It is that time of the year again, when people start asking where to go in the year ahead.
Recommendations are everywhere, but this columnist’s top three choices of places to visit in 2020 offer something for everyone. Most importantly, each place is family-friendly, an important consideration for readers.
Brexit means there is no better time than now to visit London.
Ignore the well-beaten path and instead experience a different side of the British capital by staying in the trendy Shoreditch neighborhood.
Make The Curtain, an upscale boutique hotel with gorgeously appointed rooms, home base. It is ideally situated and is less than 30 minutes by foot from the Tower of London and other popular sights. Red Rooster, the hotel restaurant, has excellent Harlem-inspired comfort food.
Old Spitalfields Market is a short walk away. Besides artisan crafts and wares there are gourmet food trucks and other vendors. For classic fayre try lunch in the market’s shadows at the aptly named English Restaurant.
An absolute must is Christ Church. The early 18th-century baroque work of Nicholas Hawksmoor towers — figuratively and literally — over the neighborhood. The evangelical Anglican church is widely considered Hawksmoor’s masterpiece and in this columnist’s opinion rivals the more famous churches of Sir Christopher Wren.
2. St. Helena
Arguably one of the most remote inhabited islands, St. Helena was practically unreachable until an airport opened at the end of 2017. The tiny island, a British territorial possession of just 47 square miles, is located about 1,200 miles off the African coast.
As remote as it is today, it was even more remote when Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled here after his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. The French general-turned-emperor lived at Longwood House for nearly seven years until his death in 1821. Expect a big bicentennial commemoration in 2021, which gives visitors more than enough time to plan the extensive arrangements required to visit. (Airlink’s weekly flight to St. Helena originates in Johannesburg, South Africa.)
Beyond all of the history — there is even more than just Napoleon — St. Helena is great for just getting away and disconnecting for a week. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the almost unspoiled beauty of creation.
1. Mayflower 400
They were hardly the first to arrive on the shores of the New World. Yet the Pilgrims factor large in the story of all things America, not least for their contribution to religious freedom.
2020 is the year of the Mayflower, as it marks 400 years since the Pilgrims landed, as any schoolboy will tell you, on Plymouth Rock in present-day Massachusetts.
Festivities are planned for both Massachusetts and the Old World, where the British commemoration of Mayflower 400 comes to a grand conclusion with the week-long Mayflower Festival in September. Programming includes a maritime festival, military muster and official ceremony on the anniversary of the Pilgrims departing England.