What's New 2017

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 12:00


Admiralty Arch to become a hotel, London
Throughout 2017
The iconic Admiralty Arch is being transformed into a luxury hotel, private members’ club and serviced residences. The Edwardian building marks the boundary between Trafalgar Square and The Mall – two of the capital’s most-loved landmarks – and the views from the 100 rooms and suites are guaranteed to be some of the city’s best. There will also be a state-of-the-art spa and several bars, while a restaurant spanning the first bridging floor will open the building to the public for the first time. A stay here promises to be both a five-star-plus experience and a brush with some fascinating political and royal heritage: Winston Churchill was based here as First Lord of the Admiralty; World War I code-breaking operations were run from here; Ian Fleming worked here during World War II; and some royal processions still pass under the main arch, as they have done for over a century. Restoration and building works are underway, and the operator for the hotel is expected to be chosen in 2017.

Kettner’s to be transformed into a hotel, London
Throughout 2017
Kettner’s will become part of Kettner’s Townhouse, a 28-bedroom hotel from the Soho House Group. The iconic restaurant, opened in 1867 by Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, is part of a restoration project involving 15 former townhouses, which also include Soho House Greek Street, Cafe Boheme and SKB. Kettner’s champagne bar will be restored, and a new pavilion will be added to the internal yard. Work is taking place throughout 2017, with the new Kettner’s Townhouse opening in January 2018.

‘The Art of the Stay’ at The Langham, London
Throughout 2017
A series of new developments at iconic London hotel The Langham will define 2017 as the year of ‘The Art of the Stay’. Following the addition of new guestrooms and suites in 2016, The Langham is forging ahead with a further improved room product, a carefully crafted cocktail menu, a new luxury pub and a spa. New suites will offer imposing views of Regent Street; the award-winning Artesian bar has launched ‘Perception’, an innovative sensory cocktail menu; a post-modern interpretation of the traditional English pub will launch in summer, along with Chuan Body + Soul spa.

Romantic new suite at Lime Wood, New Forest
Early 2017
Luxury hotel Lime Wood will open the new Lake House suite in the early part of 2017. It promises to be their most romantic offering to date, situated in a super-private spot next to the small lake close to the hotel. There will be an en-suite bedroom, living area and small kitchen but it’s the jetty on to the lake and outdoor hot tub with stunning views into the New Forest that will really set it apart.

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, London
Early 2017
Master sushi chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, is planning his first European hotel, the Willow Street Hotel in London's Shoreditch. The new hotel has been designed by Ron Arad Associates and will house 150 bedrooms and a statement restaurant with food and drink menus designed by Nobu specifically for the hotel. The five-storey hotel will also have its own landscaped garden, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and promises superior service and décor inspired by the organisation’s signature east-meets-west philosophy.

New restaurant and bedrooms at The Grand Hotel and Spa, York
Early 2017
The Grand, one of York’s top five-star hotels, will double its guestroom offering and add a new 140-seat restaurant by the end of 2017. The £15 million development project will see the Grade II-listed building connected to the adjacent Roman House, creating more than 100 additional bedrooms along with new spaces for meetings and corporate hospitality. The first phase of the development will be the opening of the new restaurant by early 2017, with the bedrooms being completed shortly after. The current 107 guestrooms will also be remodelled. 

Sir Peter Blake artwork to cover renovation of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
17 January – June
The multi-million-pound renovation of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel will be screened by a temporary façade by Sir Peter Blake. The ‘Godfather of British Pop Art’ has been commissioned to create a collage in the spirit of Blake’s cover for The Beatles’ 1967 Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The piece, Our Fans, will feature 100 prominent regular guests at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park as well as fans of the group’s hotels around the world, including Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley and – in the 50th anniversary year of the Sergeant Pepper’s album – Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney. At the size of 38 double-decker buses, the artwork is the largest Blake has ever created. The hotel remains open throughout the 18-month renovation, which will complete in spring 2018.

Ten Trinity Square opens, London
26 January
Built a century ago next to the Tower of London (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the Grade II-listed Ten Trinity Square boasts a tower and a grand Portland Stone rotunda. The opulence of the outside is matched by the meticulously restored and upgraded spaces inside, with the Residences (41 spacious and elegant apartments); the Club (meeting spaces crafted from the original sumptuous boardrooms and executive offices); and the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, with bars, a spa, 100 bedrooms and two destination restaurants – including La Dame de Pic, the first restaurant in London from Anne-Sophie Pic, the only female French chef with three Michelin stars. The hotel opened 26 January.

Manhattan Loft Gardens Design Hotel, Stratford, London
Opening 2017
The 150-room hotel will occupy the seven lower levels of the 42-storey Manhattan Loft Gardens, a mixed used development with three 'sky gardens' ensuring that residents are never more than 9 stories from an outdoor space. Above the hotel is a 34-storey residential tower where guests and residents share the use of communal spaces including the lobby, leisure facilities, swimming pool, spa facilities, as well as an external roof garden that overlooks the Olympic Park. The site sits to the immediate north of Stratford International rail station and the Docklands Light Railway giving excellent transport links.

New boutique hotel, Sussex
A new boutique hotel is set to open in Bexhill. The Driftwood will have six bedrooms and a 28-seat restaurant headed up by Austrian chef Micheal Roessi – hailed as “the next Jamie Oliver”. The hotel is backed by Seng Loy, who runs the five-star Hastings House in St Leonards and the Bexhill Beach Residence B&B, and two other local residents, and is in a fantastic location for the beach and the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill’s pioneering arts and culture centre.

The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa to receive makeover
From the start of February 2017, guests to the Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Bolton Abbey, will be able to enjoy enhanced spa facilities, with new treatments, facilities and design.

New luxury beachside holiday homes for groups, Cornwall
Late February and April
The couple behind Tregulland, one of the UK’s top large house rentals, are launching two more beachside holiday homes on Cornwall’s north coast. Opened in late February, Pentire is the ultimate surfers’ pad. Overlooking Fistral Beach, the elegant, four-bedroom penthouse has an eight-person hot tub on its huge terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows. The mid-century décor has serious wow factor too. Barford, a new larch-clad house with picture windows and sea views, will open in April. Sleeping up to 16 people, it will have some awesome touches, including a secret underground games room for grown-ups, a cocktail bar in the master suite, access to a secluded beach, and Narnia wardrobes.

New easyHotel, Birmingham
A new £4.5 million easyHotel with 84 bedrooms for super-budget travellers will open above a restaurant on John Bright Street in the heart of the city centre. The convenient location is just a stone’s throw from the entrance to Birmingham New Street Station and 500 metres from the Bullring shopping centre.

Landal GreenParks launches in the UK
Landal Green Parks has launched in the UK with two sites: Kielder in Northumberland and Darwin Forest in Peak District. Facilities include an array of outdoor activities, restaurants, shops, spa treatments, gym and cabin accommodation with hot tubs in a close-to-nature setting. The family holiday specialist, which has a strong sustainability policy, is already well established in Holland, Germany and Belgium.

Bold new look for Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
25 March
The Grade II-listed Grand Hotel in Bristol’s Old City has had a top-to-toe redesign – described as ‘historic relaxed meets rebellious urban Bristol’. It’s a complete departure from the hotel’s former traditional feel, combining the building’s ornate Victorian architecture with striking furniture, dramatic statements and street-art influences. Bristol gallery and street-art festival Upfest was invited to curate a collection of over 500 pieces by local artists. The hotel’s restaurant and bar will be a Keepers, a concept developed in-house by Accor, with a vintage-salvage look inspired by Bristol’s famous St Nicholas Market.

New Modulogs at Tom’s Eco Lodge, Isle of Wight
Modulogs, a new style of ultra-swish glamping pod, now provide year-round accommodation for up to six people per pod at the award-winning Tom’s Eco Lodge. The striking, fully insulated and heated pods are clad in logs and have comfy sofas, log burners, two bedrooms, separate shower room and toilet, wifi and electricity. The private decking areas with BBQs and log-burning hot tubs offer some of the best views at the Lodge.

The Queens Head, Troutbeck, Cumbria
Robinsons Brewery is reopening the iconic Lakeland pub - The Queens Head at Troutbeck - in April 2017 following a £2million investment. Perfectly placed on the side of the Lakeland fells, The Queens Head overlooks the Troutbeck Valley, just four miles from Ambleside and three miles from Windermere. The former 17th-century coaching inn boasts an eclectic mix of ancient Cumbrian and contemporary decor alongside its iconic four poster bar.

Low Wood Bay, Cumbria
Low Wood Bay in Cumbria will be closing during spring 2017 for a refurbishment - it will redevelop its existing rooms and add luxury rooms and suites. When it reopens in April, guests will be able to enjoy upgraded indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, a brand new luxury spa overlooking Lake Windermere and a choice of restaurants, which will include a new grill concept. Work will then continue building an additional 18 lake view rooms and suites, a brand new grill restaurant, a luxury spa, a new atrium, and a new block of 29 bedrooms and suites. 

New boutique hotel, North Norfolk
The development of the former site of Langham Glass will bring a luxurious boutique hotel to North Norfolk. The hotel, which promises to be an “Unashamed Up-Market Boutique Hotel”, will combine historic Norfolk brick-and-stone buildings with high tech-rooms, and include a bistro and luxury spa with a 12-metre-long swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and relaxation room.


Overnight beach lodges, Bournemouth
The first overnight beach huts on Bournemouth beach will be more like mini houses than traditional beach huts. Currently being built by skilled woodcraftsmen in the New Forest, the huts will sleep up to four adults and two children, and have a spacious living area, fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, WiFi, TV and heating are innovative, space efficient, timber-framed and constructed with the utmost respect to the environment. Available 365 days a year, the lodges will have sea views and their own decking area and be located just a few steps from the promenade. Prices start from £450 for a midweek spring break.

YHA and British Triathlon partnership
From April
YHA (England and Wales) and British Triathlon have joined forces to bring triathlon to beginners. YHA is now the nominated accommodation partner for British Triathlon and the YHA's 160-strong network of properties will host British Triathlon's GO TRI events throughout England and Wales, bringing the sport to some of the county's most beautiful settings. British Triathlon's GO TRI programme is designed as a low-cost, enjoyable way for young people and their families to access triathlon and multisport for the first time. Both GO TRI training and events are available locally and are tailored towards complete novices, with low-cost entry and manageable distances. Several GO TRI events have already been held at YHA sites in the Lake District and Liverpool City Centre, with a further 20 events planned at YHAs throughout 2017, including in London Lee Valley, National Forest, Hathersage, York and Keswick. British Triathlon and its affiliated clubs will benefit from subsidised use of meeting rooms in Youth Hostels, along with heavily discounted YHA membership.

The Lake District’s first resort opens, Cumbria
12 April
Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa will be the first resort in the Lake District when it re-opens following the completion of the first of four refurbishment phases. Phase 1 is the complete refurbishment of all bedrooms, the Windermere restaurant, Langdale Lounge, road entrance and Health Club. Phase 2, which is the new Blue Smoke on the Bay restaurant with a South American wood-fired grill and the new Atrium lounge, completes in July. Phase 3, The Spa at Low Wood Bay, opens in September, and the final phase sees a new block of Club House rooms and suites in November.

THE PIG-at Combe launches Curlditch Cottages, Devon
14 April
THE PIG-at Combe is refurbishing Curlditch Cottages, a classic thatched Devon longhouse tucked down a private track off THE PIG’s main drive. The three adjoined cottages are just a 10-minute walk from the main hotel and ideal for families or groups of friends. Each cottage has its own entrance leading to a comfortable, cosy and stylish sitting room with wood burner. The master bedrooms are furnished with four-poster beds and roll-top baths while the second bedroom is an optional twin or double room with a large monsoon shower. Stream Cottage and Chicken Run Cottage have kitchenettes, while Old Thatch Cottage has an AGA.

Holmes Mill Hotel, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Holmes Mill is soon to open a boutique 30 bedroom hotel, the latest phase of the £10million redevelopment of the former textile mill in the heart of the Ribble Valley, Lancashire. The former textile mill is already home to Bowland Brewery, a Beer Hall, function room, café, shop and gelateria, with the new hotel expected to open at the end of May.

Kilfinane Court, Isle of Wight
Kilfinane Court, a block of five newly developed spacious self-catering holiday flats, created from a refurbished Victorian hotel, is set to open on a quiet road in the coastal town of Shanklin. It will consist of two one-bed and three two-bed flats, perfect for couples and small families alike. They will be south facing, convenient for the beach and fully wheelchair accessible, with outside space for alfresco dining (one flat will have a large roof terrace), allocated parking and communal gardens. All the bedrooms will have TVs too.

The Ned, City of London
The former Midland Bank headquarters is being turned into a new five-star hotel, The Ned. Redesigned with the glamour of a 1930s transatlantic ocean liner as inspiration, the hotel will have 252 suites, a rooftop bar with landscaped terraces, a health spa, and a range of restaurants and cafes, including a New-York-style deli.

Top chef Michael Caines to open hotel, Devon
There are plenty of reasons to get excited about Lympstone Manor, a contemporary country house hotel opening in early spring. Firstly, it’s a Grade II-listed Georgian manor house with 28 acres of gardens, grounds and parkland overlooking the Exe Estuary on east Devon’s World Heritage Jurassic Coast. There’s a world-class wine cellar and plans for a vineyard. And the décor of the 21 bedrooms and suites is inspired by the birds of the Exe estuary. But most exciting of all will be the food; Lympstone is the vision of Michael Caines MBE, holder of two Michelin stars for 18 years and chef-patron of the hotel – and Caines has his eye on that elusive third star…

Luxury spa improved at Rudding Park Hotel, Spa and Golf, Harrogate
Rudding Park will recapture Harrogate’s spa heritage with a luxury extension to the existing spa facility. A multi-level extension to the Grade I-listed historic Rudding Park Hotel will allow the addition of a 17-metre indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy infinity pool, thermal treatment rooms and an additional restaurant and shop. The pool area will feature a glass wall so guests can take in the parkland views. A feature roof garden will form an integral part of the landscape scheme preserving the integrity of the historic landscape.

Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
The former Headquarters of Lloyds Bank and Midland Bank on Corn Street in central Bristol reopened as the newly renovated Harbour Hotel in October 2016 and will add a further 22 rooms in Spring 2017 along with an indulgent spa set in the former bank vaults in spring 2017 . The hotel will blend the original, characterful architecture of the Old City with city views, roll-top baths. It also houses another award-winning Harbour Hotel Jetty restaurant, all on the doorstep of Bristol’s bustling Cabot Circus and stunning Clifton villages. Rooms start at £145 B&B.

New luxury glamping site, Shrewsbury
Love2Stay is a new £3.5 million luxury Caravan Club-affiliated touring caravan site and glamping resort. The 22-acre site will feature a natural swimming pond, superfast wifi, wooden adventure play area, boot camp, outdoor yoga/pilates studio, wellness centre, barefoot trails and a log-fired pizza oven. Guests will be able to stay in one of the luxury heated glamping tents with double beds and private bathrooms, or at one of the 122 existing plots for caravans, which are being retained as the plot is developed.

Atlantic House, Cornwall
Nestled in the iconic surfing village of Polzeath, the Atlantic House hotel boasts elevated views of the coast, cliffs and beyond. The 15-bedroom coastal retreat will also have an elegant Italian-style restaurant serving locally sourced food. Individual apartments come complete with a full concierge service, even stocking your fridge ahead of your arrival. Because of its location, guests can enjoy surfing, rock pooling, golf, water sports, fishing and shooting, as well as other outdoor activities.

New ultra-contemporary holiday homes, Devon
South Devon-based holiday lettings agency Coast & Country Cottages has announced two new ultra-contemporary holiday homes in Salcombe. The VisitEngland Five Star Gold award-winning Bridleway House sleeps up to 10 people over three floors. Made of stone, wood and glass, there’s a roof terrace, three balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, huge sliding doors and sea views through the surrounding trees – the property is just a 10-minute walk from two sandy beaches. The Coach House at Moulthaven is done up to a similar spec, but with the bonus of a hot tub, uninterrupted sea views, a purpose-built media room and an indoor sauna. Sleeping up to eight people, this architect-designed wonder is filled with an eclectic mix of contemporary and antique furniture.

New luxury glamping sites across southern England
Classic Glamping (part of Classic Cottages) is launching five brand new glamping sites across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. There’s a wagon with views across Dartmoor National Park, a chalet by the sea in Lyme Regis, a super-sized shepherd’s hut with green credentials to match in rural Devon and another with sea views in Seaton (all open now), and three safari tents named after pigs on a farm near Shaftesbury (two open now, one opening early July).

New YHA hostel and refurbishments, nationwide
Spring and summer
The YHA is investing millions in building projects, demonstrating its continued commitment to developing and improving its network of hostels. YHA Bath is undergoing a major refurbishment project with a spend of £1.8 million and will re-open 6 April 2017. Meanwhile, YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall will be a brand new 86-bedroom youth hostel, with the Sill Landscape Discovery Centre in partnership with Northumberland National Park. This is alongside a series of other refurbishment projects taking place across the YHA network, including YHA Swanage in Dorset, YHA St Davids on the Pembrokeshire Coast and YHA Tanners Hatch in the Surrey Hills. Looking ahead to 2019, the YHA has submitted a planning application for a flagship 850-room super hostel at London Stratford.
www.yha.org.uk ; www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/sill

Apex city of Bath Hotel, Bath
Apex will feature 177 contemporary bedrooms and will become the city's largest purpose-built conference facility. The largest conference room will hold up to 420 delegates for large events and is suitable for up to 600 for exhibitions.

Dorsett City, Aldgate
Set within a 13-storey building, formerly called The Matrix, this new hotel next to Aldgate tube station will have two restaurants, a bar and 1,600 square feet of meeting space. The hotel will feature 267 guestrooms and suites, a rooftop bar, and a fitness centre. The hotel will bring two popular restaurant concepts from west to east London for the first time, with the opening on Shikumen and VQ (Vingt-Quatre).

Multi-million pound refurbishment of Dukes London, London
Dukes London, located in the heart of Mayfair, is currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment. The London property will see a major upgrade to its public areas and bedrooms, which includes a partnership with Liberty London. The addition of a new food and beverage outlet will deliver an all-day casual dining concept. As part of this new concept, the restaurant is to be renamed GBR (Great British Restaurant).

Henrietta Hotel and Restaurant, Covent Garden, London
Brought to you by the Experimental Group and designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, the Henriette Hotel will house 18 rooms and will feature an 80-seat restaurant by British chef Ollie Dabbous. The restaurant will be a modem British bistro and bar and will spread across both the ground and first floor. 

New luxury lodges with stargazing pods at Kielder Waterside Park, Northumberland
Kielder Water & Forest Park, which has ambitions to become one of Britain’s leading attractions, has unveiled plans for new five-star lodges on the banks of Kielder Water, bringing the number of lodges at Northumbrian Water's Kielder Waterside Park to 50. The lodges will have a swim spa, stargazing pods, BBQ huts, hot tubs, games consoles, Bluetooth speakers, underfloor heating and a deck/patio area. Sleeping up to six guests, the lodges also benefit from options such as early check-in and late checkout and luxury toiletries.

New huge exclusive-use properties, Lake District
12 May
Eat Sleep Work has launched two enormous properties, each sleeping up to 46 guests. Each one comes with a personal chef and access to a range of activities, from private lake cruises to yoga and meditation, making them perfect for sophisticated house parties, family get-togethers, friends’ reunions and outdoor activity weekends. Crosthwaite Mill in the Lythe Valley is a preserved 18th-century corn mill with a huge waterwheel and grindstones, while elegant Fallbarrow Hall boasts spectacular views of Windermere from its enviable spot by the water’s edge.

