Spotlight on: West London

Seriously good bars and cool street markets, cutting-edge theatre and smart hotels; Earl’s Court and Shepherd’s Bush may be well-known enclaves of west London – international backpackers and short- and long-term visitors have been coming to these neighbourhoods for decades – yet these areas of west London have undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre is gone, streets have smartened up and there are hidden gems to discover.

 

Where to…Eat

Shepherd’s Bush

Mustard is a treasure on Shepherd’s Bush Road; a cool neighbourhood diner with sassy décor, offering up a brasserie-style menu. Its ‘Green Menu’ is packed with delicious vegetarian options and its daytime and evening menus have a considerable collection of innovative dishes all utilising British produce.

Attracting a young, hip crowd but still maintaining a traditional British pub feel is no mean feat – yet The Defector’s Weld does it with aplomb. It’s a great pub to visit anytime, but especially at the weekend; Sundays are all about its ‘Roasts and Records’, winding down after its busy Friday and Saturday nights hosting eclectic DJ performances.

Bring your appetite and head to Bush Hall Dining Rooms for a cool diner-style restaurant serving hearty comfort food and all-day weekend breakfasts. There’s also a generous cocktail list and, if you’re going to a gig at the neighbouring Bush Hall, you receive a 10% discount on your meal.

Looking for fine dining? Find it at Shikumen, located at the Dorsett Hotel, for first-class Chinese cuisine that uses British produce prepared with traditional Asian flavours and cooking styles.

Coming soon: A new restaurant Maple is set to open at Westfield London in summer 2018.

 

Earl’s Court

The Prince is something special – one street transformed until the end of the summer into an avenue of four restaurants, three bars and an English country garden (retractable roof comes as standard), all of which is less than ten minutes’ walk from Earl’s Court Underground. Food ranges from top-quality burgers and Thai canteen-style cuisine to top-notch fried chicken and bao and yakitori grill, while a deck connects it all together with the revitalised Prince of Wales pub at its heart – and possibly makes it London’s largest beer garden!

Serving up satisfyingly British, giant-scale Sunday lunches as well as everyone’s favourite, the bottomless Saturday brunch, mean The Lillie Langtry and its divine Victorian cocktail lounge means it’s always an attractive venue to visit to quench thirst and satiate hunger. The owners have also launched an innovative project called Brush and Bubbles where people can come together, whatever their artistic ability, to chat and paint while enjoying a glass of bubbly.

The Pembroke is as quintessential a British gastropub as it gets. Feast on delicious meals in the intimate dining room of this historic building, enjoy drinks in its lively downstairs bar or relax on comfy sofas and snug armchairs in its upstairs lounge bar. Head to its roof garden when the sun’s shining and come back on a Sunday when it hosts its ‘Hangover Club’ for Bloody Marys, feel-good brunches and Sunday roasts.

The Evan & Peel Detective Agency is one of the places to spend an evening in Earl’s Court; this speakeasy style bar promises a distinctly memorable evening. Book an ‘appointment’ online to get in. You’ll then be taken into a small basement office to discuss your eating and drinking needs. Huge amounts of fun and an evening to message home about.

 

Where to…Stay

Shepherd’s Bush

K West Hotel & Spa may be a four-star haven but it also prides itself on its cutting-edge style and ambience. And that’s down to its location within former recording studios where legends such as The Kinks and Bob Marley laid down tracks. Its Studio Bar is all chic furnishings and chandeliers, playing host to a cool urban crowd at the weekends. And its spa features London’s first ‘snow paradise’; chilled to -15C, a cabin has captured the feel of a snow drift designed to complement the spa’s hot-cold therapy, alternating between steam and ice environments.

Another four-star option in Shepherd’s Bush is the Dorsett Hotel, which is conveniently located for a trip to the nearby shopping paradise that is Westfield London shopping mall. Behind the historic building façade lies a distinctly modern design, destination bar and restaurants, and a chance to rejuvenate at its Spa Mika, which overlooks Shepherd’s Bush Green for some added tranquillity. And, if you’re looking for a boutique-style property that’s literally right next door to Westfield, check in to W12 Rooms, where bedroom décor is vintage-inspired.

 

Earl's Court

Look beyond backpacker hostels and you’ll find an assortment of hotels to suit all budgets. Mere minutes’ walk from Earl’s Court Underground is the colourful, contemporary style of the Hotel Indigo Kensington secreted within a luxury Victorian townhouse. It’s a bright and comfortable accommodation option with its own Italian restaurant on site – Theo’s Simple Italian – if you like what you eat you can book on to one of its regular Italian cuisine masterclasses. Steps away from here is the Henley House Hotel, another townhouse property that overlooks a picturesque residential square and combines its classical features with modern décor. Art is a key element the property and you’ll find specially commissioned photographic prints in the guestrooms as well as artwork in its garden conservatory. Boutique hotel Twenty Nevern Square is a real find three minutes’ walk from Earl’s Court station; this four-star accommodation has individually designed rooms influenced by a range of international styles; think Egyptian sleigh beds and hand-carved four-poster beds.

 

Where to…Play

Shepherd’s Bush

Quite simply, you’ve arrived in shopping heaven; Shepherd’s Bush is home to Westfield London shopping centre, a heady combination of high-street and luxury stores, beauty bars and entertainment. It’s a great place to spend even an entire day, particularly if you’re travelling with kids; you can book them into KidZania – an indoor city for kids between 4-14, with 60 real-life activities for them to participate in while you treat yourself to some retail therapy. Alternatively, head down to the newest All Star Lanes venue at Westfield London – aside from the ten bowling lanes, keep yourself amused for hours in its karaoke booths and three Art Deco-style bars.

For altogether different type of shopping experience, but one that’s equally memorable, head to Shepherd’s Bush Market. It specialises in fresh food and fabrics and is a proper west London treat; established more than 100 years ago, it’s a much-loved fixture in the neighbourhood. An extension to the market opened earlier this year, the Old Laundry Yard, an unmissable mix of food stalls, ranging from Venezuelan street food to Nigerian barbecue, and a creative community space.

There’s more to Shepherd’s Bush than shopping; catch up with culture here too. Book tickets to a gig at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which has hosted some of the world’s most inspirational artists, from David Bowie to Adele, Amy Winehouse to Muse, as well as being a hotspot for talented newcomers. And, just ten minutes’ walk from Shepherd’s Bush Underground station, is the Bush Theatre; thought-provoking performances take place across its two theatre spaces and it’s become renowned as a home to showcase original work – be the first to see plays penned by the world of theatre’s newest and most exciting writers. 

 

Earl’s Court

When you’re in Earl’s Court you’re only a 20-minute walk from some of the capital’s greatest museums, such as the Natural History Museum, the V&A and the Science Museum. Yet take an even shorter stroll to another two museums to have on your must-visit list. First is the Design Museum, which moved to the area less than 18 months ago from its east London location, and is 2018 European Museum of the Year. Come for inspirational exhibitions or to join a specialist workshop in design practice. Right next door is the picturesque Holland Park and its 55 acres of gardens and woodland and Japanese-style Kyoto Gardens to explore. Second on the list should be an institution that describes itself as ‘a private palace of art’…and that’s a pretty accurate description of the Leighton House Museum, the former home of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. He curated a glorious collection of art that encompasses a mesmerising Arab Hall with a golden dome, beautifully detailed mosaics and paintings by Lord Leighton himself, all in various stages of completion.

Within half an hour’s stroll from Earl’s Court you can explore some of the capital’s greatest and most fascinating sights. Kensington Palace, home to both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, is where royal history comes to life – visit its unmissable exhibitions, which currently comprise Diana: Her Fashion Story and Victoria Revealed. And for a fascinating afternoon out, take a stroll around Brompton Cemetery. One of London’s seven historic cemeteries, it’s here you’ll discover the stories of the thousands of people buried here among historical monuments, woodland, stoned arcades and catacombs.

