Eliot estate, St Germans, Cornwall, south-west England

Why: There’s plenty of chefs, stalls, locally-sourced and sustainable produce, international food and cookery demonstrations here that celebrate the rich and diverse food culture of Cornwall and south-west England. Yet as the festival is located in stunning 6,000 acres of countryside it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge in unforgettable outdoor activities, from wild swimming to foraging walks. This year’s food-demo focus concentrates on up-close-and-personal experiences in the estate’s centuries-old Big Kitchen and the Open Fire Stage. Oh, and there’s a baking masterclass with Desperate Housewives and Superman star Teri Hatcher.

Getting there: take a direct train from London to St Germans, which takes just under four hours.

 

Foodies Festival Edinburgh

When: 3-5 August

Where: Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why: Because you’ve always wanted to take part in cream-pie throwing, chilli eating and cheese-stretching competitions! Quirky activities aside, this touring festival (which travels to six other British destinations) brings everything a foodie could ask for to a festival, from Kombucha workshops to Prosecco and Parmesan masterclasses, artisan and street food stalls, a Gin Station and a Tequila Shack. Plus, you’ll see top bands such as The Hoosiers and Toploader perform.

Getting there: The park is a ten-minute taxi or bus ride from Edinburgh city centre.

 

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

When: 18-19 August

Where: Sandown, Isle of Wight, south England

Why: Ever fancied trying garlic fudge? Or how about sampling garlic popcorn or ice cream? The Isle of Wight, off the coast of south England, is famous for its garlic so it makes perfect sense for the island to host an entire festival to the ‘stinking rose’. Find out just how good garlic is for health, learn various ways to cook with it and how best to grow it. A new theatre kitchen has launched for this year where cooking demonstrations will take place and the whole charm of the festival is further boosted with live music, art, craft and food stalls, a huge funfair and children’s entertainers.

Getting there: Take the 45-minute ferry crossing to Fishbourne from Portsmouth Harbour (2 hours from London by train).

 

The Big Feastival, Cotswolds

When: 24-26 August

Where: Alex James Farm, Kingham, Cotswolds, central England

Why: Launched by Alex James of Britpop legends Blur, and taking place on his Cotswolds farm, The Big Feastival has earned its place as one of the food festivals to visit, thanks to both its impressive line-up of top chefs – which this year includes Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc, Mark Hix and Pierre Koffman – and stellar musical talent. Cheese is a big draw for this festival (Alex James makes his own); cheese lovers should head to the double-decker cheese hub with its award-winning artisan cheeses and all-day cocktail bar, and – new for 2018 – The Cheese Bar and The Cheese Truck where you can feast on huge stacks of British cheeseboards and grilled cheese sandwiches. When you’ve eaten your fill, dance off the calories to music from Basement Jaxx, Craig David, and Paloma Faith.

Getting there: The nearest train station is Kingham, 1.5 hours from London

 

Great British Food Festival, Wiltshire

When: 25-27 August

Where: Bowood House, Wiltshire, south-west England

Why: It’s a foodie paradise set in the grounds of a beautiful English stately home in the heart of the Cotswolds. Another touring festival, the Great British Food Festival comes to the breathtaking Bowood House, which gives visitors the opportunity to team a love for food with a love for history. Along with talks, stalls and cooking demonstrations, there’s also the chance to take part in some quirky British challenges – why not see if you can beat the record of eating a 74.5 inch sausage followed by a pint of cider in less than six minutes six seconds!

Getting there: the train takes just over an hour from London to Chippenham; Bowood House is then a 15-minute taxi ride from there.

 

Abergavenny Food Festival, Wales

When: 15-16 September

Where: Abergavenny, south Wales

Why: Set in a pretty medieval market town, this is one of Britain’s most well-established food festivals – 2018 marks the 20th year since the first took place –– and it’s a great festival to visit for combining a passion for food with a sense of adventure. There’s a diverse selection of forages and tours operating as part of the festival, taking advantage of the bountiful Welsh countryside. Forage for seafood or for gin botanicals or book onto tours of nearby vineyards and distilleries. The popular ‘Cooking Over Fire’ area will return to the town’s historic castle featuring Hang Fire BB, while the demo stage will host Welsh chef legends such as the Michelin-starred chef Gareth Ward from Ynyshir Hall, and James Sommerin from his eponymous restaurant in Penarth, Cardiff.

