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 1,000 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.

Celebrate World Vegan Day in the UK

From its origins in 1994, World Vegan Day on 1 November is now a worldwide day of awareness celebrating all things plant-based, with Britain now ranking as one of the most vegan-friendly destinations in Europe.

For vegans travelling to the UK, there’s an ever-growing number of vegan eateries and accommodation on offer - from high-end ethical suites to healthy cuisine and jaw-dropping junk food.

 

Vegan places to eat

 

London

Mildreds, Soho

One of the best-loved vegan-friendly spots in London is Mildreds. Originally established in Soho in 1988, the restaurant now boasts branches in Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston. Airy, bright and stylish, the chain is known for its delicious warming winter dishes like smoked tofu, apple and white bean sausages and mash, and toffee apple crumble. Diners can also savour vegan cocktails including a gin-soaked cucumber smash, watermelon cooler and vegan beer.

Manna, Primrose Hill

Located in leafy north-west London, Manna is one of the capital’s most popular vegan restaurants. With a menu displaying influences as far flung as India, Mexico and Japan, this elegant restaurant prides itself on using sustainable produce throughout the year. Diners can choose from seasonal specials including roasted root vegetable masala or buffalo cauliflower tostada, enjoy protein-rich Sunday roasts or splash out and savour the chef’s special five-course custom menu.

Wulf & Lamb, Sloane Square

“Run with the wolves, eat with the lambs” is the mantra of Wulf & Lamb. Its 100% plant-based menu focuses heavily on comfort food, so expect fabulously filling dishes, including an open burrito with sautéed ackee, green coconut curry and the seitan Wulf Burger. Sweet-toothed diners can also choose from deliciously decadent desserts including Eton Mess or dairy-free mango and passionfruit cheesecake. 

The Gate

Celebrating 30 years of planet-based cuisine, The Gate serves up-market vegan and vegetarian food across four locations within the capital. In addition to the exciting a la carte menu which includes indulgent dishes such as aubergine teriyaki and wild mushroom risotto cake, The Gate also hosts monthly ‘secret vegan supper clubs’, offering a five-course tasting menu with paired wines. The two supper clubs closest to World Vegan Day are on 20 October and 17 November 2019, check the website for events thereafter.

We are Vegan Everything

Lovers of the plant-based lifestyle can relax in the bohemian Bali-inspired space of We Are Vegan Everything (WAVE) in the heart of Hackney. Expect soya ‘freakshakes’, juice shots, superfood lattes and vegan cakes, as well as brownies and croissants. For savoury vegan treats there is a ‘small’ menu, featuring a classic toastie, mushroom sausage roll and vegan salmon and cream cheese.

 

Manchester

The Allotment, Lloyd Street

Named best vegetarian restaurant of 2018 by The Times, award-winning restaurant The Allotment offers three, seven and ten-course tasting menus in the heart of Manchester. All its dishes are also 100% gluten, dairy and egg free, making it perfect for coeliacs in addition to those following a plant-based diet. During the holiday season, visitors can tuck into its Christmas menu featuring festive delights including cranberry and red wine parfait and pan fried cauliflower roast with all the trimmings.

V-Rev Vegan Diner, Edge Street

A mecca for vegan junk food lovers, V-Rev offers gloriously greasy delights at a price that won’t break the budget. From loaded southwest fries with smashed avocado and southwest chipotle mayo to buffalo mac and cheez made with homemade cheez sauce, beacon and buffalo sauce, this is the perfect venue for post-party pick me ups and cheat days. Can’t decide between savoury and sweet? Look out for Donut Stop Me Now – a mouth-watering medley of buttermilk fried seitan chckn, cheez, baecon, maple syrup and crispy fried onions between two fried donuts, for a decadent burger experience with a difference.

Greens, Didsbury

Set up by Simon Connolly and Simon Rimmer, now one of the UK’s top TV chefs, Greens has been ‘terrifying carnivores’ since 1990 with its inspiring menu of delicious plant-based dishes. Influenced by cuisines from around the world, the menu features dishes including soba noodle salad, sweet potato katsu curry and handmade gnocchi. Greens also offer a three-course Sunday roast set menu for £17, which includes a soup starter, roast and dessert.

 

Edinburgh

Holy Cow, Elder Street

Located in Edinburgh’s New Town, quirky independent café Holy Cow prides itself on using organic local produce to create its 100% vegan menu. Dishes change according to the season and you can expect tasty treats including spicy butternut squash soup, in addition to staples such as vegan burgers, open sandwiches and seasonal salads. Much loved for its cakes, the café has an ever-changing selection of sweet delights including chocolate and peanut butter cake, pumpkin pie and spiced pear and walnut cake.

The Ivy on the Square, St Andrew Square

The Ivy on the Square has swiftly become a staple on the Edinburgh dining scene. Its specially designed vegetarian menu features vegan-friendly options, while non-vegans can also choose from the à la carte menu. With delicious dishes including sweet potato Keralan curry, warm Asian salad and roasted butternut squash with grains, this chic and stylish restaurant is the ideal spot for vegan and vegetarian celebrations while in the Scottish capital.

The Auld Hoose, St Leonard’s Street

Home to some of the best rock, metal and punk music in Edinburgh via their legendary jukebox, The Auld Hoose is also one of the city’s best venues for vegans in search of a little comfort food. From huge plates of nachos dripping in vegan cheese to crunchy onions rings, vegan falafel burgers and even a vegan sorbet sundae, this is a must visit for meat-free visitors and music lovers alike.

 

Brighton

Purezza, St James’s Street

The UK’s first vegan pizzeria, Purezza take animal-friendly Italian cuisine seriously. Having spent two years developing their dairy-free mozzarella (made from brown rice), the restaurant uses innovative recipes and ingredients to create delectable vegan pizzas, pastas and desserts – from meltingly moreish macaroni to cheesesteak calzone and vegan oreo pizza. With a second branch in London and many gluten-free options available, it’s the perfect pit-stop for vegans looking for a taste of Italy in the UK.

Food for Friends, Prince Albert Street

Established in 1981, the award-winning Food for Friends is one of Brighton’s longest-running vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Boasting a seasonal menu made with local and organic produce, diners can enjoy Middle Eastern, Japanese and British-inspired vegan dishes including courgette kofta and Inari tofu wraps in addition to a selection of mouth-watering desserts and vegan cocktails.

Terre à Terre, East Street

A haven of vegan indulgence, Terra à Terra prides itself on its marvellous meat-free creations made with ethically sourced ingredients. Playfully named dishes range from KFC, Korean fried cauliflower with sweet and sour sesame, to Snap, Crackle and Choc, a rich chocolate mousse with praline and chocolate shortbread. With a range of organic vegan wines, beers and ciders on offer as well as cocktails and non-alcoholic options, this is the perfect spot for special vegan suppers by the sea.

 

Vegan places to stay

2019 saw the opening of the world’s first vegan suite at the Hilton Bankside in London. Created in collaboration with the Vegan Society, this luxury hotel now offers five-star vegan accommodation in the capital. From ethical bedding to the faux leather seating, even the cleaning products used are cruelty-free and eco-friendly. The in-room menu and minibar offer a range of vegan options, such as avocado and scrambled Quorn for breakfast and cauliflower steak or five-bean dhal for lunch or dinner. Located in the heart of London, attractions including Borough Market, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern are all a short walk away. Advanced bookings from £432 per night.

Offering a cosy, family-run B&B with a fully-vegan philosophy, Bay Tree House in Hastings is a plant-based haven in the south of England. In addition to providing healthy, organic and eco-friendly food, including an all-vegan breakfast, Bay Tree House organises numerous wellness activities, such as yoga and tai chi, making this bed and breakfast holistically health-conscious. A classic example of a Victorian home, it has been remodelled to a high standard, with traditional hardwood flooring and plush furnishings adding to the tranquil atmosphere. An en-suite room starts from £90 per night, including breakfast.

Allowing guests to enjoy a slice of nature in an ethically focused environment, Saorse 1875 is a countryside hotel designed with vegans in mind. Set in two acres of woodland near the Scottish town of Pitlochry, it aims to champion ‘ethical luxury’. Slow-paced and thoughtfully designed, this 19th-century house offers a plant-based menu that uses seasonal, local and foraged produce, served by a cosy restaurant fire. As well as the food menu, each room includes vegan toiletries. Prices start from £100 per night, for a room for one guest, and £150 per night for two.

 

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.

The World of Mr Banks

The world of ‘banks’ is at the very heart of the story of Mary Poppins; aside from the magical nanny herself, the main characters are the Banks family and Mr Banks is preoccupied with his work at a…you’ve guessed it, a bank! Britain itself has a long history of banking, with many branches once residing in the grandest buildings of a city that have now been transformed into elegant hotels and restaurants. As new feature film Mary Poppins Returns hits screens this winter it’s the perfect time to seek out your very own ‘Banks’ experience in Britain.

Stay

The Ned, London

A City of London landmark since 1925, the building now occupied by luxury hotel The Ned was once the headquarters of Britain’s Midland Bank, a striking building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens – one of Britain’s greatest architects – that was the largest clearing house bank in the world at the time it was built. Now a five-star hotel, part of the Soho House & Co Group and Sydell Group, its banking legacy means guests stay in a super-stylish building dominated with high-vaulted ceilings and grand doors. Its rooms range from the cosy ‘Crash Pad’ to Grand Heritage suites on the Grade I-listed fifth floor, while its pièce de résistance is its spectacular restaurant hall. Eight restaurants, ranging in cuisine from Italian to British, American to French, sit within the former banking hall, each with its own space separated by 92 verdite columns and walnut banking counters.

The Old Bank Hotel, Oxford, central England

Surrounded by the impressive architecture of ancient Oxford University colleges as well as the Bodleian Library, The Old Bank Hotel still manages to stand out in Oxford thanks to its stunning design. It fully became a bank in 1808, and had strong links with the University, counting author of Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll as one of its customers. Now a five-star property with 42 bedrooms, many with gorgeous views of Oxford landmarks, The Old Bank Hotel has recently undergone a refurbishment, resulting in the creation of a rooftop bedroom and terrace overlooking Oxford’s ‘dreaming spires’ skyline.

Harbour Hotel & Spa, Bristol, south-west England

Situated in the heart of Bristol, the Harbour Hotel & Spa is housed in not one, but two former Lloyds Bank buildings. Designed by famed Victorian architect William Bruce Gingell, who was inspired by the 16th-century Venetian Library, the hotel has a stunning façade and beautiful interiors. The former banking hall is particularly grand and often hosts events, while what were once the bank vaults are now the hotel’s luxury spa. Indulge in a treatment or two or a dip in the hydrotherapy pool knowing that you’re relaxing in the location where a lot of money was once guarded!

Inn on the Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

It may not be on the same grandiose scale as some buildings that were formerly bank headquarters, but this gem of a boutique hotel on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile has lovingly conserved many of the building’s original features from when it was the British Linen Bank, built in 1923. The hotel’s nine bedrooms include large sash windows, high ceilings and original cornicing, while its pub also nods to its banking heritage in its décor and style.

Hotel Gotham, Manchester, north-west England

Sir Edwin Lutyens left his mark in Manchester when he designed the building of a former bank that is now home to Hotel Gotham. The architecture is quite breathtaking and the luxury hotel pays homage throughout to the building’s original purpose, maintaining elaborate period touches such as the polished wooden counters so synonymous with banks from the last century. The five-star hotel offers 60 rooms, including five Inner Sanctum Suites – two of which are named ‘Bank Manager’s Suites’ – all of which are decadent in style. Guests (and members) have access to its VIP Club Brass lounge, which is accessed through two vault-like doors.

Eat

Old Bank of England, London

This pub and restaurant’s name sums up its past…it sits in the former Law Courts branch of the Bank of England, on the historic Fleet Street in the City of London. Stunningly renovated, the Old Bank of England has updated the ornate interior of the venue where the Bank of England traded from 1888 until 1975. When you’re enjoying your hearty British meals (think hand-made pies and fish and chips) you’ll be doing so surrounded by history; the basement still contains the original vaults used to store bullion and some of the Crown Jewels during the First World War. The two safes are now the venue’s cellars and kitchens.

The Corinthian Club, Glasgow, Scotland

Five floors of what was once a former bank and high court in the heart of Glasgow now house the restaurant, bar and event spaces of The Corinthian Club. One of the city’s most elaborate buildings, the Club has retained many of the original features of the Glasgow & Ship Bank (which was built in 1842) such as the impressive 26-foot glass dome and delicate, elegant plasterwork. Book into Teller’s Brasserie at the Club for a French-influenced dishes created using Scottish produce.

The Wolseley, London

Situated on Piccadilly, The Wolseley is run in the style of the European Grand Café, serving everything from breakfast to lunch, afternoon teas to dinners – it’s also very much a place to see and be seen. As well as the food, people come for the prestigious surroundings of the building that started life as a car showroom – Wolseley Motors – in 1921 and became a branch of Barclays Bank in 1927. Architect William Curtis Green created an opulent building, with marble pillars and archways, later adding banking counter and managers offices, which now serve as the bar and tea salon. When it became The Wolseley many aspects of the original design, including the domed ceiling and marble flooring, were kept.

The Dome, Edinburgh, Scotland

Dine on traditional Scottish favourites at this Edinburgh restaurant, which was once one of the city’s most striking bank branches and its décor remains as opulent to this day. Located in Edinburgh’s New Town, an elegant Graeco-Roman façade and Corinthian Portico greet its guests. You can dine under the dome itself in the Grill Room, among wood-panelled walls and Art Deco-inspired mirrors in The Club or take afternoon tea under the crystal chandeliers of The Georgian Tea Room.

Potted Pig, Cardiff, south Wales

Modern British cuisine and French/American culinary influences are on the menu at Cardiff’s Potted Pig, situated in a former Lloyd’s Bank vault beneath the city. Regularly changing seasonal menus are served in this underground restaurant that has retained a raft of original features, such as cast-iron cage doors and shallow-arched ceilings. The exposed brickwork, wooden floors and comfy sofas of its Gin Lounge make it the perfect place to experience its huge range of bespoke gins.

Play

Bank of England Museum, London

The Bank of England itself may not be open to visitors but you can explore its fascinating museum in the City of London. Five different galleries will take you through economic history and that of the Bank of England, from the origins of paper money and examples of forged notes to explaining why modern banknotes are difficult to counterfeit.

Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant, south Wales

The Royal Mint makes and distributes British coins and official medals for around 60 countries every year and its location in south Wales, 30 minutes’ drive from Cardiff, also offers a visitor experience. Take a guided tour of the manufacturing areas to discover how coins are created and the chance to strike your own coin. The experience concludes with an interactive exhibition divided into six zones, which include the history and origins of the Mint and the roles coins play in our lives.

Museum on the Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland

Close to Edinburgh’s Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle, the Museum on the Mound is located in the historic Bank of Scotland Head Office and takes visitors through the story of money. You’ll be able to see Scotland’s oldest banknote, come face-to-face with a million pounds, see how safes are cracked open and learn much more about the design, technology and security of money at this free museum.

