Victoria 200

Prince Harry is days away from his wedding and a new little prince was born just last month to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – 2018 has, so far, shone a spotlight on all things royal. And, as we look ahead into the next 12 months it looks set to continue, with 2019 the year we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of William and Harry’s great-great-great-great grandmother – Queen Victoria. The second-longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Victoria’s legacy continues to thrive and there are some extraordinary sites to visit to mark this special anniversary.

 

If you’re in London…

A trip to Kensington Palace is a must. Princess Victoria was born here on 24 May 1819 and the palace was her childhood home (it’s also now the London residence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle). Explore the dazzling exhibition Victoria Revealed that opened earlier this year and will run until January 2020. Packed with intimate accounts of her intriguing reign, visitors will gain insights into her and Prince Albert’s characters, and can admire personal objects such as letters and journals. Stars of the show include tiaras from the collection of the Dukes of Fife, descendants of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Louise, such as her Emerald and Diamond Parure (tiara, necklace, earrings and brooch), a gift commissioned by Prince Albert.

Just a short stroll from the palace is the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens – located directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall, an exquisitely ornate monument that commemorates the death of Prince Albert. Follow a visit with an afternoon at the nearby V&A Museum – named after Victoria & Albert – the world’s largest museum of decorative art and where you’ll discover photographs of Victoria in its collections.

If you’re visiting Buckingham Palace – Victoria was the first monarch to rule from here – you’ll spot the resplendent Queen Victoria Memorial right in front. Comprising the magnificent white marble monument of Victoria that was built to commemorate her death in 1901, it’s also home to the Memorial Gardens and the Dominion Gates (Canada Gate, Australia Gate and South and West Africa Gates).

Famous London landmarks such as Westminster Abbey and St James Palace also have strong links to Queen Victoria; the former, as she was crowned there in 1830 and the latter, because it was where she married Prince Albert (although the public cannot visit inside the palace).

 

If you’re in Windsor, Berkshire…
Just an hour from London is Windsor Castle, where Queen Victoria resided for part of each year. Marvel at the splendid State Apartments within the walls of this largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, where you’ll discover thousands of objects and art collected during Queen Victoria’s reign. And both Victoria and Albert’s tombs are at rest in the private grounds of Windsor, at Frogmore House, in the Royal Mausoleum. There are rumours afoot that Queen Victoria’s tomb will be reopened to the public, although this has yet to be confirmed.

 

If you’re on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England…

A favourite holiday destination for Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their large family of nine children, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight – a 20-minute ferry ride from Portsmouth, which itself is two hours by train from London – is a must-visit for any fan of Victoriana. It’s quite the palatial holiday home and visitors can walk among the opulent state rooms to admire the remarkable collections from the British Empire, which, by Victoria’s death in 1901, stretched across nearly a quarter of the globe. You may also recognise Osborne House from the recent film Victoria and Abdul, starring Dame Judi Dench – it was used as a film location.

But it’s not just the lives of Victoria and Albert you’ll gain an insight into at Osborne House, but also the childhoods of the royal couple’s children, particularly in the impressive Swiss Cottage in the grounds of the house. And, next year, to mark the 200-year anniversary of Victoria’s birth, Osborne House will be hosting a special exhibition about both Victoria and Albert.

 

If you’re in Scotland…

Balmoral Castle remains the Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family today – and was very much a favourite of Victoria and Albert’s. It was Albert who first brought his vision to the beautiful gardens here and visitors are welcome to tour Balmoral, usually between the end of March and end of July. Be sure to visit the spectacular Castle Ballroom and its fine works of art and artefacts. And imagining you are a royal yourself is well within your grasp as you can book to stay at the estate’s cottages, available when the Royal Family are not in residence.

The Highlands of Scotland also played an integral role in Victoria’s life; scenes in Victoria & Abdul were therefore filmed here, including the breathtaking landscapes of Glen Affric and Glenfeshie in the Cairngorms National Park. Queen Victoria was also known to have visited Ardverikie Estate as well as the magical Blair Castle. The area even has a Victorian Heritage Trail you can follow, taking in steam railways, country estates and distilleries.

London’s V&A is also opening a new outpost of the museum on 15 September in the city of Dundee, 1.5 hours from Edinburgh. Ultra-modern and sleek in design, the museum launches with the spectacular Ocean Liners: Speed & Style exhibition, and will also showcase world-class touring exhibitions from the V&A, as well as the best of Scottish design.

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™.

TASTE – May 2018

This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the destination.

 

TREND: VEGANISM

Choice for vegan residents and visitors has been rapidly growing in Manchester in recent years, with must-visit spots now including: #PlantPoweredSundays at Grub Manchester; Allotment in Stockport which offers a vegan tasting menu; the casual delights of V Rev Vegan Diner, Zad’s pizzeria, Teatime Collective and desserts parlour Ice Shack; independent food co-ops The Eighth Day and Unicorn Grocery; plus regular vegan fairs and beer festivals at venues such as Islington Mill and Hulme Community Garden Centre.

