With the arts moving into unique and inspirational locations, a spate of grand openings in the pipeline and gin and whisky distilleries, as well as boutique vineyards producing their first drop, VisitEngland predicts that grand designs, ‘out of place’ art and artisan England will all play a part in UK-based holidays next year. Read on for these and more travel trends for 2015.
A wealth of luxury hotels will open across the country next year. The long-awaited Heckfield Place plans to open its doors in March 2015. Built in the Georgian period and expanded in Victorian times, the revitalised Heckfield Place manor house hotel sits on a 330 acre working farm. The hotel boasts 60 individually designed bedrooms, a historic walled garden of flowers, herbs and fruit trees, 65-seat subterranean screening room, cottages offering a variety of health and beauty experiences, but best of all, a delicious restaurant with Skye Gyngell at the helm.
Opening in spring, The Gainsborough Bath Spa will be the only hotel in the United Kingdom to house a natural thermal spa. Created by award-winning Champalimaud Design, the rooms and suites at the hotel will be custom furnished, subtly referencing period details combined with contemporary forms.
Living Architecture has two openings planned, for 2015 and 2016. Spring-time will welcome the Grayson Perry inspired House for Essex, a unique creation in the North Essex countryside. The house, near Wrabness, will be an artwork in itself exploring the special character and individual qualities of Essex. The second project in South Devon, between the resorts of Salcombe and Hallsands, is Peter Zumthor’s The Secular Retreat and is due to open in 2016. Standing on top of a hill, with endless views onto the rolling south Devon landscape, Zumthor has designed a haven from the pressures of modern life – a space dedicated to calm, reflection and perspective.
Lastly, the luxury global chain, The Peninsula, has announced plans to open its first ever UK property in Belgravia, London, just steps away from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace,
Heckfield Place, Hampshire. www.heckfieldplace.com
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath. www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk
House for Essex, Essex. www.living-architecture.co.uk
The Secular Retreat, Devon. www.living-architecture.co.uk
The Peninsula, London. http://www.peninsula.com
‘Out of Place’ art
Kicking off on 1 October 2014, Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace is the first major contemporary art exhibition to be presented in an historic building dating back to 1704 and was famously the birth place of British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill in 1874. The launch of the Blenheim Art Foundation – a new programme of contemporary art at Blenheim Palace – represents a new experience of the stately home by showcasing modern art in richly furnished palace rooms, as well as in the park and formal gardens. With more than 50 pieces being showcased, it will be the most extensive UK exhibition by the Chinese artist.
Inspiring and innovative settings for the arts is a theme running throughout 2015 with the Almeida Theatre’s The Fever popping up at The May Fair Hotel’s Amber Suite. The play starring single cast member, Game of Thrones actor Tobias Menzies, is a confessional monologue and will be performed in intimate surrounds to an audience of just 28. Performances will run from 7 January until 7 February 2015 and limited tickets will be available from 23 September 2014 via the Almeida Theatre Box Office.
Similarly and a first for the museum industry, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is collaborating with Punchdrunk Enrichment to create Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted. The exhibit aimed at six to twelve year-olds and their families will take audience members on an exciting and enlightening theatrical journey through the museum. Visitors will become real life crew members and will be called on to work together to navigate through the adventurous exhibition. Tickets will go on sale on 24 September 2014 and the interactive performances will run from 28 March until August 2015.
Balls, Bats and Boats
2015 is set to be a big sporting year for England. Just three years after London 2012, England will be hosting the world’s third largest sporting event, the Rugby World Cup, from 18 September to 31 October 2015. The tournament spans 10 English destinations across 44 days, giving fans the perfect excuse to take a road-trip around the country. Hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 is estimated by Deloittes to be worth £2.1bn to the British economy, not to mention creating a huge buzz north, south, east and west.
Next 7 June marks 40 years since the inaugural Cricket World Cup; as well as being invented in England in the 16th century, the game’s first world cup was hosted in England in 1975. The tournament was a key milestone in the evolution of the sport and was won by the West Indies, who defeated Australia by 17 runs in the final at Lord’s. Today, get to the heart of the game on a tour of Lords cricket ground in north London where fans can visit the MCC Museum and have tea and cucumber sandwiches in the historic Long Room. The Museum’s collection, which began in 1864, spans the full history of cricket from its emergence as a major sport in the early 18th century, to the modern age of Twenty20 and the IPL. Its most famous exhibit is the original Ashes urn, a personal gift to then England captain the Hon. Ivo Bligh.
In a revolutionary move that breaks with 183 years of history, the Women’s Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge will achieve equal billing with the more famous men’s event in 2015 as the two events are combined. The women’s event, which has previously taken place at Henley-on-Thames, will move to the traditional race location of Tideway on 11 April 2015.
Rugby World Cup 2015, London, Brighton, Gloucester, Leeds, Leicester, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Exeter and Manchester. www.visitengland.com/rugbywww.rugbyworldcup.com
Lords, London. www.lords.org
Boat Race, London. www.theboatrace.org
This year has seen a spate of new artisan openings. A number of artisanal gin and whisky distilleries as well as boutique vineyards already open their doors to the public, however, oenophiles, whisky connoisseurs and gin enthusiasts will have to wait until next year to enjoy the first fruits of their labour.
Visitors to the Holy Vale vineyard on the Isles of Scilly will be able to sample the fine chardonnays and pinot noirs in daily tastings from early next year. Described by world-renowned wine expert, Michael Broadbent as ‘one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in the world’, the winery currently offers a guided tour and a seat on the picturesque terrace in the heart of 7,000 vines. The iconic Star Castle Hotel, a former 16th century castle in the shape of a star, offers bed, breakfast and dinner, plus a complimentary tour of the vineyard from £125 per person per night in a garden room.
The £4 million Cotswolds Distillery is one of only five in England producing whiskey, rye, liqueur and gin. While visitors will have to wait until 2017 to sample the whiskey, the gin will be on sale from the end of this month. Located in Stourton, exclusive tours and tasting sessions will be available from October 2014.
Housed in a former Victorian farm in the Lake District, The Lakes Distillery – Cumbria’s first whiskey distillery – also produces its own Cumbrian gin made with local botanicals. The Lakes Distillery, near Bassenthwaite, will have a café, restaurant, shop and a visitor centre offering supervised distillery tours, which will open in December this year. However, for those who can’t wait, visitors can pop by now for a complimentary tasting of The ONE whiskey.
In the run up to the tercentenary of the birth of landscape gardener Capability Brown in 2016, England is going ‘green’. Hampton Court Palace has teamed up with a Chelsea-winning gardener to create the new Magic Garden in summer 2015 – a project that will engage, inspire, excite and surprise young visitors and their families. The innovative and sensory experience will also provide the ideal setting for evening events such as plays, concerts and light installations.
Bristol has long been one of the UK’s leading green cities and its eco-credentials have been recognised as the city has been awarded the international accolade of European Green Capital 2015. A lively programme of ‘green’ themed events makes Bristol stand apart as an environmentally-focused and sustainable city, including Bristol’s Big Green Week, Festival of Nature, Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride, Bristol Green Doors and Bristol Cycle Festival. Those looking for an eco-chic getaway should check out The Greenhouse, a temple to all things eco-friendly.