Updated: Jan 16
1. More Reasons to Go? More Ways to Get There - Airlines have continued restoring air travel between the US and the UK, including the introduction of several new direct routes. With the introduction of JetBlue’s first international routes from New York to both London Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as Aer Lingus’s new routes from New York and Orlando nonstop to Manchester, Americans have more options, making it even easier to travel safely and seamlessly to Britain. Looking ahead, JetBlue will also be expanding its London-bound routes to Boston’s Logan International Airport.
2. HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee - One of the year’s biggest celebrations will be the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The Platinum Jubilee Weekend (June 2 – 5), will be the focal point, with public events and community activities taking place across the UK. This momentous occasion will also be complemented with special experiences and exhibitions throughout the year, such as Tower of London’s Superbloom display, Fortnum & Mason’s Afternoon Tea, the Platinum Jubilee Display at The Palace of Holyroodhouse and the reopening of The Royal Mews, showing the Queen’s carriages, cars and horses. There is no better time to embrace Britain’s royal heritage and regal experiences including our grand stately homes and royal and historic walking routes.
3. The Return of Moments We’ve Missed - The past two years left many of our favorite events either canceled or in a virtual form. This year, we’ll be welcoming back our iconic experiences such as the Chelsea Flower Show (May), Stonehenge Summer Solstice (June), Notting Hill Carnival (Aug), and all of our favorite PRIDE festivals, including London which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. Plus, it’s a huge year for sports in England with the Emirates FA Cup Final (May), Royal Ascot (June), UEFA Women’s EUROs (July), and Rugby League World Cup (Oct-Nov).
4. Britain on the Big Screen - Following suit from years past, Britain will continue to shine as the backdrop for some of the year’s most anticipated films and shows. Liverpool will shine as the fictional Gotham City in The Batman (Mar), and Highclere Castle will once again open its doors for Downton Abbey 2: A New Era (Mar). Other exciting releases include My Policeman (TBD 2022), starring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and the vibrant Bristol city-center; the new season of Peaky Blinders (early 2022), filmed across Birmingham; and Mission Impossible 7 (Sept), which features locations across the UK including Bedfordshire, Derbyshire and the Lake District.
5. London’s Hottest New Hotels - Reputable, luxury brands, eco-friendly accommodations and unique, boutique properties are all on the way to London this year. Raffles will make its London debut when it opens in the iconic, Grade II-listed Old War Office on Whitehall. 1 Hotel will also reveal its UK brand flagship in London’s Mayfair this year. art'otel London Battersea power station powered by Radisson Hotels is ready to make a big splash with its rooftop pool and bar as well as its public gallery creative space. Finally, The Broadwick Soho remains one of the year’s most anticipated openings with its 47-rooms, each with a design inspired by the history, glam and grit of Soho.
6. West End Shows in London - This year, many of the West End’s most beloved shows will return to the stage including Dirty Dancing, Six, and Hamilton. However, the big excitement is what’s making its grand debut. We have The Glass Menagerie with Amy Adams, Prima Facie with Jodie Comer, Sister Act, To Kill a Mockingbird, Life of Pi, and Back to the Future: The Musical. Secret tip: take the West End Walking Tour to tackle it all.
7. Art Fanatics & Culture Vultures Get Ready - London will never disappoint when it comes to arts and culture. Major new attractions include Outernet London (March), an immersive media and entertainment center with restaurants, bars, accommodations and performance venues, and the highly anticipated ABBA Voyage, which will feature virtual versions of ABBA performing in the new ABBA Arena. London visitors cannot miss the Titanic: The Exhibition, which will take you on a journey from the commissioning of the ship to its tragic end in the North Atlantic; the Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature exhibit at the V&A; and the Surrealism Beyond Borders at Tate Modern.
8. London’s Saving You a Seat at the Table - Not only do we have a packed roster of new (and resilient) restaurants that successfully launched during the past year, but 2022 will bring even more flavors and cuisines to try. Recently opened standouts include Six by Nico, an Edinburgh staple that’s made its way to London; Kol, offering Mexican flavors with British ingredients (plus a new Mezcaleria in the basement); and Mr. Ji, whose authentic cuisine has captured the heart of locals. In 2022, keep an eye out for Tatale (January), a self-consciously pan-African restaurant; the Arcade Food Hall, which will bring a new block of restaurants to the former Arcade Food Theatre; and Apricity, which will make sustainability the focal point of all they do.
