Never mind the weather, 18 reasons why UK holidays will be great this year


Pint at the museum, Cardiff

The Vulcan pub opens at St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff this summer, a free open-air museum where historic buildings are rehoused. The museum’s historic team began re-erecting the Victorian ale house brick by brick four years ago. Originally built on Adam Street in 1853 to serve the mainly Irish community of what was then called New Town, its distinctive green and brown tiles were added in 1915. Pints will be supplied by the Glamorgan Brewing Company.

Master of its destiny, Perth

Perth is experiencing a mini cultural revival with the relaunch of two key museums. The Perth Museum reopens at Easter after a £26.5m redevelopment. Placing Perth and Kinross at the centre of Scottish history, highlights include the 3,000-year-old Late Bronze Age Carpow Logboat and the Stone of Destiny once used to crown Scottish kings, now returning to Perthshire for the first time in more than 700 years. Meanwhile, just outside the city on the North side of Loch Tay, the new Scottish Crannog Centre aims to be the most sustainable museum in Scotland when it opens this spring. A crannog is a house built over water, and the museum will showcase life in the Iron Age.,

Trail of the Lost King, Leicestershire

Leicestershire’s Bosworth 1485 Sculpture Trail opens this autumn with bespoke new sculptures bringing the tale of Richard III to life. 6 July marks the 100th anniversary of the Richard III Society, founded by a group of amateur historians aiming to learn more about the final king of the Plantagenet dynasty, who gets such a bad rap. Watch the 2022 film The Lost King, starring Sally Hawkins, for a new take on both Richard III and the society.

Norwich Castle opens up, Norfolk

Norwich Castle opens its medieval keep up to visitors for the first time this summer after an extensive restoration. It is a chance to see this mighty fortress through the eyes of the medieval King Henry I, helped by cutting-edge projection and digital technology that bring the past alive. The castle has a new glass atrium for clear views of the East façade and Bigod Tower, and a smart new café and shop. There will also be a new gallery showcasing national medieval treasures.

Art, fashion and design

Bleinheim Palace in fashion, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace Image supplied by
Blenheim Palace will be home to an exhibition this year

Fashionistas, get set for Blenheim Palace’s biggest ever exhibition in its 300-year history. Icons of British Fashion (23 Mar-30 Jun) spotlights the works of world-famous designers throughout its opulent Grand Hall. From archive drawings, patterns and prototypes to glittering couture and catwalk pieces, this promises to be a memorable collection. And don’t miss a trip to London’s Design Museum this year, whether it’s the Barbie exhibition beginning on 5 July (she’s 65 this year), or The World of Tim Burton from 25 October.,

Art on tour, nationwide

One of London’s premier art institutions, the National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square, will celebrate its 200th birthday this year by loaning key pieces to 12 venues throughout the UK, meaning more than half the UK population will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery painting. The exhibitions will open on 10 May and will include pieces by Rembrandt, Constable, Auguste Renoir and Botticelli at locations including Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Admission is free.

Newport connection

restoration of Newport Transporter Bridge and the opening of a new visitor centre this summer. The world?s most complete surviving transporter bridge ? and one of only eight in the world - it?s something to see. Opened in 1906, the bridge?s aerial ferry was a solution to the problem of transporting workers from the west of Newport across the River Usk without disturbing traffic into the town?s busy port. The new visitor?s centre will be linked to the bridge via a walkway and will feature a caf?, shop, exhibition gallery and community space. Image supplied by
The Newport Transporter Bridge has been restored

Bridge fanatics will be pleased to hear about the restoration of Newport Transporter Bridge and the opening of a new visitor centre this summer. The world’s most complete surviving transporter bridge – and one of only eight in the world – it’s quite a sight. Opened in 1906, the bridge’s aerial ferry was a solution to the problem of transporting workers from the west of Newport across the River Usk without disturbing traffic into the town’s busy port. The new visitor’s centre will be linked to the bridge via a walkway and will feature a café, shop, exhibition gallery and community space.


Belfast’s big year

Belfast will soon embark on a year of cultural celebration (Photo: Tourism Ireland)
Belfast will soon embark on a year of cultural celebration (Photo: Tourism Ireland)

Belfast 2024 is the Irish city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration with an ambitious programme of events and community-led activities between March and November. The streets will come alive with workshops, performances and events, celebrating homegrown culture, creativity and the city itself. “People, Place and Planet” is the focus, and will include a collaboration with the Cornwall-based Eden Project and new public art installations themed on nature and sustainability. Events inspired by Belfast’s maritime heritage include a mass boat-building project (from life-size skiffs to Coke can dinghies), and a guerrilla gardening project aiming to rewild peace walls in west Belfast.

Showtime on the coast, Lancashire

Circus performer from the Endresz family at Blackpool Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire, England. Showtown, a museum of fun and entertainment, will open its doors in Blackpool in 2024 Image supplied by Natalie info
Circus performer from the Endresz family at Blackpool Tower Circus
(Photo: VisitBritain/Peter Beavis)

There’s no business like Blackpool showbusiness. This Lancashire seaside resort’s heritage will soon take centre stage in Showtown, a museum opening this March on the Prom. This immersive attraction will celebrate the comedians, dancers, acrobats and characters who have brought showbiz here over the decades. Visitors will be invited to take centre stage with interactive singing and dancing exhibits, while there will also be archive photography and films, and memorabilia and costumes from a glittering array of stars. Strictly Come Dancing fans will be in heaven.

