2015, the year of the English milestone

By Hannah Silverman

There’s a lot of chatter about bucket lists and early attempts at new year’s resolutions, but England is where the cultural party’s at. With more anniversaries than you can flick a Hallmark card at, England is hosting some pretty cool festivities for some of the biggest names in its history.

VisitEngland have put together a list of top sites for 2015 and I’ve hand-picked my top five milestones. So why not plan ahead for your English travel and incorporate some of these key celebrations into your itineraries.
What’s this? Well it’s having a very old birthday in 2015. Photograph courtesy of VisitEngland.

150 years since the publication of Alice in Wonderland

Oxford’s University’s Christ Church, where it’s said Carroll sat and read his stories to Alice.

I love a good Alice in Wonderland reference, and so does England. Lewis Carroll’s magical story is 150 years old on November 26 so why not visit the town in which it was written? A good date to remember is July 4 when The Story Museum, in Oxford, is holding an ‘Alice Day’. This will include a Mad Hatter’s tea party, exhibitions, storytelling, promenade theatre and Alice-themed walks and talks. The V&A’s Museum of Childhood in London are curating ‘The Alice Look’ exhibition while theatrical productions and literary lectures and conferences will be held to coincide with the events.

(PS, if you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland, check out my post about Daresbury, the Cheshire town Lewis Carroll grew up in).

More info:

www.storymuseum.org.uk

www.aliceinwonderlandshop.co.uk/tours

Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo

Apsley House, where the Duke of Wellington lived. Photograph courtesy of VisitEngland.

If you’re into war history, you should have this milestone on your radar. The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo (funnily enough) in present-day Belgium. The war saw the defeat of Emperor Napoleon by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, which was under command of England’s Duke of Wellington. Across England, this will be marked throughout the year with English Heritage celebrations at Wellington Arch, the Duke’s at Apsley House and Walmer Castle, where he lived and died (not open until April due to renovations).

Meanwhile Belgium is staging re-enactments of the battle.

More info:

www.english-heritage.org.uk

www.waterloo2015.org/en

50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death
Blenheim Palace sure looks like my kind of real estate. Photograph courtesy of VisitEngland.

The 50th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s greatest war leaders of the 20th century is bound to be huge news. Across England it will be commemorated with a series events including his Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, near Oxford. Here you can visit the room he was born, walk among the gardens in which he proposed to his wife in as well as view letters and photographs of his family. Of course the Churchill War Rooms are incredible to view year round, too, and features the bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz. Churchill died 24 January, 1965.

More info:

Happy 800th birthday to the Magna Carter
A close up of the Magna Carter itself. Photograph courtesy of VisitEngland.

800 years ago King John and his barons sealed one of England’s most important documents, the Magna Carter. These pieces of parchment outlined the ideas of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. It was such a good idea that both the US Bill of Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights took on board the similar principals. In 2015 the Magna Carter returns to the British Library where from March 13 – September 1, 2015 it will open the doors to a new exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. The whole country wants a bit of the action, with Magna Carta trails created to lead history lovers to significant destinations, too.

More info:

 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth

The English Riviera is beautiful to visit regardless if you are a Christie fan or not. Photograph courtesy of VisitEngland.

Agatha Christie is one of the world’s most loved authors and the true story of Agatha Christie’s life is every bit as intriguing as the 80 plus books she wrote. One of the best ways to mark Agatha’s birth year and to celebrate her legacy is along the English Riviera in the town she was born, Torquay. It’s said she spent some of the most important chapters of her life here and used her Devonshire surrounds as backdrops for her murder mysteries. Next year fans will enjoy the Agatha Christie Mile and September’s International Agatha Christie Festival. You can also visit her estate at Greenway.

More info:

www.englishriviera.co.uk/agathachristie

www.agathachristiefestival.com

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway

For more information, visit www.visitengland.com.

Have I missed a milestone? Share your hot tips for 2015 below.

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