9. Regency Era Reigns Supreme - Last year Bridgerton transported millions to Britain’s regency era - and that appetite for period dramas has since caught fire. This year, Bath will be the backdrop for Bridgerton Season 2 (TBD), but also Netflix’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (Spring 2022) featuring Dakota Johnson and Sanditon Season 2 (March). Bath in 2022 is the perfect time to roam the quaint, cobbled-stone streets, visit the grandeur filming locations from Bridgerton and even attend the annual Jane Austen Festival, The Summer Ball (September). It’s also the perfect time to visit the new World Heritage Centre in Bath, the Archway Project, which is converting the former Victorian Spa Buildings and unveiling previously unseen areas of the Roman Baths.
10. Get to Know the New Gotham City - Liverpool may be known for The Beatles and football, but 2022 is bringing a whole lot more for you to explore. Exhibitions such as The Tudors: Passion, Power & Politics; Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder; Radical Landscapes; and The Turner Prize are sure to delight. Nearby is Prescot, the grand opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse will complete the ‘Shakespeare Triangle,’ with its core 350-seat theatre, modeled on the cockpit-in-court design popular during the Elizabethan era. After all that exploring, settle in at the new Novotel Paddington Village, which is part of the £1billion Padding Village Scheme in the city’s buzzing Knowledge Quarter.
11. Try Making Manchester Your Home Base - While most Americans fly into London, new flight routes along with a multi-million cultural investment gives visitors even more reasons to try Manchester as part of their trip. In 2022, Manchester Museum will add a South Asia Gallery and a new China Gallery, the opening of Mayfield Park, the city’s first new park in over 100 years; and the long-awaited reopening of Band on the Wall. There’s even a brand new neighborhood to explore, St. John’s, which brings world-class hotels, intimate streets and lively courtyards, and the soon-to-open Factory, which is billed as North England’s new flagship cultural venue. Don’t forget, Manchester also serves as a great Gateway to the North, allowing visitors to venture out to Liverpool, the picturesque Lake District, North York Moors National Park, which celebrating its 70th anniversary all year, or even join in on the countless performances and activities planned throughout the year to mark 1900 years of Hadrian’s Wall.
12. Hit the Coast (All 2,795 miles of it) - Building on last year’s anticipation, the England Coast Path is closer than ever to being connected in full, making it the longest continuous walking path in the world. This year, choose a coastal getaway in Southern England to get a taste of history, heritage, beautiful beaches, lively LGBTQ scenes and more. Bonus points for unique seaside accommodations like pubs, cottages or cliffside boutique hotels. In Kent, travelers can embrace beautiful beaches and bays, indulge in fresh oysters and even stray off course for a taste of England’s best wineries. Brighton, Cornwall and Bristol are just a few of our other favorite spots for a summer getaway in England - each with its own adventure trail along the coast.
13. Britain gets Unboxed - Unboxed 2022 is a series of ten large-scale engagement projects taking place across the UK and on digital platforms, each seeking to bring people together while celebrating the UK's creativity and innovation. Bright together by some of the brightest minds in science, arts, culture and technology, project highlights include: About Us, which will combine multimedia installations and live shows in Caernarfon, Derry-Londonderry, Hull, Luton and Paisley to explore human connections with the universe; Green Space Dark Skies, which will celebrate Britain’s natural landscapes while raising awareness of how to protect them; Our Place in Space, which will provide a new perspective of the world using a vast scale-model of the solar system, spread over a 10km sculpture trail in Belfast, Derry-Londonderry and Cambridge; See Monster, which will breathe new life into a former North Sea offshore platform as part of a regeneration and sustainability project on the coast at Weston-Super-Mare and many more.
14. Take the Scenic Route - See Britain Sustainably – As the UK hosted this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the country’s commitment to climate action came into focus on the global stage. More and more travelers and tourism businesses are considering their environmental and social impact, and Britain offers a wide range of attractions for visitors looking to travel more sustainably. From eco-friendly accommodation to dark sky reserves, locally sourced and vegan-friendly cuisine to epic train journeys and cycling routes, visitors will find everything they need to enjoy a responsible stay in Britain at any time of year. Choose to travel by train in 2022 and book a trip on Lumo, a brand-new train service traveling exclusively down the east coast of the UK, connecting Edinburgh and London which will provide affordable and low-carbon travel. Lumo will initially offer fares for as little as £14.90 in a bid to encourage more environmentally friendly travel between the two capitals, and 60% of all single fares will cost £30 or less.