Getting there: Trains take 2.5 hours from London to Abergavenny or 45 minutes from Cardiff.

 

Topic tags:

Food & Drink

Festivals

Heritage

Culture

Location tags:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South-east England

8 new museums and exhibitions you won’t want to miss

You’re never far from a first-rate museum or art gallery in Britain, many of which are free to visit. Take a look at these hot new openings in 2018 and be the first to see some of the best new exhibitions and galleries in the world.

 

If you like – art and design

You’ll loveDundee’s V&A, Dundee, Scotland

The V&A – one of London’s best museums – opens a new outpost of the museum in the Scottish city of Dundee this autumn, located 1.5 hours from Edinburgh. Ultra-modern and sleek in design, and architect Kengo Kuma’s first British commission, the museum launches with the spectacular Ocean Liners: Speed & Style exhibition, which will display never-before-seen objects and highlights from the ships that revolutionised travel in the mid-19th to the late 20th centuries. The museum will also showcase world-class touring exhibitions from the V&A, as well as the best of Scottish design.

Open: 15 September

 

If you like – sculpture

You’ll loveYorkshire Sculpture Park’s new visitor centre, Yorkshire, north England

Be one of the first to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s (YSP) £4million, environmentally friendly visitor centre later this year, which will bring a gallery space exhibiting 20th- and 21st-century art, a restaurant and shop to this leading centre of modern and contemporary sculpture. Set in the 18th-century Bretton Hall Estate in West Yorkshire, 30 minutes from Leeds, it’s also the only place in the world where you can see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety as well as a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore.

Open: Summer 2018

 

If you like – great feats of engineering

You’ll love – Being Brunel, Bristol, south-west England

New to Bristol this year is Being Brunel, a museum celebrating the life and work of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the celebrated Victorian engineer whose famous designs include SS Great Britain, itself moored next to the new museum, and the city’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. It explores everything from the great designs themselves, his celebrity, his ambition to become a leader in engineering, and his home life. Families will love the interactive exhibits, which include talking portraits of his family and friends.

Open: Now

 

If you like – classic ceramics

You’ll love – the new-look Museum of Royal Worcester, Worcestershire, west England

Receiving a £1.7million refurbishment means the museum of the famed porcelain makers, located an hour from Birmingham, will become a living history of the factory, telling the stories of the people that worked there, as well as exhibiting collections that date back to 1751 when the company was formed.

Open: May 2018

 

If you like – maritime history

You’ll love – the new galleries at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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 is opening four new permanent galleries in 2018 in its East Wing. The new ‘Endeavour Galleries’ will each be dedicated to different themes: Pacific Encounters, Polar Worlds, Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, and Sea Things.
Open: Mid-2018 TBC

 

If you like – Welsh history

You’ll love – the new galleries at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff, Wales

Later this year, new galleries will open at the open-air history museum around St Fagans Castle to display objects – many never shown before – from the National Museum Wales’ collections. Part of a significant renovation project, there will also be new buildings across the site, one – Gweithdy, a sustainable building boasting a café and a range of craft workshops – that is now open.

Open: Now, and throughout 2018

 

If you like – WWII history

You’ll love – the new galleries at D-Day Story, Portsmouth, south England

Personal stories of D-Day are told through the museum’s collections and audio-visual presentations in the refurbished galleries of the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, two hours south of London. The new displays feature accounts of the Battle of Normandy and the museum has also put together guides on how you can discover the story of your family members involved in D-Day.

Open: Now

 

If you like – world-class art

You’ll love – the revamped Royal Academy, London

Marking its 250th anniversary in 2018, the Royal Academy will reveal its new look this summer. It will showcase more major exhibitions focusing on living artists and architects, new free art displays, and the institution’s two buildings – Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens – will be linked for the first time with dedicated spaces for exhibitions and displays across the site, including a new Architecture Studio and cafés. There’ll also be an increase in the debates, discussions and workshops the RA is famed for.

