Saturday, 28 February 2015

Travel matters! .....

A journey is like marriage. 
The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
John Steinbeck


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Ibiza on the chic side




A VILLA company on the party island of Ibiza is flagging up four of its properties for holidaymakers wanting old-world charm, in-villa parties, a large house, or what it calls “cutting-edge” characteristics.

‘We have chosen these four residences, as they offer special qualities and are sure to give guests an amazing experience this summer on the White Isle,’ says Nick Reid, co-founder of Chic Ibiza Villas.

And here they are …

Villa Sabina is in the countryside, between the salt flats of Salinas and Playa d’en Bossa. It has Sabina-beamed ceilings, antique furniture, and four-poster beds. Sleeping 12, it’s priced from €416 per person per week.

Casa Fiesta in Sa Caleta is an Ibicenco-style finca with an ultra-modern interior design. Sleeping twelve, it’s secluded and ideal for partying. Priced from €333.

Baix Forada is a large, 700-year-old farmhouse in San Rafael at the heart of Ibiza. Sleeping up to 24, the villa is tailor-made for big groups, with bedrooms in the main house and more a converted stable-block. It’s set in its own botanical gardens, with island views and a pool. Priced from €541.

Villa Moonraker is a modern house sleeping 11. The rooftop offers views of hills and islets, and in the basement there is a club room with a full sound system. Priced from €545 per person.

Chic Ibiza Villas - 
www.chicibiza.com - is a privately-owned villa company managing 40 luxury rental properties, with prices ranging from €2,700 to €30,000 a week. 


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This pub’s a winner!




AN 18th century country inn nestling in the hills of the Dorset and Somerset borders has won two prizes at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards. 

The Queens Arms at Corton Denham won the silver award for best tourism pub and another silver for B&B and guest accommodation.

Owners Gordon and Jeanette Reid took over The Queens Arms five years ago.

Mrs Reid said: ‘We are proud to have received these prestigious silver awards and hope that anyone who hasn't visited us yet will come and find us and experience the Queens for themselves. We are just north of Sherborne and only about 15 minutes from the A303 or the A30.’

In recent years, The Queens Arms - 
www.thequeensarms.com - has also won accolades for Taste of Somerset Best Pub 2013; a double AA Rosette for its food; CAMRA 2012 Cider Pub of the Year; and National Best Freehouse, 2012.

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Picture Credit: thequeensarms.com

‘No frills’ to Le Havre and Bilbao

BRITTANY FERRIES has chartered a vessel which will operate under its ‘no-frills’ Brittany Ferries economie brand from May.

The additional ship will serve the Portsmouth to Le Havre route (four times a week) and the Portsmouth to Bilbao run (once weekly).

Launched last March, the economie brand is for passengers who wish to travel to France and Spain without the cruise-style experience typically provided by Brittany Ferries. One-way fares for a car plus two this May start from £79 to France and £209 to Spain.

Facilities and space on board are limited compared to Brittany Ferries’ cruise-ferry services, but will include a cafe, bar, boutique, and restaurant, as well as free Wi-Fi internet access and a reading lounge.

The ship has 196 cabins, of which 14 will be pet-friendly.


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Friday, 27 February 2015

Travel facts ...

... & Holiday Quotes

Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures.
Susan Sontag

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Luxury offer for England’s cricket fans



THE Royal Westmoreland resort in Barbados is offering cricket fans the opportunity to stay in the holiday homes of the game’s stars during the West Indies-England Test series in May.

England's cricket team will be playing its third Test against the West Indies (May 1-5) at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, a short drive along the west coast from Royal Westmoreland.

Visitors can stay in the luxury villas of England cricket legends such as Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan, and Marcus Trescothick, all on the estate. 

Some villas offer access to private collections of unique sporting memorabilia such as autographed photos and signed bats.

Royal Westmoreland has 30% off accommodation in May on all properties, with prices starting from £675 per person for seven nights.

The two-bedroom villas owned by Andrew Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick are available from £193 per night, a saving of £82 per night. Rents for Michael Vaughan's four-bedroom house start at £500 per night, a saving of £214 per night.

