Monday, 30 June 2014

Travel facts..........

..........THE Estonian language is one of the most difficult languages to learn, being a mix of Finnish and Hungarian.

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Just call, and we’ll be there

EUROPCAR is trialing its Roadside Assistance Express scheme in Scotland. The aim is to get drivers back on the road as quickly as possible if they should experience a breakdown.

With standard roadside assistance, the customer and the broken down vehicle are taken to the closest Europcar branch, where the customer is given a replacement vehicle. With the Express service, customers get a replacement vehicle brought to them wherever they are.


Ken McCall, managing director, Europcar UK, said: ‘Customers in Scotland can drive to remote locations, often several hours away from a Europcar branch. The new service being trialed in Scotland is designed to save customers from having to travel to their replacement vehicle in the event of a breakdown.’

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Glamping for the disabled

CLASSIC COTTAGES has introduced safari tents on stilts for disabled children and adults, with an array of on-site activities including hydrotherapy, horse riding, beauty treatments, blacksmithing, pottery, and pygmy pony petting.

Seale-Hayne in South Devon – with Dartmoor to the north and golden beaches a short drive south – is owned and run by the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust, a charity devoted to providing cultural, educational, and physical support for disabled or disadvantaged children and adults.

Here, Classic Cottages offers two safari tents (each sleeping six), built in the trees but fully wheelchair accessible and completely kitted out for less able-bodied guests. Each dwelling has two bedrooms (a double and a bunk-room), a double den-bed in the main living area, a wet room with shower, and a cloakroom with a wash-basin and proper loo.

The living areas have sofas, dining tables and chairs, and wood-fired ranges which not only keep evenings cozy but serve as the main cooking facility. Each kitchen has a Belfast sink, a fridge, a kettle and a power socket for charging iPhones and laptops. They have decks providing views across the Devon countryside.


In the main on-site building, there’s a licensed bistro and a hydrotherapy pool.  

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Roaming charges cut

PRICE caps for data downloads in European Union countries will fall by more than half in July. 

They will drop from 45 cents (36p) per megabyte to 20 cents (16p), making it less expensive to make calls, send text messages, use maps, watch videos, and check e-mails.

Since the EU first introduced caps on data roaming, consumption has risen dramatically.


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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Funny asides......

.......& Quick quips;

Life is sexually transmitted. Have you ever thought about that?

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Blend your own dram!


WHISKY fans have the chance to create their own unique blend with the launch of Blend Your Own session for groups visiting Edinburgh's Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh.

The art of blending whisky is extremely complex, but this new offering could unlock the often mysterious world to connoisseurs and novices alike. The attraction's team will impart the skills required to create a blend before allowing amateur blenders the chance to create their very own Scotch whisky.

Suitable for whisky-loving groups of ten or more, the participants will receive a small bottle of their blend to take home.

Susan Morrison, director and general manager of The Scotch Whisky Experience says: ‘If distilling whisky is a complex science, then blending is the true art of our industry.  Over the years, many of our visitors have quizzed us on the processes involved in creating a blend, so we are delighted to be able to offer our visitors this new experience.

‘Everyone has different tastes when it comes to whisky and we look forward to helping our visitors create their own perfect dram over the coming months.”

The blending package costs £65 per person and includes a tour of the attraction, a viewing of the world's largest collection of Scotch whisky and a tasting of four regional single malts, plus the blending session.


www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk 

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Best holiday cities named

US News & World Report has published its annual rankings of the World's Best Places to Visit.

For the second consecutive year, Paris held tight to the top spot with a 79 percent approval rating among voters, while London moved into second place with 78 percent. Barcelona took the No. 3 spot.

The rankings identify top vacation destinations based on a methodology that combines expert and consumer opinions.

