The last year of the 2010s offers loads to see and do with anniversaries, events, huge sporting competitions and much more to enjoy.
If you need an excuse to enjoy a brilliant break in 2019 then here’s a handful of amazing things to do in the UK, Ireland, France and Italy.
75th Anniversary of D-Day
June 6th 1944 was the momentous day when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in Northern France to commence Operation Overlord.
50 miles of the Normandy coast were divided into landing points named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, but the five beachheads were not linked until 12 June.
There are D-Day commemorations all summer long in Normandy with military parades, firework displays, airdrops, giant picnics, concerts and military camp re-enactments. Visiting at any time is an unforgettable and emotional experience, but it’s set to be extra-poignant in 2019.
A big year for The Beatles
There’s always an excuse to celebrate the music of the ‘Fab Four’, but 2019, more than many years, offers some spectacular events and activities.
Their last performance took place on the roof of the Apple Records building in London on 3 Savile Row (now a clothes store!) on 30 January 1969.
2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Abbey Road album (the last time all four would participate in recording sessions). Visit the iconic setting to make your own album cover.
Closer to John Lennon’s childhood home, the iconic Strawberry Field in Liverpool is to be relaunched in 2019 as a visitor attraction. It was here that John Lennon found solace as a child. See if you can find your own inspiration amongst the open gardens.
Happy Birthday to Bettys
A Yorkshire institution, no civilised visit to God’s Own Country is complete without also paying a visit to the iconic Bettys Tearoom. The story started in 1919 when a Swiss confectioner, baker and chocolatier came to England to seek his fortune and accidentally boarded a train to Yorkshire. There he opened a café in Harrogate, crowds formed and the rest is history!
So famous is Bettys that you can always expect to queue for the experience, but ask anyone who has been and they will tell you that it’s all part of the experience. With celebrity admirers including Russell Crowe and Her Royal Highness the Queen, you might even find yourself in good company!
Currently, Bettys has tearooms in Ilkley, Harrogate, York and Northallerton, so a visit puts you amongst some of Yorkshire’s finest holiday scenery and settings.
Our National Parks turn 70
Currently, 13 scenic settings in England and Wales are designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. This means places where natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage are conserved and enhanced.
The first was the Peak District in April 1951, followed by the Lakes, Snowdonia and Dartmoor later that same year. The Pembrokeshire Coast and the North Yorks Moors followed, and now you can travel the length and breadth or the country and find yourself surrounded by amazing views and incredible activities.
Any time you visit a National park is a cause for celebration, but it’s going to be extra specially so this year, so why not plan a mini-stay or weekend away to get out and celebrate our gorgeous, great outdoors!
Game of Thrones concludes
Winter has finally arrived in Westeros, but things are set to really heat up as TV’s Game of Thrones concludes this spring. Visit the filming locations in Ireland, or take a look at some of the real-world influences on the saga.
The real life battle between the Lannisters and the Starks – aka houses of Lancaster and York – culminated in the Battle of Tewkesbury. Every second weekend in July the battle is re-enacted at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival.
If you fancy brooding like Jon Snow then visit Doune Castle in Stirlingshire for the original seat of Winterfell in the show’s first episode. Remember to wrap up warm!
A spectacular year of sport
It’s set to be another great year for sports fans with loads of international competitions taking place in the UK and beyond. Don’t have tickets? Don’t fret, you can find home cinemas, football pitches and more in a selection of properties.
A year of international competition kicks off in February with the 6 Nations rugby. France, England, Italy, Scotland, Wales’ national teams will be trying to unseat defending champions Ireland.
May brings colour to the Dales, Moors and coast of ‘God’s own country’ with the annual Tour De Yorkshire. Starting on the 2nd, this year’s event has been upgraded to HC status by cycling’s world governing body, the highest possible for a multi-day race outside of the UCI WorldTour. As ever, expect beautiful scenery, a warm welcome and a brilliant atmosphere.
The Women’s World Cup kicks off in France on 7th June. The eighth edition features 23 teams trying to win the trophy from champions the United States. 9 venues across France will be hosting, from Nice to Paris and beyond.
The Cricket World Cup starts at the end of May and takes place in England and Wales for the first time in 20 years. Ten teams will be competing in matches all over the land, including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Southampton.