East London-born The Vurger Co opened its first permanent site in Shoreditch in March after headlining many menus at festivals around the UK: try the Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese. All burgers are made from 100% vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. For more healthy treats, Surrey Vegan (19 May) is the area’s third annual vegan fair, which will be home to a wide selection of food stalls dishing up tasty treats, alongside talks by inspirational speakers.

In Scotland, Harmonium in Leith is a new Edinburgh branch of the established Glasgow institutions Mono & Stereo and serves all the vegan comfort food you can imagine. Mala Carne in the Southside of Glasgow is also not to be missed – particularly the tofu scramble and vegan cakes. In the Scottish borders, vegan ice-cream now available at the award winning Giacopazzis.

 

LONDON

May promises to be all flowery with a brand new afternoon tea introduced by Dominique Ansel with a menu that follows the path of a seed growing and blossoming into a full-bloomed flower beginning with savoury bites and ending with a selection of sweets. Guests will be seated on the blossoming open-air terrace and then presented with dishes served on handmade ceramic-tiered stand with a “seed” at the base that gradually sprouts and blossoms as you work your way up through the “menu.” Dominique Ansel evolved the idea into a menu that starts from the ground up and is presented in a fresh and modern way.

The newly opened speakeasy Vijay’s Bar & Lounge is focusing on making extensive use of fresh herbs and floral syrups in their cocktail menu and demonstrates how astringent herbs can be used to draw out flavour. Savage Garden will be opening this summer as a new dramatic sky-high all-day bar and cocktail lounge. With 360-degree vistas, guests can take in some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including The Shard, Tower of London, The Gherkin and St. Paul's Cathedral. Another connoisseur’s delight: the 16th May will be the official launch of the Champagne School by Searcys at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, which will champion English wine makers with the theme ‘Made in Britain.’ Monthly Champagne School dinners are designed to appeal to all kinds of wine lovers – from absolute beginners to accomplished connoisseurs. You can also book their own private classes for groups.

On 16 April Michelin starred Chef Heinz Beck officially opened his much anticipated new restaurant Beck at Brown’s in the heart of Mayfair at the iconic Brown’s hotel. The restaurant, freshly redesigned by Olga Polizzi, offers a new casual dining menu of classic Italian dishes, reinvented using the finest seasonal British ingredients, uniting Heinz’s inimitable style with the hotel’s British heritage and careful balance of classic elegance and contemporary flair.

 

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND

Bristol

To continue with the veganism trend, the new Bristol Vegan and Wellbeing Market will launch on Corn Street on 28 April and will then be held every Monday from 10am to 5pm. This is a logical progression in a city that has embraced the vegan diets with enthusiasm. The Roots Lounge – is the latest of a new generation of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

VegFest, the annual celebration of all things vegan is back – this time VegFest is taking place at the Ashton Gate stadium from 26-27 May and is promising a weekend of music, events, bean burgers, a gourmet vegan pizzeria, vegan chefs and more than 200 stallholders. Vegan comedians, a vegan art exhibition, dance stage, blues lounge and deep chill zone are among the entertaining accompaniments to some fabulous food.

The Faraway Cocktail Club opened in April to bring a tropical flavour to Bristol’s cocktail scene, with a new Caribbean themed bar. An offshoot of successful Flipside Cocktail Club, Faraway serves rum and tequila based cocktails and Tiki-style sharing punch bowls in a bar that’s big on palms, pineapples and party music.

 

Wiltshire

A new map showcasing the culinary magic conjured up by the county’s chefs, bakers and brewers has been published by VisitWiltshire: The ‘2018: It’s Time For Wiltshire Food and Drink Map’ features over 80 of the region’s finest producers, eateries, watering holes and cookery schools from a’Beckett’s Vineyard in Littleton Parnell to the Woodbridge Inn in Pewsey. Lucknam Park Hotel Cookery School is among three places highlighted in the guide where enthusiastic amateurs can hone their culinary skills with The Farm Cookery School and Vaughan’s Cookery School also on the menu.

 

Dorset

Swim is a café-bar by the sea in Lyme Regis, with arguable the best views over the Jurassic coast, serving a diverse menu across breakfast, lunch and dinner and an eclectic mix of craft beers and cocktails.

 

NORTH WEST ENGLAND

Manchester

Nestled under the iconic Mancunian Way flyover, Hatch is made up of repurposed shipping containers and is part of the Circle Square development which will bring living, office and green space to The Corridor area of the city. Run by the team behind Northern Quarter’s popular emporium Afflecks, the indy street food hotspot on Oxford Road features a rotating line-up of traders that change every twelve weeks. Opening traders include; artisan coffee house Takk, nano brewery ÖL, Mexican street food at El Marchador and Canadian poutine at Blue Caribou Canteen.

Following the success of its four restaurants at prisons across the UK, The Clink Charity has recently launched a new café in the heart of Manchester. The Clink Café, located within the Grade II listed Canada House, will continue the charity’s innovative rehabilitation initiative for offenders and homeless people those who need a second chance.