Luxury that doesn’t cost the earth in south-west England

Sustainable tourism is a hot topic right now, as the fight against plastic pollution gains ground, along with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and achieving zero waste. As 5 June marks World Environment Day, we highlight a few of the multitude of eco-friendly places to stay in south-west England, just one of Britain’s regions well-known for its green approach.

 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

Perched on landscape that looks out over the gorgeous Cornish coastline and Mawgan Porth Beach, sustainability is a way of life at The Scarlet, which describes itself as a luxury eco-friendly hotel. Solar panels heat the indoor swimming pool, a renewable energy source provides electricity and there’s a natural ventilation system throughout. Its green credentials – which also embrace extensive recycling, water-saving initiatives and using ingredients in its menus sourced from as many local producers as possible – are seriously impressive. Guest rooms are provided with organic towels and, to save energy and reduce packaging, there are no fridges or tea and coffee trays; instead, guests are taken freshly made tea, coffee and homemade snacks (all complimentary) at their request.

 

Dartington Hall, Devon

A country estate near Totnes in Devon, the elegant Dartington Hall cleverly combines its long and varied history – its Great Hall dates back to the 14th century and you can stay in rooms that face onto its medieval courtyard – with a commitment to sustainability. A large proportion of its energy is produced via renewables such as biomass boilers and solar panels, while locally grown food is used at its restaurants The Green Table and The White Hart Restaurant. The estate also runs an in-depth conservation programme and, to really get back to nature, you can also enjoy wild camping on the estate.

 

Log House Holidays, Cotswolds

Roll-top baths under the stars, private beach and Finnish hot tub – sounds idyllic. All this luxury is also eco-friendly at Log House Holidays, which provides eight secluded luxury log houses around a 130-acre lake and nature reserve. Stargazing on a clear night is essential and guests have ample opportunity to spot local wildlife. The largest cabin, Mayo Landing, is set on a private island in the middle of the lake and has its own heated pool and wood-fired sauna, while all the lodges are furnished from local antique and auction houses, another positive step towards reducing that carbon footprint.

 

The Green House, Bournemouth, Dorset

This Grade II-listed Victorian villa style property in the heart of Bournemouth is fully committed to sustainability. At The Green House Hotel water is heated by solar energy, electricity is generated on site and each of its rooms are fitted with locally made wool carpets. The paint that adorns the walls is eco paint, the furniture throughout is created in the UK using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, its restaurant sources from local producers, the wine list is created taking into account each bottle’s carbon footprint and even its company car runs on the cooking oil used in the kitchen. Yet its rooms are luxurious with walk-in showers, luxury toiletries and goose down duvets, and in-room beauty treatments are an added treat.

 

Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
There are many elements to recommend Burgh Island; it’s in An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast of south Devon, you can arrive there via sea tractor, it’s one of the most prominent places to see and experience Art Deco in the country and it counts literary legends such as Agatha Christie and Noel Coward among its former guests. But it’s also led the way in environmental matters for more than a decade. It’s gorgeous location on the coastline of south Devon means it can meet its local sourcing policy – particularly for seafood and meat – where 80% of ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius of the island. It has a natural sea water bathing pool and, as far back as ten years ago, it installed its own borehole used for irrigation and cleaning water, while 11 years ago it introduced elements to control external light pollution. Last year it installed electric car charging stations and there are plans a foot for a new eco-build on the island, The Pool House.

 

Eco Chic Cottages, Cotswolds

Effortlessly combining luxury style with sustainability, Eco Chic Cottages – The Chestnuts and Culls Cottage – are built in the beautiful honey-stone native to the Cotswolds offering elegantly luxurious accommodation that’s considerate to the environment. Its energy saving initiatives are first-class; the thick traditional stone walls keep the cottages naturally cool in summer and warm in the winter, each cottage has a wood fire rather than coal and curtains are thermally lined to keep heat in. You’ll only find products in the cottages that are kind to the environment, taps have aerators to reduce water follow and there are recycling and rainwater-harvesting initiatives in place.

 

You might also like these sustainable restaurants and attractions in the region:

In the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, restaurant Greengages is focused on using locally sourced products in all its food that is prepared fresh to order – cutting down on carbon footprint and food waste. And just 30 minutes away in the Wiltshire town of Tisbury, the Pythouse Kitchen Garden focuses on an ‘eat the seasons’ ethos and grows many of its ingredients on site. Nearby attraction, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery – where you can book on tours and tastings of its gin – was awarded the BREEAM Award for Industrial Design – an award that sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.

Cornwall has a raft of organic, sustainable restaurants; check out Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Falmouth, which focuses on sustainability across everything from recycling and sourcing to conservation and energy usage. Or dine at the restaurant at Bangor’s Organic on the north coast of Cornwall, where the journey from garden to plate can be counted in minutes. You can also stay at its B&B, one of only three Soil Association certified B&Bs in the UK. For Michelin-star cuisine, head to Michael Caines at the stunning Lympstone Manor hotel just outside Exeter in Devon. Michael is passionate about sourcing local produce and supporting local producers and has also recently planted 17,500 vines over 10.5 acres to grow his own Lympstone sparkling wine.

Accommodation Update - May 2018

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

 

Recently opened

AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast, Northern Ireland
April 2018

Connect to the city in a new way at AC Hotel Belfast, an urban retreat in an exceptional riverside location. Explore Belfast on foot with Titanic Belfast, City Hall, Belfast Waterfront, SSE Arena and the shops of Victoria Square a short walk away. Guests can enjoy an AC Fitness Room, 24hr room service and can opt for a delicious continental or cooked breakfast. With two meeting rooms, an AC Lounge, riverside terrace and all-day dining, the hotel provides the perfect co-working space. When day turns to night, the restaurant “Novelli at City Quays” will excite as multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli brings his flare to the dining experience and expert bartenders serve up local knowledge with craft beer and cocktails.

 

Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites, Manchester, England
August 2018
The first dual-branded (‘double decker’) hotel in the north of England will boast a 212-room Crowne Plaza and a 116-room Staybridge Suites. Crowne Plaza will feature an upscale restaurant, seven meeting rooms, catering for over 200 delegates and a gym. Staybridge Suites will be located on the upper eight floors and will offer a warm, social and home-like environment through a mix of studio and one bedroom suites.

 

Cow Hollow Hotel, Manchester, England
May 2018
A restored turn-of-the-century textile warehouse has now opened as the Cow Hollow Hotel following a long-running labour of love from married owners Mujtaba and Amelia. High-tech but with a touch of colonial Victorian majesty, the hotel has 17 rooms and is situated on Newton Street within Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter. A stay at Cow Hollow includes a range of complimentary features including an evening champagne and antipasti cart.

 

The Saint George Hotel, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England

April 2018
The Saint George hotel has opened as the only coast & country hotel in the North. This Edwardian Hotel is an iconic building in the centre of Harrogate and comprises of 81 modern bedrooms including a swimming pool, spa, sauna, steam room and fitness room with weights – perfect for those who like to keep active during those leisurely evenings away from home.

 

West Stow Pods: New Pod Hollow, Suffolk, England

5 May
West Stow Pods is a family-run glamping site in the heart of Suffolk’s scenic countryside, situated roughly four miles from East Anglia’s historic town of Bury St Edmunds. West Stow Pods offers a range of lodging styles including four cosy MegaPods and their newest development, the Pod Hollow, a Halfling-inspired subterranean dwelling nestled in the side of a grassy knoll. Guests will have a unique and tranquil glamping experience in Suffolk’s picturesque woodlands.

