Ten cool hotels to have on your radar in 2019

Suitcases at the ready – some fabulously cool hotels are set to open in Britain next year, each bringing their own unique vibe as they set to join the ‘hottest properties to stay at’ lists.

The Hard Rock Hotel, London

Get ready to rock – located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane in the conversion of the existing Cumberland Hotel, the legendary Hard Rock Hotel is scheduled to open its new London property in Spring next year. With 900 rooms and suites, together with two bars and a Hard Rock Cafe®, Hard Rock Hotel London will pay tribute in its memorabilia collection to former residents such as Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Madonna. The lobby will house its world-famous Rock Shop® featuring Hard Rock merchandise, and guests seeking the ultimate experience will have the opportunity to elevate their status and become Rock Royalty®. These luxurious Rock Royalty rooms and suites will offer extra perks including a personal concierge and access to a lavish lounge.

The DogHouse, Aberdeenshire, north Scotland

Beer lovers rejoice; independent craft brewer BrewDog has announced plans to build the world’s first craft beer hotel – wittily called The DogHouse – and will launch this immersive craft beer hotel and brewery expansion at its headquarters in Aberdeenshire, north Scotland. Set to welcome guests in the first half of 2019, the 26-room hotel will feature beer taps in the rooms, a built-in shower beer fridge, while the rooms will overlook the brewery itself. Guests will also be able to watch brewers at work from rooms overlooking the new facility.

Vineyard hotel at Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey, south-east England

If wine is more your favourite tipple, look no further than England’s largest single estate vineyard, which, come Spring 2019, will have converted its existing farmhouse accommodation into what is being billed as the UK’s first vineyard hotel. Set on the Denbies estate in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and offering panoramic views across the vineyard and North Downs Way, the new hotel will have 17 en-suite bedrooms, an Orangery-style garden restaurant, outdoor dining cabanas and its own ‘Enomatic™ wine dispensing machine’ – meaning guests can taste and purchase Denbies wine by the glass. Plus, there’ll be complimentary wine tasting tutorials. Cheers to that!

art'otel Hoxton, London

What could be cooler than staying in a hotel with its own art gallery? art’otel plans to open its first property in London in the neighbourhood of Hoxton, which will be an 18-storey, 350-bedroom contemporary hotel. As well as an art gallery located in the publicly accessible arts centre, plans are said to include a top-floor restaurant and bar and luxury spa. Another art’otel property to have on your radar is the one the hotel group is said to be opening near the historic Battersea Power Station in the new Nine Elms district, south London.

Grantley Hall, Yorkshire Dales, north England

When Spring rolls round, the doors are set to open on a new five-star luxury country resort hotel and spa, set in a grand 17th-century house on its own island! Situated between the elegant Yorkshire towns of Ripon and Harrogate, Grantley Hall is being restored to its former early 20th-century glory and guests will be able to choose from 47 rooms and suites, four restaurants, three bars, a private members club, a spa pool, state-of-the-art gym and elite performance centre. The elegance continues outside; explore gorgeous landscaped gardens, which including a 1910 Japanese Garden that features on Historic England’s National Heritage List.

Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester, north-west England

If you’re a football fan, the newest hotel owned by Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville should be on your hotel hot list. The former footballers-turned-hoteliers are transforming Manchester’s beautiful old Stock Exchange building into a five-star boutique hotel, with 40 bedrooms, two presidential suites, two restaurants and private dining in the wine cellars for up to 100 people. The hotel is due to open in Spring 2019.

The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent, south-east England

Joining the litter of Pig Hotels, The Pig at Bridge Place in Kent is due to open in Spring. Its home is within a 17th-century manor house that may once have been the refined Bridge Place Country Club but was also host to some legendary parties and gigs in its time – Led Zeppelin even played here in the 1970s. Its 28 bedrooms will be enhanced by period features such as large fireplaces, secret stairways and panelled rooms, and there’ll be a further 12 bedrooms in its new Coach House. As with all Pigs, the kitchen garden and restaurant will be at the heart of this new property, and anything that can’t be supplied by the gardens will be sourced from the best producers within a 25-mile (40-km) radius. Also keep an eye out for another Pig opening towards the end of 2019; The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall, south-west England.