 

NORTH EAST ENGLAND

Hull

Fresh from its UK City of Culture success of 2017, Hull is seeing the creation of a thriving local food and drink scene. ‘Made in Hull’ is fast becoming an emerging theme for the city, with restaurants, gourmet street food, gin distilleries and microbreweries joining an already well-established Ale Trail which takes in historic pubs, particularly in the medieval Old Town. Offering a showcase for the city’s rapidly growing local food scene, the award-winning Hull Street Food Nights, funded and organised by HullBID, are back for 2018 - with food, drink and music combining in a nighttime street festival featuring scores of stalls.

 

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND

Kent

Inspired by the culinary and sensory delights of the rose, Hever in Bloom (26 June – 1July) will take visitors on a scented tour of the rose garden and will provide instruction on how to prepare roses for cooking as well as the basic principles behind distilling rose oil. Rose petals are completely edible and as a relative of the strawberry, the rose lends itself to many a dish including fruit salads, cakes, biscuits, granola and ice cream.

 

Hampshire

The Vineyards of Hampshire Cellar Door Experience will see seven vineyards across the county open their doors to visitors monthly from 18 May to 8 September for the opportunity to travel around the participating vineyards and pop in for a range wine tasting. For those planning on tasting a tipple to many, new venture Hampshire Tours provides private tours in the area, and is doing a special Cellar Door tastings offer of £350 for up to six people.

 

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh

The latest addition to the Chop House family opened in March in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield neighborhood. Serving the best British beef, dry-aged and butchered in-house, it brings a new casual dining experience focused on steak and cocktails to a new area of the city. Renowned for its sociable style of dining, Chop House proudly presents large cuts of beef, sharing starters and enticing side dishes designed to be enjoyed by the whole table.

The Register Club at The Edinburgh Grand opens its doors on the 1st June. Occupying the entire west wing of the St Andrew Square building’s fourth floor, the Club will offer Edinburgh a new reservation-only spot to eat, drink and relax in comfort and style in art deco surrounds. The high-end champagne and cocktail lounge bar will be run by The Bon Vivant, putting a spotlight on local and artisan producers with a bespoke cocktail list.

 

Glasgow

Ardnamurchan Restaurant and Bar opened in Glasgow’s Theatreland in May putting a taste of Scotland’s best produce on their menu including freshly caught langoustines from the Isle of Mull and venison from the Ardmurchan peninsula. The perfect place to go for a wee dram, with the bar serving up at least 50 different types of whisky and come winter they will have a roaring real fire in their snug.

Alchemilla has taken residence in Finnieston’s foodie quarter, with Glasgow girl and Ottolenghi alumni Rosie Healey as Head Chef.  Expect contemporary Ottolenghi style dishes, eastern spices and lots of small sharing plates in relaxed minimalist surroundings. The team behind 111 by Nico has launched a new restaurant, Six by Nico, in the trendy Finnieston area serving a six-course tasting menu based on a different place or memory - the theme will rotate every six weeks. 

The tearooms Mackintosh at the Willow are scheduled to open as part of Glasgow’s celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth. The Willow Tea Rooms building is recognised internationally as the only surviving tea room designed in its entirety by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, from the interior and the design of the cutlery to the waitress’s uniforms.

 

Isle of Skye

Skye Food & Drink Festival (13-14 June) is a celebration of food and drink from across Skye and the surrounding regions. With whisky, gin, wine, beer, meat, fish, chutney, bread, chocolate and cheese makers, the artisan producers market has something for everyone. Skye’s most celebrated chefs including Lady Claire MacDonald, Scott Davies and Calum Munro, along with Patisserie Chef of the Year Helen Vass, will showcase their culinary skills and offer cookery tips. There will be opportunities to taste and buy, cookery demonstrations, masterclasses, live music throughout the day and ceilidh’s on both evenings. 

 

Scottish Borders

Borders Distillery, the first Scotch Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837, opened on the 1st May and is dedicated to making great whisky and to capturing the spirit of the Borders. See whisky production in action and gain an insight into a working commercial distillery. Public and private tours are available. Nestled at the heart of the Roxburghe Estate in the beautiful Scottish Borders is the outstanding Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle, which will be hosting the Great British Food Festival this year on the 8th and 9th September.

 

WALES

Snowdonia

Palé Hall, North Wales’ first five-star hotel, launched a ‘gin-venture’ foraging experience in 2017. In partnership with Forager’s Gin, handcrafted by the Snowdonia Distillery, and local expedition specialists RAW Adventures, Palé Hall is now offering guests the chance to learn how gin is made and how to forage for botanicals. Enjoy an eight-course tasting menu from Head Chef Gareth Stevenson, where each dish features some of the best local produce, and afterwards retire in front of the roaring fire.

8 new museums and exhibitions you won’t want to miss

You’re never far from a first-rate museum or art gallery in Britain, many of which are free to visit. Take a look at these hot new openings in 2018 and be the first to see some of the best new exhibitions and galleries in the world.

 

If you like – art and design

You’ll loveDundee’s V&A, Dundee, Scotland

The V&A – one of London’s best museums – opens a new outpost of the museum in the Scottish city of Dundee this autumn, located 1.5 hours from Edinburgh. Ultra-modern and sleek in design, and architect Kengo Kuma’s first British commission, the museum launches with the spectacular Ocean Liners: Speed & Style exhibition, which will display never-before-seen objects and highlights from the ships that revolutionised travel in the mid-19th to the late 20th centuries. The museum will also showcase world-class touring exhibitions from the V&A, as well as the best of Scottish design.