 

New holiday homes in the woodland retreat of Sandy Balls Holiday Village in the New Forest, England
April 2018
£1 million has been invested in creating the Zen, an innovative new type of caravan that has been designed so people can escape their busy lives and tune out from digital noise and the stresses. Hidden among the trees within the beautiful and relaxing setting of Sandy Balls, the Zen offers a calming and peaceful escape away in the woodlands.

 

Relaunches and Refurbishments

Hotel du Vin at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol, England

June 2018
Perched on the edge of rocky Avon Gorge, this classic Victorian hotel enjoys a fabulous location overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was recently acquired by the Hotel du Vin group and is currently being upgraded in line with a rebranding. The stylish, new-look rooms are complete and the restaurant, reception and terrace are still a work in progress.

 

Opening Soon

Crowne Plaza London
18 June 2018
Crowne Plaza London - Albert Embankment will be the first luxury hotel to open in the Albert Embankment area, offering breath-taking views over the Thames, including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. The hotel will have 142 bedrooms, a state of the art gym, an American lobby bar and a rooftop terrace.

 

Native Glasgow
August 2018
The first Native foray in Scotland sees the opening of Native Glasgow, located in a fabulous Art Deco office building built in 1906 as the former headquarters for the Anchor Line Shipping Company. The building has been restored with many of the original features retained; the ornate wood panelling, feature fireplaces and crystal glazed windows give the statement rooms a touch of the elegance found on the grand ocean liners of the time.

Native Glasgow are working with the appointed interior architects, ICA, on this multi-million-pound refurbishment programme to create 64 studio, one bedroom and penthouse apartments.

 

Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre, Belfast
August 2018
Located in central Belfast, Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre offers modern rooms with free WiFi and secure discounted parking beside the hotel. Travellers of all types will appreciate our proximity to the main road networks and public transport hub making, Belfast City Airport (BHD) and SSE Arena within easy reach.

The hotel is within walking distance of the fashionable Victoria Square shopping centre and many of the city’s attractions. The Grand Opera House and the Lyric Theatre are less than two miles away. Walk to Great Victoria Street railway station for easy access around the city and the surrounding areas. After a busy day, unwind in your spacious room with a clean and fresh Hampton bed™.

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

48 hours in… Belfast

Get inspired by our series of 48 Hours In..., this time in Belfast! Having been named the best region to visit in 2018 in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel, we shine the spotlight on the fascinating capital of Northern Ireland.

 

Why Belfast?

Belfast is a city of many quarters, each with its own character and story to share. The oldest quarter, and the city's cultural heart, is the Cathedral Quarter, characterised by cobble streets and traditional pubs. Home to some of Belfast's iconic political wall murals, the Gaeltacht Quarter is an area where Irish language and culture flourishes. Encompassing historic Queen's University, Ulster Museum and the Lisburn Road, the Queens Quarter has informal cafés, bars and independent shops. The RMS Titanic is so synonymous with this city that a whole neighbourhood is named in its honour. Delve into Belfast's rich industrial and maritime heritage in the Titanic Quarter, and witness the story of the origins, construction, launch and legacy of this world-famous ship.

A day of celebration throughout Ireland and beyond, St Patrick's Day falls on 17 March every year. Belfast commemorates with the colourful St Patrick's Day Carnival, an array of floats, musicians and dancers that parade their way around the city from Belfast City Hall. There's also a free concert with a variety of talent, ranging from traditional Irish dance groups to well-known pop acts, plus smaller events at pubs and venues around the city.

2016 is Northern Ireland's Year of Food & Drink, celebrating the epic landscapes, traditions and people that make the regions food heritage so unique. With a different foodie theme each month, this is an ideal time to enjoy a taste of Belfast.

 

DAY ONE

Time to check in

A three-star hotel with 171 simple, modern rooms, plus a bar and restaurant, Premier Inn Belfast (Cathedral Quarter) is affordable, well located, and one of the top-ranked hotels on TripAdvisor.

More indulgent, Malmaison Belfast is a four-star hotel with 62 rooms and suites in a converted Victorian warehouse. Original features such as carved stone gargoyles and wrought iron pillars complement the velvety, contemporary décor.

Blending Victorian grandeur with Art Deco elegance, the Merchant Hotel is an award-winning five-star property. Exclusive amenities include airport transfers in the hotel's chauffeur driven Rolls Royce Phantom, and a rooftop gym and spa with stunning views.

 

10:00 Have a Titanic adventure

Arguably the world's most famous ocean-going vessel, RMS Titanic was built in Belfast's historic shipyards. One hundred years on from the ship's ill-fated maiden voyage, April 2012 saw the opening of Titanic Belfast, the world's largest Titanic-themed visitor attraction. This monumental structure by Texan architect Eric Kuhne rises from the docks like a glass and aluminium iceberg. Inside are nine galleries telling the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her ill-fated maiden voyage. This state-of-the-art visitor experience includes a special effects-laden shipyard ride, underwater exploration theatre, and recreations of the ships cabins.

 

12:00 Meet ‘Samson & Goliath' and other dockyard heavyweights

Two huge yellow gantry cranes dominate Belfast's skyline. Part of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, birthplace of many great ships including RMS Titanic, these two cranes were constructed in 1969 and 1974 to service a new graving dock. Affectionately known by locals as Samson & Goliath, they've become city icons.

Other shipbuilding and Titanic-related attractions in Belfast's Titanic Quarter include Titanic's Dock&Pump House. The largest dry dock ever constructed, it's here that workers put the final touches on the most luxurious liner ever built.

 

12:30 A tasty Titanic lunch

The Titanic Quarter visitor attractions offer various lunch options, including Titanic Belfast's Bistro 401 restaurant and The Galley tearoom, and Titanic's Dock&Pump House Café. A small, stylish choice, Cast&Crew is nestled beneath the ‘Samson&Goliath' cranes, and serves delicious locally sourced food.

 

Go onboard the last surviving White Star Line ship

Her siblings either sunk or were scrapped, but visitors to Belfast can still go onboard SS Nomadic, the only surviving White Star Line vessel afloat today. Launched in Belfast in 1911, it was built as a tender to big ships including RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, giving first-class passengers (including Marie Curie and Charlie Chaplin) their first taste of White Star Line luxury. Later used as a minesweeper and troop rescue ship during both world wars, it's now back home in Belfast's historic Hamilton Dock and restored to her original glory.

 

15:00 Take a free peek at treasures from across the globe

You'll see dinosaurs, an Egyptian Mummy and modern masterpieces at Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland's treasure house of the past and present. This extensive collection of art, history and natural sciences is free to all visitors.

 

18:00 Have an aperitif in a Victorian ‘gin palace'

Open since 1885, Crown Liquor Saloon is a stunning example of a Victorian ‘gin palace'. It features private snugs with a bell system for summoning staff, designed to ensure customer privacy during the stern Victorian era. Now owned by the National Trust, it's wonderfully atmospheric with elaborate tile mosaics, period gas lighting, and etched and stained glass windows.

 

19:30 Enjoy modern Northern Irish cuisine

For modern fine dining, James Street South serves fresh and locally sourced Northern Irish produce in a contemporary space. Signature dishes include Strangford Lough Bouillabaisse and organic Irish lamb. Open since 2003, chef Niall McKenna now has a cookery school and two further restaurants (Bar + Grill and Hadskis) in Belfast.

Another fine dining option is the spectacular Great Room Restaurant within the Merchant Hotel. 

Or there's restaurateur Michael Deane's EIPIC, a recent recipient of a coveted Michelin star for chef Danni Barry - only the second female chef ever in Ireland to gain a star.

