Here is a timeline for 21st century Britain - the story so far...
This has become more detailed as time has passed. If you have suggestions for events that you think should be included, please submit them via the contact page.
UK forces intervene in the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Parliament passes the Freedom of Information Act, granting public right of access to information held by public authorities, with certain limitations.
The Big Brother reality TV series launched on Channel 4. It featured eleven contestants, isolated from the outside world for several weeks in a custom-built house, where they were filmed and recorded.
Foot and mouth crisis hits farmers.
The Eden Project opens in Cornwall.
Libyan intelligence agent, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is found guilty of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
9/11. On 11th September, Islamic al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four aircraft and flew them at targets in the USA. Two are flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, a third into the Pentagon and a fourth crashes after passengers tackle the hijackers. Almost 3,000 people are killed (67 of them British) and thousands more injured.
Prime Minister Tony Blair offers US President Bush British support for a campaign against international terrorism. The RAF joins in strikes against targets in Afghanistan. British troops are deployed as part of a NATO force.
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Golden Jubilee.
The last coal mine in Scotland closes.
The UK joins a US-led military invasion of Iraq, ostensibly to end the country’s support for terrorism and because it is alleged to have ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
England wins the Rugby World Cup, narrowly defeating Australia 20-17 in the final.
The Hutton Report, the result of an investigation into the suicide of government scientist David Kelly, clears the government of any wrongdoing.
Ten new states join the European Union - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Facebook is launched in the USA.
The Indian Ocean tsunami kills in excess of 200,000 people.
London bombings of 7/7 - 52 people are killed and about 700 injured in four Islamist suicide bomb attacks on London's transport network.
Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko is murdered in London having ingested radioactive polonium. Suspicion later falls on ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi, sparking a diplomatic row with Russia.
Daniel Craig stars as the latest James Bond in Casino Royale.
Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party.
Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the 7th and final book in the series, is published.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin perform their first full-length concert in 27 years at London’s O2 Arena.
Meanwhile – Apple launch the iPhone.
Global financial crisis plunges the UK into recession.
Meanwhile - Barack Obama becomes the first black, and the 44th, President of the United States.
Britain withdraws most of its troops from southern Iraq.
The general election in May leaves the Conservative Party as winners but without an overall majority in the House of Commons. Conservative leader David Cameron forms the first coalition since the Second World War, with the Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg.
The coalition government announces large-scale public spending cuts aimed at reducing UK's budget deficit.
In a wider context – the Arab Spring - revolutions and protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and several other Arab countries. The Syrian civil war begins.
Britain plays a prominent part in the international intervention in the conflict in Libya.
Prince William marries Kate Middleton.
The government announces a public inquiry, the Leveson Inquiry, into phone hacking and police bribery by now defunct the News of the World newspaper, and the culture and ethics of the British newspaper industry in general.
The killing of 29-year old Mark Duggan by police is a catalyst for widespread rioting and looting in many poorer areas of London, and in several other English cities.
In a wider context - Osama bin Laden is killed during a US raid.
HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Britain hosts the hugely successful Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
British Army Drummer Lee Rigby is hacked to death in south London by two Islamic extremists.
The Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a son George – heir to the throne after his grandfather, Charles, and father, William.
The House of Commons votes against UK military involvement in Syria.
Support surges for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in local and European elections.
Thousands of yellow bikes appear in Yorkshire to celebrate the start of the 101st Tour de France.
In September, a referendum in Scotland rejects independence (cessation from the UK), with 55% opting to remain within the United Kingdom and 45% favouring departure.
Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England, Wales and Scotland.
The UK ends combat operations in Afghanistan.
At the general election in May, the Conservative Party win a majority – against the predictions of pollsters. Its coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, lose all except 8 seats. UKIP wins nearly 4 million votes, but just 1 seat; and the Scottish National Party wins all but 3 seats in Scotland, becoming third largest party in parliament.
Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning UK monarch ever.
Iranian-British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained by the Iranian authorities on spying charges, marking the beginning of a long-running saga to free her from captivity.
Outsiders Leicester City Football Club win the Premier League.
MP Jo Cox was fatally shot and stabbed as she was about to hold a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Her murderer, right-wing terrorist Thomas Mair, was subsequently given a whole life sentence. Jo Cox famously said, ““We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”
In a national referendum in June, the UK narrowly voted to leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and was succeeded by former home secretary, Theresa May.
Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee – 65 years.
On 29 March, the Prime Minister invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, beginning the UK’s withdrawal (nicknamed ‘Brexit’), from the European Union (EU).