Guests have unrestricted access to the estate's leisure facilities, which include three swimming pools, a gym, a championship golf course, tennis courts, spa, and beach club.

www.royalwestmoreland.com


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£4.9 million grant for Belfast heritage project




A £4.9 MILLION grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will enable the restoration of the derelict Harland and Wolff drawing offices where the Titanic was designed. It is part of a scheme to develop build a four-star, 84-bedroom hotel on the site of the shipbuilder’s former headquarters building in Belfast.

The Harland and Wolff headquarters building was the control centre of the world’s largest shipyard, where Belfast workers designed and built more than 1,000 vessels including the White Star Olympic Class Liners – Olympic, Titanic and Britannic – and naval warships.

The building has been vacant since 1989 and has been considered ‘at risk’ for almost a decade.

The HLF grant will specifically focus on developing the two drawing offices as spaces for public use.

Paul Mullan, head of HLF Northern Ireland, said: ‘This is an exciting project that will see one of Belfast’s most historic buildings re-born as a major tourist destination. This, like many of the city’s historic buildings, has incredible potential to act as a driver of regeneration and economic growth.’


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Picture Credit: From Top - "H&W Drawing office" via HLF; "The Harland and Wolff repair dock by night" by Ross via Wikimedia Commons

Rental car exit charge at Portugal’s airports

€15 (£11) charge for hire cars collected from mainland Portuguese airport car parks will be levied from March, says Economy Car Hire.

The Portuguese Airport Authority (ANA) will be enforcing the charge from March 1.

The charge will apply initially to mainland Portuguese airports including Lisbon, Oporto, and Faro. But it is understood the ANA is looking at applying it to rental cars collected from airport car parks on Madeira and the Azores.

At Faro Airport, the majority of holiday car hire suppliers work from the airport’s Car Park 4, with around 80% of all cars rented in the Algarve area collected from there.

Economy Car Hire managing director, Rory Sexton, said: ‘Holidaymakers have recently been landed with a new toll charge for using the A22 to cross the Algarve, and now many will have another €15 snatched from them by Portuguese airports.

‘Portugal relies heavily on tourism to prop up its ailing economy. If they want to encourage more Brits to travel there this summer, they've got a funny way of showing it. Portugal is a fabulous place to visit, but if it starts to get a reputation for squeezing tourists for their euros before they've even got out of the airport car park, holidaymakers will simply go elsewhere.’


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Thursday, 26 February 2015

When vacations just don’t to plan …

ALMOST a quarter of Americans said their travel plans were impacted by medical conditions, natural disasters – including severe weather – or mechanical or carrier-caused problems, according to a survey by the US Travel Insurance Association.

The number of Americans saying their travels had been disrupted grew from 17% – almost one in six travellers – in 2012/13 to almost one out of four in 2013/14, an increase of 35%.




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Picture Credit: "Qabbayim" by Original uploader was Hmwith via Wikimedia Commons.

The crawl for cawl

THE traditional Welsh dish of cawl is being promoted by Discover Carmarthenshire’s latest tourism campaign, launching in time for St David’s Day – March 1. 

The Cawl Crawl is a themed food trail around the county showcasing the very best places for visitors to sample the stew-like dish. 

From artisan delis in market towns to thatched inns dating back to the 14th century, the trail features 16 eateries in Carmarthenshire, where it’s believed the dish was created.

Margaret Rees at welshcookeryschool.co.uk explains: ‘Cawl was traditionally made to a recipe using mutton or lamb from the Black Mountains, and is full of vegetable goodness. Designed as a cheap and warming meal for the winter months, the dish showcases slow food at its best.’

Huw Parsons, Marketing and Tourism manager at Carmarthenshire County Council adds: ‘We don’t expect visitors to go to each of our cawl locations, but we thought it was a fun way of showcasing the diversity of the county’s very best restaurants, pubs, and cafes, as well as helping to revive one of Wales’ oldest dishes.’

www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/cawl-crawl


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Picture Credit: "Welsh Cawl - Cymreig" by ​Wicipedia user Rhyshuw1 via Wikimedia Commons; "Cawl Crawl" courtesy discovercarmarthenshire.com/cawl-crawl

Travellers – beware when booking!

TRAVEL specialists are warning holidaymakers to watch out for six “sins” to avoid when booking their get-away. 

