2015’s calendar is jam-packed with events, anniversaries and key dates that guarantee Britain will be on the top of holiday wish-lists next year! For media, this means lots of fantastic story ideas to keep you coming back to Britain, and here we serve up 15 stories for 2015 to get you going. We will publish dedicated story ideas with lots of information and inspiration on each of these themes, so stay tuned to visitbritain.com/media.
2015 will be a GREAT year to…
1. SEE WORLD CLASS SPORT – 2015 RUGBY WORLD CUP
England and Wales will host the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which forms part of what is becoming known as ‘The Golden Decade of Sport’. 2015 Rugby World Cup venues will be all over England, giving the opportunity to explore new places, take stadium tours and enjoy a warm welcome and fantastic atmosphere during the tournament. The iconic Twickenham (just outside central London), famed football clubs including Old Trafford (Manchester) and the magnificent Millennium Stadium in Cardiff are just some of the host venues to look out for. 18 September- 31 October.
2. SATISFY YOUR APPETITE – SCOTLAND’S YEAR OF FOOD AND DRINK
2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, making it the ideal time to explore the many tempting places to eat, drink and be merry in Scotland. From fine dining at Michelin starred restaurants to a memorable lobster ‘n’ chips by the sea, through to sampling unique produce and dishes like haggis, Cullen skink and cranachan, there will be plenty to tuck into. And let’s not forget Scotland’s most famous tipple – whisky – which you can sample at a distillery or hip and happening bar.
3. BE A CULTURE VULTURE – DAMIEN HIRST, THE NEW ‘GRAND TOUR’, BLOCKBUSTER SHOWS AND OSCAR WILDE
The brand new Damien Hirst gallery will get arts fans visiting London’s Vauxhall in Spring next year. Hirst’s personal collection will be displayed in dedicated state-of-the-art galleries, showing work by Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons and Banksy. The north of England will be abuzz with the new HOME arts centre and revamped Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, while a contemporary reinterpretation of The Grand Tour will put Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire on the arts agenda. Hull prepares for its year as City of Culture 2017 with cultural activities and events, while Glasgow in Scotland will host the prestigious Turner Prize. Over in Northern Ireland’s beautiful Enniskillen, the first ‘Wilde Weekend’, devoted to Oscar Wilde, will take place in May next year. And from Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum to a Jackson Pollock retrospective at Tate Liverpool, there are blockbuster exhibitions to watch out for too. www.vam.ac.uk, www.tate.org.uk
4. GO TO WONDERLAND…AND AUSTEN-LAND! ALICE 150 AND EMMA 200
2015 marks the significant anniversary of several great works of literature. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will be 150 years old, so it’s a good time to head to Oxford, where Carroll lived – there are tours and a teashop for Wonder-fans, and 18th century Antony House, where the Tim Burton Alice film was shot. Emma, by Jane Austen, will be 200 years old next year, and there are plenty of places for Austen fans to trace the steps of the headstrong heroine, and the much-loved author, with dedicated tours and the Jane Austen’s House Museum to put on your itinerary.
5. SOLVE A MYSTERY – AGATHA CHRISTIE 125th BIRTHDAY
2015 marks the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. The master mystery story-teller lived in Torquay, ‘The English Riviera’, in Devon, south-west England, which is now synonymous with Christie and a must-visit for her fans. Greenway in Devon was her holiday home and visitors can step back in time to the 1950s – you can even stay there. It’ll be the ideal time to see The Mousetrap in London – the world’s longest-running stage show, 2015 will be its 63rd year on stage! Crime & mystery fans can double dip into their favourite literary genre early in 2015 with the Museum of London hosting the Sherlock Holmes: Man who never lived and can never die exhibit on display until April.
6. SEE A HISTORIC ICON – MAGNA CARTA 800
2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, one of the most important documents in British, and world, history. Dedicated Magna Carta trails covering six different aspects of the Magna Carta story have been launched to provide visitors with 2-3 day self-guided itineraries, including major tourist destinations, such as the British Library, to some of the most beautiful Cathedrals, to small towns and villages that all played an important role in securing Magna Carta almost 800 years ago. Lincoln Castle will present its new look to tie in with the anniversary, following four years of renovations and £22m spend.
7. REMEMBER HISTORY – WINSTON CHURCHILL
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s most famous and well-loved Prime Ministers, Winston Churchill. It’s a good time to explore his home, Chartwell – now managed by the National Trust – and the Churchill War Rooms in London, the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Bltiz of World War II. Blenheim Palace is a must-visit too – it was where he was born, and where he proposed to his wife.
8. SEEK ADVENTURE – NEW SURF ATTRACTION FOR WALES
Surf Snowdonia is an exciting new surfing and water sports park set to open Easter 2015 in the beautiful Conwy Valley of North Wales. Surf Snowdonia will be a world first, generating waves of up to 6 feet in a 300m long lagoon. It adds to Wales’s growing range of activities for adrenaline seekers. The longest zip line in the northern hemisphere can also be found in Snowdonia, and on the quirkier end of the spectrum, Bounce Below has just opened – the world’s first subterranean playground where you can trampoline beneath a slate mine!
