VisitEngland has uncovered the top five trends for this summer including unusual animal encounters; ‘gins-pirational’ events; outdoor art experiences; the latest foodie hubs and water-based adventures.
So whether you fancy sleeping within a whisker of tigers; laughing along to a gin cabaret; discovering a secret art trail; tickling your tastebuds with the latest foodie delights or paddling under the Pennines – get out there and enjoy these exciting experiences.
1. CREATURE COMFORTS
Animals are proven to aid mindfulness and wellbeing, and these latest experiences help you get up close and personal with God’s creatures.
Watch the Big Cats at Tiger Lodge, Port Lympne Reserve in Kent
Slumber within a whisker of the big cats at the newly opened Tiger Lodge, which offers beautiful, stylish accommodation right next to the tiger enclosure. Huge windows allow you to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures as they pad through the undergrowth, whilst the other side of the lodge offers impressive panoramic vistas of the Kent coastline. Enjoy exclusive perks such as your own personal golf buggy and special routes around the park after hours. The Port Lympne Reserve also offers animal encounters for guests and exclusive keeper activities. Rooms start from £190.
Sleep under the stars at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire
Lovers of the great outdoors can pitch up their tents and slumber under the stars at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo this summer with a brand new wild camping experience. Running on selected dates during August and September, Nature Night Camping invites visitors to sleepover at the UK’s largest Zoo alongside its 3,500 animals. Once the Zoo gates have shut for the day, lucky campers will pitch their tents and be treated to a fascinating talk on how best to spot the Zoo’s animals at night-time, before putting their newly-learned wildlife-watching tips to the test on a torch-lit expedition. Wake at first light to the roars of lions, squawks of parrots and trumpeting of elephants. Nature Night Camping runs from 5th August until 2nd September 2017. Camping costs £75 per person for non-members and £67.50 for members. www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/whats-on/nature-night-camping-at-zsl-whipsnade-zoo.
A new café for dog lovers in Newcastle
Dog lovers can enjoy a ‘ca-pup-cinno’ in the company of the café’s friendly resident pooches. Newly opened Dog and Scone serves up delicious cakes, coffees and teas guaranteed to make tails wag. www.dogandscone.com.
2. ‘GIN-SPIRING’ EXPERIENCES
Britain’s juniper-based tipple has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with a whole host of gin experiences popping up across the UK. For fans of Mother’s Ruin, why not take a ‘gini’ break and uncover the latest experiences and events taking place around the country this summer.
Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin – Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Birmingham
This sixty-minute ode to the juniper-based tipple explores the history of gin through a hysterical mix of stories and song, featuring music originally performed by Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, Martha Wainwright, The Popes and The Pretenders. Having met with critical acclaim at the Sydney Comedy Festival, the show makes its UK debut at The Old Market Assembly in Bristol on 29th July, with stints up and down the country throughout the summer, appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe, Udderbelly London and The Old Joint Stock in Birmingham until 3rd September. Tickets cost £17.50. To book visit www.mothersruincabaret.com.
All aboard the gin bus in Bristol
Foozie has teamed up with local distillery 6 O’clock Gin to offer a series of exciting and intimate bus tours to give people the chance to see the city in a whole new way. The two hour scenic tour takes in the beautiful sights of Bristol. Whilst on-board guests can sup delectable gin cocktails and specially-crafted tonics. If gin isn’t your thing, Foozie has also launched a prosecco bus tour. Tickets are £32.50 plus booking fee and include four gin cocktails that will be served throughout the tour. www.foozie.co.uk/event/6-oclock-gin-bus-3/
Gin festival in Birmingham
Gin lovers are in for a treat, as the Birmingham Gin Festival returns to the city, with a tantalising array of 120 gins from around the world. The event promises live entertainment, cocktail demonstrations, talks from the experts and a ‘make your own gin distillery’. Tickets £13.50 each, which includes a glass, a Gin Bible and sampling card with tokens. Birmingham Town Hall, Saturday 12th August. Early slot 12pm – 5pm or 6pm – 11pm. To book tickets visit www.fatsoma.com/gin-festival-uk/nocc90n6/birmingham-gin-festival
3. ART GOES OUTDOORS
Art goes outdoors this summer, with exciting and immersive art experiences taking place in urban and rural locations around the UK.
Discover a secret art trail in the Yorkshire Wolds
A bit like Pokémon Go for art lovers. In the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds Way this new Secret Art Trail uses exciting new technology to create a virtual art gallery in the landscape. The free experience unlocks secret art along the route where poetry and paintings float in fields and valleys, enhancing the area’s natural beauty and helping to improve health and wellbeing. Walkers also have a chance to win prizes along the trail and can upload their own paintings and poetry to the virtual gallery in the landscape. www.yorkshirewoldssecretart.co.uk/
Instagram weird and wonderful sculptures in London
Sculpture in the City returns to the Square Mile in London this summer with contemporary works by internationally renowned artists, who use the urban landscape as a canvas for their weird and wonderful creations. Join the conversation using #sculptureinthecity. The exhibition runs until early 2018. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visit-the-city/art-architecture/sculpture-in-the-city/Pages/default.aspx.