2014-15 Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit:

  • ·         Paris
  • ·         London
  • ·         Barcelona
  • ·         Maui, Hawaii
  • ·         New York City

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New flights from Germanwings

GERMANWINGS is to launch a Dusseldorf-Stansted service in August. There will be two flights on weekdays, and one on Saturdays and Sundays.


www.germanwings.com

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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Now that's funny......

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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London galleries on the map

WITH some of London’s best art galleries on the doorstep, Grosvenor House Apartments in Mayfair has published three art maps to help holiday guests explore the city’s cultural gems.

Each map provides a summary of galleries, sculptures and art-focused restaurants. Guests can choose between trails dedicated to masterpieces, contemporary art or family-friendly art.


Managed by Jumeirah Living, the 130 serviced apartments range from studios to a five-bedroom penthouse suite.

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Americans are top tippers

IN a TripAdvisor survey, 60 percent of US respondents said they always tip for service on vacation, compared with an average of 27 percent in seven other countries including Britain, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Spain. The score for Italy was 11 percent.

‘The survey shows the majority of US travellers tip on vacation, regardless of the quality of service,’ said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. ‘While friendliness and helpfulness are the most important qualities that influence tipping behaviour, cultural norms are also a significant factor.’

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Top rating for Greek sea water

THE annual bathing water quality report from the European Environment Agency has placed Greece in the top five EU countries for excellent bathing sites. From the 2,162 bathing areas in Greece that were reported for the 2013 summer season, 2,016 – or 93 percent – met the “excellent” level. 

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Friday, 27 June 2014

Travel facts......

IN Amsterdam there are more bikes than people – 1 million bikes as opposed to 800,000 people.

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More Brits look to St. Kitts

British holidaymakers are giving a boost to the tourist industry on St. Kitts. Advance bookings for the April 2014-March 2015 period are up by 37 percent year-on-year.

The increase comes as the island re-brands itself as a luxury destination. A number of golf courses developments are in the pipeline, the opening of a private air terminal is imminent, and a super-yacht harbour is being built.

St. Kitts is currently served twice weekly from London Gatwick by British Airways, the first scheduled carrier to provide regular airlift to the island. 


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Ryanair targets families with discounts

RYANAIR has unveiled a family scheme offering discounts and an ‘improved service’ on its flights for family groups.

Ryanair Family Extra means adults can book reduced infant fees and have a free 5kg infant bag allowance as well as two free pieces of infant equipment in the hold.

Parents will also be able to bring a car seat on flights when a seat is booked, with 50 percent discounts available on allocated children’s seats, check-in bags for children and priority boarding.

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The card for the coast

THE Cote d'Azur Tourist Board has launched the COTEDAZUR-Card, a pass which gives holders cut-price access to 115 attractions throughout the Alpes-Maritimes region and a part of the Var … from the coast to the mountain resorts.

It can be bought at www.cotedazur-card.com, www.visitcotedazur.travel or at tourist board offices. 

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Travel matters..........

"Being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned." Samuel Johnson

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Melton Mowbray gets ready for food fest

THOUSANDS of visitors expected at this year’s Melton Mowbray Food Festival (October 4-5). It is one of the largest regional food festivals in the country, set in the heart of the town known as the UK’s rural capital of food.

 More than 150 exhibitors will be showcasing their produce, and celebrity chefs, regional cooks and bakers will be demonstrating a range of recipes. Marking anniversary of the start of 1914-18 war, the Women’s Institute will be running displays on a WW1 theme.

Tickets are priced at £6 on the day or £5 in advance from www.goleicestershire.com/foodfestival online or in person from Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray - www.meltonmowbrayfoodfestival.co.uk


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BA adds flight choices

BRITISH AIRWAYS customers will have access to new destinations and scores more routes when the airline adds its flight code to more than 170 Vueling services.

The codeshare routes are centred on Vueling’s operation in Italy, with 37 international and 11 domestic routes available from Vueling’s Rome Fiumicino base. These include the destinations – new to BA customers – of Brindisi, Palermo, Lamezia, Valencia, Split, and Nantes.

