It’s no wonder the United Kingdom is currently the most searched overseas destination on the internet as much-awaited flights are set to head down the runway.
Qantas resumes with up to five return flights a week from Sydney to Heathrow from November 1 and Singapore Airlines will also restart routes to the United Kingdom. But it’s not only the capital that’s starring in web searches – scenic Cornwall and iconic Manchester make a vibrant trio as Great Britain welcomes back tourists from Down Under.
London has the welcome mat out with new shows, super hotels and dreamy rooftop restaurants and bars opening recently.
There are also big celebrations planned for next year when it will be party central with 12 months of celebrations for
Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, recognising her 70-year reign. The official birthday weekend of June 5-7 will see
a big-name live concert held at Buckingham Palace as well as plenty of other events.
Also set to attract big crowds, the 2022 Commonwealth Games start on July 28 in Birmingham, which is just two hours northwest of the capital – an easy day-trip.
Global creativity will be showcased at Festival UK 2022, where a series of 10 projects will be held across the country.
On the hotel front, there are 20 new hotels including what is being described as the world’s first super-boutique hotel, The Londoner in Leicester Square.
Its French-Mediterranean fine-dining restaurant, Whitcomb’s, and the decadent rooftop izakaya lounge, 8 at The Londoner, are the places to be seen.
Other newcomers include the whimsy 91-room NoMad London in the former Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. It’s home to the much Instagrammed NoMad Restaurant which has a soaring glass ceiling and lush greenery. The Hot Lips cocktail in the restaurant’s Atrium Bar already has a following.
Speaking of bars, rooftop watering holes are all the rage, including Selfridges’ Dior pop-up Alto and the Aviary, a terrace restaurant and bar.
Blockbuster shows set to open include Moulin Rouge!, Cabaret and The Glass Menagerie, plus all the West End favourites.
The virtual ABBA Voyage, complete with a live 10-piece band, will have fans singing along. It will be staged from May 2022 in a 3000-capacity, purpose-built arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Art-lovers will be rewarded for their patience with the Raphael exhibition opening at the National Gallery in April and running until 31 July 2022, and the Cezanne exhibition at the Tate Modern, which runs from October 2022 to February 2023.
Leave the city of London behind, jump on a train and in about five hours you’ll be in good-looking Cornwall, on the southwest tip of England.
Cornwall has everything from castle islands to pretty fishing villages and is a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Expect gorgeous scenery, seaside walks, art galleries and historic attractions, such as the tidal island of St Michael’s Mount.
Truro is Cornwall’s only city and is dominated by its lofty Gothic Revival cathedral, but it’s the county’s seaside villages that have the most charm.
Postcard-perfect St Ives, with its lush greenery, sandy beaches, art galleries and many award-winning cafes and restaurants, is a must visit. It has long been an artists’ haven due to its beautiful light and you’ll find the contemporary art museum, Tate Gallery, and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden here.
Other seaside havens include Polzeath, Falmouth, Bude, Newquay and Mousehole, described by poet Dylan Thomas as England’s prettiest village.
One of the best ways to discover the beauty of the Cornish coast – and its rich history of smugglers’ coves and tin mines
– is by cycling or walking parts of the South West Coast Path. It stretches over more than 1000 kilometres and is the longest established National Trail in the country.
Cornwall has its specialties when it comes to dining, such as the “stargazy pie” where the head of a fish sticks through the pie crust as if looking at the stars.
Big-name eateries include Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and there are lots of great takeaway shops dishing
out fish and chips that are best eaten beachside, while people-watching.
When it comes to accommodation, Cornwall has a range of quaint hotels,
luxury cottages, modern apartments and bed and breakfasts to suit all budgets.
Known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester is a now a vibrant sports-loving, food-and-arts-centric city. Still proud of its industrial roots, it’s also a cultural gem with wonderful libraries, galleries and museums.
Manchester is about a four-hour train trip from London and a great start to your adventures is the free Discover Manchester walking tour, hosted by a local guide.
You’ll soon see how sports mad the city is – after all, it is home to two of England’s most popular football teams, Manchester United and Manchester City. Fans should visit the National Football Museum with its hefty collection of memorabilia.
Book and history lovers will swoon over the enchanting reading room at John Rylands Library, one of the world’s great libraries, with early copies of masterpieces including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Fancy a walk? There are some great walking tracks within Greater Manchester, around Hollingworth Lake, Heaton Park, Sale Water Park and Haigh Hall.
Manchester has a vibrant foodie scene with everything from fine dining to tasty street food. The revamped Freight Island, in a former freight depot, is the place to go for a variety of restaurants and entertainment.
New eateries include Ramona, which serves Detroit-style pizza in a former garage, and underground food market halls Society and Hello Oriental.
You can bunker down in the new Kimpton Clocktower Hotel and dine at its The Refuge Dining Room. Alternatively, Manchester’s 115-year-old “grand old dame” The Midland and the five-star The Edwardian have been recently refurbished.
Scottish beer-brewing giant BrewDog has opened the city’s first carbon-negative beer hotel, Doghouse Manchester, an 18-bedroom hotel with in-room beer taps.
For the eco conscious, a Qbic hotel has opened on Manchester’s lively Deansgate strip, with an onsite restaurant, Motley, that focusses on low-mileage food.
Explore more: visitbritain.com