Britain 2014 Anniversaries & Events

Year-round celebrations

Dylan Thomas 100, Wales, Year round

2014 marks a centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth, Wales’s greatest poet and writer who enriched the English language. The celebrations are planned throughout the year including museum exhibitions and festivals, an opera at Taliesin arts centre and an exhibition about Sir Peter Blake at National Museum of Cardiff.

Shakespeare 450, England, Year round

Celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, Stratford-on-Avon has moved its annual two-day festival to the weekend after his birthday. The Sam Wanamaker playhouse at the Globe Theatre will offer its first public performances in January. Lastly the National Theatre is directing Simon Russell Beale in King Lear and will be collaborating with Shakespeare’s Globe on a series of events.

Homecoming 2014, Scotland

Along with the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, 2104 is a year booked full of events for showcasing the best of Scotland: culture, heritage, food and their people. Events range from festivals to parades all across Scotland.

80th anniversary of Glyndebourne

This unique opera house set in beautiful gardens in the middle of Sussex, celebrates 80 years of its opera performances. Some of the very best opera singers from around the world have performed in unforgettable productions over the course of the years, making Glyndebourne one of the key events in the social season.

800th Anniversary of The University of Oxford Receiving its Charter

2014 marks the 800th anniversary of Oxford University being granted charter securing privileges for the University Press, in essence becoming a "public university". Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and has 38 autonomous colleges, which together form a federation making up the University of Oxford. Generations of famous scholars have studied there through the ages among them five Kings, 40 Nobel Prize winners, 25 British Prime Ministers and writers including Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

175th anniversary of the Henley Royal Regatta

The Henley Regatta is a highlight of both the summer sporting calendar and the social season. It attracts thousands of visitors over a five day period with spectators thrilled by more than 200 races of an international standard, including Olympians and crews new to the event.

300th anniversary of the accession of George I

2014 marks the 300th anniversary of the accession of George I, first of the Hanoverian monarchs. The Georgian story will come to life in the Queen’s Apartments at Hampton Court Palace, alongside a dynamic representation of the King’s Apartments at Kensington Palace.

At Hampton Court Palace a new fine art route, showing treasures from the Royal Collection, will be on display as will the recreation of one of the kitchen gardens from the baroque age. More details to follow.

6 June: 70th anniversary of D-Day landings PORTSMOUTH and SOUTHSEA, ENGLAND

Southsea Beach and Portsmouth Harbour were vital embarkation points during the D-Day landings, and Southwick House, just north of the city was the Headquarter of Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower during the operation. The D-Day Museum in Southsea is planning major redevelopment ahead of the 75th anniversary in 2019, and as part of that process, will hold 70th anniversary commemorations in 2014. Details will appear on the website closer to the anniversary. Many commercial operators are planning sailing excursions to Normandy around the commemorations.

June: 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn STIRLING SCOTLAND

Opening of new visitor centre

In 1314, in one of the defining moments in Scottish history, King Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, routed the numerically-superior English forces of King Edward II, thereby securing the continuing independence of Scotland for the next 400 years. A new visitor centre opens on 24 June commissioned to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the conclusion of the battle where visitors will come face to face with the rigours of medieval battle, with immersive, cutting-edge 3D experience allowing visitors to experience medieval warfare like never before.

Battle re-enactment

The re-enactment on 28 – 30 June will be the largest-ever hosted at the memorial battlefield. The National Trust for Scotland, the site’s custodian, are planning festivals with costumed characters, weaponry displays, a medieval village, traditional food and drink, and clan-related activities that will tie-in with Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.

4 August:  Centenary of the outbreak of the WWI,  UK-WIDE                    

Across the world, nations, communities and individuals of all ages will come together to mark, commemorate and remember the lives of those who lived, fought and died in the First World War. Commemorative events will be held in each of the Commonwealth nations, and there will be a national church service in the UK to mark the beginning of the conflict. The 4th August events, will be the first in a series of seven centennial commemorations, encompassing the 1914 Christmas Day Truce and football match; the Battle of Gallipoli in April 1915; the naval Battle of Jutland in May/June 1916; the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916; events around the Battle of Passchendaele in June- November 1917, and from August onwards events to mark the last 100 days of the war before the Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.