The tips come from holiday claims lawyers at BL Claims Solicitors, who say couples and families can often be so excited when booking their summer breaks that they forget to pay attention to vital details.

Lauren Haas, a solicitor at BL Claims Solicitors, www.blclaims.co.uk, has identified the sins that holidaymakers should try to avoid:

Not checking the details of travel insurance – We all know we need travel insurance – but are you sure you’ve picked one that covers you properly? Check your policy actually covers the country you are visiting – for example, Turkey and Egypt are not in the European Union., so you’ll need extended cover. Check what you plan to do, too: ballooning, diving or quad-biking trips may require extra insurance.

Having out-of-date documents – Ensure your passport is up-to-date and that you have all the visas you need. Don't just rely on your tour operator or booking agent telling you all is well. If you are not allowed to fly and you have out-of-date documents, it is very difficult to bring any claim for compensation.

Not being wise to scams – If you are booking a holiday home over the internet, be aware that some sites simply act as agents for the actual owners and are not liable for any fraud or anything that goes wrong. In some cases, people have fallen victim to fraudsters by booking a holiday home that simply doesn’t exist. Watch out for requests for payment to be sent by Western Union or similar companies, as they are commonly used by con artists. It may be worth taking out insurance to guard against fraud.

Not having a backup – While abroad, it pays to keep a copy of your passport and travel documentation in your hotel or holiday villa. If you are pickpocketed, it is much easier to deal with the aftermath.

Picking the wrong card – You might want to consider paying any amounts over £100 by credit card. They offer an extra layer of protection and rights over a debit card or cash payment.

Not thinking ahead – While many excursion providers abroad are legitimate, if you are booking an excursion with a local company and pay in cash, then the rights and protections you have are not going to be equivalent to booking the excursion with a UK tour operator. Book ahead if you can.



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Picture Credit: By Feliciano Guimarães from Guimarães, Portugal (Anonymous walking shadows  Uploaded by tm) via Wikimedia Commons

££££s lost by West Country rail closure

LAST year’s closure of the mainline railway linking Devon and Cornwall in England could have cost the UK economy from £60 million to £1.2 billion, says the Devon Maritime Forum (DMF). 

Train services to Cornwall – one of Britain’s main holiday regions – were stopped after tracks were washed into the sea at Dawlish in early 2014 during severe storms. The forum said all industries were hit by the destruction of the line.

The track was re-opened in April at a cost of £35 million.


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Picture Credit: GoHoliday source

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

British travellers could save £££s on eurozone trips

BRITISH travellers could save £2.7 billion this year on the value of spending money on holidays in the eurozone due to the strength of sterling, a new report estimates.

The analysis is based on the pound now being worth 13.8% more against the euro than it was at this time in 2013.

The study by travel money business Centtrip suggests that the UK spends around £19.56 billion a year on overseas trips to the single currency zone. 

If the valuation of sterling against the euro remains the same this year when compared to two years ago, travellers could spend £2.7 billion less in 2015 and have more or less the same spending power as in 2013.

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Selfie stick bans at US museums

SELFIE STICK bans have been introduced by some of America’s leading museums, including the 
Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC.

‘Selfie sticks are restricted out of concern about damaging the art or people in more enclosed spaces,’ said Julie Jaskol, assistant director of media relations at the Getty Center.

‘Like tripods and monopods, the use of selfie sticks is prohibited at the Hirshhorn to preserve the safety of the artwork and the visitors who come to enjoy it,’ explained Kelly Carnes, a Hirshhorn Museum spokeswoman.

Bans have also been introduced by Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (both in Washington DC), and a ban is being considered by New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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Picture Credit: USA via Wikimedia Commons.; "Completely expanded Selfie Stick" by 河中桥 - camera-at-home via Wikimedia Commons.

Britain’s new-look visa rules

VISITOR visa routes are to be consolidated from the current 15 to just four as part of a streamlined system for leisure and business travellers to the UK.

The new categories – said to be easier-to-understand – offer greater flexibility for the people using them, and will be accompanied by user-friendly guidance to make the process of visiting Britain simpler. 


The changes will affect all those wishing to visit the UK from April – from business visitors and tourists to sportspeople and entertainers.