 

22:00 Sample Belfast's lively pub scene

Although there are excellent pubs and bars throughout the city, Belfast's Cathedral Quarter has many characterful choices. Options include McHugh's Bar and Restaurant, which dates back to 1711. Its Main Bar is full of historical objects and memorabilia, while the Basement Bar is a live music venue hosting gigs by established artists like George Ezra as well as up-and-coming alternative bands.

The John Hewitt is a pub uniquely owned and run by the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, funding its work via the sale of hearty home-cooked food, speciality gins, craft ales and cider including locally produced MacIvors Irish Artisan Cider and Maddens Mellow Armagh Cider.

 

DAY TWO

10:00 Wake up to an Ulster fry

Start the day with an Ulster Fry: potato and soda bread, fried eggs, sausage, bacon, black and white pudding and a tomato. The secret is to cook everything in one pan to secure all the flavour. George's Of The Market has overlooked historic St George's Market for more than 15 years, and serves an award-winning version using sausages made of pork and Irish dulse seaweed, a local delicacy.

 

10:45 Shop for the best local arts, crafts and foods

Dating from 1890, grand St George's Market was voted Britain's Best Large Indoor Market in 2014. There's been a Friday market on this site since 1604, a tradition upheld with the Friday Variety Market, where stalls sell fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, antiques, books and clothes. Saturday's City Food and Craft Market sees local and international speciality foods plus handmade pottery, glass, metalwork and local photography. The Sunday Market focuses on local arts and crafts such as scented candles, handmade jewellery and homemade confectionary. There's often live music from local bands.

 

11:30 Take a Black Taxi Tour of Belfast's political murals

Northern Ireland has witnessed many political and religious divisions over the years. An estimated 2,000 murals, considered the most famous political murals in Europe, document these troubles. Significant murals from the 1980s tend to endorse either Republican or Loyalist views, depicting sectarian events such as the Ballymurphy Massacre and the hunger strike of Bobby Sands. The current trend is for murals representing peace and tolerance. These striking examples of political street art provide an overview of Northern Ireland's recent history. Take a 90-minute Black Taxi Tour to see what the walls of Belfast have to say. 

 

13:00 Sample Northern Irish cuisine, language and culture

An arts and cultural centre housed in a former church in the Gaeltacht Quarter, Cultúrlann McAdam O Fiaich celebrates and fosters Irish culture with poetry readings, traditional and contemporary Irish music, exhibitions and céili's. Its homely café-restaurant Bia is a meeting place for Belfast's Irish Language community, and a place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner in an authentic Gaelic atmosphere. 

 

14:00 Go to prison

First opening its gates to prisoners in 1846, Crumlin Road Gaol housed murderers, suffragettes, and loyalist and republican prisoners for 150 years. It has witnessed births, deaths and marriages and has been home to executions, escapes, riots and hunger strikes. Closing its doors for what many thought would be the final time in 1996, the gaol reopened in 2012 as a major visitor attraction. The 70-minute tour pays a visit to the condemned man's cell, the execution cell, and the underground tunnel connecting the gaol to Crumlin Road Courthouse.

 

15:30 Escape to the past

Set in more than 170 acres of rolling landscape overlooking Belfast Lough, visitors to the Ulster Folk&Transport Museum will discover how people lived and travelled over the centuries. Wander though history, encountering costumed visitor guides and passing cottages, farms, schools and shops. There are also horse-drawn carriages, electric trams, motorbikes fire engines and vintage cars.

 

18:00 Recharge

Head back to your hotel, with just enough time to shower and change before a second night out.

 

19:30 Dinner to suit all tastes, appetites and budgets

Carnivores will devour the signature Beef Shin Burger at The Barking Dog, but there are excellent fish and vegetarian options too. With exposed brick walls and scrubbed wooden tables, this informal eatery is ideal for a full meal or a quick bite, while the upstairs cocktail lounge serves drinks and nibbles.

One of Belfast's favourite restaurants, Mourne Seafood Bar specialises in fresh local seafood at an affordable price in rustic surroundings. This winning formula means it's very popular, so reservations are essential for dinner (if you miss out, you can try lunch, which is first come, first served).

With its quirky, mismatched furnishings and relaxed vibe, Muriel's Café Bar is especially popular for Sunday brunch and dinner - bear in mind that last food orders are 7:45pm, although they serve platters of cold cuts and other nibbles until midnight. 

 

Getting here

Belfast is situated on the east coast of Northern Ireland. It's served by flights into Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport. Scheduled flights operate from most major British airports, as well as from many major European cities. There are also ferry connections with England and Scotland.

www.tourismni.com

Accommodation Update October 2017

 

Britain’s best awarded at the AA Hospitality Awards 2017

The AA has announced the results of its Hospitality Awards 2017, naming its industry gold-standard hotels, pubs and restaurants across Britain. 

The Gainsborough Bath Spa in the south-west took England’s top spot for its 'sophisticated and luxurious experience', while The Douneside House in Aboyne was awarded Scotland’s Hotel of the Year. The Old Inn, Bangor, took first prize for Northern Ireland, praised for its 'untold elegance and grandeur'. Twr Y Felin Hotel, St Davids, won Hotel of the Year Wales, awarded for its 'excellent design and presentation, with noteworthy attention to detail'. Hotel of the Year London went to The Goring; described as 'an icon of British hospitality', it was where Kate Middleton famously got ready for her royal wedding to Prince William.

 

LONDON

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened September 2017: The Mandrake, Fitzrovia

Billed as one of central London’s hottest new hotels, this exotic boutique luxury setting (named after a mystical plant) has already hosted London Fashion Week parties. Five years in the making, The Mandrake’s 30 bedrooms and three suites frame a jungle-style inner courtyard of tropical plants. The interior design mixes opulent purples and reds with gold finishes, velvet, feathers, ornate chandeliers and striking artwork. The lavish Mandrake Suite and the Penthouse are sure to be Instagram favourites, the latter clad in white marble with a huge bed and a jacuzzi under a retractable roof. The hotel’s headline restaurant is Serge et le Phoque, by Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Peneau.

 

Opening October 2017: Trafalgar St. James

This classic hotel overlooking Trafalgar Square –which has hosted the likes of Tom Cruise and Nicole Scherzinger – is unveiling its modern new look since joining the Curio Collection by Hilton. A “peer panel” of young Londoners – including lifestyle blogger Lucy Freedman and DJ Doug Marshall – were appointed during the project to give their perspective on everything from furnishings to menus. Trafalgar St. James now has 131 bedrooms, the Trafalgar Dining Rooms, an underground lounge, Biblio, and a 14-cover private dining room. The rooftop bar has great views of Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. PR contact: hshearer@thecommunicationgroup.co.uk

 

Opening October 2017: The Pilgrm, Paddington

New design hotel The Pilgrm focuses on pared-back urban chic with a vintage touch. There is no lobby or reception desk – instead, guests will be able to check in online. The ground floor café will provide a welcome area, plus a lounge bar and dining room. Interiors showcase the building’s 200-year-old parquet flooring, as well as cast-iron radiators and a “cloud carpet”. The hotel’s 73 rooms come in four sizes: ‘bunk’ (two single beds), small, medium and large. PR contact: Alexandra Berry a.berry@gemmabellandcompany.com

 

Opening October 2017: New Road Hotel, Whitechapel, east London

With its “Everything you need, nothing you don’t” promise, New Road Hotel focuses on stylish stripped-back luxury. Owned by three brothers, the 80-bedroom boutique hotel has been built on the site of an old textile factory where their father once worked. The interiors reflect this heritage, and quirky touches include a rooftop Eco Shed and the Loft + Hot Tub room, with views of London’s skyline. The hotel’s restaurant is by Marco Pierre White, and other features include a fitness studio and social areas where guests can enjoy live music, games and a library.