The Bower House restaurant to open rooms, Warwickshire
Mid-May 2017
The Bower House, headed up by chef Darren Brown formerly of The Lucky Onion and West Stoke House, launched in April in a refurbished Georgian townhouse in the heart of Shipston-on-Stour. This thriving market town’s coolest new establishment will soon open five arty en-suite bedrooms and a family suite on the first and second floors above the 75-cover restaurant. Bookings are already being taken.

The Oaksmere reopens, Norfolk
Late May
The Oaksmere Hotel, in Diss on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, will soon fully reopen with a brand new restaurant, kitchen and lounge areas. The restaurant has a contemporary feel, with brick, brushed steel, copper and pearl oak flooring, modern drop-down lighting. There’s an open kitchen where diners can see locally sourced, seasonal dishes being created, and The Oaksmere has its own onsite butchery and kitchen garden. Bespoke events and private parties will also be catered for in the restaurant and the new marquee. The hotel reopened its bedrooms in in March.

The Curtain Hotel and Private Members' Club, Shoreditch, London
Due to open in Shoreditch in June, The Curtain Hotel and Members' Club is launching as the London home for creative entrepreneurs. Centred on 120 guestrooms, including six suites, there is a rooftop pool and lounge, 24-hour fitness centre, treatment rooms, co-working space and 6,000 square feet of event space, including a ballroom and a screening room. The hotel will feature top New York city chef Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster restaurant. Marcus will also open an all-day taqueria and bar on the ground floor of the hotel. www.thecurtain.com

Almost Wild Campsite to open in the Lee Valley
30 June
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.

Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa
September (tbc)
Southampton’s first luxury five-star hotel, the 85-room Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa opens at the Ocean Village marina development in June. The yacht-inspired Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa will be the first five-star standard hotel in Southampton, marking a major milestone for the city. It will have 85 bedrooms, a rooftop Champagne Bar and a spa with swimming pool, sauna, steam room and treatment rooms. There will be private moorings for guests who arrive by sea.

Hotel du Vin, Stratford-upon-Avon
Hotel du Vin will open a new hotel in a Grade II-listed building on Rother Street in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon – the second for the chain in the Midlands. The luxury hotel will have 48 bedrooms, one of the brand’s renowned bistro du vins, meeting and private dining rooms and a separate banqueting room.

Another Place, The Lake, Cumbria
Another Place, The Lake is a new venture from the team behind Cornwall’s acclaimed Watergate Bay Hotel. The first hotel to join the new Another Place collection, is set on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District. An investment of £3.5 million from Actev is transforming this 18th century building from a 19-bedroom to a 40-bedroom hotel, and will offer a number of family suites and dog-friendly rooms, a 20 metre indoor pool, treatment rooms, library and restaurant, as well as fresh, contemporary spaces with views over Ullswater and the fells beyond. Set in 18 acres of secluded, unspoilt parkland, the vision is to connect guests with the great outdoors with activities ranging from open-water swimming, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, cycling, walking and even skiing on offer. Good food that makes the most of Cumbria’s produce will be at the heart of the experience - whether it’s around a table, fire pit or picnic. Taking bookings from August 2017. www.another.place/

New Castle Hotel, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort
Jousting knights and wizards on broomsticks are gathering for the upcoming launch of LEGOLAND Windsor Resort’s new castle-themed hotel. It’s to be in a turreted castle with plenty of magical displays inside and out, from LEGO statues to jousting displays.

12 Arthur Road, Cliftonville, Kent
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, 12 Arthur Road was the Cecil Hotel. It fell into disuse in the 1980s but the new owners will bring this charming 1890s townhouse back into the hospitality world. It’s being fully redesigned for groups of up to 10 people, with a walled garden, five en-suite bedrooms and furnishings that meet the needs of today whilst staying true to the building’s Victorian roots and its 1950s/1960s glory days.

Tiny Homes, Isle of Wight
The latest venture from the team behind the groundbreaking Vintage Vacations (the UK’s original Airstream caravan holidays) is Tiny Homes, a new, ethical way to holiday. Tiny Homes is all about downsizing your space and upsizing your free time. When it opens, there will be three (eventually six) Tiny Homes set in a smallholding environment next to Parkhurst Forest. Each small but perfectly formed building will sleep up to four people, and come complete with kitchen, composting loo, shower, outside deck with BBQ, and a woodburning stove. Also on site will be The Studio, a multi-purpose hub with free wifi and a lively programme of talks, workshops, yoga.

CBeebies Land Hotel to open at Alton Towers, Staffordshire
8 July
Alton Towers will open a CBeebies-themed hotel to go with the CBeebies Land area of the theme park. The 76 colourful rooms will be themed on popular CBeebies programmes, such as Something Special and Swashbuckle, and will cater specifically for young families and pre-schoolers. A year-round entertainment programme will give young guests the chance to meet their favourite CBeebies characters, play CBeebies-themed games and watch live shows. As you’d hope, the rooms will be spectacularly kid-friendly, with steps to the bathroom sink, baby baths, cots and children’s toilet seats. On the less practical side, but infinitely more fun, will be drawing and playing tables.

The Lygon Arms gets a facelift, Cotswolds
Until July
The new owners of The Lygon Arms in the beautiful Cotswolds village of Broadway are returning it to its former magnificence as a luxury hotel. The 78-bedroom hotel, which holds four stars and two AA rosettes, dates from the 16th century remains open while the work is carried out in phases. 

Roomzzz, Stratford, London
Aparthotel company Roomzzz is opening its first luxury London hotel, made up of 87 sumptuous apartments, including several studio and suite sizes – all designed in boutique hotel style. Westfield Shopping Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Stratford tube station are all within walking distance. Roomzzz already has branches in Chester, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham.

Roomzzz Aparthotel, Manchester
Roomzzz Aparthotel, part of the Parklane Group, will open its second Manchester site in the iconic Corn Exchange in the city centre. Grade II listed and in the hub of Manchester's shopping district, the Corn Exchange has been transformed into the city's premium shopping quarter. Roomzzz Manchester Corn Exchange will have period features and beautiful bare brick walls, merged with bold bespoke interior designs, and a total of 114 apartments.

New University Arms hotel, Cambridge
Late Autumn
Cambridge’s most historic hotel will relaunch following a major refurbishment and design collaboration between architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki. The revamp will transform Cambridge’s landmark original hotel, which dates from 1834, into a world-class establishment. The 192-bedroom hotel will be quintessentially English in style, with the ambitious literary and academic spirit of Cambridge as one of its defining characteristics. The building’s 1960s and 1970s extensions will be replaced with a classically designed building, rooms and suites will be beautiful and ‘playfully’ designed, and there will be a destination restaurant and bar, library, underground valet car parking and fitness facilities.

New activities and self-catering accommodation at the Raithwaite Estate, North York Moors
Mid-late 2017
There’s to be a major £30 million investment in self-catering accommodation on the Raithwaite Estate, plus a host of new activities to suit different interests. The new developments will be addition to the grand country estate’s existing range of accommodation, which includes Raithwaite Hall; The Keep, an exquisite 28-bedroom hotel; The Lake House, an ultra-exclusive and luxurious six-bedroom private house; and The Fold, a collection of seven carefully designed stone-built cottages. Raithwaite is located near Sandsend, by the coast and on the edge of the North York Moors, just a couple of miles from Whitby.

Indigo Hotel, Bath
Late 2017
The Intercontinental Group will open an Indigo Hotel, comprising of 117 bedrooms in 2017. The boutique hotel will be located in a Georgian terrace, close to Bath Spa train station. The hotel will be built on the site of the former Halcyon serviced apartments and Pratt's Hotel. www.hotelindigo.com

The Guildhall Hotel, Bristol
The Grade II-listed Guildhall and Assizes Courts in Bristol’s old city is set to become the city’s first five-star hotel, complete with 91 luxurious bedrooms, a spa and a rooftop swimming pool. With the removal of two storeys of flooring, the reception area will be restored to its original 1843 triple-height layout, and bedrooms will be adapted from towers and other existing architectural features such as stained glass windows, pitched roofs, dormer windows and the occasional statue of a famous judge. Even the historic prison cells in the hotel’s basement will be converted for use as changing rooms for the luxury spa and gym.

Ibis Styles Piccadilly Circus, London
The landmark Trocadero, a huge Edwardian Grade II listed building a stone's throw from Piccadilly Circus, is to become the West End's biggest budget hotel, turning the building into the 583-room three-star Ibis Styles Piccadilly Circus hotel, complete with on-site bar. The new design reflects the history of the area "with a hint of humour perfectly matching the electric eccentricity of the Trocadero". There will be a family suite that sleeps up to four people, complete with children's TV channels, as well as a kids' area in the lobby, plus cots, bottle warmers, and high chairs  

Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Westminster, London
The original Scotland Yard police station, which was once at the centre of the Jack the Ripper investigation, is set to become a five-star luxury hotel, following a £50 million refurbishment to the historic building. There will be 235 luxury bedrooms, a VIP suite, two bars, a library and dining rooms. Rooms will cost up to £10,000 a night. The grand seven-storey building has also been used by other Government departments, most recently by the Ministry of Defence as a storage base, and has also featured in the 2007 film 'Atonement' starring Keira Knightley. 

Z Hotel, Bath
Offering compact luxury rooms in city centre locations, Z Hotels will be opening its first property in the south-west of England next year after a £14 million development. Z Bath will offer 148 bedrooms and, following in the footsteps of all other Z Hotels, offer luxury bed linen on handcrafted beds, 40” LED TVs with Sky Sports and Movies at no extra cost, power showers and free high speed Wi-Fi throughout. There will also be complimentary cheese and wine each evening for guests.

Heckfield Place, Hampshire
A luxury Georgian Manor house hotel with links to celebrity chef Skye Gyngell is due to open in 2017. Situated in the heart of the north Hampshire countryside, it first became a home in 1785, and is currently being transformed into an idyllic country retreat with 45 individually designed rooms and suites and a spa.

40 new lodges and a new ride at Drayton Manor Park, Staffordshire
In addition to the recently opened Vertigo, a brand new high ropes course, Drayton Manor is planning to expand its accommodation for guests staying overnight at the theme park. Planning permission has been granted for 40 new lodges to be built to provide a wider range of choice of accommodation, and take pressure off the increasing popularity of the park’s onsite hotel. There are also rumours that Vertigo will be joined by another huge new ride in 2017 although confirmation of these developments will have to wait until much closer to the start of 2017 season.

New INNSIDE by Meliá Hotels, Birmingham
A new INNSIDE Birmingham will have 180 rooms spread across the first 25 floors of the new Regal Tower on Broad Street in Birmingham city centre. There will also be innovative meeting and event space, a restaurant and lobby bar.

The Woodland Spa, Burnley, Lancashire, north-west England
The Woodland Spa is set in 100 acres of pasture and woodland, with views of the dramatic Pendle Hill, and just two miles from Burnley town centre and the M65. Voted Best Spa in the North for three years running, it was also voted Global Spa of the year in 2015 and 2016. In January, six new bedrooms were added. Guests can expect the same standard of luxury found in their existing three luxury en suite bedrooms and one exclusive luxury Spa apartment, which is ideal for a group of friends enjoying a Spa break.

Moor Hall, Aughton, Lancashire, north-west England
Moor Hall opened in March in Aughton, West Lancashire across five acres of gardens with views to the south over a beautiful lake. A Grade II* listed gentry house of mid-sixteenth century origin, Moor Hall is an important listed building in the UK. In partnership with friends Andy and Tracey Bell, Lancashire-born Mark Birchall who was most recently the Executive Chef of two Michelin Star L'Enclume, will have a restaurant at Moor Hall with seven unique, luxury guest bedrooms. The converted barn will follow later as a contemporary casual dining experience.

Vintage horseboxes at Brooks Country House, Herefordshire
Three vintage 1968 Bedfords horseboxes are the latest additions to Brooks Country House's portfolio. All complete with en suite bathrooms featuring Hansgrohe power showers, the horseboxes offer all comforts including a comfy bed, flat-screen TVs, tea and coffee making facilities, and their own little terrace. Two of the horseboxes have bunks for children of up to 12 years.  They have access to the hotel facilities which include a snooker room, swimming pool, restaurant ,bar, games room and lounge, and even life-size chess.

Courthouse Hotel, Cheshire
Flat Caps Hotels has received full planning approval for its second hotel, the 42-bedroom Courthouse Hotel in Knutsford, Cheshire. The former crown court is being converted to house a 150-cover restaurant and bar, and a 550-capacity function space. The two existing wings will be converted into 10 luxury bedrooms in 2017 with the development of a 32-bedroom extension at the rear of the site to open in 2018.

Activities, Tours, Trails and Holidays                                 

Eton Walkway, Windsor
The new Eton Walkway will celebrate the town’s diverse and rich heritage over a 2-mile-long walk. Bronze markers will connect 18 of Eton’s most significant landmarks, including Eton Bridge, the Museum of Antiquities, Eton College, the 1908 Olympic marathon measuring point, the Antony Gormley statue, Keats’ House, Eton boatsheds and the stocks outside Eton’s oldest building. The first marker was unveiled in September 2016; the longer-term plan is to include story points, accessible via mobile phones and free leaflets. The official launch date of the complete walkway will be announced soon.

New hot yoga retreats, Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s Yoga Lounge and Urban Beach Hotel have joined forces to offer the ultimate beachside yoga retreat. The Yoga Retreat package combines a two-night midweek stay at the boutique Urban Beach Hotel with unlimited use of the yoga studio at Yoga Lounge. A £25 allowance towards dinner on one evening at the hotel, and a vegan bento box, cake and a drink from Sukha Lounge are thrown in for good measure. Upgrades of one-to-one sessions with a yoga expert or a massage in your hotel room are also available.

New independent shopping trail and app, Nottingham
A new walking trail and mobile app highlighting the best of Nottingham’s thriving independent shops, bars and eateries has launched. The Nottingham Independent Shopping Trail covers ‘hidden’ shopping areas in the city: Old Market Square, Cobden Chambers in Hockley, the Lace Market, Broadmarsh, Bridlesmith Walk, Flying Horse Walk, St James's Street, Hurts Yard, West End Arcade, Derby Road and Kings & Trinity Walks. The trail is available for free as a Guidigo app and as a fold-out map from Nottingham's Tourist Information Centre on Long Row in the city centre.

New outdoor cooking days at Adhurst Yurts   
The Adhurst Estate is adding outdoor cooking workshops to its repertoire. Currently the bushcraft courses are only for people staying in Adhurst’s gorgeous luxury yurts and wood cabin, but the range of specialist bushcraft workshops with trained professionals will be extended to include a day-long outdoor cooking session and everyone will be welcome to take part, even if they are not staying. The day will equip participants with all the skills needed to cook over an open fire.

Taste of the Teign food and drink trail, South Devon
This brand new self-guided trail takes visitors on a journey of culinary discovery around the beguilingly beautiful Teign Estuary in South Devon. The trail takes in: Old Walls, the steepest vineyard in England; the Red Rock Brewery, renowned for its craft beers and real ales; Shute Fruit and produce, where you can pick your own fruit and even learn how to make preserves; Milltop Orchards, where you can enjoy seasonal fruit, apple juice and cider; and Luscombe Farm Shop, where you can buy seasonal vegetables picked from the fields above the estuary. On the tour you'll discover the location of the Teign Estuary's world renowned mussel and oyster beds, and you'll be taken to a host of local cafes, restaurants and pubs surrounding the estuary where produce from its fields and waters, alongside fresh fish and crustacean landed at Teignmouth Harbour, can all be enjoyed. Created for foodies hungry for a new destination to discover, the trail has emerged from the Taste of the Teign food and drink festival, which will run from 25 September – 1 October 2017. 

New Enid Blyton cycling tour, Dorset
Throughout 2017
Cycling specialists The Carter Company has launched a new Enid Blyton tour to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of Blyton’s first Famous Five book: Five on a Treasure Island was first published 11 September 1942. The luxury, family-friendly adventure starts in the village of Studland and, over five days, visits many of the Dorset sights and places that were loved by Blyton and featured in her stories, such as Corfe Castle, Kimmeridge Bay, Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole. Accommodation is at Knoll House Hotel, which was a favoured holiday spot for Enid Blyton in the 1960s.

Ramblers Walking Holidays launch new Chapters Experience Holidays, nationwide
Throughout 2017
Ramblers Walking Holidays have launched Chapters Experience Holidays. The new 2017 programme helps holidaymakers get to know a destination beyond its trails and footpaths, with extra activities such as snorkelling, visiting castles, sailing or spa experiences. Holidaymakers could obtain a recognised certificate in navigation and hill skills from the National Navigation Award Scheme; stroll through the Lake District’s scenic and cultural highlights; shoot a bow and arrow on a multi-activity weekend in the Cotswolds; or go Nordic walking in Cumbria.

Fish Trail 25th anniversary, Hull
Throughout 2017
Hull’s iconic Fish Trail celebrates 25 years in 2017. The city’s pavements are home to 41 fish sculptures by artist Gordon Young. There’s a shark outside a bank, an electric eel outside the electricity substation, a tiny anchovy and a 10 ft ray. Together, these pieces of public art form an unusual guide to Hull’s Old Town. The trail leaflet is free.

CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien Tour, Oxford
Throughout 2017
This specialist tour covers the regular haunts of the two most famous writers in the Inklings, Oxford’s legendary literary group. Led by an expert guide, the tour visits the pub the Inklings met in, the colleges associated with the two writers, and sites that offer a glimpse into the imaginary worlds created by the pair. The tour runs once a month on a Saturday throughout 2017.  

Discover England’s Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy tours, southern England
Throughout 2017
Discover England Tours has tours dedicated to two giants of English literature. New for 2017, to mark the 200th anniversary of the writer’s death, is the four-night Jane Austen Literary Tour, which visits: Austen’s family homes; Bath and Lyme Regis, which both inspired Austen; her grave in Winchester Cathedral; and film locations from screen adaptations of the author’s novels. Not new but decidedly noteworthy in VisitEngland’s Year of Literary Heroes is the two-day Thomas Hardy Literary Tour. It visits: Dorset villages typical of Hardy’s novels; places that inspired some of his finest works; Hardy’s cottage and birthplace as well as his later home; the church where his heart is buried next to his two wives; and the extensive Hardy Collection in Dorset County Museum.

New mystery tour of the Cotswolds
Building on the success of their tours of the Cotswolds’ hidden villages, the people behind Secret Cottage have launched a new day tour for 2017. Like the Secret Cottage Tour, the guided six-hour Cotswold Mystery Tour explores picturesque hidden North Cotswold villages that are inaccessible by public transport. The tour winds through stunning countryside and, occasionally, private estates with glorious parkland and magnificent houses that are usually inaccessible to the public. The tour commentary is sprinkled with anecdotes about living in the Cotswolds, gossip about the celebrities who live here, and historical factoids. It’s an excellent way to experience the Cotswolds away from the area’s better-known and consequently busier honeypots.

