It’s a case of armchair travel, planning for later, mastering those gardening skills and supporting your favourite local foodie hotspots this month. With tourism businesses innovating and giving back across the country, you can learn how to make the most out of the random left-overs with Rutland, Steady, Cook! Scheme; transport yourself to County Durham with its colouring in sheets featuring local icons or join a family quiz with the West Midlands. Plus, with the first May bank holiday around the corner, get inspired with English Heritage’s VE Day 75 home party pack and learn Lindy Hop style dancing to some 1940s tunes. Whatever you do stay safe and take care!
Please see below for more information, plus a round-up of other news from around the country.
May Bank Holiday – Get Party Ready!
75th anniversary of VE Day
8-10 May 2020
The early May Bank Holiday was moved back by four days to Friday 8 May to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Whilst the international anniversary commemorations, which mark 75 years since the end of World War II in Europe, have been impacted there is still a chance to mark the occasion at home. English Heritage has launched a special VE Day at Home pack, including a selection of tasty recipes from ginger beer and lemonade to carrot scones and cheese and marmite swirls; tips for dancing Lindy Hop style; a Spotify playlist and popular 1940s songs to sing with your family!
Join National Gardening Week (27 April -3 May) celebration and the virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show (18 -23 May) 2020
England’s gardens are springing into life and RHS is calling on gardeners up and down the country to go out into gardens or balconies as a way to look after their physical health, wellbeing and ‘keep gardening’ as a great mood boosting exercise. The Royal Horticultural Society is working on making the iconic Chelsea Flower Show virtual for its 2020 edition, to celebrate great, horticultural industry and gardening heritage with a Virtual Show running from Tuesday 19 May to Saturday 23 May. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Enjoy MORE spring gardens from the safety of your own home
Of course, it’s not the same, but for a dash of spectacular spring colour, there are still some gardens where you can “take a stroll” and boost your spirits - albeit virtually. Just kick-back in front of your desktop, tablet, smartphone or smart TV and enjoy a bit of “me time”, taking-in the dazzling floral displays, world famous horticultural collections and glorious parkland of some of the country’s top gardens including: Hampshire’s Exbury Gardens, with beautiful views of woodland area on the edge of the Beaulieu River or Lincolnshire’s very own ‘lost garden’, Easton Walled Gardens, an ancient beauty restored from a wilderness after laying derelict for half a century.
Holidays for heroes: NHS discounts and offers for key workers
Restaurants, visitor attractions, hotels and retailers around the country are creating giveaways, offers, freebies and discounts for NHS staff, as well as a selection of incentives for other key workers to enjoy once it's safe to do so. To make sure as many people as possible can take advantage of these offerings, VisitEngland has put together an extensive list of regional and national giveaways and discounts. Please see link below.
Ways to support your local businesses across England
In these strange and difficult times, it’s so important we look out for one another. And now more than ever, our restaurants, shops, and various other retailers and attractions need our support. There are plenty of ways we can help them, from buying groceries from local farm shops and treating yourself to a takeaway. Or why not invest in gift cards and vouchers to spend once this is over or reschedule bookings rather than cancelling altogether? Go to our VisitEngland website to find just a few ideas of how you can do your bit to bring hope and positivity to your local community and the country as a whole.
Inspired by the popular BBC cooking game show ‘Ready Steady Cook’ (which returned to our screens in March) the Rutland, Steady, Cook! campaign reaches out to local eateries with a request for them to share recipes, which anyone can make using store cupboard and easy to source ingredients. One of the most important aims of the Rutland Steady Cook is to help ensure that the vibrant hospitality sector can go on to thrive after this period of uncertainty.
County Durham is supporting its local businesses and providing people who were planning to visit Durham in the coming weeks, or those for whom the county is on their travel ‘wish list’, with uplifting and inspiring content to be enjoyed at home., The ‘#LoveDurham from your sofa’ campaign features virtual tours, videos, craft ideas, recipes, quizzes, Durham trivia, film and TV locations and colouring in sheets depicting some of the county’s iconic locations.
VisitBlackpool has produced a Virtual Blackpool package tour which includes a brilliant online collection of rollercoaster rides, water slides, tours of venues and attractions, educational videos, and plenty of fun and games for the family to enjoy. The package, available on the www.visitblackpool.com website, includes: A thrilling POV ride on the incredible ICON, the UK’s first double-launch coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; breath-taking footage of the white-knuckle water chutes at the Sandcastle Waterpark; a touch of animal magic with some delightful live videos, photos and educational facts from Blackpool Zoo; walk-through tours of two of Blackpool’s beautiful heritage attractions – the Grand Theatre and the Winter Gardens; the SEA LIFE diaries, a fun and educational insight into the creatures from the ocean’s depths and more.
Birmingham has created a new hub, including: ideas, inspiration and fun for residents and visitors far and wide whilst staying at home, with everything from a family quiz to keep the kids entertained, to West Midlands inspired recipes so you can brush up on those cookery skills!
City of London along with partner organisations, including Tower Bridge, Culture Mile, LSO, Barbican and Museum of London, have launched a comprehensive digital campaign showcasing the best of the City’s online cultural offer along with positive, inspirational content which can all be accessed from home. The campaign launches on Monday 27 April with content focusing on the theme of ‘The Home’.
Discover The Enchanted Interior exhibition through a video tour with Guildhall Art Gallery Curator Katty Pearce and hidden histories of women in the City and view Hannah Starkey's remarkable new photography exhibition or tap into a range of free online resources and activities from community libraries at Artizan Street, Shoe Lane and Barbican. Follow #VisittheCityfromhome on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what you can access from your sofa.
English Tourism Week will take place on the second bank holiday in May. This year, the campaign's focus will be on engagement with Government, MPs and other stakeholders, to support the recovery of English tourism and raise awareness of the importance, quality and value of the sector to the UK economy.
English Wine Week – into the wonderful world of English wine
20 – 28 June
There are over 400 vineyards dotted around this green and pleasant land – and several varieties stealing top awards. This year’s annual celebration has been moved to 20 -28 June. More details to follow soon.