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Love is Great

What’s New in Great Britain

What’s New in Great Britain

Couple in a Cafe

A fresh take on a historic place. 

With so much history, and so many illustrious figures from arts and culture, every year in Britain brings reasons to celebrate, and 2017 is no different. Here are some major highlights of the year to come.

1. Making Progress
It's been 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in England and Wales, so why not pay your respects to our long LGBTQ history with a tour of the British Museum's groundbreaking exhibition, "Desire Love Identity: exploring LGBTQ histories." Visitors will be encouraged to follow a trail of exhibits dating from 9000 BC to the 20th century, each of which embody our long-hidden stories, such as a coin bearing the likeness of the Emperor Hadrian's lover, Antinous. Art lovers will also want to make a date with Tate Britain for its vast survey of "Queer British Art 1861-1967," including works by artists such as Francis Bacon, Dora Carrington, and Duncan Grant. Running from April 5 to October 1, it will overlap for part of the time with the Tate's celebration of Hockney (see below). While in London, think about booking room 118 of The Cadogan Hotel in London, where Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1895. Or make a day trip to Bletchley Park ( in Milton Keynes to tour the rooms where Alan Turing helped to break the Enigma Code.

The Skinny Type's Homoerotic, Hand-Cut Fantasylands

2. Calling Romantics
Jane Austen died too young, at 41, but left behind a literary treasure trove that continues to delight audiences today. The 200th anniversary of her death is being marked all year, from The Mysterious Miss Austen, a landmark exhibition at the Jane Austen's House Museum in Winchester (the city where she is buried), that runs until July 24, to a rare opportunity to walk in Austen's footsteps when her beloved village and home, Chawton in Hampshire, opens its gardens (June 10 and 11). The Jane Austen Festival is 10 full days in September when you can fully embrace your Austen obsession with a costume promenade. The festival is in Bath, where people of the Victorian era (including Austen herself) bathed in its healing waters to cure their ailments. Find more information at

The Skinny Type's Homoerotic, Hand-Cut Fantasylands

3. Celebrate the world's original bromance: King Arthur and Merlin
It's the Year of Myths and Legends in Wales, so why not take a trip to the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia, the setting for Guy Ritchie's new movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which explores the story of Excalibur and the Knights of the Round Table. Britain has no shortage of sites related to Arthurian myth and legend. From the spectacular ruins of Tintagel on the windswept coast of Cornwall and Snowdonia to Glastonbury in Somerset, the area has a deep connection with Arthur and Guinevere. Buses run to Glastonbury from Hammersmith in London, passing through some spectacular countryside along the way. Take a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon absorbing the ancient view from the top of Glastonbury Tor.

Meet the #HornetNYC Guys of Pride

4. Time to Build Up Your Cultural Capital
For 70 years the Scottish capital has been the world's most dynamic festival city, in large part because of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, both of which take place in August, luring performers from around the world. For three frenetic weeks the city is teeming with every kind of performance imaginable, from side-splitting stand-up to experimental Polish theater. Over the years, other festivals have sprung up focusing on film, literature, and science, turning the city into a magnet for culture vultures and science geeks.

The Bold, Beautiful Rush of Endless Poetry

5. Rock of Ages
Tickets are already sold to the world's most famous music festival, a five-day bonanza of icons and ingenues held in Glastonbury in June. Now approaching its 50th anniversary, a few of this year's headliners have already been announced, including Radiohead, The Foo Fighters, and, um, Kris Kirstofferson. Then in September there's Festival No. 6 in Wales, with The Flaming Lips, Bloc Party and Mogwai. Or at the same time over in Dorest, the Bestival brings The XX, Tribe Called Quest, Pet Shop Boys and Justice. Use the Visit Britain music festival finder -- a Facebook Messenger bot that seems to know everything -- so you can find the perfect match.

Meet the #HornetNYC Guys of Pride

6. Harry Potter All Grown Up
Harry Potters and the Sorcerer's Stone was published in 1997, and several generations of children have grown up absorbed in the adventures of the young wizard and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger. Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe is a strapping young man not averse to onscreen nudity, and Emma Watson is all grown up on the cover of Vanity Fair. To mark the occasion, the British Library, is mounting an exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, which explores the historical inspirations behind J.K. Rowling's creation. Each room in the exhibition will be devoted to a different class from the Hogwarts curriculum, including Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions and Divination. And fans won't want to miss Warner Bros. Studio's tour, "The Making of Harry Potter," with an all-new "Forbidden Forest" addition opening on March 31. If you're visiting Edinburgh, why not make a pilgrimage to the place of Harry Potter's birth. The Elephant House is not only a great lunch spot, but it's where Rowling first began plotting the story of the famous magician. Channel her energy over a cappuccino.


7. David Hockney Turns 80, and Tate Britain is Celebrating
Few British artists have been as influential in the 20th century as David Hockney. As he approached his 80th birthday, the artist is not only as relevant as ever, he's as busy as ever. And just as audacious. Where in the 1980s he experimented with the Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that enabled artists to sketch onscreen, in recent years he has been using the Brushes app for iPhone and iPad. Through May 29, Tate Britain hosts the most comprehensive exhibition of his work to date, spanning more than 50 years, and including groundbreaking early works like "Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool," from 1966, to his massive six-panel evocation of the Yorkshire landscape, "Woldgate Woods," from 2006.

8. Celebrate Pride
There's never been a better time to celebrate LGBTQ progress, and Brits are no slouches when it comes to throwing a party. Why not Pride hop and sight-see at the same time? In addition to London's annual Pride parade on Saturday July 8, the culmination of two weeks of festivities, Birmingham will be celebrating what it describes as the U.K.'s biggest two-day Pride Festival on May 27 and 28 (, complete with live performances by Basement Jaxx and Jamelia; Brighton celebrates August 4-6; and Manchester's signature Pride event is The Big Weekend, falling on the last big weekend of summer, August 25-28.

Meet the #HornetNYC Guys of Pride

9. The Suite Life
There's no shortage of iconic hotels to stay at in the U.K., but why not be a pioneer and check in to one of the country's newest accommodations. The Four Seasons is now taking reservations for its second London property, Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, occupying the 1920s HQ of the Port of London, with its creamy Corinthian columns and spectacularly-renovated UN ballroom (location for the inaugural reception of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946). Better yet, the hotel is just across the road from the Tower of London--where you wouldn't want to spend the night. For a funkier vibe, try The Ned in east London, a new venture by London's SoHo House in partnership with the US-based Sydell Group (NoMad in New York), which will offer guests a choice of nine--count 'em--restaurants, and 12 categories of rooms from a bespoke "crash pad" to an opulent "Lutyens suite". Meanwhile, 50 miles north of London, and easily reached by train from King's Cross, is Cambridge, one of Britain's finest university towns, and home to the 155-room Tamburlaine Hotel, opening this spring, where rooms come in three categories: Freshman, Don, and Dean. Or go rural and book into the new country manor hotel, Lympstone Manor, near the lovely Devon town of Exmouth. With 28 acres of gardens, and a wonderfully minimal aesthetic, Lympstone Manor's crowning jewel is a restaurant by Michelin-starred Michael Caines, with its emphasis on Devon's rich seafood traditions.

Enter for a Chance to Go #OUTInBritain. The UK is calling!

We've teamed up with VisitBritain to give away a six-night trip for two to Great Britain, and the winner could be you. The grand prize includes a three-night stay at The Rosebery in London, a three-night stay at Midland Hotel in Manchester, plus roundtrip airfare from the U.S. All you have to do to enter? Submit your information via this form, and let us know why someone you LOVE is GREAT.

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