Islamist Khalid Masood kills five people, including a police officer, and injured 45, driving a car along the pavement on Westminster Bridge and attempting to break into Parliament.
In May, a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel killed 23 people and injured more than 500 at Manchester Arena after a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.
In June, three Islamic terrorists drove a van at people on London Bridge and subsequently rampaged through the area with knives. 8 were killed and 48 injured. The terrorists were shot dead by police.
A disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower, a block of flats in North Kensington, London, in which 71 people died, highlights inadequate safety measures in tower blocks.
The June general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May, in the hope of increasing her majority, resulted in a narrow Conservative victory and a minority government supported by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionists.
In January, US President Trump abandons a visit to the UK, claiming he was upset about the sale of the former US embassy in Grosvenor Square and the cost of the new one in Vauxhall.
The UK’s second-largest construction company, Carillion, collapses with enormous debts and unfinished public sector contracts.
In February, the UK is battered by some of the worst weather in decades, nicknamed ‘the Beast from the East’. 17 people died.
Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are poisoned with a nerve agent, novichok, in the historic city of Salisbury. Britain blames Russia for the attack, sparking a diplomatic crisis. 153 Russian diplomats are expelled from 29 countries.
Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica is exposed in March for gathering data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without people's consent.
In April, Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigns in the wake of the Windrush scandal, in which people, mostly of Caribbean heritage, were illegally denied rights, or even deported from the UK.
On 19 May, Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales married US actress Rachel Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. They take the titles the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Two Amesbury residents, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, fell ill having been contaminated with the same nerve agent as the Skripals in March, from a discarded fake perfume bottle. Dawn Sturgess died on 8 July.
England somehow reached the semi-finals of the World Football Cup in Russia, but was defeated 2-1 by Croatia. France beat Croatia 4-2 in the final.
During the ongoing heat-wave, the Meteorological Office urges people to stay out of the sun.
A Trump baby blimp flies over London during the US President’s visit to Britain.
The 96-year old Duke of Edinburgh undertook his last solo public engagement, meeting Royal Marines, before retiring from royal duties.
Several cabinet ministers resign in protest at the Prime Minister’s Brexit negotiations. Further resignations follow in November.
In December, Primer Minister Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence in her leadership, but her Brexit plan had still not been agreed by Parliament.
2019 in the UK was dominated by the issue of BREXIT, the UK’s departure from the European Union, following the referendum in 2016. The country was divided and politics became very ugly.
With the UK due to leave the EU on 29 March, Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiated EU withdrawal bill was rejected twice by the House of Commons, the first time in January by 432 votes to 202, a huge margin of 230. The second time was just days before the March deadline. One of the key issues was ‘the Irish backstop’, the arrangements for the future status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which all parties wanted to keep open. Meanwhile, food retailers and suppliers, motor manufacturers, the TUC, CBI and others all warned of the dire consequences of Brexit or, worse, leaving the EU without a negotiated deal. Thousands of protestors marched in favour of a second referendum and millions signed a petition demanding that the government revoke Article 50, the legal mechanism for a member state of the European Union to leave. MPs rejected leaving the EU without a deal and voted in favour of an extension to the withdrawal date. The EU and UK agreed to an extension until 31 October. Belatedly, in the Spring, Theresa May embarked on cross-party talks, but these ended in failure.
High street bakery chain Greggs launched a meat free sausage roll.
97-year-old Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was involved in a car crash while driving near the Queen's Sandringham estate.
The Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Argentinean footballer Emiliano Sala went missing en route from Nantes to Cardiff, where the player had been due to begin a new playing career. The wreckage of the aeroplane was found in the English Channel in February and Sala’s body recovered. The pilot David Ibbotson’s body was not found.
Elsewhere – China became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the dark side of the moon.
Schools in Wales and the south of England closed due to snow and icy conditions.
The Office for National Statistics reported that knife crime in England and Wales was at its highest level since records began in 1946.
A group of opposition Labour MPS, dissatisfied with their party’s leadership under Jeremy Corbyn and the failure to tackle alleged anti-Semitism, resigned and formed the Independent Group. They were joined by Conservative MPs dissatisfied with the government and Brexit. The group later became a new party, ‘Change UK’. The party did poorly in the European elections, several of its MPs joined the Liberal Democrats, all those remaining lost their seats in the December General Election and it was subsequently decided to wind the party up.
The Bank of England held interest rates at 0.75%.
The regional airline Flybmi filed for administration.
