Planning your weekend trips and bank holiday getaways for next year already? Well we’ve got just the ticket, and it’s a lot cheaper than long haul! Find out why Lonely Planet voted England a top place to visit in 2020, and check out the best new places to stay and the top things to do in England come January.
Be mesmerised at Love Light Norwich
Already looking at unique things to do for Valentine’s Day? Look no further. For the first time ever, a magical light festival will illuminate the historic streets of Norwich city centre. From dedicated trails and fire artworks, to shimmering installations and performances, Love Light Norwich, taking place between the 13 and 15 February, is a celebration of love and belonging.
The streets of London will be full of tiny snowmen and ice queens next autumn when Disney’s Frozen the Musical makes it way to the West End. This live-action show will make its debut at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the first production in over a year for the theatre, which will be newly refreshed after exciting renovations. Fresh from USA’s Broadway, this show is bound to enchant theatre lovers, little and big kids alike
Celebrate Brighton’s Living Coast at a special Nature2020 event, taking place throughout the year. Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Region, the communities of the Brighton and Lewes Downs have been recognised for their efforts to ensure the region is developed in a sustainable way with proper conservation for the environment. Explore the area with one of these unique events and see the benefits of their hard work first hand.
The newest Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden in 17 years will be opening its doors in Salford, resurrecting the historic landscape of Worsley New Hall. Designed by landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, the fifth RHS garden will include a kitchen garden (nestled within the original 11-acre garden wall), learning garden, community allotments and lots more.
Racking up 2,700 miles, this country-wide National Trail spans the entirety of England’s coastline. Opening up in sections throughout 2020 and beyond, the England Coast Path will be the longest coastal walking route in the world. Along the path there will be plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, visit seaside resorts and coastal towns, and discover secret sandy beaches and rocky coves – the perfect chance to get closer to nature while holidaying at home.
Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale
To honour 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale, the World Health Organisation has nominated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. And to celebrate the Lady with the Lamp, there are a range of events happening throughout the country, from walking tours through London to exhibitions dedicated to the founder of modern nursing at the Florence Nightingale Museum. And if you really fancy digging deeper into her life, you can book a night at her childhood home in the Peak District, too!
On a spring break to the Isle of Wight, why not pay a visit to the island’s first outdoor floating aqua park? Heaps of fun for families and groups of friends, the inflatable course at Tapnell Farm will feature a range of bouncy obstacles and plans to remain open whatever the weather (you’ll be getting soaked either way, right?). You can also take part in kayaking, paddle boarding and lake swimming, in case you fancy something different.
Pay a visit to the first major art exhibition of Oscar-winning filmmaker, Steve McQueen. His provocative portraits of time and place, which comment on urgent contemporary issues, will bring together immersive video and film installations between February and May 2020.
Joining him at the Tate Modern is a collection of Andy Warhol’s most iconic pieces – including Marilyn Monroe and his floating Silver Clouds – telling the story of the shy outsider who became a pop art superstar. Warhol’s pieces will be on display from March until September 2020.
England’s best wild adventure park, based on Tom Blofeld’s book A Boggle at BeWILDerwood, is opening its wonky wooden gates to a second 70-acre location at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire in spring 2020. The mystical forest setting jam-packed with arts, crafts and quirky storytelling encourages traditional and imaginative outdoor play and welcomes all ages to explore nature at its very best.
After a substantial two-year redevelopment, Museum of the Home (formerly known as The Geffrye), which showcases English homes throughout the centuries, will reopen in the spring of 2020 with new and updated spaces for collections and learning activities. The state-of-the-art Home Gallery – running the full length of the almshouse building – will explore the historic stories of ‘home’, while the modern, eco-friendly roof garden will welcome its first visitors, and plans to remain open all year round.
This luxury, adults-only treehouse provides the ultimate escape from modern day life; it’s so secluded and private that its exact location is kept a secret until after you’ve made a booking! Found somewhere in the scenic Wye Valley, the Hudnalls Hideout will offer all the style and comfort that you would expect from an upmarket city hotel, tucked away in the gorgeous countryside, allowing you to sit back, relax and take in the views from its balcony.
2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s maiden voyage from Plymouth to the New World (now more commonly known as America), bringing the first English Pilgrims to the continent. The ship has become a cultural icon on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and Plymouth, along with several more destinations across the country, will be celebrating its role in the story with a series of unique events and exhibits. Several of the events will be also hosted at The Box, a new cultural attraction due to open in spring 2020.
Settle into The Libertines’ Albion Rooms guesthouse
Owned, designed and developed by indie rockers The Libertines, the Albion Rooms in Margate is adding seven uniquely themed rooms (designed by each member of the band) and a restaurant to its stylish bar setting in 2020. Providing the perfect base to explore Margate’s quirky art scene, the Albion Rooms is also expanding its night-time entertainment with live music and spoken word performances every week.
Already a family favourite thanks to Peppa Pig World, Paultons Park is expanding in 2020 with a whole new zone – Tornado Springs. Inspired by 1950s American desert towns, it will add several new rides to the park, including a spinning roller coaster and a water raft ride, a driving school and a train route. Get a taste of the Wild West with a family-friendly stay at Paultons Park from May 2020.
Following England’s success in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, The Hundred aims to provide another summer of first-class cricket. This new tournament will feature eight male and female squads from across the UK (based in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff, London and Hampshire) and a new fast-paced form of cricket, with both teams playing a single innings of 100 balls.
This much-loved Cornish attraction, currently undergoing a £40 million redevelopment, is set to re-open in May with the brand-new immersive Dark Walk. And from autumn 2020, you’ll be able to book overnight stays at the jail’s 4-star boutique hotel, set inside the Grade II-listed building. Each of its 70 bedrooms will be carved out of original jail cells, and will retain its characteristic features like bars on the windows.
Following a slight change in host format, London will play a major role in Euro 2020, with seven games (including the semi-finals and final of the tournament) due to be played at Wembley Stadium. Throughout the summer, football will take over the city with a dedicated Football Village (featuring live match screenings and football pitches) plus pop-up events due to be announced before the games begin in June.
Derby’s historical association with rams comes from a traditional folk song aptly titled The Derby Ram, and the animal continues to serve as the city’s emblem to this day. In summer 2020, the city will host a unique sculpture trail with 30 decorated and painted rams taking over the city centre, all designed and created by local artists. Get out and about in historic Derby and see if you can discover them all!
Honister isn’t just home to England’s last working slate mine – it’s also a thrill seekers paradise, with the first via ferrata route in the country. Following several years of planning and preparation, Honister is adding a zip wire to the site; this 1km-long course will follow an old mining route to guarantee an exhilarating and unique experience.
Immerse yourself in Wallace and Gromit: The Big Fix Up
Explore the home city of Aardman Animations with this brand-new mixed reality experience starring British icons Wallace and Gromit. The Big Fix Up will take players on a journey across Bristol, using their phones to discover landmarks, interact with a variety of much-loved characters and complete their quirky challenges. Featuring new storylines, scripts and animations from the Aardman team, this is set to be the duo’s biggest adventure yet… and you’re part of it!