New Restoration & Conservation Tour for 2017 at Blenheim Palace
9 January – 8 February
Discover the real 'Behind the Scenes' at Blenheim Palace, learning about the intricate processes of historical restoration and modern conservation whilst maintaining the heritage of the Oxfordshire World Heritage Site. The new tours will look at two very important aspects of running a 300 year old Palace, including restoring a piece of art, building or tapestry to its original condition, as well as the preservation and repair of the historical and cultural site and its artefacts. The tour will also examine the theme of renovation, exploring how Blenheim Palace must also modernise and remain as a comfortable family home and appealing to visitors. Price: Palace, Park & Garden ticket required, Adult £24.90, Concession* £19.90, Child £13.90

New Foot Trails walking holidays
West Country walking holiday specialist Foot Trails has launched new inn-to-inn trails for independent walkers in 2017, available to book from February 2017. A 10-night independent trip from Chipping Campden will follow local paths and guide walkers to hand-picked, top-quality country inns with delicious, often award-winning food and drink, and a touch of luxury in the bedrooms. The four-or-five-night Dorset Royal Chase trail will also be extended to six-and-seven night itinerary options.

New myths and legends trail, Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
Neatly tying in with the upcoming release of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword in May, Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism has launched a new trail that steeps the area’s ancient monuments and natural beauty with thrilling tales of legendary figures, mythical creatures and ghosts. It’s easy to see why this area has inspired writers from JRR Tolkien to JK Rowling, and why it’s so popular as a set location – the upcoming King Arthur film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as BBC series Merlin, Sherlock and Doctor Who were all filmed here. Myths & Legends of the Wye Valley & Forest of Dean trail includes King Arthur’s Cave in Doward where, legend has it, a giant human skeleton was discovered in the 1700s. Other places featured include the Bleeding Stone of Staunton and Hereford Castle, which is haunted by the ghost of Isobel Chandos.

New booking tool opens up England’s east coast
The Coastal Pass is a new initiative that makes it easy for international and domestic visitors to explore the east coast of England. Travellers can tailor-make a trip to the area using this interactive booking and itinerary-building tool. The Pass spans five counties from Yorkshire to Essex, covering places as diverse as Skegness and Cromer to Flamborough Head and Sewerby Hall and Gardens. The Pass focuses on six themes – top highlights, wildlife and nature, arts and culture, heritage, coastal life and active breaks – and includes more than 250 tourism businesses, from B&Bs, hotels and pubs to nature reserves and attraction and activity providers. It has been developed by the National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) with funding from the Discover England Fund administered by VisitEngland.

The Writers' Way, Hampshire
Cyclists and walkers can now follow a new 13-mile-long trail through the Hampshire countryside. The Writers’ Way links novelist Jane Austen, naturalist Gilbert White and writer William Cobbett to some exceptional English countryside. The route, which is mostly on paths and rural lanes, passes Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, the Curtis Museum in Alton, and Gilbert White’s House in Selborne. The walk is linear but users can hop on the Watercress Line Steam Railway to get back to their starting point – the Alton and Medstead stations are near either end of the route. The launch ties in with the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen and VisitEngland’s Year if Literary Heroes.

New alpaca walking experience, Cumbria
‘Alpacaly Ever After’ have teamed up with the Lingholm Estate to offer 90-minute alpaca walks along the shore of Derwentwater. Twelve male alpacas have taken up residence in the grounds of the Lake District estate. Visitors can help at feeding time and take the alpacas for a walk along paths once walked by Beatrix Potter during her many holidays at Lingholm. The route goes past the newly created ‘Victorian’ Walled Garden, on the site of the original kitchen garden featured in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and down to the scenic lakeshore where the alpacas can have a paddle, or even a swim.


New vineyard tours and tastings, Kent and Sussex
Best of England, a carefully curated portfolio of tourism-related attractions, will launch vineyard tours and tastings to some of the country’s finest vineyards and wineries. Best of England champion English wine and have forged strong relationships with some of the south of England’s top wine producers, including Rathfinny, Bluebell, Bolney and Ridgeview. The half day, full day and overnight tours will include transport, tours of one or two vineyards, and a gourmet picnic in the grounds of a vineyard or a pub lunch. They have also negotiated special discounts on wine purchases, and will launch with the Sussex-based tours, adding new Kent tours to their portfolio later in 2017. www.bestofengland.com/tours

Cotswold Hare Trail, Cotswolds
March – September
Following the huge success of the Cirencester March Hare Festival, 2017 will see the launch of the Cotswold Hare Trail. It will feature 5ft-tall hare sculptures placed around the towns and villages of the Cotswolds. The hares will be designed by local artists to celebrate the outstanding culture and heritage of the Cotswolds.

Off-grid bushcraft camp and kayaking with Sea Kayak Devon 
March – October
Located near the banks of the River Dart, learn how to build shelters, light fires and collect and cook wild food with this back-to-basics adventure. Detox from technology as you explore the coast and fishing the shores, learning how to sea kayak and stand up paddle board. There's no electricity or mains running water at camp; gas lanterns and candles are used for lighting, drinking water is taken to the camp in a barrel, and food is cooked up on a log stove – a true off-grid bushcraft! Prices including bushcraft and the sea kayaking experience with all equipment and instruction provided: 1 night 2 Day self-catered camp: Child £135 - Adult £175, other packages are available.

New England’s Historic Cities augmented reality experience launches
31 March
Twelve of England’s most historic cities have collaborated to develop an innovative augmented reality (AR) product that brings heritage to life. England’s Historic Cities is a ground-breaking new AR experience consisting of an app and videos that transport the user back in time to unveil the hidden lives of some of history’s most fascinating characters. In Durham, the app lets you see through walls to locations used in the Harry Potter films which are not accessible by the public. At Chester’s amphitheatre, a 360˚ 3D reconstruction shows the brutal side of a working amphitheatre, and at Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum’s viewing rotunda you can look down through the app to a reconstructed Roman fort. The app is available to download for free in google play, on the app store or at historic-cities.com/stories

New cycling holidays from Freewheel Holidays
April – September
Freewheel Holidays has launched several new UK biking trips for 2017. The seven-day Oxford & The Cotswolds tour showcases glorious Oxford, Blenheim Palace and pretty Cotswold villages. The six-day Devon Coast-to-Coast takes in England’s ‘best beach’ (Woolacombe, as voted by TripAdvisor contributors), beautiful river estuaries and the edge of Dartmoor. The six-day Stamford to Lincoln route is a mostly flat and easy-paced trip through the market towns and villages of rural England.

Innovative Secret Art trail launches, Yorkshire Wolds
10 April
A new Secret Art trail along the Yorkshire Wolds Way uses the latest technology to create a virtual art gallery in the landscape. The highly innovative trail starts at the Humber Bridge and ends at Filey Brigg, exploring art, poetry and culture along the way. Visitors can ‘see’ poetry and paintings floating in the landscape, as well as upload their own creations. So far, 10 local artists have produced art work and Yorkshire poet Ian Macmillan has written and recorded a ‘secret poem’ for the virtual gallery. The idea is the latest to emerge from a partnership (between Ruth Rowland of Wolds Edge and the Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail) intended to create a new and environmentally friendly art gallery in the Yorkshire Wolds. The trail is another addition to Season 2 of Hull2017, and aims to promote the area and local artists along with the concept of health and wellbeing for visitors.

Manchester’s first daily sightseeing bus tour
14 April
Manchester’s first daily hop-on hop-off bus tour has launched, filling a notable gap in the region’s thriving tourism economy; surprisingly, Manchester was one of the few UK cities without a daily sightseeing bus tour. The phased launch of ‘Sightseeing Manchester: the hop-on hop-off city tour’ kicks off with a 90-minute route that visits 15 tourism hotspots throughout Manchester, Salford and Trafford, including the National Football Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. East Manchester and the University corridor will be added later in the year. English-language commentary is provided by Lord of the Rings and Lost actor Dominic Monaghan who grew up in Stockport.

Ramblers Walking Holidays launches Bitesize Breaks
From May
Ramblers Waking Holidays has added Bitesize Breaks to its repertoire of walking holidays. The breaks consist of two nights’ half-board with one day of walking. Priced at £195pp, the holidays are targeted at those who are new to walking or small-group guided walking holidays. The walks are available in locations throughout the UK, including Sidmouth, Cumbria, the Wye Valley, Norfolk, Cornwall and the Peak District.

Inntravel launches new UK holidays for National Walking Month
Walking-holiday specialist Inntravel has added three new six-night walking holidays in the UK to its programme, in time for National Walking Month (in May). The new self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holidays are The Hardy Way, which follows Britain's first literature-themed long-distance path to places that would have been known to novelist Thomas Hardy; The Hills & Dales of Yorkshire explores three of Yorkshire's finest and most scenic dales: Overdale, Wensleydale and Swaledale; and The Landscapes of The Peak District criss-crosses through the Peak District’s varied landscapes, from the manicured gardens of grand stately homes, like Chatsworth, to the dramatic rocky escarpments of Britain's first national park.

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
14 May
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.

City Cruises launches floating garden on the Thames, London
25 – 27 May
The first ever floating garden will bloom on the River Thames this spring as sightseeing firm City Cruises decorates its boat with thousands of roses and a three-tier water feature to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show. All I Want and awarding-winning florist Amie Bone have collaborated with City Cruises to create The Floating Gardens of Westminster; the 90-minute trip includes unlimited bubbly, canapes, a DJ, floral-themed goody bag and a plantable ticket.

Goat yoga, Southampton and Portsmouth
29 May
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.

New Hound of the Baskervilles-themed pub to feature on specialist tour, Devon
The Royal Oak pub in Ashburton will have a Hound of the Baskervilles theme when it reopens, earning it a place on Unique Devon Tours’ The Hound of the Baskervilles Tour itinerary. The tour covers the

New cultural tour of Cornwall
29 April 2017
HF Holidays new ‘Artists and Writers in Cornwall’ tour will follow in the footsteps of Daphne Du Maurier, Barbara Hepworth and Poldark as it explores top Cornish artistic centres such as St Ives, Fowey and Charlestown. The seven-night tour departs 29 April 2017.

UK cycling trips from Freewheel Holidays, various locations
Freewheel Holidays has added three self-guided UK tours to its repertoire. Spend six days rolling through Devon’s countryside and beaches on the Devon Coast to Coast; pedal from Oxford through chocolate-box Cotswold towns, villages and scenery on the seven-day Oxford & The Cotswolds tour; or take in stately homes, castles, Rutland Water and historic towns and cities on the varied six-day Stamford to Lincoln route. All available April to September.

The Hardy Way walking tour, Dorset/Wiltshire
1 April – 31 October
Inntravel’s new walking tour, The Hardy Way, follows the footsteps of Thomas Hardy characters along Britain’s first literature-themed long-distance path. Inntravel collaborated with Margaret Marande, author of The Hardy Way – A 19th-century Pilgrimage, to create this six-night self-guided holiday that cherry-picks the highlights of her 220-mile curated walk through Hardy’s quintessential Wessex landscapes.

RHS Garden Holidays opens access to private gardens, East Anglia
May and September 2017
RHS Garden Holidays has added several private gardens to their Garden Holidays itineraries. The four-day Private Gardens of East Anglia will feature private gardens of RHS President Sir Nicholas Bacon Bt and RHS Council Member Lady Xa Tollemache’s at Helmingham Hall. The holiday will also include RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Wyken Hall vineyards and gardens, and Marks Hall Garden and Arboretum. Departures available 2 May and 13 September 2017.

The Dartmoor Artisan Trail, Devon
Launching this summer, the Dartmoor Artisan Trail will take visitors behind the scenes of Dartmoor National Park’s diverse artisan community. Workshops, demonstrations and tours will allow visitors to watch beekeepers, blacksmiths, cider makers, shoemakers, weavers, potters and painters at work, and to buy products directly from the makers. Visitors can tailor self-guided or chauffeur-driven tours, or join group organised and walking tours.



200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Hampshire
Throughout 2017
2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of one of England’s most acclaimed authors with ‘Jane Austen 200 – A Life in Hampshire’, a year-long programme of events, activities, performances, book launches and projects across the county. Highlights include: an extra-special Regency Week with events including music, dance, talks, a Regency Day and more (17-25 June; www.janeaustenregencyweek.co.uk); special talks, activities, exhibitions and celebrations at Jane Austen’s House Museum (March – December; www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk); and tours of Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried, including readings at her graveside (www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk). In Basingstoke, Sitting with Jane, a series of Austen-inspired ‘Book Benches’ each uniquely designed and painted by a professional artist with their personal interpretation of a Jane Austen-theme, will be accompanied by a dedicated web site, a free app and a trail  guide (www.sittingwithjane.com). For those keen on a taste of Regency England, Jane Austen Big Picnics across Hampshire will offer the opportunity to see some performances, try some Regency food and learn more about the author. Jane Austen 200 exhibitions in Winchester, Gosport and Basingstoke, which will focus on her belongings, her family and her relationship to Hampshire. The anniversary will no doubt also spark a resurgence in interest in key Jane Austen sites across the country. Highlights include the Jane Austen Centre in Bath (a second home to Jane and the backdrop to two of her novels; www.janeausten.co.uk). Let’s hope there are also plans for a rerun of the famous Mr Darcy lake scene at Lyme Park to mark the occasion (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/jane-austen-film-and-tv).www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/janeausten ; janeausten200.co.uk


140th anniversary of the publication of Black Beauty, Norfolk

Throughout 2017

One of the best-selling books of all time, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty was published by Jarrold & Son in 1877, and Norwich is hosting several events celebrating its 140th anniversary. Thirteen watercolours by Cecil Aldin used in a 1912 edition of the novel will be on display at The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell (25 July – 25 November); the museum will also offer horse-themed activities throughout the school summer holidays. Although no longer publishers, Jarrolds still trade in Norwich and Jarrolds Department Store will have a Black Beauty book offer, themed displays, a children’s art/craft competition, a Black Beauty Afternoon Tea (August), as well as hosting the launch of local brewer Woodforde’s new Black Beauty beer. Meanwhile, bartenders at the Library Restaurant & Bar and the nearby Birdcage will mix the Black Beauty and the Sewell 77 cocktails respectively, for World Cocktail Day (13 May).
www.visitnorwich.co.uk ; www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk ; www.jarrold.co.uk ; www.woodfordes.co.uk ; www.thelibraryrestaurant.co.uk ; www.thebirdcagenorwich.co.uk

40th anniversary of Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Throughout 2017
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with major indoor and outdoor exhibitions, special events and more. Highlights include the biggest ever UK exhibition of work by leading British sculptor Tony Cragg (4 March – 3 September); a year-long residency by poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage; a commemorative book with a foreword by Michael Palin; and the construction of a new visitor centre due for completion in late 2017/early 2018 (see below). Further details to be announced soon.

250th anniversary of the Royal Crescent, Bath
Throughout 2017
Since its foundation stone was laid on 19 May 1767, Bath’s Royal Crescent has become one of the most famous buildings in Britain, encapsulating the architectural innovation, social identity and creative imagination of Georgian Britain. In 2017 organisations in the city, including the Bath Preservation Trust and its museums and the iconic Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, will mark the anniversary with a variety of events, public celebrations, and a collection of specially created experiences and partnerships – all under the banner of RC250. The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa’s new £2,500 RC250 Suite Stay is the ultimate celebratory package. It includes two nights for two in one of hotel’s luxurious suites, the specially created RC250 Taittinger Tasting Menu, an RC250 spa treatment for two people, and several commemorative luxury products, such as RC250 tea, chocolates and limited edition gin. Guests also have the option of purchasing a pair of specially commissioned Royal Crescent watercolour prints, or taking in the sights of Bath with a dawn or dusk flight in the Taittinger hot air balloon.
www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk ; www.royalcrescent.co.uk

Celebrating 20 years of World Book Day, across England
2 March
World Book Day, the annual celebration of books and reading for children and young people, has planned an all-star line-up of authors and illustrators to help it celebrate its 20th anniversary. David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson are among the 'national treasures' who have written new stories to mark the occasion. And for the first time, 22 National Trust properties around the country will be taking part in World Book Day with a weekend of children’s book activities ranging from the story of the Gingerbread man at Ightham Mote to the history of books at Belton and stepping back into the 1960s at Sudbury’s Museum of Childhood.
www.worldbookday.com; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/worldbookday

290th anniversary of the death of Sir Isaac Newton, Lincolnshire
2017 is the 290th anniversary of the death of physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Newton’s Trail offers visitors a chance to follow in the footsteps of one of the world’s greatest thinkers. Walk, cycle or drive around a self-guided tour covering a hidden corner of the county where he was born, went to school and later returned to as he continued his pioneering work after fleeing the plague in Cambridge. The Trail covers Woolsthorpe, where Newton nurtured his theory of gravity, famously inspired by a falling apple from a tree in his garden. Today visitors to the National Trust property can still see that original apple tree and tour the modest manor house. Mostly following quiet country lanes around south Lincolnshire, the trail takes in picturesque stone villages, gardens, churches, historic inns and pubs, many of which have changed little since Newton’s days.

One-man play goes underground to celebrate 150th anniversary of Millican Dalton, Cumbria
20 April
Lake District legend Millican Dalton spent much of his life living in a cave in the Borrowdale Valley after leaving his ‘stifling’ city job in London in a bid for freedom and happiness. A special performance of ‘Professor of Adventure’ by Peter MacQueen will take place in Fiddler’s Cavern, Honister Slate Mine to mark the occasion. The performance is doubly special as Honister Slate Mine celebrates 20 years since it’s revival as a working mine this spring.

75th anniversary of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five
From May
Cue lashings of ginger beer, as Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hodder Children’s Books team up with the RHS to hold a series of events to celebrate 75 years of The Famous Five, Enid Blyton’s best-loved and phenomenally successful book series, publishing in May 2017 with newly illustrated covers. The ‘Five go on a Garden Adventure’ anniversary activity will feature across all four RHS gardens throughout 2017, offering family activities inspired by The Famous Five, including themed adventure trails and garden displays, craft workshops and storytelling.  All four gardens will also be holding a picnic party on 11th August 2017, Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday. The series brought rural Southern England and the coastline to life through the wild, outdoor adventures of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and their dog Timmy. Enid Blyton was a regular visitor to Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and the area inspired locations in many of the books including Corfe Castle (Kirrin Castle) and Brownsea Island (Whispering Island).

150th anniversary of Arnold Bennett’s birth, Stoke-on-Trent
Throughout 2017
Events and exhibitions are being staged throughout the year to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Enoch Arnold Bennett, a prolific writer with a remarkable legacy and close ties to The Potteries. Born 27 May 1867, Bennett was a writer, journalist, raconteur and wit, and the Head of War Propaganda during World War I. He also gave his name to an omelette. Born in Hanley and mourned nation-wide when he died, Bennett lived in France and London, but never lost sight of his native Potteries. Follow the self-guided Arnold Bennett’s Bursley Trail to see local scenes connected with his works, and find the section devoted to him in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. In early 2017, the gallery will host a three-month Arnold Bennett Exhibition which will draw on many of the artefacts, watercolours and other Bennett materials held in the Museum, many of which have not been on public display before. Other anniversary events include a talk about ‘Bennett and the Vic: The Victoria Theatre’s Stage Adaptations of Bennett’s Five Towns Novels’ (25 February); a new production of Jock-on-the-Go at Stoke Repertory Theatre (2-4 May); a new dramatic adaptation of a Bennett novel by Theresa Heskins at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme (26 May); The Arnold Bennett Annual Dinner Arnold Bennett Anniversary Weekend at the Jubilee Hall in Stoke (26-28 May); and The Annual Bennett Conference in Keele Hall (1 & 2 September).
bit.ly/2arnQTZ ; www.stokemuseums.org.uk/visit/pmag

Abbey900, Cirencester
Throughout 2017
This year-long festival celebrates the 900th anniversary of the founding of Cirencester’s Augustinian Abbey of St Mary, by King Henry 1 in 1117. The opening ceremony will be performed by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, on 28 February 2017 in the parish church after a commemorative tree-planting in the abbey grounds. The celebrations will include concerts, photography and flower competitions, guided walks of the abbey, athletics events, performing arts and two re-enactments. 