9. TOSS THE CABER – BRAEMAR GATHERING 200
2015 will be the 200th anniversary of the Braemar Gathering, one of the most famous of Scotland’s traditional Highland Games, and an event the British Royal Family like to attend. The Braemar Royal Highland Society was born quietly and in humble circumstances in 1815. It has gathered momentum and gained the royal seal of approval and is a display of what makes Scotland’s culture so rich and unique, complete with games like ‘tossing the caber’ (throwing a huge, heavy pole), the Tug of War and Highland Dancing – plus plenty of bagpipes!
10. TAKE THE FAMILY – SHREK, ISLANDS AND SHAUN THE SHEEP
There’s the opening of a brand new Shrek attraction planned for London in Summer 2015, while a major £30 million project at Chester Zoo will bring to life the islands of the world in Spring where you can also meet the real-life Paddington (or at least the spectacled bear, inspiration for the beloved character coming to screens around the globe this Christmas). With the release of the Shaun the Sheep movie, fans can’t miss a visit to Bristol, home of Aardman (who create the movies), where giant Shaun statues will form part of an art trail next year.
11. BUY A BRITISH ICON – NEW WEDGWOOD EXPERIENCE
One of the best-known brands in Britain, Wedgwood, will open its new multi-million pound visitor centre in Stoke-on-Trent in 2015 following a £34 million development programme. Visit the elegant new Wedgwood Tea Rooms for the ultimate afternoon tea – served on the finest china! –, take a tour of the award winning Wedgwood museum, and dine in the new signature restaurant. The brand new Wedgwood Visitor Experience is scheduled for a grand opening by Easter 2015.
12. MAKE MONEY – VISIT THE ROYAL MINT IN WALES
For the first time in its 1,000 year history, Britain’s oldest manufacturing organisation, The Royal Mint (the world’s leading export mint), will open its doors to the general public to get behind the scenes and find out how the coins we use every day are made. There’s already a fascinating onsite museum, and the visitor experience will bring The Mint to life – there’s will even be the chance to strike your very own coin!
13. GET YOUR COSTUME READY – MANCHESTER PRIDE TURNS 25
Manchester celebrates 25 years of Manchester Pride in 2015. One of the longest running pride events in Britain, in one of our most fun-loving, diverse and culture-rich cities, Pride will be celebrated in style for its silver anniversary in 2015.There are lots of fabulous lesbian and gay friendly places to visit, stay, party and have a romantic escape, so discover the rainbow side of Britain!
14. GO GREEN – BRISTOL EUROPEAN GREEN CAPITAL
Bristol has been awarded the title of European Green Capital for 2015, making it a good time to take part in eco-friendly activities in one of England’s most fun cities. There are plenty of places all over Britain to opt for eco, with fantastic accommodation and dining options that put quirky or designer spins on ‘going green’ to discover.
15. From budget to boutique, Britain has you covered for new and unusual places to lay your head.
In January, Z Hotels launch their sixth UK property in London’s Shoreditch while later in the year the precinct will also be home to a new M by Montcalm a five star super high tech hotel. Manchester will welcome two spectacular hotels in spring: King Street Townhouse located in an 1864 the Grade II listed building while the new Hotel Gotham from Bespoke Hotels is promising to be ‘the sexiest hotel in Europe’. The luxurious Gainsborough Hotel in Bath will open its doors in late spring and will be the only hotel in the UK to offer a natural thermal spa within a hotel. From the team who bought us the hotel shaped like a ship, perched atop the Royal Festival Hall, Living Architecture will open the Grayson Perry designed House for Essex while in mid Wales they’ll open Life House/ Tŷ Bywyd. Capping off the year will be the opening of the InterContinental Greenwich near The O2 featuring a health spa, restaurant precinct and panoramic Sky Bar with views of Canary Wharf and the Thames.
www.thezhotels.com/z-shoreditch www.kingstreettownhouse.co.uk www.bespokehotels.com/hotelgotham www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk www.themontcalm.com/hotel-m-by-montcalm-shoreditch-london-tech-city-128.html www.intercontinental.com www.living-architecture.co.uk
If you didn’t think that was enough, there are films and TV series galore coming out over the next year that will shine the spotlight on Britain and its striking film locations – from Bond 24 to Cinderella to Macbeth, via Downton Abbey, Outlander and Game of Thrones, which the VisitBritain Destination PR team will be bringing you inspiring long lead information on. From September 12, visitors will be able to party all night with the introduction of a 24 hour Tube service in London. And if that’s not enough, next year Brighton will be celebrating its cheeky side, with the 35th anniversary of Britain’s first nudist beach!