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The highlights for 2019 from royal anniversaries to rebels, plus three reasons to get outdoors


Two major anniversaries are encouraging people to get back to nature next year, as the Forestry Commission marks its 100th birthday and the National Parks celebrates its 70th, with a year-long programme of celebrations at destinations from Dartmoor to Snowdonia and the Cairngorms.

But you won’t even have to venture far from the city to get a taste of nature, with Bristol’s WildPlace Project launching The Bear Wood next summer in its 150-acre conservation park.

The planned opening will see a walkway through seven and a half acres of woodland, where brown bears, European grey wolves, a lynx and a wolverine roam as they would have done centuries ago.

Can’t wait until next year? Head to Birmingham NEC for the newly opened The Bear Grylls Adventure, with a series of activities to test physical and mental agility, as well as your own confidence.

The £20 million attraction, developed by Merlin Entertainments and Bear Grylls, will include the highest free-roam high ropes n Europe, the chance to snorkel near sharks, indoor skydiving and challenges designed to conquer small spaces.

Royals remembered

Forget royal weddings and babies, next year all eyes are looking back to the country’s past Queens.

Queen Victoria is centre stage, 200 years after she was born at Kensington Palace, with events there,  at Windsor where she was buried beside her husband, and at English Heritage property Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, where she died. There’s also a trail for visitors to the island to follow. Visit

The anniversary has inspired a new ballet too. Victoria  will be performed in Leeds by the Northern Ballet in March.

And in Kent, Leeds Castle — itself the property of six medieval queens — is marking its 900th anniversary. Along with themed events, January sees a Woodland Gardens new trail, plus a new Knights Stronghold playground in spring, and summer pageant.

Memorial to Manchester's 'rebels'

Manchester is set to get a permanent memorial to those killed in the Peterloo Massacre next year, as the city commemorates the 200th anniversary of the date when a crowd of around 60,000 were charged by armed cavalry.

There will be events exploring the story of Peterloo between June and August, as well as a year-long interactive programme called Protest: past, present and future taking place at the Manchester People’s History Museum.

The Peterloo memorial will be the second major new statue for the city in 2019, along with Emmeline Pankhurst, whose sculpture by Hazel Reeves is being unveiled in St Peter’s Square on March 8, International Women’s Day. 


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