As we head into a new decade there’s no shortage of happenings across the country this January and beyond, from set-jetting opportunities linked to the new Charles Dickens film, to the chance to take on the ancient winter tradition of wassailing. And if you’re looking to get cultured this New Year there’s news from Barbican’s celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary with highlights including: Beethoven Weekenders and BTHVN on TOUR. Please see below for more information, and a round-up of other news from around the country.
Various dates in January and February
Wassailing is an ancient Saxon custom that involves drinking cider, singing to the trees in the hope of a good harvest and scaring away evil spirits in the dark days of January. This January and February, National Trust locations across the country offer the chance for visitors and local communities to join in with orchard wassailing events. In Somerset, cider-makers wassail their apple trees at locations including Sheppy’s Cider Farm and Avalon Orchard on Glastonbury Tor, which offers family tours featuring Glastonbury’s druids and town crier and storytellers. (Adult £3, child £1). Dartmoor Border Morris in Devon will celebrate the orchards at Buckland Abbey with a traditional Mummers Play and the Wassail parade. (Normal admission applies). Slindon Estate in West Sussex will transfer back in time for an evening of music, bonfire, mulled cider and folksy atmosphere. (Free event) Brockhampton in Herfordshire invites families to discover the peculiar traditions of this ancient ceremony. (£2.50 per trail; includes prize). For more events visit:
Barbican celebrates Beethoven at 250, London
Various dates in January
2020 marks the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most iconic figures in music. A quintessential ‘Romantic Artist’, an advocate for political reform, a bridge between the classical and romantic eras, and a composer who was driven by deafness to retreat into an interior world. Barbican’s Beethoven celebrations will shine a light on the many different aspects of this complex composer. January highlights include: Beethoven Weekenders (1-2 Feb) – a symphony cycle, chamber music concerts, talks, screenings of the cult 70s cartoon Ludwig, and family events (Adult £25 , under 14s £10); BTHVN on TOUR (27 Jan-6 Feb) – is an exhibition from the composer’s birth place including Beethoven’s own violin and sketch books as well as Andy Warhol’s famous Beethoven screen-print and many more.
Gilbert White Around the World, Hampshire
3 Jan- 28 Jun
A new exhibition marks 300 years since the birth of Gilbert White, the English naturalist, ecologist and ornithologist, and will explore White's international impact. Born 18 July 1720, White's pioneering work The Natural History of Selborne is often quoted as being the fourth most published book in the English language. His words have been translated in French, German, Spanish, Swedish, and Danish as well as Chinese and Japanese. www.gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk (Tickets: Adults £12, under 16s £5, under 5s free)
Go set-jetting with Dickens as The Personal History of David Copperfield launches in cinemas
10 January 2020
Director Armando Iannucci’s new film is based on Charles Dickens’ most autobiographical novel and stars Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Ben Wishaw, with Dev Patel in the title role. Filming took place in King’s Lynn, Hull and Suffolk’s Bury St Edmunds, where a fully set-dressed Angel Hill stood in as a period coaching inn in London.
2020 also, marks the150th anniversary of Charles Dicken’s death on 9 June 1870 in Kent (where he spent much of his life), Charles Dickens was laid to rest in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey. Born in Portsmouth in 1812, Dickens spent much of his working life in London, writing novels such as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. He also has links to Manchester and Bradford in Yorkshire.
Make like Otis and head to the Wye Valley as Sex Education season 2 hits the screen
A second series of Netflix’s hit show Sex Education will hit the screens on January 17th. The Netflix show is filmed throughout the Wye Valley, which has several beautiful walking and bike trails available right on the doorstep. The distinctive red and white Chalet that overlooks the river Wye at Symonds Yat is the home of the main character, Otis, played by Asa Butterfield, and his mum Jean (Gillian Anderson). This together with sweeping shots of the river and Brockweir Bridge are constant features throughout the series. For those inspired to visit, The Little House in the Wye Valley, is a cosy stay with easy access the River Wye and the spectacular surroundings of the Netflix show or for a spectacular stay try the new Hudnall’s Hideout treehouse launching January 2020.
Love Light Norwich, Norfolk
13 – 15 February 2020
A mesmerising new light festival will illuminate Norwich city centre for the Valentine’s weekend in 2020. An illuminating trail of light and fire artworks, installations, performances and interventions will celebrate the city’s art and innovation, all set to a love and belonging theme.
Andy Warhol at Tate Modern, London
12 March – 6 September 2020
A bold new Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern tells the story of this shy outsider who became a pop art superstar. Featuring over 100 works from across his remarkable career, the show will shed light on how Warhol’s experiences helped shape his unique take on 20th century culture, positioning him within the shifting creative and political landscape in which he worked. While he is best known for his iconic paintings of Coca-Cola bottles and Marilyn Monroe that held up a mirror to American culture, the exhibition will emphasise recurring themes around desire, identity and belief that emerge from Warhol’s biography.
New helicopter service to St Mary’s and Tresco, Isles of Scilly
Helicopters will once again link the Isles of Scilly with Penzance. Penzance Heliport and Sloane Helicopters are partnering to provide regular helicopter flights from Penzance to both St Mary’s and Tresco – it will be the only Isles of Scilly helicopter service to fly to both islands. There will be up to 17 return flights per day and a limited Sunday schedule. Helicopter flights, which are more weather-resilient than other options, will take just 15 minutes.
Tapnell Farm Aqua Park, Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight’s first outdoor, floating aqua park will make a big splash when it opens in spring! The floating, inflatable course will feature a range of obstacles. A section of the lake will be kept obstacle-free for kayaking, paddle-boarding and free swimming. There will be shower and changing facilities and a viewing platform for those who would rather stay dry.
William Wordsworth’s 250th birthday, Cumbria
2020 marks 250 years since the birth of William Wordsworth, one of the world’s most celebrated poets, on 7 April 1770. Known for some of the greatest works in English literature including ‘The Prelude’ and ‘Daffodils’, and as one of the founding fathers of the global conservation movement, Wordsworth is forever linked to the Lake District; his 'Guide through the District of the Lakes' published in 1820 marked the beginning of mass tourism to the area. To mark the anniversary, Dove Cottage & the Wordsworth Museum are undergoing a £6.2m project, ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’; a major project is underway to help make Dove Cottage more interactive, with an authentic restoration bringing the sights and sounds of a lively family home to life for contemporary audiences; meanwhile, the Wordsworth Museum will be expanded and modernised with new galleries to host books, fine art and manuscripts, which will be interpreted using new interactive methods and contemporary voices to give more modern-day relevance and insights. There will also be a new learning space for exhibitions and workshops, alongside walking trails and a viewing station to help visitors connect Wordsworth’s poetry to the landscape that inspired him.
For further press information please contact:
Notes to Editors:
- VisitEngland’s focus is on the development and delivery of the new Discover England fund, for product development to ensure that bookable regional product is being sold in international markets. This activity will also benefit the domestic industry by building engagement and partnerships between and across regions and developing product that will be attractive to both domestic and international markets.
- Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics.
- Tourism in England is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.