Open: 15 September

 

If you like – sculpture

You’ll loveYorkshire Sculpture Park’s new visitor centre, Yorkshire, north England

Be one of the first to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s (YSP) £4million, environmentally friendly visitor centre later this year, which will bring a gallery space exhibiting 20th- and 21st-century art, a restaurant and shop to this leading centre of modern and contemporary sculpture. Set in the 18th-century Bretton Hall Estate in West Yorkshire, 30 minutes from Leeds, it’s also the only place in the world where you can see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety as well as a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore.

Open: Summer 2018

 

If you like – great feats of engineering

You’ll love – Being Brunel, Bristol, south-west England

New to Bristol this year is Being Brunel, a museum celebrating the life and work of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the celebrated Victorian engineer whose famous designs include SS Great Britain, itself moored next to the new museum, and the city’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. It explores everything from the great designs themselves, his celebrity, his ambition to become a leader in engineering, and his home life. Families will love the interactive exhibits, which include talking portraits of his family and friends.

Open: Now

 

If you like – classic ceramics

You’ll love – the new-look Museum of Royal Worcester, Worcestershire, west England

Receiving a £1.7million refurbishment means the museum of the famed porcelain makers, located an hour from Birmingham, will become a living history of the factory, telling the stories of the people that worked there, as well as exhibiting collections that date back to 1751 when the company was formed.

Open: May 2018

 

If you like – maritime history

You’ll love – the new galleries at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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 is opening four new permanent galleries in 2018 in its East Wing. The new ‘Endeavour Galleries’ will each be dedicated to different themes: Pacific Encounters, Polar Worlds, Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, and Sea Things.
Open: Mid-2018 TBC

 

If you like – Welsh history

You’ll love – the new galleries at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff, Wales

Later this year, new galleries will open at the open-air history museum around St Fagans Castle to display objects – many never shown before – from the National Museum Wales’ collections. Part of a significant renovation project, there will also be new buildings across the site, one – Gweithdy, a sustainable building boasting a café and a range of craft workshops – that is now open.

Open: Now, and throughout 2018

 

If you like – WWII history

You’ll love – the new galleries at D-Day Story, Portsmouth, south England

Personal stories of D-Day are told through the museum’s collections and audio-visual presentations in the refurbished galleries of the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, two hours south of London. The new displays feature accounts of the Battle of Normandy and the museum has also put together guides on how you can discover the story of your family members involved in D-Day.

Open: Now

 

If you like – world-class art

You’ll love – the revamped Royal Academy, London

Marking its 250th anniversary in 2018, the Royal Academy will reveal its new look this summer. It will showcase more major exhibitions focusing on living artists and architects, new free art displays, and the institution’s two buildings – Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens – will be linked for the first time with dedicated spaces for exhibitions and displays across the site, including a new Architecture Studio and cafés. There’ll also be an increase in the debates, discussions and workshops the RA is famed for.

Open: May 2018

 

You might also like:

  • In autumn 2018 the British Museum in London will open the Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic world and a new Japan gallery.
  • The RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme is transforming its London site as part of the Royal Air Force’s centenary celebrations in 2018 with new permanent exhibitions, opening in the summer, and the Now & the Future exhibit area will tell the story of the RAF from its earliest years in the First World War to its global role today.
  • The new-look Mackintosh Tearooms, Glasgow, Scotland, a £10million project preserving the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Tea Rooms Building, is scheduled for completion in June, and a shop next door will be transformed into an education and interpretative centre.
  • Westminster Abbey, London, will welcome a new gallery and museum this summer. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Abbey’s medieval triforium, runs 70 ft above the Abbey and has not been seen by the public for more than 700 years. Expect to see treasures from the Abbey’s 1,000-year history.
  • Discover more than 3,000 objects from around the world in south London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens new World Gallery, celebrating what it means to be human. The new £4.6million gallery includes works of art and fun things to touch, play with and smell.

15 incredible ways to celebrate World Gin Day in Britain

Shaken or stirred, with tonic or in a cocktail, the popularity of gin continues to boom and, with more than 160 gin brands across the UK according to the Gin Guild, plus a host of boutique distillers opening, Britain continues to lead the gin revolution. As World Gin Day celebrates its ten-year anniversary on 9 June with a four-day festival in London, make sure these British gin experiences are on your to-do list.

 

England

Stay at Britain's first gin hotel, Portobello Road Gin’s Distillery hotel, London

Book into The Distillery on Portobello Road; this gin lovers' paradise is home to two gin bars, stocking a huge range of gins (including the famous Portobello Road Gin) and the Ginstitute, the hotel's gin museum and blending room, which runs masterclasses showing you how to make your own gin blend.