Open: May 2018

 

You might also like:

  • In autumn 2018 the British Museum in London will open the Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic world and a new Japan gallery.
  • The RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme is transforming its London site as part of the Royal Air Force’s centenary celebrations in 2018 with new permanent exhibitions, opening in the summer, and the Now & the Future exhibit area will tell the story of the RAF from its earliest years in the First World War to its global role today.
  • The new-look Mackintosh Tearooms, Glasgow, Scotland, a £10million project preserving the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Tea Rooms Building, is scheduled for completion in June, and a shop next door will be transformed into an education and interpretative centre.
  • Westminster Abbey, London, will welcome a new gallery and museum this summer. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Abbey’s medieval triforium, runs 70 ft above the Abbey and has not been seen by the public for more than 700 years. Expect to see treasures from the Abbey’s 1,000-year history.
  • Discover more than 3,000 objects from around the world in south London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens new World Gallery, celebrating what it means to be human. The new £4.6million gallery includes works of art and fun things to touch, play with and smell.

TASTE – April 2018

This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the destination.

 

TREND: CONSCIOUS DINING

Conscious dining has become a phenomenon across Britain. Restaurants, both old and new, are moving to waste-free ways of providing a delicious meal that can help make a difference on the planet. Many have started with ditching plastic straws to completely going plastic-free, from chains like Wagamama and Pizza Express to the Scottish Shetland Islands and the small Welsh village of Aberporth. Acclaimed restaurants like The Mandrake have only ever used biodegradable raw rye and corn-starch straws, while others like Spring have appointed Plastic Ambassadors to look into bio-degradable clingfilm alternatives by 2019.

 

TREND: SUSTAINABLE FOOD

With a unique concept offering pay-as-you-feel meals using quality-assured food that would otherwise be thrown out, Real Junk Food Manchester aims to tackle the issues of food waste & social inclusion. The project is open every week day for breakfast & lunch, and every Thurs, Fri & Sat night for fine dining evenings at its Oxford Street city centre restaurant. The team at RJFM hope to open more venues across the city centre & beyond using their waste food pay-as-you-feel model. 

Tom Hunt’s Bristol tapas restaurant, Poco, sources almost exclusively within a 50-mile-radius. Their food is nutritional, vegetable-centric, and made with whole foods and non-processed ingredients.

 

LONDON

New restaurant Brat has opened up in Shoreditch this March by Welsh chef Tomos Parry, bringing together Welsh and Basque cuisine with an emphasis on cooking on fire. With the people behind Noble Rot on the wine list, expect a great choice on the wine front. 

Also newly opened, Sabor is located on Heddon Street and takes you on a journey from the tapas bars of Andalucía through to the asadors of Castile and the seafood restaurants of Galicia. For years, Nieves Barragan was a driving force behind the menus at Barrafina and now she's opening up her own place, teaming up with another Barrafina Alumni José Etura. Expect the food and experience here to mix influences from the tapas bars of Andalucía, the asadors of Castile and the seafood restaurants of Galicia. There's a separate bar - and it should be a place for some top counter dining action. 

Another ‘must see’, greenhouse restaurants La Goccia and The Petersham will be opening in Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden this April, following the opening of the deli, cellar and café. And you can expect the room to look spectacular. Also opening in spring this year is Brigadiers, the latest from the Sethis - the people behind Gymkhana, Hoppers and Trishna - and this time they're opening their version of an Indian pub in the City. Expect all manner of dishes charred, smoked and grilled with kebabs, chops, tikka and feasting options on the menu. And, of course, a pretty decent beer selection too. 

The follow-up to Bob Bob Ricard, Bob Bob Cité is opening in May this year and will be just as opulent as the West End branch, with plenty of booths and special private rooms; a mini sushi restaurant inside; and of course the infamous Press for Champagne buttons.

