THE ROYAL TREATMENT
London reigns as the capital of cool
It’s a mix of old and new in the UK next year, from historical celebrations around the bicentenary of Queen Victoria’s birth and the 75th anniversary of D-Day, to yet another wave of hip hotels opening in London. The capital will also host its largest exhibition of van Gogh’s works in a decade as well as a Christian Dior retrospective. If all that leaves you exhausted, there are luxury retreats launching all over the nation – from Monkey Island in Berkshire to a floating hotel in Edinburgh.
GET READY TO ROCK
One of London’s loudest launches next year has to be the Hard Rock Hotel. It’s on the site of the former Cumberland Hotel, whose previous guests included Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Madonna. Opening in March, it will have 1000 rooms, two bars and a Hard Rock Cafe. Guests can upgrade to Rock Royalty, where rooms come with a concierge and room rider, and you can specify a choice of pillows, scents, food, drink and toiletries. HRHLONDON.COM
June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and celebrations are planned in the UK and Northern France. The Imperial War Museums’ Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast in London and IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire are hosting events from June 1-9. In Portsmouth, the new D-Day Story museum has moving exhibitions and memorabilia.
The nearby village of Southwick, which was the centre for Operation Overlord, is hosting a revival on June 8-9. It was at Southwick House that General Dwight D. Eisenhower led the COAL DROPS YARD Allied command for D -Day. Imperial War Museum tickets vary according to the venue. The D -Day Story tickets are £10 adult (about $18), £5 child. IWM.ORG.UK, THEDDAYSTORY.COM, SOUTHWICKREVIVAL.CO.UK
REVEL IN THE ROYALS
The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is hosting the exhibition A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex from June to October, which includes Meghan’s Givenchy wedding dress.
It is also 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace and it’s hosting a new exhibition in her former rooms, from May. On the Isle of Wight, English Heritage property Osborne is also celebrating. The house was a much-loved retreat for Victoria and Prince Albert and the start of a golden age for the island, as writers, poets and artists such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson flocked there.
Royal fans will also love the new season of The Crown which airs on Netflix early next year, starring Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies as a now older Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. For those wanting the real thing, Buckingham Palace is open to visitors from July to September.
Tickets to Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Queen’s Gallery, £19.10 adult, £10.80 child; Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms, Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery, £42.30 adult, £23.30 child; Kensington Palace, £19.50 adult, £9.70 child; Osborne House £17.20 adult, £10.30 child.
Book a 26-night, “The Royal Treatment” Mediterranean cruise package on Emerald Princess departing September 17 and a precruise stay in London will include a gala dinner at Kensington Palace. RCT.UK, HRP.ORG.UK, ENGLISHHERITAGE.ORG.UK, VISITISLEOFWIGHT.CO.UK, IMAGINETHIS.COM.AU
NOSE AROUND LONDON’S NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD
Just when you think you’ve sussed out everywhere to see in London comes a new neighbourhood, Coal Drops Yard near King’s Cross. This arty shopping precinct has been developed from Victorian coalyards and the cobbled streets and arches revitalised, housing bars, cafes and shops including Paul Smith and Tom Dixon. KINGSCROSS.CO.UK
GO FOR VAN GOGH
Tate Britain has announced the largest exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work in the UK for nearly a decade. Running March to August, The EY Exhibition: van Gogh and Britain showcases 40 of the artist’s most famous works and looks at van Gogh’s relationship with Britain – he lived in London in his youth – and the British art, literature and culture he was inspired by, from Constable to Dickens. Tickets £22 adult, £5 child. TATE.ORG.UK
RETURN TO DOWNTON ABBEY
Downton Abbey addicts will be delighted to discover filming for the movie is under way, with the release scheduled for late 2019. The real Downton Abbey is the magnificent Highclere Castle in Berkshire. Home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, the castle and grounds are open to the public on specific dates through the year. Tickets, £16 adult, £11 child. HIGHCLERECASTLE.CO.UK
CATCH THE CRICKET
Britain will be on the itineraries of sports fans next year with two major competitions, the Cricket World Cup between May and July, followed by the Ashes in August and September. Those looking for a London hotel should check out The Rubens at The Palace (rooms from £152) which has just been awarded five stars following a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. Previously one of London’s best-kept secrets, the grand old hotel overlooks Buckingham Palace.
DUBBED LONDON’S SEXIEST SKYSCRAPER, THE 42-STOREY BUILDING WILL HAVE VERTICAL GARDENS
RETREAT FROM THE ACTION
For something more sedate, head out of London to The Langley, a beautiful new country house hotel in 200ha of manicured estate in Buckinghamshire, just west of Heathrow. The Grade IIlisted hotel which opens in February was the former home of the Duke of HIGHCLERE CASTLE