September: 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, GREAT MISSENDEN, BUCKS, ENGLAND

The Roald Dahl Museum will be commemorating the anniversary of the first publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the author’s timeless children’s tale about impoverished Charlie Bucket and his adventures when he wins a Golden Ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s weird but wonderful chocolate factory.

Events

April

Grand National Meeting, Aintree Racecourse LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

3 -5 April
The most famous chase in the world, takes place on Saturday 5th, the final day of the meeting, when  a daunting test for racehorse and rider, sees competitors make two circuits of the Grand National course, tackling 30 fences as the four and a half miles course is covered.  

London Coffee Festival, Old Truman Brewery, LONDON

3-6 April
Arabica aficionados can celebrate London coffee culture at this dedicated festival, which brings together a range of coffee-related activities under one roof, as well as art and food spin-off events.

The Laugharne Weekend LAUGHARNE, CARMARTHENSHIRE, WALES

April Date TBC
Laugharne is a township on the estuary of the River Tâf, famous as the home of Dylan Thomas for the last four years of his life, and as the model for Llanregubb in Under Milk Wood.  Since 2007 this annual weekend festival, has brought a starry array of poets, writers, musicians, journalists and comedians to Laugharne for an eclectic cultural jamboree.

The BNY Mellon Boat Race LONDON

5 April
It’s a clash of the blues as the best of oarsmen from Oxford and Cambridge test their skill and stamina against each other in the 160th Boat Race. The crews compete over a 4.2 mile stretch of the River Thames as it sweeps through West London from Putney to Mortlake. The north station ('Middlesex') has the advantage of the first and last bends, and the south ('Surrey') station the longer middle bend.

The Virgin London Marathon LONDON

20 April
One of the world’s top marathons, and since 2012 – with over 36,000 entrants completing the event – the largest, London’s race is set on a largely flat course around the River Thames. As well as a cadre of elite and serious club runners, the race is notable for the vast number of charity participants, many taking part in ingenious and energy-sapping costumes. Crowds in 2014 will be particularly looking forward to the participation of Team GB’s Olympic double-gold medal-winner, Mo Farah.

May

Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND

10 –12 May
First held in 1909, the Giro d’Italia is a long-distance road bicycle stage race held for professional cyclists, hosted primarily in Italy with a tradition of the start of the race being held outside the country. It is one of the three Grand Tours (the others being the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España), and is part of the UCI World Ranking calendar. The Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the race will take place over three days from 10-12 May 2014 and involves routes in Belfast (from the Titanic Quarter to the City Hall) and Armagh before moving on to Dublin.

Football Association Cup Final Wembley Stadium LONDON

10 May 
The FA Cup, the oldest and best domestic Cup competition in the football world has become established as one of the country's great sporting institutions. It is now over 130 years old and yet, season by season, it generates tremendous interest not only in the country of its birth but all over the world. The history and tradition of the competition, and the pageantry of the Cup Final, is familiar to millions.                                                     

Hay Festival HAY-ON-WYE, POWYS, WALES   

22 May – 1 June
Founded more than 25 years ago, the Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival in a tented village on the outskirts of the famous ‘book town’ on the edge of the lovely Brecon Beacons National Park.. Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. The core ethos is that the exchange of views and meeting of minds that festivals create inspire revelations personal, political and educational Bill Clinton called it 'The Woodstock of the mind'.

Whisky Month, across Scotland.

A month-long celebration of Scotland’s national drink with whisky festivals and events across the country form the Highlands to the Isles, the lowlands to Speyside, a packed programme of activity that will also showcase the very best of Scotland’s food and drink.

June

Investec Derby, Epsom Downs Race Course SURREY, ENGLAND

7 June
The  world’s most famous flat race will be under starters orders for the 235th time, with riders and owners in pursuit of a purse of £1.25 million, one of the richest prizes in UK racing.                                           

Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND

17-21 June
There are few sporting venues that can match the rich heritage and history of Ascot Racecourse. For almost 250 years, Royal Ascot has established itself as a national institution and the centrepiece of the British social calendar as well as being the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. Tradition, pageantry, fashion and style all meet at one of the most beautiful racecourses in the country. The quality of the horse racing at Royal Ascot is outstanding, with £4.5 million in prize money on offer and a total of eighteen ‘Group’ races over the five days.

