With its stream of weighty anniversaries, a host of quirky new places to stay and salty new ways to explore the great outdoors, 2020 promises to be a vintage year for holidays in England. It’s time to sleep in an 18th-century prison, check out the first new RHS garden in almost two decades, and set-jet to places that steal the scene from Dev Patel, Kate Winslet and Charlotte Hope.
Stay in a treehouse – or a jail
From the classic to the quirky, 2020 brings more new places to lay your head than you’ll find on the best pillow menu!
Treehouse Hotel will feel a million miles away from its central London spot opposite the BBC’s Broadcasting House on Portland Place when it opens in November 2019. It’s the playful, more creative younger sister to hotel whizz Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group and W Hotel brands. Its sustainable ideals and stylish social spaces – there’s a penthouse restaurant and rooftop bar with cocktails and 360-degree views – plus masses of greenery make it perfect Insta-fodder!
For treehouse Insta-heaven in the countryside, try The Hudnalls Hideout in the Wye Valley (opening late November 2019). The UK’s first A-frame treehouse has a mezzanine bedroom, a retro suspended fireplace, a telescope, two balance swings, interiors designed in partnership with MADE.COM, and an outdoors copper bateau-style bath for two that’s perfect for stargazing. Meanwhile, in early 2020, County Durham’s Ramside Hall Hotel’s will launch new luxury treehouses, built on stilts with wrap-around balconies, sunken hot tubs and free-standing copper baths.
One of 2019’s hottest new attractions will launch on-site accommodation in early 2020. Those who can’t tear themselves away from The Wave’s steady surf can glamp in safari tents for groups of up to 10 people. Surf pods will follow in spring.
Later in the year, Bodmin Jail will throw open its cell doors for guests to stay voluntarily – unlike earlier ‘visitors’ to the 18th-century Cornish jail. There will still be bars on the windows – the redevelopment retains the ruins’ unique atmosphere and sense of history – but with three cells to a bedroom and an exciting new restaurant concept, 21st-century guests will have a lot more space and luxury. The service and food will be far better too.
Home Grown Hotels is growing its much-loved litter of boutique hotels by two in 2020. THE PIG at Harlyn Bay will open in the Grade II-listed Harlyn House just a couple of miles from Padstow in June, while THE PIG in the South Downs will open in the Grade II-listed Madehurst Lodge near Arundel later in the year.
Birmingham will also gain two notable new hotels. In spring, Louisa Ryland House will reveal its transformation from landmark city council offices into a 173-room aparthotel. Soon afterwards, the eagerly awaited reopening of The Grand Hotel will bring 185 bedrooms, a destination restaurant and a feature terrace to Birmingham’s prestigious Colmore Row.
New ways to explore the great outdoors
From glorious gardens to brand new paths edging England’s coast, there’s a multitude of exciting new ways to get into the great outdoors in 2020.
The year promises the long-waited opening of one of the biggest horticultural heritage projects in Europe – RHS Garden Bridgewater. Opening summer 2020, the first new RHS garden for almost 20 years restores Salford’s Worsley New Hall to its former glory – and then some, with the addition of a vast walled garden and a modern welcome building. Down south, Brighton & Hove City Council will celebrate The Living Coast, Brighton and Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere Region, with Nature2020, a year-long series of eco-positive events marking the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity.
But who says you can’t experience the great outdoors in the city? Opening early 2020, the National Trust is transforming Roundhouse Birmingham from its former life as bustling 19th-century canal-side stables into a centre for everyone wishing to explore the city’s famous canals – whether by boat, on foot or on two wheels.
There’s plenty happening on England’s coast too. The England Coast Path edges ever nearer to completion, with the longest managed coastal path in the world hoping to connect sandy beaches, towering cliffs, seaside cities and friendly fishing villages the length and breadth of the country before the year is out. New seaside jaunts include Connecting Cumbria’s Hidden Coast launching in autumn 2020, a 40-mile-long trail from Whitehaven to Millom complete with art installations, adventure activities and cycling facilities, and a new ground-breaking trail from England’s Creative Coast, linking artworks along the Kent, Sussex and Essex coastline and including the world’s first art digital geocaching tour.
Celebrate the people, places and events that formed us
It’s a milestone year for some of England’s biggest names in culture and heritage, from Florence Nightingale to the National Trust.
A nationwide spread of events will mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death in 1870. Britain’s most celebrated novelist was born in Portsmouth, lived in London and Kent, and tirelessly toured the UK (and the world) with his work. From industrial Manchester to a quiet little church in Cooling, Kent, there’s no part of the country untouched by Dickens.
