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10 Reasons to Visit Britain in 2023

Thursday 05 January 2023
Three mature cyclists taking a break looking out to sea at sunset on a clifftop

Story ideas highlighting major events, new attractions, new trends in the UK in 2023.

 

1. London Luxury Hotel Boom

 

For five-star hotels, London is hard to beat and travellers looking to make the most out of their next trip to London will be spoiled for choice with a boom of new luxury accommodation opening their doors throughout 2023. Several international brands are set to make their UK debut in London next year, whilst other brands will expand their portfolio with brand new properties.

Visitors should keep their eyes peeled for Europe’s art-inspired lifestyle hotel brand, Art’otel which will open its first UK hotel next to the revamped Battersea Power Station in late 2022. In spring 2023, Britain’s first Raffles property will open at the historic London landmark, The OWO. Also opening in spring is 1 Hotel London Mayfair which will debut overlooking Green Park as the brand’s British flagship hotel, along with Mandarin Oriental’s new Mayfair property and Britain’s first Peninsula Hotel, which will open in the heart of Belgravia.

Later in the year, visitors can brush with royal heritage in one of London’s most historic buildings, as Admiralty Arch is set to become London’s first Waldorf Astoria, whilst Mayfair will also open its doors to the UK’s first St. Regis hotel. Not short on new offerings, London will also add to its luxury portfolio, Park Hyatt London River Thames and Six Senses London, which will mark the UK debut for the iconic wellness hotel brand.

 

2. Events Fit for a King

 

- Coronation

On 6 May 2023, Britain will celebrate the official coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, inspiring travellers across the world to discover Britain’s royal heritage for themselves. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of royalty with a tour of Kensington PalaceHampton Court Palace or the Tower of London. Though for those fancying something a little different, there’s plenty more to discover… 

Book a Secret Royals trip with Remarkable Tours which promises to reveal little-known facts and stories to showcase a completely new perspective on the Royal Family. Afterwards, toast to the late Queen at the longest serving cocktail bar in London (also a popular hideout for many royals), The American Bar at The Savoy with the Queen’s favourite cocktail, a Dubonnet and gin. For those heading up north, enjoy life as a royal during the summertime in Scotland with a stay at the luxury Gleneagles hotel. From gundogs and falconry, shooting and fishing to tackling the rugged Highland trails on an off-roading adventure, guests will discover some of the Royal Family’s favourite summer pastimes. No trip to Britain is also complete without experiencing a quintessential British high tea. Visitors can elevate the experience and journey back in time in true Royal-style onboard the Belmond British Pullman. Reminiscent of the British Royal Train, the luxury private charter serves a luminary champagne afternoon tea in vintage carriages from London’s Victoria Station to Greater London and into Kent. Visitors can also enjoy afternoon tea with a twist aboard the Land Rover Safari Tour as it makes its way around the spectacular Royal Sandringham Estate, the much-loved country retreat of the British Royal Family. If that’s not enough, back in London embrace His Majesty’s King Charles III passion for all things green and visit one of London’s many hidden gardens or pay a visit to one of the capital’s more familiar green spaces.

- Eurovision/Music

Later in the month, it’s time for extravagance and glitz as Liverpool gets ready to be centre stage for Eurovision’s 67th Song Contest on 13 May. Whilst the UNESCO City of Music will be pulling out all the stops for the world-famous song contest, there's endless room for discovery in this legendary city and beyond with Britain’s rich musical history spanning across cities. Begin a tour of Britain’s music triangle in Liverpool by taking a step back in time to see where it all began for the city’s most famous offspring, The Beatles. Live out the “Fab Four” heydays with a night out at the Cavern Club, which famously played host to the Beatles in their early years, before exploring the world's largest permanent museum telling the story from their humble childhood beginnings to world-wide fame at The Beatles Story. Searching for more tunes? Head over to The British Music Experience for an inside look into British music through costumes, instruments, performance and memorabilia.

Continuing the journey around Britain’s music triangle, take a short train ride over to Manchester to discover the city’s legendary musical heritage. Aptly named the musical powerhouse of the northwest, the city’s music scene continues to thrive, not only for acclaimed and emerging artists but for its diverse range of music venues. In 2023, Manchester will see the opening of Co-op Live Arena - the UK’s largest new live music venue that will be home to a 23,500 arena, alongside the continued expansion and redevelopment of New Century Hall - the legendary music venue (which has seen the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones) that reopened in September 2022 and will soon debut a new food, drink and outdoor space, all whilst paying homage to its historic legacy. The city’s oldest music venue, Band on the Wall which has been entertaining Manchester since the 19th Century has also recently expanded. An enhanced archive and visual exhibition documenting the rich social and musical history of Manchester’s communities and the local area will also soon be added. Not to be missed as well is the highly anticipated opening of Factory International. At 13,300 square metres, this large-scale venue will be located on the famous old Granada Studios site and will host a year-round programme of concerts, theatre, music and opera to major exhibitions. 