 

WEST-MIDLANDS AND EAST ENGLAND

Cambridge 

Expected to be a beautiful, flamboyant and idiosyncratic restaurant; the Parker’s Tavern restaurant at University Arms, Cambridge will launch in August 2018 and will be a stand-alone destination restaurant and bar serving good, honest, locally sourced food – a delicious taste of Cambridge. The independently run restaurant will be overseen by Cambridge born and bred Chef Tristan Welch. Everything served will have British origins and will be rooted back to Cambridge and East Anglian producers. The restaurant overlooks Parker’s Piece and forms part of the UNIVERSITY ARMS, CAMBRIDGE which is also set to open early Summer 2018.There will be up to 110 covers in the restaurant and 61 in the bar and the food menu will consist of a selection of new modern classics, complimented by a seasonally changing menu.

 

SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST

Brighton

London’s burger joint Patty and Bun opened in February its first restaurant outside the capital, bringing all the classics from its menu along with a new vegan burger. Located amongst the South Lanes, this 40 seat burger joint offers the same banging burgers you get in all the other shops, as well as a tempting cocktail list, milkshakes, and local brews in the fridge and on tap.

The Ivy has been a firm fixture on London’s dining and social scene since its foundation in 1917 and there will be a new restaurant opening up in Brighton this spring. Renowned for its food, Executive Chef Gary Lee creates balanced seasonal lunch and dinner menus that place the Ivy classics alongside a contemporary global palette, incorporating more Asian dishes, salads and vegetables, and a “sea and shells” section.

 

YORKSHIRE

West Yorkshire

Opening early 2018, Broadley's will be a new independent bistro and wine bar by local, award winning chef, Matthew Broadley. Known to many due to his time as Head Chef at The Devonshire Arms Brasserie, The Wheatley Arms and more recently, The Black Hat. With a focus on local produce and classic British dishes, there’ll also be a bar stocked with handpicked labels from around the world.

 

NORTH-WEST ENGLAND

Manchester

After a runaway success operating on the doorsteps of Altrincham Market, Sugo Pasta Kitchen will bring their hugely popular southern Italian pasta dishes to the city centre in early 2018.

In addition, 20 Stories, a rooftop destination restaurant and botanical terrace bar operated by iconic restaurant group D&D London, opened on the 1 March this year in the flagship building development No.1 Spinningfields. Aiden has created a menu that also showcases the best of the Northwest with an aim to source ingredients no more than 50 miles from outside Manchester.

Liverpool

Cain’s Brewery Village in the trendy Baltic Triangle neighbourhood, has very quickly become the city’s brightest hotspot for food and drink. The biggest draw is Baltic Market, a rolling collection of innovative independents competing to be the name on everyone’s lips, literally. From Thursday to Sunday, its long rows of wooden benches are packed with gastronomes. However, you’d be mistaken to think it’s the be-all and end-all of the area. Ryde Coffee Shop provides top cycling gear and repairs alongside its espressos; Kiosk is a cocktail bar in a converted...well, kiosk…which changes its theme according to the season; and Peaky Blinders, named for the global hit series, is much cooler than the average theme bar.

Heswall's newest and most exciting dining out sensation opened up in Liverpool earlier this year. SILK RD Restaurant share their passion for travel and love for fresh food in a concept that brings to life the food, drinks and soul that can be found along the ancient routes that run from the Pacific of East China through to the Mediterranean Sea. They aim to touch all of your senses, starting from when you arrive.

 

CUMBRIA

The winner of Cumbria Tourism’s most recent ‘Taste Cumbria’ award is set to grow its foodie reputation further with the official launch of its newly-restyled restaurant Allium, which opened with its new look in February. Under the guidance of Head Chef Richard Swale, the former home of the Earls of Lonsdale has been steadily building up its reputation for food and drink since it opened its doors to guests more than four years ago. From, the newly-styled restaurant will take on its own distinct identity, as part of a wider expansion at Askham.