The environment and climate change were further frequent news items in 2019. In February and March, inspired by the teenage Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, thousands of school pupils across the UK went on strike as part of a global campaign for action on climate change. Subsequently, demonstrations by a climate change activist group, ‘Extinction Rebellion’, caused inconvenience and costly disruption in London and elsewhere, by blocking roads. Hundreds were arrested. The government announced a target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which was deemed by many environmentalists as too late. Exceptional weather events are seen as evidence of global climate change and warming.
On 25 July, a temperature of 38.7 °C (101.7 °F) was achieved in Cambridge, the hottest day on record in the UK.
In August, there was flooding in Derbyshire and the Toddbrook Reservoir was damaged during the heavy rain, resulting in the evacuation of 1500 residents of Whaley Bridge and nearby communities.
In November, flood warnings were issued across the Midlands and North of England. Some places received a month's worth of rainfall in 24 hours. Former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Annie Hall, drowned near Matlock.
Further afield, world leaders, including Boris Johnson, expressed concern over major fires in and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. In the autumn, the first of many terrifying and destructive wildfires broke out in Australia. Whilst these were relatively common in previous years, and some were probably started deliberately, it is believed many of the extreme fires experienced in Australia from 2019-20 were a consequence of climate change. And in November, the Italian government declared a state of emergency in Venice with 80% of the city under water.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner was grounded amidst worldwide safety concerns following the fatal crashes of an Ethiopian Airline aircraft this month and an Indonesian Lion Air aircraft in October 2018, which together claimed the lives of 346 people.
Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP (the UK Independence Party), launched a new Brexit Party.
London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone came into effect.
The department store chain Debenhams went into administration.
On 18 April, 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Londonderry; republican terrorists were blamed for the murder.
A row broke out over security concerns if the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei was allowed to help build the UK’s 5G network.
In Paris, a disasterous fire wrecked the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame.
In the early May local elections, the Liberal Democrats and Green Party did well, whilst Conservative and Labour parties didn't.
On 6 May, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
In the May European elections, the Brexit and Liberal Democratic parties did well, again at the expense of the Conservatives and Labour.
On 24 May, Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation as Conservative Party leader, wef 7 June.
The Ford Motor Co announced the closure of its Bridgend plant in September 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
The BBC announced that free TV licences will no longer be available to over-75s who do not receive pension credit.
Elsewhere – protests broke out in Hong Kong, initially against proposed legislation to allow the extradition of individuals to stand trial in mainland China. And US President Donald Trump crossed into the Korean demilitarised zone and shook hands with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un.
On 2 July, 11.7 million UK TV viewers watched England lose 1-2 to the USA in the FIFA Women's World Cup. It was the most-watched British television broadcast of the year.
Eight members of a modern slavery network in the West Midlands were jailed.
Emails from Sir Kim Darroch, UK Ambassador to the USA, calling the administration of US President Trump "inept", "insecure" and "incompetent" were leaked. Sir Kim subsequently resigned.
14 July may be Bastille Day, but in 2019 in the UK it was deemed sport's ‘Super Sunday’. England narrowly defeated New Zealand in a nail-biting Cricket World Cup final at Lord's; Lewis Hamilton won a record sixth Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone; and in the Wimbledon men’s tennis final, Serbian Novak Djokovic beat Swiss Roger Federer in the longest ever final at four hours 57 minutes.
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards seized the British tanker Stena Impero in the Persian Gulf, and the British-operated Liberian-flagged tanker Mesdar.
On 23 July, Boris Johnson was elected leader of the Conservative Party by party members, with almost twice as many votes as his rival, Jeremy Hunt. The following day, Theresa May formally tendered her resignation as Prime Minister to Her Majesty the Queen, who subsequently invited Boris Johnson to form a government. The new Prime Minister confirmed his commitment to the UK leaving the EU by 31 October and remained up-beat about the prospect, despite widespread, vociferous, opposition from those who feared a no-deal Brexit or who were in favour of the UK remaining in the EU. Loud voices were also raised across Britain in general opposition to Johnson and ‘the Tories’. In August, the Queen approved Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament from early September until 14 October. The Prime Minister was accused of being undemocratic; protests took place across the UK and the measure was ultimately ruled unlawful by both Scottish and English courts. In September, the government lost its majority in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, having previously declared his opposition to a general election, Johnson removed the whip from 21 traditional ‘one-nation’ Conservative MPs, including several former ministers, who opposed his policy over Brexit. Other Conservative MPs resigned, including the Prime Minister’s brother, Joe. The Benn Act, referred to the Prime Minister as “the surrender bill”, which forced the government to seek a further extension to EU membership if Parliament had not approved a deal by 19 October, became law. In October, despite having previously insisted that the deal negotiated with Theresa May was non-negotiable, the EU agreed a new Brexit withdrawal agreement with the UK, which followed talks between Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. However, Parliament did not approve the short timetable for discussing the new deal and Johnson was forced to request a further delay to Brexit. With progress of any sort on any matter impossible in the House of Commons, MPs finally consented to holding a general election on 12 December.
The Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff, which built the RMS Titanic and HMS Belfast, ceased trading. It was subsequently purchased for £6m.
Travel company Thomas Cook, originally founded in 1841, collapsed. Bringing home the 150,000 stranded holiday makers was the largest ever peacetime repatriation and a major achievement for the Civil Aviation Authority.
A potential diplomatic incident arose when it emerged that a US citizen, Anne Sacoolas, who had been involved in a fatal road accident in August in which 19-year old motorcyclist Harry Dunn had died, had left the country. Mrs Sacoolas was married to a US government employee and claimed diplomatic immunity. It also emerged that she had been driving on the wrong side of the road. In December, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Sacoolas was to be charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
The supermarket chain Sainsbury's announced it would no longer sell fireworks.
39 Vietnamese illegal immigrants were found suffocated to death in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex.
The government ordered that all fracking in the UK should cease "with immediate effect".
In the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle replaced John Bercow as Speaker of the House.
Several female Members of Parliament declared that they would not seek re-election in December, due to threats and abuse, much of it online.
The infant and young mother chain Mothercare went into administration.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, announced he was stepping down from public duties for the foreseeable future. This followed his association with convicted American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, unproven accusations of sex with a 17-year old teenager and a clumsy, widely criticised, TV interview.
Former South Yorkshire police chief, David Duckenfield, was found not guilty of manslaughter in the Hillsborough disaster trial.
On 29 November, a convicted terrorist, Usman Khan, stabbed five people on London Bridge. Two of his victims died. Khan was wearing a fake explosive suicide vest and was shot dead by police at the scene.
In the general election on 12 December, the Conservative Party achieved a majority of 80 in the House of Commons, with 365 seats, while the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, was reduced to 203 seats - their lowest proportion of seats since 1935. The Scottish Nationalists won 48 of the 59 seats in Scotland, increasing the likelihood of another referendum on Scottish secession from the United Kingdom. The Liberal Democrats, who campaigned to scrap Brexit entirely, won 11 seats. Jo Swinson, who only in July had become the first woman and at 39 the youngest ever leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, lost her seat and resigned. Jeremy Corbyn declared his intention to stand down too.
On 20 December, MPs voted in favour of the Brexit withdrawal agreement by 358 to 234, paving the way for the UK's exit from the EU on 31 January 2020.
On 25 December, Gavin and Stacy’s Christmas Day TV special was watched by 11.6 million people, the biggest festive ratings success in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, news seeped out of China that the authorities there were treating dozens of cases of a new coronavirus in the provincial metropolis of Wuhan.
Everyone’s lives were dominated by the coronavirus in 2020.
Indonesian PHD student Reynhard Sinaga, described by the Crown Prosecution Service as "the most prolific rapist in British legal history", was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 30 years, after being found guilty of raping or sexually assaulting 48 men in Manchester. Police believe the true number of his victims may be close to 200.
On 8 January, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, announced plans to "step back as senior members" of Britain's royal family.
The UK Government rejected Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's request for a second independence referendum.
Construction began on the world's largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, in the North Sea.
A limited ‘non-core’ role was announced for Chinese communications company, Huawei, in Britain's 5G mobile network, in defiance of pressure from the US and others that China could exploit the position and steal data.
On 31 January – the first two cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom were confirmed.
The same day, 31 January, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar formally withdrew from the European Union and an 11-month transition period began, during which they remained in the Single Market and Customs Union. The period was intended to be used to achieve a trade deal between the UK and the EU.
A British Airways Boeing 747 made the fastest yet subsonic flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow Airport, in 4 hours 56 minutes.
The Government confirmed it was looking at the feasibility of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Following a review, it was announced that the controversial high-speed rail link, HS2, would still go ahead.
On 11 February, the WHO named the Coronavirus disease ‘COVID-19’.
Storm Dennis hit the UK, triggering 600 flood warnings. In parts of South Wales, more than a month's rain fell in 24 hours.
A study showed that life expectancy in England had not grown for the first time in more than 100 years, highlighted health inequalities that were wider than 10 years previously and blamed the Government's austerity policies.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he and his partner’s, Carrie Symonds, engagement - and that they were expecting a baby.
