This month we’re excited to share news of the first statue of David Bowie in the world; new self-guided tours of Poldark filming locations for 2018; and Hever Castle’s new Hidden Hever tour. See below for more information, plus a roundup of more exciting news just in from around the country.
Churchill War Rooms features in Darkest Hour film, London
Darkest Hour, set for UK release 12 January, tells the true story of Winston Churchill as he attempts to change the course of world history. The historic Churchill War Rooms, where the Prime Minister spent much of his time, were recreated by the film’s set designers who spent months painstakingly researching in the real Churchill War Rooms, before building a replica set at Ealing Studios. The Rooms was also visited by actors Gary Oldman (Winston Churchill), Lily James (Elizabeth Nel, Winston Churchill’s personal secretary) and the film’s director Joe Wright as part of the research for the film. Visitors to the Rooms can walk in the footsteps of Churchill and spot the locations featured in the film, including the historic Map Room, the Cabinet Room, Churchill’s bedroom and the Transatlantic Telephone Room. The adjoining Churchill Museum covers Churchill’s remarkable 90-year life (adults £18.90; children £9.45).
New tour of Hever Castle, Kent
Hever Castle’s new Hidden Hever tour accesses parts of the castle not usually open to the public. Visitors can see Lady Irene Astor’s striking pink bathroom (even the bath is pink), the boys bedrooms created by William Waldorf Astor, Lord Astor’s bathroom, which is accessed via a secret panel, and William Waldorf’s study – with another secret panel. Stories and anecdotes related to the rooms will uncover even more of the castle’s fascinating social history. Up to 15 adults at a time can join the in-depth, 90-minute-long tour, which starts at 10am every day the castle is open.
New David Bowie statue, Buckinghamshire
Earthly Messenger, a new statue of David Bowie, will be unveiled in Aylesbury Market Square on Sunday 25 March. The sculpture – the first statue of David Bowie in the world – recognises the musician’s strong connection to Aylesbury: Bowie performed the world debuts of the iconic Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars albums at music club Friars Aylesbury on 25 September 1971 and 29 January 1972 respectively. He also formed The Spiders from Mars with Mick Ronson, Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Boulder in the tiny Friars dressing room at the Borough Assembly Hall in Aylesbury’s Market Square. (The first track on the Ziggy Stardust album Five Years even references Aylesbury Market Square: “Pushing through the Market Square – so many mothers sighing”.) The statue comes about thanks to a groundswell of local support for the project, with a 2,000-strong petition and 40-day Kickstarter campaign that raised more than £115,000. Internationally renowned Buckinghamshire sculptor Andrew Sinclair has been appointed to create the statue.
New Poldark-themed cycling tour, Cornwall
Cornish Cycling Tours is launching a new self-guided tour of Poldark filming locations for 2018. The eight-day, 177-mile tour starts and ends in Wadebridge, with a spectacular finish past the rock stacks at Bedruthan Steps on Cornwall’s north coast – picture Ross Poldark galloping along here on horseback! Along the way cyclists will see the exterior of Ross Poldark’s cottage, Porthcurno (which played the part of Nampara Cove in Poldark), cliffs studded with mine engine houses and chimney stacks used as a setting for Tressiders Rolling Mill and Wheal Leisure, St Agnes, which doubles as Nampara Valley, and the spot where Ross takes a swim while Demelza watches him from the clifftops in series one. The tour is available daily from 4 January.
The Bay Tree hotel re-opens after major refurbishment, Kent
23 December 2017
The Bay Tree has reopened following major refurbishment and the addition of a restaurant. The renovation work celebrates the traditional wooden sash windows, original skirting and doors of the grand Victorian building, and draws in colours that reflect the sea and its surroundings. The hotel is situated in a conservation area overlooking Broadstairs’ beautiful Stone Bay – eight of the 10 guest bedrooms have sea views. The new all-day restaurant offers seasonal menus using the very best of Kent's produce and is open to the public.
Ramside Hall Hotel to launch six luxury treehouses, Durham
Visitors to County Durham will soon be able to stay in accommodation unlike anything else currently on offer in the region. Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa will launch three luxury treehouses in June, with another three to follow. Built on stilts behind one of the hotel’s golf courses, the two-bedroom treehouses will have private living rooms, state-of-the-art bathrooms with free-standing copper baths, and unrivalled views across the 18th fairway and green of the Prince Bishops golf course. The treehouses are the latest development in an ongoing multi-million-pound makeover of the family-owned hotel, which has also created an additional wing, a second championship golf course and an award-winning spa in recent years.
New Emmeline Pankhurst statue, Manchester
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of votes for women and this new statue will join The People’s History Museum; the annual Wonder Women festival; National Football Museum and Manchester Art Gallery in celebrating in Manchester. Bearing in mind that the city has been home to some of the 20th century's most influential women, it will come as a surprise to many to find out that only one of the 17 statues in Manchester city centre is of a woman (Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens). In a bid to address this discrepancy, local sculptor Hazel Reeves has been selected by the public to create a new statue of Manchester's Emmeline Pankhurst. Subject to planning permission, the statue will be unveiled on Friday 14 December 2018 – the 100th anniversary of some women voting for the first time in a UK General Election. Meanwhile, Manchester will play a major role in activities marking the centenary of the 1918 Act that gave property-owning women over 30 the right to vote. Thanks to recently pledged government support, the Pankhurst Centre (part of the Pankhurst Trust) in Manchester, the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst and where the suffragette movement began, will play a central part in plans to mark the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918).
News Just In
50th anniversary of Stamford Shakespeare Company, Rutland
This year, Stamford Shakespeare Company will mark 50 years since it was founded in 1968 by RADA graduate Jean Harley. The 2018 season will also see ticket sales hit one million since the Company began performing at Tolethorpe Hall, which was a near-derelict property when the Company acquired it in 1977 – with only £78 in the bank and a private loan of £36,000! The venue is now a leading regional theatre, set in a natural amphitheatre in the Hall’s grounds. The theatre has been continually improved over the years and work planned for the Company’s 50th anniversary year includes an exciting revamp of the bar, orangery and restaurant, costume and photo displays, exhibitions of the Company’s history and a great prize for whoever buys that millionth ticket.
For more information on what’s new for 2017/2018 visit: www.media.visitengland.com
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