 

Embark on a Gin Journey tour, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle

The Gin Journey takes its guests in a chauffeur-driven carriage to five bars in your city of choice, including a local gin distillery, with samples of specially selected premium gin in each. Other tours on offer in London include ‘The Gin Masters Masterclass’ for a chance to learn all about the various styles of gin and its manufacturing from a master distiller.

 

Head for London’s largest collection of gin, London

Featuring more than 500 gins and 30 tonics the Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room is seriously impressive, offering the discerning gin lover more than 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings, plus new gin cocktails.

 

Order gin from a ‘Bath’, Bath

The Canary Gin Bar in the south-west England city of Bath, is a haven for gin-lovers due to its vast collection of the spirit on offer. A micro-distillery has also been launched at the bar and has created its very own type of gin, ‘Bath gin’.

 

Enrol in gin school, Leicester
Join the Gin Experience at the 45 Gin School in Leicester and tour the home of Burleighs London Dry Gin, before selecting and distilling your choice of botanicals and bottling your own 70cl bottle of gin, under the guidance of a master distiller.

 

Feast on cake and gin, London

Hayman’s English gin makers and Brigit’s Bakery have joined forces to offer a Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea Bus Tour of London. Tours on the charming, vintage Routemaster bus take in some of London’s most iconic landmarks as a bespoke B Bakery Afternoon Tea is served with Hayman’s Gin infused treats and three seasonal Hayman’s Gin cocktails.

 

Scotland

Indulge in gin pamperingm, Glasgow

Created by the people behind Glasgow’s first dedicated gin bar – Gin71 – the Gin Spa is the world’s first botanically inspired day spa. Find bespoke treatments using the bar’s passion for gin mixed with natural botanical ingredients and sip on a complimentary gin cocktail that comes with every treatment.

 

Venture to the far north for gin, Shetland

Take a tasting tour at the UK’s most northerly gin distillery; the Saxa Vord Distillery on the Shetland Isles. Its recipes infuse gin with either locally harvest apple mint or bladderwrack seaweed to give it a unique Shetland twist.

 

Sail on a gin cruise, Edinburgh

The people behind Edinburgh’s Juniper Festival, Scotland’s first-ever gin festival, now offer special gin tasting events on board its Juniper Cruise. Heading out from Edinburgh on the Lochrin Belle canal boat, its two-hour tasting session teaches guests about gin’s fascinating history while sampling five Scottish gins. Cruises run until November and the Juniper Festival itself takes place at Summerhall, Edinburgh, between 1-3 June.

 

Gin along the North Coast 500, Caithness

Ask someone else to drive this stunning road trip along 500 miles of the far north of Scotland as you’ll want to stop by these two gin distilleries en route and sample the goods. Head to the new visitor centre of the Dunnet Bay Distillery, in Caithness, to discover tales of illicit distilling and the history of prohibition in the local town of Wick, before sampling its flagship gin Rock Rose. Further along near Inverness is the intriguing Glen Wyvis, 100% owned by the local community with a new distillery that aims to be 100% powered by green, renewable energy.

 

Mix gin with chocolate, Perth

The Perth Chocolate and Gin Street Festival, an hour north of Edinburgh, is a haven for those with a passion for chocolate and a love for gin. Coming to the city this November (17-18), there’ll be gins to try from all over the UK and a chance to see how well the two products go together in the chocolate and gin pairing event.  

 

Wales

Buy biosphere-inspired gin

Taste and take home the unique Pollination Gin, distilled by the family run Dyfi Distillery, located in the UNESCO World Biosphere of Dyfi in north-west Wales, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. It’s produced in very limited small batches, made from foraged botanicals from within the biosphere, pure grain spirit and locally drawn spring water, making it a special gift to take home.

 

Sample sea-inspired gin

Fans of seafood should put this on their must-try list; a small batch gin made with a variety of botanicals infused with seaweed from the Welsh coast, Dà Mhìle Seaweed gin is pretty special. Find out more of how this unusual gin is made with a tour of the distillery near Ceredigion in west Wales, two hours from Cardiff.

 

Northern Ireland

Take Northern Ireland’s very first gin tour

The Belfast Gin Jaunt launched last year and takes guest to five bars to try seven different gins – including three distilled locally – starting at a Victorian Gin Palace and finishing three hours later at the city’s famous Cathedral Quarter.

 

Explore Northern Ireland’s first craft gin

Find out the fascinating story of how Northern Ireland’s first craft gin – Shortcross Gin – came about in a tour of its distillery on the Rademon Estate in County Down, one of Ireland’s oldest historic estates located just half an hour from Belfast. And, of course, the essential tutored tasting of the end product.

48 hours in… A DIY Royal Tour

The British Royal family has captured the world’s imagination for centuries, and in more recent times, the likes of TV drama The Crown, and films such as The Queen and The King’s Speech, have endeared new generations to the royals.

With a third child on the way for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, plus the impending nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle, it’s set to be a seriously exciting royal summer. So why not plan your own royal tour of Britain?

 

TIME TO CHECK IN

In London’s affluent Belgravia neighbourhood, where Buckingham Palace is located, you will also find The Goring hotel, where the Duchess of Cambridge spent the night before her wedding to Prince William in 2011. The luxury hotel, built in 1910 by visionary Otto Goring, is said to be the last grand hotel of the Edwardian era with one of London’s largest private gardens. Goring also equipped the hotel with some alleged world firsts – en-suite bathrooms and central heating in every single room.