300th anniversary of The Bluecoat building, Liverpool
Throughout 2017
The Bluecoat, the city centre’s oldest building and Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts organisation, celebrates 300 years in 2017 with a massive programme of special activities. Stay tuned for more details.

400th anniversary of Pocahontas’s death
Pocahontas became ill aboard a ship bound for Virginia, and subsequently died after only travelling as far as Gravesend. Her funeral took place on 21 March 1617 at St George’s church in Gravesend, Kent, where her body is buried. There is also a statue of her in the churchyard.

50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s honorary degree from Newcastle University
Throughout 2017
Freedom City 2017 is a city-wide celebration commemorating the themes of Dr King’s passionate honorary degree acceptance speech in Newcastle – his final public address outside America before his assassination. It will feature work by international artists, musicians, filmmakers, academics and community groups celebrating everything Dr King stood for:  freedom, togetherness, empowerment and respect. Freedom City 2017 will culminate in November in a series of major cultural events including Freedom City on the Tyne, a mass public march across the iconic Tyne Bridge in celebration of inclusivity, internationalism and integration. Other events include an exhibition at Great North Museum: Hancock, celebrating Dr King’s visit to Newcastle; and Songs of Freedom, a musical celebration at Sage Gateshead of Dr King and the Civil Rights movement.

150th anniversary of Colston Hall, Bristol
One of Bristol’s major concert halls, Colston Hall, will turn 150 years old in 2017. To celebrate, it will kick off Phase 2 of an enormous transformation – Bristol’s biggest ever redevelopment programme in the arts sector. Changes will include remodelling the existing main auditorium with major changes to the stage and equipping it with international standards of acoustics, comfort and flexibility, plus redevelopment of the second hall, known as The Lantern, into an elegant and versatile performance venue. It’s due for completion in 2019.

100th anniversary of Edward Thomas’s death, Hampshire
March – September
A programme of events will mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the wartime poet Edward Thomas, who died 9 April 1917. Thomas lived in Steep, Hampshire in the pre-WWI years (there’s even an Edward Thomas Circular Walk in the area). Anniversary highlights will include: a special memorial concert as part of the Petersfield Musical Festival (17 March); exhibitions of Thomas-inspired works at Petersfield Museum and the Petersfield Physic Garden, part of a multi-site exhibition of works inspired by writers entitled 'Inspired by the Word' (4 April – 30 September); an Edward Thomas literary-historical display at Petersfield Museum (April – June); and an exhibition of photographs by and of Edward Thomas at Petersfield Museum (May – June). Watch this space for news of more events yet to be confirmed. 
www.petersfieldmusicalfestival.org.uk ; www.petersfieldmuseum.co.uk ; www.petersfieldphysicgarden.org.uk

150th anniversary: Sail Training International Rendezvous Tall Ships Regatta, Greenwich
13-16 April
Marking the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, Greenwich will see some of the world’s largest Tall Ships leave Greenwich to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Quebec. Anchored at two sites in the borough, visitors can see the Tall Ships at the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage site in Greenwich and the Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich. The festival will see a huge Parade of Sail taking place at around 5pm on the last day with a convoy of 40 Tall Ships and a number of smaller Class C and D ships sailing down the Thames.

20 years since The Matthew replica sailed to Newfoundland in 1997
On 2 May 1997, The Matthew set sail for Newfoundland, skippered by David Alan Williams. The replica wooden ship, which lives in Bristol’s Floating Harbour and nowadays takes passengers on fish ‘n’ chip trips accompanied by sea shanties, will celebrate its replica maiden voyage on the first May bank holiday in 2017. To mark the occasion, The Matthew will publish a book telling the story of the original boat’s history – that its captain, John Cabot, accidently discovered North America whilst trying to find Asia – plus the significance of the replica, and how it’s used now for entertainment as well as education. There will be a community history project too.

800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln Fair, Lincoln
May – September
Most people know the importance of the 1066 Battle of Hastings or the Battle of Britain in 1940…but how about the 1217 Battle of Lincoln Fair? No? Well, despite its lack of public recognition, historians regard this medieval fight with the French for the English throne as one of the most important turning points in English history. Events marking the anniversary include a new Knight’s Trail of 35 knight-on-horseback sculptures through the city (20 May – 3 September), and a new exhibition, Battle and Dynasties, featuring prestigious national exhibits will trace British history from the Battle of Lincoln to the present day (28 May – 4 September).
www.visitlincoln.com; www.lincolncastle.com

50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, nationwide
1 June
It is 50 years since The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, so expect a huge fuss to be made, especially in Liverpool where there will be plenty of new programming around this celebration. For starters, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will team up with Beatles tribute act the Bootleg Beatles to perform ‘It was 50 years ago today’ at London’s Royal Albert Hall (1 June). The show will have premiered the night before at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, and it will be repeated there (3 June) and in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (6 June). Liverpool is also commissioning a three-week festival of 13 events, each inspired by a different song from the album. More details on other events available soon.

140th birthday of Ullswater ‘Steamers’ Lady of the Lake
26 June
Ullswater ‘Steamers’ will celebrate the 140th birthday of M.Y Lady of the Lake, launched 26 June 1877 and believed to be the oldest working passenger vessel in the world. She was designed by Mr Douglas Henson of Penrith, built at Rutherglen near Glasgow, transported in three sections by rail to Penrith and thereafter by horse drays to Waterside near Pooley Bridge, where she was assembled. Join Ullswater ‘Steamers’ in celebrating the journey of Lady of the Lake and the important role she plays today.

50th anniversary of Arthur Ransome‘s death
June 2017, with activities throughout the year
Arthur Ransome, author of the much-loved Swallows and Amazons children’s book series, died 3 June 1967. Most his life was spent in the Lake District area, where Swallows and Amazons was set. In 1935 Ransome and his wife moved to Suffolk with the intention of enjoying some sea-sailing with his much-loved yacht the Nancy Blackett, said to have inspired the seventh book in the Swallows and Amazons series, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea – coincidentally celebrating its 80th year since publication in 2017. Pay your respects to the man who launched a million childhood sailing dreams by booking a sailing experience or an overnight trip aboard the legendary yacht, which is moored on the Shotley Peninsula, Suffolk. In the Lakes, Stephen and Janine Sykes, the current owners of Hill Top, where Ransome spent his final years (visitors can stay in the 5-star Gold self-catering The Cottage at Hill Top), have commissioned a painting by popular Lakes artist Nick Leigh to mark the anniversary. The Sykes are also supporters of a marathon reading of Swallows and Amazons on the shore of Coniston (3 September); Charles Wordsworth (William Wordsworth’s great great great great grandson) and Andrea Gibb (the screenwriter behind 2016’s film adaptation of Swallows and Amazons) have signed up to read chapters. The reading will mark the end of a summer-long exhibition at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston about Ransome, Russia and storytelling. Watch this space for further details of events, including Suffolk’s Arthur Ransome Festival 2017.
www.nancyblackett.org ; www.hilltopvista.com ; lakesculture.co.uk ; www.ruskinmuseum.com

350th Anniversary of the Battle of Medway
Plans are afoot to commemorate the 350th Anniversary of the Battle of Medway (also known as the Dutch Raid) with a series of exhibitions and special events, culminating in Medway in Flames, a spectacular river event in Chatham. The Dutch Raid is well known in The Netherlands where it’s viewed as one of the country’s biggest naval successes. Conversely, it’s one of England’s greatest naval disasters.


20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series
Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, on 30 June 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide inspiring the highly popular film series. To celebrate, the British Library will host a new exhibition dedicated to the magic of Harry Potter (20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018). The exhibition will be the first of its kind to celebrate a single series of books by a living author. Exhibits will include previously unseen materials from author JK Rowling and the book’s publisher Bloomsbury, as well as magical treasures from the British Library’s own collection of wizarding books.
www.pottermore.com/explore-the-story/harry-potter ; www.bl.uk

350th anniversary of the last land invasion of England, Suffolk
2017 marks the 350th anniversary of The Battle of Landguard Fort – the last time English shores were physically invaded by a foreign force. On 2 July 1667, a 2,000-strong Dutch naval force attacked Landguard Fort near Felixstowe. They were repelled by a force of around 550 troops, including 400 of the first Marines led by Captain Nathaniel Darell, who emerged victorious from the skirmish, suffering just four casualties and one death compared to heavy losses on the invading side. The victory is celebrated every year at Landguard Fort on Darell’s Day, with the 2017 celebrations set to be extra special. Interesting aside: the event also led to the birth of the modern Royal Marines.

25th anniversary of the Premier League
The world-famous Premier League turns 25 in 2017. The first season kicked off in August 1992 and has been drawing international interest ever since. Attending a match is high up on the must-do list of any visitor to Britain – you’ll witness the players’ skills, the fans’ passion, the stadiums’ electric atmosphere; altogether a truly unforgettable sports experience. As well as the opportunity to watch the best of English and Welsh football, attending a game is also the perfect chance to visit the clubs’ destinations. Reaching from the far north-east of England (Newcastle) to the south of Wales, (Swansea), central England (Leicester), over to London and across to the hip cities of north-west England (Manchester and Liverpool), following Premier League football also means discovering some of Britain’s most exciting cities – and, of course, the opportunity to explore behind the scenes as many stadiums run tours.

80th anniversary of the world’s first operational radar station, Suffolk
In February 1936, Bawdsey Manor became a top-secret research site for the MOD. The scientists who worked in The Transmitter Block on the Bawdsey Manor Estate before and during World War II were at the forefront of radar research: in fact, they were the original boffins (it was at Bawdsey that the term boffin was first applied). By 24 September 1937, Bawdsey was the world’s first fully operational radar station, playing a crucial role in the war by informing the RAF of approaching enemy aircraft. Nowadays it is open to visitors and houses an exhibition telling the story of radar.
www.bawdseyradar.org.uk ; www.bawdseymanor.co.uk

125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes publication
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was published in 1892; the book was the first collection of Holmes stories, which Conan Doyle had been publishing in magazines since 1887. Now a popular TV series, London is almost a character in itself in the Sherlock stories. Start with a visit to Sherlock and Watson’s famous address, 221B Baker Street. While it doesn’t actually exist, the exterior of their flat as seen in the series is shot in this quieter west London road, 25 minutes’ walk from Baker Street, at 187 North Gower Street. Other destinations sure to be of interest to Sherlock fans include, The Sherlock Holmes Museum, a Grade II-listed building devoted to the detective. It features a re-creation of his sitting room, and a gift shop. The Sherlock Homes Pub in Westminster is stuffed with memorabilia, including Dr Watson’s old service revolver and his favourite food, Cumberland sausages. Fans of the TV series can also explore filming locations in Bristol with a Sherlock Locations Map.
www.londonandpartners.com www.visitbristol.co.uk

100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force
A public launch of the RAF’s centenary year celebrations and the start of the RAF100 fund-raising appeal is scheduled for autumn 2017. The main events will take place in 2018 (See ‘And Beyond…’, below.)
www.raf.mod.uk/raf100 ; #myRAF100

125th anniversary of the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Lincolnshire
6 October
Tennyson (1809-1892) was born and brought up in the Lincolnshire Wolds, and the gentle rolling landscape provided inspiration for some of his early work. 125 years after he died, visit the county and follow in the footsteps of one of our most famous poets on the Tennyson Trail. Visit Somersby, where he was born and spent his early years. Stroll through the countryside that inspired him. Linger in picturesque Tetford, where the 16th-century White Hart Inn served as the poet’s local, or discover Tennyson’s ‘haunt of ancient peace’ at Gunby Hall, near Spilsby. Tennyson spent his childhood holidays on the Lincolnshire coast, where the high dunes, beach and sea made Mablethorpe one of his favourite places.

160th Birthday of Sir Edward Elgar, Worcestershire
In celebration of 160 years since the composer’s birth on 2 June 1857, a number of events will take place across Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The most notable event planned (so far) will be another Elgar Festival, the first of which was held for his 150th anniversary. Thanks to the Elgar Birthplace Museum being taken over by the National Trust in September 2016, and possible additional funding, the 2017 festival should be expanded to accommodate his international celebrity; his most famous song, “Pomp and Circumstance,” is traditionally played at every American’s graduation. Dates of the Elgar Festival are to be confirmed. Until then, visit the Elgar Birthplace Museum and follow the Elgar Walking Route in Worcester.

100th anniversary of IWM
Imperial War Museums will see its centenary year in 2017, with a host of planned events and commemorations. IWM was founded on 5 March 1917 as a national war museum to record events still happening during the World War I. The first museum was officially opened in the Crystal Palace on 9 June 1920. Details of events TBC.

120th anniversary of Tate Britain, London
Originally known as The Tate Gallery, the art gallery is named after Henry Tate, the gallery's first benefactor. Tate first opened its doors in 1897, and has since grown from that small collection of British artworks to four major sites and an important collection of British art. Anniversary events TBC.

Newcastle Brown Ale’s 90th birthday
The city's popular ale was first launched in 1927, and was brewed in, you guessed it, Newcastle. Nowadays it’s brewed in North Yorkshire.

100th anniversary of the birth of Anthony Burgess
One of Manchester’s greatest cultural figures, Anthony Burgess was a novelist, port, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic. The author of 33 novels, 25 works of non-fiction, hundreds of musical works, two volumes of autobiography and vast quantities of journalism, Anthony Burgess is best known for his influential and challenging: A Clockwork Orange.

Attractions, Exhibitions and Restaurants

Iconic ferry to ‘Dazzle’ for another two years, Liverpool
Until 2019
Everybody Razzle Dazzle, Sir Peter Blake’s popular artwork for the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop is to be kept until the ferry’s next major scheduled service at the beginning of 2019. The artwork, commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool, was due to be removed at the end of 2016, but will now stay to see Liverpool’s 10-year anniversary of European Capital of Culture and the continuing First World War commemorations. The extension will be celebrated with a conversation between Sir Peter Blake and art historian and writer Richard Cork about the artist’s commission and wider practice, at the Museum of Liverpool on 23 May 2017 – the event is free but pre-booking is essential. 

Western Australia Garden at the Eden Project, Cornwall
The Eden Project’s Med Biome has a new area devoted to the flora of Western Australia. It’s the biggest transformation of the biome since it opened. Created in collaboration with Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth, Western Australia, the garden shows how plants survive and thrive on some of the world’s oldest, most infertile soil. There are three areas: the Jarrah forest demonstrates the critical role played by fire in habitat maintenance; the central bed displays ‘wow’ plants including wax flowers and flamboyant kangaroo paws; kwongan shows how a huge variety of flora can thrive in impoverished soil. The garden also features Aboriginal artwork.

New ‘Hidden England’ value-added tickets, central England
Throughout 2017
A new range of special tickets means visitors can save money as they explore eight centuries-old heritage sites within an hour’s drive of one another across Rutland, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire. Hidden England’s ‘All Houses’ option allows one visit to each of the eight properties during 2017 for just £49.50 per person, saving up to 50% on the full admission prices if paid for separately. There are also ticket options covering any six of the properties for £42 per person, or any four for £32. The sites involved are Belvoir Castle, Burghley House, Doddington Hall, Grimsthorpe Castle, Rockingham Castle, Lincoln and Peterborough cathedrals, and Easton Walled Gardens. The discount tickets are only available online.

Temple Guiting Shop & Tearoom, Cotswolds
The Cotswolds now has another great foodie reason to visit. The new Temple Guiting Shop & Tearoom is the latest development on the luxury Temple Guiting Estate, which also has a portfolio of luxurious self-catering properties. The Shop & Tearoom sources artisan produce from the Cotswolds and across the country, championing the rural economy. Also new from the Estate for 2017 is the Granary, an immaculately converted farmhouse for up to six guests.

Studio 144 to open, Southampton
Opening in phases throughout 2017, Studio 144, which spans two adjacent landmarked buildings framing Guildhall Square, will be home to NST - Nuffield Southampton Theatres , as well as John Hansard Gallery. The new Nuffield Theatre will host productions and live acts, and will include a flexible 447-seat main house theatre, a 135-seat studio, screening facilities, rehearsal and workshop spaces, and a café bar and bistro. Its associate actors include Tom Hiddleston, Samantha Bond, Celia Carmichael and Celia Imrie.

The Deep launches marine art exhibition, Hull
Throughout 2017
In celebration of Hull as the City of Culture 2017, The Deep will host a series of six marine-themed art installations highlighting the diversity of marine wildlife and habitats, as well as the threats they face. The works of six artists will be on display for two months each, starting with Mandy Barker, an award-winning photographic artist whose work involving marine plastic debris has received global recognition (January – February). Barker will be followed by: Nick O’Neil, who specialises in contemporary marine and wildlife art (March – April); a collection of images from The National Zoo Photography Awards (May – June); underwater photography by Nick Hunt (July – August); extraordinary images from Ernst Haeckel, a 19th-century German biologist, naturalist and artist (September – October); and Alexander Reichardt, the artist and designer behind the internationally acclaimed Fish & Olive gallery in Halki, Greece.

New events and developments at Dreamland Margate, Kent
Throughout 2017
In its third year since it reopened, phase two of the renovation and development of Dreamland will see the reopening of the Sunshine Café. When the cafe first opened in 1934, it was Margate seafront’s top restaurant, and the panoramic windows overlooking the beach and sunsets promise to be just as impressive in 2017. Dreamland will also host three new events, as well as their award-winning Screamland (13-28 October): family-friendly festival of play and games GEEK (Games Expo East Kent) will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mario Kart, as well as hosting tournaments, Cosplay and coding workshops (17-19 February); Hipsville Seaside A Go Go Weekend will be an enormous 60s-and-beyond-themed party weekend with international bands, DJs, caged Go Go girls and uncaged gorillas, vintage market stalls and a custom car and bike show (28-30 April); the independent, grassroots Undercover Festival will move its new punk, ska, dub, reggae and post punk line-up from Brighton to Dreamland Margate in 2017 (8-9 September). 

Leeds Art Gallery reopens
Early 2017
Leeds Art Gallery will reopen to the public following major repairs to the building’s original Victorian glass-vaulted roof structures. The Gallery will have been closed for over a year, but has kept up a busy schedule through touring exhibitions and events in various other locations.

New location for REME Museum, Wiltshire
Early 2017
The REME Museum is moving to a new location in Lyneham, Wiltshire. Moving the 100,000-plus items in the collection display, including a Scout helicopter, World War II vehicles and an extensive array of weapons and trade test pieces, is no mean feat, but as the museum for the heritage of the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, there’s no doubt they’re up to the job.

World’s only Pencil Museum reopens, Cumbria
Early 2017
Following closure for renovation, the world’s only pencil museum is due to reopen in Keswick in early 2017.

Clifford’s Tower closes for redevelopment, York
From February
English Heritage has revealed plans for the development of Clifford's Tower, including a visitor centre and viewing platform. The new visitor centre will provide access to a currently hidden 19th-century wall that has been inaccessible since 1935. The proposals also include new interpretation and the construction of a new roof-level timber deck offering great views across York.

