It's been busy in the UK (2013 was a record year for inbound tourism, with 27.8 million visits and £17.8 billion spent from January through October), so VisitBritain looked ahead to 2014 to share some of the key events that will make 2014 just as exciting. Here are 10 things to see next year.
1. Shakespeare 450 - 2014 marks 450 years since Shakespeare was born, so it’s the ideal time to visit his birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where his legacy will be celebrated with a ‘Shakespeare Week’ in March as well as other events throughout the year.
2. Tour de France - le Grand Départ from Yorkshire - The world’s most famous cycle race will be kicking off in Yorkshire. Fans and spectators will be able to explore one of the most beautiful pockets of Britain, home to two National Parks – the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.
3. Sport in Scotland - Glasgow will be hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Tickets to Games events start at just £15 and a cultural program will showcase the city’s arts and music. Then, in September, it’s all about golf with the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Perthshire.
4. Homecoming Scotland - A celebration of Scotland through a year-long series of events, including Homecoming ‘extensions’ to Hogmanay, Edinburgh Festivals and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
5. Re-opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - From Spring 2014 the transformed Park will re-open fully to the public with plenty of attractions from concerts in the Stadium to trying out the Velodrome and Olympic standard swimming pools.
6. Commemorating World War I - 2014 marks one hundred years since the outbreak of World War I. The Imperial War Museums (IWM) will be at the heart of commemorative exhibitions and activity, while Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire will hold an exhibition from February.
7. Dylan Thomas 100 - To mark 100 years since his birth, the Welsh writer’s life and works will be celebrated with a year-long program of events all over Wales, with the Dylan Thomas Festival as its centerpiece from October 27. Under Milk Wood will be shown as a live broadcast, film and performance by the National Theatre Wales in March.
8. Celebrating Glyndebourne and the Henley Royal Regatta - the 80th birthday of the Sussex opera festival Glyndebourne (May to August) and the 175th anniversary of the Henley Royal Regatta in July.
9. Accommodation trends - Scottish Wimbledon champion and 2013’s Sports Personality of the Year, Andy Murray, is launching Cromlix House Hotel in Scotland, a new luxury hotel complete with Chez Roux restaurant (the brainchild of Albert Roux), which will accept bookings from April 2014. Additionally, Premier Inn’s innovative ‘Hub’ concept (guests can use their smartphones to check in and control room temperature) will roll out across five London locations from Autumn.
10. Top class culture - From February until June, London’s National Portrait Gallery will present Bailey’s Stardust, a landmark exhibition of the photographer David Bailey. On stage, Sam Mendes will direct King Lear at the National Theatre early in the year and Britain will continue to star on the silver screen in Paddington, about everyone’s favorite Peruvian teddy bear.