On the final stop of the British music triangle tour, head slightly farther north to visit the UK’s second UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow. It doesn’t take long to realise why this city was named “Europe’s Secret Capital of Music” by TIME Magazine and was the UK’s first, and remains Scotland’s only, UNESCO City of Music. Stretching from contemporary to classical, and Celtic to country, prior to COVID-19, Glasgow hosted an average of 130 gigs and music events every week. The city comes to life at venues spanning from traditional pubs, 1960s dancehalls, intimate music venues to those on a more larger scale such as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and The OVO Hydro Arena. Embrace the beating heart of this city with a tour of Glasgow’s Music Mile with Glasgow City Music Tours, or dance the night away at Celtic Connections – Britain’s premier celebration of Celtic music, which in 2023 will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Afterwards, rest your head with a stay at the Pipers’ Tryst Hotel – a city-centre retreat run by the National Piping Centre where all profits help to support local musicians and preserve the art of bagpiping. 

 

3. Don’t Forget an Anniversary

 

In February, the Flying Scotsman will mark 100 years since it entered service. As one of the most famous locomotives in the world, the Flying Scotsman became a household name after it was featured at the British Empire Exhibition and hauled the first ever non-stop London to Edinburgh service. To celebrate its centenary, the UK’s National Railway Museum in York will showcase an unmissable programme of events and a special exhibition with one-of-kind VR technology.

Wembley Stadium will celebrate its 100th anniversary in April 2023. Over the last hundred years, it has cemented itself firmly into the nation’s hearts and has played host to some truly incredible moments in both footballing and music history. Visitors can celebrate the centenary by walking in the footsteps of legends on a Wembley stadium tour, which offers behind-the-scenes access to the UK's largest sports and music venue.

It will be 70 years in April since the Royal Yacht Britannia was launched in Clydebank, Scotland in 1953. For over 44 years Britannia served the Royal Family as their official water-borne royal residence. Today, Britannia is permanently moored in Leith and is a five-star visitor attraction and exclusive evening events venue in Edinburgh. Visitors looking to mark the occasion, can enjoy a taste of royal life with a stay at Fingal Edinburgh, Scotland’s only luxury floating hotel permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s waterfront and right next to The Royal Yacht Britannia.

In April, it will also be 70 years since Ian Fleming released his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. Whilst the escapades of 007 have taken Bond to every corner of the world, you don’t have to travel far in Britain to experience life in his shoes. After a day of adventure, raise a glass at The Dorchester’s new Vesper Bar which debuts in December 2022 and pays homage to the hotel’s many connections with James Bond throughout the years. Or, enjoy a stay at the soon to open Raffles London at the OWO, the building which inspired Ian Fleming to write the James Bond series after working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Service. 

 

4. Celebrate Reinvention

 

England’s northern gateway is undergoing a city-wide transformation which is at full speed heading into 2023. Formerly one of the world’s great hubs for industry and shipping, Manchester’s warehouses have been reclaimed to make the city an exciting destination for “industrial chic” creativity, culture and food.

The highly anticipated, Factory International, will open as a new cultural space in the heart of Manchester in 2023. The £110m venue, will host a year-round programme of concerts, theatre, music and opera to major exhibitions; it will also become the permanent home of Manchester International Festival. In late 2023, East Manchester will see the opening of Co-op Live Arena - the UK’s largest new live music venue. In February, Manchester Museum will re-open following a £15 million renovation, and afterwards visitors can grab a bite to eat at the new Escape to Freight Island or wander through Diecast, a “creative neighbourhood” featuring a brewery, food hall and a night market. When not indoors, soak up the greener side of life at The National Trust’s Castlefield Viaduct, a striking Victorian-era steel viaduct, which is on its way to becoming a green ‘sky park’ (Manchester’s answer to New York City’s Highline) or enjoy a picnic at Manchester’s first new city centre public park in over 100 years, the 6.5-acre Mayfield Park. 

 

5. Wander the Coast

 

Projected to open in its entirety in 2023, the England Coast Path - tracing almost 4,500 kilometres along the entire coast of England, will be the longest continuous coastal path in the world. Vast sections of the path are already open, so from breathtaking cliffs and sandy beaches to charming coastal villages and fresh sea-to-table cuisine, visitors can get ready to explore a new world along England’s coast. 