The first death in the UK from the coronavirus was confirmed on 5 March and the airline Flybe collapsed - possibly the first economic casualty of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK.
On 11 March, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the first of many measures intended to protect the economy and jobs. These came to include the furlough scheme, which paid 80% of wages for those employed, but unable to work, up to £2,500 per month.
Normal life began to shut down in the UK. Local elections are postponed, the current Premier Football League season is suspended and there is panic-buying at shops, particularly of items such as pasta, toilet paper and anti-bacterial gel.
To help combat COVID-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to avoid non-essential travel and contact with others, including at pubs and other social venues, and to work from home if possible.
Cafes, pubs and restaurants were ordered to close on 20 March, except to serve take-away food, as were nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres.
Thousands of retired medical personnel offered their services to the NHS.
23 March – a UK-wide lockdown was announced, to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. People could only leave their homes for specified, limited, purposes, including essential shopping and one form of local daily exercise.
The first of a nationwide weekly ‘clap for carers’ tribute, every Thursday at 8pm, took place on 26 March, when millions of people stood on their doorsteps to applaud healthcare and other essential workers.
The first of several temporary critical care Nightingale hospitals for COVID-19 patients opened at the ExCel centre in London.
Sir Keir Starmer was elected as the leader of the Labour Party, succeeding Jeremy Corbyn. Angela Rayner is elected as deputy leader.
Queen Elizabeth II made a rare broadcast, paying tribute to health and other key workers, saying that the UK will ultimately succeed in fighting the coronavirus and thanking people for following necessary restrictions.
On 6 April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken into intensive care suffering from the coronavirus. He remained in hospital for 3 weeks.
‘Captain Tom’, a 99-year-old war veteran, raised over £32 million for the NHS by walking more than 100 laps of his garden.
On 27 April, the Scottish Government recommended that people cover their faces in certain enclosed public spaces.
29 April - Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds announced the birth of a son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson.
On 30 April, fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse closed.
On 5 May, the UK become the country with the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe (32,313 deaths).
Thousands of items of protective gowns for the NHS ordered from Turkey failed to meet required standards. There is a crisis in the supply of essential PPE (personal protective equipment) to the healthcare sector.
Instead of the street parties and other celebrations originally planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May, thousands of people decorated their houses with bunting, had tea on their doorsteps and joined in a nationwide rendition of Vera Lynn’s wartime song, ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
It emerged that Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's senior adviser, ignored lockdown restrictions, drove 260 miles to his parents' home in Durham and had symptoms of the virus whilst doing so.
Approval was given to build the UK’s largest solar farm so far, in Kent.
Those who could basked in one of the sunniest, warmest and driest Mays on record.
Some lockdown restrictions began to be eased and primary schools began limited reopening.
Thousands attended anti-racism protests throughout the UK following the killing by police of George Floyd, an American with African heritage, whilst he was being arrested in Minneapolis, USA. Most attendees breach lockdown restrictions. A mob in Bristol pulled down a Victorian statue of Edward Colston, a 17th century slave trader and city benefactor. In London, a statue of Winston Churchill was daubed “was a racist.”
An estimated 1,000 thugs descended on Westminster ‘to protect Churchill’s statue’ and proceeded to attack police and journalists.
Non-essential shops started to reopen. Face coverings became mandatory on public transport in England.
As restrictions lifted and the good weather continued, people flocked to beaches and beauty spots. A major incident was declared by the local authority after thousands of people arrived on beaches in the Bournemouth area, in defiance of requests to stay away.
Liverpool won the 2019-20 season Premier League.
The UK's first full local lockdown is introduced in Leicester on 29 June, following a spike in the coronavirus there.
Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other non-essential venues were allowed to reopen, with social distancing restrictions.
The Government committed billions to help support cultural venues, such as museums and theatres.
On 10 July, face coverings became mandatory in shops and supermarkets in Scotland and on 24 July in England too.
The majority of schools reopened.
September - construction work began on the HS2 high-speed rail project.
There were reports of rising cases of COVID-19 and talk of a second wave.
Cumbria County Council approved the first new deep coalmine in the UK for 30 years.
3 October was one of the wettest days on record.
A new three-tier system was announced for England, to help control the virus. Scotland announced a 5-tier system.
On 25 October, a Liberian oil tanker, the Nave Andromeda, suspected of having been hijacked by Nigerian stowaways, was stormed by the Special Boat Service off the Isle of Wight.
