10 reasons to love 2016

by Katie Rowe

Category: Things to do
January 11 2016

Don’t let the January blues get you down, there are a vast array of new attractions and unmissable events set to make their mark in 2016. Here, Katie Rowe picks out 10 reasons to look forward to the year ahead...

Find more ideas and plan your 2016 holidays in England...


Various characters dressed in period costume

1. A seven and a half acre stage in Durham

Question: What do you get if you combine a seven a half acre stage, 1,000-strong cast and crew, and 90 minutes of action-packed live performance at Durham’s Auckland Castle? The answer:  Kynren, an epic tale of England, a colossal open-air performance that will see 2,000 years of England’s history dramatically unfold through live battles, re-enactments and pyrotechnic displays. The spectacle begins on 2 July and continues until 17 September.

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2. Ride the waves in Scarborough

Alpamare’s brand new waterpark makes a splash in the seaside town of Scarborough this summer. Get set for an exhilarating day out as you shoot down lofty waterslides, spin around flumes and dive into crashing waves. Need to catch your breath? Spend some time in the family-friendly water playground, take a dip in the heated outdoor pool or indulge yourself in the spa and feel re-energized while gazing out to sea in the Iodine outdoor pool overlooking North Bay. 

Find things to do in Scarborough...

A CGI of the a man zooming down the new slide at the Olympic Park

3. Slip and slide through East London

The world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide is set to open at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park in May. Journey 178m metres up before spiralling around the tower five times on a 40 second descent back to terra firma. Along with its world-beating length, the slide also has transparent sections, allowing you to enjoy the view on the way down, if you can keep your eyes open that is.

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4. Tickle your tastebuds in Cumbria

Check into The Forest Side Hotel, a grand Victorian hotel near Grasmere that’s been revamped with four poster beds and whimsical dishes from Kevin Tickle, former chef at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume. Kevin’s menu will change daily according to produce available within 46 acres of luscious grounds and the extensive Victorian walled kitchen garden.

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Red signage for the new Old Kent Margate overlooking the beach

5. More cool openings in Margate

A beautiful cinema dating back to 1911 is being carefully renovated into a go-to spot for top-notch local produce. Adding even more kudos to Margate’s ever-evolving independent shopping scene, the brand new Old Kent Market on Margate’s seafront is just across the way from the Turner Contemporary. Expect the likes of street food served from a Routemaster and independent labels selling handmade goods. Elsewhere, on Margate’s sandy beach, you’ll soon find the UK’s only traditional sea bathing machine, courtesy of hip skincare and perfumery brand Haeckels. Sweat it out in the built-in sauna and use the ocean as your plunge pool when this crowd-funding project opens in July.  

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6. Eat your way through Dorset

Dorset is home to top-notch local ingredients by the shed load so it’s no surprise that celebrity chefs flock here. Rick Stein recently opened his latest venture in the swish coastal pocket of Sandbanks where you can sit back and gaze out to sea while enjoying crab salad or moules frites. This chic seafood spot joins Mark Hix’s Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis which uses the daily catch from the The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and The Seaside Boarding House overlooking Chesil Beach, a new venture from the legendary Groucho Club founders.

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A view of the honey-hued Burghley House from across a vast lake

7. The year of the English garden

2016 would have been Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s 300th birthday so there’s no better time to celebrate the English garden in its many floral and herbaceous guises. Known for his signature sweeping lawns interspersed by vast glistening lakes, Brown’s designs can still be enjoyed at stately homes across the country to this very day. Take you pick from a whole range of celebrations, including ‘Capability Brown’ guided tours at Bowood House in Wiltshire and a new trail of Brown’s views of the garden at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Elsewhere in Lincolnshire, Burghley House will launch a brand new exhibition, self-guided ‘Brown’ tours and you’ll also be able to enjoy Brown’s landscaping vision in all its glory as the original views and vistas are restored.

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8. The Bard’s back in town

23 April marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and nowhere celebrates his life and legacy more than his birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. The RSC, where the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart have graced the stage, will open a major new exhibition, which is set to immerse visitors in its age-old history, and King Edward VI School will reopen both Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, where Shakespeare watched his first piece of professional theatre.

Find things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon...

A CGI of the new Hastings Pier

9. From piers to spears in Hastings

In March, Hastings Pier will reopen as one of the coolest-looking piers in the world, hosting circus shows, plays, film festivals, farmers’ markets and much more. It will join a growing number of hip hangouts in East Sussex, including Jerwood Gallery, Rebel Gallery and De Warr Pavillion in nearby Bexhill-on-Sea, a multi-art venue which has seen everyone from Alan Carr to Father John Misty perform. While Hastings’ arts scene is still emerging, the area’s pivotal place in history remains just as famous now as it did when the Normans first conquered England 950 years ago. Both Hastings and Battle will be celebrating this mammoth anniversary with a programme of events and Norman-themed activities throughout the year, including a special edition of its annual re-enactment of the battle, which takes place every October on the battlefield lying behind Battle Abbey.

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10. Lights, camera, Yorkshire

The remake of the classic comedy ‘Dad’s Army’ hits cinemas in February and will feature a star-studded cast including Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Gambon appearing alongside iconic East Yorkshire locations such as the seaside resort of Bridlington and the medieval town of Beverley. Once you’ve seen the film, why not step back to wartime England at Bridlington Old Town 1940s Summer Festival, which will see a bumper celebration on 12 June. Elsewhere, ITV’s upcoming period drama Victoria is currently being shot at Yorkshire Studios, with Whitby recently receiving a royal visit from Jenna Coleman who plays the young Queen in this high-end series produced by the makers of Poldark.

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Katie Rowe

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