Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet is the official colour of the year, set to appear on many of the things we buy, like and consume in 2018 – in a travel sense, everything from new suitcases and toiletries to hotel artwork.
The colour has already influenced some fashion designers’ Spring/Summer 2018 collections (shown in September and October 2017), and it will inspire many more designers in the collections yet to come. You’ll also spot Ultra Violet in homeware, stationery, food, jewellery and marketing materials, as brands look to jump on the bandwagon.
However, there are plenty of places around the world that segue nicely into the Ultra Violet bracket, either because they’re man-made or a quirk of nature. This is your colourful travel guide, influenced by the gods of Pantone.
Paisley Park, Minnesota, USA
Prince, known as The Purple One, was a musical icon but also a design fanatic. Having worked the colour purple into his lyrics and outfits for decades, it was hardly surprising that his grand estate in Minnesota celebrated the colour in all its forms.
Following Prince’s unexpected death in April 2016, mourners gathered outside the gates of his notoriously private estate to lay purple tributes. Paisley Park is now open to the public as a museum, allowing a glimpse of The Purple One’s world, however photography and videos are banned on the premises.
Also see: the famous Purple House, put up for sale in 2013 in Middlesex, UK; Purple House B&B, Cape Town, South Africa; Purple Bar, Sanderson Hotel, London, UK; Carmel Fallon Building, Market Street, San Francisco, USA.
Lavender Fields, Provence, France
Provence is firmly established as the best place in the world to see lavender fields, particularly by Mont Ventoux, in the Luberon National Park, and in front of the Sentanque Abbey near Gordes. We’ve used lavender for centuries in perfumes and cosmetics, plus cookery and home decoration, but the modern appeal of the stuff growing in situ isn’t lost on tourists.
You have to book really early if you want to plan a trip based around visiting Provence (high season is July and August), or any of the UK lavender sites listed below – they’re all in high demand, especially as most people have a lavender pillow spray, candle or wheat bag in their house. This flower taps into our growing demand for healing and relaxation, and shows no signs of losing its popularity, especially given its Ultra Violet colour.
Also see: Lordington Lavender, Chichester, West Sussex, UK; Mayfield Lavender, Banstead, Surrey, UK; the purple prickly pear cacti of Saguaro National Park, Arizona, USA; the ‘Violet Village’, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Scotland, UK
This is one of the best areas to see heather in Scotland when it blooms longest, between late July and September. Heather is multi-purpose, having been used for centuries as bedding, thatching, making brooms and adding to honey and beer.
Work your way through the glens and track down the best views of heather-covered landscapes, including the heather lining the edges of Loch Lomond. Also visit Duke’s Pass, between Aberfoyle and Callender: a particularly good spot for taking photos.
Also see: Sma Glen, Perthshire, Scotland, UK; Lammermuir Hills, Scottish Borders, UK; North York Moors, UK; Gors Maen Llwyd, Wales, UK.
Purple Mountain (Zijin Shan), Nanjing, China
This mountain, in Jiangsu Province, often appears purple at dawn, enveloped by clouds in the low light. Whatever time you visit, you’ll see it stands in sharp contrast to the crowded, smokey streets of Nanjing, hence the mountain’s nickname: ‘the lung of Nanjing’. Things get more photogenic when the plum blossom is in season here – best seen in February or March.
The area is dotted with hiking trails, has the Purple Mountain Observatory and holds two mausoleums: one dedicated to the founder of the Ming dynasty, the other to the ‘Father of the Chinese Republic’, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Go for the Ultra Violet, stay for the history lesson…
Also see: Purple Mountain, County Kerry, Ireland; Purple Mountain, Wyoming, USA; purple sand beaches, Saskatchewan, Canada; Pfeiffer Beach, California, USA.
Forbidden Purple City, Hue, Vietnam
Okay, so much of this site is in ruins or no longer exists, but the Forbidden Purple City is part of the Imperial City Complex in Hue, with UNESCO World Heritage status. So, why the name? Purple has long been associated with monarchy and aristocracy throughout the world (in England, King Edward III banned anyone but his inner circle from wearing the colours purple and gold; in France, royal heirs wore it as a mourning colour).
In Vietnam, the Purple City was solely for the Emperor and his hangers-on. Sadly, the buildings from the Purple City were largely destroyed in 1968. However, you can still explore the Imperial City and get a sense of the grandeur that would have been on show to those who could enter this secret city-within-a-city. See Charlie and Kristina’s blog post on Maptrotting for what to expect.
Also see: The Taravellier House, Corona Heights, San Francisco, USA; Violet Town, Victoria, Australia; ‘The Purple House’, Rigg Beck (burned down 2008), Newlands Valley, Lake District, UK.
Which of these colourful Ultra Violet places gets your vote?