…Scottish single malt whiskies on the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail. Explore Edinburgh and celebrate the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festivals with a year of celebration of music, science, film, art, theatre, dance, literature and storytelling.
Ireland’s Ancient East
Ireland’s newest tourism proposition offers a compelling reason to visit the East of the country. The Land of 5,000 Dawns is one of three areas where visitors can find the whimsical woodland trails of Belvedere House and the exceptional passage tomb of Newgrange, built back in 3200 BC. The Historic Heartlands is where saints converted kings at the Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle changed hands for a song and Iron Age victims were surrendered to Lough Boora Bog. And the third is the Celtic Coast, where Vikings looted holy treasures from the monastic city of Glendalough and where Hook Lighthouse continues to sweep across Ireland’s story-strewn maritime history.
UK City of Culture – Hull
Festivals, exhibitions and events will be held throughout the year across the city which will also be hosting the world-renowned Turner Prize. Everything from theatre, music and poetry to wind turbines and caravans will celebrate what’s made in Hull and other themes will cover the city’s heritage and the role it played in the emancipation movement.
Wales’ Year of Legends
Following the success of its 2016 Year of Adventure, Wales will be celebrating their Year of Legends in 2017. The year will inspire visitors to explore more of Wales’ distinctive history, culture, heritage and mythology. Cardiff will also be hosting the UEFA Champions League Final.
200th Anniversary of the death of Jane Austen
Hampshire was the inspiration for many of Jane Austen’s classics including Pride and Prejudice. The village of Chawton, home to Jane Austen’s House Museum, will hold numerous events while another exhibition will be near her grave at Winchester Cathedral. In Bath, head to the city’s Jane Austen Centre for exclusive films, costumes, temporary and permanent exhibits. In Kent, visitors can follow in her footsteps on a Jane Austen trail set up by Visit Kent.
Due for release in 2017, Knights of the Roundtable, an epic adventure retelling the story of the legend. British locations used in the film include Snowdonia in north Wales, the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye, plus Windsor Great Park and the Forest of Dean on the border of England and Wales; Disney production Beauty and the Beast was filmed on location in London and Surrey.
350th Anniversary of the Battle of Chatham
Medway will re-tell the historic naval battle with the Dutch fleet which sailed up the river and caught the English unprepared to bring the second Anglo-Dutch War to an end. It was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy’s history. The Historic Dockyard Chatham will also host an international exhibition, from June to September.
20th Anniversary of Harry Potter
June marks 20 years since the release of JK Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It put many landmarks – from Alnwick Castle to the Reptile House at ZSL London Zoo – on the map as Potter pilgrimage sites. Events include live screenings of the first film, accompanied by a live orchestra, at regional cities, as well as London’s Royal Albert Hall. Later in 2017, a new Harry Potter exhibition opens at the British Library while a must for any fan is the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, near Watford.
Tall ships events are always popular with coach groups. In mid April a fleet gathers in Royal Greenwich while traditional sail takes over Gloucester docks at the end of May. Canning Dock becomes home to a beautiful fleet of tall ships for the International Mersey River Festival at the end of June. These events offer opportunities to step on board and to enjoy entertainment with pirate re-enactments, creative workshops and history trails.
Battle of Passchendaele
On a more sombre note, the centenary of the First World War continues with the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele. Remembered for its unremitting bleakness and apocalyptic mud, the battle began on 31 July 1917 and did not end till November with 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties. The Passchendaele Centenary will be marked with commemorations in Belgium, opening on 30 July 2017.