From ground-breaking Elvis experiences to spectacular art installations, new attractions and more, we pick out the highlights for groups in 2024. 

It’s a big year for Elvis fans. There’s more time to visit the Direct from Graceland: Elvis exhibition (pictured above) at Arches London Bridge which has extended its run until 14th April this year. Described as the largest retrospective exhibition ever to leave the gates of Graceland, the display explores Elvis’ extraordinary life and style starting with his humble childhood in Mississippi. Among the items on display are the star’s red MG, which featured in Blue Hawaii, the keys to Graceland and his gold microphone used on stage in Las Vegas. 

And in November, there’s a new immersive experience coming to London which promises to recreate the “seismic impact of seeing Elvis live for a whole new generation of fans”. Using groundbreaking technology and AI, Elvis Evolution, created by Layered Reality which is behind the immersive Gunpowder Plot and War of the Worlds experiences, will also feature an after-party at its ELVIS-themed restaurant and bar. 

Music lovers are also in for a treat when Britain’s largest new music venue, Co-op Live opens in Manchester in April with capacity for 23,500 fans, 32 bars, restaurants and VIP lounges as well as backing from a certain Harry Styles. 2024 is a great time to visit Liverpool, not least because it’s the 60th anniversary of The Beatles Hard Day’s Night album release.

Major new exhibitions to visit with your group

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which has announced a focus on Shakespeare’s female relatives and what they can tell us about the world Shakespeare inhabited and the under-represented lives of women in the period.

A woman dressed in a Shakespearean costume looks out across Stratford-upon-Avon

Source: Sam Allard for Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The Trust hopes to make 2024 the year to discover the hidden voices of the women who made Shakespeare. 

The centrepiece of the programme throughout 2024 will be a new exhibition at Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon that will explore the often over-looked stories of the women who lived and worked alongside William Shakespeare. Hidden Voices: The Lives of the Women Who Made Shakespeare will open in March and will focus on the five women who lived and worked in New Place during Shakespeare’s lifetime using documented evidence and surviving objects from the Trust’s world-class collection.

Houghton Hall in Norfolk will host one of Antony Gormley’s most spectacular large-scale installations between April and October, the first time the work has been staged in the UK since it was installed in Cantanzaro, Italy in 2006. Featuring 100 life-size bodies, the sculptures are all installed at the same level to create a single horizontal plane across more than 200 acres of parkland.

An exterior view of the grand Houghton Hall in Norfolk

Source: Hugh Glendinning

Houghton Hall in Norfolk will host one of Antony Gormley’s most spectacular large-scale installations between April and October, the first time the work has been staged in the UK since it was installed in Cantanzaro, Italy in 2006.

Then from June until September, one of the world’s most revered ceramic artists, Dame Magdalene Odundo will present an exhibition of sculptures made and sited in response to the state rooms.

Blenheim Palace has announced the line-up of world-class designers, fashion houses and labels that will feature in its biggest exhibition to date, Icons of British Fashion, which runs from 23rd March until 30th June. Not far away, in Oxford, the Ashmolean’s spring exhibition will be devoted to some of the finest works of art produced by Flemish masters. Bruegel to Rubens will show 120 of the most outstanding drawings from the 16th and 17th centuries with more than 30 on display for the first time, including some which have only recently been discovered.

Anniversaries being marked in 2024

Barbie-fever is still going strong with a new exhibition running at the Design Museum in London to celebrate the fashion icon’s 65th birthday. Running from July 2024 until February 2025, the exhibition will map the Barbie legacy that began in 1959 when Ruth Handler wanted to create a differnet narrative for her daughter Barbara. 

The National Gallery

The iconic National Gallery in London which marks two centuries of bringing people and paintings together throughout 2024 and 2025. 

World-class art is going on tour this year as The National Gallery celebrates its 200th anniversary on 10th May 2024. To mark the occasion, the gallery is teaming up with 12 venues across the UK – including museums in Newcastle, Liverpool, Cambridge and Brighton – to open free exhibitions featuring key pieces from their collection, meaning more than half the UK population will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery painting. 

This June sees the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings with special themed sailings launched by Steamship Shieldhall in Southampton. 

Expect more landmark festivities at both the Bradford Literature Festival (28th June – 7th July) and Cheltenham Literature Festival (October), which celebrate their 10th and 75th anniversaries respectively this year. 

People in hard hats head underground to explore the Ramsgate Tunnels in Kent

Source: Tourism @ Thanet District Council

Groups can take a tour of the Ramsgate Tunnels to find out the fascinating story about how they were built and how ‘a town below the town’ evolved. 

And the unique Ramsgate Tunnels are celebrating ten years since opening to the public throughout 2024 with a series of events. GTOs can book a tour for their members to find out more about the civilian wartime tunnel complex including how they were built and stories of life underground.

Historic venues news and hot openings for your radar

Several heritage sites are getting a spruce up for 2024. In Durham, Raby Castle’s ‘The Rising’ project is due to complete this spring featuring the magnificent Walled Garden complete with English blooms, yew hedges and the iconic Raby fig trees.

Elsewhere, there are a range of new immersive experiences at Beamish Museum while this summer sees the completion of the Black Country Living Museum’s £30 million development project. 

And in Kent, Hever Castle will unveil the Boleyn Apartment on the first floor in March to give visitors a unique and immersive experience of Tudor history. 

Curator Alison Palmer in The Great Chamber at Hever Castle

Source: Hever Castle & Gardens

Curator Alison Palmer in The Great Chamber which will feature artefacts such as lutes, poetry and replica books.

The apartment, which will be the only surviving suite of rooms in the world that the Boleyn family definitely occupied, is being re-interpreted with Tudor artefacts, and furnishings to create a truly authentic atmosphere. The use of tapestries, friezes, furniture, coats of arms and traditional smells will help visitors feel like they are walking in the shoes of the family who lived there.

Also this summer, we’ll see the much anticipated reopening of the mighty Norwich Castle. For the first time, visitors will be able to access the Keep for impressive vistas of the city and its other medieval buildings. There will also be a new gallery, showcasing national medieval treasures alongside objects from Norfolk’s own significant collection – the first of its kind in the UK

Showtown, an all-singing all-dancing celebration of fun and entertainment,  is set to open its doors in Blackpool in March and it’s an exciting year for LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort which is opening the world’s first LEGO themed duelling rollercoaster. 

Described as a high octane ride that is a real, live race between the Team Legends and Allstars, led by your Minifigure captain, the new attraction is set to open this spring. The Resort is also opening its new Woodland Village in May which is ideal for family groups looking for a tranquil stay. 

We’d love to hear where you’re looking forward to visit with your group in 2024, do get in touch by emailing or commenting on this article below.