 

DAY ONE:

09:30 GET WEDDING-READY AT WINDSOR CASTLE

Catch a train from Paddington to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Get there in time to see the Changing of the Guard, which happens on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday each week. Save time and buy your Windsor Castle tickets in advance.

Home to the monarchy since William the Conqueror discovered it in the 11th century, today it remains Queen Elizabeth II’s weekend home.

On 19 May 2018, the castle will become the setting for the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle; some 900 years after Henry I became the first royal to marry here. It will also play host to special events from 5 May to 3 June 2018, such as Saturday family art workshops, ‘The Wedding Bells of Windsor’, where children create everything from wedding tiaras to ceremonial swords to design their own royal wedding. You can also explore St George’s Chapel, the final resting place of ten monarchs including King Henry VIII alongside his third wife Jane Seymour.

 

11.30 LUNCH LIKE A BRIT

Grab a re-entry permit from the castle shops and head into town for a spot of lunch, or book afternoon tea at the Clarence Brasserie and Tea Room, a few minutes from Windsor Castle.

 

13:30 GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

Back in London, make a beeline for Buckingham Palace. For ten weeks in the summer and selected dates afterwards, the state rooms of Queen Elizabeth II's official residence are open to the public, so take advantage to see the striking Throne Room, the Grand Staircase, and paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt and others.

 

15:30 OFF WITH YOUR HEAD

The next stop on your royal tour will delight your inner magpie as you head to the Tower of London to see the world-famous Crown Jewels, a collection of 23,578 gemstones still used in ceremonies today — and always under armed guard.

Not all that glitters is gold though; this infamous former prison has held many famous guests, such as Guy Fawkes, Princess Elizabeth (to-be Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) and was the site of execution for three of King Henry VIII’s six wives.

 

20:00 DINE LIKE ROYALTY

After freshening up at your hotel, dine at celebrity favourite Beach Blanket Babylon where Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are all said to have partied in a private room.

 

DAY TWO:

10:00 BE A-MAZED

Catch a train from Waterloo to Hampton Court Palace, one of King Henry VIII’s former palaces. It’s home to an exquisite recreation of his crown, and other attractions such as the world-famous maze commissioned by King William III in around 1700.

You can enjoy a themed tour, Tudor cookery display and, of course, the maze, as part of your Hampton Court Palace ticket. Be sure to refuel at one of the Palace’s three cafés before you head back into central London.

 

13:00 TOUR THE PALACES

Although not open to the public, St James’s Palace — King Henry VIII's former residence in Westminster - is still a working royal residence, hosting charity receptions and state visits. As such, you can’t explore inside, but the beautiful architecture can be admired from outside.

Next, head to Clarence House, attached to St James's Palace on The Mall, and the official residence of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. Admire the architecture and gardens of this stunning townhouse, which opens to the public every August.

Kensington Palace is probably the most exciting to visit, as it remains home to so many royals. The official residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, it was also Princess Margaret’s former home and the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria.

Explore the state rooms and get to know Princess Diana through her style in the acclaimed fashion exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story. Wander through the Palace Gardens and enjoy the fascinating Sunken Garden, a secluded oasis planted in 1908.

 

HOW TO GET HERE

  • Getting to Windsor Castle: Windsor and Eton Central station is approximately 30 minutes from London Paddington station, then it is a short taxi ride to the castle.
  • Getting to Hampton Court: Hampton Court train station is a ten-minute walk from the Palace and is served by London Waterloo, with stops at several London stations en route.

NB to editors: The Three Palaces Royal Pass includes admission to the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace, saving 5% to 10% off individual adult and child tickets, and allowing visitors to skip the queues at each attraction.

Royal Warrant Holders

Some British brands are revered for their quality – so much so that they’re officially recognised as Royal Warrant Holders. This means they supply their goods to the households of Her Majesty The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales. Below is a list of some of Britain’s best-loved brands that hold the prestigious accolade.

Maldon Crystal Salt Co
Producing the finest natural sea salt for well over 100 years, this company hand-harvests its distinct flaky textured salt from the flat marshes of Maldon, Essex. The town has lots to explore, from museums to boat trips on the Blackwater Estuary.

 

Laphroaig
A firm favourite among whisky connoisseurs, Laphroaig is a single malt whisky from Islay – the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Regarded as one of the most flavoursome Scotch whiskies in the land, it’s no surprise that it’s the Royals’ whisky of choice.

 

Corgi
This luxury brand has humble beginnings. It began making socks for local miners in the Welsh village of Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, in 1892 and now produces luxurious knitwear in wool, cotton and cashmere.

 

Weetabix
The best way to start your morning, this wholegrain breakfast is manufactured in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire. Weetabix has been a staple on British breakfast tables since the 1930s. Try them with some honey, sultanas or sliced banana and a sprinkle of sugar.

