From landmark royal anniversaries and ground-breaking sustainable events to a celebration of world-renowned storytellers, there’s a whole host of reasons why Britain is shining brilliantly in 2022. What a year we have to look forward to:

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will see venues across the West Midlands welcome 11 days of competition featuring 19 different sports and a fully-integrated para-sports programme.

Prince Edward watches as Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation passes the Baton to Queen Elizabeth II during the launch of The Queen’s Baton Relay for Birmingham 2022, the XXII Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Commonwealth Games Federation / Birmingham 2022 )

Kicking off on Thursday 28 July with the Opening Ceremony at the redeveloped Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, Birmingham, the schedule will feature more medal events for women than men for the first time in the Games’ history.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is also seeking to become the first-ever carbon-neutral Games, with a focus on providing a sustainable future for the West Midlands. Alongside the Games, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will showcase the region’s rich creativity from March through to September, with a full programme of events to be unveiled in January 2022.

Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

As the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, having spent 70 years on the throne, 2022 will see a year-long set of celebrations across the UK to mark the Queen’s historic reign.

An extended Bank Holiday from 2-5 June will feature key events including the Trooping of the Colour to mark the Queen’s official birthday. Other highlights include a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, a special live concert from Buckingham Palace and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

Unboxed 2022

Unboxed 2022 is a series of ten large-scale engagement projects taking place across the UK and on digital platforms, each seeking to bring people together while celebrating the UK’s creativity and innovation. 

Mixing physical installations with digital applications and other virtual support, among the projects are:

  • About Us, which will combine multimedia installations and live shows in Caernarfon, Derry-Londonderry, Hull, Luton and Paisley to explore human connections with the universe.
  • Green Space Dark Skies, which will celebrate Britain’s natural landscapes while also raising awareness of how to protect them, both now and in the future.
  • Our Place in Space, which will encourage people to seek new perspectives of the world using a vast scale-model of the solar system, spread over a 10km sculpture trail in Belfast, Derry-Londonderry and Cambridge.
  • See Monster, which will breathe new life into a former North Sea offshore platform as part of a regeneration and sustainability project on the North Somerset coast at Weston-Super-Mare.
  • StoryTrails, which will use augmented-reality and virtual reality technology to delve into the history of 15 towns and cities across the UK, taking visitors on an immersive journey through their past.

Scotland’s Year of Stories

Featuring an eclectic mix of live, virtual and hybrid events, Scotland’s Year of Stories will celebrate the stories and storytellers that have immortalised the landscapes and culture of Scotland, inspiring people the world over.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 was launched with Scottish story icons Dennis the Menace and Mary, Queen of Scots sharing their tales with Luke Winter of the Story Wagon. Picture: VisitScotland/Chris Watt

From Robert Burns and Walter Scott to Ian Rankin and JK Rowling, the event will showcase the tales and talent behind the nation’s rich cultural offering, shining a spotlight on its diverse communities, people and literary heritage.

The home of sport

Whether welcoming the world’s best golfers to compete in the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews or marking 150 years since the first FA Cup final, Britain is packed with sporting pedigree in 2022.

England will host the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 throughout July, welcoming the elite from the women’s game to our shores. The Rugby League World Cup will also see men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions taking place simultaneously for the first time, when the tournament gets underway across England from mid-October.

Meanwhile, other events including Wimbledon and Royal Ascot are preparing for the return of capacity crowds and planning celebratory events like never before.

Action-packed cultural anniversaries

The Scottish capital Edinburgh is a city renowned for its festivals, and 2022 marks the 75th anniversaries of two mainstays in the city’s extensive festival programme, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival.

In addition, the year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride March in London, and Britain’s biggest LGBTQI+ festival is set to return after a two-year hiatus.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also celebrates its centenary in 2022, while it’s 25 years since J.K Rowling’s wizarding hero hit the shelves in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – details of related events are to be confirmed.

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland starred as the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the 2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Art and heritage take centre stage

Coventry City of Culture has extended its rich programme of events into 2022, with several of its visual installations in place until May. Both The Show Windows and In Paint We Trust will continue to bring bold colours to the city’s streets, alongside the Broken Angel at Coventry Cathedral.

Set in a region with historic ties to the great playwright, The Shakespeare North Playhouse is set to open its doors in Prescot, near Liverpool, in summer 2022. Alongside a 350-seat theatre modelled on designs from the Elizabethan period, the project also features an outdoor performance space, exhibition and educational facilities.

Visitors can also delve into the rich history and heritage of Bath when the World Heritage Centre opens in the spring. Set in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage City, the free and accessible centre will showcase Bath’s unique heritage sites, from its Roman remains and hot springs to its Georgian architecture and literary past.

Bath’s World Heritage Centre opens in the spring.

Glasgow will welcome the return of The Burrell Collection from March too, following an extensive refurbishment of the buildings it’s housed within. Visitors can discover its arts and antiquities across three floors for the first time, supported by a wealth of specially-designed immersive and interactive displays.

What a year we have to look forward to!

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