Along the way, have a break in Brighton and cool off along the seafront at Sea Lanes Brighton. Slated to open in spring 2023, the new swimming venue will create the UK’s first national open water swimming centre of excellence and will include a heated 50m outdoor swimming pool and a beach bar stocked with selections from some of the 60 plus microbreweries in the local area. On the doorstep of the iconic pebbled beach, stay at the new part-Grade II Listed Georgian property, No.124 Brighton Guesthouse which will also open in 2023.

For those wandering west, discover even more breath-taking views and a warm Welsh welcome along the Wales Coast Path, which stretches 1,400 kilometres along sandy beaches, sheer cliff faces, bustling city harbours and charming seaside villages. Along the way, climb aboard a traditional schooner and learn about Pembrokeshire’s rich maritime heritage at the new Wales International Coastal Centre that will fully open in 2023 on Saundersfoot Harbour.

 

6. Lift Your Spirits with Whisky & Wine

 

English whisky production is growing at an exciting rate, and in 2022 the English Whisky Guild formed to build awareness of the product and promote best practices across the industry. In 2023, visit the new Ad Gefrin distillery opening in Northumberland in February. In Scotland, look out for new players like Port of Leith Distillery in Edinburgh, iLi Distillery in Islay and Ardgowan Distillery outside of Glasgow to start production and welcome guests to their new visitor centres coming in 2023. In Wales, well-known whisky brand Penderyn will open their third visitor centre in Swansea next year, while “grain to glass” distillery In the Welsh Wind’s whisky will make its highly anticipated debut on the market in late 2023.

English wine production is now turning heads on a global stage. Britain is home to an incredible selection of thriving vineyards. From the greenery of Kent and Dorset to the rolling hills of Yorkshire, a visit to one of the wineries can add some sparkle in more ways than one. The Pig in the South Downs is the first of this boutique hotel group to include a vineyard and Lympstone Manor in Devon and South Lodge in Sussex will produce their first harvest of English Sparking Wine in 2023. With award-winning wine offerings, seasonal events and new ‘vineyard hotels’ sprouting, it’s time to explore Britain’s wine scene and raise a glass to a blossoming industry.

 

7. Unwind in Nature with a Restorative Escape

 

Disconnect from the day-to-day and unwind amongst the trees for the ultimate restorative escape. From treehouse-style accommodation, eco-lodges, handcrafted shepherd huts, glamping and more, Britain offers an array of dream-worthy accommodation that will make one feel a million miles away. In 2023, several new and revamped properties will launch offering guests a front row seat to nature.

The Bracken Hide will open as a luxury wilderness hotel next to Portree, Isle of Skye in Scotland. Featuring luxury ensuite cabins, a Nordic Sauna and wild swimming pool, guests can further refuel and unwind at the hotel’s signature restaurant, whisky bar and cinema room.

Set in 400 acres of Welsh woodland in the picturesque Brecon Beacons, Forest Holidays, Garwnant will open in early 2023 with 40 eco-sensitive timber cabins, ten-bed Golden Oak treehouses and intimate two-person Golden Oak hideaways. Beyond the accommodation, guests can look to the night sky for stargazing, up the adrenaline at Zip World Tower, or explore the hiking trails of the National Park.

Following a successful opening in 2021, The Tawny Hotel has recently unveiled new treehouse-style accommodation and 10 new rooms in the picturesque rolling countryside of Staffordshire. All guests will enjoy an outdoor spa bath on private decking and can escape into nature with lakeside gardens, ponds and an outdoor heated pool.

Situated on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District, Another Place has undergone a property-wide expansion and debuted ‘Outside,’ a collection of new rooms and spaces that aim to bring guests closer to their wilderness surrounds. The enhancements include handcrafted shepherd huts with stargazing roofs and treehouse-style accommodation with floor-to-ceiling views and a new restaurant situated in a classic Victorian glasshouse.

 

8. Plan Your Great British Adventure

 

For thrill-seekers, a new wave of experiences will pique their interest. A world-class climbing park, 270 Climbing, is coming to Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds, and will become one of the finest climbing centres in the country. Norfolk Outdoor Adventures has recently developed their Leave No Trace experiences to showcase a more adventurous side to the Broads National Park, including stargazing on a kayak, wild swimming, and beach fire cooking. Over in Wales, the three-night Wild Wellness Retreat offers off-grid glamping, with locally sourced foods, foraging and more. Or for those looking to get their feet wet, take a dip with stingrays, sharks and a green turtle at Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium, new snorkel at the aquarium experience.

Adventure in Britain doesn’t stop just because the sun has gone down. Embark on stargazing safaris, kayaking and zip wires at Dark Skies Festivals across the whole country, or take a fresh look at London’s landmarks on a night kayaking tour with Secret Adventures, paddling past St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament by moonlight.

