Visit England's top tips for places to visit in 2017

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Boundless asked Visit England to nominate their hotspots for the coming year. Here's the top five

Hot destination: Hull

All year, various locations in and around Hull

As England’s first-ever UK City of Culture, Hull looks set to join the city break hotspot list for 2017 as the maritime city showcases ‘365 days of transformative culture’,

A spectacular New Year’s Day fireworks display over the Humber and a city-wide week-long event will feature large-scale projections, illuminations and live performance to tell the story of the last 70 years of Hull.  

Other highlights will include Hull hosting the Turner Prize, at the Ferens Art Gallery, reopening this month (January) after a £4.5 million refurbishment.

Major investment in the city includes the £80 million transformation of the waterfront, and Hull Marina is a focal point for cafés, restaurants and eateries, while the re-energised Humber Street and Fruit Market is home to galleries, music venues, boutique markets and fine dining and with a new contemporary art space opening in 2017. 

Hot anniversary: Jane Austen 200

All year, nationwide locations

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of one of England’s most acclaimed authors with ‘Jane Austen 200 – A Life in Hampshire’ events planned across her home county. Jane Austen’s House Museum (her former home) in the village of Chawton, will host changing exhibitions, talks, activities and other special celebrations between March and December. Chawton and nearby Alton will host a Regency Week (June 17 – 25) with special events including music, dance and a Regency Day. Visit 

The Mysterious Miss Austen exhibition will tour Winchester, Gosport and Basingstoke with unique Jane Austen ephemera.

Winchester Cathedral, Jane’s final resting place, will have tours exploring Jane's life.

In Basingstoke, visitors will be able to follow a downloadable sculpture trail made up of 25 ‘BookBenches’ each designed and painted by a professional artist with their personal interpretation of a Jane Austen theme.

Jane Austen ‘Big Picnics’ across Hampshire will offer the opportunity to see performances, try some Regency food and learn more about the author.

Other key Jane Austen sites across the country include the Jane Austen Centre in Bath and the September Jane Austen Festival, which will celebrate the bicentenary of the novel Northanger Abbey in 2017.

In Kent, visitors can follow in her footsteps on a Jane Austen Trail.

Hot attraction: Aerospace Bristol

Summer 2017 opening

Opening in summer 2017, this new heritage museum and learning centre will tell the story of the South West’s aerospace industry – past, present and future – with exhibits and hidden archive records for the first time.

The Centre, based in North Bristol, will showcase British innovation, design and engineering, displaying collections of artefacts spanning over 100 years of aviation history with the last Concorde to be built and fly as its show stopping centre piece.

The centre will include a dedicated learning centre, exhibition galleries, archive store and reading room, a 150-seat lecture theatre, play and picnic areas and a café and shop. Groups can even sign up to enjoy a special three-course meal or drinks reception beneath the wings of Concorde..

Hot event: RHS Flower Show 

7-11 June 2017, Chatsworth, Derbyshire

Next year’s must-see horticultural event is the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show with a focus on cutting-edge design, inspired by gardeners and garden designers from the past, especially Joseph Paxton who was once the estate’s gardener

The show will be set in the grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, one of the UK’s most spectacular stately homes. Getting in the spirit, the nearby city of Derby is also planning several floral-themed events.

Hot Exhibition: Hadrian’s Cavalry

8 April – 10 September 2017, Hadrian’s Wall  

Taking place at ten museums across the full length of Hadrian’s Wall, Hadrian’s Cavalry will be a brand new, wall-wide exhibition celebrating the legendary Roman cavalry regiments that guarded Hadrian’s Wall and projected the power of Imperial Rome 2000 years ago.

The six-month exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to explore the role and daily life of the cavalry forces of the Roman army.

The exhibition features a range of Roman cavalry objects - including cavalry helmets and ornate armour - as well as a series of re-enactment events at attractions across the 150-mile long World Heritage Site - from Maryport in the west to South Shields in the east.

The objects include loans from National and International Museums and private collections alongside finds from sites across Hadrian’s Wall. On 1 & 2 July, the largest Roman cavalry re-enactment ever seen will take place at Bitts Park in Carlisle as part of Hadrian’s Cavalry. A troop (turma) of 30 Roman cavalrymen will come together to perform training exercises described by Hadrian himself 2000 years ago.

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