Liverpool World Museum’s new Ancient World gallery
The museum has been inspiring children of all ages since 1853. Its popular Ancient World gallery is currently being revamped and is set to open early next year. Alongside 4,000 objects - many of them previously unseen by the public - there are plans for a brand-new Mummy Room as well as interactive displays.

Market Hall Museum reopens, Warwick
Following a major 18-month-long renovation and upgrade, Warwick’s Market Hall Museum is set to reopen with a platform lift allowing all visitors access to both the ground and first floor exhibits, which cover Warwickshire’s history.

Newly renovated and rebranded National Justice Museum opens, Nottingham
11 February
The award-winning Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham will reopen as the National Justice Museum following a £1 million investment. The National Justice Museum will be the new name for The Egalitarian Trust, which currently incorporates the Galleries of Justice Museum, the City of Caves in Nottingham and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL). The museum will new exhibition areas with new family friendly interactive activities. Also as part of the changes, the NCCL will become 'National Justice Museum Education'. The National Justice Museum collection includes over 40,000 objects and archives – it’s the UK’s largest collection related to law, justice, crime and punishment – and will help people to gain a practical understanding of the law and justice system.
www.galleriesofjustice.org.uk ; www.cityofcaves.com ; www.nccl.org.uk

Marco Pierre White opens new restaurant, Plymouth
Marco Pierre White’s new Plymouth restaurant is set to become the city’s new gastronomy hotspot. The Steakhouse Bar & Grill has spectacular views of the Waterfront, Hoe and across the sea to Cornwall from the huge windows by the bar area. The menu, curated by Marco, features dishes such as crispy devilled whitebait, 16oz T-bone and 16oz chateaubriand for two and fish curry with buttered rice. The new eatery is on the top floor of the Holiday Inn on Armada Way.

British Music Experience, Liverpool
March 2017
Following a five year run at London’s O2, the British Music Experience will now make its new home in the passenger lounge of the iconic Cunard Building in Liverpool. The BME is an unrivalled collection of music artefacts and memorabilia including some of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costumes. Naturally, the new home invites an homage to some of Liverpool’s own great musicians, with 10% of the exhibition dedicated to artists such as The Beatles and Cilla Black. The museum will also examine the impact British music has had on the culture, fashion, art and politics of the time.

New Remembrance Centre at National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire
Official opening March 2017
The National Memorial Arboretum’s new £15.7 million Remembrance Centre soft opened on 21 October 2016 ahead of its official opening in March 2017. There will be a new outdoor space, Heroes’ Square, and a major new Remembrance and Learning Centre with event and exhibition space dedicated to how Remembrance affects us all. There will also be a new garden that gently guides visitors into the Arboretum, and a remodelled restaurant and café. The NMA expects visitor numbers to grow to over 500,000 per year.

Shugborough Hall reopens under National Trust ownership, Staffordshire
Shugborough Hall returns to the National Trust in November 2016 after a period of management by Staffordshire Council. The property will close over the winter for improvements to parking arrangements, access and the creation of new walks that take in some of the key features and views across the estate. Shugborough won’t be ‘finished’ when it reopens in March, but it’ll be the first step of a ten-year project.

New Lanesborough Club & Spa, London
The Lanesborough Club & Spa will be one of the capital’s most exclusive private members’ fitness and health clubs, with internationally renowned health, beauty and fitness experts on call, a beautifully crafted interior, and a restaurant with a healthy menu developed by Michelin-starred chefs. Annual membership will cost from £4,000 to £6,000, and guests of The Lanesborough Hotel will have complimentary access.

James Martin Cookery School at Chewton Glen, New Forest
1 March
Chewton Glen will kick off its 50th anniversary celebrations with a new cookery school. Located in the old gatehouse, the school will feature a dining area, charcuterie bar, bakery, patisserie and cooking stations overlooking the kitchen garden. It will be overseen by celebrity chef James Martin, who did a stint as pastry chef at this renowned country house hotel more than 20 years ago.

Bristol Improv Theatre to open
3 March
The BIT will be the UK’s first full-time theatre space devoted to improvised comedy and theatre. Work starts in January to transform a former members’ club in the Clifton area of Bristol into a dedicated 100-seat theatre with a bar, rehearsal space and offices for creative start-ups. Once opened, the organisers plan to raise a further £58,000 to fully equip the space for performance and teaching, creating a world-class hub for Bristol’s – and the UK’s – growing improv community.
The Gruffalo River Ride adventure opening at Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey
18 March
Based on the best-selling children's book by Julia Donaldson, visitors will join the story's brave mouse character on a magical riverboat journey through the deep dark wood. As you float down the lazy river, the world of The Gruffalo will magically unfold in front of your eyes, with exciting twists and turns along the way!

‘Victoria – a costume exhibition’ at Harewood House, Leeds
24 March – 29 October
Harewood House was a key filming location for ITV’s recent, immensely popular Victoria TV series; fans of the show might recognise much of the State Floor, Below Stairs, parts of the Estate and the front of the house. Pleasingly, Queen Victoria had a number of connections with Harewood, including staying in the State Bedroom and dining in the Gallery in 1835, and Harewood’s collection includes several items owned by Queen Victoria. To celebrate the show’s success, ‘Victoria – a costume exhibition’ will bring to life the opulent rooms on Harewood’s State Floor with costumes from the programme, and there will be a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what happens at Harewood when it’s used as a film set.

The Forbidden Forest opens at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
31 March
The latest permanent addition to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is the Forbidden Forest. Visitors will come face to face with the enormous spider Aragog the Acromantula and bow to Buckbeak the Hippogriff as they wander through 19 trees, each with a diameter of over 12 feet. The Forest will showcase the detail and craftsmanship that went into creating the Forest’s magical creatures, and demo techniques used by filmmakers to control the weather.

New floating restaurant, Berkshire
31 March
The Melody, a glass-sided, hand-crafted river boat, is the latest addition to Windsor’s luxury dining scene. When it launches, the floating restaurant will dish up spectacular views of Windsor and one of the loveliest stretches of the Thames alongside freshly prepared, seasonal dishes from award-winning chefs. Scheduled cruises with three-course lunches, afternoon teas, Sunday lunches and five-course dinners will be on the menu, as well as private hire for celebrations and events.

New dog café, Manchester
Late March
The latest addition to the burgeoning pet café scene will be the Beach Dog Café in Wythenshawe – but with a key difference. As well as being a place for dog owners in need of a coffee to bring their well-behaved dogs, the café will be a platform for dogs from local shelters to come and meet and greet people who want to get some doggie time, with the hope of finding the dogs a forever home. The café will be part of Central Bark, which already offers doggie day care, home-to-home boarding and dog grooming. As well as the shelter dogs, there will be Alfie (the resident meet-and-greet pup), and some dogs from the day care for dog lovers to ogle as they sip their cuppas.

New Wellness Suite at Thermae Bath Spa opens, Bath
29 March
The existing four aroma steam rooms at Thermae Bath Spa have been transformed into a new multi-sensory Wellness Suite. There will be a state-of-the-art infrared sauna, an invigorating ice chamber, a celestial relaxation room and chromotherapy showers. There are also two aroma steam rooms reflecting Bath’s spa traditions: the Georgian Steam Room is light-filled, decorous and elegant, with a flowing fountain and a bright floral fragrance; the Roman Steam Room has a bold, muscular design, drawing heavily on local Roman architecture. A spa session at Thermae Bath Spa includes full use of the Wellness Suite and bathing in the natural thermal waters of the indoor Minerva Bath and the open-air rooftop pool.

Tate St Ives reopens, Cornwall
31 March and autumn
After an eight-month closure for major structural work designed to expand, improve and transform the Cornish division of the national gallery, Tate St Ives’ original gallery reopens on 31 March with a new exhibition, The Studio and the Sea. A new 500 sq ft gallery extension will open in the autumn. The new structure will make room for more and larger-scale artwork and installations and allow visitors to engage on a deeper level with the collection. There will also be a new multi-purpose learning and events room.

New James Martin restaurant and cookery school at Chewton Glen, New Forest
1 April
Chewton Glen has kicked off its 50th anniversary celebrations with a new restaurant and cookery school. The Kitchen, located in a striking open-plan new-build in the hotel grounds, is both a 42-seat restaurant and a cookery school with a dining area, outdoor terrace, and cooking stations overlooking the kitchen garden. It will be overseen by celebrity chef James Martin, who did a stint as pastry chef at this renowned country house hotel more than 20 years ago. The Kitchen menu is filled with comfort food classics with a luxurious twist, such as wood-fired sourdough pizzas, Trenchmore Wagyu beef burger, Rum Baba with Chantilly cream, and James Martin’s signature specials. The school opened on 1 April, and the restaurant on 14 March.

Refurbished Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron reopens, Shropshire
8 April
The Coalbrookdale Musuem of Iron is re-opening in time for Easter 2017 following a massive refurbishment of all three floors. It’s part of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. The museum will cover the complete history of iron, from the geology of the gorge through to the modern steel industry, as well as explore the lives of the most influential people in the world of iron. Exhibits include a giant whaling pot and an anchor from a Napoleonic warship.

Jorvik Viking Centre reopens, York
8 April
After the severe floods that struck it in December 2015, Jorvik Viking Centre will reopen in April and and visitors will once again rediscover the 10th century city of Jorvik beneath the pavement of Coppergate, with the re-opening of a ‘re-imagined’ JORVIK Viking Centre. The designers have not only updated displays with the latest animatronic technology and Norse research, but also restructured parts of the attraction to encourage visitors to stay a while longer amidst its Viking charms! The recreation features the sights, sounds and (famously) smells of the Viking age, making JORVIK possibly the smelliest attraction in the world.  Familiar odours – including fish, the river and the cesspit return, alongside new aromas specially created for the attraction’s re-opening.

The Postal Museum
The Postal Museum is London’s newest heritage attraction. It will reveal the surprising and curious history of Britain’s earliest social network; the post. With five interactive zones, visitors will be led through five centuries of world-class curiosities, treasures and artefacts, providing a very different and often unseen view of a service that was involved in the majority of significant world events. Visitors will explore how the postal service’s innovation and ingenuity changed the way we communicate forever, and paved the way for the instant, digital communications of today. At the heart of this, is an insight to the people who worked for, and whose lives were changed by this indispensable service, since its introduction in the 1500s.

Clifford’s Tower closes for redevelopment, York
From February
English Heritage has revealed plans for the development of Clifford's Tower, including a visitor centre and viewing platform. The new visitor centre will provide access to a currently hidden 19th-century wall that has been inaccessible since 1935. The proposals also include new interpretation and the construction of a new roof-level timber deck offering great views across York.

New kids’ adventure attraction, Yorkshire
William’s Den is a new £3million kids’ adventure centre on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. Described as a “nostalgic nod to a bygone era of child’s play”, this indoor-meets-outdoor sensory play zone will feature what is believed to be the UK’s largest indoor timber play experience.

Underwater Kingdom, Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight
A magical new theme world is set to open at Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight in Spring, 2017.  Experience an amazing array of colourful, larger than life, sea creatures while discovering magical underwater caves, a vibrant luminescent coral reef, an abandoned sunken shipwreck and finally, the hidden kingdom - where the biggest mammal of them all will be found floating above you.  This new attraction will also contain several animatronic creatures. 

New Treetop Trek adventure, Manchester
Treetop Trek will open its third – and biggest – centre. The family friendly treetop playground in Manchester’s Heaton Park will have giant trampolines and more than 20 zipwires through the native woodland.

New visitor centre at Betteshanger Park, Kent
A new visitor centre will open at Betteshanger Park near Deal in East Kent. The huge Betteshanger Park is part of a series of environmentally sustainable projects on the 121-hectare site of a former colliery. Activities available include cycling and mountain bike trails, outdoor playparks, fossil hunting and den building. The new £8-million centre will house a café, Green Energy Centre and the Kent Mining Museum.

New Forest to open its first wild play area for children, Southern England
The Holbury Manor Park and Warren Copse will be the New Forest’s first permanent wild play site, providing a place for kids and families to explore outdoors all year round, for free. Children will be encouraged to balance on logs, track animals, build dens and generally get their hands mucky. The creation of the site is a response to reports that the number of children playing in natural spaces has more than halved in a generation; it’s also an effective way to manage a patch of overgrown, neglected woodland.

Hadrian’s Cavalry, Hadrian’s Wall
8 April – 10 September
Taking place at ten museums spanning the full length of Hadrian’s Wall, Hadrian’s Cavalry (8 April – 10 September 2017) will be a brand new, wall-wide exhibition celebrating the legendary Roman cavalry regiments that guarded Hadrian’s Wall and projected the power of Imperial Rome 2,000 years ago. The six-month exhibition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to explore the role and daily life of the cavalry forces of the Roman army. The exhibition features a range of remarkable and finely decorated Roman cavalry objects – including cavalry helmets and ornate armour – as well as a series of re-enactment events at attractions across the 150-mile-long World Heritage Site – from Maryport in the west to South Shields in the east. The objects include loans from national and international museums and private collections alongside finds from sites across Hadrian’s Wall. On 1 and 2 July, the largest Roman cavalry re-enactment ever seen will take place at Bitts Park in Carlisle as part of Hadrian’s Cavalry. A troop (turma) of 30 Roman cavalrymen will come together to perform training exercises described 2,000 years ago by Hadrian himself.

New rides at Longleat Forest Centre Parcs
Two new rides will be added to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise at the Longleat Forest Centre Parcs in 2017, and will be at the heart of the visitor experience. They will feature a four-person exhilarating raft ride, similar to rides already proving popular at Elveden Forest and Woburn Forest, as well as a unique one- or two-person ride experience with an exciting light, sound, and visual element. There will also be a family water play area and toddler pool.

The world’s first hand-gesture enabled ride opens at Legoland, Windsor
The new LEGO NINJAGO World challenges visitors to become a master of Spinjitzu. There will be a 4D interactive family ride and ‘training camp activities’ including a climbing wall and the chance to put LEGO-building skills into practise.

New augmented reality app at Shakespeare’s New Place museum, Stratford-upon-Avon
A new augmented reality (AR) app has launched at Shakespeare’s New Place. The free app, England’s Historic Cities, has been developed as part of a wider collaboration between 12 of England’s most historic towns and cities. At New Place, the app brings to life the story of William Shakespeare in his family home, with the Bard himself acting as a personal guide. Users get fresh insights into Shakespeare as a savvy investor, keen entrepreneur and expert social networker.
www.heritagecities.com/stories ; www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit/shakespeares-new-place 

Althorp to host Mario Testino photographs of Princess Diana, Northamptonshire
1 May – 8 October
Twenty years after her death, 15 iconic photos of Diana, Princess of Wales will go on display at Althorp, the family home of the Spencers for over 500 years. The photos were taken in 1997 by Mario Testino for Vanity Fair, and turned out to be the last official portraits of the princess before her death. The original photographs are usually on display in in Lima, Peru, and the exhibition at Althorp will be the first time in over twelve years that the entire collection will be on display.

BeWILDerwood wins planning permissions for new adventure park, Cheshire
9 May
BeWILDerwood has been awarded planning permission for a second adventure park. The new £5million family attraction will be in the estate of Cholmondeley Castle in South Cheshire. Like the first BeWILDerwood, in Norfolk (which happens to be celebrating it 10th anniversary this year), the new environmentally sustainable 70-acre park aims to encourage families to play together outdoors. The park will have aerial and ground woodland walks, play structures, tree houses, boardwalks, story-telling areas, an array of imaginative, adventurous creatures, and a mystical boat ride to transport visitors into the world of BeWILDerwood. 

Sgt Pepper at 50: Heading for Home, Liverpool
25 May – 16 June
Liverpool is curating a unique festival which brings together world-renowned artists and Liverpool-based talent, to pay homage to the 50th anniversary of what is widely regarded as the best rock and roll album of all time. Each track on the iconic Beatles album will be used as the creative springboard for 13 brand new events. The world premiere commissions reimagine the original track, which will evolve into a mixture of large and intimate events covering the worlds of art, dance, music, poetry and theatre, in venues across the city. For example, Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller has made two public art commissions that examine the nature of friendship and self-sacrifice, not just with those we know but also between strangers, in response to ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’.

Saltdean lido reopens, Brighton
26 or 27 May (TBC)
The UK’s only Grade II-listed lido in Saltdean, near Brighton, will reopen this May bank holiday after a five-year restoration programme. The lido is one of the finest remaining examples of modernist lidos in the UK. Phase one sees the opening of the main 40-metre-long swimming pool and the children’s swimming pool re-opening – with heated water, for the first time since it was closed in 1940. Phase two will restore the main building, with a café/restaurant/events space, by 2020, pending funding.

Dinosaurs in the Wild, Birmingham and Manchester
June 2017 – January 2018
Dinosaurs in the Wild is a 70-minute-long immersive theatrical production that transports the audience back 65 million years to ‘meet’ the dinosaurs, using 3D effects, animatronics, cutting-edge CGI, live actors and the latest museum-accurate research. Expect time-travelling scientists who study real dinosaurs instead of fossils and incredible sights such as dinosaurs emerging from eggs, herds of dinosaurs roaming Cretaceous plains, and an angry T-rex. The show will be at Birmingham NEC (24 June – 4 August) before moving to Manchester’s Event City (7 October – 7 January 2018). 

Zoo Nights at London Zoo
2 – 30 June
Every Friday in June, London Zoo will host Zoo Nights, a variety of after-hours experiences and explorations for adults only. As well as a self-guided tour of the zoo and a packed programme of evening feeds and talks, visitors can take part in interactive quiz show Zooniversity Challenge, follow the clues on an interactive detective trail that exposes the illegal wildlife trade, hear expert talks on the mysteries of sex in the animal kingdom in The Birds and the Bees – Uncut, and feast at the Street Food Festival. Live music on the lawn ends the evening – unless you’ve upgraded to one of the limited tickets giving guests the opportunity to sleep within roaring distance of the lions at Gir Lion Lodge in the heart of the zoo.

RIBA North, Liverpool
17 June
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. 

Jane Austen by the Sea, Royal Pavilion, Brighton
17 June 2017 – 8 January 2018
This new display will explore Jane Austen’s relationship with coastal towns, and life in Brighton during her time, to mark the bicentenary of her death.  It will look at the seaside context of Austen’s plots and paint a picture of the leading resort of Brighton in the early 1800s, when it was a fashionable ‘watering place’ featured in novels like Pride and Prejudice.  Although there is no clear evidence that Austen visited Brighton she included it in several of her works, and the display will reassess her relationship with the town in the light of a long-term misunderstanding arising from a hand-written 1799 letter. 

First new enclosure at Royal Ascot for 100 years, Berkshire
20 – 24 June
Ascot Racecourse has announced the opening of a new ‘Village Enclosure’ for Royal Ascot. The new enclosure – the first to open at the Royal Meeting for more than 100 years – will be located on the inside of the track looking back towards the final Furlong with Ascot’s iconic Grandstand as a backdrop. The enclosure will showcase contemporary British summertime, with ‘pop-up’ style boutique dining experiences, innovative bars, live music and a bandstand at the heart of the village green. The Village Enclosure is open on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Royal Ascot, with an exclusive after party until 9pm.