Home secretary Theresa May said: ‘These reforms to the immigration system are part of our work to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Britain remains open for business, and that visitors are always welcome in the UK, whether they come for leisure or work.’

Policy and entry requirements are not being changed – but the rules and guidance are being simplified so people do not unwittingly fall foul of the immigration visitor rules. Reducing visa categories from 15 to four will help people apply for the right visa, and it will increase the types of activities visitors can do while they are in Britain. An applicant can visit for business meetings and a holiday, and will not need to request two separate visas.

The four new visa categories will be:

· Visitor (standard).

· Visitor (to hold marriage or civil partnership).

· Visitor undertaking permitted paid engagements.

· Visitors transiting the UK.

While more flexibility is being introduced to the system, the government says it will continue to bear down on those who abuse it. From April, exit checks will enable the Home Office for the first time to determine who has complied with the length of their visa. As well as identifying individuals who have remained illegally, exit checks will provide valuable information on the sorts of immigration routes and visas that are most subject to abuse — enabling the government to target and tighten those routes.

Latest statistics show there were 2.1 million visitor visa applications received in the year ending September 2014, with just under two million visas issued.



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Picture Credit: By Jiri Hodan via Wikimedia Commons

Anglesey-Dun Laoghaire service to be axed

STENA LINE’S fast ferry summer service from Holyhead on Anglesey to Dun Laoghaire in Ireland is being dropped as “unsustainable”. The company said it was consolidating its Dublin-Anglesey services.

The Dun Laoghaire service was successful for several years following its introduction, carrying more than 1.7 million passengers a year during its peak in 1998.

‘After the withdrawal of ‘duty free’ shopping, passenger and cars volumes declined dramatically and by 2014, fewer than 200,000 ferry passengers travelled through Dun Laoghaire harbour,’ the company said. ‘This represented a decline of over 90% in volume, making the route unsustainable.’

Stena Line’s route manager for Irish Sea South, Ian Davies, said: ‘Dublin continues to grow in importance, not only as the core freight port for Ireland but also as the key tourism gateway into Ireland.’


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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

More travel choice for Tenerife-bound golfers

UK golfers heading for Tenerife this year will have more travel choices. 

From March 29, Iberia Express will run a thrice-weekly direct service from Heathrow to Reina Sofia airport in the south of the island.

Fares for the new route start from €89 (£66) each way.


The new Heathrow service will complement a wide range of regular flights already available from many regional airports in the UK and Ireland.

www.iberiaexpress.com
www.webtenerife.com/golf


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Germany’s almond spring

SPRING begins earlier along the 50-mile German Wine Route than elsewhere in the country. 

Almond blossom shines here in soft pink shades from March. 




This annual natural spectacle in Southern Germany will be celebrated from March 1 to April 26 with the Rosa Wochen – pink weeks – comprising festivals, parties, guided walks, and other events focusing on the almond. 

The route runs from Bad Dürkheim through wine-growing landscapes to Schweigen-Rechtenbach on the French border.

www.german-wineroute.com
www.mandelbluete-pfalz.de




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Picture Credit: "Almond blossoms" by 3268zauber (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons; vineyard via german-wineroute.com

Air Malta’s cut-price offers



AIR MALTA has launched a promotion campaign offering 6,000 seats at reduced fares on six destinations .....


One way fares including taxes and charges start at:

Milan €60

London Gatwick €75

Manchester €80

Berlin €85

Vienna €90

Dusseldorf €80

Tickets purchased through the offer are available only through www.airmalta.com and valid for travel between March and June this year.

Air Malta offers customers free allowance of one 10kg hand luggage and a poolable 20kgs free baggage allowance for economy class passengers.


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£120.5 million make-over for Gatwick rail station

GATWICK railway station is to get a £120.5 million make-over, starting in 2017 and scheduled for completion in 2020.
Planned changes include:
  • A doubling in size of the concourse to reduce congestion 
  • More escalators and lifts to platforms
  • ‘Intuitive passenger flow’ (whatever that means) and clear information

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Monday, 23 February 2015

Belleair adds Italian destinations

Maltese specialist tour operator Belleair Holidays has expanded to include Italian destinations. The company is now also selling self-catering breaks – in villas, farmhouses, and apartments – on Sardinia, Sicily, Ischia and in Sorrento.