Dinefwr Literature Festival, Dinefwr Park, Carmarthenshire, Wales

20-22 June
Following its triumph in 2012, Dinefwr Literature festival is returning in 2014. There will be many different events featuring a whole range of people such as: artists, poets, musicians, authors, actors and comedians. After the success of its debut in 2012, many are looking forward to the rich atmosphere in the beautiful national trusts park in which they can explore the culture with unique learning opportunities appealing to all.

The Championships, Wimbledon LONDON

23 June – 6 July
The oldest tennis tournament in the world, and widely considered to be the most prestigious, Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass, which requires players to reach the ball faster than on other surfaces, rewarding speed and power The singularity of the surface combines with the strict dress code for players, and the ritual consumption of strawberries and cream and jugs of Pimms to give the championship a character quite unlike any of the other Grand Slams.                              

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, PILTON, SOMERSET, ENGLAND

25-29 June
Glastonbury Festival is one of the world’s biggest and best music festivals. The list of performers who have rocked the venue’s muddy fields are a pantheon of rock gods: Dylan, Bowie, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Oasis, Blur, U2, Orbital, Björk, Radiohead, Coldplay, and The Cure. More than 175,000 revellers descend on 900 acres of farmland, bringing tents, bottles of local West Country cider and, if it’s one of the ‘muddy years’, Wellington boots. The promoters are never afraid to mix it up, so rumoured acts for 2014 include Fleetwood Mac and Take That.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, NORTHANTS, ENGLAND

27 – 29 June
The jewel in the crown of British Motorsports, Silverstone is a fast circuit with a series of complex high-speed turns, and a short straight to add to the excitement – average cornering speeds are higher than at any other championship racetrack.

July

Henley Royal Regatta Henley-on-Thames OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND

2-6 July
Henley Royal Regatta , first held in 1839,  attracts thousands of visitors over a five-day period, enticed by the prospect of over 200 races of an international standard, while featuring both Olympians and crews new to the event. As the world’s best- known regatta it is one of the highlights of the summer sporting calendar.                      

T21: T in the Park, Balado KINROSS, SCOTLAND

4 – 6 July
Happy 21st Birthday to T in the Park, one of the UK’s biggest and best music festivals. The event attracts international revellers in addition to being a right-of-passage for Scotland’s youth. The 2014 line up is not yet confirmed.

Grand Départ of The Tour de France YORKSHIRE, CAMBRIDGE AND LONDON

5-7 July

The world’s greatest cycle race arrives in Yorkshire, kicking off in Leeds and powering through Ilkley, Skipton and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, sweeping through the cathedral city of Ripon and onto Harrogate on its first day. Day two adopts a route through the walled city of York, and experiences the rise and fall of the Pennines around Haworth and the Brontë Country, and on through Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield and Holmfirth to Sheffield, with six punishing climbs in the final 60 kilometre run-in. The final day in England, starts in Cambridge, and then heads through Essex and Epping Forest, through the Olympic Park in London’s East End, before heading into central London for a dramatic finish on The Mall.

The Open Championship, The Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, MERSEYSIDE

17-20 July

The Championship course on the Wirral, one of England’s oldest seaside links, will host golf’s greatest British tournament for the 12th time. Its most recent champion, Tiger Woods who won in 2006, will be hoping to do the

Glasgow 2014: The XX Commonwealth Games GLASGOW SCOTLAND

23 July – 3 August

30 per cent of the world’s population live in Commonwealth countries, so some of the world’s finest athletes and sports men and women will be heading to Glasgow to compete for gold in 17 sports. Everyone has fingers crossed that six-times Olympic champion, the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, will feel compelled to compete at Glasgow to win Commonwealth gold – the one honour missing from his impressive medal haul.

August

Edinburgh International Festival and other festivals, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

EIF 8 – 31 August; other festivals dates TBA
Edinburgh has been presenting performances of classical music, opera, theatre, dance and the visual arts from around the world each August since 1947. Since then, a host of other festivals – of which the best known is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – have sprung up in the city, many of them also running through much of August and into September. Edinburgh is effectively the cultural capital of the world in August, when you can overdose on experimental and street theatre, comedy, and art, or indulge your interest in focused festivals devoted to books, television and politics.

