As spring gives way to summer, the long stretching and hopefully sunshine-filled days give even more opportunity to get out and explore England. This month, we’re pleased to announce news of the bizarre new goat yoga in Southampton and Portsmouth; Britain’s highest man-made climbing wall that has views across almost 20 miles of Yorkshire countryside; the introduction of YoBikes in the UK’s first Cycling City of Bristol; and the redevelopment of The Grand in Birmingham. See below for more information, plus a roundup of more news just in from around the country.
YoBike launches in Bristol
YoBikes has chosen Bristol, the UK’s first Cycling City, as its European Launchpad. The ingenious app-based bike sharing scheme is already popular in Asia. Instead of bike docks or fobs, users locate and unlock the distinctive yellow bikes using the app. Several pricing options are available, from a pay-as-you-go rate of £1 per hour to a £39 annual commuter pass. The initial launch saw 300 bikes delivered to Bristol in May, rising to more than 500 by the end of the month. The scheme will be rolled out across other cities in the UK.
Britain’s highest man-made climbing wall, West Yorkshire
ROKTFACE, Britain’s highest man-made climbing wall, has opened at ROKT climbing centre in Brighouse. The climbing wall scales a disused grain silo that’s taller than the Tower of London. The wall is open to amateur and professional climbers, with routes ranging from 28 metres to 36 metres. On a clear day, the view from the top stretches for almost 20 miles over the Yorkshire countryside.
Goat yoga, Southampton and Portsmouth
Goat yoga, or Goga, has arrived in England! Muddy Bucket Farm has launched classes of yoga’s latest trend – yoga with goats, which combines the benefits of yoga with animal therapy. Classes are held in a room as goats wander among downward dogs and forward bends! Keep an eye on the website for further info on the popular classes, which are available in Southampton and Portsmouth.
RIBA North, Liverpool
RIBA will open a national architecture centre on Liverpool’s Waterfront this summer. The centre will have a shop and café and host events, workshops, tours and exhibitions of items from the RIBA collections, including some that have never been publically displayed before. City Gallery, which will contain an innovative 3D Digital City Model, will be at its heart. The opening exhibition, Liverpool(e): Mover Shaker Architectural Risk-Taker, will trace the city’s somewhat maverick architectural history, showing how the city developed its dramatic and celebrated skyline.
Almost Wild Campsite to open in the Lee Valley
The Almost Wild Campsite will open at Broxbourne in the Lee Valley, on the Essex-Hertfordshire border. It’s wild camping for those who can’t quite say goodbye to the basics; a cold water tap and composting toilets will be the only facilities for those who set up camp in the riverside and mature woodland pitches. To reduce light pollution, the only light will come from solar-powered motion sensor lights around the loos. Campfires are allowed, and bushcraft courses are available, as well as access to all the other activities in the Lee Valley, such as canoeing and bike hire.
The first ever Real Tennis Champions Trophy, Hampton Court Palace, London
11 – 16 July
Hampton Court Palace, the ‘spiritual home of Real Tennis’, will host the inaugural Real Tennis Champions Trophy. The Palace is home to the Royal Tennis Court, a designated National Monument and one of fewer than 50 Real Tennis courts still in use around the world. Over the last 400 years, Charles II, William III and Prince Albert have all mastered Real Tennis here, and now the world’s most historic court will host the world’s greatest Real Tennis players – in the same week that the tennis pros battle it out at Wimbledon. The final also coincides with a Tudor joust at the palace.
First Lymington Seafood Festival
12 – 13 August
The New Forest will add a seafood festival to its already impressive foodie offering in 2017. The Lymington Seafood Festival promises to dish up as many seafood delicacies as possible, through an exciting array of pop-up restaurants, celebrity chefs, 70-plus local producers, and acclaimed local restaurants, including Chewton Glen, The Montagu Arms and Lymington’s Elderflower. There will also be live music – including a 12-strong sea shanty band – children’s activities, street entertainers, and impressive views across the Solent and estuary from the festival venue, Bath Road Park. The festival will raise money for the Solent Oyster Restoration Project, backed by Olympic yachting legend Sir Ben Ainslie, while raising awareness of the New Forest’s coastal offering and marine heritage; the area has more than 40 miles of coastline, and Lymington provided war ships for Edward III and Henry VIII and used to be a major producer of sea salt.
News just in
New archaeology gallery at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Following generous sponsorship from an anonymous private donor, a new archaeology gallery will give members of the public and scholars greatly improved access to Brighton & Hove’s rich and renowned collection of archaeological artefacts. The new gallery’s precise structure and content are still being planned, but expect a strong emphasis on the personal stories of Brighton & Hove ancestors. One of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery’s two local history galleries, Exploring Brighton, will close from 8 May 2017 to enable the space to be refurbished for the new gallery.
The Grand to be redeveloped, Birmingham
The hotel at The Grand, one of Birmingham's most iconic buildings, is to be redeveloped into a luxury, 180-room hotel with extensive conference and banquet spaces, a restaurant and bar, a spa and a rooftop infinity pool. The redevelopment is happening thanks to a partnership between Principal Hotel Company, which has a portfolio of 39 city-centre hotels in landmark buildings across the UK, and Hortons' Estate, the owners of the Grade II-listed property. The Grand was developed by the Horton family between 1879 and 1895 and contained shops, offices and the Grand Hotel, which the family ran until 1969. The hotel was subsequently managed by a number of operators until it closed in 2002. Since 2009, Hortons’ Estate has invested £25 million in the award-winning restoration of the building, creating 10 new shops and offices and significantly re-modelling the interior of the former hotel. The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2019.
For more information on what’s new for 2017 visit:
For further press information and images please contact:
Evelina Andrews/ Emma De Vadder
VisitEngland Press Office
Tel: 020 7578 1446 / 020 7578 1417
Email: Evelina.Andrews@visitengland.org / Emma.deVadder@visitengland.org
Notes to Editors:
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