Visit Britain Event in the Big Apple: Open Jaw Reports

L TO R: Ryan Johns, Marketing Manchester; Jessica Barnes, Visit Scotland; Rebecca Malcolm, Visit Scotland; Cathy Stapells, Visit Britain; Mike Price, Visit Wales; Amanda Byrne, Visit Britain; Paul Gauger, Visit Britain

Amazing new hotels and attractions. New movie and television filming sites. Tremendous sporting events and fabulous new foodie spots.

Visit Britain put on a media presentation in The Big Apple on 23JAN, and Open Jaw was on hand to hear the latest from one of the top destinations for Canadians to visit and Canadian travel advisors to book. Representatives were on hand from Britain, Scotland, Wales and the city of Manchester. They laid out an impressive list of new and improved attractions for Great Britain, including new hiking trails, LGBTQ festivities, live theatre, new flights from Canada, and much more.

Here are some highlights to keep in mind when you’re planning a visit or booking a trip for clients:

Fab New Hotels

New accommodation options for London include a Park Hyatt London River Thames, a Six Senses Hotel, Raffles at the OWO and a Mandarin Oriental.  There’s a new W hotel in Edinburgh that features a beautiful, gold wrap-around ribbon and a rooftop bar. Also new in Edinburgh is 100 Princes Street. The first Soho House members club is set top open in Manchester, while Wildes Chester is a boutique hotel meets luxury spa in the ancient city of Chester, England. The four-star Old College hotel will open in Aberstwyth, Wales. Glasgow is adding The Address hotel this year. (Yours truly stayed in the new Virgin Hotel in Glasgow last fall and loved it. The Virgin Hotel in Edinburgh is equally impressive.)

More Flights

There are 123 weekly flights from Canada to Great Britain. Visit Britain officials said Air Canada will resume its YYZ-EDI flights in March instead of in May as in past years. This year, WestJet is adding flights to EDI from both YYC and YHZ, and also from YHZ to London and YYT to London. Of course, Canadians also can fly from several Canadian cities to both Glasgow and London.


This year marks the 200th anniversary of Cadbury Chocolates’ first shop in Birmingham. Join the celebration at Cadbury World in the historic Bournville Village with a series of festivities and, thank the lord, chocolate tastings. On a more serious note, 2024 also marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Visitors can explore the historic Churchill War Rooms in London and hear personal account at the D-Day story in Portsmouth.

TV and Movie Film Sites

Movie and TV tourism has become a huge business around the world, with thousands of visitors clambering to see places where their favourite shows and films are made. Check out Wonka filming sites in beautiful Bath, or head to Oxford and the East of England to visit filming sites from Masters of the Air, a new movie coming out this year with help from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. A new Peaky Blinders film will be issued this year, no doubt sparking more interest in touring the streets of Birmingham. You can also check out Bridgerton filming sites in London. Fans of the Sex Education show can visit filming sites in Wales. Also hugely popular in Wales are visits to Wrexham, which became famous when the TV show “Welcome to Wrexham” went big. The Wrexham Football Club is partly owned by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.

Top Sporting Events

The Open (some North Americans call it The British Open) golf tourney will be played for the 10th time at Royal Troon in Scotland in July, while the World Athletics Indoor Championships will be held in Glasgow in March.  Other great events include Wimbledon, The Royal Henley Regatta and the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley on 01JUN, an event sure to spark interest from football/soccer fans in North America.

Hiking and Outdoors

For now, the Wales Coastal Trail is, for now, the longest coastal walking trail that encircles a single country. Length. Mind you, the King Charles II England Coast Path is tentatively set for completion this year. When it opens it will be a remarkable 2,795 miles in length, covering the entire coast of England. That will make it the largest coastal trail on the planet. Too bad for Wales, but the Welsh are happy to say they have a new cycling trail called Traws Eryi, “a daring, 122-mile off-road biking route” from Machynelleth to Conwy.

Food and Drink

Modern food hall Boxhall will open this year in London and Bristol. A similar concept called Boxpark will open its doors in Liverpool. In Cardiff, Outpost bar and restaurant promises laid-back dining with New York City-inspired flavours. Gareth Ward’s Ynyshir restaurant in Eglwys Fach, Wales boasts two Michelin stars and has been voted best restaurant in the UK for two years in a row. Wales now has eight whisky distilleries. The Edinburgh Gin At the Arches Distillery and Visitor Experience also is coming this year.

Live Theatre

Sister Act returns to the West End in London in March, while Mean Girls will arrive at London’s Savoy Theatre in June, and The Devil Wears Prada at London’s Dominion Theatre in October. Hello Dolly! Debuts at the London Palladium for a limited run in July. You also can see Hamilton this summer at The Birmingham Hippodrome, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Diversity Travel and LBGTQ Events

October marks Black History Month in Britain, dedicated to honouring and celebrating the contributions of the Black community. Commemorate the 50th anniversary of Caribbean Carnival in Preston in spring of this year. Wales’ annual Pride Cymru in Cardiff attracts more than 50,000 people ach year. You also can attend the vibrant, four-day Manchester Pride event in August or check out Pride Glasgow.

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