31 October – a new four-week lockdown was announced for England, from 5 November to 2 December.
In the wake of Islamic rerrorist attacks in France and Austria, the Government raised the terror threat level on 3 November from 'substantial' to 'severe'.
Meanwhile, in the United States' presidential election, Joe Biden is elected as the 46th President, a result disputed by the incumbent, Donald Trump.
On 11 November, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK passed 50,000.
Amidst reports of infighting at No 10, the Director of Communications, Lee Cain, announced his resignation, followed by Special Advisor Dominic Cummings.
At the Turkish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton won his seventh Formula One title, equalling the record of German Michael Schumacher.
The High Court ruled that US citizen Anne Sacoolas, the alleged killer of teenager Harry Dunn, had diplomatic immunity. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), however, announced it will continue to pursue the prosecution against her.
The leaders of the four nations of the UK agreed plans to allow up to three households to form a "Christmas bubble" between 23 and 27 December.
Clothing retail group Arcadia, whose brands include Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, went into administration.
Struggling department store chain Debenhams is threatened with closure with the loss of 12,000 jobs after attempts to find a buyer fell through.
On 2 December, the UK bevcame the first country to approve the new Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Enough was ordered to vaccinate 20 million people. On 8 December, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to be vaccinated with it.
A new, more infectious, strain of COVID-19 is discovered.
On 19 December, a new 'tier 4' lockdown was announced, initially for London and parts of South East England. The planned relaxation of restrictions over Christmas was limited to Christmas Day only, and only in tiers 1 - 3. Everyone was told to stay local and non-essential shops were closed. Scotland banned travel to/from other parts of the UK. Wales announced a return to lockdown.
Countries around the world banned flights from the UK, in reaction to the new strain of the coronavirus. France stopped truck movements, causing an enormous logjam at Dover.
On 23 December, the Government extended areas in the higher tiers of lockdown.
24 December, Christmas Eve. After weeks and months of sabre-rattling and seeming deadlock over a Brexit deal, it is announced that an agreement between the UK and the EU has finally, and at the last minute, been reached.
25 December – Britain enjoyed the quietest Christmas anyone had ever known. The Queen’s Christmas message topped the TV ratings, with an audience of 8.14 million. ‘Call The Midwife’ came second, with 5.43 million.
UK deaths from Coronavirus exceeded 70,000. In under a year, the virus killed more than the total number of civilians killed in almost six years during the Second World War.
On 30 December, MPs passed the European Union (Future Relationship) bill by 521 votes to 73 – a majority of 448.
The COVID-19 pandemic dominates the news for most of the year, with severe lockdown measures and further deaths, but with a remarkably successful vaccination programme and the gradual easing of restrictions.
4 January – due to massively increasing infections and deaths, driven by the new strain of COVID-19, the Government announced a return to full lockdown in England. Tougher restrictions were announced in Scotland too.
A second vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Oxford–AstraZeneca, was rolled out.
Meanwhile, in the USA on 6 January, a mob of defeated President Donald Trump supporters attacked and occupied the Capitol Building, home of the US Congress, in Washington DC. Five people died.
9 January – the Government said that every vulnerable person in the UK would be offered a vaccine by 15 February, with every adult offered one by the autumn.
15 January – the Government introduced new restrictions on overseas travel.
21 January – the Glastonbury Festival was cancelled for the second year due to the pandemic.
Four men were jailed for the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in a truck in Essex in October 2019.
26 January – the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK exceeds 100,000.
By the end of January, almost 9 million people have been given a coronavirus vaccination.
1 February - The Government began door-to-door virus testing, in an attempt to identify and stop the spread of a new South African variant of the virus.
2 February - Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over £32m for the NHS, died at the age of 100 from COVID-19.
9 February – additional restrictions were placed on travellers returning to the UK, which included heavy fines and imprisonment for non-compliance.
Following criticism on environmental grounds, Cumbria County Council shelved plans for Woodhouse Colliery, the UK's first deep coal mine since 1987.
11 February - Braemar, Aberdeenshire, experienced an overnight temperature of −22.9 °C, the coldest in the UK since 1995.
Meanwhile, on February 18 – NASA's Mars 2020 mission lands on the planet after a journey of seven months.
19 February – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that most of the UK’s surplus COVID-19 vaccine would be donated to poorer countries.
22 February – The Government announced a four-stage plan to end lockdown restrictions in England by 21 June, subject to vaccine take-up, infection rates, the numbers in hospitals and deaths. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments announced separate plans.
26 February –The Supreme Court ruled that Shamima Begum, who left the UK for Syria to join the Islamic State terrorist group and had been stripped of her British citizenship, could be prevented from returning to the UK on security grounds.