Top destination stories for 2019

Top Destination Stories For 2019

 

75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings

A significant moment in global history, 6 June 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy of the Second World War. Next year will see several important occasions to commemorate this historic anniversary. Britain’s Imperial War Museums (IWM), with five museums across the UK, will retell the story between 1 – 9 June through three of its historic sites: HMS Belfast, IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms, all of which played a significant role in D-Day. Elsewhere, Bristol in south-west England will be marking the anniversary; the Normandy landings were planned by Gen Omar Bradley at Clifton College in Bristol, the US Army’s command base in the city. General Bradley and others stayed in a building in the The Holmes, now part of the University of Bristol’s Botanic Gardens, while he was in the city. And Southsea in south England, is home to the D-Day Museum, is planning a major redevelopment ahead of the anniversary. Expect more events and commemorations to take place across the country.

Wales – Year of Discovery

Wales – Year of Discovery 2019 will build on the destination’s three previous themes (Year of the Sea, Year of Legends and Year of Adventure) and emphasise that Wales is alive with events and activities. 2019’s Year of Discovery will encourage visitors to not only discover Wales but also themselves through the wealth of attractions, adventures and experiences Wales has to offer.
The Wales Way will also remain a key focus for 2019. Launched towards the end of 2018, The Wales Way is a group of three national touring routes that cross the country’s most epic landscapes, showcasing its fascinating history, coastlines and attractions. The routes will help position Wales as a destination for experience-seeking travellers, willing to explore off-the-beaten track locations along The North Wales Way, The Cambrian Way and The Coastal Way, all year round.

London Borough of Culture – Waltham Forest

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes, the London Borough of Culture is a major new initiative launched by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2018, with the borough of Waltham Forest being the first to win the accolade for 2019. Designed to put culture at the heart of communities, it’s a fantastic opportunity to discover the character and diversity of different areas of London. Mercury Award-winning local musician Talvin Singh will lead a stellar cast of artists in a unique collaboration with Waltham Forest’s young people for a huge opening event, Welcome to the Forest, to celebrate the start of the neighbourhood’s tenure as London’s first Borough of Culture.

Britain on the big – and small – screen

Britain will, once again, play a starring role in several new major movie releases in 2019, as well as lead the way with some of television’s biggest hits.

Mary Queen of Scots – January 2019 (with early release in USA end of 2018)

Starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England respectively, this biographical tale portrays Mary’s attempt to overthrow Elizabeth, before being condemned to years of imprisonment and finally facing execution. Glorious period sets and costumes are further enhanced by the British landscapes used as locations, including London, Oxford and Derbyshire in England and Edinburgh and Glencoe in Scotland. Visit Linlithgow Palace, an hour from Edinburgh, where Mary was born, Edinburgh Castle where she gave birth to her only child and the Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre in Jedburgh, Scottish Borders.

Downton Abbey movie – release date 2019 TBC

The rumour mill has certainly been in overdrive on this one…but an NBC Universal spokesman confirmed the studio is to put the highly anticipated movie into production in 2018. Nearly three years after its final television episode, Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey itself) has revealed the cast and crew will return there to film in the last quarter of 2018.

Bond 25 – release date 8 November 2019

Bond returns! The 25th instalment of the Bond movies will hit the big screen in 2019. No locations have been divulged yet but there’s plenty to see and do in Britain to get Bond-ready, whether that’s checking out props from the films at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden or enjoying a martini at Dukes Bar in London's Mayfair, where Bond author Ian Fleming regularly frequented.

Shaun the Sheep 2 – 2019 release date TBC

Everyone’s favourite woolly friend will be back on our screens next year in the Aardman production of Shaun the Sheep 2. The production company – the Oscar-winning animation studio that also created the award-winning Wallace and Gromit films, Shaun the Sheep Movie and Early Man – is famously based in Bristol, south-west England.

The Favourite – release date early January 2019 (earlier 2018 release in the US)

In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah governs the country in her stead. Starring British actors Olivia Coleman and Rachel Weisz, locations such as Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, one hour from London, were used.

The Secret Garden – release date Summer 2019 TBC

A new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson-Burnett’s classic children’s novel The Secret Garden is set for release in 2019. Directed by Marc Munden and starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters, the film tells the story of a young orphaned girl sent from India to live with her neglectful uncle in Yorkshire. Key locations for the film include Helmsley Walled Garden (the secret garden), Duncombe Park and Farndale in the North York Moors National Park, north England, and Iford Manor, Wiltshire, west England.

Untitled Richard Curtis/Danny Boyle release – 13 September 2019

The plot of a new film by Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle is being kept tightly under wraps, but it’s believed to be a Beatles-themed romantic comedy set in 1960s and/or 1970s Suffolk... Filming took place all over the county, including Halesworth, Dunwich, Shingle Street and Latitude Festival. It stars Lily James, Himesh Patel and Ana de Armas, and promises all sorts of cameos, including one by Ed Sheeran.

Peaky Blinders, season 5 – 2019 release date TBC

Tommy and the rest of the Peaky Blinders will return to our TV screens in 2019. Set and filmed in the central England city of Birmingham Peaky Blinders is set during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The show is also filmed in Liverpool, north-west England.

The Crown, season 3 – 2019 release date TBC

Filming has started Netflix’s The Crown third season, with Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.

 

Manchester International Festival returns – and discover the city’s newest neighbourhood

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and the biggest event on Manchester’s cultural calendar. The festival is staged every two years – the next edition will take place 4 – 21 July 2019 at venues all over the city – and will be the last before the festival takes up permanent residence in the North of England’s flagship new cultural venue, The Factory. And St John’s is the name of an enormous masterplan to create a new neighbourhood for enterprise, culture and living in the city, which will sit on the former site of Granada Studios. Incorporating residenti­­al, hotels, work space, intimate streets and lively courtyards, the St John’s neighbourhood will retain many original buildings such as the iconic Bonded Warehouse as well as new-builds including Factory Manchester.  

 

Must-see exhibitions and museum updates

A host of British museums and galleries are welcoming new exhibitions and extensions in 2019.

In London, Tate Britain has announced the largest exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work in the UK for nearly a decade, and the Tate’s first Van Gogh exhibition since 1947 (27 March – 11 August) while the National Portrait Gallery will host the first major exhibition on Tudor and Jacobean portrait miniatures in the UK for over 35 years, Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver (21 February – 19 May). The new Medicine galleries at the Science Museum are due for completion in 2019 and will be one of the most significant medicine collections in the world, while The Geffrye has embarked on a major transformative scheme, Unlocking the Geffrye, to open up the museum and improve visitors’ experience, due for completion in 2019. The Cartoon Museum will open in a new central London location, bringing the “imagination of the world of cartoons into a physical space”.

In Bristol, south-west England, the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death with exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (2 February – 2 May) while M-Shed hosts Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed (16 March – 16 June) – the largest gathering of real objects and original tattoo artwork ever assembled in the UK – and On Set with Aardman: Making Early Man (6 July – 29 September), which will feature everything from drawings to the latest VR technology that went into making the animated feature film Early Man.

Turner Contemporary in Margate, on the Kent coast in south-east England will host the world-famous visual art prize, the Turner Prize. Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire will launch new exhibitions, events, historic restoration and conservation projects and new tours.  From 9 February – April, an exhibition of JMW Turner’s early architectural paintings and engravings will be on show and, new for 2019, are the Twizy Tours – a fun way to explore the Capability Brown landscaped parkland from the comfort of a two-seater, electric vehicle.

Heading to the north of England, the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle will host Yorkshire Sculpture International every three years, starting in 2019. The project will be characterised by collaborative artistic programming, talent and audience development, new outdoor commissions and international commissioning partnerships. Liverpool’s Tate Liverpool will host the first major UK exhibition of Keith Haring (14 June – 10 November), where more than 70 art works inspired by underground club culture, pop art and graffiti will be displayed. The city will also welcome an exhibition of works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the Walker Art Gallery (15 March – 26 August).

And good news for royal fans in 2019 as the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh hosts A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (14 June – 6 October), when the wedding outfits of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will go on display in a special exhibition.

 

Hot hotel openings

Book ahead for these exciting hotel openings in 2019.

London
Robert de Niro's is due to open his first London hotel in partnership with BD Hotels The Wellington, in Covent Garden. Planning permission has been granted for the scheme, which will include 83 bedrooms, two restaurants, a members' club, deli/café, spa and swimming pool.
The Hard Rock Hotel, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane in the conversion of the existing Cumberland Hotel, is scheduled to open its doors in Spring next year and boast around 1,000 rooms and suites, together with two bars and a Hard Rock Cafe®. And art’otel plans to open its first property in London in the neighbourhood of Hoxton, an 18-storey, 350-bedroom contemporary new hotel, the art'otel Hoxton

England
Work has now started on the development of a 137-bedroom Dakota Deluxe hotel in Manchester, north-west England, the third in the luxury Dakota Deluxe brand alongside properties in Glasgow and Leeds; the design-led hotel is set to open in spring 2019. And in January 2019, the Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station hotel is set to open with 187 contemporary rooms.
The Grand, one of Birmingham's most iconic buildings, is to be redeveloped into a luxury, 180-room hotel with a restaurant and bar, a spa and a rooftop infinity pool, due to open in early 2019. And The Crescent is due to open next year in the historic spa town of Buxton, Derbyshire, as the Grade I-listed Crescent is transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel.

Scotland
Yotel is to open its first hotel in Scotland in the first quarter of 2019 on Edinburgh’s Queen Street, featuring 280 cabins. Elsewhere, independent craft brewer BrewDog has announced plans to build the world’s first craft beer hotel, called The DogHouse, and will launch an immersive craft beer hotel and brewery expansion at its headquarters in Aberdeenshire, north Scotland.

Unmissable sporting events

Britain is world-renowned as a host of major sporting events and, in 2019, the following championships will take place.

European Athletics Indoor Championships, Glasgow, Scotland (1 – 3 March)

Glasgow will welcome more than 600 athletes from 50 nations to the tracks at the city’s Emirates Arena for the 35th European Athletics Indoor Championships.

RBS 6 Nations Rugby Union, across Britain (starts 23 February)

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland join France and Italy in the clash of the rugby greats.

Gymnastics World Cup, Birmingham, central England (23 March)  

Held at Birmingham’s Genting Arena in March, gymnasts from across the globe will compete to win the prestigious title.

ICC Cricket World Cup (30 May – 15 July)   

This will be the 12th Cricket World Cup competition and, for the fifth time, will be held in England and Wales.

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales (9 June)

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France is one of the most iconic sportives in the UK and offers an inspiring Tour de France riding experience to UK cyclists.

Major League Baseball, London (29 – 30 June)

The first-ever Major League Baseball games to be held in Europe, the London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Netball World Cup, Liverpool, north-west England (12 – 21 July)

England Netball and the City of Liverpool will host the 2019 Netball World Cup at ACC Liverpool.

Solheim Cup, Gleneagles, Scotland (9 – 15 September)

The Solheim Cup is the biggest event in women’s golf and more than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend from across the globe.

UCI Road World Championships, Yorkshire, north England (22 – 29 September)

One of the world’s most prestigious professional cycling events, the UCI Road World Championships will see 1,000 riders from 75 different countries complete in 12 races over eight days.

Fantastic new experiences launch

June will welcome a new Silverstone Heritage Experience at of the home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone, in Northamptonshire, central England. The permanent exhibition, housed in a refurbished World War II-hangar on the Silverstone circuit site, will use state-of-the-art interactive displays to tell the stories of people who have been involved in the site’s history, from medieval monks to modern racing drivers and engineers. The immersive show dome finale to the 2.5-hour experience will allow visitors to feel what it’s like to zoom around the track alongside their racing heroes.

In Bristol, south-west England, The Wave Bristol is set to open in the Autumn, a new inland surfing lake powered by the latest wave-making technology, capable of generating up to 1,000 quality waves per hour. The lake will have three surf zones for different abilities and a high-performance surf centre for elite athletes and aspiring pros. Set in beautiful sensory, healing and kitchen gardens on the edge of the city, The Wave will also have a swimming pool, café, education centre, camping accommodation and surf shop. As well as giving people easier access to surfing, the project aims to educate and inspire people on a range of topics from marine conservation to living healthier lifestyles.

New theatre for 2019

Yet another fantastic year is lined up in the world of London theatre.

Pinter At The Pinter: Party Time/Celebration at the Harold Pinter Theatre
From 4 January
Party Time is paired with Harold Pinter’s final play, Celebration, as part of the Pinter At The Pinter season, held at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

9 to 5 The Musical, Savoy Theatre
Previews from 28 January
Based on the cult film, 9 to 5 The Musical is coming to the West End and will feature a book by the movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick with the score by the Queen of Country, Dolly Parton.

Notre Dame de Paris, London Coliseum
From 23 January
One of France’s most popular musicals, Notre Dame de Paris is based on Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame with music by Riccardo Cocciante and book and lyrics by Luc Plamondon.

Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre
From 18 February
This Broadway musical by Irene Sankoff and David Hein is based on the events in the week following the 9/11 attacks on America, when 38 planes were ordered to land in the small Canadian town of Gander. 

When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other: Twelve Variations On Samuel Richardson's 'Pamela', National Theatre
From January
Directed by Katie Mitchell with a cast including Cate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane, Martin Crimp’s play breaks through the surface of contemporary debate to explore the messy nature of desire and the complicated roles men and women play.

Waitress, Adelphi Theatre
Spring 2019
Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, is in a loveless marriage in a small town. A baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, leaving Jenna to weigh her commitments against a shot at freedom and recognition.

On Your Feet! London Coliseum, London
From 14 June
Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s smash-hit musical comes to London in 2019 direct from Broadway for a strictly limited season. It’s the true love story of Emilio and Gloria and follows their journey from its Cuban origins to the streets of Miami and to international superstardom.

Mary Poppins Prince Edward Theatre
Autumn 2019
Mary Poppins will return in the autumn of 2019 at the West End theatre where it premiered in 2004. Tickets for the production will go on sale in January.

Major anniversaries to commemorate

2019 will be a bumper year of significant anniversaries in Britain; this year will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s first flight, when Club Concorde hopes to buy the Concorde currently on display at Le Bourget airport in Paris. If it is successful, the plane will be restored before resuming operation as a private heritage aircraft that will be flown at air displays as well as being available for charter. 2019 also marks 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace, where she also spent her childhood. A permanent re-presentation of her rooms, telling the story of her fascinating life at the palace will open and a programme of performance, special events, tours and talks will also run throughout the year. Britain’s National Parks will celebrate their 70th anniversary next year – expect National Parks Week to be extra special. And Manchester, in north-west England, will mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in 2019. On 16 August 1819 in St Peter's Fields, Manchester, armed cavalry charged a peaceful crowd of around 60,000 people gathered to listen to anti-poverty and pro-democracy speakers.

Annual events in Britain - 2019

JANUARY

New Year’s Day Parade, London, England

1 January

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.

Stoats Loony Dook, Edinburgh, Scotland

1 January

Welcome the New Year with a splash! Join thousands of ‘Dookers’ at the Loony Dook (also known as the ‘daft dip’!) taking part in this annual dip in the freezing River Forth after their march along the High Street as part of the Dooker Parade. The tradition has been going for more 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. 

London Fashion Week Men’s, London, England

5 – 7 January 

The best of British menswear design comes to the capital, with catwalk shows, events, and presentations.

Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Scotland  

17 January – 3 February 

Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival, celebrating Celtic music and its connections to cultures across the globe. It’s the largest annual winter music festival of its kind and Britain’s premier celebration of Celtic music, featuring more than 2,000 artists and 300 events across 20 venues, including concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, and workshops.

Slapstick Festival, Bristol, England

18 – 20 January (and 10 February)

Start the year in good humour with the Slapstick Festival, Bristol’s annual celebration of silent comedy that brings guest comedians, experts and film historians together in a passionate and hilarious celebration of classic silent and visual comedy. Its Silent Comedy Gala has a standalone date in February and moves to Bristol Hippodrome for 2019. A super-sized HD screen will show classics with the 40-piece Bristol Ensemble playing Chaplin’s own score during the screening of his masterpiece Modern Times (1936).

Burns’ Night, Scotland-wide

25 January

Every January Scotland celebrates the birthday of Robert Burns - the national poet of Scotland - with food, drams, dancing and verse. Don’t forget to address the haggis! Burns Night 2019 marks the 260th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth.

Dydd Santes Dwynwen, Wales-wide
 

25 January

This day is in honour of Wales’ patron saint of lovers, the Welsh version of St Valentine’s Day. The day exists due to Dwynwen’s own experiences with lost love and her later commitment to becoming a nun.

 

Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland *Quirky*

29 January

Up Helly Aa is a tradition that originated in the 1880s. This annual event is Europe’s largest fire festival and involves a torch-lit procession, the burning of a Viking long ship and a ceilidh that lasts late into the night. The festival heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring. 

Lumiere London, London, England

January TBC

More than 40 British and international artists will transform the city during this spectacular festival of lights featuring dazzling installations. Festival locations include King’s Cross, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Westminster, Covent Garden, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo.

 

 

 

FEBRUARY  

RBS Six Nations Rugby, Cardiff in Wales, London in England, Edinburgh in Scotland

1 February – 16 March 

The Six Nations Championship for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will see matches take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Twickenham Stadium in London, and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. 

Chinese New Year, London and around Britain

5 February (celebration parade date TBC)

London hosts the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia each year, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in the festivities. They are free to attend and usually take place in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and across the West End. 

Dark Skies Festival, Yorkshire, north England
 

15 February – 3 March
 

The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks, which remain some of the darkest places in England, are running a joint Dark Skies Festival in February 2019. The 2018 Festival included stargazing, night zips, wildlife and ghost walks, starlight runs and bike rides, games, activities and more, from Hawes to the Moors and shores!

 

London Fashion Week, London, England

16 – 20 February

The ultimate fashion industry event, where the world’s top designers showcase their latest collections via catwalk shows, plus curated talks, designer shopping and trend presentations.

Great British Beer Festival Winter, St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, east England

19 – 23 February (The Fringe 1 – 23 February)

The medieval City of Norwich hosts the Great British Beer Festival Winter 2019. Beer of all kinds, from popular light ales to ruby and dark ales, foreign beers and ciders, is served in magnificent medieval friary halls in the heart of Norwich, where pubs also host The Fringe, with special events 1 – 23 February.

Derby Winter Beer Festival, Derbyshire, central England

20 – 23 February

Dubbed the ‘Real Ale Capital’ of Britain, Derby hosts this four-day festival in one of its iconic railway buildings, the world’s oldest Roundhouse. The annual celebration of real ales, lagers and ciders has live bands and tutored beer tastings, with visitors exploring the city as they sample the produce of the city’s respected microbreweries.
 

Jorvik Viking Festival, York, north England

20 – 27 February 

This annual city-wide celebration of York’s Viking heritage is recognised as the largest Viking Festival in Europe, attracting more than 40,000 visitors. Now in its 35th year it commemorates the traditional ‘Jolablot’ celebrations that the Vikings held each February to herald the coming of spring and the survival of winter hardships.

Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland

20 February – 3 March  

The fastest-growing and third-largest film festival in Britain, with more than 350 events, including new local and international film from all genres, from mainstream to art-house, classics to cult.

Keswick Film Festival, Cumbria, north-west England
 

28 February – 3 March
 

Keswick Film Festival’s annual celebration of cinema set within stunning mountain scenery celebrate its 20th birthday in 2019. This is your chance to experience some of the best UK independent and international films.
 

Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, London

February TBC

Imagine Children’s Festival offers a packed programme of free and ticketed events for all ages, from opera for babies to talks for adults, plus the chance for children to meet some of their favourite authors, who will bring much-loved characters to life. 

Olney Pancake Race, Buckinghamshire, south-east England *Quirky*

February TBC

This unique race literally stops traffic as energetic local ladies in aprons run through the streets of Olney. The tradition supposedly began in the 15th century when a local housewife heard the ringing of the bell summoning the congregation to church while she was making her Shrove Tuesday pancakes – in a rush, she raced to church carrying her frying pan. The course is 415-yards long and the pancakes must be tossed at the start and finish. 

 

 

 

 

MARCH  

St. David’s Day, Wales-wide

1 March
 

St David is the patron saint of Wales and this day is a celebration of all things Welsh. You’ll find parades of leeks, daffodils, flags of Saint David himself and herds of red dragons – on flags of course. The capital, Cardiff, holds a National St David's Day Parade.

 

European Athletics Indoor Championships, Glasgow, Scotland

1 – 3 March

Glasgow will welcome more than 600 athletes from 50 nations to the tracks at the city’s Emirates Arena for the 35th European Athletics Indoor Championships.

Belfast Children’s Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland

8 – 13 March

Expect a packed programme of theatre, visual art, music, dance, literature, workshops and talks at Belfast’s annual international festival for children aged 0 - 17 years. 

Cheltenham Festival, Gloucestershire, south-west England

12 – 15 March

Held close to the lovely Regency town of Cheltenham, this National Hunt race meeting attracts prize money second only to the Grand National. Famous for the roar arising from the stands as the tape is raised for the start of the first race, the excitement continues to build until its climax with Friday’s signature Gold Cup – one of the greatest of all jump-racing events. 

Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgow, Scotland 

14 – 31 March

The largest event of its kind in Europe, this comedy extravaganza features a line-up of both big league players and emerging talent from around Britain and beyond, performing in venues throughout the city. 

St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland and parts of Britain

17 March

The national saint of Ireland is celebrated in traditional fashion with festivals, parades, carnivals and concerts taking place across Northern Ireland, and around Britain, including a parade in London.

 

Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival, Bristol, south-west England

21 – 24 March
 

The Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival has been host to many legendary names, including the founder father of Jazz Louis Armstrong. With previous line-ups seeing workshops led by James Brown’s former bandmates, and performances from the likes of Melody Gardot, Maceo Parker and Martin Taylor, the 2019 line-up for the world’s most thrilling and ground-breaking jazz and blues festival promises to be great.
 

Gymnastics World Cup, Birmingham, central England

23 March  

Held at Birmingham’s Genting Arena in March, some of the biggest gymnasts from across the globe will be competing to win the prestigious title.
 

London Coffee Festival, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London 

28 – 31 March

Arabica aficionados can celebrate London coffee culture at this dedicated festival, which brings together a range of coffee-related activities under one roof, as well as art and food spin-off events. 

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, Oxford, south-east England

30 March – 7 April

More than 350 writers flock to this famous university city to discuss literary, political, historical, environmental and culinary affairs for this eight-day festival, hosted in Christ Church College within its Tudor hall and cloisters. Visitors can also book to join guided literary walks, lunches and dinner parties with prominent authors. A creative writing course also forms part of the programme. 

Gateshead International Jazz Festival, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England 

March TBC

The Sage Gateshead concert venue hosts this diverse jazz festival with four different performance spaces under one roof, including a free public area offering a mix of local acts and headliners. 

WOW – Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, London, England

March TBC

Southbank Centre’s WOW Festival celebrates its ninth year in 2019 and returns to champion the incredible achievements of women and girls. It will explore the most pertinent topics for women today through a mix of talks and debates, concerts, performances, film, comedy, workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities. 

Bath Comedy Festival, Bath, south-west England

 

March – April TBC
 

Featuring famous household names and the stars of tomorrow, Bath Comedy Festival brings a mix of stand-up, sketch comedy, cabaret, music and magic.

 

 

 

APRIL 

Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Isle of Wight, south England

4 – 19 April

The Isle of Wight’s popular walking festival has a full schedule of walks for all ages and abilities. Thousands of local and visiting walkers explore trails across the island, taking in chalky cliffs and rolling hills, sand dunes and pebbly beaches, bustling towns and sleepy villages of thatched cottages.

 

Grand National, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, north-west England

5 – 7 April 

One of the most famous horse races in the world sees competitors make two circuits of the Grand National course, tackling 30 fences as they cover four and a half miles. The event’s colourful, fashionista celebration, Ladies’ Day, will take place on 5 April. 

Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

6 – 21 April

Edinburgh International Science Festival delivers one of Europe's largest Science Festivals, giving audiences amazing experiences through a programme of innovative and inspiring discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, special events and exhibitions. The Science Festival brings great minds together for a programme that fosters dialogues about the future of our culture, our nation, our planet and our understanding.

 

The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, London, England

7 April

First raced in 1829, the Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. Watched by thousands along the banks of The Tideway, located between Putney and Mortlake in south London, this unique sporting event sees two strong squads of athletes competing against each other.

RHS Flower Show Cardiff, Cardiff, south Wales 

12 – 14 April 

Cardiff hosts the Royal Horticultural Society’s first major outdoor show of the year. Getting the gardening season started, it’s packed full of amazing show gardens, fabulous floral displays, and lots of garden inspiration. 

St George’s Day, across England

23 April 

St George’s Day celebrates the patron saint of England with activities ranging from festivals, ‘dragon’ hunts and medieval banquets happening across England.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon, central England

22 – 23 April

Every year a unique event takes place in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the birth of the world’s greatest playwright. The birthday celebrations are a tradition going back nearly 200 years and are held on the weekend closest to William Shakespeare’s birthday on 23 April. 

London Marathon, London, England

28 April

The Virgin Money London Marathon is a phenomenal event to be a part of, as a participant and a spectator. It’s not just a monumental physical challenge, but also the world's largest fundraising event - and one of the six top marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors. 

Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, Stratford upon Avon, west England

28 April – 5 May

This Stratford-upon-Avon festival is one of the most significant literary festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share a love of books, writing and reading. Alongside the debates, celebrity author events and workshops that make up the adult programme is a series of education events designed to entertain and inspire children aged 2 to 18.
 

Bath in Fashion, Bath, south-west England

 

April TBC

 

Bath in Fashion sees fashionistas descend upon the World Heritage City for a week-long celebration of fashion that promises stimulating debate, in-store events and fast-paced catwalks. Expect red carpets with a line-up of stellar designers and global fashion experts.

 

 

 

 

MAY  

Whisky Month, across Scotland

Throughout May

May is Whisky Month, taking in a diverse range of events ranging from whisky tasting sessions to behind-the-scenes experiences and distillery tours.  

Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Gloucestershire, south-west England

1 – 6 May

Every year, Cheltenham Jazz Festival represents the start of the summer in Cheltenham and is a great way to spend the long weekend over May Bank Holiday. 

Tour de Yorkshire, Yorkshire, north England

2 – 5 May  

This three-day road cycling race in Yorkshire started in May 2015, arising as a legacy event following the significant success of the visit of the 2014 Tour de France to the county. 

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside, Scotland

2 – 6 May

Spirited, inspiring, Scottish – this festival puts on hundreds of whisky-inspired events over five days. Discover the passion behind the world’s finest whiskies.

Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool, north-west England

3 – 5 May

Liverpool Sound City is an annual international music festival and industry conference taking place over the weekend. The event welcomes global stars, local artists and key industry figures. The festival has provided a platform for many future stars early on in their careers, including the likes of Ed Sheeran, The xx, Alt J and Calvin Harris.

Machynlleth Comedy Festival, Machynlleth, Wales

3 – 5 May
 

The Machynlleth Comedy Festival has quickly gained a reputation as a hidden gem, featuring as-seen-on-TV comedy acts. The town is known for its quirky venues, which helps to make it popular with both the acts and audience alike.
 

Brighton Fringe Festival, Brighton, south-east England

3 May – 2 June  

As part of Brighton Festival, this fringe celebration of all things creative consists of hundreds of events and performances across a hugely eclectic range of art forms. As an open-access festival, anyone can put on an event and be included in the brochure and website listings on payment of a fee, enabling the development of both new and established work to attract fresh audiences, press and promoters. 

Women’s FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium

4 May

The SSE Women's FA Cup Final returns to Wembley for a fifth consecutive year in 2019.

Chelsea lifted the trophy for a second time in 2018, will they triumph again in 2019?

 

Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza, Llandudno, north Wales
 

4 – 6 May
 

Over the May Bank Holiday weekend Llandudno will be packed full of steam engines and Victorian musical organs, vintage cars and costumes, curiosities and sideshows, and people dressed as they were back in the Victorian days. 

 

Brighton Festival, Brighton, south-east England

4 – 26 May 

Brighton is known as a place that welcomes diversity, creativity and innovative thinking, and its annual festival celebrates this pioneering spirit and experimental approach. Established in 1967 and now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, this celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate and family events takes place in a variety of venues across Brighton and Hove.

Stratford Festival of Motoring, Stratford-upon-Avon, west England

5 – 6 May
 
More than 300 cars zoom through the countryside around Stratford-upon-Avon before parking up in the town centre, as part of the popular Stratford Festival of Motoring. Expect plenty of family friendly activities as well as all sorts of classic and special-interest cars to gawp at.
 

Crimefest, Bristol, south-west England

9 – 12 May

Whether you’re a die-hard crime fanatic or you simply like to read an occasional crime novel, this annual convention is an opportunity to celebrate the genre in a friendly, informal and inclusive atmosphere. Drawing crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world, the programme consists of: interviews with its featured and highlighted guest authors; over 40 panels with more than a hundred participating authors; a gala awards dinner; and one or two surprises.

 

Norfolk & Norwich Festival, east England

10 – 26 May

The internationally renowned Norfolk and Norwich Festival is a highlight of the region’s cultural calendar. Held over 17 packed days in various locations across the county, the festival presents more than 100 performances in a superb line-up of companies and ensembles from all over the world. There’s music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts as well as a host of spectacular free outdoor events and plenty of opportunities to get involved in the range of festival workshops.
 

Museums at Night, Britain-wide

15 – 18 May (and October TBC)

Britain’s major museums, historic sites and cultural venues open their doors after dark with a variety of torchlit tours, live music and new exhibitions.

Football Association Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London, England

18 May

The FA Cup, the oldest domestic Cup competition in the football world, is established as one of the country's great sporting institutions. The history and tradition of the competition, and the pageantry of the Cup Final, is familiar to millions. 

Chelsea Flower Show, London

21 – 25 May

One of the best know Royal Horticultural Shows, the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show returns with even more unforgettable floral and horticultural displays.

Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, Brecon Beacons, south Wales

23 May – 2 June

The renowned Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, held annually in a tented village on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, brings together some of the greatest contemporary practitioners and the most exciting new voices in literature and arts. Past speakers and performers have included Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Chelsea Clinton, Michael Woolf, Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula, David Walliams, Simon Schama, David Olusoga, Rose McGowan, Dara O'Briain and many more. 

HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, Hay on Wye, Wales

23 May – 2 June
 

On the banks of the River Wye, you'll find the festival where the world's leading thinkers come together to debate the most cutting-edge ideas. HowTheLightGetsIn, the world's largest philosophy and music festival, returns to Hay for the Bank Holiday weekend of May 2019. Confirmed speakers include political theorist Noam Chomsky, physicist Lawrence Krauss, Diane Abbott and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. All of this alongside a programme of music, comedy, culture and performance. 

 

Bath Fringe Festival, Bath, south-west England

24 May – 9 June

 

Expect the unexpected in this festival featuring dance, music, visual arts, comedy, a children’s festival, street theatre, and plenty more.

 

WalkFest 2019, North York Moors, north England

24 – 27 May

Walks for all ages and abilities, expert guides, children’s treasure hunts, moorland hikes, afternoon tea strolls and steam train rides characterise this walking festival in the beautiful North York Moors National Park. In 2019, all of the walks will be themed around the Cleveland Way National Trail as the trail marks its 50th anniversary.

 

Birmingham Pride, Birmingham, central England

25 – 26 May

The second largest city in England hosts its annual gay pride, a technicolour spectacular celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender culture. 

Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

25 May – 2 June

 

The Edinburgh International Children's Festival presents the world’s best theatre and dance for young audiences with performances that are engaging, innovative and inspiring, and places an emphasis on striking visual productions.

 

Mersey River Festival, Liverpool, north-west England

25 – 27 May

Explore Liverpool’s maritime heritage during the annual Mersey River Festival.

Loves Saves The Day, Bristol, south-west England

25 – 26 May

This two-day love-in in Eastville Park is an eclectic blend of the original UK pioneers of the UK dance scene with some of the most exciting emerging artists. It’s from the people behind the Wow! Stage at Glastonbury, so expect a fantastic line-up of over 300 acts playing dance, hip hop, dub and reggae.
 

Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Oxfordshire, central England
 

25 – 27 May
 

Oxfordshire’s largest food festival brings 150 food stalls, strolling jazz musicians, children’s storytellers and some of the biggest names in the foodie world to Blenheim Palace’s magnificent grounds. Raymond Blanc and MasterChef winners have attended in the past.

 

Urdd National Eisteddfod, Cardiff Bay, south Wales
 

27 May – 2 June

The Urdd National Eisteddfod is one of Europe’s largest youth touring festivals that attracts around 100,000 visitors each year. More than 15,000 children and young people will be competing during the Eisteddfod week in various competitions such as singing, dancing and performing. There is plenty of attractions for the whole family at the Eisteddfod from enjoying the competitions, to visiting the various stalls and exhibitors on site.

 

Cricket World Cup, various locations

30 May – 14 July

England and Wales host the Cricket World Cup for the fifth time in 2019. Hosting venues include Birmingham’s Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Bristol’s County Cricket Ground, Riverside Ground at Chester-Le-Street, Headingley in Leeds, The Oval and Lord’s in London, Old Trafford in Manchester, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Southampton’s Rose Bowl, and Taunton’s County Ground.

 

Investec Derby, Epsom Downs Race Course, Surrey, south-east England

31 May – 1 June 

The world’s most famous flat race will see riders and owners in pursuit of one of the richest prizes in British racing on 1 June, with the famous Ladies’ Day held the day before on 31 May.
 

The Bath Festival, Bath, south-west England

 

May – June TBC

 

Bath’s flagship festival consists of 17 days of music and literature in the city’s most beautiful venues. With more than 180 live events to choose from, highlights include Bath’s biggest night of free music, Party in the City, and the highly anticipated Finale Weekend.

 

Cheese rolling at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, south-west England *Quirky *

May TBC 

A passion for cheese is a must for this annual event, which involves daredevils hurling themselves down the steep, grassy slopes of Coopers Hill, near Gloucester, in pursuit of Double Gloucester cheeses. There are downhill races throughout the afternoon including ones for men and for women. The race starts with the master of ceremonies rolling a 7- 8 lb (4kg) Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. Dozens of competitors run, roll and somersault down the hill after it. 

The Late Shows, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England

May TBC  

The Late Shows is an inspiring, late-night programme of events and exhibitions through cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening. Museums, galleries and visitor attractions stay up late to encourage people to do something cultural with their evening – in celebration of the international event ‘Museums at Night’. 

Edinburgh International Magic Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

May TBC 

Edinburgh International Magic Festival is one of the fastest-growing festivals in Edinburgh and the only event of its kind in Britain, giving an audience the opportunity to enjoy a breath-taking spectacle of the finest acts in magic. 

Highland Games, across Scotland

May – September TBC

Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year. Each one has a mix of piping, athletic events and Highland dancing. 

 

 

 

 

JUNE  

Conwy Pirate Weekend, Conwy, north Wales

1 – 2 June

Ahoy there! Grab your shipmates and head down to Conwy Quayside for a weekend of pirate fun. This annual celebration consists of three days of swashbuckling entertainment, including boat races, live music, a market, pirate costume competitions and more.   

Festival of Nature, Bristol and Bath, south-west England

1 – 9 June
 

One of the UK’s greatest free celebrations of the natural world, Festival of Nature features hundreds of free events, including lectures, tours and film screenings on the subjects of science, natural history and the environment. In 2019 the theme will be A Trail of Two Cities, and will take place across Bristol and Bath.

 

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Derbyshire, north England

5 – 9 June

This Royal Horticultural Society’s flower shows made its debut in 2017, joining the existing portfolio of shows at Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park and is hosted in the expansive 1,000-acre grounds of stunning Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Open Garden Squares Weekend, London

8 – 9 June

This special weekend event sees more than 200 green spaces and urban gardens across London, many of which are usually closed to the public, open up for the public to explore. 

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales, Wales
 

9 June

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France is one of the most iconic sportives in the UK, organised by Human Race and ASO to offer an inspiring Tour de France riding experience to UK cyclists. With a selection of four distances to choose from ranging from the Macmillan 100 over 100km, to the gruelling 305km Dragon Devil, the famous route features epic climbs. Signature climbs include Devil’s Elbow, Rhigos, Bwlch, Black Mountain and Devil’s Staircase.
 

Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, south England

13 – 16 June 

This popular music festival on the famous island situated off the south coast of England has impressive musical heritage stretching back to Bob Dylan (who performed here in 1969) and Jimi Hendrix (who took to the stage in 1970). Recent headliners have included Kasabian, The Killers and Liam Gallagher.

Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival, Scotland 

14 – 23 June 

This midsummer walking festival stages events across Moray including walking challenges, gentle ambles and other outdoor events. From the foothills of the Cairngorms to Moray’s award-winning coastline, participants can enjoy long summer days exploring coastal, hill, forest, river and town walks. 

Royal Ascot, Berkshire, south-east England

18 – 22 June 

Royal Ascot has established itself as a national institution and a major focus of the British social calendar, as well as being the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. Tradition, pageantry, fashion and style all mix together, as well as around 30 races over five days.

Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

19 – 30 June
 

Established in 1947, the Film Festival is renowned for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema, and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking. The festival seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent and brings a mix of red-carpet glamour, innovative and exciting cinematic discoveries and massive audience appeal.
 

The Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh, Scotland

20 – 23 June

One of Scotland’s most iconic events, the Royal Highland Show is a major highlight of the Scottish country calendar and firmly established as one of Europe’s most impressive celebrations of farming, food and rural life. 

Stonehenge Summer Solstice, Wiltshire, south-west England

21 June 

Every year visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to celebrate the Summer Solstice and watch the sun rise over the stones. It’s the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to visit. The celebration brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans and Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travellers and party people. 

Jane Austen Regency Week, Hampshire, south England
 

22 – 30 June  
 

This nine-day festival is packed with all things Austen. It takes place in and around the market town of Alton and nearby Chawton, the home of Jane Austen’s House & Museum. Expect Regency-style music, dining, drama, singing, talks and guided walks and tours as well as the famous Regency Ball.

Yorkshire Sculpture International triennial, Yorkshire, north England
 

22 June – 29 September
 

Four Yorkshire galleries have secured £750,000 funding from Arts Council England for a new large-scale triennial exhibition. The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, the Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – which together form the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – will host Yorkshire Sculpture International every three years, starting in 2019. The project will be characterised by collaborative artistic programming, talent and audience development, new outdoor commissions and international commissioning partnerships. Sculptor Phyllida Barlow will be the ‘provocateur’ for the inaugural triennial.

 

Round the Island Race, Isle of Wight, south England

29 June  

An annual one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, attracting more than 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world. Competitors come from all over the world and follow the 50 nautical mile course, which starts and finishes in Cowes. 

Major League Baseball London Series, London

29 – 30 June

The first-ever Major League Baseball games to be held in Europe, the London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Kynren, Auckland Castle, County Durham, north-east England

29 June – 14 September TBC

During the summer, Auckland Castle will host Kynren - the movie-like open-air night spectacular that brings to life 2,000 years of Britain's history, from the Roman period to post-World War II. The show take its audience on a 90-minute journey of epic storytelling, using pyrotechnics, lighting, and water effects across a seven-and-a-half acre stage, and starring more than 1,000 professionally trained volunteers.

Swaton Vintage Day & World Egg Throwing Championships, Swaton, Lincolnshire, central England *Quirky*

30 June 

Contestants have to construct a gravity-powered egg-hurling device to launch an egg to a waiting team member. Distances to be achieved start at 30 metres but can be extended up to 150 in the knock-out competition. Another activity that takes place on the day is the Russian Egg Roulette where two participants select from five hard boiled eggs and one raw egg; they have to smash them onto their own foreheads. 

Pride in London, London, England

June / July TBC

London hosts a huge party in the summer with Pride in London - one of Europe’s largest non-ticketed events. The festival usually comes to a close with a sizzling carnival of colour of music, floats and dancing, drawing a huge crowd of spectators. 

Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England

June TBC

Bristol Pride is a week-long series of events dedicated to the city’s LGBT+ community ­to spread the message of love and equality for all. The week’s finale is a Pride Parade through the city as part of a colourful outdoor music and arts celebration. Entertainment includes a funfair, market stalls, bars and a Community Area hosting over 60 organisations.

Torchlit Summer Evenings at the Roman Baths, Bath, south-west England

June – August (date TBC)

Every summer, the Roman Baths opens its doors until 10pm every evening, giving visitors the chance to explore the awe-inspiring attraction by torchlight.
 

Taste of London Festival, London, England

June/July TBC 

Every year Regent's Park transforms into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. Around 40 of the city's best restaurants dish up their finest dishes for the ultimate alfresco feast, while 200 producers provide a bounty of the best food and beverages from Britain and around the world. 

Man v Horse Marathon, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
 

June TBC

The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual 22-mile race, where runners compete against riders on horseback, in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells. The event started in 1980 after a pub landlord overheard two drinkers discussing the merits of men and horses running over mountainous terrain. The course was changed in 1982 to provide a more even match between the man and the horse but it took until 2004 before a man finally beat a horse.
 

Eroica Britannia, Peak District, central England

June TBC

This unique three-day vintage cycling festival sees around 3,500 cyclists from all over the world don retro gear and hop on pre-1987 bikes for this special race, passing through some of the finest Peak District landscapes and villages en route. Bakewell Showground, in the heart of the Peak District, hosts the festival’s live music, acres of vintage shopping, and specialist food stalls. 

London Fashion Week Men’s, London, England 

June TBC 

The best of British menswear design comes to the capital for the second time in the year, with catwalk shows, events, and presentations.

Queen’s Birthday / Trooping the Colour, London, England

June TBC

Trooping the Colour is the annual celebration of the Queen's official birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, it’s a colourful display of military pageantry featuring 1,400 officers and men on parade in ceremonial uniform, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The Queen always attends the ceremony, which takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, London.

TweedLove Bike Festival, Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders, Scotland

June TBC

Britain’s fastest-growing cycling festival is held every year in the beautiful Tweed Valley. There are three main races: Vallelujah, TweedLove International Enduro and Expo, and King and Queen of the Hill: Scottish Open Champs. Or, there’s the option for riders to enter all three – a challenge known as the Triple Crown.  

Walled City Music Festival, Derry, Northern Ireland

June TBC

The Walled City Music Festival hosts talented classical musicians of wide-ranging genres and styles. 

West End LIVE at Trafalgar Square, London

June TBC

West End LIVE returns to Trafalgar Square in summer 2019, offering the chance to see the best of the London stage performed over one weekend, all for free.

 
 

 

 

JULY 

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Surrey, south-east England

1 – 7 July

The world’s largest annual flower show returns in 2019. A plant lover’s paradise, it’s packed with stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of garden inspiration. 

Wimbledon Tennis Championships, London, England

1 – 14 July

Arguably the most famous tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships have been played since 1877 and tickets are always in fierce demand. The championships start at the beginning of July, and last approximately two weeks, or until all events are complete. The club operates a public ballot (lottery) for advanced sales of Centre, No. 1 and No. 2 court tickets. 

Llangollen Eisteddfod, Llangollen, Wales
 

2 – 7 July

The annual festival will be held at the Royal International Pavilion in Llangollen. Six days of music and folk dance from all over the world in one place.

 

Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames, central England

3 – 7 July

The picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames is transformed into a cosmopolitan hub of rowing when the Henley Royal Regatta comes to town. This five-day festival, which attracts international rowing crews, is one of the highlights of the British summer social calendar and offers up to 90 world-class races. The races are head-to-head knock-out competitions, raced over a course of one mile 550 yards (2,112m) from Temple Island upstream towards Henley Bridge. 

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Sussex, south England 

4 – 7 July

Along the Sussex coast lies the Goodwood Motor Circuit near Chichester. Each summer the circuit is the venue for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the largest car culture event in the world. Around 150,000 visitors attend three days' worth of races to celebrate the history of motor racing, including a hill climb featuring classic Formula One cars, and a forest rally stage.

Manchester International Festival, Manchester, north-west England
 

4 – 21 July
 

Staged every two years at venues all over the city, Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events – and it’s the biggest event on Manchester’s cultural calendar. The 2019 festival will be the last before it takes up permanent residence in brand new venue The Factory (see entry below). Over the next few years, MIF will be presenting a series of pre-Factory events that will exemplify the energy and ambition of the work to be presented at The Factory.

 

Barclaycard presents British Summertime, Hyde Park, London

5 – 14 July

Returning to London’s Hyde Park, Barclaycard presents British Summertime will once again see some of the world’s greatest bands and musicians take to the stage for six days (over two weekends) of amazing performances.

Wales Airshow, Swansea, Wales
 

6 – 7 July

The show is visible along the entire five-mile stretch of Swansea Bay with spectacular views of the air displays that feature some of the world’s best military and civilian aviation display teams. Ground attractions include an interactive military village, trade stands, children’s entertainment, funfair and lots more.

 

Stratford River Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon, west England
 

6 – 7 July
 

Stratford’s largest free family friendly event welcomes over 70,000 visitors, with market stalls, entertainment and events both on and off the river. There will be live music and dance, local ales and Pimm's, an artisan craft market, and a spectacular illuminated parade of boats and a grand firework display.

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Cardigan Bay, north Wales
 

7 July 

A well-established seafood festival in picturesque Cardigan Bay. Previous participants have included Michelin chefs Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park and Roger Jones of the Little Bedwyn.
 

Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club, east Scotland

11 – 14 July 

Watch some of the world’s top golfers at their best during this major golf tournament on the European Tour. 

Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, central England

12 – 14 July 

The jewel in the crown of British Motorsports, Silverstone is a fast circuit with a series of complex high-speed turns, and a short straight to add to the excitement. Average cornering speeds are higher than at any other championship racetrack. 

Netball World Cup, Liverpool, north-west England
 

12 – 21 July
 

England Netball and the City of Liverpool will host 16 teams for the 2019 Netball World Cup. The tournament will be held at ACC Liverpool, which has already successfully staged international netball on several occasions. Host nation England are second seeds, following their Commonwealth Games gold medal in April 2018.

 

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

 

12 – 21 July

 

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival plays host to some of the finest jazz and blues talent from all corners of the globe. From bop to boogie-woogie to blues-rock, from samba to swing to soul, the festival takes place over ten groove-packed summer days.

 

The Open Championship, Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland

14 – 21 July 

This year the major golf championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, will be held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

 

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire, north-west England

17 – 21 July 

This plant lover’s paradise is hosted at Cheshire’s historic neo-classical country mansion, Tatton Park, featuring stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of green-fingered inspiration. 

Llangollen Fringe Festival, north-east Wales
 

18 – 28 July
 

The Festival includes an eclectic mix of performance-based events including punk, reggae, rock, folk, flamenco, poetry, drama, art and film. Main events take place in Llangollen's town hall, as well as on a narrow boat, steam train, at the ancient ruins of Castell Dinas Bran and in the atmospheric setting of Vale Crucis Abbey.

 

World Snail Racing Championship, Norfolk, east England *Quirky*

20 July

Ready, steady, slow! For more than 25 years, the World Snail Racing Championships have been held at Congham in Norfolk, where more than 300 snails slug it out for the title of ‘Fastest Snail in the World’. Anyone with a snail can enter and a number of heats are held before the final. The winner receives a silver tankard stuffed with lettuce. 

The Royal Welsh Show, Llanelwedd, Powys, mid-Wales

22 – 25 July

A major event in the British agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show consists of four days of livestock competitions and wide range of activities including forestry, horticulture, crafts, entertainment, attractions, displays, countryside sports, and shopping. 

Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland 

25 July – 26 August

Britain’s largest annual celebration of visual art, Edinburgh Art Festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year for a diverse and vibrant programme of exhibitions and events at the city’s galleries and museums. 

Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, south-west England

26 – 29 July

Bestival consists of four days of live music and premier league DJ and is one of Britain's most colourful festivals, with dressing up encouraged and even a Roller Disco. Previous years have seen headliners such as The Cure, Rudimental and Hot Chip take the stage. 

Glorious Goodwood Festival, West Sussex, south England 

30 July – 3 August

Enjoy picnics, evening jazz and famous faces alongside flat racing at this small and sophisticated horseracing event held every year at the course owned by the Earl of March on his country estate near Chichester.  

The BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London, England

Summer 2019 dates TBC

The Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of more than 70 concerts, with a wide range of classical music to choose from, at affordable prices, in an informal atmosphere. The famous Last Night performances include BBC Proms in the Park. 

Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, Cardiff, Wales

July TBC

Every year the Welsh capital welcomes this popular festival, with hundreds of stalls offering delicious food and drink to try and buy, from Wales and all over the world. Highlights include Welsh cheeses, Norwegian smoked salmon, French wines and Persian snack foods. 

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening, London, England

July – September TBC

Explore the palace’s lavishly furnished State Rooms – where the Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions – and witness some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection. 

The Welsh Proms, Cardiff, Wales

July TBC

The Welsh Proms feature the world's top orchestras, soloists and conductors. There’s a strong classical programme, alongside jazz, soul, rock dance and world music. 

Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England 

July TBC

Bristol Pride is a week-long LGBT festival that culminates in a massive outdoor music and arts festival that takes place in Castle Park. Kicking off with the Pride parade through the city, the festival also features entertainment, a family area, funfair, market stalls, food stalls, and bars.

Bristol Harbour Festival

July TBC

Bristol Harbour Festival is a free weekend of music, markets and maritime fun based around Bristol’s historic harbourside. Packed with live performance, artists, musicians, circus acts, children’s events, dancers, food markets and street stalls. On the water, hundreds of sailing vessels provide a vibrant backdrop to the activities.
 

Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

July TBC

See established jazz legends and rising stars in their element at this annual jazz and blues celebration in Scotland’s festival city. 

The Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly, south Wales

July TBC

The town of Caerphilly comes to life as people of all ages come to The Big Cheese, a free extravaganza including street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, troubadours and much more.
 

SummerTyne Americana Festival, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, north-east England

July TBC

SummerTyne Americana Festival is a popular weekend event that attracts visitors from across the world for a sizzling celebration of Americana music in and around the spectacular setting of Sage Gateshead, on the south bank of the River Tyne. 

Glasgow Mela, Glasgow, Scotland

Summer TBC

Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival lights up Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park every summer in a kaleidoscope of colours, with music, dance, performance and tastes from around the globe.  

Liverpool International Music Festival, Sefton Park, Liverpool, north-west England 

July TBC 

This two-day celebration in Liverpool hosts big names in hip-hop, house and pop, while also promoting new talent, musical heritage and cultural diversity.

National Parks Week, nationwide
 

July TBC

Britain’s 15 national parks do their bit for National Parks Week with plenty of events to celebrate everything that’s great about the nation’s “breathing spaces”. There’s a different theme every year, and all sorts of activities take place, from cycling and walking to stargazing – and many of them are free.

Northern Pride, Newcastle, north-east England
 

July TBC
 

This annual celebration of LGBT life on Tyneside is one of the biggest and most diverse free events in the North East. It starts with a Pride march through Newcastle and ends with a day of music, education, fun and celebration.

 

 

 

 

AUGUST  

Brighton Pride, Brighton, south-east England  

2 – 4 August

Brighton’s Pride festival kick offs with the annual Pride Community Parade, a dazzling visual spectacle that sees Brighton and Hove's diverse community take to the streets in a show of unity and equality, with more than 200,000 people participating. The party carries on with The Pride Festival in Preston Park, featuring main stage entertainment, dance tents, cabaret, a funfair, a family area, and a market. The Pride Village Party brings the festivities to St James Street and the city's iconic seafront Marine Parade.

RideLondon, London-Surrey, south-east England

3 – 4 August

Developed by the Mayor of London and his agencies in 2013, Prudential RideLondon is a world-class festival of cycling that wants to encourage more people to cycle more safely, more often. TfL anticipates tens of thousands of spectators and participants every year will take up regular cycling after each event. There is no other closed-road event quite like it, combining a fun and accessible free family ride in central London with the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclists race.
 

Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

2 – 26 August

 

Every August, the Edinburgh International Festival presents three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts. Edinburgh's six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.

 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

2 – 26 August

 

The world's largest arts festival transforms Scotland's capital every August, as thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows of all kinds and for every taste. The work on show ranges from huge names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers. Audiences can enjoy theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children's shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

 

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

2 – 24 August

 

The Tattoo is an iconic Edinburgh institution, with music, dance and precision display with the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Massed Military Bands, cultural troupes, singers and the poignant refrain of the Lone Piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Each year's Tattoo is very much a 'global gathering' - showcasing the talents of musicians and performers from every corner of the globe. Each Tattoo is different from the last but always embraces different themes; nature, creativity and Scotland's homecoming are just some of the concepts explored in recent times.

 

Leeds Pride, Yorkshire, north England
 

4 August
 

A ‘must-not-miss’ event on Yorkshire’s LGBT calendar, Leeds Pride is the biggest event of its kind in Yorkshire. Thousands flock to the city for a diverse line up of acts at Millennium Square, a march through the centre of Leeds and the biggest parties until the early hours.

 

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, south-west England

8 – 11 August

The city’s largest outdoor event, held annually at the city’s Ashton Court Estate, is the largest event of its kind in Europe. The mass ascents at dawn and teatime are a sight to behold, with more than 100 balloons taking off, and after-dark firework shows to follow. More than half a million people attend the fiesta, which offers a packed four days of fun for the whole family.

Cowes Week, Isle of Wight, south England

10 – 17 August

As one of the sailing calendar’s biggest events, Cowes Week brings together the world’s biggest sailing stars, with more than 1,000 yachts and 8,000 competitors taking part. 

Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

10 – 26 August

 

The Edinburgh International Book Festival programme offers more 800 events featuring rising stars of fiction to Nobel Prize-winners plus events for children and young adults featuring the finest writers and illustrators for young people. From author events and interactive workshops to lively debates and book signings, the Book Festival allows visitors to meet favourite authors.

 

Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, south Wales
 

15 – 18 August
 

This wonderful family-friendly festival takes place on the Glanusk Estate in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park and features far more than just great music. Visitors can also enjoy live comedy acts as well as watch films, theatre and live poetry.

 

RiZE Festival, Chelmsford, Essex, south-east England

16 – 17 August

RiZE is a new multi-genre music festival that launched in 2018, taking over from the annual V Festival held at Chelmsford's Hylands Park. The music genres range from indie and pop to dance and urban.

The Garlic Festival, Isle of Wight, south England *Quirky*

17 – 18 August

Garlic ice cream, jelly beans, fudge and beer are just some of the unusual garlic-based produce that can be sampled at this unique festival. It attracts around 25,000 people and features live music and children’s entertainers alongside all the garlic! 

Creamfields, Liverpool, north-west England

22 – 25 August

Regarded as an iconic dance music festival, every year this legendary event in Liverpool showcases superstar DJs and artists from the music genres of EDM, house, trance, drum and bass and grime.

Pride Cymru, Cardiff, south Wales

23 – 25 August TBC
 

LGBT Mardi Gras, trading as Pride Cymru, returns to Cardiff for Wales' biggest celebration of equality and diversity. The variety of entertainment will continue along with a funfair, a cultural market with arts and crafts, plenty food and drink, and a social hub, offering advice and support to LGBT communities and their friends and family.
 

Reading Festival & Leeds Festival, England

23 – 25 August 

Britain's premier rock music festival features global acts uniquely performing at both locations over three days allowing for 100,000 revellers at Reading and more than 80,000 at Leeds to experience global rock superstars, with previously headliners including the Kings of Leon and Kendrick Lamar.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships, Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales

25 August

This unusual sport consists of contestants swimming two consecutive lengths of a water-filled trench in the shortest time possible. Held annually in Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid Wales, the championships attract visitors from all over the world. There are food and drink stalls, crafts, a bouncy castle, live music and a real ale and cider bar on the site, so it's a great day out even if you don't fancy taking the plunge.
 

Notting Hill Carnival, London, England

24 – 25 August

London’s famous free Caribbean festival and the largest street party in Europe, with great music, outrageous floats and fabulous costumes. Hear everything from traditional steel bands, Soca and Calypso to the latest dub, drum ‘n’ bass, R&B and reggae blasting out from pumping sound systems and moving floats. Live stages also feature local bands, top international artists and sounds from around the world, plus hundreds of Caribbean food stalls. 

Piping Live! Glasgow, Scotland

August TBC

Piping Live! brings more than 40,000 visitors and hundreds of pipe bands and soloists to Glasgow, showcasing the best piping from around the world.   

Merchant City Festival, Glasgow, Scotland

August TBC 

Glasgow’s cultural quarter comes to life with its annual celebration of live music, street performances, art, dance, theatre, comedy, food and drink.  

Race the Train, Tywyn, mid-Wales *Quirky*

August TBC

This contest between man and machine takes place alongside, as far as practicable, the route taken by the Talyllyn Railway on its journey to Abergynolwyn and back. To do this, all courses use a mixture of public roads, lanes, tracks, agricultural land and rough grazing pastures. 

World Gravy Wresting Championships, Lancashire, north-west England *Quirky*

August TBC

Teams competing for this quirky title slip and slide about in lukewarm gravy, and win points for pinning the opposition down in the gloop. The event was started in 2007 and brings out the crowds in force to laugh at the proceedings, while TV cameras and the press often record it for audiences all over the world from Australia to the USA. 

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, London, England

August TBC

Every summer the beautiful Fountain Court at Somerset House hosts London's most impressive open-air cinema: Film4 Summer Screen. The series features a range of films, all showing on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound. 

The Braemar Gathering, Aberdeenshire, north Scotland

End August/beginning of September TBC

Enjoy the skills of the pipers and Highland dancers and the stamina of the hill runners as well as the international athletes taking part in the heavy events. Sample contemporary Scotland with live music, top-quality arts and crafts and local food and drink at one of The Queen’s favourite annual events. 

 

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER  

Dundee Food and Flower Show, Dundee, Scotland

6 – 8 September

The Dundee Flower and Food Festival is the premier show of its kind in Scotland and has developed over the years into a three-day extravaganza with a host of attractions. It is also one of Dundee’s major annual events. With more than two acres of marquees set in the magnificent grounds of Camperdown Country Park, the event has developed over the years to become a high profile, popular and very successful three-day lifestyle event.

Great North Run Weekend, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
 

8 September
 

A series of professional and junior athletics activities on the Saturday of the Great North Run weekend has been developed over the last few years, using NewcastleGateshead Quaysides as a 'virtual arena'. The run starts in the city centre, winds past several iconic sights, and ends at the sea.
 

Roald Dahl Day, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, south-east England

13 September TBC

The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on the storyteller’s birthday, 13 September.  A number of activities and events take place at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in his home village of Great Missenden. 

Goodwood Revival, Chichester, West Sussex, south-east England

13 – 15 September TBC

Each September the famous historic Goodwood Motor Circuit recreates the golden era of its glorious heyday, bringing together the most historically significant, priceless machines, along with legendary drivers from past and present. Vintage fashion is at the heart of the event, with many visitors going to great lengths to dress in period style. Live music – from big band to jazz, and boogie-woogie to rock ‘n’ roll – all play a part in adding to the unique nostalgic atmosphere.

Heritage Open Days, across England 

13 – 22 September   

Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

Ironman Wales, Pembrokeshire, west Wales
 

15 September

A spectacular course, often called one of the most challenging races in the world that takes in stunning beaches and medieval fortresses.
 

UCI Road World Championships, Yorkshire, north England
 

22 – 29 September
 

Yet another major sporting event will arrive in Yorkshire in 2019. One of the world’s most prestigious professional cycling events, the UCI Road World Championships will see 1,000 riders from 75 different countries compete in 12 races over eight days. The routes will take in Yorkshire’s spectacular countryside and no doubt be packed by crowds waving on the athletes. Provisional race start venues include Beverley, Bradford, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Ripon and York. All races will finish in Harrogate, the event’s focal point.

 

Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival, Bristol, south-west England

September TBC

This is the longest-running competitive short film and animation festival in the UK. Based at Watershed in Bristol’s historic floating harbour, the week-long programme pulls together some of the best short films from around the world alongside a series of special big screen events, a comprehensive industry programme and free public screenings. This is a chance to see films from 90 seconds to 20 minutes, across all film-making genres and made by film-makers and animators from 60 countries.