Market Street Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland

Early 2019 will see Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, welcome a property from the Carlton House Collection, called Market Street Hotel. Situated on the edge of Edinburgh’s gorgeous Old Town, the historic nature of the building means lovely high ceilings and plenty of historic references, although the 98 bedrooms will be contemporary, urban-styled rooms with ante-room bathrooms. Its top floor is intriguingly being described as a ‘Champagne city residence’ and will offer wonderful vistas across the city.

The Crescent, Buxton, Derbyshire, north-west England

Get ready for some serious indulgence as the historic spa town of Buxton, Derbyshire, welcomes an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel to the Grade I-listed architectural masterpiece The Crescent. The hotel will be part of the overall transformation of The Crescent – which originally opened in 1789 and is one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Britain – and guests will also have access to the splendid Assembly Rooms, a thermal natural mineral water spa in the Natural Baths plus to the six prestigious retail premises along the front ground façade.

The Grand, Birmingham, central England

The chance to stay in hotels housed in some of Britain’s most iconic architectural sights continues in Birmingham, where one of the city’s best-known, Grade II-listed buildings is to be redeveloped into a luxury, 180-room hotel with a restaurant and bar, a spa and a rooftop infinity pool. While the hotel is scheduled to open in early 2019, several lovely bars and cafés have already set up home in the development - The Alchemist, Gusto and 200 Degrees cafe – that hotel guests will have easy access to.

Five luxurious ways to travel around Britain

Get from A to B with these seriously glamorous ways to travel, which turn exploring British destinations into an upper-class experience all the way.

Train

One of the greatest travel experiences has to be while relaxing with a glass of Champagne, savouring luxurious surroundings while gazing out of the window at ever-changing, beautiful scenery. Train travel on board the lavish Belmond Royal Scotsman (sister train of the Venice Simplon Orient Express) evokes the romance of travel from a bygone era and is all about delivering an exclusive experience; only a maximum of 36 guests are on board on any journey. There are a number of routes available; whisky lovers should check out its Malt Whisky Trail or fans of history can book onto a journey that takes you to visit castles and country estates. But it’s the experience on board that’s just as unforgettable as the stops. Visit its on-board spa for an indulgent treatment, enjoy fine dining across its two elegant dining cars and relax in the Edwardian Observation car.

Even if you only have one day to spare, you can experience the thrill of luxury train travel by dining on board the Northern Belle, which departs from regional stations throughout the UK and takes you through some of the most stunning countryside. Enjoy Champagne receptions, grand dinners or sumptuous afternoon teas in its gorgeous carriages, each of which is named after a British castle or stately home.

Hot-air balloon

Admire the exceptional beauty of the British countryside as you float above the landscapes on an exclusive trip in a hot-air balloon. Visitors have their pick of companies across the destination offering these trips; one example is Kent Ballooning, which offers ballooning over the ‘Garden of England’ – the county of Kent – in south-east England. Take it to a more exclusive, luxurious level with its VIP flights. Two passengers board their own private balloon – after watching its inflation – and enjoy Champagne during the flight.  

Alternatively, why not take part in Britain’s most famous hot-air balloon festival by booking a once-in-a-lifetime hot-air balloon trip with Virgin Balloon Flights at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, which returns in August 2019? You’ll take to the skies over the gorgeous Somerset landscapes for three-to-four hours and witness all the other balloons taking part in the fiesta beside you, while sipping on Champagne!

Helicopter

See Britain from a different angle as you cruise above it by helicopter…all piloted of course! You just have to sit back and enjoy the scenery. If you’re in England’s capital, one of the most exclusive ways to see the city is on board The London Helicopter on a trip that takes in all the iconic landmarks from the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. For an extra special journey tie in a luxury chauffeur service to and from your helicopter flight and, on arrival back at the heliport in Battersea, complete the trip with a glass or two of Champagne at neighbouring ‘The Pad’ at the Crowne Plaza. Helicopter flights can, of course, be more than sightseeing. Aerial Charter Scotland, for example, offers Helicopter Distillery Tours, where whisky lovers can travel between distilleries across the five distinctive whisky producing regions of Scotland. Spot the magnificent lochs, dramatic mountains and vibrant cities as you soar overhead en route to the distilleries.