15. View never before seen pieces from a private art collection - Following a multimillion-pound refurbishment, The Burrell Collection, one of the world’s greatest personal collections, is set to reopen in March 2022 in Glasgow. With new gallery spaces and a focus on low carbon design, the collection, set against the beautiful backdrop of Glasgow’s largest green space, Pollok Country Park, displays objects from Europe and Asia representing five millennia of art and history.
16. Go UNESCO Hopping Across Scotland - Recently launched, Scotland is home to the world’s first ever UNESCO trail, connecting 13 different UNESCO destinations, reaching from the biosphere in the south of Scotland to the island of St Kilda in the west, The North West Highlands Geopark, and the creative cities in the east, with much more in between. Speaking of UNESCO, Perth has become the first city in the UK to be awarded status as a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Arts, and will join the trail in 2023.
17. Scotland’s Newest Hotels - After a busy day exploring the city, hiking the highlands, sampling some whisky or relaxing on a loch, there are plenty of new hotels and accommodations opening in Scotland where you can rest your head. In Edinburgh, the Gleneagles Townhouse will bring countryside flair to the city (opening spring), the W Hotel in the revamped St James Quarter offers panoramic views (opening winter), and at 100 Princes Street, the new hotel from Red Carnation, enjoy excellent service alongside unrivalled views of Edinburgh Castle (opening summer). Over in Glasgow, the boutique hotel House of Gods has opulent rooms paired with a decadent cocktail bar (opening spring), and in Portree on the Isle of Skye, stop at the Bracken Hide Hotel, a one-of-a-kind pod hotel and Finnish sauna retreat with a beautifully designed restaurant, whisky room, and large glass windows to blend into nature (opening spring).
18. Sips with a side of views - Take your whisky to new heights this year. Port of Leith Distillery (opening summer) will be Scotland’s first vertical distillery offering panoramic views from the top floor double height whisky bar. After a long day of hiking, head to The Cairn Distillery overlooking the Cairngorm mountains, who will open an immersive visitor experience this spring. If you are checking out St. Andrews, don’t miss Edin Mill, set to become one of Scotland’s first ever carbon neutral single malt whisky distilleries, who will welcome travelers to their new visitor center in Guardbridge this spring.
19. Festivals & Events Return to Scotland - Home to 11 world-class festivals, Edinburgh is renowned as the world’s leading festival city, attracting an audience of over 4.5 million every year. In 2022, the capital will once more come alive with vibrant colors, shows and events for all ages, and next year marks the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival (Aug), the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Aug) and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (TBC). The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Aug) will return for the first time since 2019 to its iconic home on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, and we will see the 150th Open Championship (July) at St Andrews, held back home in Scotland where it all began.
20. 10 Years of the Wales Coast Path - In March, the Wales Coast Path celebrates its 10th anniversary. From sunset picnics on the Gower Peninsula and foraging along the shores of Pembrokeshire to stargazing in Snowdonia’s international Dark Sky reserve, the 870-mile path along the entire coast of Wales offers hundreds of unique outdoor experiences for visitors looking for breathtaking views or a taste of adventure in this unique corner of Britain.
21. Get Up to Speed - Experience the sheer exhilaration of racing and explore the brand new Sands of Speed Museum set to open in spring 2022 in Wales. The museum sits on Pendine Beach, home to many land speed records over the past 100 years thanks to its long, flat surface that makes it an impressive racetrack. You can also get the adrenaline going with a visit to the recently opened Zip World Tower. Fly over the Welsh countryside on Phoenix, the world’s fastest seated zipline, or take a spin on Europe’s first and only Tower Coaster.
22. A Warm Welsh Welcome - Make yourself at home and extend your stay at one of Wales’ newest hotels. The Albion, from the creative and sustainability-minded team at Fforest, is due to open in Cardigan this spring, simultaneously offering contemporary comfort and style while celebrating the town’s maritime history along the River Teifi. Enjoy a more cosmopolitan luxury experience at the recently opened Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff, or head north to discover the mountains, valleys, and rich heritage of Snowdonia from Plas Weunydd, an award-winning 24-bedroom luxury boutique that opened last year in the heart of North Wales.
Photo Credits: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Visit Britain Andrew Pickett