The restaurant’s new name ‘Allium’ is taken from the striking purple flower which thrives within Askham Hall’s 12 acre gardens, alongside other varieties from the Allium family growing in the kitchen garden (onions / garlic) and the surrounding landscape (wild garlic). As well as representing a long-term change of direction for the ancient building, this trinity of alliums symbolises the restaurant’s desire to produce plates of food which are completely in harmony with nature.

 

SOUTH-WEST

Bristol

The foodie hub Bristol keeps on giving, as a plethora of new restaurants open in 2018. Inspired by fire, meat & music, Pasture will open early 2018 as a steakhouse and bar from Sam Elliott, former nationwide chef director at Jamie’s Italian.

Wapping Wharf favourites Woky Ko are opening a new restaurant on Queens Road at the top of Park Street; Pasta Ripiena from the team behind Pasta Loco on Cotham Hill are opening the UK’s first dedicated ravioli bar on St Stephen’s Street; and The Florist which offers cocktails, cocktail masterclasses, nightly DJs and culinary delights has just opened on Park Street. Another addition to Bristol’s food scene, The Bristol Cookhouse is a culinary hub for foodies – a cafe, dining club, food studio and cookery workshop with a focus on health, wellbeing, environment and food sustainability.

The new British Dal Festival made its debut on 19-25 March this year, celebrating Dal and other classic pulse-based dishes from around the world. Initiated by the British Edible Pulse Association and involving a diversity of Bristol communities, the free event includes a Dal trail around the city’s restaurants and cafes, each offering a signature dal. Following a break in 2017, Food Connections returns to the city in June 2018. A gathering of the Bristol food community, the festival aims to bring together the city’s independent spirit and creative food cultures. Events throughout the festival place emphasis on knowledge, participation and fun and in the past, have included a street food extravaganza in Millennium Square, producer markets, a huge food trail, debates, food walks, cookery classes and demos from celebrity chefs.

 

Devon

The newest Rockfish restaurant on England’s Seafood Coast will be in Exeter Quays later this year. The waterside new-build restaurant will have a bar and an open kitchen with wood fires to cook the seafood over. The seafood will come from the nearby renowned Brixham Fish Market. Acclaimed chef Mitch Tonks’ award-winning small seafood chain of restaurants specialise in sustainable seafood.

 

Cornwall

The team behind the renowned Watering Hole pub and restaurant on the beach in Perranporth, are set to open another foodie hero this summer, just a stone’s throw from their popular eatery. Pitched as a bristo, Alcatraz will be built into the cliff at a former WW2 gun shelter at the entrance to Perranporth Beach, and will feature pop-up feast and cocktail nights.

 

SCOTLAND

Argyll & The Isles

Amongst 28 acres of gardens and protected woodland you’ll spot Islay House, one of Scotland’s grandest and most historic country house hotels, located on the Whisky Isle. It has recently opened its farm-to-table restaurant The Jib Door. Local home-grown catch and produce means visitors will always get the freshest in-season ingredients and daily menu changes.

In the land of whisky, there’s a few new kids on the block. Argyll and The Isles welcomes The Botanist Dry Gin from Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay, Lussa Gin at Ardlussa on the Isle of Jura, and Kintyre Gin at Beinn an Tuirc Distillery on the Isle of Arran, also sitting comfortably alongside the Campbeltown whiskies.

Aberdeenshire

In 2017, Orchid won best cocktail bar of the year at the Scottish Licensed Trade News Awards. Aberdeen’s home for discerning drinkers, this styled and relaxed establishment features mixologists regarded among the best in the UK. Orchid is also home to award-winning Porters Gin.

Speyside

Last year the slumbering giant of The Malt Whisky Trail was reawakened, rebranded and relaunched. Spanning the Moray Speyside region, the trail showcases nine whisky destinations, including seven operational distilleries, a cooperage and a historic distillery. This trail takes visitors from white beaches to tall forests, past legendary craftsmen to world-renowned brands all the way to discover the jewel in Scotland’s crown.

 

WALES

Cardiff

The Wales and Real Madrid footballer, Gareth Bale, has teamed up with Brains Brewery and opened a brand new sports bar in the heart of Cardiff, Elevens Bar & Grill.