Cruise ship

Britain is an island – so what better way to explore it than on board a luxury cruise ship? There are a wide range of cruise companies operating itineraries, from around the remote Scottish islands to cruises around the whole of Britain. You’ll find all-inclusive luxury – think butler service, gourmet dining, fine wines, Champagne, suites with private verandas and indulgent spas – with companies such as Regent Seven Seas, Six Star Cruises and Silversea. A two-week cruise by Silversea departs from London and stops at ports such as the spectacular Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall at the south-western tip of England; the exciting city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, the stunning Scottish islands of Lewis, Shetland, Orkney and Mull as well as the vibrant Scottish capital Edinburgh. Six Star Cruises offers a ‘British Isles Legacy’ route, with stops in Fowey in Cornwall, Liverpool in north-west England and Scotland, while Regent Seven Seas’ offers a ‘Treasures of the British Isles’ cruise, departing from Bristol, heading up to the Scottish islands and across to Aberdeen, before taking in Guernsey in the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

Chauffeur-driven luxury car

Enjoy the VIP treatment by visiting some of Britain’s top attractions and most beautiful destinations via chauffeur-driven luxury vehicle. There is a wealth of companies across Britain offering this type of service but to enhance the experience further, ensure your driver is also a knowledgeable guide. British Chauffeur Tours offers tailor-made tours to suit individual interests but check out popular journeys such as its Harry Potter tours, football tours and tours of the Cotswolds. Ever wanted to channel your inner James Bond? Book onto its Espionage London tour to discover the secret world of the spy – all, of course, from the comfort of a luxury car. Visitors can also have multi-day bespoke tours created. British Heritage Chauffeur Tours, for example, offers entire trips around Wales, England or Scotland – which include five-star accommodation along the way – as well as tours across a range in themes, from Poldark to Queen Victoria.

Explore Royal Britain

Britain just oozes with royalty with its roots dipped in rich history. Discover the UK’s castles, palaces, yachts and more. Explore our interactive map to discover royal attractions across Britain.

Royal things to do in Scotland

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Balmoral Castle tells of Scottish history like no other, built in 1856 it served as the Queen’s countryside getaway in Aberdeenshire. This stately castle was also the setting for Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s honeymoon – romance is in the air!

 

Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona

This sacred site situated on the Isle of Iona traces all the way back to AD 563 and was a regular destination for Christian pilgrimages. Take the chance to soak in this spiritual haven first-hand.
 

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

It’s most famous resident monarch was Mary, Queen of Scots whose secretary and confident was assassinated on the premises. Visit the home of Scottish royal history and the Queen’s office residence in Scotland.

 

The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh

With the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh, you’ll wonder which British royal hasn’t graced its elegant deck. From Her Majesty The Queen and Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi, notable figures have boarded this majestic vessel. All aboard the deck for stunning exhibitions!

 

Royal things to do in England

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Indulge your inner artist with one of the UK’s largest private art collection and follow the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Located in heart of the Peak District, you could roam the stunning greenery and lavish rooms at Chatsworth House for days.

 

Sandringham, Norfolk

Housing four generations of British monarchs Sandringham is the Queen’s countryside retreat! From coastal wetlands to beautiful woodlands, find out what makes it the perfect escape.

 

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Previously used as a medieval fortress, Warwick Castle has a long and varied history. Visit the well-preserved castle where Earl of Warwick enjoyed his leisure time in style.

 

The Althorp, Northampton

Once the home of the late Princess Diana, Althorp House is now her resting place. Roam around the tranquil cottages, beautiful woodland and farms surrounding the estate.

 

King’s College, Cambridge

Feel like royalty as you gaze up at the stunning architecture of Cambridge’s King’s College. Founded by Henry VI, pop in to see its chapel that took a whole century to complete.

 

Longdole Polo Club, Gloucester

Enter the depth of rural tranquillity in Gloucester and learn to play Polo with the best of them. Even Prince Charles, William and Harry made an appearance on the grounds.

 

Kensington Palace, London

Did you know that original Leonardo da Vinci drawings were found in the palace with no clues as to how they got there? Get the royal insight by visiting the London home of Queen Victoria, Princess Diana and Will and Kate.

 

Buckingham Palace, London

You can’t get much more royal than Buckingham Palace. With one of the best known balconies in the world, it’s where the Royal Family appear to the public after royal or national celebrations. Inside you’ll find stunning interiors and the finest art collection to marvel at.

