From its pivotal role in the Battle of Britain to the death-defying stunts of the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force has been protecting the UK and captivating the imaginations of its citizens since 1918.
To mark the centenary of its formation, the RAF will celebrate with a series of events, air shows and festivals across the British Isles.
Highlights include a military parade down The Mall in London on July 10, when a 100-aircraft flypast will be sure to dazzle spectators.
Grand UK Holidays has a new addition to its Battle of Britain tour for the occasion. The five-day itinerary incorporates Petwood Hotel, former headquarters of the 617 “Dambusters” Squadron and a visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire – home of The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Harold Burke, sales and marketing director at Grand UK Holidays, urges agents to recommend the updated itinerary.
“Lincolnshire is a key destination to visit during 2018. It is known as Bomber County thanks to its rich aviation heritage and is renowned as the ‘home of the Royal Air Force’.
In January 2018 a new museum and remembrance centre opened on the outskirts of Lincoln called International Bomber Command Centre,” he explains. “This addition to the 2018 itinerary offers more opportunities to explore the county’s aviation heritage and celebrate the contribution of the men and women who served in the RAF.”
Book it: Grand UK Holidays has the five-day Battle of Britain tour from £349pp with half-board accommodation in the County Hotel in Skegness, coach travel and excursions included. Package is based on May 7 and September 24 departures.
It’s mindboggling to think that our ancestors transported the distinctive bluestone used in Stonehenge’s construction from more than 140 miles away in south Wales. Weighing close to four tonnes, it’s impressive when you consider that the rocks were brought to Wiltshire without industrial equipment, lorries or even roads.
Unsurprisingly, this 5,000-year-old monument has been a popular attraction for both Brits and history buffs worldwide for more than a century. In 1918 it was given back to the public, marking the end of its private ownership which dated back to the 12th century.
From March, English Heritage will host a programme of events at the Stonehenge site, while also partnering with the British Museum in London to launch an exhibition featuring artefacts from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
To celebrate this landmark anniversary, Gary Gillespie, national sales manager at Super Break, recommends that clients experience one of the operator’s Vintage London Bus tours.
“Historical anniversaries and events offer a great reason to travel and agents can really increase bookings by promoting them. One of the great things about Stonehenge is that you can either stay in a hotel nearby or, to capture a wider audience, we offer it as a day trip from London, so it can be combined with a short break in the capital – something many agents probably don’t realise is possible.”
Book it: Super Break offers Vintage London Bus tours from £184pp with a two-night B&B stay at the Tophams Hotel in London.
Elizabeth II has experienced her fair share of trials and tribulations in her time as the ruler of the United Kingdom. The Queen has lived through two world wars, assassination attempts and succeeded her father George VI to become queen aged 25.
Despite a challenging life, Elizabeth II has proven to be a progressive and publicly sympathetic ruler, taking the title of the longest-reigning British monarch in history.
This year the Queen celebrates 65 years on the throne and fans of the Royals can experience a host of activities across the UK.
Matthew Herbert, product and yield director at Shearings, suggests agents sell the operator’s Royal London Break.
“This year is filled with royal celebrations that can be a real draw when it comes to promoting themed breaks. With the Queen celebrating 65 years since her coronation, plus the two royal weddings taking place in 2018, agents have a real opportunity to drive bookings around this special year. Why not promote visiting Buckingham Palace, seeing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London or perhaps taking a peek inside St George’s Chapel in Windsor, where the Queen will witness her grandson Harry getting married in May.”
Book it: Shearings Holidays has the five-day Royal London break from £349pp. Clients will depart on selected dates in August 2018 with coach travel, four nights’ half-board accommodation and all excursions included.
The Representation of the People Act that was passed on February 6, 1918, saw women in the UK being allowed to vote for the first time ever.
The People’s History Museum in Manchester is celebrating the centenary of this landmark achievement with a programme of new exhibitions, festivals and community engagement projects.
Jenny Mabbott, head of collections and engagement at the People’s History Museum, says: “Manchester is the place to discover the fascinating story of the vote for women, what campaigners wentthrough and what motivated them to campaign as they did. Famously, it is the birthplace of suffragettes founder Emmeline Pankhurst, whose former home is now the Pankhurst Centre, but there are also many others who campaigned for universal suffrage whose stories we tell at the People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy. And across the city there are landmarks to discover where key historical moments took place, such a Manchester Art Gallery, the Radisson hotel (formerly the Free Trade Hall) and Stevenson Square.”
Book it: Ibis has a one-night stay at the Manchester Portland Hotel from £62pp.
The war to end all wars resulted in more than 41 million casualties and the death of almost an entire generation of young men.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and the end of the First World War, events will be held across the country.
Lichfield Cathedral will host the Great Exhibition 2018: Imagine Peace; the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester will hold commemorations; and the American Museum in Britain has a new exhibition that focuses on the US’s contribution to the war.
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will count down 100 days from August 8, leading to a service on Remembrance Sunday (November 11).
Additional events include celebrations of the centenary of the RAF, votes for women and the Armed Forces Day weekend festival from June 30 to July 1.
Faye Brant, group sales and bookings coordinator at the National Memorial Arboretum, says: “The arboretum is a fantastic place to explore and 2018 is a very important year. We are extremely proud to have created some brand new packages for groups to enjoy and are ready to work with group organisers to create bespoke packages to ensure a day to remember for all of our visitors.”
Book it: Hoseasons offers a three-night short break at the Silver Trees, Staffordshire, 25 minutes’ drive from the National Memorial Arboretum, from £339pp. General admission to the arboretum is free with donations encouraged.