Bristol Open Doors, Bristol, south-west England

September TBC

This annual weekend event offers the chance to get inside more than 100 landmark buildings and curious spaces, many of which are usually closed to the public. Organised by The Architecture Centre, a registered charity, the weekend offers a mix of drop-in and must-book events including tours, talks, walks and visitor experiences that get under the skin of the city. 

British Science Festival, 2019 location TBC

September TBC 

The British Science Festival is organised each year by the British Science Association to bring together hundreds of Britain’s top scientists, journalists and tens of thousands of members of the public. The Festival lasts over six days and events range from lectures and debates for adults, to hands-on activity for schools and families, to comedy, theatre and expeditions. 

Hull Freedom Festival, Yorkshire, north England 

2019 dates TBC

Hull's annual flagship arts and culture event, the Freedom Festival, brings three days of entertainment to Yorkshire's waterfront city.    

London Fashion Week, London, England

September TBC

The ultimate fashion industry event, where the world’s top designers showcase their latest collections via catwalk shows, plus curated talks, designer shopping and trend presentations. 

Jane Austen Festival, Bath, south-west England
 

September TBC
 

Visit Bath during the Jane Austen Festival for an immersive Regency experience. Walk alongside 500 Jane Austen fans in the spectacular, opening Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. Throughout the rest of the festival, join other Jane Austen fans on guided walks and day trips, sit back and enjoy talks, music recitals and concerts or get hands on at workshops and dance classes.

 

Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Bath, south-west England
 

September – October TBC

Featuring the best children’s and teen authors, incredible illustrators, favourite characters, professional storytellers and the biggest names in children’s literature from across the world.

 

York Food and Drink Festival, York, north England

September/October TBC

One of the biggest foodie festivals in Britain, York Food and Drink Festival celebrates the best local and regional food and drink. There’s a great variety of day and evening events, from wine and food tastings to cookery demonstrations and hands-on workshops in some of the city’s iconic historic buildings.

 

Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, north-west England

September – November TBC

This annual light show has been a major part of Blackpool’s attraction since 1879. The Festival of Light complements the traditional Illuminations with a contemporary take on entertainment made from light and art. The Illuminations are usually bookended by a fantastic celebrity-packed Switch-on Festival Weekend with bespoke Illumination performances, and Lightpool Festival, a spectacular walking route linking Blackpool’s most iconic buildings and history through light installation artworks.
 

The Good Life Experience, Flintshire, north Wales
 

September TBC

The Good Life is created by Cerys Matthews, Steve 'Abbo' Abbott and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone who have put together the very best of music, books, food and the great outdoors. This will be a voyage of fun and discovery for the whole family. 

 

Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny, south Wales
 

September TBC
 

One of the biggest events on the UK foodie calendar.  A packed menu of celebrity chefs, master-classes, mouth-watering street stalls and entertainment.

 

Elvis Festival, Porthcawl, south Wales
 

September TBC
 

Elvis lives, thanks to the thousands of fans and the tribute artists who attend this annual gathering of blue suede shoes, Vegas jumpsuits, and whopping sideburns in Porthcawl.
 

London Design Festival, London, England

September TBC

This colourful annual festival has celebrated and promoted London as the design capital of the world since 2003. The festival showcases the work of contemporary designers, architects and artists, with striking large-scale installations and events popping up around the city.  

Egremont Crab Fair & World Gurning Championships, Cumbria, north-west England *Quirky* 

September TBC 

Gurning consists of contestants putting their heads through a horse collar and contorting their faces into the scariest, most grotesque, silliest expression possible! The person who gets the most applause for their ugly face wins. The event dates back to 1267, celebrating the time when the local Lord of the Manor wheeled a cart of crab apples through the village of Egremont as a goodwill gesture to the poor. Crab apples have a sharp taste and it is said the gurning competition originates from the faces the locals made when they bit into them.  

World Stone Skimming Championships, Argyll, Scotland *Quirky*

September TBC 

Each competitor is allowed three skims using specially-selected slate skimming stones. For a skim to qualify, the stone must bounce at least three times; it is then judged on the distance achieved before it sinks. The championships were launched in 1983 and now attract more than 200 participants and many spectators, hailing from around the world.

Last Night of the Proms & BBC Proms in the Park, Royal Albert Hall & Hyde Park, London

September TBC  

For a very British cultural experience, don’t miss the final night crescendo of the biggest classical music festival on earth, the BBC Proms. The legendary Last Night of the Proms is the culmination of an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral and classical music concerts taking place across London. Last Night of the Proms tickets are very popular, so plan ahead. The celebrations include BBC Proms in the Park, which take place in London’s Hyde Park.

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 

Wales Rally GB, Flintshire, north Wales

4 – 7 October
 

The British leg of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place over four thrilling days based at the Rally Village in Deeside, Flintshire.

 

Cardiff Half Marathon, Cardiff, south Wales

7 October
 

Competitors race right through Cardiff city centre past iconic locations, with beautiful scenery and historic buildings, starting at Cardiff Castle, and passing the Principality Stadium, Penarth Marina, before crossing the Cardiff Barrage and racing through Cardiff Bay before finishing close to Cardiff City Hall.  

 

Iris Prize Festival, Cardiff, south Wales

9 – 14 October
 

A six-day celebration of LGBT film, including screenings of 35 short films competing for the Best of British Iris Prize.

 

World Shore Angling Championships, Conwy, north Wales

20 – 27 October
 

This prestigious international event, held in a different venue each year, features the world’s top shore anglers competing for World Championship titles for men and women. There will be fishing from the shoreline on five competitive days.

 

Artes Mundi, Cardiff, south Wales
 

27 October – 24 February

Best known for its biennial international Exhibition and Prize, which takes place in Cardiff, this is Wales’ biggest contemporary visual art show. One of the shortlisted artists is awarded the prize of £40,000, the largest art prize in the UK and one of the most significant in the world.

 

Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea, south Wales

27 October – 9 November
 

An annual two-week festival that starts on Dylan's birthday and finishes on the date of his death with talks, performances, exhibitions, readings and music with a Dylan Thomas theme.

 

Blenheim Palace Literary Festival, Oxfordshire, central England

October TBC 

Leading writers from the fields of politics, history, food and drink, architecture and design, music, literature and society assemble at the annual literary festival at historic Blenheim Palace, where Winston Churchill was born.
 

World Conker Championships, Northamptonshire, central England *Quirky*

October TBC 

The game of conkers has been a popular pastime of British schoolchildren for decades. The rules are simple. Each player is given a conker attached to a piece of string and takes turns in trying to break their opponent’s nut using a swinging motion. The World Conker Championships are held on the village green in Ashton, Peterborough, and attract more than 300 competitors attempting to become the King or Queen of conkers. 
 

Swansea Festival of Music and Arts, Swansea, south Wales

October TBC

The programme has, in the past, included performances from the Welsh National Opera, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra plus a range of arts at venues across the city. 

Creative Mackintosh Festival, across Glasgow, Scotland

October TBC

The annual Creative Mackintosh Festival celebrates acclaimed Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his architecture, design, arts and crafts in Glasgow. The events programme showcases the Mackintosh buildings and legacy, as well as focusing on Glasgow and its creativity through the work of contemporary artists.

Melton Mowbray Food Festival, Leicestershire, central England

October TBC 

If you’ve never tried the traditional British delicacy that is a pork pie, then Melton Mowbray Food Festival is the place to go for your initiation; it’s known as one of the top regional food events in the country. Around 200 stands showcase some of the region’s finest food and drink, alongside a Street Food area serving hot food from around the world. 

BFI London Film Festival, Southbank, London, England

October TBC

In 2019 London will host its 63rd annual film festival organised with the British Film Institute. The event screens more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts in the capital from around 50 countries. Highlights include the world's best new films, and director and actor retrospectives. Previous A-lister guests have included Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Casey Affleck, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson, and director Tom Ford.

Golden Spurtle, Inverness, Scotland *Quirky*

October TBC

The Golden Spurtle is the annual World Porridge-Making Championship, which tasks each competitor to produce at least one pint (200ml) of porridge, divided into three portions for the judges to taste. The championship title is awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional porridge, made from oatmeal. The event includes a pipe band, cookery demonstrations and product tastings. 

Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, west England

October TBC

This literary festival will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2019 and will see the launch of major books, as well as more than 500 talks, workshops and performances touching upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion.

Belfast International Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland

October – November TBC

This Belfast-based festival covers theatre, dance, classical and roots music, visual, film and digital arts and literature in the Northern Ireland capital.

Turner Prize 2019, Margate, Kent
 

October – January 2020
 

The Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate will host the famous Turner Prize in 2019. Both venue and event are named after the innovative landscape artist JMW Turner, who was a regular visitor to Margate and inspired by the east Kent coast. The gallery is built on the site of a boarding house where Turner stayed when he visited the seaside town. Margate was also the childhood home of Tracey Emin, whose controversial My Bed artwork was shortlisted for the prize in 1999. Exact dates TBC; the winner will be announced at a major awards ceremony in December 2019.

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER

Bonfire Night, Britain-wide  

5 November

Britain’s night skies light up with blazing bonfires and sparkling fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. This unique British tradition, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night or Firework Night, celebrates the foiling of the infamous Gunpowder Plot - a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5 November, 1605. It’s celebrated across Britain and most towns and cities host their own bonfire nights: here are seven of the best displays. 

Lumiere 10th anniversary, Durham City, north-east England
 

14 – 17 November
 

The Lumiere light festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Durham with its most ambitious festival yet. A selection of favourites from the previous five festivals will be on show alongside some brand new artworks.

 

St Andrew’s Day, across Scotland

30 November

Events celebrating the patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew, take place throughout the country and, in the past, have included some of Scotland’s historic attractions offering free entry for the day.

London Jazz Festival, London, England

November TBC

London Jazz Festival hosts world-class artists and emerging stars, packed into back-to-back concerts, workshops, talks, masterclasses and free events across London. A number of key events will take place at Southbank Centre. 

Skate at Somerset House, London, England

November TBC

Skate at Somerset House offers a complete festive experience in the capital. During the day, visitors can skate in the beautiful splendour of Somerset House’s neoclassical courtyard and, after dark, the rink hosts some of the best international clubs and festivals at exclusive Club Nights. For those looking to relax after taking to the ice, the Skate Lounge offers delicious rink-side refreshments. 

World’s Biggest Liar, Lake District, Cumbria, north-west England *Quirky*

November TBC

This annual contest is held at The Bridge Inn pub in Santon Bridge, a hamlet of the Lake District. The competition is held in honour of 19th-century Bridge Inn landlord Will Ritson, who was famous for his incredible stories. Competitors are given five minutes to impress the judges with an outrageous but convincing lie.

The Cary Grant Festival, Bristol, south-west England

November TBC

This is a favourite for fans of the Bristolian star as a weekend of events is dedicated to celebrating the life and work of the Hollywood actor and style icon Cary Grant.

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London, England

November – January TBC

A true family favourite, Winter Wonderland returns to London's Hyde Park with big top shows, the observation wheel and a huge Christmas market. As well as the ice rink, Winter Wonderland includes gentle rides for younger children.  

Longleat Festival of Light, Longleat, Wiltshire, west England

November TBC

This festive outdoor light festival boasts hundreds of illuminated characters and scenes once again transforming the estate into a winter wonderland; each year has a new theme.

FilmBath Festival, Bath, south-west England

November TBC

Soak up the special atmosphere of packed, yet quiet, auditoriums as you enjoy screenings of previews, documentary features, F-Rated films and talks with directors, producers and stars.

 

Bath Mozartfest, Bath south-west England

November TBC
 

Celebrate Mozart’s music, and that of his contemporaries or those influenced by him, in a glorious feast of classical music performed in some of Bath’s most beautiful and inspiring buildings.

 

CS Lewis Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland
 

November TBC

The CS Lewis Festival celebrates the legacy of Belfast-born author Clive Staples Lewis, famous for creating The Chronicles of Narnia.

Kendal Mountain Festival, Cumbria, north-west England

November TBC
 

The world’s biggest Mountain Festival is a celebration of film, outdoor sports, literature, art and legends that hopes to inspire people to explore and enjoy mountains and the wilderness. The Mountain Film Competition is a main feature of the event, with entries competing to be the grand prize winner.
 

Leeds International Film Festival, Yorkshire, north England
 

November TBC
 

One of the largest film events in the UK, Leeds International Film Festival presents an incredible selection of the best new and classic films from around the world. Each year, audiences are invited to step in from the cold autumn weather and enjoy the power of cinema at some of the city’s favourite venues, including Leeds Town Hall, The Hyde Park Picture House and Everyman Leeds.

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 

Christmas at Kew, London, England

December TBC 

Learn to ice-skate against the picturesque background of Kew Gardens, which, each year, delivers a sparkling after-dark experience and a truly festive atmosphere. 

The Great Christmas Pudding Race – London & Brighton, England *Quirky*

December TBC

One of the wackiest races you’ll ever see, teams from schools or companies – with competitors aged from 14 to 70 – race around a 150-metre course balancing a Christmas pudding on a flimsy paper plate. They have to navigate two slippery inflatables, balloons filled with flour, jets of foam and limbo poles. To complicate things even further, they do it all in fancy dress. 

Enchanted Parks, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England

Early December TBC

Every year, a themed trail of art installations with lights, performances, sculptures and projections transforms Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a winter wonderland. Enchanted Parks is part of Light up the North, a series of seven light festivals in seven cities in north England. Don’t delay buying tickets – they sell out quickly.
 

NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and New Year’s Eve Carnival, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England

31 December

The annual New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival sees the Newcastle Ice Queen and her entourage of local community participants parading through the streets of Newcastle, culminating in an early-evening fireworks display. 

Hogmanay, across Scotland,

31 December

Hogmanay is what the Scots call New Year's Eve and the arrival of the New Year is always celebrated in style across the country. Fireworks, open-air concerts and street parties make Hogmanay Scotland’s biggest party of the year.  

Stonehaven Fireball Festival, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

31 December

This fireball ceremony is the traditional way to greet the New Year in the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven.

Six of the best free things to do in Edinburgh this winter

Planning to visit the Scottish capital for Hogmanay celebrations on 31 December? Why not come earlier and spend more time in Edinburgh exploring its fantastic array of free attractions this winter? Plus, what is already a beautiful city is even more alluring when bathed in winter sunshine, dusted with frost and buzzing with festive spirit.

National Galleries of Scotland

Not one, not two, not even three but FOUR buildings across Edinburgh house an astounding collection of art and are all well worth a visit. And, aside from certain paid-for exhibitions, they’re all free admission. Princes Street in the city centre is where you head to see iconic works from the Masters of 14th – 18th century European art at the National; then stroll over to the National Portrait Gallery nearby, before ending the day at the Modern gallery, which is set across two buildings in a magnificent sculpture park.

Why go this winter? Obviously for the art…but there’s also free live music ranging from Gaelic to opera on certain dates in November at the National; drop-in easel sketching workshops at the Portrait; or lectures and talks on subjects such as surrealism at the Modern.

The National Museum of Scotland

Seven levels of spectacular exhibitions await you at this fascinating free attraction in Edinburgh’s picturesque Old Town. The museum is packed with intriguing displays and insights into science and technology, fashion, the natural world and art and design that will keep you busy all day. Gain a wonderful insight into Scotland from prehistory to the present day in its must-visit Scottish Galleries.