 

Opening early 2018: Vintry & Mercer, Cannon Street, City of London

Located in London’s historic trading centre near St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, forthcoming 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.

 

Long-lead

 

Date TBC: Marylebone Lane hotel, Marylebone, central London

A brand new luxury 206-bedroom, nine-storey hotel operated by Shiva Hotels is planned for Marylebone. The proposed hotel will have a spa, swimming pool, café and club lounge.

 

2020: The Hoxton, Shepherd's Bush, west London

Subject to planning permission, the capital will be getting another stylish Hoxton hotel in west London. The new 214-bedroom property will join sister hotels already open in London (Shoreditch and Holborn), and Amsterdam.

 

2020: Raffles Hotels & Resort London, Westminster, central London

One of London’s most significant historic buildings, the Old War Office – once the office of Winston Churchill, and sections of the British secret service – is being transformed into a 125-room luxury hotel by Raffles Hotels & Resorts. It will be the company’s first property in Britain, and rooms will include 50 suites and 88 private residences.

 

Refurbs & expansions

 

Now open: The English Grill at The Rubens at the Palace, Westminster, central London

The Rubens at the Palace has opened its new restaurant as part of a five-year, multi-million pound refurbishment. The English Grill’s menu includes a daily roast, carved from a silver trolley at diners’ tables.

 

Opening November 2017: The Coral Room bar at Bloomsbury Hotel, central London

As part of a major refurbishment of the 153-room Bloomsbury Hotel, its new Coral Room bar will be unveiled in November alongside the hotel’s redesigned public spaces. PR contact: chloe.davison@ttc.com

 

SCOTLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened September 2017: The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

Following a top-to-toe refurbishment, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square (formerly The Roxburghe Hotel) has re-opened its doors. One of Edinburgh’s oldest hotels, it’s hosted A-list Hollywood actors and is made up of seven inter-connecting Georgian townhouses in the city’s New Town. The concierge still wears a kilt and vintage red post boxes in the new lobby collect post daily. The 199 elegantly refurbished bedrooms (including 18 suites) are designed with Scottish accents and earthy colours. There is informal all-day-dining at The Garden, and eastern Mediterranean cuisine at BABA restaurant, opening in November. PR contact: georgie.griffiths@theprincipalhotel.com

 

Refurbs & expansions

 

Opened September 2017: Sleeperz Hotels, Edinburgh

Budget operator Sleeperz Hotels has launched a new wing at its Cityroomz Edinburgh hotel, accessible via Princes Street. The 43 new bedrooms include superior doubles, family and cabin rooms, as well as ten suites. Flooring in the suite bathrooms is printed with a city street map of Edinburgh. Sleeperz will also be opening a 120-bedroom hotel in Dundee in 2018 opposite the new V&A Museum. PR contact: matthew@honeypotmedia.co.uk

 

Now open: Cameron House, Loch Lomond

Cameron House, the five-AA-star, luxury 36-bedroom resort set on the banks of Loch Lomond, has completed the final phase of its multi–million pound refurbishment. Its new-look rooms and suites have Scotland-inspired features, such as contemporary tartan and handmade leather sleigh beds. The hotel has also announced the launch of its new Cameron Kids offering, treating little ones to their own slice of luxury during their stay.

 

Summer 2018: Ten Hill Place, Edinburgh

Work has started on a 52-bedroom expansion of Ten Hill Place hotel. Owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, hotel profits go back into the college.

 

WALES

 

Long-lead

 

2021: Afan Valley Adventure Resort, Port Talbot, south Wales

Plans have been submitted for a new 480-acre adventure resort in south Wales, which will have a 100-bedroom hotel and spa, plus 400 luxury lodges, and adventures zones, bars, restaurants and retail outlets. The proposed Afan Valley Adventure Resort site is just south of Afan Forest Park. There are plans for five main ‘zones’: Forest, Xtreme, Trails, Zen and Alpine, the last of which will include three different ski slopes. The resort will also be home to the Bear Grylls Survival Academy – a series of challenges and endurance courses designed by the TV survival expert. Other activities will include ice skating, Segway tours, indoor skydiving and surfing, ‘ninja warrior’ training, go-karting, forest zip wires, paintballing and mountain biking. Watch the action-packed teaser film here.

 

SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ENGLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened August 2017: Beaverbrook, Surrey

The former country home of press baron and politician Lord Beaverbrook has opened as the luxurious Beaverbrook hotel, following a multi-million pound transformation. Just 19 miles from London, the hotel is surrounded by 400 acres of privately owned countryside. Designed by Soho House interiors guru Susie Atkinson, the interiors exude classic opulence, featuring four-poster beds and rich fabrics. Each of the hotel’s 18 rooms and suites have been named after one of the estate’s famous former guests, which include Winston Churchill, James Bond author Ian Fleming, Elizabeth Taylor, and Charlie Chaplin. The hotel also has an Art Deco-style cinema, the glamorous Parrot Bar, a cookery school, and a Japanese restaurant, The Dining Room, headed up by top ex-Nobu chef Taiji Maruyama. By the end of the year the hotel will also have a spa with swimming pools, a hammam and a sauna. PR contact: gemma@gp-associates.com

 

Opened August 2017: Hog Deer Creek, Kent

This summer, Kent safari park Port Lympne Reserve opened its latest accommodation, Hog Deer Creek. The five luxury shepherd huts are designed for couples or families, and located within the park’s Asian Experience, so guests’ neighbours will include roaming Asian animals such as Sambar deer.

 

Opened September 2017: Piggledy Tree House, South Downs National Park

This new four-bed treehouse looks like a forest dwelling straight from the pages of a fairy tale. Designed for adults and kids alike, The Piggledy Tree House is located in Blackberry Wood at the foot of the South Downs National Park near Brighton, and comes with a kitchen and a balcony. Owner Tim fulfilled a childhood dream by building the treehouse, which took three years to complete.

 

Opening March 2018: Room 2, Southampton

Room 2 has confirmed details of its second design-led aparthotel in Southampton, due to open next year. Its 71 studio rooms will feature nautical-inspired designs and come in three sizes: little, regular and large.

 

Long-lead

 

2020: Malmaison, Bournemouth

Next year work will begin on a 100-bedroom Malmaison hotel in the coastal town of Bournemouth. Expected to take around two years to build, the new hotel will include a Chez Mal bar and brasserie, a rooftop bar and terrace overlooking the seafront, a gym, a swimming pool, and beauty rooms.

 

WEST MIDLANDS

 

Long-lead

Autumn 2018: Hawkstone Hall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

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.

 

SOUTH-WEST ENGLAND

 

Refurbs & expansions

 

Re-opened July 2017: De Vere Tortworth Court, Gloucestershire

Victorian countryside mansion De Vere Tortworth Court is now open following its £5-million pound restoration, which has resulted in 11 spacious new suites, bringing the total number of guestrooms and suites in the main house to 55. All of the bedrooms have been refurbished to reflect modern British heritage, incorporating leather, tweed and linen. The largest suite, The Kipling, includes a dining table for six guests and a lounge that can be connected to The Paxton, to form a family suite that spans 129 square metres, overlooking the formal gardens.

 

Opened August 2017: Luxury sea-view suites at Lewinnick Lodge, Cornwall

Lewinnick Lodge has added six new suites to its cliff-top B&B hotel on Pentire Headland, close to Newquay’s Fistral Beach – widely regarded as England’s surfing capital. Each of the rooms has 180-degree coastal views, super-king beds, DAB radios, Bluetooth speakers, smart TVs, homemade biscuits and organic toiletries.