In the new boutique Hotel Indigo, acclaimed chef Marco Pierre White opened his famous Steakhouse Bar & Grill on the rooftop, further increasing Cardiff’s claim to being a foodie destination outside of London.

The Admiral St David recently underwent a total refurbishment. The Australasian restaurant is an entirely new restaurant concept for Wales and the south west, serving up an exotic melting pot of fresh Australasian flavours. The relaxed, contemporary restaurant and bar, based at Cardiff Bay’s five-star luxury St David’s Hotel, features the very finest in Indonesian, Japanese, Sri Lankan, and Australian cuisine.

Eccentric Britain

Summer in Britain is more than picnics in the park, strawberries at Wimbledon, and drinking Pimms at a barbecue. One thing it does better than anyone else is good old-fashioned eccentricity! Adults dancing on hobby horses, faces stretched into hilarious contortions, and a festival of fools make Great Britain THE place to be this summer for tourists seeking adventure off the beaten path. From the sublime to the ridiculous, there’s an unusual activity to satiate every traveller’s metaphorical palate.

 

The Padstow ‘Obby ‘Oss Festival

Padstow, Cornwall, 1st May

Head down to the Cornish port town of Padstow on May Day and you’ll find one of the most unusual British traditions where each year, thousands flock to watch two ‘Obby Osses’ (hobby horses) dancing to the beat of drums and accordions. 

 

Belfast Festival of Fools

Belfast, Northern Ireland, 4th – 8th May

Held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, Belfast gets together to laugh itself silly as a whole host of offbeat and alternative comedy acts, circus performers and street theatre combines to make the silliest summer entertainment. A free festival, those coming to Belfast for the event can expect to get their walking shoes on and pound the historic streets, enjoying events like cabaret and comedy as they go.

 

Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming

Blackawton, Devon, 27th May

Starting back in 1983, ‘Worm Master’ Nat Lowson and his team of worm-charming officials preside over the annual event each May, where people compete for the dubious accolade of who can charm the worms out of the ground the fastest.

 

Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill

Brockworth, Gloucestershire, 28th May

An event harking back to the 1800s, cheese-rolling is as bonkers as it sounds. Contestants chase after a speeding wheel of Double Gloucester cheese as big as a newborn baby, and the first to reach the cheese (which can go as fast as 70 miles an hour) is the victor.

 

The Highland Games

Various venues, Scotland, May – September

Quintessentially Scottish, the Highland Games have been an important annual event for centuries. Taking place across several cities, towns and islands across the country, they attract thousands of excited spectators from around the world. 

‘Expect the unexpected’ is an unofficial mantra, as sports such as Caber Toss and Tug ‘O’ War stand alongside best-dressed pet competitions and, of course, Highland dancing.

 

World Bog Snorkelling Championships

Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, 26th August

Over a weekend at the end of August, plucky snorkellers race against each other in the murky Waen Rhydd peat bog – they can wear wetsuits, snorkels and flippers but can’t use any recognisable swimming stroke.

Hundreds of participants compete each year in the event which Lonely Planet described as one of the Top 50 “Must Do” activities in 2014.

 

Egremont Crab Fair and World Gurning Championships

Egremont, West Cumbria, 14th – 15th September

Held every September in beautiful Cumbria, the historic Crab Fair has been running since 1267 to celebrate the season of crab apples of September.

Alongside street-racing and ‘The Cuddy’, aka horse racing, the fair plays host to the famous World Gurning Championships where folk compete for the title by contorting their faces through a horse collar. A truly strange tradition, it’s thought to have started as a way to “mock the village idiot”, but is now simply a fun competition to see who can pull the most grotesque or silliest face.

Six of the best: chances to go foraging for your own food

From rugged coasts surrounding sea teeming with crabs, shellfish and edible seaweed, to fruitful hedgerows and wild mushrooms on forest walks, Britain’s delicious landscape is abundant with tasty morsels – if you know where to look. Join some of Britain’s best foragers and follow your food’s journey from land to plate.

