19 fabulous things to do in Britain in 2019

Whether you’re on the hunt for cultural experiences, sporting spectacles, fantastic food, musical memories or much more besides, those looking to celebrate 2019 in Britain will not be short of things to do. With an abundance of exciting events and exhibitions dotted all over the UK, uncover something to tantalise your taste buds, appease your adventurous side or simply celebrate all that is great about Great Britain.

 

1. Channel your inner Formula 1 driver

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When the Silverstone Heritage Experience opens in spring at the home of British Motor Racing, discover state-of-the-art interactive displays that tell the story of motor racing in a permanent exhibition, culminating in an immersive show dome finale where you can experience what it’s like to zip around the track alongside your racing heroes.

2. Watch the world premiere of an Idris Elba production

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As part of the Manchester International Festival – the biggest event on Manchester’s cultural calendar that takes place every two years – film and TV star Idris Elba joins forces with London’s Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, for the thrilling production of Tree. This, among many other cultural events, will take place at venues all over the city (4-21 July).

3. Surf inland in England’s south west

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Pull on a wetsuit and hit the waves…in the city of Bristol. Set to open in the autumn, new inland surfing lake The Wave Bristol will be powered by the latest wave-making technology and generate up to 1,000 quality waves per hour. There’ll be three surf zones for different abilities and a high-performance surf centre for elite athletes and aspiring pros.

4. Book tickets to one of Britain’s youngest music festivals

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Following on from the success of last year’s launch, the RiZE Festival is one of the newest multi-genre music festivals to arrive in the UK. This is a party for everyone; the music genres range from indie and pop to dance and urban and takes places in Chelmsford, Essex, in south-east England in August 2019.

5. Explore a world-class medicine collection

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Following a £24 million investment, the entire first floor of London’s Science Museum will be given over to one of the most significant medicine collections in the world at the museum’s new Medicine Galleries. Due to open in 2019, the extraordinary collections of the pharmaceutical entrepreneur Henry Wellcome and the Science Museum will be on display, telling the stories of how our lives have been transformed by changes in medicine and health over the last 400 years.

6. See sporting legends make history

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Britain has been crazy about cricket for centuries, making it a fantastic destination for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Thousands of fans are expected to descend on venues all over the country, with play getting underway on 30 May and continuing until the final at Lords, the Home of Cricket, on 14 July.

7. Join a ‘Carnival of History’

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2019 will see Leeds Castle in Kent, south-east England, celebrate its incredible 900-year anniversary, with events taking place over the entire 12 months. Put 27 – 28 July in your diary in particular as it will host an amazing ‘Carnival of History’, a colourful procession that will culminate in an impressive finale set against the backdrop of this stunning castle.

8. Discover why Van Gogh loved London

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tate Britain has announced the largest exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work in the UK for nearly a decade (27 March – 11 August). Van Gogh and Britain will bring together 40 of the artist’s most famous works, including one of the Sunflowers paintings, and will examine Van Gogh’s relationship with Britain – he lived in London in his early 20s – and the British art, literature and culture he was inspired by.

9. Watch the world’s best golfers battle to win one of golf’s most prestigious cups

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The biggest event in women’s golf, the Solheim Cup, comes to the celebrated Gleneagles Golf Course in Perthshire, Scotland (9 – 15 September). Teams of 12 players representing Europe and the United States will hit the world-renowned golf course, with more than 100,000 spectators expected to attend from around the world. Will one of them be you?

10. Gain cultural kudos at Britain’s largest sculpture festival

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Head to the county of Yorkshire in north England next year for the first-ever Yorkshire Sculpture International, a free, 100-day festival that will be presented by four world-renowned cultural institutions based in Leeds and Wakefield: the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The festival will build upon Yorkshire’s rich history as the birthplace of pioneering sculptors, and as the home of this unique consortium of galleries and celebrated sculpture collections.

11. Cheer on your country

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The competitive world of netball comes to Liverpool, north-west England (12 – 21 July), as the city hosts the Netball World Cup. Sixteen international teams will be arriving in Liverpool, with host nation England placed at second seeds, following their Commonwealth Games gold medal earlier this year. Who will you be supporting?

12. Celebrate a British icon’s birthday

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The legendary Mini turns 60 next year and, for the first time in five years, the International Mini Meet will take place in the UK. Washingpool Farm near Bristol in south-west England will be the host (8 – 12 August), welcoming Mini owners from all over the world and celebrating with a huge birthday party. Also head to the British Motor Museum in Warwick, in central England, where a 1-day show on 4 August will mark the landmark birthday with a series of Mini-themed activities.

13. Witness the return of Girl Power

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We’re sure you’ve heard…British super-group The Spice Girls will be setting out on a reunion tour in May 2019 as a four-piece (minus Victoria Beckham) at various stadiums across Britain. Will you be among the lucky ones to get tickets?

14. Set your eyes on fabulous fashion

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A must-see for anyone who follows fashion are two fantastic exhibitions coming to London’s V&A Museum in 2019. Opening in February is Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, while April sees the launch of an exhibition dedicated to 1960s fashion revolutionary Mary Quant.

15. Embrace your love for literature

2019 will see cultural leaders from 28 countries come to Britain in May for a global gathering of the UNESCO Cities of Literature, the first time the event will take place in the UK. Dubbed Nottwich 2019 – as its gathering of writers and programme of cultural events will take place in Norwich and Nottingham in east and central England respectively, two of Britain’s Cities of Literature – look out for a literary programme that will challenge your mind.

16. Party like it’s 2019

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Celebrate with the people of London’s first-ever Borough of Culture – an initiative launched by London Mayor Sadiq Khan – as Waltham Forest in north-east London kicks off its year-long cultural programme from 11 January, with a huge party called Welcome to the Forest. Expect a magnificent visual and audio show, carnivals and light installations all telling the stories of the local people and area.

17. Reserve a table at one of London’s hottest new restaurants

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Chef Leonardo Pereira – who spent five years working at Noma in Copenhagen, one of the world’s most famous restaurants – is launching a Covent Garden-based restaurant called Nutshell. Slated to open in January, the restaurant which will feature Iranian cuisine created from British produce.

18. Book to see a new West End show

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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London’s West End will welcome a host of fabulous new shows in 2019, including the hit musical Waitress, which comes to the Adelphi Theatre in spring, while Mary Poppins makes a welcome return to the stage in autumn at the Prince Edward Theatre

20 Jan 2019(last updated)