 

YORKSHIRE

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened July 2017: Swinton Country Club & Spa, North Yorkshire

The Good Spa Guide has awarded Swinton Estate’s new Country Club & Spa a five-bubble rating just two months after opening. The new club has a 10-metre outdoor natural water swimming pool and a hot tub, and the fitness team incorporate outdoor activities from the wider estate, such as running, cycling and outdoor yoga. The old Estate Gardener’s cottage has been transformed into a suite of beauty rooms, with signature treatments including the Elemis Garden of England Rose Restore Wrap.

 

Long-lead

 

2019: Bretton Hall, Wakefield, west Yorkshire  

Historic Georgian mansion house Bretton Hall is being transformed into a luxury 120-bedroom hotel and ‘creative campus’, set within 500 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland adjacent to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). The property’s redevelopment will include two theatres, a seminar space, exhibition area and conferencing facilities, with further accommodation, work and educational spaces planned for future phases.

 

Date TBC: Malmaison, York

Malmaison hotel chain will be opening a new site in York after being granted planning permission earlier this year. The new hotel will have 160 bedrooms and suites, as well as its Chez Mal Bar and Brasserie for cocktails and dining. Malmaison currently has hotels in 15 cities across Britain, including Leeds and Manchester.

 

NORTH-WEST ENGLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

2018: Dixie Dean Hotel, Liverpool

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.

 

Long lead

 

Date TBC: Manchester Moxy

Planning permission has been granted for a 145-bedroom Moxy hotel in Manchester’s Spinningfields district. Moxy is Marriot International’s millennial-focused boutique hotel concept, and the new hotel will join one other in London. There are plans for seven more in pipeline, located in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton, Bristol and York.

 

Date TBC: Re-opening of Trafford Park hotel, Manchester

The Trafford Park hotel, built in 1902, is being refurbished and relaunched under an international boutique brand after being derelict for eight years. Plans include an additional wing, which will expand the total bedroom count to 120.

 

Summer 2019: Zetter Hotel, London Road Fire Station, Manchester

Manchester's historic London Road Fire Station is being developed by London-based boutique hotel brand The Zetter Group. The new hotel will be the group’s first in Manchester, and will have on-site restaurants and bars.

 

NORTH-EAST ENGLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened September 2017: The Cookie Jar, Alnwick, Northumberland

Deborah Cook, wife of the former chief executive of Malmaison, Hotel du Vin and De Vere Hotels, has opened her first solo venture, a luxury boutique hotel overlooking Alnwick Castle. The Cookie Jar has 11 bedrooms and offers quirky treats such as freshly baked cookies and milk. It has initially opened as a bed and breakfast operation, serving coffees, teas and sharing plates from the bar – but there are plans for a restaurant in the near future.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

September 2017: Titanic Hotel Belfast

Northern Ireland’s much-anticipated luxury Titanic-themed hotel is now open on the site of the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, shipbuilders of the Titanic over 100 years ago. The 119-bedroom Titanic Hotel Belfast is sister hotel to the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. The interior design includes nautical touches, models of the iconic ship, and old photographs. The hotel’s dining room has views of the slipway where the Titanic was built, and art deco-inspired suites give impressive views of the Belfast Titanic building and the entire Titanic Quarter. There are also corporate and entertainment spaces available for events and conferences. PR contact: jane.williams@jcomms.co.uk

 

Long-lead

 

June 2018: Grand Central Hotel, Belfast  

Work is starting on what will be Belfast’s largest hotel development, the 304-bedroom Grand Central Hotel, Belfast.

 

June 2018:  George Best Hotel, Belfast

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.

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.

Britain tempts Australian cruise lovers this summer

WHAT’S NEW in Britain in 2017


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


Anniversaries

70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festivals

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

www.edinburghfestivalcity.com

25th anniversary of the Premier League

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

www.premierleague.com

125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes short story

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

200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen

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

www.janeausten200.co.uk

20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series

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

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

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

Attractions and openings


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

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

www.nhm.ac.uk

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

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

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

British Music Experience moves from London to Liverpool

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

www.britishmusicexperience.com

Liverpool World Museum's new Ancient World gallery

February 2017

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

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

V&A improvements

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

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

New Hadrian's Cavalry exhibition

8 April - 10 September 2017

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

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

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

New National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket, east England

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

www.nhrm.co.uk


RHS Flower Show, Chatsworth

7 - 11 June 2017

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

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

www.rhs.org.uk/chatsworth-show

Film & TV-inspired holidays

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

T2: Trainspotting - UK release date 27 January 2017

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

www.visitscotland.com

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

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

www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/highlands

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

www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk,

www.wyedeantourism.co.uk

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

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

www.visitlondon.com

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

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

www.visitbirmingham.com

Paddington 2 - UK release date 24 November 2017

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

www.visitlondon.com

Poldark

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

Victoria

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

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

Sherlock series 4

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

Broadchurch (Series 3)

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

www.visit-dorset.com

Hot new hotel openings in 2017


London's West End gets its biggest budget hotel

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

www.ibis.com

Scotland Yard Hotel

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

Liverpool strikes gold with new hotel in Martins Bank building

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

www.ph-hotels.co.uk

Southampton's first luxury five-star hotel

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

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

Eden Project Hotel, Cornwall

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

www.edenproject.com

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

www.woolsingtonhallhotel.co.uk

Z Hotel, Bath

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

www.theZhotels.com

Q1 2017: Nobu Hotel

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

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

Spring 2017: The Ned, City of London

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

www.thened.com

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

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

www.legoland.co.uk/castle

PR contact: tansy@freerange.eu

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

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

www.hotelduvin.com

PR contact: malhdv@hudsonsandler.com

Events

UK City of Culture 2017: Hull, Yorkshire

All year

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

www.hull2017.co.uk

Scotland's Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology

All year

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

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

Wales' Year of Legends

All year

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

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

Women's Rugby World Cup

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

www.rwcwomens.com

Women's Cricket World Cup

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

www.icc-cricket.com


Exhibitions

Major new exhibitions: late 2016 and 2017

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

14 October 2016 - 6 January 2017

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

www.glynnvivian.com

Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the National History Museum

21 October 2016 - 20 September 2017

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

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

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

4 November 2016 - 1 March 2017

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

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

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

18 November 2016 - 3 September 2017

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

www.starwarsidentities.com

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

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

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

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

Runs until 8 January 2017

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

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

Runs until 8 January 2017

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

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

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

Runs until 5 February 2017

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

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

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

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

www.vam.ac.uk

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

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

www.vam.ac.uk

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

23 March 2017 - 25 June 2017

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

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

Fire! Fire! at the Museum of London

Runs until 17 April 2017

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

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

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

13 May 2017 - 1 October 2017

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

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

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

Runs until 1 January 2019

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

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


Stage

Theatre


An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre, London

4 March - 30 September 2017

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

www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk

42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London

20 March 2017 - 22 July 2017

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

www.42ndstreetmusical.co.uk

Sleepless: The New Musical, Plymouth and London

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

Dates TBC: London West End run (theatre TBC)

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

www.sleeplessmusical.com

The Girls, Phoenix Theatre, London

28 January 2017 - 22 April 2017

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

www.thegirlsmusical.com

The Band, details TBC

2017 dates TBC

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


Extended London West End shows and musicals in 2017

The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017

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

www.bookofmormonlondon.com

The Mouse Trap, St Martin's Theatre

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

www.the-mousetrap.co.uk

The Bodyguard, Dominion Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017

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

www.thebodyguardmusical.com

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Running until 7 January 2017