The National Trust’s summer art series
The National Trust has announced its new summer art series for 2017 showcasing new art including large installations, film and theatrical performances, carvings and sculptures. Exhibitions include giant pineapple-shaped installations at Berrington Hall and the first showing of acclaimed French sculptor Venet’s work at Cliveden House. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/trust-new-art-exhibitions-and-events.
Europe’s largest street art festival returns to Bristol
Following its huge success last year, Upfest’s Urban Paint Festival returns to Bristol, with more than 300 artists from across the globe and an estimated 35,000 visitors descending on Bedminster for the free, three-day event taking place between 29th and 31st July. www.upfest.co.uk/.
4. THE LATEST FOODIE HUBS
Foodies rejoice! A whole host of new ‘gastro-hubs’ are sprouting up across the country, offering diners a delicious array of street food delights from independent, local suppliers guaranteed to make mouths water.
Foodie Mecca Baltic Market opens in Liverpool
Liverpool’s historic Baltic Triangle was recently named one of the coolest places in the UK by The Times newspaper, beating destinations such as Manchester’s Northern Quarter and London’s trendy hotspots. Now, the masterminds at Independent Liverpool have transformed the Baltic Triangle's most iconic building, Cains Brewery into a giant food hall and hub dedicated to all things food, drink, live music and events. The permanent market is home to 10 independent vendors, serving up an ever changing line-up of cuisines. Delectable delights include Indian street food from Timmy Tikka, smoked meats from Slim’s Pork Chop Express, popcorn mussels from Oktopus and shakes and cakes from The Midnight Delivery. Open every Thursday to Sunday, from 5pm to 11pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and 11am to 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Entry is free. https://en-gb.facebook.com/BalticMarketLiv/
New gastro-hub opens in Derby
Located in a former Post Office as the name suggests, the newly opened ‘gusto-hub’ really pushes the envelope in the range of quirky artisan, organic food and drink it has to offer. All housed under one roof, choose from a range of local suppliers including spicy veggie and vegan street food delights from Fresh Rootz; Lorentes’ tapas with a twist and North American BBQ courtesy of Bohn’s. Wash it down with the very best artisan cocktails from Derby and the finest real ale from Tollgate Brewery. Chocolate Alchemy dishes up dessert in the form of artisan chocolates, hot drinks and other confectionary concoctions. Open Monday to Saturday from 9am until 10.30pm and Sunday from 9am until 8.30pm. www.theposthousederby.co.uk/vendors.
Enjoy a Cornucopia of dishes in St Austell – opening this month
Due to open at the end of July, this multi-million pound venue is set to celebrate Cornwall’s rich food heritage. Likened to Shoreditch’s Box Park, Cornucopia will be home to the UK’s first ever Cornish pasty museum where visitors can try their hand at making the iconic pastry. If pasties aren’t your thing, American-inspired diner Sam’s Cornwall will serve up hearty dishes, alongside nineteen specialist outlets selling the best Cornish food and drink. There will also be tasty samples, exhibits and a year-long calendar of events based around the demo kitchen and events stage. Opens end of July at St Austell Bay Retail and Leisure Park. www./cornucopiacornwall.com.
5. ‘WAT-ER’ WAY TO IMPROVE WELLBEING
Practice mindfulness with these unique water-based outdoor pursuits – guaranteed to improve health and wellbeing.
Paddle board yoga in Bristol
Perfect your balance whilst practising your downwards dog in these unique sessions which combine paddle boarding with yoga. With introductory and intermediate sessions available, there’s even more reason to get out on the water and try out this unique take on the discipline. A two hour session costs £35 per person. To book, visit www.supbristol.com/group-adventures/sup-yoga/
Paddle under the Pennines in Lancashire
For the first time ever, canoeists will be able to paddle under the Pennines, with the opening of the Foulridge Tunnel on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. At a mile-long, the 200 year old tunnel takes approximately 10 to 25 minutes to paddle, depending on your ability, and is the longest canal tunnel in the UK open to canoes. The opening of the tunnel is the first stage in the development of Britain’s first coast-to-coast kayak route, due to be completed in 2020. Those with their own canoes and a canoe license can paddle the trail free of charge. To find out more about the route, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/mass-paddle-as-mile-long-foulridge-tunnel-is-opened-to-canoeists. To register for a canoe license, visit https://licensing.canalrivertrust.org.uk/Account/Register.
Ride the ‘sea horses’ in Cornwall
Ride bareback through the waves on Cornwall’s swimming horses, against the backdrop of the iconic St Michael’s Mount. Whether you’re new to the saddle or a seasoned pro, the friendly horses are specially trained to adapt to your ability – a truly unique and memorable experience. The ride last approximately two to three hours and costs £85 per person. www.cornwallswimminghorses.co.uk/.
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VisitEngland Press Office
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