Felicity Long
Felicity Long

Amid signs that omicron may be plateauing in the U.K., the government is wasting no time in relaxing testing requirements for inbound travel. The idea is to save international travelers time and money and to simplify the arrivals process.

For some U.K.-bound travelers, the new rules, which went into effect the week of Jan. 7, are enough to get them to book travel now, while others may prefer to wait a little longer before hopping across the Pond.

Either way, VisitBritain is showcasing some of its top reasons to put the U.K. at the top of travelers' wish lists this year.

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee: Even those of us who profess not to care about the British royals can't have escaped the omnipresent news cycle about the so-called Firm this year, from the drama around Meghan and Harry to the unseemly lawsuit dogging Prince Andrew. But the upcoming Jubilee, which marks the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne, reminds us that the queen herself -- who has reigned longer than most of us have been alive -- won't be at the helm forever. 

The Jubilee, set to take place June 2 to 5, will feature public events and community activities across the U.K. as well as exhibitions throughout the year. Examples include the Tower of London's Superbloom, Fortnum & Mason's Afternoon Tea, the Platinum Jubilee Display at the palace of Holyroodhouse and the reopening of The Royal Mews, showcasing the Queen's carriages, cars and horses. 

Festivals and anniversaries -- Or skip the royal fanfare altogether and visit some of the events that were either canceled or held virtually during these past two pandemic years. Examples include the Chelsea Flower Show in May, the Stonehenge Summer Solstice in June, the Notting Hill Carnival in August and various Pride festivals, including the one in London that is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. 

Theater and film -- Bath is making a splash this year for fans of the Netflix hit "Bridgerton," Season Two of which will celebrate the city's Regency Era past, as will the Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion," set for release in spring.

Visitors can take in the Jane Austen Festival in September and the new World Heritage Centre, which is converting the former Victorian Spa Buildings and unveiling previously unseen areas of the Roman baths. 

Has the new Beatles documentary "Get Back" sparked an interest in Liverpool? Attractions in 2022 will go beyond the Fab Four to include the grand opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse, featuring a 350-seat theater, and the new Novotel Paddington Village in the city's Knowledge Quarter

Beyond London

2022 will see the opening of Mayfield Park, Manchester's first new park in more than 100 years. Meanwhile, performances and activities are planned along Hadrian's Wall -- one of National Geographic's 35 designated "must-see" destinations for the year -- to mark its 1,900-year anniversary, and Scotland's new Unesco trail is a first in that it connects 13 Unesco destinations. 

As to access, travelers can take advantage of JetBlue's first international routes from New York to London's Heathrow and Gatwick as well as Aer Lingus's new routes from New York and Orlando nonstop to Manchester.

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