Exhibition Road Building Project at the V&A, London  
The Exhibition Road Building Project will create the Sainsbury Gallery, a purpose-built gallery for the V&A’s internationally renowned exhibitions, The Sackler Courtyard, and a grand new entrance, The Blavatnik Hall, located off Exhibition Road on the west side of the Museum. Designed by AL_A, the London practice headed up by Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete, the building project is the V&A’s largest architectural scheme in the last 100 years. It is transforming a previously inaccessible back-of-house space into an open courtyard for installations, events and a café which, by revising the existing screen designed by Sir Aston Webb, will create a new relationship between the heart of the V&A and Exhibition Road. This will all be set within the beautiful historical facades on the west side of the V&A’s Grade I-listed architecture which have never before been on public view. The large, uninterrupted major exhibition space beneath the courtyard will allow the V&A to significantly improve the way it designs and presents its world-class exhibition programme.

New foodie attraction with UK’s first Cornish pasty heritage centre, Cornwall
Cornucopia, a new food and drink-themed attraction, will showcase the county’s produce and foodie heritage when it opens in the St Austell Bay Retail and Leisure Park. One of Cornucopia’s highlights will be the UK’s first Cornish pasty heritage centre, where visitors will be able to have a go at pasty-making. There’ll also be Sam’s Cornwall (an American-inspired diner that already has four thriving venues across the county), exhibits, a lively events calendar based around the attraction’s demo kitchen and events stage, and 19 foodie outlets selling the best of Cornish food and drink. Cornucopia is set to become one of the area’s leading family attractions.

Blue whale skeleton to welcome visitors to Natural History Museum, London
The central display in the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall is set to change in the summer of 2017, as long-serving resident Dippy, a cast of a diplodocus skeleton, is set to be replaced after 35 years. The new display will be a blue whale skeleton, which will be moved from the Mammals gallery and will mark the beginning of a decade of transformation for the museum.

Luxury spa at Alpamare Waterpark, Scarborough
Summer 2017
In July 2016, the £14 million Alpamare waterpark brought the thrills of a Florida- or Dubai-style waterpark to UK shores. The latest addition to this world-class, state-of-the-art attraction will be a spa with the most luxurious of continental hydro-thermal traditions for health and well-being. It includes classic alpine and ancient hammam saunas, steam rooms and treatments, alongside rejuvenating infinity and garden pools of bath-warm water, with uninterrupted views out to sea.

Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories reopens, Lake District
The Windermere Steamboat Museum will re-open with a brand new name and new world-class buildings to house its collection of boats – one of the most important boat collections related to a single location worldwide. Originally brought together by George Pattinson, a private collector of steam launches and founder of the Windermere Steamboat Museum, the collection now comprises over 50 vessels telling the story of boating on Windermere from 1780 to the present day. The collection includes some of the finest examples of boatbuilding including Dolly, one of the oldest mechanically powered boats in the world; Margaret, the oldest sailing yacht in the UK; world-record breaking speed boats; Esperance, one of boats that inspired Captain Flint’s houseboat in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, and even Beatrix Potter’s rowing boat.

Aerospace Bristol
This new heritage museum and learning centre will tell the story – past, present and future – of the South West’s world-class aerospace industry, bringing together nationally significant exhibits and hidden archive records for the first time. The centre, based in North Bristol, will showcase the brilliance of British innovation, design and engineering, displaying collections of artefacts spanning over 100 years of aviation history; the last Concorde to be built and flown will be its show-stopping centrepiece. Aerospace Bristol will include a dedicated learning centre, exhibition galleries, archive store and reading room, a 150-seat lecture theatre, play and picnic areas, and a café and shop. Groups can even sign up to enjoy a special three-course meal or drinks reception beneath the wings of Concorde – an unforgettable experience.

New Edible Garden for RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex
Work has begun on a Global Growth Vegetable Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall near Chelmsford. The circular layout will be sectioned into four quarters, representing Europe & the Middle East, Asia, North & Central America and South America. At its centre will be a bespoke octagonal glasshouse. The garden will challenge perceptions on what a conventional kitchen garden is by highlighting edible plants from the everyday to the exotic, including yams, chickpeas, lima beans and tomatillos, and the garden’s restaurant will showcase seasonal produce harvested from the garden.

International Bomber Command Centre, Lincoln
This world-class facility will be the world’s most comprehensive record of Bomber Command, covering the contribution of the men and women from over 60 nations. It will be dedicated to serving as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation. The project includes recording, preserving and relating the stories of all those involved with or impacted by Bomber Command during and World War II. Lincolnshire housed over a third of all the WWII Bomber Command Stations, earning it the title of ‘Bomber County’. Lincoln cathedral was a landmark for crews both leaving and returning from missions and, for those who failed to return, the cathedral was often their last image of home. 

New 'Sky-Force' ride, Flambards Theme Park, Helston, Cornwall
New for summer 2017 is the newly-installed 'Sky-Force' ride, whizzing high above the park, this adrenaline packed ride is guaranteed fun for thrill-seekers. Suspended on a set of four giant 18-metre metal legs, the frisbee-shaped ride exerts the equivalent of up to 3G in force on passengers while swinging them in a pendulum motion and simultaneously spinning through 360 degrees.

Dinosaurs from China, Nottingham
1 July – 30 October
A unique dinosaur exhibition is coming to Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, featuring fossils and specimens never before seen outside of Asia. The exhibition includes the best-preserved dinosaur fossils from anywhere in the world; not just the bones, but also soft parts including skin and feathers. Many of the species are new to science, only discovered and named in the last 20 years, and some as recently as 2015. Highlights will include rare specimens such as the Gigantorapor – the largest feathered dinosaur ever found – and the flying Microraptor – a close relative of the Velociraptor. A Nottinghamshire Festival of Dinosaurs will support the exhibition, with dinosaur-themed events and exhibitions to complement this major new display. www.wollatonhall.org.uk/dinosaursofchina

Hull to host Turner Prize
October – December
Hull will host Europe's most prestigious contemporary arts prize as part of its year as UK City of Culture 2017. The Turner Prize is awarded each year to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding work of contemporary visual art. In 2017, the prize will leave Tate Britain in London for Hull's Ferens Art Gallery (due to reopen in January after a £4.5 million refurbishment), where it will be the cornerstone of a 365-day festival of world-class culture.
www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com ; ww.hull2017.co.uk

New Harry Potter exhibition at the British Library
20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the British Library will host a new exhibition dedicated to the magic of Harry Potter. The exhibition will be the first of its kind to celebrate a single series of books by a living author. Exhibits will include previously unseen materials from author JK Rowling and the book’s publisher Bloomsbury, as well as magical treasures from the British Library’s own collection of wizarding books.

Revealing The Charterhouse, London
If you’re not already aware of The Charterhouse, you’ll soon be in on the secret. It’s about to reveal its 660-year-old history to the public, from plague pits and a dissolved Carthusian monastery to a Tudor mansion which hosted Elizabeth I and a school with alumni including John Wesley, Thackeray and Robert Baden Powell. Finally, it became an almshouse for “decrepit” men, and is still the home of 40 Brothers, who will run tours. A free museum will display intriguing items and exhibitions about the site, from plague pit skeletons to an original graffitied school desk. Limited press preview tours of the buildings, conducted by one of the Brothers, are now available. 


New visitor centre for Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Late 2017
A new multi-million-pound visitor centre is set to open at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. The £3.8 million environmentally friendly development will house a world-class gallery, improved restaurant and expanded shop and will help build capacity at the award-winning attraction.

Visitor experience at Windsor Castle to be transformed
Royal Collection Trust has announced a multi-million-pound investment to improve the visitor experience at Windsor Castle. When the work is complete, visitors will be able to: have a cup of tea in the 14th-century Undercroft, which will be opened to the public for the first time as the castle’s first café; enter the castle via the Georgian Entrance Hall, which has a much grander feel than the current entrance; and choose from a series of thematic routes through the State Apartments. The castle will remain open to visitors throughout the work, which will start in 2017 and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2018.

Restoration of National Trust’s Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Quarry Bank, one of Britain’s most important 18th-century industrial heritage sites, is undergoing a major restoration project to open up new areas, repair and restore areas of the estate, and research and uncover stories of the people who lived and worked there. The restored Upper Garden opened in 2016. In 2017, No 13 Oak Cottages, an untouched house and worker’s cottage, will open to the public, as will Quarry Bank House for the first time. Improved access and a fresh interpretation will bring to life the mill at the heart of the site, in 2018. The Northern Woods – currently rather dilapidated – are also being restored to their former role as pleasure grounds.

Transformation of Nottingham Castle
Work will begin in 2017 to transform Nottingham Castle into a world-class destination. Approximately £24 million will be invested in what is being called the most significant current heritage project in the UK. The grounds will be remodelled to reveal more of the medieval site and views across the city, and to host a new visitor centre and year-round outdoor events programme. An interactive Robin Hood Gallery will be added to the Ducal Palace, which will be returned to its 19th century layout. There will be animated tours of the caves, which will be given improved access, including to some parts never before seen by the public. The ground floor displays in the 17th-century Brewhouse Yard cottages will also be improved, and the cottages will be the welcome point for visitors arriving at the foot of Castle Rock. Work is expected to be completed in 2020.

Royal Pier, Southampton
Work will begin on this £400 million development that will transform the landscape of Southampton’s waterfront, showcasing the international face of the city as a great place to live, work and enjoy. The waterfront will be revitalised; Mayflower Park will be recreated and extended, while speciality shops, offices, leisure venues, apartments and waterside attractions will be scattered along the shoreline. The park will become a high-quality public space offering spectacular views of the water and pretty southern skies. There will also be a four/five-star hotel.
www.discoversouthampton.co.uk/future/city-centre-masterplan/royal-pier ; www.royalpierwaterfront.com

New luxury retail development at The O2, London
Plans have been announced for a luxury retail development to open in 2017 at the O2, adding even more to its offering. The new development will be a £185 million designer outlet village, similar to Oxfordshire’s Bicester Village, with around 100 shops and restaurants. The development will be self-contained and won’t affect existing leisure and retail outlets.

RIBA North, Liverpool
RIBA is opening a national architecture centre on Liverpool’s Waterfront. It will host events, workshops, tours and exhibitions of items from the RIBA collections.

Films, Novels and Theatre

Film stars don’t die in Liverpool, Liverpool
Set for release 2017
The streets of Liverpool were returned to the 1970s over the summer for the filming of Film stars don’t die in Liverpool. The film, based on the eponymous acclaimed memoir by British actor Peter Turner, stars Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters and Vanessa Redgrave, and is directed by Paul McGuigan.

Broadchurch, Season 3
Early 2017
Filming for the much-anticipated third season of Broadchurch has already begun, and the series is expected to hit our TV screens in early 2017. Expect more eyefuls of Dorset’s beautiful West Bay as well as several other filming locations including Bridport and Clevedon. Stars Olivia Coleman and David Tennant will be joined by Sir Lenny Henry and Roy Hudd OBE. It’s likely that this will be the last in the series as the show’s creator, Chris Chibnall, is to leave ITV to become the head writer for the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Sherlock, Series 4
1 January
Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s much loved book series, which itself celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2017, the Sherlock TV series returns to our screens on New Year’s Day. Both London and Bristol have proved to be an ideal location for filming throughout the previous three series and there’s even a Bristol Sherlock Trail to follow. www.visitengland.com/experience/follow-footsteps-sherlock-holmes-around-bristol  

The Mercy
There’s a powerhouse of Hollywood celebrity behind The Mercy: Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz star, it was shot by James Marsh (director of The Theory of Everything) and penned by Bourne Ultimatum and Side Effects writer Scott Z Burns. The film tells the bleak, real-life tale of Donald Crowhurst who, in 1968, attempted to win the Sunday Times Golden Globe yacht race – a solo around-the-world yacht race – in his boat, the Teignmouth Electron, to promote his invention, a new kind of radio direction finder. The Mercy was filmed against the backdrop of Teignmouth, its harbour, beach and pier during a glorious spell of weather, and will put the area firmly on the must-visit list for 2017.  

Sherlock, Season 4
The fourth season of Sherlock – said to be the darkest yet – will air in January 2017, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Until then, Sherlock fans can keep themselves busy on the Sherlock: Bristol Locations Trail, compiled by Bristol Films. It covers the various filming locations for the hit crime drama; Queen Square, King Street and Arnos Vale Cemetery are among the atmospheric Bristol locations featured in previous series.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
17 March
An adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love. The cast includes Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen, and was filmed on location in London and Surrey in south-east England.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Directed by Guy Ritchie, a star cast including Jude Law, David Beckham, Katie McGrath, Annabelle Wallis and Charlie Hunman in the title role, feature in this hugely anticipated feature. The film retells the classic story of the legendary British king’s rise to power, from joining the rebellion and meeting young Guinevere to uniting the people of Britain to defeat dictator Vortigern, the man who murdered his parents and stole his crown. Brush up on your Arthurian knowledge and visit sites in England associated with the fables. Legend has it that King Arthur’s Round Table, a Neolithic henge in Cumbria, was King Arthur’s jousting arena, and that Arthur was conceived at Tintagel Castle, a clifftop ruin in Cornwall. Somerset’s Cadbury Castle also has strong Arthurian associations as the site of Camelot, according to medieval sources, whilst Northumberland’s Alnwick Castle (more recently famous as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts), is according to medieval writings, the castle of Lancelot, King Arthur’s Knight.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
16 June
Twentieth Century Fox’s The Kingsman: Secret Service returns in 2017 with its sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle. See Eggsy and Marlin work together to take on a new villain with the help of the American agency: Statesman. Filming locations for this action-film include Birmingham in England, and London.

Transformers: The Last Knight
23 June
The fifth installment of the live-action series starring Mark Wahlberg is shot at multiple locations across England including Newcastle, London, Blenheim Palace, Northumberland and Gosport, Hampshire.

21 July
Christopher Nolan directs a cast of stars, including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles, in this film about the evacuation of Allied soldiers who were cut off and surrounded by the German army in Dunkirk during World War II. Weymouth, Swanage and the Swanage Railway make appearances too.

Victoria and Abdul
8 September
Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Dame Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul charts the extraordinary true story of Queen Victoria’s unexpected friendship with an Indian clerk in the later years of her remarkable rule.  The film was shot at a variety of English locations including the National Railway Museum, York; Ham House in Richmond; the University of Greenwich and most notably at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, Queen Victoria’s actual seaside residence where the dramatic story played out in real life.
www.english-heritage.org.uk//osborne www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

Paddington 2
24 November
Paddington fans can rejoice as the nation’s favourite furry friend is back with Studio Canal’s sequel Paddington 2. It will feature the same cast as the first movie with a new addition playing the villain. Shooting for the movie will start in autumn 2016 in London.

Goodbye Christopher Robin
Late 2017/early 2018 
Fox Searchlight is making a biopic of much-loved Winnie-the-Pooh author AA Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, whose cuddly toys were the inspiration behind the books’ endearing characters. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson as AA Milne and Margot Robbie as his wife, Daphne, and was shot on location in England. Ashdown Forest, which is still recognisable from the original book illustrations, is sure to make an appearance. The release date is unconfirmed, and the title may yet change, but the film is already being tipped as an awards contender. Pooh fans will also want to check out the V&A’s upcoming exhibition, Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring A Classic (16 December 2017 – 8 April 2018).
www.ashdownforest.org; www.vam.ac.uk

On Chesil Beach
Release date TBC
Saoirse Ronan will star as Florence in this adaptation of Booker prize-winning author Ian McEwan’s heartbreaking novel, On Chesil Beach. Ronan was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 2007 adaptation of McEwan’s Atonement, so expect big things. Chesil Beach, which obviously plays a big part in the story, is an 18-mile-long bank of pebbles on the Dorset coast and part of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Release date TBC
Ray Winstone and Ian McShane star in Jawbone, a boxing film about former youth boxing champion Jimmy McCabe’s return to his old team and club after hitting rock bottom. It was filmed at the Spode Works site in Stoke-on-Trent. Scheduled for release next year, the film will also have a soundtrack by Paul Weller.
www.facebook.com/Jawbone-The-Movie-186463575050257 ; www.imdb.com/title/tt3582020

Early Man
26 January 2018
BAFTA- and Academy Award-winning director, Nick Park is back with Early Man, his first feature film since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-rabbit. It is produced by Bristol’s Aardman and STUDIOCANAL, and supported by accomplished screenwriters Mark Burton and John O’Farrell. Early Man takes audiences back to the prehistoric world, and how one plucky caveman, voiced by Eddie Redmayne, sets off to unite his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day… Cue mayhem!
www.aardman.com ; www.imdb.com/title/tt4701724


New South Downs Dark Skies Festival 
13 – 24 February
The South Downs National Park became one of just 11 places in the world to be awarded the status of Dark Sky Reserve in 2016, in recognition of its isolation from light pollution. It is the second national park in the UK to receive the accolade, after Exmoor National Park and will be celebrating with a Dark Skies Festival; the main event will be on 18 February.

Diana: Her Fashion Story, Kensington Palace
Opens 24 February
From her first public appearances in 1981, Diana, Princess of Wales, captivated the world’s attention as a princess, as a trendsetter and as a patron and advocate of charities.  Twenty years on from her death, a new exhibition and temporary garden celebrating her life will be opened at Kensington Palace, her home for over 15 years. ‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ will trace the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. Complementing the palace’s exhibition the garden will be planted with flowers and foliage inspired by memories of the Princess’s life, image and style and will be installed for Spring and Summer 2017.

New Chilterns Festival of Food & Drink, South East
25 March – 2 April
Once known as ‘the larder of London’, the Chilterns is launching a new foodie festival to showcase the area’s produce. As well as samples of the best food and drink from the Chilterns, there will be beer and gin tastings, vineyard tours, guided countryside walks with a foodie touch, an Iron Age-style meal in a Chilterns hillfort, and demos in the 1,000-year old Redbournbury watermill.

Hull UK City of Culture: seasons two and three
April – September
The programme for seasons two and three of Hull’s year-long UK City of Culture programme has been announced. It includes 42 new commissions and world premieres, 24 festivals and 13 new exhibitions. Highlights of the two seasons – Roots & Routes (April to June) and Freedom (July to September) – include: the re-opening of Hull New Theatre with a visit from The Royal Ballet led by its Hull-born director, Kevin O’Hare; the celebration of Philip Larkin with major exhibition New Eyes Each Year and Grayson Perry as The Philip Larkin Society Distinguished Guest Lecturer; Slung Low’s year-long epic adventure Flood by James Phillips told online, live in Hull and on BBC television; the premiere of ONE DAY, MAYBE by international performance, technology and site-responsive pioneers dreamthinkspeak; the Turner Prize and a major exhibition exploring Skin, including the first showing of Spencer Tunick’s photographic work featuring 3,200 local people in the nude and painted blue for Sea of Hull, at the Ferens Art Gallery; the announcement in Hull of the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate prior to the first ever children’s literature festival in the city; New work by artists including Bob & Roberta Smith, Tania Kovats, Chris Dobrowolski, Claire Barber and Claire Morgan in shopping centres, car parks, streets and public squares as part of the visual art series Look Up.
www.hull2017.co.uk ; www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com 

Hever Castle’s first Tulips Celebrations, Kent
24-28 April, 2-7 May
Hever Castle and Gardens’ first Tulips Celebrations will be a visual feast of over 7,000 tulip bulbs. The colourful display, which will include the almost-black Queen of the Night and lilac Blue Amiable varieties, will take over the already remarkable gardens. Head gardener Neil Miller will run guided tours.

