Can’t wait to see the back of 2020? Us too! We’ve got everything crossed that 2021 will be the light at the end of the tunnel of a tough and somewhat strange spell. Thankfully, 2021 is set to be packed with new attractions, festivals and events popping up across the country.
Celebrate the start of the new year by planning a 2021 short break or trip around a new smash-hit musical or how about staying in a converted prison?
Art and culture festivals in 2021
Illuminated River Thames
This ambitious art installation will transform some of London’s most iconic bridges into glorious light shows when it launches in spring 2021. Brightening up some already vibrant riverside walks, Illuminated River Thames will add a whole lot of colour to landmarks like Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge and the Golden Jubilee footbridges.
Put your walking boots on for a one-of-a-kind art treasure hunt on the south coast. Arts organisations across Sussex, Kent and Essex (including the prestigious Turner Contemporary) have come together to create the world’s first art GeoTour. What’s that, you say? Well, the trail will connect the area’s galleries using GPS, mapping out seven contemporary coastal artworks for you to discover.
Moulin Rouge makes the trip across the Atlantic from Broadway to the West End in autumn 2021, bringing with it a ton of feathers, sequins, shimmies and sashays. Headlining the Piccadilly Theatre, the production, based on Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar-winning film, will delight theatre and film fans alike when its high-budget take on the glitzy Paris cabaret scene opens next year.
Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower leaving Plymouth with the first English settlers of America, this festival (postponed from 2020) will bring a unique part of Plymouth’s naval history to life. Built around the new Mayflower Museum, the programme has a whole host of unmissable events, from the Four Nations Ceremony and Military Muster, to the Rehabilitation Triathlon by the Royal Marines.
After having to delay its opening due to this year’s series of unfortunate events, the Derby Ram Trail will finally take to the city’s streets in the spring/summer of 2021. Based on the mythical Derby Ram – who was said to be ten yards high with a huge flowing fleece – the trail will feature a flock of 30 fabulous ram sculptures, each designed and painted by local artists, dotted throughout the city streets. Grab your camera and see how man you can find.
The UK City of Culture for 2021 will be hosting a year-long events programme of art, theatre, dance and literature for you to feast your eyes on. Kicking off in May with a city-wide installation titled Coventry Moves, the city will be transformed with spectacular performances and artworks. Plus, in September 2021, the world-famous Turner Prize will be held in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, celebrating visual art from across the UK.
Billed as “the world’s first super boutique hotel”, The Londoner will open its doors near London’s Leicester Square in early 2021. With 15 storeys and 350 guestrooms – including 35 suites and a penthouse – The Londoner, with all its charm and prestige, is sure to be a grand addition to the West End. Plus, with concept eateries, a state-of-the-art ballroom (party, anyone?) and two private screening rooms, The Londoner will definitely make its mark.
Venture into the wilds of Port Lympne Reserve for sweeping views of the Kentish savannah at this one-of-a-kind glamping experience. Built into the side of Port Lympne’s leopard enclosure, you can enjoy 24-hour viewings of their spotted residents through the panoramic glass fronting of this luxe wigwam which even features a monsoon shower.
Adding to its already popular surf pool and pop-up eateries, The Wave is introducing a range of safari tents to its repertoire. Built to withstand all kinds of weather, up to eight people can spend the night in each cosy space, ready to be the first ones out on the waves in the morning.
Sleep behind bars in 2021, at a four-star hotel built out of the ruins of Bodmin Jail, which, unopen since 1927, was famously used to house the Crown Jewels during World War One. Retaining the unique ‘charm’ of a historic prison – think weathered stone walls and bars – but with all the modern luxuries of a boutique hotel (like comfy bedding and stand-alone baths), this is somewhere you might want to be locked up in for a while.
Hampton by Hilton is adding a very handy location to its portfolio next year, with the opening of its new hotel in Ancoats, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Just steps from Arndale Shopping Centre and the popular National Football Museum, it’s the ideal base for exploring the city’s top attractions. The rooms themselves are simple yet stylish, you’ll get a free hot breakfast each morning (freshly baked waffles, anyone?) and there are plenty of accessibility features too, from lowered lift buttons to roll-in showers.
Eco-warriors rejoice! The lively strip of Deansgate in Manchester is setting up for the early 2021 opening of Hotel Qbic – an eco-conscious hotel with all the trimmings. As well as a stellar location – close to local gems and tip-top nightlife – the hotel gets top marks for its green initiatives. Swanky, re-loved furniture spruces up every corner, there’s solar panels on the roof and, if you choose not to get your room cleaned, you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary drink at the hotel bar. Who doesn’t love a freebie?
Set amongst the wilds and tranquillity of the north Cornish coasts, Three Mile Beach is a set of 15 luxury self-catering beach houses, due to open next spring. Built in a hygge design with private decks and sunken hot tubs (yes please!), Three Mile Beach will be the ultimate place to go off grid with family or friends. What’s more, surf lessons, on-site private chefs and easy access to all of Cornwall’s best attractions make Three Mile Beach a fantastic all-round package.
Bristol’s Cabot Circus is looking forward to its 2021 big reveal – the eventual opening of its trendy Moxy Hotel. Owned by the Marriott Group, this chic, laidback brand is all about affordable fun in hip locations. The Bristol hotel will house 214 rooms across seven storeys and you can expect things like complimentary cocktails on check-in (which take place at the bar), playful communal spaces and food and drink on tap 24/7.
The first addition to the RHS’ portfolio in 17 years, RHS Bridgewater is a 156-acre garden set in the grounds of Worsley New Hall, near the centre of Manchester. With its blooming kitchen garden, heritage orchard and historic 11-acre walled garden, RHS Bridgewater is sure to attract plenty of green fingers from across England when it opens in May 2021.
Following its multi-million-pound investment, Nottingham Castle and its sprawling caves will be reopening in 2021. With ties to the legendary Robin Hood and the English Civil War, Nottingham Castle is steeped in history, with new displays bringing the castle’s past to life in a raft of new ways. Plus, the views of Nottingham and its surrounding countryside from the castle’s lofty position are pretty top notch.
Delve into the tragic and complex life of world-famous author Mary Shelley and her greatest creation Frankenstein at this world-first visitor attraction. Located in Bath (where Shelley wrote most of her most iconic work), the House of Frankenstein will invite you to discover Shelley’s past, before immersing you into the spooky story of Frankenstein and his monster in an atmospheric and multi-sensory experience.
London’s Imperial War Museum is growing, with brand-new additions to its powerful Second World War and Holocaust galleries.. Set across two floors, the in-depth exhibition will let you dig deeper into the tumultuous period through engaging displays, authentic relics and personal stories from survivors.
The stunning Eden Project is set to become even more attractive in 2021 when it opens its 109-bedroom hotel. Designed to be super sustainable, the hotel will weave in existing trees and stone walls into its grounds, perfectly blending into the surrounding paradise.
Delve further into Bath’s Roman history when previously unseen parts of the Roman Baths open to the public next year. Following a conversion of a handful of Victorian spa buildings close to the site, this ever-popular attraction will boast a brand-new World Heritage Centre as well as an authentic Roman sauna.
England’s longest and fastest zipline is landing in Kent next year at the much-loved Bluewater Shopping Centre. Leave your partner in the shops while you head outdoors to take on the 700-metre zipline, suspended high over the former quarry. Strapped in horizontally (just to make it that bit more intense) you’ll zoom over a sea of trees, waving to pedestrian shoppers below. And that’s not all– Hangloose Adventure are also looking to add the UK’s only outdoor Skydive machine to the south east venue, as well as a climbing wall, giant swing and lots more.