The World Health Organisation has officially designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of Florence Nightingale’s 200th anniversary, so there’s never been a better time to get to know the founder of modern nursing. Go on a Blue Badge Guide-led Nightingale walking tour through London, spend a night at Lea Hurst, her childhood home in the Peak District, and join the bicentenary celebrations at the Florence Nightingale Museum.
William Wordsworth’s 250th birthday in early April is the perfect time to connect with the same Lake District landscapes that inspired the Romantic poet, including that “host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” To mark the anniversary, Dove Cottage & the Wordsworth Museum are ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ to make the attraction more interactive and bring the sights and sounds of Wordsworth’s lively family home to life for contemporary audiences.
Talking of national treasures, take a moment in 2020 to show your appreciation for the organisation helping to protect some of the country’s most special places. The National Trust will celebrate its 125th birthday by highlighting what they do (rather than what they have done) for the nation. Events and activities marking the anniversary at National Trust places across the country will draw inspiration from one of the Trust’s founders, Octavia Hill, who said: “The need of quiet, the need of air, and I believe the sight of sky and of things growing, seem human needs, common to all men.” Don’t miss the year-long Acorn to Oak Exhibition of paintings of favourite National Trust properties by artist Jilly Oxlade-Arnott, at Croome Court.
Another younger but no-less-loved institution marking a milestone birthday in 2020 is Glastonbury Festival. Fifty years after the festival’s first outing in 1970, it’s still the place to see the biggest pop and rock acts and up-and-coming performers. The atmosphere is second to none – although you probably won’t get free milk from the farm like Glasto’s original festivalgoers!
Two historical events with international resonance are commemorated in 2020. Four hundred years after 102 Pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, the UK, USA and Holland are honouring the perilous, world-changing journey with major events, cultural works and new tourism itineraries and products for Mayflower 400. The year-long project launches in November 2019. Meanwhile, the early May bank holiday has been officially moved to Friday 8 May, when VE Day 75 events will take place in pubs, cathedrals and village greens across the country.
Discover England on screen
Get your popcorn ready for a first-rate year of film and TV in England.
Dickens is everywhere in his 150th anniversary year, including the cinema. Based on the writer’s most autobiographical novel, The Personal History of David Copperfield sees Tilda Swinton, Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie and Ben Wishaw flex their acting muscles in King’s Lynn, Hull and Suffolk’s Bury St Edmunds, where Angel Hill stood in as a period coaching inn in London. And the 50th anniversary of the original publication of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small is an excellent excuse for Channel 5’s revival of the hit TV series. There will also be plenty of anniversary celebrations at The World of James Herriot, Yorkshire.
Fans of The Secret Garden should set-jet to the North York Moors and the orchards and flower-filled borders of Helmsley Walled Garden – the actual secret garden in the new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's novel, starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters. For a palaeontological spin on a movie-themed trip, follow Kate Winslet as Mary Anning along the fossil-strewn shores of the Jurassic Coast in Ammonite. It’s an important year for Bond too. No Time to Die picks up with the agent after his retirement in locations including London (spoiler alert – there’s no such thing as an easy retirement when your job title was 007)!
Downton Abbey devotees can get their next Julian Fellowes fix with The English Game, starring Edward Holcroft, Craig Parkinson and Charlotte Hope. Fellowe’s new Netflix drama tackles the history of football, filming in locations throughout the north of England including UNESCO World Heritage Site Saltaire and Little Germany in Bradford, where horses and carriages and actors in Victorian costume were spotted on Cater Street.
The follow-up to 2018’s hit Peter Rabbit is due for release on 27 March 2020. Until then, Beatrix Potter fans can indulge themselves at Hill Top, the idyllic Cumbrian country house and gardens that inspired Beatrix Potter’s classic stories.
Before one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year hits screens in December 2019, get to grips with TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the poetry collection behind Cats and explore places linked to the modernist poet, such as Margate where Eliot worked on The Wasteland, one of the most important poems of the 20th century.
For a completely different screening experience, watch a Euro 2020 match at the new UEFA Festival in London in June/July 2020, where the crowd will cheer on the teams in designated fan zones. Locations are subject to consultation, but the Queen’s Field area of Greenwich Park is one likely candidate.
Worth the wait…
And finally, several launches that we’ve been excited about for a long time are coming to fruition in 2020.
Luxury boutique hotel The Harper will open on the former Langham Glass site in North Norfolk, promising contemporary, laid back and “appealingly unstuffy” country escapes from early 2020. In spring, Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa will re-open as a luxury five-star, 80-bedroom hotel and visitor attraction, more than a decade after work first began. And last but by no means least is the reopening of Nottingham Castle in early 2021.
For more information on what’s new in 2020 visit: www.media.visitengland.com
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Louise Ferrall/Patrycja Woda
VisitEngland Consumer PR Team