Coastal foraging in North Yorkshire, north-east England

Join Taste the Wild on its one-day coastal foraging course in Staithes, North Yorkshire, where you can learn about the diversity of edible seaweed and shellfish on Britain's rocky coasts. Start your day exploring the foreshore and find seaweeds that can be harvested for food, while discovering different species of crabs and shellfish in the rock pools and gullies. If the sea is calm you’ll pull lobster pots from the sea at low tide and check the catch for size. After a morning of exploring, return to Staithes with your foraged food and enjoy lunch in the Smugglers Gallery or Old Sunday School, where your wild harvest will be served.

Getting there: Staithes is on England’s north-east coast, and is a four and half-hour journey by public transport from London, or a five-hour drive.

Feast with a wild cookery school, in Cornwall, south-west England

Set up by Caroline Davey in 2007, Fat Hen is a wild cookery school. It will take you back to basics, teaching once-vital skills on how to forage, cook and feast on your findings from the wild. Enjoy a two-hour foraging trip to west Cornwall's wild landscapes, including seashore, hedgerow, woodland and farmland, and learn how to forage safely and legally. After your exploration, Caroline will take you back to Fat Hen where you’ll be taught how to cook a series of wild dishes before enjoying them for lunch. 

Getting there: located in Penzance, Cornwall, Fat Hen is a five-hour drive from London, or less than six hours by train.

Get back to nature with Galloway Wild Foods, Scotland

Join Mark, founder of Galloway Wild Foods, in the wild and be inspired by his passion for foraging while you learn about the delicious and nutritious food you can gather in the great outdoors. A full-time foraging tutor, Mark offers an abundance of foraging walks and teaching events for novices and improvers alike in Scotland and northern England; these include specific themed events such as spring plants, coastal foraging, fungi, drunken botany and wild gourmet days.

Getting there: Galloway Wild Foods will be hosting events around Scotland and northern England, check the website for details.

Go seashore and hedgerow foraging through beautiful Welsh countryside, Pembrokeshire, west Wales 

With the Llys Meddyg restaurant and rooms as a basecamp, the estuary, seashore and forest are yours to explore when foraging with Don Lawrence and Ed Sykes through the Welsh countryside. Running on selected dates throughout the year, the four-hour seashore and hedgerow foraging course will take you on a tour of the beautiful local landscape, for a fun and informative guide to food foraging. Taste wild food along the way, as you source ingredients for your lunch while learning how to safely identify and gather your finds.

Getting there: Llys Meddyg is in west Wales, and is a two hour drive from Cardiff.

Return to your wild self with Monica Wilde, locations across Scotland

Join Monica in the wild landscapes of Scotland on one of her foraging walks or day courses, where you'll learn about native plants and their uses as both wild foods and herbal medicines. Head to the East Lothian coast in the winter and identify tasty, edible seaweed and coastal hedgerow plants, while enjoying the crisp stillness of the Scottish coast on a frosty day. If you prefer something a little warmer, head to Edinburgh to celebrate the spring equinox, and hunt for early wild garlic, wild leek, hairy bittercress, dandelion, sweet cicely shoots, and other spring vegetables. Here you'll understand more about edible and medicinal wild plants and how to prepare and cook them. 

Getting there: East Lothian is a 35-minute drive from Edinburgh, which is a 70-minute flight from London.

Tuck into home-foraged food, The Forest Side, Grasmere, Cumbria

Set in a 19th-century Victorian hotel and just minutes from the village of Grasmere, The Forest Side hotel is a serious foodie destination, with Kevin Tickle, former chef and head forager at two Michelin-starred restaurant L’Enclume, heading up the kitchen. Kevin’s menu changes daily according to produce available within the abundant 46 acres of forageable grounds, and the extensive Victorian walled kitchen garden.

Getting there: located in Grasmere, The Forest Side hotel is a five-hour journey from London by public transport, or five and a half hours by car.

VisitBritain invites Australian travellers to Find Your GREAT Britain in 2018

Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain has launched a new marketing campaign in Australia to boost tourism to Britain.