LonCon3 World Science Fiction Convention LONDON

14 –18 August
Thousands of fans are expected to arrive in the host city to attend the 600 talks, lectures, debates, workshops, readings, and panel discussions  which will make up the core programme at LonCon3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. The main focus is on science fiction and fantasy literature, but there will be sessions for those whose primary focus is art, comics, young adult fiction and costuming.                                                                          

39th UEFA Super Cup, Cardiff City Stadium, CARDIFF, WALES

Mid-August, Date TBC 
In 2014 the annual match between the winners of Europe’s two principal club football competitions, the UEFA Champion’s League , and the UEFA Europa League will be held in Cardiff.

Notting Hill Carnival, LONDON

24 – 25 August

Europe’s largest street festival – an extravaganza of floats, marching bands and exuberant costumes reflecting its Trinidadian and Tobagonian roots, takes place on the Sunday and Monday of the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August. Around a million people head out to West London o sample its music, Caribbean food and general spectacle.

September

Highland Homecoming

Highland Homecoming is a month- long celebration of contemporary Highland culture, beginning with the Inverness Highland Meeting and culminating with Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail – The Royal National Mòd, it will see a huge amount of activity take place in the Highland Capital, from the traditional to the cutting edge.

Tall Ships Regatta FALMOUTH, CORNWALL
Expect to see a fleet of majestic square-rigged ships create a spectacle as they power into Falmouth Harbour, with all the drama of a backdrop flanked by the twin castles of Pendennis and St Mawes. Greenwich will also be a host port, and further details will be released when a third port in France or Spain has been agreed for the prestigious race.

The 40th Ryder Cup GLENEAGLES, PERTHSHIRE, SCOTLAND 

26-28 September

Europe and the US battle it out at this most prestigious of international team golf tournaments, held in 2014 at Gleneagles, Scotland’s plushest golf resort. Europe will be striving to retain the trophy it won at the last competition in Illinois in 2012.

October

Swansea Festival of Music and Arts SWANSEA, WALES 

4 – 18 October
The programme will include Welsh National Opera, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra plus a range of arts at venues across the City. Special events marking the centenary of Dylan Thomas are included as major contributions to the year-long Dylan Thomas Festival, and the opening concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra will mark the re-opening of the Brangwyn Hall.

Attractions

Opening of South Park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park LONDON

April 2014
Find out how London is developing its Olympic legacy, by checking out the opening of the South Park and Hub sectors of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – London’s newest urban park  Designed to embody all the positivity and opportunity of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games it is on a mission to help reshape and redefine the capital for local residents, Londoners and visitors from the UK and beyond, with wetlands and waterways to provide a beautiful new backdrop in which to relax and enjoy life. There’s something for everyone with lots of bars, cafés and restaurants, and a constantly-changing programme of events in its energy-charged sporting, cultural and entertainment attractions.

New Visitor Centre at Stonehenge WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND

Early 2014
Official opening date TBC but could creep into early 2014. Work is underway to transform the visitor experience at Stonehenge World Heritage Site, with a new visitor centre set two kilometres away from the Stone Circle which will be reached by a passenger transit system. This will provide visitors with a first dramatic view of the stones – which will no longer be visible from the road. Employing state-of-the-art technology and sensitive landscaping, the site renewal aims to be an ‘uplift’ as well as an ‘upgrade’ to ensure that the stones are presented in an appropriately sensitive way. An archaeological gallery will feature interactive displays of objects on loan from local museums, many of which are on display for the first time. In Spring 2014 three Neolithic houses will be recreated for the outdoor gallery, their construction guided by evidence of domestic buildings recently unearthed nearby.

New Visitor Experience, Conisbrough Castle DONCASTER, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

Easter 2014
Conisbrough Castle is one of South Yorkshire's best surviving examples of medieval military architecture, and one of the few surviving examples of its kind in Europe. It had a major role to play in the Wars of the Roses and was once owned by Richard of York, and featured in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. The new visitor centre is due to open for Easter 2014 and the interpretation scheme will use audio visual experiences, models and interactive displays, graphic and 3D design to bring the experience of medieval battle to life.