 

Windsor Castle, Windsor

The largest inhabited castle in the world, this building is simply breathtaking. Soak up the history of the artefacts, staterooms and grounds of one of the Queen’s favourite palaces.

 

Highgrove House, Gloucestershire

For the finest greenery in all the land, Highgrove garden in Gloucestershire will supply you with more than just a spring walk. Indulge in your luxury tastes with the kind of fine living suitable for a prince and a duchess.

 

Osborne House, Isle of White

Queen Victoria spent her holidays on the Isle of White in the palatial Osborne House. Marvel at its ornate terrace gardens or take a dip in the sea at Osborne beach.

 

Wimbledon, London

The Royal Family have had their own box at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships since 1922. If tennis isn’t your thing, there’s a charming village, an 1140 acres common (with windmill) and classy boutiques to explore nearby.

 

Royal Pavilion, Brigthton

Inspired by lavish Indian, Chinese and Islamic architecture King George IV ordered its construction in 1787. From a royal residence and seaside getaway to a hospital for Indian soldiers – the enchanting Royal Pavilion stands tall to this day.

 

Royal things to do in Wales

Conwy Castle, Conwy

Did you know that Conwy Castle was part of Edward I’s plan to build an ‘iron ring of castles’ around Wales? Its grandiosity is not to be underrated. Venture to the battlements and immerse yourself in the conquest.

 

Anglesey

Pursue some romance on the captivating north coast of Wales where Kate and Prince William found their perfect hideaway residence. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Anglesey is the perfect place to fall in love.

 

Caerphilly Castle

Wales’ largest castle is a revolutionary masterpiece in its strategic military defence. It’s one of the first castles in Britain to have a concentric design (it has a surrounding wall) and has a rich and thrilling medieval history.

 

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The Crown filming locations around Britain

The Crown follows the story of Her Majesty The Queen in her accession to the throne, and as a young monarch faced with a country in the depths of turbulent post-war Britain. With the new Netflix series returning to British screens on Friday 8 December 2017, we’ve rounded-up some of the regal filming locations featured in the hit show.

 

Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, England

Home to the 7th Marquis and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family, this grand location also includes the Old Palace, which was owned by Henry VIII. The King had his three children raised in the palace, including Elizabeth I - she was there when she was told of her accession to the throne, making it a fitting place to use in filming for The Crown.
www.hatfield-house.co.uk

Getting there: Hatfield House is a 70-minute journey by train or car from London.

 

Wrotham Park, Barnet, Hertfordshire, England

This grand estate has been little changed since its design in 1754, and still remains in the care and charge of the Byng family. Surrounded by 300 acres of parkland, the secluded estate is an idyllic location for hosting private functions, banquets and parties.
www.wrothampark.com

Getting there: Wrotham Park is a 65-minute journey by train or car from London.

 

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral was founded in 672 AD, with the current building dating back to 1083 AD. Used in the filming of The Crown, this spectacular location stood in for Westminster Abbey on the wedding day of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, re-enacted just as it was 68 years ago. The regal location has also starred in The Other Boleyn Girl, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and The King's Speech.

www.elycathedral.org

Getting there: Ely is located in Cambridge, and is a two-hour drive or a 70-minute train journey from London.

 

Lyceum Theatre, London

Wind back the clock and you'll see Matt Smith (Prince Phillip) and Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth) looking suave in 1940s garb at the Lyceum Theatre, oozing elegance in a post-war Britain. The Lyceum Theatre, opened in 1841, has a dramatic front facade and has hosted performances for nearly 200 years. Today the theatre is home to the ever-popular The Lion King.

www.lyceumtheatrelondon.org

Getting there: the Lyceum Theatre is closest to Temple London Underground station.

 

Knebworth House

Take a walk through 500 years of history, both on and off screen. With generations of the Lynton family residing at Knebworth since the Tudor times, each has been sure to make their mark on this magnificent building. With a romantic exterior adorned with turrets, domes and gargoyles the house is definitely worth a visit. Used, of course, as a location in The Crown, the house has also starred in The King's Speech, and Batman the Movie.

www.knebworthhouse.com

Getting there: Knebworth House is an 80-minute drive from London. Alternatively it's a 65-minute journey by train and public transport.