The first Deepings Literary Festival, Lincolnshire
28 – 30 April
The new Deepings Literary Festival celebrates words: the written word, the spoken word, the recited word and the sung word too. Over three days at the end of April, the Deepings will host a stellar cast of writers, storytellers and folk singers. Among this year’s speakers will be Alison Weir, acclaimed British novelist and historian, who will speak about Fotheringhay and the fall of Mary Queen of Scots. Fans of Erica James will have a chance to have lunch with the popular author and aspiring authors can attend a workshop with novelist Louise Doughty. The star event is a black tie gala dinner with writer, broadcaster and former MP, Gyles Brandreth.

World’s biggest inflatable obstacle course at Extreme Festival, Kent
29 – 30 April
Extreme Festival will have live music, great food and beer, and, for the first time in the UK, the world’s biggest obstacle course. Known as The Beast, the 893-foot-long course is made of 32 inflatables, including inflatable walls, rings and huge bouncy balls. It’s a chance for adults to behave like kids again! There will be a ‘Baby Beast’ for those aged under eight. Extreme Festival takes place at Groombridge Place, Tunbridge Wells.

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival returns
29 April – 14 May
The Isle of Wight’s popular walking festival has been revived for 2017, with a full schedule of walks for all ages and abilities. IsleWalk17 will see local and visiting walkers explore trails across the island, taking in chalky cliffs and rolling hills, sand dunes and pebbly beaches, bustling towns and sleepy villages of thatched cottages. It’s no wonder the isle is often described as ‘England in miniature’! This year’s festival allows participants to follow in the footsteps of everyone from Alfred Lord Tennyson to Jimi Hendrix; on the trail of everything from dinosaurs to the prefect dawn chorus; and heading everywhere from Queen Victoria's Osborne House to a non-stop walk around the entire 72-miles coastal path in 24 hours. Most of the walks are free, although some walk leaders request a donation for their chosen charity.

New Chilterns Walking Festival
15 – 29 May
This new walking festival showcases the landscapes, locations and legends of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, through six events over three years in spring and autumn. The programme for this May features over 70 walks and events for all ages, abilities and interests. Highlights include: an Ancient Feast walk, involving a recreated Iron-Age menu; guided walking tours of Midsomer Murders film locations in Henley; an electric bike tour, combined with afternoon tea in a Chilterns vineyard setting; woodland walks around Chalfont, with bushcraft, foraging and bread-making; Nordic walking events; and a walk along the Ridgeway National Trail taking in the landscapes and places painted by John Nash.

Poole’s first annual Seven Seas Festival, Dorset
19 – 21 May
International food, music and culture will bring a world of seafaring sounds, tastes and traditions to Harbourside Park, for this new, free, family-friendly three-day event in partnership with Poole Maritime Festival. The park will be divided into themes based on the seven seas. For example, the South Pacific will be an outback-style Aussie paradise complete with beach bar, BBQ, slabs of ice-cold beer and a surfing simulator; the Indian Ocean will have meditation, yoga, pan-Asian cuisine, acupuncture and exotic crafts; while the Arctic area will host the Ikle Eskimos giant igloo, with a mini ice-skating rink, face painting and children’s rides, as well as showcasing local seafood. There will also be a fairground arena and a full programme of top tribute acts and local bands.

New closed road race added to Pedal Norfolk festival
27 May
Pedal Norfolk will launch a spectacular new Eastern Counties closed road race on the first day of the festival. Seventy-five seriously competitive cyclists will race nine times around a 10-km loop through the Norfolk countryside. The festival will also have 25, 50 and 100 mile safe, signposted routes, a cycle academy for ages four to 12, music and a woodland adventure play area. Pedal Norfolk takes place at Holkham Hall, 27-29 May.

The inaugural Royal William Yard Festival, Plymouth
27 – 28 May
Showcasing the tremendous strength and depth of local talent across the West Country, Devon and Cornwall bands will get fresh opportunity to perform alongside major national acts to new audiences. Featuring the best in the region’s folk, acoustic, blues, jazz and soul music, including soul superstar Soul II Soul's Jazzie B, the first Royal William Yard Festival promises to celebrate “peninsular living” and everything the beautiful West Country has to offer. Plymouth will also be showing strong support for funk and house music with local DJs and acts.

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Derbyshire
7 – 11 June
The RHS has announced a new annual show at Chatsworth House. It promises to be unlike any other RHS show, with the emphasis firmly on cutting-edge design and fresh ideas. There will also be a focus on Future Heritage, examining how traditional skills such as dry stone walling can be used in a contemporary way. Derbyshire’s age-old well dressing tradition will be celebrated as five local groups create beautiful designs in natural materials such as flower petals, leaves and seeds for display at the show. The inaugural show’s theme will be ‘Design Revolutionaries’, celebrating the creative genius of past landscape luminaries as well as the talents of today’s garden designers.

Heritage Skills Festival, Lincoln
23 – 25 June
This new festival celebrating the life of The City of London Livery Companies will feature some of the country’s finest traditional craftspeople. The Heritage Skills Festival is a three-day event held in the stunning Cathedral Nave, Transepts and on the East Green of Lincoln Cathedral. Crafters, blacksmiths, embroiderers, glazers, carpenters and stonemasons will work in the conditions of their medieval ancestors. There will also be 'have-a-go' stations and the chance to take away your very own handcrafted items. 

The first ever Real Tennis Champions Trophy, Hampton Court Palace
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.

Yorkshire AleAthlon 2017
15 July
Athletic prowess isn’t a requirement for this new 8-mile-long ‘race’ through the Holme Valley. Regular feed stations will stock optional samples of some of Yorkshire’s finest ales, as well as water and all the usual nibbles and snacks. There will be prizes for the first three males and females, but everyone can join in the after party, with beer (of course), food and camping.

IAAF World Championships and the IPC Athletics World Championships, London
July and August
2017 will be the first time ever that the IAAF World Championships (5-13 August) and the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships (15-23 July) have been held in the same city in the same year. Together, the events will be known as London 2017, and will see competitors from the field of athletics and para-athletics take part in the biggest sport event of the year in this field. It will take place in the iconic Olympic Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Park – the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venue.

The Open Championship, Liverpool
16 – 23 July
This major golfing event will be held at the Royal Birkdale in Merseyside.

Selby Arts Festival, North Yorkshire
22 – 30 July
The inaugural Selby Arts Festival will be a seven-day extravaganza of music, dance and theatre.

The Game Fair comes to Hatfield House, Hertfordshire 28 – 30 July
For the first time in its 59-year history, The Game Fair will be held at Hatfield House. This festival of the British countryside celebrates everything from clay shooting, archery, falconry and ferreting to equestrianism, estate management and game keeping. Artisan food and drink, shopping and hands-on outdoor activities plus camping and glamping facilities will be available over the weekend.

First Lymington Seafood Festival, New Forest
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.

25th Anniversary of England’s Medieval Festival, East Sussex
26 – 28 August
England’s Medieval Festival 2017 promises to be the most magical event yet. Expect realistic battles, jousting competitions, archery, music, grand parades, storytelling, authentic crafts, medieval banquets and hog roasts, drinking, shopping and general day-in-the-life of our medieval ancestors. Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex is the fairy tale setting for a totally different festival experience. Highlights include an evening torch lit procession and the infamous Mud Theatre. Wizards, jesters, knights, dragons and princesses await the kids – and adults. Guests can come for the day, or enjoy medieval glamping, camping, or even a real bed in the onsite B&B.

Eastbourne International Hot Air Balloon Festival, Sussex
29 – 30 July
The first Eastbourne International Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place in Hampden Park. Sponsored by Gatwick Airport, the free weekend will feature up to 25 balloons, dawn and dusk flights, live bands and a display of helicopters. On Saturday night, a bunch of tethered balloons will light up the sky in a Nightglow performance set to music.

International Sheep Dog Trials to be held in the Cotswolds
8 – 10 September
Sixty handlers, their dogs and up to 20,000 visitors will descend on Lodge Park, Eastington for the International Sheep Dog Trials, 2017. This is the first time the Cotswolds has been selected to host the trials.

New music festival for Isle of Wight 
9 – 10 September
Eklectica is “a new, boutique music festival with an eclectic twist” set in the woodland of Robin Hill Country Park. It promises to be diverse, quirky and creative, with a line-up of internationally renowned tribute bands. Expect everything from Elton John and Michael Jackson to Daft Punk and Duran Duran tributes as well as circus, poetry, fine art, theatre and burlesque.

Stoke-on-Trent to host 2017 British Ceramics Biennial, Staffordshire
23 September – 5 November
The fifth British Ceramics Biennial is a free six-week festival presenting work from the UK’s leading contemporary artists in a series of new exhibitions and special events across Stoke-on-Trent, embracing the history and heritage of the city as the capital of ceramics. BCB will take place in established venues and non-traditional spaces across the city including The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Gladstone Potteries Museum, Middleport/Burleigh Pottery and the China Hall at the original Spode factory site. The AWARD exhibition will present exciting new work from the UK’s leading ceramic artists, and FRESH showcases the best of recent UK graduate talent. The full programme will be announced in May.


Hot destinations (Key campaigns)

Hull UK City of Culture
Throughout 2017
As England’s first ever UK City of Culture, Hull tops the city break hotspot list for 2017 as the maritime city showcases ‘365 days of transformative culture’, with four seasons, each celebrating a different aspect of Hull’s place in the world. The programme for seasons two and three – Roots & Routes (April to June) and Freedom (July to September) – includes 42 new commissions and world premieres, 24 festivals and 13 new exhibitions amongst hundreds of events and activities. Highlights of the two seasons include: the re-opening of Hull New Theatre; the celebration of Philip Larkin’s life and work with major exhibition New Eyes Each Year – and Grayson Perry as The Philip Larkin Society Distinguished Guest Lecturer; Slung Low’s year-long epic adventure Flood by James Phillips told online, live in Hull and on BBC television; international performance, the premiere of ONE DAY, MAYBE in Hull; hosts the Turner Prize and a major exhibition exploring Skin at the Ferens Art Gallery; the announcement of the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate prior to the first ever children’s literature festival in the city; new work by artists in public spaces as part of the visual art series Look Up. Hull’s renowned aquarium The Deep has undergone major refurbishment ready for 2017 and is hosting marine-themed art exhibitions and artists in residence. Alongside plans for new hotel openings and a world-class cruise terminal project on the drawing board, visitors will also have more unusual accommodation options to consider with the launch of a new Homestay challenge, encouraging locals to unlock their creativity by transforming their spare spaces into overnight accommodation.
www.hull2017.co.uk ; www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com    

Bristol: European City of Sport
Throughout 2017
Bristol has been named as the UK's European City of Sport for 2017. The year will mark a celebration of the part sport plays in every aspect of life across Bristol’s many and diverse communities. A full programme of events for the year is currently being planned. Already confirmed is the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, with the Bristol County Ground, home to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, one of five venues to host the global competition.

The City of Derby and the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Derbyshire
7-11 June
Hot on the heels of the ‘Year of the English Garden’ celebrations and the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown, comes a brand new must-see horticultural event: the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. It’s set to be a show unlike any other, with a focus on cutting edge design, inspired by gardeners and garden designers from the past, especially Joseph Paxton who was once the estate’s gardener, but also the talent, ideas and conceptual thinking of today’s generation of designers. The show will be set in the stunning grounds of Chatsworth House, offering the opportunity to experience ‘Capability’ Brown’s unforgettable landscapes, relax on the banks of the River Derwent and indulge in views of one of the UK’s most spectacular stately homes. Getting into the spirit, the nearby city of Derby is also planning several floral-themed events.
www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chatsworth-flower-show/A-very-different-kind-of-show ; www.chatsworth.org ; www.visitderby.co.uk/whats-on/rhs-chatsworth-flower-show

Get involved with the Lake District World Heritage bid
Until summer 2017
In February 2016, the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) and Historic England submitted a four volume nomination to UNESCO, making the English Lake District the latest – and only – UK submission for World Heritage status in 2017. The decision will be made in summer 2017.Until then, the Lake District and everyone involved would love the public to do their bit for the World Heritage Bid campaign: use the hashtag #lakedistrictbid when sharing your photos, messages and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, YouTube and other social media channels. These will be pulled through to the ‘Your Story’ newsfeed on the Lake District World Heritage Bid website. 

The Discover England Fund 

The Discover England Fund is a three-year, £40 million programme that is a core part of the government’s Tourism Action Plan to develop tourism product. 21 projects have already been green lit in year one alone, including plans for England’s first globally recognised long-distance touring route and a “Coastal Pass”, offering integrated travel along our coast. Some key highlights below:-

Golf Tourism England, around the UK
England has some of the finest golf courses, with outstanding quality, extraordinary variety and lasting tradition. Golf Tourism England Limited will work with a range of stakeholders to develop an online platform that brings together England’s golf-related businesses for the Asia, Europe and North America markets. This initiative capitalises on the untapped potential of England’s golf tourism sector and responds to demand from international tour operators who are keen to have better access England’s wide-range of golf experiences.

Gardens and Gourmet, Kent, Cheshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Peak District
Visit Kent, working with the destination teams in Cheshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Peak District, will package each region's outstanding gardens and gourmet offer as bookable products, to give international visitors a new high-quality and sensory experience of rural England. It will not only give them entry to key attractions in each region but also feature insider tips, local recommendations and interactive media to give visitors a truly immersive local experience.

South West Coast Path – Amazing Experiences and Making Memories, around the English coast
A whole range of bookable experiences will be brought together using new technology along the South West Coast Path, including scenery, activities, places to eat and accommodation, for German and Dutch visitors who want to explore on foot. The South West Coast Path Association, will work in collaboration with destination management organisations in the South West to develop and market this online product.

England’s Seafood Coast, South Devon
Inspired by local chef Mitch Tonks and his celebration of local seafood, this bid from the English Riviera Tourism Company will see them working with DEFRA and local partners to transform the Riviera’s status as an international seafood destination in Western Europe as well as to scope the development of a new national product England’s Seafood Coast to attract international visitors.

The Great West Way, Wiltshire
Paving the way for the creation of England’s first globally recognised long-distance touring route this project, led by VisitWiltshire and involving destinations and businesses along a 125 mile route between London and Bristol, will define the best approach for developing, branding and marketing the route and create and roll out bookable itineraries.

Discovering the mighty rivers and majestic canals of England, the Midlands
Targeting visitors from Germany and Scandinavia, Marketing Birmingham together with industry and destination partners in the Midlands, will develop two itineraries along a stretch of waterway known as the Warwickshire Ring. Testing the appeal of canal-based holidays with international visitors, the project will develop a set of mini-excursions that can be undertaken along the routes and work with operators to streamline a solution for those wishing to offer point-to-point itineraries. A new digital guide will make the trip easy to do.

Passport to the Coast, East of England
Using the Netherlands as a test market, the National Coastal Tourism Academy will engage tourism businesses along the coastline of the East of England between Hull and Harwich to produce thematic itineraries to inspire visitors to choose the coast. A new coastal pass and video based technology will provide a fresh perspective for visitors to build their trips.

And Beyond…

2018: Bodmin Jail to become a hotel, Cornwall
2018 (work to start)
Architects have devised proposals to redevelop Bodmin Jail. The refurbishment would include the two wings of the derelict cell blocks where the new hotel would be housed, complete with glazed roof lights that would run the length of both wings creating a centralised atrium. The Grade II-listed building would be formed from three cells with interiors featuring colour and textures inspired by the aged, weathered stone. If permission is granted, work is planned to start on site in early 2018.

2018: The Wave surfing lake, Bristol
The Wave Bristol will be a brand new inland surfing lake powered by the latest wave-making technology. Plans for the surfing lake were approved in March 2016; it will be situated in beautiful sensory, healing and kitchen gardens, and there will be a swimming pool, café, education centre, accommodation and surf shop. There will be three surf zones for different abilities and a high-performance surf centre for elite athletes and aspiring pros. The project also wants to educate and inspire people on a range of topics from marine conservation to living healthier lifestyles.

2018: Liverpool strikes gold with new hotel in Martins Bank building
Principal Hayley Group is converting the historic Martins Bank building in Liverpool into a 227-room luxury hotel with a spa, bar and restaurant. Designed by noted architect Herbert James Rowse and completed in 1932, the Martins Bank building is considered to be among the finest classical buildings built in England during the interwar period, and was used to hide Britain’s gold during WW2.

2018: D-Day Museum to be transformed, Portsmouth
Following its closure in early 2017, Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum will re-open in 2018 as the International Museum of D-Day, in plenty of time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019. It has been awarded £4million by the Heritage Lottery Fund to create an international museum to tell the story of D-Day using objects, interactive material and the perspectives of people who were alive at the time. The idea is to tell the story of D-Day in a way that’s relevant and engaging in the 21st century.

2018: New Diggerland, Evesham
Agriculture enthusiasts – and big kids – will be excited to hear that the new Diggerland in Evesham, whose 2016 opening was postponed, is now set to open in February 2017. The park will offer adults and children the chance to operate full-sized farming heavy machinery, including driving diggers and dumpers. A wide range of activities and rides promises to keep kids young and old thoroughly entertained, though the park will be specifically tailored to children aged 4 to 14. Expect countless other traditional rides with a farming twist – “Dig-a-Round” and “Spindizzy” are only the beginning. 

Belmond Cadogan, Knightsbridge, London
Reopening 2018
The luxury hotel group Belmond, is backing the £28 million investment project in The Cadogan, the prestigious hotel on Sloane Street. Built in 1887 in the Queen Anne style, The Cadogan was the location of Oscar Wilde's infamous arrest. Building on this colourful history, the historic property is undergoing a two-year renovation project which reduces the number of rooms and suites from 64 to 54 to accommodate the demands of luxury travellers.

2018: 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force
1 April – September 2018
The Royal Air Force will celebrate its centenary year with local, regional and national events and activities. So far, events planned include a live broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall, a service at Westminster Abbey and a huge parade of military personnel along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, as well as air shows and festivals, with plenty of input from air museums across the country.
www.raf.mod.uk/raf100 ; #myRAF100

2018: Spectacular new Eden Project hotel planned, Cornwall
April 2018
The Eden Project will get a new £8.5million addition to the eco-friendly site next year: a 109-bedroom hotel, located near the Eden’s Plum car park. The structure will be designed to blend into the countryside whilst still striking an unconventional appearance and offering high levels of accessibility, energy efficiency and sustainability. The hotel will support Eden’s activities, educational aspirations, conferences and weddings packages, as well as its annual Eden Session series of concerts. The hotel has been designed by Tate Harmer, one of the UK's leading architects for sustainability and natural environments, and will incorporate existing features in the area, including old trees and stone walls. New features, including a meadow and orchard, will be planted around the hotel.

2018: 250th anniversary of the modern circus, Staffordshire
Throughout 2018
2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the invention of the modern circus ring by Philip Astley, born in Newcastle-under-Lyme. In 1768, Astley, himself an equestrian performer, brought together clowns, jugglers, tightrope walkers and musicians in one place for the first time, to form the first modern circus. His story isn’t well known – for now – but Astley, who was referenced by Dickens, Austen and Thackeray, is about to hog the limelight once again. A series of lectures, shows, exhibitions, talks and film screenings, culminating in a large-scale heritage learning event is set to raise his profile.

2018: Being Brunel
Early 2018
A new museum dedicated to the life and achievements of iconic engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel will be part of a major redevelopment of Bristol’s Floating Harbour area. Located in buildings alongside Brunel’s ss Great Britain, the state-of-the-art museum will preserve Brunel’s legacy and inspire future engineers and innovators through its collection of never-seen-before possessions and artefacts, from the engineer’s detailed childhood drawings to his cigar case. Brunel’s Drawing Office is also being restored as part of the project. ss Great Britain will be fully open throughout the redevelopment’s build phase.