The ‘I Travel For…’ marketing campaign was officially launched at a VisitBritain reception attended by more than 100 representatives from the travel industry across Australia as well as media from the travel and lifestyle sectors.

VisitBritain’s campaign, which runs from February 5 until March 31 in Australia, uses short films and story-telling to shine the spotlight on unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations in Britain, alongside its globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions. The short films and images align the passions that motivate Australians to travel with experiences they can only have in Britain, inspiring them to ‘Find Your Great Britain’ and book a trip right now.  

VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

“Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, and is a fiercely competitive global industry. We are seizing the opportunity in 2018 to showcase that Britain is bursting with fun activities, adventure and wonderfully unexpected experiences to come and discover all year round.“

VisitBritain Director Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa Tricia Warwick said:

“Australia is an extremely important market for VisitBritain; a billion-pound market and our fourth most valuable. We want to build on the growth we have seen in visits from Australia so far in 2017 and invite more Aussies to Find Your Great Britain this year.

“From Britain’s exciting and contemporary culture and living history to the vibrancy of its cool cities, from thrill-seeking adventures in stunning countryside to its local food and drink experiences, I Travel For... wants to inspire visitors from Australia to book a trip right now.”

The campaign has been developed based on VisitBritain’s global research into people’s motivations, passions and inspiration for travel including adventure, fun, discovery, food and drink and the unexpected.

VisitBritain is working with commercial partners in Australia including Flight Centre and Etihad to amplify its global marketing reach and convert the aspiration to visit into bookings. Its partnerships with airlines and travel brands showcase how accessible Britain is for Australians via the five key gateways.

The latest official statistics show that there has been strong growth in visits from Australia to the UK. There were 876,000 visits from Australia to the UK from January to September 2017, up 11% compared to the same period the previous year. Visitors from Australia spent £956 million in the UK during this period, up 12% compared to the same period in 2016.

‘I Travel For…’ is part of the UK Government’s global GREAT Britain campaign, which showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer as a place to visit, study, invest and do business.

-ENDS-

 

For more information on the I Travel For... campaign please contact Kristen Angus at VisitBritain: kristen.angus@visitbritain.org

Notes:  

Reasons to travel to Britain in 2018:

  • Bristol in England is opening a new museum, Being Brunel, in early 2018 and London’s V&A Museum is opening an outpost in Dundee in the second half of the year.
  • It will be a big year for culture in Liverpool as it celebrates its 10th anniversary of being named European Capital of Culture. The city welcomes the Terracotta Warriors to the World Museum from February to October 2018.
  • NewcastleGateshead in England will host The Great Exhibition of the North, celebrating the cities’ culture, art and design from June to September.
  • Scotland heralds 2018 as the Year of Young People, with events including the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo and Speyside Whisky Festival.
  • Wales celebrates the Year of the Sea celebrating its epic coastline, fringed with rugged cliffs, wide sandy bays, and the adventures to match through themed events and celebrations. Its annual literary and arts festival, The Laugharne Weekend, is in April, followed by the Festival of Voice in Cardiff in June. The Big Cheese Festival takes place in Caerphilly in June, with a Seafood Festival in Cardigan Bay in July.
  • The last season of Game of Thrones will be filmed in Northern Ireland, on locations including Giant's Causeway (The Iron Island) and the Dark Hedges (The King’s Road), along with the original filming locations of Winterfell.

In 2016:

  • There were 982,000 visits from Australia to Britain with total spend of £1.06 billion, placing Australia as fourth most valuable for inbound spend and 10th biggest source market for inbound visits to the UK.
  • The average Australian visitor spent £1,079, 80% more than the average visitor to the UK in 2016.
  • Australians stay for longer than average. They stayed for 13 nights in 2016, almost 80% more than the average visitor who stayed for 7 nights.
  • Australian visitors have a high propensity to travel across Britain. In 2016 61% visits from Australia included a visit to London, 52% in the English regions, 13% in Scotland, 7% in Wales – compared to 51%, 42%, 7% and 3% respectively for the average visitor to the UK.

Source: International Passenger Survey, Office of National Statistics UK