18 MAR 2013: This is a busy year in the UK . There's lots to do and lot's to plan for - in fact just a perfect year to scoot across the pond. We first ran this in January this year - but It's well worth a reminder.


Natural Scotland
Scotland’s natural heritage is featured in this 12-month celebration with events highlighting Scotland’s natural landscapes, flora and fauna, historic landscapes, green tourism, urban nature and more.

David Livingstone Bicentenary

One of Scotland’s greatest explorers, a national hero and most beloved by Queen Victoria, Dr David Livingstone’s birth will be celebrated in 2013 with commemorative exhibitions worldwide. Highlights: The National Museum of Scotland will showcase ‘Dr Livingstone, I Presume?’ with objects culled from the National Museums Scotland's collection alongside loans from the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, North Lanarkshire, and more.
The exhibition runs at November 23-April 7, 2013.

600th anniversary of St Andrews University
This bastion of higher learning and most recently the Alma Mater of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will have grand events year-round at the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA).

750th anniversary of the Battle of Largs, Clyde + Largs Viking Festival
No doubt military buffs will look closely at this ancient battle which commemorates 750 years this year. Rewind to 1263. The town of Largs gets unwelcomed visitors, Viking invaders. But the Scots successfully fought them and won. Now this Viking Festival is ready for some vintage role replays. See a recreation of a Viking village, fireworks, a fun fair and battle re-enactments.

175th anniversary of John Muir

Scottish naturalist and godfather to wilderness preservation in the USA would have been 175 years old. Plenty of events planned with the big day on April 21, 2013.

500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden
Britain’s first cross-border eco-museum, The Flodden 1513 opens this year. The museum links together the connection Flodden has with 12 sites from Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh.

Royal Fests

There are many notables. The Will and Kate fascination has lots to chew on from this Royal fan base. Spots to hit: the Westleton Crown, a 12th century coaching inn, in Suffolk (famous spot for the Newlywed’s first wedding anniversary); a visit to the newly refurbished Kensington Palace, the couple’s new home as of 2013; or how about a tour of Cambridge, of which they hold the titles Duke and Duchess.

⋅ 175th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
Britain’s longest reigning monarch (try 64 years) was one of the most popular and consequently had the biggest Empire the world has ever known. Date: 28 Jun 1838

⋅ 600th anniversary of the Coronation of King Henry V

⋅ 90th wedding anniversary of King George VI and Queen Mother. Royal watcher fans will sink their teeth into the renowned Royal Love Affair between Queen Elizabeth II’s late mother and father who honeymooned at Polesden Lacey. This National Trust property in Surrey will have some special events planned. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesdenlacey/

⋅ 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953

Centenary of Benjamin Britten

One of Britain’s most celebrated 20th century musical geniuses is being feted year-round and on his birthday November 22. This glorious centenary showcases his life, legacy and will surely capture the hearts of his fans worldwide. Over 100 compositions were inspired by Britten’s love of landscape and sea. Highlights: concerts, recitals set for Norwich and Suffolk, his birthplace. For event details see www.familiarfields.org and the www.britten100.org for music clips, stories and more.

150th anniversary of the London Underground

When the Tube opened on January 10, 1863, the commuter floodgates opened to a dizzying crowd of 40,000 passengers who trekked from Paddington to Farringdon Street. These days count on nearly 1 billion commuters using the intricate network annually. Watch for a special exhibition of the world’s oldest subway system at the London Transport Museum, commemorative stamps and coins, including steam train runs.

50th anniversary of public visits to Hever Castle

Add this castle to the castle tours. Not only was it the childhood home of Anne Boleyn but the wealthy Astors from the US lived there. A special permanent exhibition Upstairs, Downstairs at Hever Castle will mark the 50th anniversary occasion.

New Stonehenge Visitor Centre

For the first time, the fascinating story of Stonehenge will be presented on site at the new visitor centre located 2km from the Stone Circle. Highlights: artifacts on loan from local museums plus 3 Neolithic houses, recreated using rare evidence of domestic buildings from prehistoric England recently unearthed near Stonehenge.

Jane Austen’s novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ celebrates 200th anniversary

Our growing thirst for litera-tours continues in this bicentennial look (January 28, 1813) of Austen’s famous story of romance, society and marriage in 19th century England. A huge worldwide fan base, countless adaptations, and remakes are still made. Watch for a bunch of Jane Austen festivals especially in Hampshire, her birthplace; Bath for the Jane Austen Festival (September 13-21, 2013) and the tiny village of Chawton where the writer spent her final eight years.

100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show
Nothing like an English Garden and garden enthusiast clients will definitely want to sniff out this one. Insiders swear its one of the largest flower shows in the world.
Date May 21-25, 2013 www.rhs.org.uk

The View from the Shard
London’s newest landmark, designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano is finally opening. Highlights: Head to the viewing platform on Level 69 (244 metres high). This is the only place you can see all of London, all at once. Those who dare will be able to go up to Level 72 the highest habitable point of The Shard to stand in the open air 244 metres above ground.
1 February

Downton Abbey Tour Experience, Highclere Castle
A new Downton Abbey Experience in collaboration with P&P Tours will get fans of Downton Abbey to fully immerse themselves in life above and below stairs. The small group tours will take in all of the main locations featured in the popular TV show, offering experiences of Edwardian life in a Downton-style setting.
14 April

150th anniversary of Steam

Steam engine fans are blown away by this special anniversary taking place at the Ffestiniog Railways where the oldest surviving steam locomotive known as Prince will make a rare return. The Ffestiniog Railway is one of the 10 “Great Little Trains” of Wales.

80th anniversary of the Gregynog Festival
The oldest classical music festival in Wales celebrates a milestone. Founded by the Davies sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret in 1933 and held at their lavish home set in the beautiful Welsh countryside outside Newtown, the inaugural concert was attended by George Bernard Shaw among other luminaries. Today, the world’s leading musicians assemble at this location. Highlights: This year’s theme is Great Britten, marking the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten who performed at Gregynog in 1972.
Dates: June 20 – 30, 2013

The Gathering

On the heels of last year’s big Titanic celebrations comes Tourism Ireland’s biggest tourism initiative to date. Called The Gathering Ireland 2013, it’s a time of “Welcomes” as you go home or visit the Emerald Isle for these year-round ceilis and once-in-a-lifetime events. The huge crowd pleaser no doubt is St. Patrick’s Day’s People Parade in Dublin where Irish and non-Irish alike are invited to partake in this massive street party. Watch for fun themed events like the Redhead Convention, the Left Hand Festival, and of course you can’t forget about the Twin Fest, and no you’re not seeing double.

Puck Fair 400th anniversary
Ireland’s oldest festival celebrating livestock goes way back judging by a 1603 charter inked by King James I for a fair located on the world famous Ring of Kerry Road in the wee-town of Killorglin. Plenty of stories are woven around the early days of 1613 when locals for a lark paid homage to a male goat known as a “Puck,” a pagan fertility symbol. Today you get pet shows, horse fairs, coronation parades plus street shows, a circus, bonny baby competitions and more.
August 10-12, 2013

The UK City of Culture for 2013: Derry-Londonderry

This Lonely Planet anointed city now ranked among the top 10 places in 2013 is hosting a year-round cultural party celebrating the five arts plus some sporting events for good measure. The Cultural programme features the Turner Prize (first time the prize is held outside England), London Symphony Orchestra, Royal National Ballet, Lumiere, Hofesh Shechter and others.


Derry~Londonderry’s city walls are being honoured with a series of activities to
explore the city walls history and celebrate them as a present-day national
heritage landmark.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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