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Jane’s trail in Winchester

WINCHESTER, Hampshire, next month (March) will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of one of the world’s most popular novels, Emma, by Jane Austen. 

The Jane Austen Trail brings together the houses and places in and around Winchester which inspired the writer and which can be seen in much of her work. 


They include Steventon, where Jane was born; the house in Chawton (now the Jane Austen House Museum) where Jane lived and wrote; and her final resting place, Winchester Cathedral.


On March 13, Winchester Cathedral will hosting a special evening remembering Emma. 


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Picture Credit: "Jane Austen (House in Chawton) 2" by Rudi Riet from Washington, DC, United States - via Wikimedia Commons

Lunch in the Solent



NO MAN'S FORT – a man-made island in the middle of the Solent – will open its doors on March 26, after extensive renovation.

The second of the three ex-forts in the Solent owned by AmaZing Venues - 
www.amazingvenues.co.uk - it’s taking bookings for day trip guests and overnight stays. 

Four-course lunch prices start from £99 a head, which includes return boat transfers from Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth.

The fort was built between 1867 and 1880 to protect Portsmouth from the enemy across the sea –France.

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UK holidaymakers advised on importance of ATOL-protected holidays

AS holidaymakers look to book their summer breaks in the early part of 2015, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, has advised them on the importance of booking ATOL-protected vacations.

An ATOL – Air Travel Organiser’s Licence – protected holiday confirms that the trip is financially guaranteed, even if the travel company or one of its suppliers ceases to operate. 

Passengers booking ATOL-protected breaks will receive an ATOL certificate from their travel company on making the payment. Passengers will be required to carry the certificate during their travel to avoid losing their money or being left stranded abroad.

Information about the ATOL scheme, including checking whether a company provides ATOL protection, is available at www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk


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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Boost for English golf tourism

ENGLAND’S golf tourism sector is expected to be given a boost following the formation of a new body and subsequent partnership.

Golf Tourism England (GTE), recently set up to generate more revenue for golf courses, has entered a partnership with England Golf.

Since launching in July last year, GTE has signed up almost 100 golf properties and tour operators.

‘Our job is to identify opportunities for these groups to work together and create cross-marketing strategies in order for tour operators to create outstanding bespoke packages to benefit the all-round tourism experience,’ said Andrew Cooke, GTE founder and CEO.

A more joined-up approach has helped Scotland and Ireland register an increase in golf-related tourism.


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Picture Credit: GoHolidayBlog via Wikimedia Commons.

Cornwall on song

ALMOST 70 choirs of all ages and nationalities are in the line-up for the biggest event of its kind in Europe … 

... the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival (April 29-May 4).

This year’s festival will be the largest in its history, with more than 60 concerts, workshops, and celebrations in 50 venues across the county from Bude to Land's End and Torpoint to Porthleven.

‘The festival is attracting more interest than ever from people wanting to join the celebrations,” says festival chairman Bruce Taylor, ‘and with ever more foreign choirs signing up we've had to increase the number of concerts, particularly at Truro Cathedral.’

Choirs from the New World will be joining some 1,500 singers from, England, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Spain, and Estonia.

www.cimvcf.org.uk / www.visitcornwall.com / www.hallforcornwall.org.uk


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Picture Credit: "Logo" Courtesy of cimvcf.org.uk 

Breaks in the barns


VENN FARM, a seven-acre smallholding four miles from Bude and North Cornwall’s beaches, has two barn conversions for self-catering holidays. 

The Cob, designed by award-winning architects Feilden Fowles and finished in 2012, is a superior barn conversion offering luxurious yet family-friendly accommodation. It sleeps nine, plus cots.


The Red Barn, a contemporary conversion, has a sun-flooded open-plan living space upstairs, overlooking a meadow. Below are two bedrooms and a bathroom. It sleeps four, plus a cot.

The farm - www.venn-farm.co.uk - is between two nature reserves that have an abundance of wildlife, including roe deer, buzzards, woodpeckers, and barn owls.