28 February – the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK reached just under 123,000. Worldwide, the death toll exceeded 2.5 million. By the end of February, more than 20 million people in the UK had been given a coronavirus vaccination.
3 March - Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his first budget since the start of the pandemic, committing to extending the Job Retention Scheme until 1 October 2021, but warning of future tax increases to help pay for record government borrowing.
4 March – Amazon opened a cashierless grocery store, Amazon Fresh, in Ealing, the first outside the USA. It used cameras and sensors to automate shopping.
7 March – Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, appeared on a US TV show with interviewer Oprah Winfrey, in which the Duchess made accusations of racism against an unnamed member of the Royal Family and revealed suicidal thoughts.
Meanwhile, Switzerland banned the wearing of the Islamic burqa in public. In Europe, Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium, Latvia and Bulgaria had already banned it.
8 March – in England, the lockdown started to ease as children were allowed to return to school.
10 March - the government commissioned a feasibility study for a bridge or tunnel connection between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Police searching for missing Sarah Everard discovered her remains in woodland in Kent woodland. A serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, was arrested on suspicion of her kidnap and murder. The tragedy sparks a wave of concern about the safety of women. Following a vigil held 3 days later to remember Sarah, there is widespread criticism of heavy-handed police tactics.
20 March – by this date, 27.6 million people in the UK, more than half the adult population, had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. It was a remarkable achievement.
21 March - the decennial Census was held in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
23 March – A minute's silence was held to remember the 126,172 people who had died of the COVID-19 virus since the beginning of the national lockdown exactly a year previously.
30 March – a series of loyalist riots broke out in Northern Ireland, largely (though not exclusively) over BREXIT arrangements. The riots lasted several days.
1 April – a serving British police officer, Benjamin Hannam, was jailed on terrorism offences for being a member of a banned right-wing extremist group, National Action, and possessing terrorist-related documents.
3 April - 100 people were arrested in London during a protest against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
7 April – evidence was found to link the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to rare blood clots that resulted in 19 deaths (out of 20 million). The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that people under 30 should be offered an alternative vaccine.
A third vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Moderna, began to be given in Wales.
9 April – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of the Queen, died at the age of 99. He was the longest-serving royal consort in history and widely mourned.
12 April – with both new cases and deaths decreasing, lockdown restrictions in England were slightly eased as non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers, and pub gardens were allowed to open.
15 April – there was an enormous rock fall along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, when a 985 feet (300 metre) section of cliff weighing an estimated 4,000 tonnes collapsed. No one was injured.
17 April – a TV audience of 13.6 million watched the funeral of Prince Philip at Windsor Castle, despite the limitations of the service and filming due to COVID-19 restrictions.
18 April – the ‘big six’ football clubs of the Premier League – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – announced they were joining a new European Super League. They all withdrew following widespread protests from fans, footballing authorities – and even politicians.
23 April - In one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history, the Court of Appeal cleared thirty-nine sub-postmasters of theft, fraud and false accounting. Some of the convicted were imprisoned, lost their livelihoods and homes, went bankrupt – and some died before their names were cleared.
Due to the pandemic, government borrowing reached £303.1 billion - the highest level since the end of the Second World War.
28 April – following claims from former special advisor, Dominic Cummings, that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had planned to have donors ‘secretly pay for work refurbishing his Downing Street flat, the Electoral Commission began an investigation with "reasonable grounds to suspect an offence".
30 April - the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK reached 127,513.
2 May - Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that Iran's treatment of detained Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe "amounts to torture".
6 May – a BBC report suggests that future office working will be a mixture of traditional attendance and remote or home working.
In elections, Labour retains hold on the Welsh Senedd and pro-independence parties in Scotland increase their majority in the Scottish Parliament.
15 May – the last Debenhams stores in the UK closed after more than 240 years on the high street. The online business continued.
Leicester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley, winning the FA Cup for the first time.
20 May – a BBC investigation found that journalist Martin Bashir used deceitful methods to secure an interview with Princess Diana for a BBC Panorama programme in 1995.
22 May – it was reported that more than 50 million people in England had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 20 million in the UK had received the required two doses of a vaccine.
26 May - Dominic Cummings, former chief adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes critical allegations about the Government’s handling of the pandemic.
27 May – self-driving buses are trialled in Cambridge. Each bus can carry ten passengers, travel at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour and has a range of 100 miles.
May 29 – Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League final in Portugal.
