Red Arrows

With the promises of yet another great year in terms of group travel, Visit England picks out seven things to be excited for in 2018.

1. Liverpool culture

It is a big year for Liverpool as the city marks ten years since it was European Capital of Culture 2008 with a year-long programme of cultural events including exhibitions, seasons and performances from some of the world’s best artists, musicians and cultural organisations. In February, the Terracotta Warriors will arrive at the city’s World Museum. The Liverpool Biennial of contemporary art will also come to town, showcasing contemporary art in the city’s public places (14th July – 28th October). 

2. Bristol

Being Brunel will open as part of a redevelopment of Bristol’s Floating Harbour area; the state-of-the-art museum will preserve Brunel’s legacy and inspire future engineers through its collection of never-seen-before artefacts. Bristol-based Aardman Animations, the creative force behind Wallace and Gromit, has teamed up with charity The Grand Appeal, to launch a new public arts trail in Bristol. The Bristol Old Vic is also undergoing a revamp that will be revealed in 2018. And the county will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta in the summer. 

3. Great Exhibition of the North 2018 

From 22th June until 9th September, science and industry will meet art and design for the Great Exhibition of The North, in NewcastleGateshead. Expect a summer of exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting-edge culture and magical experiences. Visitors can begin their journey at one of two iconic hubs – Gateshead Quays or Great North Museum, which are connected by three trails exploring the North’s Art and Culture, Design and Innovation.

Gateshead Quays

Pictured: Gateshead (Photo credit: VisitEnfgland and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

4. Maritime commemorations 

The year 2018 sees landmark anniversaries related to famous sea-bound explorers and adventurers. Cook 250, a programme of events to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s legendary first voyage of discovery on HMS Endeavour, will take place nationwide. The 29th October marks the 400th anniversary of poet, historian and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh’s execution; Sherborne Castle in Dorset was built by Raleigh in 1594 and a new exhibition will tell his story. 2018 is also the 150th anniversary of the birth of Scott of the Antarctic, and the 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race.

5. RAF100: 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force will celebrate its centenary year with local, regional and national events such as the annual Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford (13th – 15th July 2018). The RAF Museum will also transform its London site. In Lincolnshire, new trails and tours are planned for 2018, including a new digital trail, ‘100 voices over 100 years’, which will bring Lincolnshire’s RAF and aviation history to life. Also new for 2018, the Dambusters Hangar at RAF Scampton will be transformed into a World War One Airfield (April – August). 

6. 100th anniversary of votes for women

The Representation of the People Act passed on 6th February 1918, allowing some women to vote for the first time; 2018 also marks 100 years since women had the right to stand as an MP and 100 years since the election of the first female MP. To mark these historic events, Parliament will launch Vote 100, a year-long celebration of women’s voices in Parliament. Highlights of the programme of themed events, tours and talks including the Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament exhibition.

7. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

There are some significant anniversaries for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 2018. It’s the 60th anniversary of Surrey Hills, Shropshire Hills and Northumberland Coast and 50th for Norfolk Coast and the Kent Downs. Key events and activities include a free map and guide with ‘60 things to see and do in the Surrey Hills’, The LifeCycles and Landscapes project in Norfolk, and new Discovering Britain walks along the Kent Downs.

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Information provided by Visit England.