 

Burberry
Founded by Thomas Burberry, this fashion house headquartered in London, England, has been an iconic British brand since its opening in 1856. Known for its distinctive check, innovative fabrics and timeless trench coat, it continues to wow fashion shows and garner the respect of fashionistas. It’s no wonder the Royals choose Burberry.

 

Cadbury
Its sweet, creamy flavour, its famous purple wrapping, Cadbury is the eminent British confectionary known the world over. It began in 1824 when John Cadbury opened a grocery store selling cocoa and drinking chocolate in Birmingham, England. It now makes more than 30 type of chocolate bars.

 

Berry Bros & Rudd
Founded in 1698 in London, Berry Bros & Rudd is Britain’s oldest fine wine and spirit merchant. Its first royal customer was George III back in 1760. You’ll find a collection of over 1,300 wines and spirits, ranging from £10 to £10,000 a bottle.
 

Twinings
Since 1706, Twinings of London has been a purveyor and trader of tea. With over 200 teas from around the world to try, Twinings’ shop and museum in central London is a great place to stop by for a cuppa and shop for tea-based gifts.

 

Penhaligon’s
This luxury perfume house has been the perfumer to the Royals for nearly a century. With its incredible heritage and divine perfume range, picking up a Royal scent could be the perfect present to take home. Penhaligon's was founded by a Cornish barber who moved to London. The brand started its life on Jermyn Street in Westmintster but the stores are now located all over the UK.

 

Barbour
Famous for its classic wax cotton jackets, Barbour makes classic winter warmers that have served the Royals for decades. Created in a small coastal town at the mouth of the River Tynein, South Shields, Barbour has established itself as one of the country’s best labels for high-quality country wear and stylish casual wear. Its flagship store in London’s Covent Garden is just one of many places where you can pick up some Barbour goodies.

 

Shepherd Neame
Would you doubt the quality of an ale that holds a Royal Warrant? Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewery – steadily brewing since 1698 – and owns more than 300 pubs across London and South East England. The brewery is located in Faversham, Kent, and its tours are a popular way to try a few ales while learning about the brewery’s secrets and history.

 

Hunter
Strong and stylish, the brand is a British classic. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Hunter boots are made to defy the harshest weather conditions and trickiest landscapes, they’ve been a Royal favourite for quite some time. They’re not just for Royals, though… adventurers, campers and festival goers rely on Hunters to keep their feet dry on wet hills and muddy fields.

 

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Royal London

London is home to the finest royal tailors, the Queen’s favourite grocery store and the makers of Meghan Markle’s engagement ring. Explore our interactive map to discover more about the royal institutions and suppliers in this majestic city.

Kensington Palace Gardens

The tranquil gardens of Kensington Palace are a perfect escape from the bustle of the city. With ornamental flowers beds and graceful fountains, the formal gardens were commissioned by Queen Mary and transformed into the grand park it is today by Queen Caroline.
 

Goring Hotel

Located around the corner from Buckingham Place, this luxurious hotel is one of the Queen’s favourite venues for entertaining. Its Royal Suit has walls lined with silk, elegant antique furniture and takes up the hotel’s entire top floor. The Goring is definitely fit for a king or queen!

 

Westminster Abbey

This ancient religious building has more than 1000 years of royal tradition. It’s the official coronation church and you can admire the coronation chair in St George’s Chapel. The abbey was the setting for 17 royal weddings including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

 

St James’s Park

This stunning 57-acre royal park is located in the heart of Westminster and is home to The Mall and Horse Guards Parade. Enjoy spectacular views of the park from the Blue Bridge or marvel at monuments like the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Duke of York statue.

 

Dean Street Townhouse

This Georgian residence was built in 1732 and became home to several aristocratic families as well as King Charles II’s mistress Nell Gwynne. It’s now an upscale boutique hotel (part of the exclusive Soho House Group) and provides traditional British style and comfort to its guests. 

 

Cleave & Co

Situated just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, this prestigious jewellers made Meghan Markle’s enormous diamond engagement ring. Cleave & Co’s craftsmen also create decorations and medals for palace offices, heads of state and military institutions around the world.

 

Horse Guards Parade

The iconic Queen’s Life Guard and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment change takes place every day at 11am (10am on Sundays). Visitors are welcome to watch the ceremony and the crowds here are usually smaller than at Buckingham Palace, making it perfect for photos!

 

Fortnum & Mason

Known as the Queen’s grocer, this store sells the finest foods and luxury hampers for all occasions. The establishment boasts an impressive variety of restaurants offering a royal afternoon tea experience at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon and delectable desserts at the Parlour.

 

Lock & Co Hatters

Located on St James’s Street, Lock & Co Hatters is the oldest hat shop in the world. Known for its fine craftsmanship and innovative designs, this family-owned business has designed hats for Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

 

Buckingham Palace

The largest of the royal palaces, this has been the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837. The palace opens its gilt doors to the public every summer so you can enjoy its opulent state rooms.

 

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society hosts it world-famous annual 5-day event in May. Horticulturalists from around the globe exhibit their innovative garden designs and compete for various garden awards. With exotic palms, inspirational gardens and floral delights, you’ll find some great ideas to take home.

