Looking for a 2021 travel story?

As an incredibly difficult year closed, with yet more challenges and uncertainty about how the latest restrictions will impact destinations and attractions – and for how long – at least there is some light at the end of this very long tunnel. With that in mind, we’ve come up with yet another array of story leads for 2021. https://bit.ly/3585W2f

A city we might all be talking about in 2025

Southampton has already announced that it will be bidding to become the 2025 UK City of Culture. A walled city on two rivers, a major port since 1066, and a place that’s proud of its diversity where all are welcome, Hampshire’s hidden gem wants to celebrate and share its cultural heritage; and has recently launched a video to highlight its big ambition. https://bit.ly/3nPXpbS

‘Love Letter to the British Isles’ visits Lincoln

TV star and historian Neil Oliver shares his favourite hidden gems and discovers Magna Carta and Lincoln Castle as part of his new podcast series, ‘Love Letter to the British Isles’, in which Neil, whose distinctive voice has helped make him the star of some of the BBC’s most popular history documentaries, travels to 100 places to tell the history of the British Isles. http://bit.ly/394I0yb

The Potteries are stoked for 2021…

A new phrase entered The Potteries’ vocabulary in 2020, during the COVID lockdown. Aimed, primarily, to encourage people living in-and-around Stoke-on-Trent to experience a #Stokecation during the summer holidays, there are signs that it may have an even wider reach once we can all enjoy staycations again in 2021. Here’s why The Potteries are stoked for ‘21 https://bit.ly/3rTNW5t.

Tackle England’s oldest horse ‘racecourse’… by bike

Organisers of England’s oldest horse race – which dates back to the reign of Henry VIII – hope the unusual event will be back for 2021, after last year’s race fell victim to the pandemic. But while only time will tell if the 2021 race will go ahead as hoped, for a different experience, riders can now get in the saddle to tackle the race route…on two wheels. https://bit.ly/3bil29B

Treasured Austen family heirloom returns home

Thanks to the generosity of Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) and the Godmersham Lost Sheep Society (GLOSS), Chawton House in Hampshire has received a rare first edition of William Cowper’s Poems, published in 1782, which once belonged to Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and very likely read by Austen herself during her visits to her brother’s Kent estate. https://bit.ly/3pIWxWQ

Funding to deliver innovative online venue for Format 21 Photography Festival

The main theme of this year’s FORMAT International Photography Festival in Derby is “control”, and the curators have sought, through an open call to photographers across the globe, to explore the concept in all its myriad forms. As ever, this festival will reflect the breadth of contemporary photography; and is currently scheduled to run from March 12 to April 11. Derby QUAD, meanwhile, has been awarded a £40,000 grant from the Art Fund to support delivery through an innovative online venue as a part of the festival. https://bit.ly/3pQDMB2

Photo: A view across Lincoln