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

www.charlieandthechocolatefactory.com

Show Boat, New London Theatre

Running until 7 January 2017

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

www.showboatmusical.co.uk

Stomp, Ambassadors Theatre

Running until 8 January 2017

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

www.stomplondon.com

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

Running until February 2017

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

www.curiousonstage.com

Les Miserables, Queen's Theatre

Running until 4 March 2017

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

www.lesmis.com/uk

Mamma Mia, Novello Theatre

Running until 4 March 2017

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

www.mamma-mia.com/london.php

The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty's Theatre

Running until 4 March 2017

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

www.thephantomoftheopera.com/london

The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

Running until 2 April 2017

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

www.thelionking.co.uk

Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

21 November 2016 - 11 March 2017

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

www.dreamgirlswestend.com

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre, London

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

www.harrypottertheplay.com

Billy Elliot The Musical

Touring the UK until May 2017

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

www.billyelliotthemusical.com

Thriller - Live, Lyric Theatre

Running until 1 October 2017

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

www.thrillerlive.com

Matilda The Musical, Cambridge Theatre

Running until 15 October 2017

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

www.matildathemusical.com

Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre

Running until 4 November 2017

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

www.wickedthemusical.co.uk

Jersey Boys, Piccadilly Theatre

Running until 16 April 2017

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

www.jerseyboyslondon.com

Aladdin - Disney's New Musical, Prince Edward Theatre

Summer 2016 - 1 April 2017

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

Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre

Running until 6 May 2017

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

www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre

Running until 22 July 2017

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

www.beautifulmusical.co.uk



Opera

Cinderella (La Cenerentola)

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

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

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

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

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

www.operanorth.co.uk/productions/cinderella

The Royal Opera House, London

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 - 16 July 2017: Turandot by Giacomo Puccini

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

www.roh.org.uk

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

16 February - 25 April 2017

16 February: Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff, Wales

21 March: Milton Keynes Theatre, south-east England

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

4 April: Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales

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

25 April: Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, south England

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

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

Glyndebourne Festival 2017

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

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

21 May - 19 June: La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi

11 June - 6 July: Hamlet by Brett Dean

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

13 July - 23 August: Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti

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

www.glyndebourne.com/festival_2017

Dance


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

An intoxicating drama where life imitates art with fateful consequences. Heart-breaking and dazzling for the sense, Matthew Bourne's magical new adaptation is an inspiration for generations of dancers and audiences alike.

29 November - 3 December 2016: The Lowry, Manchester, north-west England

6 December 2016 - 29 January 2017: Sadler's Wells Theatre, London

14- 18 March 2017: Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales

9 - 13 May 2017: Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland

www.new-adventures.net/the-red-shoes/tour-dates


TASTE Newsletter July 2016 edition - the 'need to know' about new Food and Drink in Britain

TREND: Distilleries and craft beers

Bundobust, the hugely popular Indian food and craft beer bar in Leeds, will be opening up another branch to convert Manchester to the joys of craft beer and Gujarati vegetarian grub. With 140 covers, the new venture is twice the size of its Leeds counterpart but will still be embracing its craft beer roots, with keg lines and cask pumps, Magic Rock and Kirkstall, plus Cloudwater and other Manchester hop favourites. Dine on simple, authentic Indian cuisine, like okra fries, classic chaat, idli sambhar steamed dumplings and their famous veggie burger Mumbai speciality, vada pav.

Due to open this August inside Pump House No.5, a Victorian building located in Kent's Historic Dockyard Chatham, is The Copper Rivet Distillery. Expect a beautiful space with craft gins and other spirits. www.copperrivetdistillery.com

TREND: Award-winning afternoon teas

Tea lovers across the globe can rejoice, as this quintessentially British pastime now has its own awards: The Afternoon Tea Awards. In its inaugural year, the London-based winners were chosen in line with a variety of categories, and with Afternoon Tea Week just around the corner, there's no better time to enjoy a spot of tea.

The Best Traditional Afternoon Tea was awarded to Claridge's, which has been observing this aspect of Britain's culinary heritage for 150 years. The Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea went to The Mandarin Oriental who have their own ‘Tea Master' and team of pastry chefs. The Best Themed Afternoon Tea was awarded to Sanderson London with their Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea - a nod to the anniversary of the much loved children's tale. Last but not least is the Best Family Friendly Afternoon Tea award, won by Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel. The hotel promises its afternoon tea experience in the Park Room is one to remember.

www.claridges.co.uk, www.mandarinoriental.com/london, www.morganshotelgroup.com/originals/originals-sanderson-london, www.parkroom.co.uk

TREND: Luxury retreats with dining experiences to match

As it celebrates the 600th birthday of its historic Auld Keep, luxury venue Dundas Castle has launched a series of unique dinner packages. Created specifically for groups, the dinners take place within the historic and atmospheric surroundings of the Auld Keep. While the usual requirement is for visitors to take the whole castle on an exclusive use basis, the 600th birthday dinners represent a break from tradition and, for the year of celebrations, are available without the need to hire the venue as a whole.

www.dundascastle.co.uk

Now nearing completion of its extensive refurbishment, the beautiful Grade II listed country house hotel, Palé Hall in North Wales, will be opening in September. The restaurant has been developed in association with Michelin-star chef Michael Caines, and will offer exquisite food with the finest fresh, local seasonal produce. www.palehall.co.uk

Grade II listed Georgian mansion Lympstone Manor in Devon, also acquired by Michael Caines, is set to open in February 2017 following an exciting transformation into a luxury country house hotel, complete with 60-cover fine dining restaurant.

London

One of Soho's newest additions is Poppie's Fish & Chips, which serves fresh fish, chunky hand-cut chips and comforting mushy peas. Practically an institution in itself, with shops in Camden and Spitalfields, the Soho branch will embrace the charms of its sister restaurants with live music and a stage. It will also be housed on the old site of 2i's Coffee Bar, widely known as the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll. www.poppiesfishandchips.co.uk

Gracing Holborn this summer with a light-hearted take on the Hong Kong café subculture is Cha Chaan Teng. Expect an eclectic range of Chinese comfort food infused with western influences from renowned TV chef and creator of School of Wok, Jeremy Pang. Enjoy Cha Chaan Teng staples such as deep-fried peanut butter French toast, and classic crusty rolls with spam, fried quail egg or soy pork chop. www.chachaantenguk.co.uk

Lovers of New York-inspired cuisine will rejoice at the news of a third Dirty Bones site opening this summer in Shoreditch. Housed in an iconic heritage building, the new branch will serve comfort food dishes and cocktails, and be first Dirty Bones to house an all-day dining menu. Enjoy a range of culinary offerings, from the breakfast menu exclusive for Shoreditch to evening cocktails with live bands and DJ nights. www.dirty-bones.com/food

Love boutique hotels? Love Michelin-starred chefs? Then we have the dining experience for you. Celebrated chef Shaun Rankin has joined forces with Flemings Mayfair to bring you the 85-cover restaurant Ormer Mayfair, due to open on 14 September after a £14 million refurbishment. Expect an Art Deco-inspired space with a 1930s glamour, serving light and refreshing dishes, decadent deserts and specially selected wines. The restaurant will offer a relaxed environment surrounded by affordable luxury in the heart of London's Mayfair. www.flemings-mayfair.co.uk

Mayfair restaurant Tokimeitē has launched its unique Japanese Robata-style brunch this month. The brunch offers diners an authentic, yet contemporary take on Japanese dining, but in a relaxed and informal setting. Take a break from the usual roast dinner and enjoy this Sunday-only brunch menu of slow-grilled food designed for sharing. www.tokimeite.com

Opening its doors this summer is Samarkand, which claims to be one of the first restaurants to celebrate Uzbekistan's cuisine. Located in Fitzrovia, it will serve a modern take on Uzbeck dishes for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. The interiors feature a grand entrance and staircase that will lead down to a 130-cover chandelier-laden dining room.