Opening of new Visitor Centre, Bletchley Park National Code Centre, MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND  

Around 6 June
Bletchley Park was the site of the UK’s main decryption centre during the Second World War, and its success in cracking codes used by the Axis powers played a crucial role in securing the Allied victory. Block C, the home of the facility’s Card Index is being restored and converted to provide a new visitor centre, using light touch interpretation to recreate the wartime working atmosphere inside the accommodation. Huts used by code-breakers who worked together on Enigma messages are also undergoing restoration due to be completed for a grand opening for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Opening of new First World War Galleries, Imperial War Museum, LONDON

June 2014
The Imperial War Museum is currently undergoing a radical revamp to equip it to better tell the story of the 16 million people whose lives were claimed by the First World War. Using the latest historical research and the Museum’s exceptional collections the curators will open new world-class First World War Galleries which will offer new stories, new perspectives and new ways of looking at the ‘Great War’. A redesigned atrium will stretch over six floors, providing a dramatic space to display the most iconic and unusual objects  from their collection to explore aspects of war from the First World War through to the present day.

National War Memorial on White Cliffs of Dover

August
Memorial dedicated to the 1.7million casualties of the Commonwealth of Nations from 1914 -1945 is due to be opened August 2014. Memorial takes the form of 12 white granite walls stepping down the slope between Drop Redoubt and the Grand Shaft on the White Cliffs of Dover. Day also marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

New National Forest long distance trail

A new long distance trail through The National Forest is currently under development and is expected to be open for walkers in 2014. Supported by Fisher German LLP, the National Forest Company and its local authority partners will carry out the installation and repair of stiles and other footpath infrastructure, and waymark the entire route, which covers nearly 75 miles through the three counties of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

Opening of Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve SHETLAND, SCOTLAND

Date TBA

Ambitious restoration and redevelopment of the iconic Shetland lighthouse, designed by engineer Robert Stevenson of the famous ‘Lighthouse Family’ (and grandfather of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson), with interpretation designed to convey what life was like for lighthouse keepers and their families, and a focus on the history, archaeology and wildlife of the wild location, where the Atlantic meets the North Sea.

2015 and Beyond:

V&A at Dundee 

A new international centre of design, to be housed in a stunning building at the heart of Dundee’s waterfront the V&A at Dundee will celebrate the history of design, inspire and help develop contemporary talent and encourage design innovation for the future.

Spring 2015: Opening of the Dreamland Heritage Park, Margate

Dreamland Heritage Park is a 21st-Century tourist attraction in Margate, based around the listed Scenic Railway and Cinema building. The Park will be the world's first amusement park of historic rides that will authentically recreate a thrilling seaside amusement park from the past.

England 2015 Rugby World Cup

England officially takes on its responsibility as host for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, another part of what is fast becoming known as ‘The Golden Decade of Sport’.

2015: Shakespeare in Shoreditch

A joint effort by the Globe and National Trust will site a new 250-seater open-air auditorium is to be built on the location of one of Shakespeare’s earliest theatres in Shoreditch. The theatre was built just outside the City limits in 1577 and was where Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were first staged.

2015: Admiralty Arch to open as Armani hotel

London's Admiralty Arch is to be transformed in to a £100 million Armani hotel. The 1912 building, designed by Aston Webb, was intended as a ceremonial passage from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace but has had a variety of uses, including government offices, and recently has been left empty. The Grade I-listed building, which has three arches, was commissioned by Edward VII in memory of his mother, Queen Victoria.

2015: Women’s and Men’s Boat Races Combined

March 2015 

In a revolutionary move which breaks with 183 years of history, the Women's Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge will achieve equal billing with the more famous men's event in 2015 as the two events are combined. The women’s event, which has previously taken place at Henley-on-Thames, will move to the traditional race location of Tideway in 2015. For the first time, the BNY Mellon (men's) Boat Race and the Newton Women's Boat Race will take place within an hour of each other over the historic 4.25 mile stretch from Putney to Mortlake.

Other anniversaries:

  • 125th anniversary of the Agatha Christie
  • Tate Modern’s 15th Anniversary
     
Source = VisitBritain
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