31 May - the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK reached 127,781.
1 June – nobody was reported to have died this day from COVID-19 for the first time since March 2020.
6 June – the Government reported that the Delta variant of COVID-19 from India was 40% more transmissible than the original virus. On 10 June, MPs were told that the Delta variant was responsible for more than 90% of rising new cases of the virus.
3 June – a new TV channel, GB News, was launched. It was said to aimed at a right-leaning audience.
11 June - The UK hosted the 2-day G7 Summit as part of its 2021 G7 Presidency in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. Leaders of the G7 (UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy, plus the EU) were joined by Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa.
14 June – due to the rapid increase in new cases of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 4-week delay to the easing of restrictions in England.
23 June – a new £50 polymer banknote entered circulation, featuring the image of computer pioneer and WW2 code-breaker Alan Turing.
PC Benjamin Monk was found guilty of the manslaughter of former Aston Villa footballer, Dalian Atkinson, who Monk tasered for six times longer than legally recommended and then kicked twice in the head. Monk was subsequently jailed for 8 years.
25 June – The Sun newspaper published pictures of Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing an aide and breaking social distancing rules. He resigned the following day. I never liked him.
27 June – demonstrations in London against lockdown restrictions and climate change.
29 June – a 1981 Ford Escort Ghia, given to Princess Diana as an engagement present, was sold at auction for more than £52,000.
In the UEFA Euro 2020 competition, postponed due to the coronavirus, England beat Germany 2–0 in the last 16, their first victory over Germany in a knockout tournament since the World Cup of 1966. Of course, that involved different players...
30 June – the UK recorded 26,068 new coronavirus cases, the highest number since January. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK reached 128,140.
1 July – The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, Princes William and Harry, unveiled a statue of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, at Kensington Palace. It would have been her 60th birthday.
Kim Leadbeater, younger sister of the murdered MP Jo Cox, won the Batley and Spen by-election for Labour, the seat formerly held by her sister.
3 July –The England football team beat Ukraine 4–0 in Rome to reach the semi-final of the Euros for the first time in 25 years.
7 July – In the Euros, England reached the final of a major competition for the first time since 1966 by beating Denmark 2-1 at Wembley. The match was marred by the behaviour of some England fans, including a laser pointer being shone in the face of the Danish goalkeeper.
9 July – Southern Water was fined a record £90m for deliberately dumping billions of litres of raw sewage into the sea off Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex.
11 July – England lost to Italy 2-3 on penalties in the European Championship final at Wembley, following a 1-1 draw after extra time. The game was watched by an estimated TV audience of almost 31 million. It was marred by the further thuggish behaviour of some England hooligans, including the racial abuse of English footballers on social media.
12 July - Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that The Base, a white supremacist hate group that originated from the USA but appeared to be directed from Russia, was to be banned in the UK under anti-terror laws.
Heavy rain caused flash floods in parts of London, submerging cars and railway lines.
14 July – Record rainfall across Western Europe caused rivers to burst banks and significant flooding, starting in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. There were 242 deaths, mostly in Germany.
15 July – Europe's largest battery storage project, a 100-megawatt system in Minety, Wiltshire, went operational. Controlled by Shell-owned energy technology company Limejump, the battery will help balance the UK’s electricity demand, with the capacity to provide electricity for up to 10,000 homes in a 24-hour period before being recharged.
19 July – despite increasing daily infections from the coronavirus, most remaining legal restrictions on social contact in England were removed and restrictions relaxed in Scotland. There is widespread criticism that some restrictions, including the requirement to wear facemasks in enclosed public places in England, no longer applied.
The Met Office issued its first ever ‘Amber Extreme Heat Warning’, covering a large part of Wales, all of southwest England and parts of southern and central England.
21 July – UNESCO removed Liverpool’s World Heritage status, saying that waterfront developments had resulted in a "serious deterioration" of the historic site.
Supermarkets raised concerns about their ability to keep shelves fully stocked due to the number of shop workers having to self-isolate with the coronavirus.
23 July – the summer Olympics, postponed since 2020, began in Tokyo.
25 July - there was further flooding in London following torrential rain. Hospitals in East London had to redirect ambulances to other A&E centres.
28 July - Orbital O2, claimed to be the world's most powerful tidal turbine device, began generating electricity via the grid in Orkney. It has the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of 2,000 homes until 2036.
UNESCO awarded World Heritage Status to the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales.
29 July - Public Health England reported that, up to 9 July, the UK's vaccination programme had prevented an estimated 60,000 deaths and 22,057,000 infections.
31 July - the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK reached 129,654. Almost 47 million people had received the first dose of a vaccine and over 38 million had received two doses.