Top cultural and educational experiences for 2021

From a new Banksy tour in Bristol to a deep dive into climate change in London, Britain promises a wealth of interactive experiences to enjoy when we’re all able to travel again. And with 24 January 2021 marking the UNESCO International Day of Education, you can seize the moment and start dreaming of the top cultural experiences that await on a future trip to Britain.

Britain’s maritime history

 Unveiling of the ships figureheads at the Box Museum, Plymouth, Devon.

You can look forward to delving into maritime history at The Box in Plymouth, the south-west coast’s brand new cultural hub. The fully-accessible museum is currently showing a commemorative exhibition marking 400 years since the Pilgrims made their maiden voyage to America, titled Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy. Co-curated with the Wampanoag Advisory Committee, the 12 new exhibitions will showcase 300 illuminating objects until 18 September 2021. There is also an outdoor Mayflower Trail key locations in the city.

The Box

Modern art al fresco

Imagine getting under the skin of Banksy’s classics on Where the Wall, Bristol’s new self-guided smart phone tour. Narrated by the ‘godfather of graffiti’, John Nation, the app reveals 13 key locations around the city and gives rich insight into Bristol’s artistic heritage.

Another way to experience Britain’s outdoor art scene will be along England’s Creative Coast, showcasing seven new installations from famous contemporary artists in Essex, Kent and Sussex. Creating an artistic trail along the southern coastline, it will be the world’s first art GeoTour, incorporating global positioning system technology to form a unique treasure hunt experience.

Bansky in Bristol

Cutting-edge culture in London

London’s Royal Academy has a packed schedule of exhibitions for 2021, including exhibitions of Irish painter Francis Bacon and English artists John Constable and David Hockney. You can also plan to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life, at the Tate Modern from 29 March 2021 until 27 March 2022.

If you’re a style guru, you can look forward to exploring Britain’s fashion history at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture exhibition reveals how Chelsea’s boutiques sparked one of the world’s biggest fashion revolutions, and runs from 3 September 2021 until January 2022.

London’s V&A is also set for a show-stopping exhibition in 2021. Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser delves in to the origins of Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its 157-year history, with tickets available from 27 March to 31 December 2021.

Royal Academy of Arts

Austen’s literary legacy

Jane Austen's House, Hampshire

The world of another famous British novelist is set to be revealed as part of Jane Austen Regency Week, due to be held in June 2021. This nine-day annual festival is held in Hampshire and often includes talks, workshops, tours and the Alton Regency Ball – all a stone’s throw from Jane Austen’s House in Chawton.

If you’re a literature lover, you can continue your dream Austen tour of Britain by visiting one of the Regency era’s most fashionable cities, Bath. Home to the Jane Austen Centre, you can look forward to an immersive tour of the writer’s life and works or indulge in a traditional afternoon tea at the Regency Tea Rooms.  

Jane Austen Centre

The future of climate change

Science Museum, London

If you’re a science buff and eco warrior, you can earmark a trip to London’s Science Museum in 2021, to see the free Our Future Planet exhibition (31 March 2021 - September 2022). Discover how scientists are working to save the environment through ground-breaking technology or learn more about the history of our planet in the museum’s Atmosphere gallery.

2021 will also see a series of free climate talks throughout the year, accessible online and at both the London Science Museum and Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum.

The Science Museum

A taste of the country

Offering a taste of farmyard life near the heart of the city, Windmill Hill City Farm in Bristol is said to be a ‘place where people grow’. It’s home to gardens, educational farm trails and animals, including pigs, pygmy goats and sheep. Here, you can find out more about the workings of a British farm and sample the produce in the cafe, with plenty of outside dining space.

Windmill Hill City Farm

Dark Skies celebrations

Dark Skies and wildflower seeding at St Huberts, Idsworth, South Downs National Park

You can dream of the countryside in a different light in 2021, at one of the National Park’s Dark Skies Festivals, a selection of events in areas recognised for their dazzling night skies. There are plenty of nocturnal adventures to look forward to, including ranger guided night walks, wellbeing retreats and dusk safaris. Although several are scheduled for February, you can also look ahead to October 2021, when Exmoor National Park plans to host a range of fascinating events as part of its annual celebrations – from in-depth talks by leading astronomers to stargazing suppers. 

Exmoor National Park

You are encouraged to always check individual attraction websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change.

15 Jan 2021(last updated)