Why go this winter? Fascinated by science? Every Saturday between 13 October – 26 January 2019 is Science Saturday, meaning specialist talks, hands-on activities and science demonstrations. Music fans should investigate its Rip It Up – The Story of Scottish Pop exhibition until 25 November and put its new exhibition Robots, launching on 18 January, in the diary.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Proving that gardens are not just for summer, visitors can appreciate the gorgeous winter landscape of these gardens, which are split across three themes and stretch across an impressive 70 acres. Discover seasonal flora and fauna as well as modern sculptures and installations dotted throughout. There is a fee for the Victorian glass houses but if you don’t want to spend any money, you can still admire the exterior of this stunning piece of architecture.

Why go this winter? Check out the fascinating Botanic Cottage on one of its Open Doors Days for an insight into its history and usage (5 October – 7 December). Travelling with your family? Bring them along to a weekend of nature discovery and grow young ones’ understanding of the environment (8 – 9 December).

Stand Up Comedy Club

Edinburgh is a world leader on the comedy stage, thanks to its brilliant Fringe Festival that takes place every August, which hosts plenty of comedy shows that won’t break the bank. But you can still get laughs aplenty – and find free events – throughout the year at the excellent Stand Up Comedy Club.

Why go this winter? Head to the club on a Sunday through November and December to enjoy its long-running, improvised comedy show – and it won’t cost you a penny! Resident comedians Stu and Garry take on the audiences’ suggestions and create comedy, so the show is very much for everyone.

Calton Hill

Pack your camera because a walk up Calton Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will result in some of the best views of Edinburgh. Aside from the remarkable vistas over the city, this is also where you’ll find some of Scotland’s legendary monuments, including Nelson’s Monument and the National Monument. It’s also home to the Royal Observatory, which has a visitor centre to explore and which also hosts public events such as astronomy evenings.

Why go this winter? Catch the sunrise from its summit too – the beauty of a winter sunrise is it is a little later, which means not such an early start to the day!

Window shopping

Even if you don’t want to splurge the cash, Edinburgh’s lovely shops and markets are worth exploring just for a spot of window shopping. From Princes Street to the Farmers’ Market, the pretty boutiques and uniquely Scottish stores, there’s plenty to explore to gather inspiration for your wish list.

Why go this winter? Come 16 November (until 5 January 2019) the East Princes Street Gardens will be alive with festive stalls, twinkling lights and delicious food as the annual Christmas Market gets underway. Be there for 18 November for Light Night, where choirs from across Scotland will perform and the Christmas Tree on the Mound will be lit as part of the Light Night switch on.

TASTE October 2018

London

The capital’s restaurant scene continues to buzz with new openings this autumn…and one trend we’re seeing is the number of exciting eateries opening in some of London’s top hotels. Renowned Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has brought his culinary flair to the Corinthia Hotel London and opened his first London restaurant at the hotel in September, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill. You’ll find Tom’s take on Britain’s most celebrated dishes, a rotisserie, plus a set Sunday lunch menu and pre- and post-theatre dining.

When the new Bankside Hotel opens in mid-October, so will its new all-day dining restaurant and bar, the Art Yard Bar & Kitchen. Head Chef Lee Streeton’s menu uses seasonal British produce inspired by European cuisines. The menu will use produce sourced as locally as possible, including honey from their own beehives, fresh ingredients from London’s markets and a regularly changing menu of beers from breweries along the nearby Bermondsey Beer Mile.

Seasonal fare is also celebrated at Baluchi, the pan-Indian dining destination at luxury boutique hotel The LaLiT London and, to mark the return of Britain’s game season, Executive Chef Santosh Shah has launched an exclusive six-course tasting menu. Game such as grouse, partridge and venison will be given a twist using spice blends and traditional tandoor cooking.

Staying with innovations in Indian cuisine, the City of London has also welcomed new Indian barbecue restaurant Brigadiers London, a restaurant inspired by the army mess bars of India. You’ll find food cooked using different methods of Indian barbecue, such as tandoors, charcoal grills, rotisseries, wood ovens and classic Indian smokers.

The Latin American food invasion in the capital also continues to thrive, with the recently opened Zuaya; Spanish twins Alberto and Arian Zandi have opened a lively and contemporary restaurant on Kensington High Street. Head Chef Francisco Lafee’s menu is divided into eight sections: snacks, ceviche, tiraditos & tartars, salads, tacos, robata grills, stews and desserts, with dishes designed for sharing.

Italian favourites will be served at new all-day dining destination Harry’s Bar in Marylebone, close to Oxford Street, when it opens in October. Channelling mid-20th century Italian glamour, its menu will also include a signature weekend brunch and a special Cicchetti menu – small plates traditionally served in Venetian Bacari bars.

Champagne fan? Head to Marylebone-based boutique hotel The Arch London, which has just launched a ‘Champagne Flight Afternoon Tea’. Guests can sample seasonal cakes and sandwiches while sipping a trio of Taittinger Champagne selected to match each round of savouries and cakes. Champagne connoisseurs should also check out the recently opened bar at The Ned, where there are 30 Champagnes to choose from (also fun to try is its martini trolley, from which you can order your own bespoke blend).

And it’s been reported that Hollywood and TV star Idris Elba is opening a bar in London with Lee and Nicky Caulfield called The Parrot at the Waldorf Hilton. Details are limited but we do know it’s due to open in October, will be tropical themed, host live music every evening and will be the first bar to in London to offer its own chauffeur-driven car, in partnership with Aston Martin.

 

England

Manchester’s restaurant scene is booming as we head towards the end of 2018. The thriving neighbourhood of Ancoats and its growing foodie scene welcomed modern Portuguese restaurant Canto this month, with a menu inspired by Portugal’s culinary traditions. And Viet Shack has grown from a market food stall to a full-service restaurant in Ancoats, bringing Vietnamese flavours to its Viet wraps, Banh Mi, the ‘Viet Mac’ and peanut butter chicken ‘n’ chips.

Elsewhere in the city, Dishoom – the award-winning Indian café group, inspired by Bombay’s Irani colonial café scene and which has five venues in London – has secured a spot within Manchester Hall and looks set to open in winter 2018. And taking residence inside a four-storey, wooden-framed building in the centre of commercial district Spinningfields, The Ivy will bring to its café-style brasserie to Manchester this October, featuring an all-day dining menu of modern British and international dishes. Also launching the same month, as part of a multi-million-pound renovation of the historic Radisson Edwardian Hotel, the Peter Street Kitchen will be a destination restaurant dedicated to ‘shared dining’, with food consisting of small plates from contemporary Japanese and Mexican cuisines.

North-west England neighbour Liverpool, meanwhile, continues to witness a surge of independent food and drink establishments opening at the iconic Albert Dock. Recently adding to the historic site’s foodie scene are Catalan restaurant Lunyalita, vegan-friendly Peaberry Coffee House & Kitchen and artisan boutique bakery Rough Hand Made.

Liverpool has also welcomed an entire new foodie destination – the Grand Central Bazaar. Located in a stunning art nouveau building, this food hall is bursting with multiple stalls serving different cuisines, and retains many of the building’s original quirky features. Competing with it for most Instagrammable place to eat in Liverpool is the minimalist chic décor of Ropes and Twines on Bold Street, a ‘coffee and wine’ restaurant and gallery.

Birmingham has also witnessed growth in its foodie scene recently. A new ping pong bar – SERVE – opened last month, where guests can not only enjoy a match on one of its 17 ping pong tables, but also its creative menu where burgers are served in Chinese steamed charcoal marble bao buns and signature cocktails come with unique names such as Winner Winner Gin for Dinner. Meanwhile, in October, a new dining experience with the strapline ‘Meat. Bread. Beer’ will open in the city centre. Pint Shop will be located in a listed building dating back to 1860 in Birmingham’s former financial quarter, Bennett’s Hill, and will focus on a menu of seasonal British produce and local and national beers. And look out in 2019 for the third restaurant from top Birmingham chef Aktar Islam in the city.

An hour from London

There’s been a raft of new openings recently in the historic city of St Albans. As the vegan trend flourishes, the city has welcomed vegan café NoMooMoo, whose terrace overlooks the striking monument that is St Albans Cathedral. Enjoy local beers? Check out the new Reading Rooms, a cosy micropub opened by local brewery Farr Brew, or stop by for a delicious Sunday roast at The Plough Pub by Dylans, an independent free house in a rural setting.

Over in the university city of Cambridge a new restaurant has opened at the University Arms Cambridge hotel, the Parker’s Tavern, whose design mirrors the communal dining halls synonymous with Cambridge university colleges. Chef Tristan Welch has created a seasonally changing menu that is entirely British and highlights ingredients from Cambridge and East Anglian producers. Welch has brought back ancient British and local dishes and given them a modern twist, such as the Cambridge University classic Duke of Cambridge Tart.

Autumn Spotlight on: Norwich

A programme of unique culinary experiences is taking place in the city of Norwich, east England, this autumn. The inaugural Assembly House Food Festival (on from now until November) brings a mix of performance, dining and events to this city boutique B&B, restaurant, arts hub and cookery school. Visit for events such as a game masterclass or attend its School of Chocolate. New evening dining is launching at local deli Louis this autumn, running as a café by day and Les Garrigues by night, serving French food and wine, as two independent businesses join forces. Elsewhere, the Ivy Norwich has recently opened in the heart of the Norwich Lanes, where the cocktail menu includes new concoctions inspired by local stories. Foodie events to watch out for this autumn include a celebration of local produce at Porkstock on 13 October; the art of food science at the Norwich Science Festival (19 – 27 October); and the Norwich Beer Festival, (22 – 27 October), the largest provincial beer festival in the country.

Scotland

 

Edinburgh’s restaurant scene continues to grow this autumn with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin set to open his fourth restaurant called Southside Scran in the neighbourhood of Bruntsfield in November. Looking for something super healthy? The city’s Leith neighbourhood has recently welcomed Kcal Kitchen, where the breakfast menu is packed with protein treats and the lunch and dinner menus ranging from super clean salads and vegan meatballs to muscle-builder burgers and clean Katsu curry.

Over in Glasgow, look out for the UK’s largest urban pancake house in October as Stack & Still opens to the hungry public. It will boast a pancake menu offering more than ten million possible combinations and including buckwheat, gluten-free, vegan, buttermilk, protein and sugar-free selections, plus Glasgow’s first-ever self-dispense drinks bar.

And the north Glasgow district of Maryhill welcomed the opening of The Botany this month. Diners feast a fresh ingredient-driven menu that includes its special Balmoral Pie, while sitting in a glasshouse conservatory overlooking gorgeous gardens.

 

Awards

The 50 best restaurants in the UK for 2019 were revealed this month in the latest Good Food Guide. Three restaurants scored a perfect ten in this year’s guide; Cornwall-based Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cumbria, north-west England and Core by Clare Smyth in London’s Notting Hill.

Ten cool and unique ways to see Britain’s cities

Searching for an alternative to a walking tour of Britain’s cities? Here’s how you can turn city sightseeing into an immersive experience, whether it’s via watersports, from the sky…or even in a hot tub!

In a hot tub – London

Yes, you read that correctly – you can now step into a freshwater hot tub that sails down London’s River Thames, passing by some of the capital’s most iconic sights. The 90-minute HotTug experience sets sail from two different locations; its original site in Angel, north London, takes you through the cute and calm waterways of Regent’s Canal and, just last month, a new experience launched in the Docklands area around Canary Wharf/West India Quay. Book the VIP Experience and receive sailors’ hats, robe and towel rental and an essential ice bucket to keep drinks cool.

Kayaking by night – London

London’s landmarks are emblazoned with light come nightfall, delivering an atmospheric glow as you view them from double kayaks on the River Thames. On board the Night Kayak Tour you’ll paddle past the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge, a journey that takes you from pretty Battersea and ends in the historic maritime neighbourhood of Greenwich. Waterproof clothing, paddles, buoyancy aids – and instructors – are included.

By group cycle – Belfast, Northern Ireland

Chat face-to-face with your friends at the same time as cycling around Northern Ireland’s capital, on a specially adapted cycle with Wee Toast Tours – and enjoy a drink or two en route! An hour or two allows you to cruise around the city centre at gentle speeds, taking in such sights as City Hall and the Opera House. Wee Toast Tours also offers a Cathedral Quarter tour, through Belfast’s cultural heart, and will soon be launching a tour of the Titanic Quarter, home to the world-famous Titanic Museum, SS Nomadic and HMS Caroline.

Stand-up paddleboarding – Bristol, south-west England

Bristol is renowned for its historic harbours and waterways but why not explore its iconic waterside  via the contemporary watersport of stand-up paddleboarding with SUP Bristol? The professional team there will show you the ropes and take you out to float past Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the historic dockside and the multi-coloured houses of the leafy and elegant neighbourhood of Clifton – as the sun rises is a particularly lovely time to head out.

Singing in the back of a taxi – London

Black cab taxi driver – and professional singer – Aiden Kent had been driving customers around London for 20 years when he decided to combine his love for singing with his love for performing. The ‘Singing Cabbie’ fitted out his cab with a red carpet, Italian red leather seats and a bottle of champagne for guests, and a specially-adapted PA system to experience an extraordinary performance as you zip past London’s sights.

From a bird’s eye perspective – Cardiff, south Wales

Wales’ capital is packed with legendary landmarks – and one thrilling way to experience them is from the air! Hover Helicopters fly you to more than 1,000 ft/300 metres above Cardiff and over the Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Castle and the majestic Principality Stadium. Flights take place between March and October and the company can also take you over south Wales and its striking coastline. City skyline flights are also available over Manchester and Liverpool in north-west England.

On a ghostly tour – Edinburgh, Scotland

Enjoy the thrill of a fright? Ghost Bus Tours in Scotland’s capital takes you on a spooky theatrical experience around one of the UK’s most haunted cities, on board a classic 1960s Routemaster bus. Both entertaining and educational – it’s billed as a comedy horror show – you’ll learn all about the city’s former grisly sites where historic executions took place and hear eerie tales of supernatural occurrences.

Out on the river – Liverpool, north-west England

The legendary landmarks of Liverpool – the Liver Building, Albert Dock and the two stunning cathedrals that tower above the city skyline – can be seen from a different perspective from the River Mersey, on board the Dazzle Ferry, itself an attractive sight. The ferry was created by Sir Peter Blake, as part of the First World War centenary commemorations, with the design commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, 14–18 NOW the First World War Centenary Art Commissions, and Tate Liverpool in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool. Learn about the city as well as the history behind the ‘dazzle’ ship.

On the run – London

Don’t just walk around London – run through it! City Jogging Tours offers both specially designed tours or customised versions; all you need to do is bring your running shoes and be ready to explore. An experienced guide leads you to the city’s attractions and the tours cater for all running abilities, from newcomers to endurance runners. A great way to keep fit and fit in essential sightseeing.

Meandering through canals – Birmingham, central England

Did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice and that they are lined with beautifully restored industrial heritage landmarks and intriguing contemporary buildings? See all of this on board a canal boat tour; there are several to choose from, ranging from tours of the more modern developments of Birmingham to the city’s pretty suburbs and out further into the countryside.