 

The Crown Jewels, Tower of London

Guarded inside the Jewel House the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels is a dazzling collection of 23,578 gemstones. Still used in royal ceremonies today, the collection contains crowns and ceremonial regalia that date back to the 1600s.

 

Gieves & Hawkes

This luxury brand has provided the Royal Family with the finest garments since 1809. It holds 3 Royal Warrants and also has a long history of crafting uniforms for the Royal Navy and the British Army. Its flagship store is located in the home of bespoke tailoring, Saville Row.

 

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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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Celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force

As the Royal Air Force (RAF) marks its 100th anniversary this year, numerous attractions are charting not only the history and people that make up the UK’s prestigious armed service, but also its impact on the history of flight. Here are some stories and events to uncover during RAF100.

 

RECOGNISING A FORCE FOR GOOD

Plenty of heroes, heroines and trailblazers made their mark in the RAF, the world’s oldest independent air force, which was formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918. The Royal Air Force Museum, in north west London, documents the stories of many of those who made significant contributions, both to the organisation and to developments in flying.

The museum’s online exhibition delves even deeper into the history. ‘Women of the Airforce’ honours the role of women in the air services, such as the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF), which was established at the same time as the RAF. It was set up following concerns that the highly-skilled female workforce would be lost after the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) merged to form the RAF.

You can also trace the story of Commandant Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, a formidable leader who set the standards for all women’s air services in Britain, and discover how her professional approach changed male attitudes towards women in the air service.

Women continued to play an important role in the Second World War, an aspect that’s highlighted in the Grandma Flew Spitfires’ exhibit at Maidenhead Heritage Centre. The exhibit tells the stories of both men and women’s courage, skill and sacrifice in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). The ATA ferried over 309,000 warplanes of 148 different types between factories and frontline squadrons. There is also a fascinating selection of memorabilia, from log books to uniforms, as well as the opportunity to sample life in the cockpit in a Spitfire simulator.

Another initiative is 14-18 NOW, a five-year arts programme connecting people to the First World War through arts experiences, such as the high-profile, visually striking Wave and Weeping Window exhibit, a sea of ornamental red poppies first displayed at the Tower of London. Currently on tour between now and December 2018, you can catch it in Hereford, Fort Nelson, Carlisle, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, London, Belfast and Plymouth.

 

Other events:

North East Salute to the Royal Air Force at 100, Durham: This Thanksgiving service at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 23 June 2018 will be followed by an RAF Air Cadets’ performance and parade.

Centenary Service and Parade, London: The official commemoration of RAF100 will take place on Tuesday 10 July with a service at Westminster Abbey, followed by a reception and fly-past on Horse Guards Parade. You can apply for tickets here.

 

TAKE TO THE SKIES

Mary Ellis is one of the last surviving ATA pilots, who delivered Spitfires and bombers from factories to the frontline, keeping the squadrons replenished during the Second World War. To mark Mary’s 100th birthday last year, she celebrated by taking to the skies in a Spitfire.

Visitors to Britain can also experience the thrill of a Spitfire. Boultbee Flight Academy offers an exhilarating Spitfire flight experience from four UK airports where participants can enjoy aerial views over England’s south west coast, the English Channel, the Scottish Highlands or the iconic Duxford Airfield, the centre of European aviation history, from where Spitfires first took flight in Britain.

Duxford is also home to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, which is worth a visit after touching down. Explore the same hangars as servicemen and women such as the famed RAF fighter pilot, Douglas Bader, discover their stories through original film and artefacts, and get up-close to iconic aircraft such as the Vulcan bomber, B-52 and Concorde.

 

More experiences:

Flying Lessons: Always wanted to fly a plane? Book an introductory flying lesson in a vintage RAF Tiger Moth for a taster of British aviation during the Second World War. Venues include Staverton Airport in Gloucestershire where you’ll enjoy spectacular views over the Cotswolds.

RAF Falcons Display: Visitors can witness Britain’s premier parachute display team achieve free falls of up to 120mph and see their incredible formations at one of the display days from May to October at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Check their website for event dates and locations.

 

SHOW OF WINGS

On Sunday 10 June 2018, the RAF Cosford Airshow will feature a thrilling six-hour flying display in Cosford, Shropshire. Celebrating the evolution of air power, the show will include a selection of planes that have never been seen before.

The show also includes a Vintage Village complete with tearoom, live entertainment and classic cars. Visitors can also meet the RAF Red Arrows flying display team who will be honouring the centenary with their iconic red, white and blue vapour trails as part of their daring Diamond Nine-shape acrobatics.

 

Other events:

Air Waves Portrush: Northern Ireland’s biggest free air show returns on the weekend of 1/2 September 2018 on Belfast’s Causeway Coast with aircraft displays, a motor village, trade fairs, artisan markets and a fun zone for children.

Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow, Cambridgeshire: Duxford’s airshow on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September 2018 will see the skies above Cambridgeshire filled with one of the biggest collections of aircraft from the era, while on the ground, RAF100 celebrations continue with re-enactments, 1940s dances, and talks and signings with respected authors of wartime history and literature.