At London’s Handel & Hendrix museum, step into Jimi Hendrix’s former bedroom — restored to its late-1960s glory.

At London’s Handel & Hendrix museum, step into Jimi Hendrix’s former bedroom — restored to its late-1960s glory.

What’s new this year for travelers in England, Ireland

The nations are improving tourism infrastructures and adding exhibits to well-known sights.

England, Scotland and Ireland are earnestly improving tourism infrastructures, adding worthwhile exhibits to well-known sights and investing in new experiences for travelers. Read up on these latest developments to make the most of your time in the isles in 2018.

Major changes are taking place at some of London’s most visited sights. At Westminster Abbey, a medieval balcony that’s been closed off for 700 years will open this summer as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, featuring a collection of artifacts from the Abbey’s rich history, as well as breathtaking views of the Abbey interior (expect timed-entry tickets).

In the Mayfair neighborhood of London’s West End, the museum formerly called the Handel House — where composer George Frideric Handel lived for decades — has been renamed “Handel & Hendrix in London,” as the museum now includes the recently restored former apartments of rocker Jimi Hendrix, who once lived next door to Handel’s old digs. The exhibit juxtaposes the lives and lifestyles of these two long-haired musicians with a flair for decadence.

London’s Courtauld Gallery, renowned for its Impressionist paintings, will close this summer for renovation until 2020. The Tate Modern’s new Switch House (a 10-story brick twisted-pyramid annex) is in full swing with rotating exhibitions, performance art, cafes and a terrace with stunning views. Across town, the Victoria and Albert Museum has added 11,840 square feet of gallery space, along with a new entrance and welcoming courtyard.

Outside of the city center at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, visitors can descend the futuristic Orbit tower via a thrill added in 2016: the world’s longest, tallest and transparent tunnel slide, measuring 580 feet with corkscrew turns.

London’s transportation scene continues to change. Uber is in the midst of a legal challenge after Transport for London decided to not renew their license; they could cease operation at any time. Meanwhile, starting in December, a new train line, the Elizabeth line, will run right through the city center — with stops at several Tube stations — and zip travelers from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station in just 25 minutes.

Across Britain, new museums highlight the diversity of its history. In Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall showcases a circa-1420 guild headquarters and the very classroom where Shakespeare was a student, where visitors can try a quill pen. Liverpool’s British Music Experience tells an immersive story of British music from 1945 until today. And at Durham’s impressive cathedral, the new Open Treasure exhibit displays rare artifacts from the cathedral treasury and monks’ library.

In Portsmouth, on England’s south coast, the 16th-century warship Mary Rose is completely dried out, preserved and on display after 35 years of conservation work. The town’s D-Day Museum is slated to reopen this spring with exhibits incorporating first-person stories from D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. The museum also plans to restore the last surviving D-Day landing craft in time for the 75th anniversary in 2019.

In Scotland, Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery is undergoing a major renovation, with plans for expanded gallery space and a grand entrance from Princes Street Gardens. In the meantime, certain exhibits and paintings may be out of view.

In Glasgow, the original Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street — the only surviving tearooms designed inside and out by Art Nouveau architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh — will reopen this year with a new visitors center, a restored interior based on Mackintosh’s original design and exhibits marking the 150th anniversary of his birthdate. Across town, however, the star attraction at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum, Salvador Dali’s Christ of St. John of the Cross, is on the road until 2020.

In Ireland, Dublin is sprucing up its museum lineup with new high-tech sights. Epic: The Irish Emigration Museum tells the story of the Irish diaspora using interactive displays. The museum also houses the Irish Family History Centre, which helps visitors research their Irish roots. The new exhibit at GPO Witness History offers an immersive look at the 1916 Easter Uprising from underneath the General Post Office, which served as the rebel headquarters.

— Tribune Content Agency

More in Life

Her arts legacy includes Sorticulture, Music at the Marina

Wendy Poischbeg is among those honored for their contributions to Everett’s art scene.

The 16 cookbooks of 2019 we’re facing off March Madness-style

After 10 years, Food52’s Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks as we know it is no more. So we’re doing our own thing.

The hot toddy — it won’t cure you, but you’ll feel better

Some call it the chicken soup of the cocktail bar because it offers relief from the common cold.

Record numbers seeking roles in Island Shakespeare Festival

More than 200 actors are vying for 20 positions in three plays at the 11th annual Langley fest.

Soft plastic recycling service expands to Snohomish County

A Seattle-based company that recycles plastic film, batteries and lightbulbs now offers its services here.

Watch big birds hit the potato jackpot in Skagit Valley fields

Farmers’ loss is trumpeter swans’ and snow geese’s gain, as the migratory birds feast on spuds left in the ground.

The Roller Barn has been an important part of Oak Harbor for generations.
Can the 107-year-old Roller Barn on Whidbey Island be saved?

A Whidbey Island businessman wants to raise $80,000 by March 31 to buy Oak Harbor’s iconic building.

Rick Steves chooses leisurely Lucca for a true Italian experience

A leisurely evening stroll along the ancient town’s walls is one of the best travel experiences.

Dr. Paul on 5 ways to ensure your marriage blooms and grows

Showing up for our loved ones in the ways that are important is the secret for a loving union.

Most Read