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Easter at Blenheim




BLENHEIM PALACE has an eggcellent Easter weekend (April 3-6) planned.

Its pleasure gardens will be turned into a Victorian fairground with a lighthouse helter skelter, carousel, and Victorian swing boats. 

There will be Punch & Judy Shows, circus skills workshops, a four-day Easter trail, and a draw to win a Sunday Lunch in Blenheim Palace's Orangery.

www.blenheimpalace.com


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Picture Credit: "Blenheim Palace" by Blenheim Palace (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Travel matters ...

& Quick Quips ...

Kilometers are shorter than miles. 
Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers.


George Carlin


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'Nessy' at heart of UK inbound campaign



AN extra £2 million in government money will be used to promote Loch Ness in Scotland as part of an inbound tourism initiative.

The four-year VisitBritain campaign featuring the Loch Ness monster will see extensive advertising, digital, and business-to-business activity launched in key tourism markets.

The activity could, says VisitBritain, generate an extra £3.5 million a year for Inverness businesses.

The Loch Ness initiative will be part of VisitBritain’s GREAT Britain campaign, which has boosted inbound tourism to the UK from around the world.

Inverness regularly attracts more than 200,000 overseas visits a year.


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Picture Credit:  "LochNess2". Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Ramsgate walks

THREE walking routes on the Kent coast have been created to help visitors to Ramsgate see as many of the local attractions as possible … as easily as possible:

The Contra Trail – Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay: A royal harbour with the common touch, an English monument to a Viking invasion, and a nature reserve.

Distance: 6.1 miles one-way





Sea It All –
Ramsgate to Broadstairs: From Italian gardens to views across Viking Bay.

Distance: 5 miles circular








Ramsgate Town Rounders – Regency, Royal & Riviera: A stroll through historic Ramsgate. With two circuits, numerous attractions and an impressive list of cafés, bars, shops, and places of interest to explore.

Distance: Loop 1, 1.4 miles; Loop 2, 2 miles

The routes can be downloaded from:
www.ramsgatetown.org/activeramsgate/walking-kent-coast.aspx

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Picture Credit: "Ramsgate Harbour 2" by Benutzer:Elb-Sohn via Wikimedia Commons; "Replica Viking ship" by Ron Strutt via Wikimedia Commons

Scotland for snowdrops

AT this year’s Scottish Snowdrop Festival – which runs until March 15 – visitors can do more than admire these stunning flowers. 

At Cringletie House, near Peebles, they will have the unusual opportunity to taste snowdrop scones, while visitors to the Cambo Estate, near St Andrews, can explore illuminated woodland at Snowdrops by Starlight


The festival is now in its ninth year. More than 60 properties will offer displays of snowdrops in natural settings.

VisitScotland research has found that in 2013, 508,000 British holidaymakers visited a Scottish park or garden as part of their trip, with a further 32,000 coming to Scotland with the express purpose of sampling the country’s horticultural delights.


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Picture Credit: "Cambo Estate, St Andrews stunning snowdrop display" by Dr Richard Murray via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, 20 February 2015

Canadians, eh!!

And more - when Canadians get bored - 

































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Picture Credit: somewhere-on-the-web

Up in the air …

Record year for LAX – LOS ANGELES airport set a new record for both domestic and international passenger numbers in 2014. Year-end statistics show LAX airlines served 70,662,212 passengers, six percent higher than the 2013 figure.


More flights to Mexico – AEROMEXICO has announced plans to operate five flights a week between London Heathrow and Mexico City later this year. The carrier will add a fourth weekly service in April and then a fifth service from June. The UK is the third largest tourism inbound market for Mexico.

Manchester airport hits 22 million passengers – THE number of passengers using Manchester Airport annually has hit the 22 million mark. Passenger numbers using the UK’s third-busiest airport have grown 24% since 2010, and have increased by one million since May 2014. The most popular destinations from Manchester are Dubai, Dublin, Tenerife, Amsterdam, and Palma.

LinksAir to start daily Norwich-Cardiff service – A domestic air service between Norwich and Cardiff is to take off in April. Regional airline LinksAir is to operate daily flights on weekdays from April 20. The flight duration of just over one hour using a 19-seat Jetstream 31 turboprop is claimed to cut more than four hours off cross-country rail or road journey times. An onward connection will be offered on an existing route between Cardiff and Anglesey.