 

Slains Castle and Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Standing on a cliff top overlooking the North Sea, are the ruins of Slains Castle. This enchanting spot was once ruled by the powerful Clan Hay and in its prime the castle was a Scots Baronial Mansion with three gardens. Used in the The Crown the hauntingly beautiful spot is the perfect reason to explore Scotland's rugged, wild coastline, steeped in its own history. It is often said that the castle was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Make sure to stop at Cruden Bay, also used for scenes in the Netflix series.
www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/slains-castle-p255271
www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/cruden-bay-p315541

Getting there: Cruden Bay is less than a four-hour drive from Edinburgh, or four and a half hours by train and public transport. Edinburgh is an hour flight from London.

New Year’s Eve in Britain: where to ring in 2018

With amazing fireworks lighting up London’s iconic skyline, Scotland’s world-famous Hogmanay, and partying with Santa in Cornwall, there’s nothing quite like celebrating New Year's Eve in Britain. Then, after all that revelry, join the Loony Dookers and start the New Year afresh (quite literally) with a customary New Year’s Day dip into Edinburgh’s wintery waters!

 

New Year's Eve: 31 December 2017

 

Fabulous fireworks in the heart of London, England

Join thousands of fellow firework lovers and watch London's extraordinary pyrotechnics bring in the New Year along the banks of the famous River Thames. After the success of the 2011 Olympic Games welcome, the event has grown to massive proportions and is now ticketed - grab yours here.

 

See Edinburgh Castle aglow with fireworks for Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland

Enjoy a special midnight moment surrounded by the historic beauty of Edinburgh as you're immersed in a fizzing atmosphere of fireworks and music. Dance the night away at the Concert in the Gardens featuring live music, entertainment, DJs, giant screens, and outdoor bars – this year’s headliner is Rag’n’Bone man. After the clock has struck midnight, grab your family and friends and join in the traditional song of Auld Lang Syne

 

Burn away bad spirits with the Stonehaven Fireballs, Aberdeenshire, west Scotland

Turn up the heat at the frosty festivities in Stonehaven (two hours north of Edinburgh) where a fireball parade marches through the streets of Aberdeenshire. This amazing spectacle has been celebrated for over 100 years, and always attracts a large crowd. Traditionally, the fiery furore was seen as a cleansing ritual to burn off bad spirits before the New Year begins. Grab your winter warmers, and watch as the piper-led march heads a dazzling display of brave souls, all swinging fireballs above their heads!

 

Welcome in the New Year with witches and wizards in St Ives, Cornwall, south-west England

Take a trip to the English seaside and welcome in the New Year amongst goblins, witches, knights and even Santa! See the idyllic town of St Ives transformed on New Year's Eve, as it becomes awash with partiers and revellers alike, all adorned in fancy dress. Thousands take to the streets for an evening of fun, as live bands perform in the harbour and local restaurants and pubs host their own themed events. The evening celebrations culminate with the traditional countdown, ending in a firework display that lights up the whole harbour.

 

New Year's Day: 1 January 2018

 

The morning after the night before…

New Year’s Day Parade, London, England

London’s New Year’s Day Parade has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars, with around 10,000 performers from across the world and a street-side audience approaching 500,000. The parade starts at 12pm and is filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats, kites and more. There will be a yet another series of impressive indoor and outdoor performances, including those from representatives of each of London’s Boroughs. Keep up to date with the line-up of musicians, performers and floats here. Take a look at the route of the parade and grab your tickets here.

 

Saundersfoot New Year's Day Swim Pembrokeshire, west Wales

Welcome in the New Year with a bracing swim at Saundersfoot, less than two hours’ drive from Cardiff. Don your fancy dress, get your hot drink on standby, and join over 1,000 other swimmers in the icy waters. Thousands crowd the surrounding beach to watch the swim, and enjoy fireworks and music prior to the culminating event.

 

Stoats Loony Dook, Edinburgh, Scotland

Join thousands of ‘Dookers’ taking part in this annual Stoats Loony Dook dip in Edinburgh’s freezing River Forth after their march along the High Street as part of the Dooker Parade. The tradition has been going for 30 years and participants raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the Dookers at various vantage points along the route or down on the beach.