 

Accommodation Update July-October 2017

 

Britain’s best awarded at the AA Hospitality Awards 2017

The AA has announced the results of its Hospitality Awards 2017, naming its industry gold-standard hotels, pubs and restaurants across Britain. 

The Gainsborough Bath Spa in the south-west took England’s top spot for its 'sophisticated and luxurious experience', while The Douneside House in Aboyne was awarded Scotland’s Hotel of the Year. The Old Inn, Bangor, took first prize for Northern Ireland, praised for its 'untold elegance and grandeur'. Twr Y Felin Hotel, St Davids, won Hotel of the Year Wales, awarded for its 'excellent design and presentation, with noteworthy attention to detail'. Hotel of the Year London went to The Goring; described as 'an icon of British hospitality', it was where Kate Middleton famously got ready for her royal wedding to Prince William.

 

LONDON

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened September 2017: The Mandrake, Fitzrovia

Billed as one of central London’s hottest new hotels, this exotic boutique luxury setting (named after a mystical plant) has already hosted London Fashion Week parties. Five years in the making, The Mandrake’s 30 bedrooms and three suites frame a jungle-style inner courtyard of tropical plants. The interior design mixes opulent purples and reds with gold finishes, velvet, feathers, ornate chandeliers and striking artwork. The lavish Mandrake Suite and the Penthouse are sure to be Instagram favourites, the latter clad in white marble with a huge bed and a jacuzzi under a retractable roof. The hotel’s headline restaurant is Serge et le Phoque, by Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Peneau.

 

Opening October 2017: Trafalgar St. James

This classic hotel overlooking Trafalgar Square –which has hosted the likes of Tom Cruise and Nicole Scherzinger – is unveiling its modern new look since joining the Curio Collection by Hilton. A “peer panel” of young Londoners – including lifestyle blogger Lucy Freedman and DJ Doug Marshall – were appointed during the project to give their perspective on everything from furnishings to menus. Trafalgar St. James now has 131 bedrooms, the Trafalgar Dining Rooms, an underground lounge, Biblio, and a 14-cover private dining room. The rooftop bar has great views of Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. PR contact: hshearer@thecommunicationgroup.co.uk

 

Opening October 2017: The Pilgrm, Paddington

New design hotel The Pilgrm focuses on pared-back urban chic with a vintage touch. There is no lobby or reception desk – instead, guests will be able to check in online. The ground floor café will provide a welcome area, plus a lounge bar and dining room. Interiors showcase the building’s 200-year-old parquet flooring, as well as cast-iron radiators and a “cloud carpet”. The hotel’s 73 rooms come in four sizes: ‘bunk’ (two single beds), small, medium and large. PR contact: Alexandra Berry a.berry@gemmabellandcompany.com

 

Opening October 2017: New Road Hotel, Whitechapel, east London

With its “Everything you need, nothing you don’t” promise, New Road Hotel focuses on stylish stripped-back luxury. Owned by three brothers, the 80-bedroom boutique hotel has been built on the site of an old textile factory where their father once worked. The interiors reflect this heritage, and quirky touches include a rooftop Eco Shed and the Loft + Hot Tub room, with views of London’s skyline. The hotel’s restaurant is by Marco Pierre White, and other features include a fitness studio and social areas where guests can enjoy live music, games and a library.

 

Opening early 2018: Vintry & Mercer, Cannon Street, City of London

Located in London’s historic trading centre near St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, forthcoming 92-bedroom hotel Vintry & Mercer is named after two of the City’s historic professions: vintners, who traded fine wines, and mercers, who sold fine silks. Both trades will be reflected in the hotel’s design. For food and drink, there will be Vintry Kitchen, serving Mediterranean food; rooftop Mercer Terrace; and DND, (Do Not Disturb), an underground cocktail bar.

 

Long-lead

 

Date TBC: Marylebone Lane hotel, Marylebone, central London

A brand new luxury 206-bedroom, nine-storey hotel operated by Shiva Hotels is planned for Marylebone. The proposed hotel will have a spa, swimming pool, café and club lounge.

 

2020: The Hoxton, Shepherd's Bush, west London

Subject to planning permission, the capital will be getting another stylish Hoxton hotel in west London. The new 214-bedroom property will join sister hotels already open in London (Shoreditch and Holborn), and Amsterdam.

 

2020: Raffles Hotels & Resort London, Westminster, central London

One of London’s most significant historic buildings, the Old War Office – once the office of Winston Churchill, and sections of the British secret service – is being transformed into a 125-room luxury hotel by Raffles Hotels & Resorts. It will be the company’s first property in Britain, and rooms will include 50 suites and 88 private residences.

 

Refurbs & expansions

 

Now open: The English Grill at The Rubens at the Palace, Westminster, central London

The Rubens at the Palace has opened its new restaurant as part of a five-year, multi-million pound refurbishment. The English Grill’s menu includes a daily roast, carved from a silver trolley at diners’ tables.

 

Opening November 2017: The Coral Room bar at Bloomsbury Hotel, central London

As part of a major refurbishment of the 153-room Bloomsbury Hotel, its new Coral Room bar will be unveiled in November alongside the hotel’s redesigned public spaces. PR contact: chloe.davison@ttc.com

 

SCOTLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened September 2017: The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

Following a top-to-toe refurbishment, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square (formerly The Roxburghe Hotel) has re-opened its doors. One of Edinburgh’s oldest hotels, it’s hosted A-list Hollywood actors and is made up of seven inter-connecting Georgian townhouses in the city’s New Town. The concierge still wears a kilt and vintage red post boxes in the new lobby collect post daily. The 199 elegantly refurbished bedrooms (including 18 suites) are designed with Scottish accents and earthy colours. There is informal all-day-dining at The Garden, and eastern Mediterranean cuisine at BABA restaurant, opening in November. PR contact: georgie.griffiths@theprincipalhotel.com

 

Refurbs & expansions

 

Opened September 2017: Sleeperz Hotels, Edinburgh

Budget operator Sleeperz Hotels has launched a new wing at its Cityroomz Edinburgh hotel, accessible via Princes Street. The 43 new bedrooms include superior doubles, family and cabin rooms, as well as ten suites. Flooring in the suite bathrooms is printed with a city street map of Edinburgh. Sleeperz will also be opening a 120-bedroom hotel in Dundee in 2018 opposite the new V&A Museum. PR contact: matthew@honeypotmedia.co.uk

 

Now open: Cameron House, Loch Lomond

Cameron House, the five-AA-star, luxury 36-bedroom resort set on the banks of Loch Lomond, has completed the final phase of its multi–million pound refurbishment. Its new-look rooms and suites have Scotland-inspired features, such as contemporary tartan and handmade leather sleigh beds. The hotel has also announced the launch of its new Cameron Kids offering, treating little ones to their own slice of luxury during their stay.

 

Summer 2018: Ten Hill Place, Edinburgh

Work has started on a 52-bedroom expansion of Ten Hill Place hotel. Owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, hotel profits go back into the college.

 

WALES

 

Long-lead

 

2021: Afan Valley Adventure Resort, Port Talbot, south Wales

Plans have been submitted for a new 480-acre adventure resort in south Wales, which will have a 100-bedroom hotel and spa, plus 400 luxury lodges, and adventures zones, bars, restaurants and retail outlets. The proposed Afan Valley Adventure Resort site is just south of Afan Forest Park. There are plans for five main ‘zones’: Forest, Xtreme, Trails, Zen and Alpine, the last of which will include three different ski slopes. The resort will also be home to the Bear Grylls Survival Academy – a series of challenges and endurance courses designed by the TV survival expert. Other activities will include ice skating, Segway tours, indoor skydiving and surfing, ‘ninja warrior’ training, go-karting, forest zip wires, paintballing and mountain biking. Watch the action-packed teaser film here.

 

SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ENGLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened August 2017: Beaverbrook, Surrey

The former country home of press baron and politician Lord Beaverbrook has opened as the luxurious Beaverbrook hotel, following a multi-million pound transformation. Just 19 miles from London, the hotel is surrounded by 400 acres of privately owned countryside. Designed by Soho House interiors guru Susie Atkinson, the interiors exude classic opulence, featuring four-poster beds and rich fabrics. Each of the hotel’s 18 rooms and suites have been named after one of the estate’s famous former guests, which include Winston Churchill, James Bond author Ian Fleming, Elizabeth Taylor, and Charlie Chaplin. The hotel also has an Art Deco-style cinema, the glamorous Parrot Bar, a cookery school, and a Japanese restaurant, The Dining Room, headed up by top ex-Nobu chef Taiji Maruyama. By the end of the year the hotel will also have a spa with swimming pools, a hammam and a sauna. PR contact: gemma@gp-associates.com

 

Opened August 2017: Hog Deer Creek, Kent

This summer, Kent safari park Port Lympne Reserve opened its latest accommodation, Hog Deer Creek. The five luxury shepherd huts are designed for couples or families, and located within the park’s Asian Experience, so guests’ neighbours will include roaming Asian animals such as Sambar deer.

 

Opened September 2017: Piggledy Tree House, South Downs National Park

This new four-bed treehouse looks like a forest dwelling straight from the pages of a fairy tale. Designed for adults and kids alike, The Piggledy Tree House is located in Blackberry Wood at the foot of the South Downs National Park near Brighton, and comes with a kitchen and a balcony. Owner Tim fulfilled a childhood dream by building the treehouse, which took three years to complete.

 

Opening March 2018: Room 2, Southampton

Room 2 has confirmed details of its second design-led aparthotel in Southampton, due to open next year. Its 71 studio rooms will feature nautical-inspired designs and come in three sizes: little, regular and large.

 

Long-lead

 

2020: Malmaison, Bournemouth

Next year work will begin on a 100-bedroom Malmaison hotel in the coastal town of Bournemouth. Expected to take around two years to build, the new hotel will include a Chez Mal bar and brasserie, a rooftop bar and terrace overlooking the seafront, a gym, a swimming pool, and beauty rooms.

 

WEST MIDLANDS

 

Long-lead

Autumn 2018: Hawkstone Hall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Hawkstone Hall, a Georgian country mansion in Shropshire, is being transformed into a 40-bedroom hotel and wedding venue. Refurbishment of the main hall and 12 suites will be complete in summer 2018. By autumn, all works are due to be complete, resulting in a total of 40 suites and bedrooms.

 

SOUTH-WEST ENGLAND

 

Refurbs & expansions

 

Re-opened July 2017: De Vere Tortworth Court, Gloucestershire

Victorian countryside mansion De Vere Tortworth Court is now open following its £5-million pound restoration, which has resulted in 11 spacious new suites, bringing the total number of guestrooms and suites in the main house to 55. All of the bedrooms have been refurbished to reflect modern British heritage, incorporating leather, tweed and linen. The largest suite, The Kipling, includes a dining table for six guests and a lounge that can be connected to The Paxton, to form a family suite that spans 129 square metres, overlooking the formal gardens.

 

Opened August 2017: Luxury sea-view suites at Lewinnick Lodge, Cornwall

Lewinnick Lodge has added six new suites to its cliff-top B&B hotel on Pentire Headland, close to Newquay’s Fistral Beach – widely regarded as England’s surfing capital. Each of the rooms has 180-degree coastal views, super-king beds, DAB radios, Bluetooth speakers, smart TVs, homemade biscuits and organic toiletries.

 

YORKSHIRE

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened July 2017: Swinton Country Club & Spa, North Yorkshire

The Good Spa Guide has awarded Swinton Estate’s new Country Club & Spa a five-bubble rating just two months after opening. The new club has a 10-metre outdoor natural water swimming pool and a hot tub, and the fitness team incorporate outdoor activities from the wider estate, such as running, cycling and outdoor yoga. The old Estate Gardener’s cottage has been transformed into a suite of beauty rooms, with signature treatments including the Elemis Garden of England Rose Restore Wrap.

 

Long-lead

 

2019: Bretton Hall, Wakefield, west Yorkshire  

Historic Georgian mansion house Bretton Hall is being transformed into a luxury 120-bedroom hotel and ‘creative campus’, set within 500 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland adjacent to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). The property’s redevelopment will include two theatres, a seminar space, exhibition area and conferencing facilities, with further accommodation, work and educational spaces planned for future phases.

 

Date TBC: Malmaison, York

Malmaison hotel chain will be opening a new site in York after being granted planning permission earlier this year. The new hotel will have 160 bedrooms and suites, as well as its Chez Mal Bar and Brasserie for cocktails and dining. Malmaison currently has hotels in 15 cities across Britain, including Leeds and Manchester.

 

NORTH-WEST ENGLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

2018: Dixie Dean Hotel, Liverpool

A 100-bedroom hotel in honour of Everton footballer Dixie Dean is due to open in Liverpool city centre next year, opposite The Shankly hotel, which similarly celebrates Scottish footballer and manager Bill Shankly (the two men were great friends). The Dixie Dean Hotel will have restaurants, bars and an events space, and showcase memorabilia from the footballer’s career.

 

Long lead

 

Date TBC: Manchester Moxy

Planning permission has been granted for a 145-bedroom Moxy hotel in Manchester’s Spinningfields district. Moxy is Marriot International’s millennial-focused boutique hotel concept, and the new hotel will join one other in London. There are plans for seven more in pipeline, located in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton, Bristol and York.

 

Date TBC: Re-opening of Trafford Park hotel, Manchester

The Trafford Park hotel, built in 1902, is being refurbished and relaunched under an international boutique brand after being derelict for eight years. Plans include an additional wing, which will expand the total bedroom count to 120.

 

Summer 2019: Zetter Hotel, London Road Fire Station, Manchester

Manchester's historic London Road Fire Station is being developed by London-based boutique hotel brand The Zetter Group. The new hotel will be the group’s first in Manchester, and will have on-site restaurants and bars.

 

NORTH-EAST ENGLAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

Opened September 2017: The Cookie Jar, Alnwick, Northumberland

Deborah Cook, wife of the former chief executive of Malmaison, Hotel du Vin and De Vere Hotels, has opened her first solo venture, a luxury boutique hotel overlooking Alnwick Castle. The Cookie Jar has 11 bedrooms and offers quirky treats such as freshly baked cookies and milk. It has initially opened as a bed and breakfast operation, serving coffees, teas and sharing plates from the bar – but there are plans for a restaurant in the near future.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

New and upcoming openings

 

September 2017: Titanic Hotel Belfast

Northern Ireland’s much-anticipated luxury Titanic-themed hotel is now open on the site of the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, shipbuilders of the Titanic over 100 years ago. The 119-bedroom Titanic Hotel Belfast is sister hotel to the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. The interior design includes nautical touches, models of the iconic ship, and old photographs. The hotel’s dining room has views of the slipway where the Titanic was built, and art deco-inspired suites give impressive views of the Belfast Titanic building and the entire Titanic Quarter. There are also corporate and entertainment spaces available for events and conferences. PR contact: jane.williams@jcomms.co.uk

 

Long-lead

 

June 2018: Grand Central Hotel, Belfast  

Work is starting on what will be Belfast’s largest hotel development, the 304-bedroom Grand Central Hotel, Belfast.

 

June 2018:  George Best Hotel, Belfast

The developer of The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool (themed around Liverpool Football Club's legendary Scottish player and manager) is building a new 80-bedroom hotel in Belfast, named after and inspired by Manchester United and Northern Ireland football legend, George Best.