American Airlines increases services – AMERICAN AIRLINES is to add six new routes throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The expanded service includes new flights to Belize, Grand Cayman, Guadalajara, Nicaragua, and Monterrey, Mexico. Passengers travelling from the UK to these new destinations can fly from London Heathrow and connect in Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, and Los Angeles.

All-business class to NY – La Compagnie will operate all-business class flights from Luton to Newark New York four times a week from April 24, moving up to six times a week in June. The flights will all have 74 lie-flat seats with in-flight entertainment provided on Samsung tablets. Regular fares will start from £1, 539. Introductory fares start from £1,007 for two or £649 for a single person.

More for Ryanair – RYANAIR flew 1.3 million more passengers in January than in the same month last year.

easyJet make-over – easyJet has unveiled a new livery to mark its 20th anniversary, 17 years after its most recent update. The carrier’s trademark orange has been extended in the new design so its name can be larger, and has also dropped the ‘.com’. The new look will feature on the airline’s 197 ordered aircraft, the first of which joins its fleet in April.


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Picture Credit: "World Map graphic" by Alvin Lee (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

A glimpse of the past

THE Victorian estate at Scolton Manor, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, has undergone a massive restoration. 

The re-created walled garden, along with the manor house, stables and 60-acres of parkland and woods, give visitors an idea of what life was like on a 19th century country estate.

Scolton Manor is part of the One Historic Garden project linking heritage and gardens across South Wales, and part-financed by a European Union fund. 

www.onehistoricgarden.co.uk/scolton-manor
www.visitpembrokeshire.com





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Picture Credit: 'Walled garden' courtesy onehistoricgarden.co.uk/scolton-manor; "The Railway Area - static display" by David Martin via Wikimedia Commons.

Europcar expands in Inverness

EUROPCAR has opened a branch in Inverness, known as the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. The branch is close to Inverness railway station.

Says Ken McCall, managing director, Europcar UK Group: ‘We already have branches at Inverness Airport, Inverness Thistle Hotel and Wick Airport forming the Highland network, and now we’re bringing the same quality service and convenience to rail passengers, as well as people picking up rental vehicles in the centre of the city.’


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Thursday, 19 February 2015

More choice at James Villas

JAMES VILLA HOLIDAYS has added new Holiday Resorts to its collection in popular destinations such as Orlando, Turkey, Algarve, and Tenerife.

The company now has 55 Holiday Resorts, which are purpose-built, village-style centres featuring private villas with pools and onsite amenities such as kids' clubs and playgrounds, golf courses, spas, restaurants, bars, mini-markets, and fitness centres.

Mark Bloxham, managing director says: ‘Holiday Resorts are ideal for anyone looking for a villa holiday with onsite activities. Our bookings show as that more and more of our customers are looking to stay in a place like this, we felt it was time to add more to our collection.’


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Is this the oldest pub in Britain?




MANY pubs in the UK lay claim to being the oldest in Britain, but there is only one that makes it into the Guinness Book of Records with that claim … it’s Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans' Verulamium Park. 

The pub that is there today was built in the 11th century, but its foundations date back to approximately 790 AD.

www.yeoldefightingcocks.co.uk


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Picture Credit: "Ye Olde Fighting Cocks (2)" by Original uploader was Legis at en.wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons; 'logo' via yeoldefightingcocks.co.uk

New deals from Eurail





EURAIL is introducing a variety of new products, including a Children Travel Free offer, a First Cass Youth Pass, and the Attica Pass designed with Greek island hopping in mind.

Four new countries join Eurail’s Global Pass offer this year. The additions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Poland, and Serbia bring the total to 28 countries that can be explored with the rail pass.

The border connections created by this expansion add even more possibilities to the already vast itinerary options.

The Attica Pass offers six ferry crossings within one month (two international trips between Italy and Greece and four domestic trips for island hopping), and takes care of travellers with a rail/bus transfer from the international port of Patras to the domestic port of Piraeus.

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Picture Credit: From Top - Courtesy and via uk.voyages-sncf.com/  & www.eurail.com