The Royal Botanic Gardens will see its first all-day table service restaurant opening this August. The Botanical will overlook the Palm House Conservatory and pond, featuring a bar, terrace, and private dining room. The Botanical will be the fifth dining venue at Kew, and hopes to grow the concept of 'Why Plants Matter' through its dishes. www.kew.org

Making its way across the pond is Smashburger - a casual restaurant with big ambitions to revolutionise the fast-food burger scene. Coming to the town of Milton Keynes (located thirty minutes out of London), their secret is in the 'smash', where a hand-crafted meatball is smashed into a hot buttered grill, searing in all the juices and flavour. Try it with garlic and rosemary

Smash fries. www.smashburger.co.uk

Taking inspiration from the beautiful city of Venice, the Salt Yard Group will be opening its first all-day restaurant in St James's Market, Veneta. Seating 110 covers in areas that combine classic bar-counter seating, banqueting booths and intimate tables, expect classic Venetian dishes, a classic raw bar, and both indulgent and healthy breakfasts.www.veneta-stjames.co.uk

Scotland

GLASGOW

The Shilling Brewing Co. is the first to bring the brewpub experience to Glasgow, a city with a centuries-old heritage of brewing pioneers. The company opened The Shilling in June, a space where everyone can discover and appreciate beer, straight from the source. The fermentation tanks are located in the basement, where visitors can view the brewing process through a glass wall. www.shillingbrewingcompany.co.uk

After the success of their Glasgow-Finnieston and Edinburgh branches, the three owners of Lebowskis decided to open a new venue in Glasgow's Southside with a more grown up, contemporary look this June. The chain is mainly famous for its legendary burgers but The Lebowskis South is now also offering a range of Scottish bar specialties, small dishes, or even brunch at the weekend. www.lebowskis.co.uk/glasgow-southside

EDINBURGH

A bespoke and stylish bar, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, opened this June at Cannonball House in partnership with Glengoyne. With stunning views down the Royal Mile, it's the perfect space for visitors to enjoy a pre or post-dinner drink while they soak up the atmosphere in one of Edinburgh's most iconic locations. www.contini.com/cannonball

Enjoy a delicious picnic in the heart of Edinburgh in The Glasshouse Hotel - Rooftop Garden Picnic, which opened this month. Escape the hustle and bustle, relax and take in the breath-taking views of Calton Hill. Upon arrival, guests will be presented with a quaint picnic rug and basket full of fresh Scottish produce and accompanied with the choice of non-alcoholic or alcoholic drinks.

www.theglasshousehotel.co.uk/food-and-drink/dining/rooftop-picnic

Following the success of the Grapevine restaurant which launched in Selkirk last year, the Grapevine Galashiels opened in the town's Douglas Bridge this month. Expect innovative menus and offerings in this central location close to the Borders Railway.

Following the success of the Chop House which opened in Leith in September 2015, a second bar and butchery is set to open this July at The Arches on East Market Street in Edinburgh's Old Town. As well as the vibrant restaurant, with a menu focused on British beef, the new Chop House will boast an impressive bar serving craft beers and bespoke seasonal cocktails.

www.chophousesteak.co.uk

Liverpool

Revolucion de Cuba, a stunning two-floor rum bar complete with outdoor terrace, has recently opened on Liverpool's Albert Dock. Offering an exciting cocktail menu and special Catina Menu with the finest Cuban food, this new spot promises to take you straight to the heart of Cuban life. Enjoy live music and a variety of fine rums at the Havana Bar. www.revoluciondecuba.com/bar/liverpool

Enjoy a taste of Chinese history with the bestselling spirit in Europe, Baijiu. Made from grain and generally between 40%-60% in alcohol by volume, Baijiu can now be enjoyed at the first ever dedicated bar in Europe, FU Baijiu. Ease yourself in with an infusion or cocktail with herbs and fruits, or go straight in for a shot, with the aftertaste lingering for a whole ten seconds. There are different Baijius to try with different tasting notes - think slow roasted pork belly in sticky black bean sauce or crab and crayfish samosas - to accompany your FU Baijiu experience. www.fubaijiu.com

Northern 'molecular mixology' powerhouse, The Alchemist, will be opening its newest cocktail bar this month on Brunswick Street in Noble House. Liverpool will be the third branch of The Alchemist, following Manchester and Leeds. The cocktail bar and restaurant prides itself on mixology, alchemy and craftsmanship and promises a theatrical experience. www.thealchemist.uk.com

Enjoy the quintessentially British pastime of taking tea at the Jam Restaurant & Tea Bar, where guests can enjoy more than twenty-five different styles of tea. Located on Sir Thomas Street, the speciality tea shop, cocktail bar and eatery serves afternoon tea, homemade cakes and pastries, brunch and casual dining from 18.00pm onwards - and cocktails of course. www.jamrestaurants.co.uk

The Shankly Hotel has released plans for its rooftop bar and restaurant, Eden Bar, showcasing a luxury rooftop garden with uninterrupted views of Liverpool. Owned by Signature Living, the development is being completed with the Shankly family, and will include extravagant features such as a 100ft slide and hotel room doors that interact with smartphones. The terrace will house two 175-seat restaurants. www.shanklyhotel.com

Manchester

Beat Street will take up permanent residency at the Great Northern Warehouse after transforming the disused space into a unique venue. The development will be home to seven street food traders and three bars, with seating for 150 diners on a split-level, heated all-weather terrace with a rooftop sun deck and outdoor grill. www.beatstreetmcr.co.uk

Squid Ink, an independent Asian fusion restaurant, has just opened in the up-and-coming Ancoats area. You can expect an airy restaurant offering comfortable dining and a creative, ever-changing menu. www.squidinkmcr.com

Soon to grace the Palace Hotel is independently owned restaurant Volta at the Refuge. Its previously globe-trotting DJ owners have developed the 10,000 sq. foot space to open in September. The Victorian-tinged hall of tiled columns, glass atriums and big armchairs will feature a 139-cover restaurant for an all-day drinking and dining experience, complete with a leafy ‘Winter Garden'.

Football fans rejoice! The newly opened Spanish restaurant Tapeo and Wine on Deansgate is backed by Manchester United player Juan Mata. Try plates like shoulder of milk-fed lamb, lobster rice and thick seafood broth. Menus will change seasonally and customers can also expect a tempting array of homemade desserts. www.facebook.com/TapeoandWine

The team behind the award-winning Orangery at Losehill House have just opened a new British fine dining restaurant, Grafene, on King Street, in Manchester's foodie hot spot. Focusing on British produce and cuisine, the menu pays homage to the English countryside and celebrate fish and game, including dishes like the fillet of brill with cauliflower 'risotto' crab bisque and samphire scorched grapes. The space features a huge outdoor seating area for al-fresco dining. www.grafene.co.uk

Cumbria

Centred on the grand Victorian estate near Keswick where Beatrix Potter wrote some of her most famous children's books is Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden. The new café was built using re-claimed Lakeland stone. Expect a range of quality locally sourced foods, home baked breads, cakes and pastries, real barista coffee and an extensive range of teas. www.thelingholmestate.co.uk/the-lingholm-kitchen-walled-garden

The Cocoa Bean Hawkshead: Children's Chocolate Workshop & Chocolate Store is a new unique and interactive experience that offers children the chance to make delicious chocolate creations to take home - along with their own apron and hair net! Adults can browse the factory shop, full of goodies, gifts, and over 100 varieties of chocolates. www.thecocoabeancompany.com

 

After the success of The Flying Pig in Bowness-on-Winderemere, which opened in December 2015, High Spirits Leisure Group have this month opened The Arts Bar - also in Bowness and Fodder in Windermere. The Arts Bar celebrates a signature gin menu ‘Annie's List' created by Mixologist Hank Angelo Hughes Lumby and a playful food menu with dishes such as a Falafel burger named "The Lazy Farmer." www.the-arts-bar.co.uk