2018: New Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Nottinghamshire
Early 2018
A consortium led by the RSPB has showcased plans for the proposed new Sherwood Forest visitor centre at Forest Corner. The proposed work will see a more modern facility built at a new site close to Edwinstowe at Forest Corner. This would be followed by the removal of the current 1970s visitor centre, and that site would then be returned to nature.

2018: Zetter to open first hotel outside London, Manchester
Luxury hotel group Zetter has announced plans to open its first hotel outside of London, and the fourth hotel in its collection. The new addition to The Zetter Group portfolio will be in a converted Grade-II listed fire station in London Road, Manchester. The Zetter Manchester will be part of a wider regeneration of the iconic building, which will see the fire station “become a place of experience, with an international collective of world class operators, interesting brands and innovative hospitality.” Zetter’s planning application is in the process of being submitted.
alliedlondon.com/development/london-road ; www.thezetter.com

2018: New roller coaster for Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Spring 2018
Blackpool Pleasure Beach has confirmed plans to build a brand new £16.25 million roller coaster. The two minute 30 seconds, 1.14km coaster will be the UK’s first ever ‘double-launch’ ride, meaning it gets two powerful acceleration boosts during the ride. Currently known as ‘Construction 2018’, it will have an inclined loop, interact with five other existing roller coasters including the iconic Big One, and expose riders to the same G force as a Formula 1 driver.

2018: Blackpool Heritage Museum
Housed inside the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens, the £21 million museum will use film, photos, music and artefacts to show how Blackpool became one of the world’s largest tourist resorts.

2018: 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race, Falmouth
2018 will see the 50th anniversary of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, where Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s victory win meant he was the first person to sail solo around the Globe. Falmouth is set to host the start and finish of the 2018 race, with competing yachts based in Pendennis Marina. The 300 day race will begin using the historic gun emplacement on Pendennis Point overlooking Falmouth Harbour.  The National Maritime Museum Cornwall will be putting on a major exhibit in 2018 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

2018: 100th anniversary of WW1 Armistice
The commemorations will focus on reflection and remembrance, as well as social history and homecoming.

2018: 900th anniversary of Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough Cathedral is one of the finest Norman buildings surviving in Europe and is a UK landmark.

2018: 250th anniversary of the Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts
At one time this celebrated annual show was known simply as ‘The Exhibition’, where the likes of Gainsborough and Reynolds, Turner and Constable sharpened their skills against each other. Today, the galleries at Burlington House continue to provide an unrivalled setting for artists to display and sell their artworks. The array of works and the celebratory atmosphere of the exhibition make for a unique experience where visitors can browse, buy and discuss the works of show.

2018: Opening of The Peninsula, London
The luxury global chain has announced plans to open its first ever UK property in London.  Located in Belgravia, steps away from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, the new hotel will be in a prime location to explore the capital’s cultural highlights. This will add to the hotel’s ‘cultural learning experience’ with their in-house academy programmes, designed to offer destination insight. 

2018: Cumberland Hotel to become Britain’s first Hard Rock Hotel
Summer 2018
The 900-bedroom Marble Arch site is set to re-open in 2018 as the Hard Rock Hotel, complete with a lobby area hosting live music, as well as a Hard Rock Café, speakeasy bar, spa and ‘rock shop’ selling iconic merchandise.

2018: New archaeology gallery at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Summer 2018
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. 
2018: Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries in Westminster Abbey, London
Summer 2018
A new museum and gallery is being built in Westminster Abbey’s medieval triforium (the arcaded storey above the nave). The triforium has been hidden from the public for over 700 years. It was originally built by Henry III around 1250-60, and offers spectacular views into the church and out towards the Palace of Westminster and Parliament Square. The project will preserve the contemplative atmosphere of the space whilst displaying treasures such as the Liber Regalis, a 14th-century illuminated manuscript setting out the order for Coronations, and the Westminster Retable, England’s oldest altarpiece.

2018: FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup, London
7 – 21 July
Upon their successful bid, England will host the 14th edition of the Women’s Hockey World Cup. The tournament will take place in London at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

2019: Robert de Niro's The Wellington, Covent Garden, London
In partnership with BD Hotels, Robert De Niro is opening his first London hotel: The Wellington in Covent Garden. Planning permission has been granted for the scheme, which will include 83 bedrooms, two restaurants, a members' club, deli/cafe and spa and swimming pool.

The Grand to be redeveloped, Birmingham
Early 2019
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.

2019: Art’otel® at Battersea Power Station, London
Set to open in 2019, based around the historic Battersea Power Station, this 160+ bedroom luxury lifestyle hotel with have skyline floors offering panoramic views of London. There will be a Roof Garden, an outdoor rooftop pool and bar overlooking the iconic chimneys, curated gardens, a signature restaurant and double height bar. Guests will be welcomed by a public gallery creative space offering a rotating calendar of exhibitions, as well as cultural and artistic events supporting established and up-and-coming artists alike. www.artotellondonbattersea.com

2019: Gucci partners with Chatsworth House, Peak District
Until 2019

Fashion house Gucci has announced plans to partner with historic Chatsworth House to create a cultural programme dedicated to fashion and style. Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele plans to shoot the campaign for Gucci’s pre-spring/summer show at Chatsworth, and Chatsworth has hinted that the estate’s largest exhibition yet will run from March to October 2017. Keep your ears to the ground for more info.

2019: New flagship YHA London Stratford
Early 2019
The YHA has submitted a planning application for a flagship 850-room super-hostel in London. It’s set to be the first on this scale in London and three times larger than any other existing property in the YHA’s network across England and Wales. The new hostel will be adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park next to Stratford Underground station and Westfield Shopping Centre, and a short walk from east London’s Stratford International mainline station. The super-hostel will be ideal for group accommodation, with bars, restaurants, conference and meeting facilities, en-suite bedrooms, a self-catering kitchen and communal spaces. Everything going to plan, construction will start in 2017 with the hostel opening its doors in early 2019.

2019: Bristol Arena
Bristol is set to unveil a brand new £91 million, world-class 12,000 capacity entertainment venue, on Arena Island, the former diesel depot site near Bristol Temple Meads station. The plan is for Arena Island to become a new destination for Bristol residents and visitors, and will contribute significantly to Temple Quarter, a vibrant new quarter for the city. It will host over 100 music, comedy, family entertainment shows and sports exhibition events a year.

2019: RHS Garden Bridgewater
A fifth garden is set to join the RHS’ current portfolio of gardens at Wisely, Surrey; Hyde Hall, Essex, Rosemoor, Devon and Harlow Carr, Yorkshire. RHS Garden Bridgewater will bring back to life the historic gardens of Worsley New Hall, Salford. Top landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith has been appointed to master-plan the project. The first phase is expected to open in 2019, and the Society hopes to welcome 1 million people a year within a decade to this new destination garden.

2019: 75th anniversary of D-Day landings
On 6 June the D-Day Museum in Southsea is planning a major redevelopment ahead of the 75th anniversary.

2019: Netball World Cup, Liverpool
5 - 14 July
England Netball and the City of Liverpool have been given the rights to host the 2019 Netball World Cup. The tournament will be held at ACC Liverpool, which has already successfully staged international netball on several occasions.

2019: 50 Years of Monty Python
Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired on the BBC in October 1969, continuing for four seasons before the much-loved comedy troupe embarked on their big screen success.

2019: Battersea Power Station Hotel
A new 160-room luxury hotel will open at the Battersea Power Station in 2019. It will feature a rooftop garden and pool, with panoramic views of the London skyline, which will run the length of the building. Beneath the garden level will be a restaurant and bar for guests to enjoy, as well as a creative space for exhibitions. The development is due for completion in 2019.

2019: The Factory, Manchester
This large-scale venue will be the North’s cultural flagship centre, and will capture the depth and creativity of Manchester’s cultural life. It will commission original works whilst taking a radical approach to cultural production and performance. Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has won the international competition to design The Factory. www.factorymanchester.com

2019: Cricket World Cup
2019 will see England and Wales host the Cricket World Cup for the 5th time.  Hosting venues include: Birmingham’s Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Bristol’s County Cricket Ground, Sophia gardens in Cardiff, Riverside Ground at Chester-Le-Street, Headingley in Leeds, The Oval and Lord’s in London, Old Trafford in Manchester, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Southampton’s Rose Bowl, and Taunton’s County Ground. The tournament will take place between May and July.

2019: Factory Manchester, Manchester
A Major £110m arts and cultural project will start works in 2017, and will become the permanent home for Manchester International Festival.

2019: Royal Artillery Museum, Salisbury
Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire has been selected as the preferred location for construction of a new military museum and exhibition centre by the Royal Artillery Museum. Expected to open in spring 2019, the attraction will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the 300-year story of the Royal Artillery through one of the UK’s largest military collections.  This will not simply be a military museum, but a purpose-built interactive visitor attraction, with diverse appeal for visitors of all ages.

2020: Jurassica Dinosaur Museum, Dorset
An £80m attraction, called Jurassica, is set to be built in a 40m (132ft) deep limestone quarry in Portland, Dorset. According to plans, the museum will span about 100m - a third the size of the Millennium Dome – and will house robot swimming plesiosaurs, fossils and interactive displays.

2020: 300th anniversary of Gilbert White.
Most famous for The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne Gilbert White is considered ‘the first ecologist’. There is a dedicated visitor centre in Hampshire which celebrates the life and achievements of White.  www.gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk/gilbert-white-2

2020: 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s death
After Dickens’s death on 9 June 1870 in Kent, he was laid to rest in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. Born in Portsmouth in 1812, he spent much of his working life in London, writing novels such as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist.

Coast-to-coast canoe trail, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
The first-ever coast-to-coast canoe trail is currently in its early stages of development – the 127-mile Leeds & Liverpool Canal is already being spruced up for its 200th anniversary in October 2016 –  and is set for completion by 2020. It will link Mersey to Humberside, and will connect towns and cities along the way including Liverpool, Wigan, Blackburn, Burnley, Leeds, Skipton, Bradford and Goole. The new trail will take kayakers five to seven days to complete and there will be one 1-hour time slot a day for kayakers to pass through the mile-long Foulridge Tunnel. A network of accommodation and eateries will be on hand for kayakers too.

2020: England Coast Path
The England Coast Path will be a new National Trail all around England's coast. It is due to open in sections and will be complete in 2020. The first 66 mile stretch in Kent and East Sussex opened in July 2016. When it is complete it will be one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world.

2020: Mayflower 400
In 1620, the Mayflower ship transported 102 English pilgrims across the Atlantic from Plymouth to New England. The voyage is one of the most famous in early American colonial history. 200 years later, the USA, UK and Holland will be commemorating the perilous journey, through major international events, the development of new tourism itineraries and products, culture and the arts, education programmes, community participation and volunteering schemes, and joint scientific and business projects. Eleven locations in England will take part, with Plymouth leading plans for the celebrations. The maritime city has already unveiled projects including renovations to historic city buildings, a "world class" Mayflower monument, a history trail taking visitors on a journey back to the 16th century, and a new History Centre. Other ideas include major music events on the Hoe, a ‘Mayflower Muster’ display involving the US, UK and Dutch Navy forces, major theatrical events and public art commissions.

English cities bid for title of UK City of Culture 2021
Ongoing until 2021
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Hull, which is currently knee-deep in exciting preparations for its turn as UK City of Culture next year, a number of English cities have already declared their interest in bidding for the title of UK City of Culture 2021. They include Stoke on Trent, Coventry, Sunderland and Hereford. As well as planning a vibrant locally planned calendar of events, the winner has the opportunity to host a number of core events, including ones run by Arts Council England, the UK Film Council and the BBC; Hull will host the Turner Prize in 2017, for example. The winner will be announced in winter 2017.

www.sot2021.com; www.coventry2021.co.uk; www.sunderland2021.com; www.herefordcityofculture.org

Museum of London to move to new site

The Museum of London will move from Barbican to a new site in West Smithfield. The museum has reached capacity at the London Wall site. The new site is particularly resonant; an abandoned general market with Victorian buildings, a giant Edwardian gas burner, a working train line and a whole street. A competition to design the new site was won by architects Stanton Williams. The museum also hopes to contribute to the rejuvenation of the Smithfield area and take advantage of the outstanding transport links, as well as use the increased exhibition space to showcase never-seen-before artefacts.


Eel Pie Island Museum, Richmond-upon-Thames

Following the success of various temporary exhibitions and pop-up museums, the team at Eel Pie Island Museum are on the hunt for a permanent venue. Based in Twickenham, the museum celebrates Richmond-upon-Thames’ riverside and musical heritage, with links to the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton, to name a few.

2021: British Disneyland, Kent
Chris Townsend, the commercial director at London 2012 organiser LOCOG, has been appointed to create a new theme park in Kent for Disney’s Paramount Pictures. The theme park will feature Paramount brands such as Star Trek, and there will be water parks, cinemas and live music venues.

2021: New high-rise Hilton hotel to open in Woking, Surrey
Hilton is to open a new high-rise hotel in Woking as part of a £500m regeneration of the town. The 196-bedroom property will be located in the upcoming Victoria Square retail and residential development. The site will include a Sky Bar, all-day restaurant, on-site coffee shop and 700 square feet of meeting space, including a ballroom for up to 500 guests.

Continued from 2016…

New heritage Canoe Trail, Stoke-on-Trent & The Potteries
September 2016
A new canoe trail linking numerous heritage sites from Westport, Burslem – less than a mile from where Josiah Wedgwood himself first broke the soil to start the canal’s construction – to Froghall Wharf on the edge of the Peak District has been launched. The trail can be broken down in to five short routes or tackled all at once (by the very fit!) along the Trent & Mersey and Caldon canals. It showcases Burslem, Hanley, the Middleport Pottery and Café, Emma Bridgewater Factory and Café, Churnet Valley Steam Railway as well as various canal-side pubs, each with their own heritage tale to tell.

England gains a mountain, Cumbria
October 2016
England has got a brand new mountain! Thanks to new, more accurate GPS mapping systems, Calf Top in the Yorkshire Dales has gained three-quarters of an inch in height, just inching it into mountain status. When it was first measured in 2010, Calf Top, near the market town of Sedburgh, was found to be 1,999.9ft. It’s another peak to add to Cumbria’s already spectacular range of mountains.

Historic Victoria Gate arcades reopen for the 21st century, Leeds
20 October 2016
Leeds’ already thriving shopping scene will get another injection of fantastic facilities – and character – this month when the new Victoria Gate shopping centre opens. It will bring 17 new brands to Leeds, including Anthropologie, and a flagship John Lewis store – the largest outside London. Victoria Gate will capture the heritage of Leeds’ Victoria Quarter and the striking Victoria Gate arcade, and bring it back to life with two street arcades lined with shops, restaurants, cafes and leisure spaces covered by an ornamental roof with feature lighting. Phase two of the project, which brings in rooftop restaurants and more food and retail space, will open in spring 2017.

Experimental Motion: the art of film innovation, Brighton
22 October 2016 – 4 June 2017
Brighton and Hove has played an important role in international film making, and this new exhibition in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery puts that under the spotlight. It tells the story of experimental film-making in Brighton & Hove, from 1896 to the present day, covering the early film-making pioneers who became known as the Brighton School at the turn of the 20th century to the filmmakers and moving image artists who have helped cement the city’s standing as an experimental film hub today.

Colne Valley Museum refurbishment
October/December TBC 2016
Following extensive work to make it even easier to see ‘what life was like when Grandad was alive’, the ground and first floors of the Colne Valley Museum reopened in early October. The top floor, which contains a loom chamber, clog shop, spinning room and resource centre is expected to open by Christmas. When finished, there will be a complete weaver's cottage, new exhibition room and extended tea rooms. The work also makes all floors of the Colne Valley Museum more accessible with ramps and more disabled toilets and baby-changing facilities, as well as digitising the collection.

The Design Museum reopens in new premises, London
24 November 2016
Following an £83 million transformation, the Design Museum is set to open its doors to its new Kensington High Street premises. Acclaimed designer John Pawson has remodelled the interior of the Grade-II listed, former Commonwealth Institute building, in a project that has increased the museum’s size threefold, enabling a significantly extended learning programme and a greater range of exhibitions. The museum shop is already open.

New spa at the Brimstone Hotel, Cumbria
November 2016
As well as spa therapies, Brimstone Hotel’s new spa will feature a private spa for couples, laconium, lava, herbal and outdoor saunas, a Himalayan salt steam pool and indoor and outdoor pools when it opens. This boutique hotel in the Lake District has 16 contemporary rooms, a bar and restaurant and is within easy walking distance of Wainwrights Inn, in the secluded Langdale Valley.

Hampton by Hilton to open its first modular hotel, Bristol Airport
Winter 2016
In partnership with CIMC, Hampton by Hilton is developing Bristol Airport’s first hotel – and it’s to be a modular hotel. Think of a building that resembles a highly uniform game of Tetris. Portions of the hotel will be built in China before being shipped to Bristol, where the containers will be assembled by effectively slotting them together, accelerating on-site construction. There will be 201 rooms and parking for 120 cars, while guests can enjoy a 24-hour fitness room, complimentary wifi, and a hot breakfast.

Oxford celebrates its Shakespeare connections
Until 30 December 2016
Shakespeare often stayed in Oxford as he travelled between London and Stratford-upon-Avon, so it’s no surprise that the city has many associations with the Bard. These are being celebrated with a lively programme of talks, performances, workshops, walks and exhibitions throughout 2016 and the Shakespeare 400 anniversary. Upcoming highlights include an anniversary walking tour led by Blackwell’s book shop, which takes in some special spots including the place where Hamlet was first performed (until October 28). Plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are the stars of a special trail, Bill’s Blooms, at Oxford’s Botanic Garden (until October 31). And at the Museum of the History of Science, Shakespeare’s knowledge of the natural world is revealed in a trail which looks at the stars, globes and magic which informed his world view (until December 30). 

World Rugby Hall of Fame, Rugby
Late 2016/early 2017
Rugby’s greatest players and definitive moments will get a permanent home in the international Hall of Fame, in the Art Gallery & Museum in Rugby, the birthplace of the sport. The fully interactive and immersive museum will showcase rugby’s rich heritage and character-building values using the latest technological innovations, an extensive video archive and historical memorabilia. The display aims to inspire visitors to get into rugby, either as a player or a fan.

2016 – 2021: The Canterbury Journey, Canterbury Cathedral
In May 2014, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded an in-principle grant of nearly £12m to Canterbury Cathedral. The Canterbury Journey will radically transform the accessibility and sustainability of the Cathedral, while safeguarding the building, increasing the number of visitors and enriching their experience. The planned proposal includes a new welcome centre which will offer improved learning and hospitality, new trails which will guide visitors through both the Cathedral and its newly landscaped precincts, and an outreach programme to schools and communities. The fabric of the Cathedral’s western end, which is currently endangered, will be restored and enhanced. The project is due to be delivered between 2016-2021.

Brontë200 is a five-year programme of events, workshops and activities celebrating the bicentenaries of the births of four of the Brontës: Charlotte in 2016, Emily in 2018, Rev Patrick Brontë (the father of the celebrated writers) in 2019, and Anne in 2020. 2017 is the turn of Branwell, the fourth of the Bronte children and the only boy. The programme is run by The Brontë Society, with events put on by Brontë enthusiasts, museums, festivals, literary societies and art organisations all over the world.
www.bronte.org.uk/bronte-200 ; #Bronte200

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