5 years, 9 months ago
Turns out I can’t not wade in with some predictions for 2014. I’m a bit of a list lover and New Year’s the perfect opportunity to add mine to the myriad floating around (everything from ‘Best Put Down’ to ‘Worst Selfie’). Stick to what you know I say, so here’s where I predict you should be travelling to in 2014.
If you live in the great city of Glasgow, you’ll probably have completely forgotten that from July 23rd to August 3rd 2014 it’s playing host to The Commonwealth Games. The preparations seem to have gone on forever. But, as a visitor, I predict the results will be something quite spectacular. Apart from the games themselves, the architecture that’s been born off the back of them is stunning. Plus you get to stay in one of the most hospitable cities in the UK, and since the games finish on the 3rd of August there’s hardly any good reason I can see, why you wouldn’t just head off to Edinburgh for The Edinburgh International Festival (first two weeks in August).
Sticking with sport and Scotland, The Ryder Cup is being held at Gleneagles in Perth from September 25th to 28th 2014. This is the first time Scotland has hosted this internationally renowned golfing challenge since 1973, so it’s a bit of a thing. ‘Bit of a thing’ barely begins to describe Perthshire, so even if you’re a Golf Widow (or widower) there’s lots to keep you interested. Perthshire’s home to Glamis Castle and the lovely city of Perth itself. It’s also for children who don’t want to hang around working out the difference between a Birdie and an Eagle. And for foodies, it’s arguably the best place in Scotland to be.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A slightly more exotic sporting location than Scotland (not if you’re Brazilian, obviously), Rio de Janeiro is just one of Brazil’s cities hosting FIFA World Cup 2014 matches between June 12th and July 14th 2014. But I’m giving it a shout out, because not only is it lovely and huge and sometimes very strange, it’s also where I like to think I’ll spend New Year 2015. With upwards of 2 million people on Copacabana Beach. Watching an outstanding firework display. Setting sail my small, white paper boat filled with offerings to the Goddess of Water. And then partying until I can party no more – don’t worry you’ll have got over your recent New Year fatigue by then.
There’s only one constant about Iceland’s landscape: it will be inconsistent with anything you ever expected. It’s made ‘mythical land’ appearances in movies like Thor and Prometheus and features heavily in Game of Thrones (visit and you’ll see why), but Ben Stiller’s 2013 ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, Iceland is itself – as well as Afghanistan, The Himalayas and Greenland. This gives you an idea of the diversity of a country where even the capital Reykjavik is more charming, imagined, Nordic fishing port than major city. ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ might not have been wholly loved by the critics but no one failed to say how gorgeous it looked.
Sometimes rugged, often challenging and unfailingly charming, Yorkshire is the Grand Depart for 2014’s Tour de France. Leeds is where it all starts and this lively, beautiful restored Northern England city couldn’t be a more perfect introduction to another lovely part of the UK.
The Seychelles, South West Indian Ocean
One of the most special and breath taking places to visit, The Seychelles are known for beautiful beaches and the type of sea people can’t resist calling ‘azure’. They’re also a truly unspoiled environment. And since 2014 is The Year of Small Island Developing States, I’m hinting it might be the time to go see before everyone else does.
In 2014, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is up for a slew of design awards and it’s a worthy contender. But, stunning as the museum is, it’s not all that’s happening designwise in Amsterdam this year. The Centraal Station construction is on-going and avant-garde cafes and bars are all over and Noord-District is home to really exciting and brave development. But, if you hanker after a touch of the traditional with your design, I think this is the year you should visit before the city’s Red Light District is completely consumed by the new.
2014 is the centenary of the start of WW1, the war they said would end all wars, but sadly didn’t. With its chaos and vast loss of life WW1 is seen as an end to innocence. The experience of visiting the battlefield sites at Ypres, Passchendaele and Tyne-Cot are often mistaken as exclusively adult, but in France and Belgium a visit is regularly included in the school year. This year, Belgium commemorates the centenary everywhere and events range from small and personal to international. If you haven’t visited the WW1 battlefield sites, you’ll be moved and fascinated.
credit: Martin Kauffman
If you’ve ever heard or seen René Redzepi, founder of Noma, interviewed you won’t have failed to be charmed by his humour, passion and generosity. So this year I predict Copenhagen is worth a visit to eat at ‘Amass’, former Noma’ Head Chef, Matthew Orlando’s new restaurant. It’s already a design hot ticket and the food holds true to a style that’s distinctly contemporary Danish.
It might seem as if Louvre Galleries are springing up everywhere at the moment, but the one I think is hottest is almost on home territory in Lens, Pas-de Calais (you could almost twin with my Belgium prediction). The Louvre, Lens is an incredible exhibition space extending the Louvre, Paris’ programme of allowing works to be seen (often for the first time) by wider audiences. The building’s superb glass and metal structure is very fluid and light and includes a unique underground area where the public can see work in storage and watch restoration projects.
I could go on and on, but 10’s traditional for New Year lists. Hopefully it’s more inspirational than some you’ve seen so far.