 

9. Discover Exciting New Exhibits

 

Culture vultures can rejoice as Britain will offer several new world-class exhibits at Britain’s museums throughout 2023.

Manchester Museum will reopen in February following a large-scale £15 million transformation. The museum will unveil the addition of a new exhibition hall, South Asia Gallery and Chinese Culture Gallery alongside other exciting new updates. Golden Mummies of Egypt will be the museum’s opening exhibition, offering unparalleled access to Egyptian and Sudanese collections.

At V&A South Kensington, 2023 marks the opening of the first ever major UK exhibition on Renaissance master Donatello, to a celebration of the power and creativity of the DIVA, while Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto will be the first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. V&A Dundee will celebrate its fifth birthday with a new programme of exhibitions including Tartan, a look at the global story of a unique pattern that has and continues to connect communities worldwide.

Over in Liverpool, don’t miss visiting Tate Liverpool for Dark Waters, an immersive showing of JMW Turner’s paintings accompanied by a bespoke soundscape by musician Lamin Fofana (until June 4, 2023). At Tate Britain, look out for Women in Revolt!: Art, Activism and the Women’s Movement in the UK 1970-1990 opening November 2. 

In London, the National Portrait Gallery will reopen in 2023 following a multi-year renovation called Inspiring People. The project will showcase a re-presentation of the Collection, combined with a significant refurbishment of the building, the creation of new public spaces, a revamped visitor entrance and more.

 

10. Britain Shines on the Silver Screen

 

Not shy of the limelight Britain has graced our screens over the years from blockbuster hits to award-winning television and in 2023, the nation’s awe-inspiring scenery and iconic landmarks will once again take centre stage. 

The fifth season of Netflix’s popular F1 documentary drama series, Drive to Survive will be released in early 2023 and will feature Britain’s iconic Silverstone track. Off the screen, visitors can enjoy the experience of Silverstone first-hand with track days or enjoy nonstop track action all weekend long at the British Grand Prix in July.

In the fifth and final instalment of the Indiana Jones series - slated to be released in June 2023, keep your eyes peeled for Harrison Ford swinging between London, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Scotland and up to Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. Those inspired by all of Jones’ adventures can get the adrenaline pumping themselves with these outdoor adventures in Britain’s cities or play outdoors in Britain’s national parks.

In December 2023, the world’s most famous chocolatier will return to our screens in a musical fantasy film about young Willy Wonka, affectionally titled, Wonka. Whilst filming took place across West Dorset, Bath, London and Oxford, chocolate connoisseurs can live out their own Charlie Bucket dream by taking a tour of Cadbury World in the historic Bournville village in Birmingham (the site of the original Cadbury factory). 

Returning to Netflix is the popular British-comedy drama, Sex Education which is currently in the midst of filming its fourth season across Wales. Several stunning Welsh locations have been used for filming and it's expected audiences will see more of the pristine Welsh countryside when the show returns to our screens later in 2023. Read the Visit Wales guide here to discover an inside guide to some of the show's iconic settings.

Bridgerton has inspired audiences around the world to dream of life in Regency Britain. With the third season having commenced filming in the UK (Bath, London and the West Country) in mid-2022, fans are eagerly awaiting its release next year. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy a promenade around Britain with these Bridgerton-themed tours.

The popular Scottish mystical drama, Outlander commenced filming for its seventh season in May 2022 and is slated to be released some time in 2023. Filming and production took place across several sites in Scotland and fans of the show can tour Scotland with an Outlander-themed self-drive itinerary

Cornwall was one of the main filming locations for the first season of the new Games of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon and it’s no surprise to see why. Some of destination’s iconic landmarks make an appearance, including the tidal island of St. Michael’s Mount, pristine Holywell Bay Beach alongside one of Cornwall’s most photographed and painted locations, Kynance Cove. Following the success of the first season, season two is slated to commence filming in early 2023 and it will be no surprise if Cornwall’s sublime coastline makes another appearance on the silver screen. Go beyond the screen and discover all of the county’s charm and one-of-a-kind experiences in our Cornwall destination guide here

Production for season two of the new Amazon Prime series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power commenced in October 2022 in the UK. Whilst the release date has not yet been confirmed, in the meantime fans of the fantasy franchise can explore J. R. R. Tolkien's many UK links, including the West Midlands, the Malvern Hills, Gloucestershire, the Ribble Valley and Buckinghamshire. Tolkien fans can also delve a little deeper with a walking tour of Oxford visiting the central locations where the writer lived, taught and worked.

 

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

pressandpr@visitbritain.org