2015 looks like being a vintage year in the East Midlands for anyone interested in heritage and culture.
Of course, this year is the anniversary of a number of milestones in English history generally. Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary is upon us, May marks the 70th anniversary of VE day, June is 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo and that’s before you take into account Agincourt’s 600th anniversary in October.
We’re really lucky that in this region, Lincoln holds one of the four copies of Magna Carta that still exist. The city is promoting this fact but whether by design or default, has the wonderful situation where the exhibition coincides with a massive renovation of Lincoln Castle. The renovated building opens in April and with a specially constructed vault in which Magna Carta will be kept, the city will be even more of a “must-see “and it has been in the past.
In the summer months, Lincoln is also hosting its own Three Choirs Festival. One can only assume that this is intended to be the East of England’s answer to the long running festival of the same name involving Worcester Hereford and Gloucester cathedrals. Lincoln’s will incorporate its own Cathedral choir with those of Southwell and Peterborough.
If this if this is not enough for music lovers, August bank holiday sees the second Southwell Music Festival. Based on the success of its inaugural year, this festival planned round one of the most idyllic English cathedrals promises yet another classical music feast provided by some of the country’s best up and coming talent. And of course, the Buxton Opera Festival is now a fixture on the national stage and takes place in July.
Art enthusiasts have the “East Midlands Grand Tour” to look forward to. For major art venues (Nottingham Contemporary, Derby city Museum, Chatsworth House and the Harley Gallery at Welbeck Abbey) are all working together to provide a linked experience of the best they have to offer. Derby, for example, is focusing on the work of one of its most famous sons, Joseph Wright. One of his major paintings sits proudly in the National Gallery alongside those of Turner, Constable and Stubbs. A far more significant collection rests in Derby and this will be given particular focus this year.
No account of the East Midlands should ignore Leicester and it, too, has a claim to fame given the recent discovery of Richard III’s body under a car park in the city. Understandably, the city is making a great deal of this fact and in particular that of the monarch’s planned interment in Leicester Cathedral. Add to that a new museum dealing with Richard’s life and times as well as the existing experience at the assumed site of the Battle of Bosworth Field, there is much to attract visitors this year in particular.
And these are only the highlights of this year. A host of fantastic historic houses and sites, churches and cathedrals that rival any area in the country to say nothing of glorious “traditional” English countryside – particularly in the Peak District, together make this region a perennially wonderful place to visit.
Join us at Brackenbury’s Britain to get the most of what these experiences can offer.