Maritime city, Hull

A four-year project is under way to transform Hull into a world-class “Maritime City” destination, making the city’s 800 years of seafaring history an even bigger draw. Several key maritime heritage assets are being restored, and this month brings the reopening of the Spurn Lightship in its new-look berth in Hull Marina. A new visitor attraction at North End Shipyard, where the Arctic Corsair – Hull’s Cutty Sark – will be in dry berth, will be unveiled in the autumn, while the new-look Hull Maritime Museum will open in early 2025 following a £12m refurbishment.

Protest showpiece, Bristol

When the Bristol statue of the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled during the Black Lives Matter movement of June 2020, it sparked debate about contemporary racial injustices, the right to voice dissent and the modern representation of colonialist figures. Following a consultative display and survey, a new exhibition is being developed, which will open in Bristol’s M Shed Museum in March, examining the theme of “protest” in the People gallery. This will include the damaged, graffiti-covered Colston statue, inviting viewers to ask important questions about the city’s heritage – and explore its role and responsibilities in the future.

Manchester’s new area

Image supplied by Johns, Ryan (Marketing Manchester) Co-op Live Arena
The Co-op Live Arena will see huge acts from around the world (Photo: Marketing Manchester)

Co-op Live in Manchester opens in April as the UK’s largest new music arena, with capacity for 23,500 fans and featuring 32 bars, restaurants and VIP lounges. Pop star Harry Styles is a key investor in this £365m arena, whose bowl-shaped structure is designed to give each seat an amazing view, and make even the biggest gigs feel intimate. The line-up for its opening year includes Liam Gallagher, the Jonas Brothers, Eric Clapton and Niall Horan.


Coastal activity hub, Cumbria

Calling all walkers, hikers, cyclists and watersports lovers. The Edge is set to be Cumbria’s new outdoor adventure hub when it opens later this summer. Standing at the start of the C2C (Coast to Coast) cycle route in the pretty coastal town of Whitehaven, the £4.7m development will feature changing facilities for watersports, an art studio and café, plus overnight accommodation if you want to make a holiday of it.

Riding a wave, Edinburgh

default Lost Shore Surf Resort - Ratho, Edinburgh Artist's impression of what Lost Shore Surf Resort will look like when it opens in September 2024 Picture supplied by
The Lost Shore Surf Resort in Ratho, Edinburgh, opens in September (Photo: Supplied)

Another activity centre is taking shape in Ratho, on the outskirts of the Scottish capital. Opening in September, Lost Shore Surf Resort will be Europe’s largest inland surfing destination. Using technology that can generate up to 1,000 waves per hour, the centre hopes to attract complete beginners as well as experienced surfers. There will be lessons, surf sessions, a food market, spa, surf shop, surfskate academy, 60-acre country park, plus pods and luxury lodge accommodation.

Yorkshire’s coast on two wheels

Spurn Point lighthouse  on Yorkshire's coast (Photo: Markus Sitz)
Spurn Point lighthouse on Yorkshire’s coast (Photo: Markus Sitz)

The organisation behind Yorkshire’s ultimate road trip, “Route YC”, has teamed up with leading adventure cyclists including Mark Beaumont and Markus Stitz, to launch a series of cycle routes ranging from nine to 260 miles and specially designed to help visitors of all abilities explore the Yorkshire coast and countryside on gravel, touring and road bikes. The main circular route will start and finish in Scarborough. Bringing even more high energy to the region, the Long Course Weekend is a new three-day multi-discipline event, based on the principals of triathlon, taking place in North Yorkshire from 6-8 September.,

World-class mountain biking, Scottish Borders

The Glentress Forest, near Peebles, is transforming. A network of new mountain biking trails is being created among Douglas fir trees where last year’s world championships took place. Taster trails opened last autumn with the rest due to be completed by the end of this year. Forest Holidays will also unveil a new site of holiday cabins here in November.,


Southampton Fringe Festival, Hampshire

The inaugural three-day Southampton Fringe Festival kicks off this July. Spearheaded by the city’s Mast Mayflower Studios, it is designed to showcase the talents of local theatre companies and artists. Highlights include a modern adaptation of Five Children and It and the musical comedy Trutopia. The spoken word will also be brought to the stage with a mix of poetry and drama by non-binary poet Harley Truslove.

Wales Balloon Festival, Carmarthernshire

The skies above the Welsh countryside are set to be full of colour this summer as the first Wales Balloon Festival takes place from 29-30 June at Carmarthen Showground. Festival-goers will experience the thrill of balloons taking flight and floating serenely away, while at ground level there will be a circus arena, jousting, live tribute bands, dinosaur shows, BMX and wrestling demos, along with food stations and artisan market stalls.