Other new routes on offer through the codeshare include Heathrow to Bilbao and La Coruña, Cardiff to Malaga and Alicante, and Edinburgh to Barcelona. 


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French heritage online

A FULL, English-language guide to all of France’s World Heritage Sites of France is now available online … a www.france-patrimoine-mondial.com/en

It includes the same essential information as a traditional printed guide, plus internet features such as tour itineraries, interactive mapping, real-time information updates, and links.


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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Now! that's funny..........

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

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D-Day: the parties go on

THE Queen and President Obama have been and gone, but hop across the Channel and until the end of the summer you can immerse yourself in D-Day and 40's fever with liberation balls, parades, open-air film screenings, firework displays, exhibitions, and concerts.

The Battle of Normandy raged for 100 days and to mark the 70th anniversary, the special events calendar will last the full 100 days. Many of the region's towns and villages will be holding events to commemorate the date of their liberation

Event highlights:
  • The Lights of Freedom - Bayeux, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays until August 23, (except 1st, 2rd and 5th July). From nightfall until 12.30am, a sound and light show extravaganza will see the city's magnificent 12th century cathedral light up in a rainbow of colours. 
  • 51st Highland Division Tour of Normandy – Various locations, August 16-24. In memory of the Scottish regiments which liberated several Normandy towns and villages in the summer of 1944, the French 51st Highland Division Memorial Pipe Band will tour the region. There will be exhibitions about the Scottish Regiment, haggis tasting, live pipe band music, parades, commemorative ceremonies, film screenings, and BB’s.
  • Overlord Jazz Concert and Cocktail party –Touques, August 22. As part of the 'Jazz and Cocktail Fridays Festival,' the Overlord Octet, an ensemble of six musicians, will give a D-Day70 special concert. The group offer an original spin on Glenn Miller's music.



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Tee off in Tenerife

TENERIFE is promoting itself as an ideal destination for golfers, emphasizing better-value green fees, ideal golfing temperatures, quieter courses and longer days, which allow plenty of time to hit the pool or beach.

Green fees between April and October are approximately 25 percent lower than in the winter months. While other popular Mediterranean golfing spots will have players sweating in stifling summer temperatures, Tenerife has trade winds which keep average temperatures across the summer period to approximately 25C (77F).

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Make-over for BA’s short-haul planes

BRITISH AIRWAYS has unveiled new seats and cabin interiors for its short-haul aircraft serving domestic and European routes from Heathrow and Gatwick.

The new look has been inspired by those used on its A380 and Boeing 787s, with charcoal grey leather seats that allow for additions in the economy cabin. The backs of the seats have a tablet-holder that also acts as magazine storage and there is a four-way moveable headrest.

Plans are also on the way to bring a 4G broadband network on domestic flights.

Re-designs are in the pipeline for the airline’s lounges at Belfast, Glasgow, and Edinburgh airports.


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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Funny asides...

& Quick quips........

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

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Going on holiday? Keep your ID safe!

A SURVEY for Experian's ProtectMyID reveals that 30 percent of travellers have experienced identity theft while travelling or know someone who has.

Most travellers check for signs of identity fraud after their journeys, but fail to take pro-active precautions before and during their trips. Only 39 percent alert their debit/credit card providers before departing, and only 33 percent notify their bank. Just one in three use passwords to protect their smartphones

Ninety-two percent carry credit cards or debit cards while travelling, yet more than half are unaware of their card's liability limit if lost or stolen

Women and adults aged 65 or older are most likely to take precautions to protect their identities before, during and after travelling.

Those surveyed indicated that they feel most vulnerable to identity theft in restaurants, internet cafes, hotels, and airports. Actual crime numbers show that the highest vulnerabilities occur in hotels, restaurants, airports, taxis, and car rental offices.

Taking these steps can help reduce the risk of identity theft while travelling:
  • Password-protect smartphones and other electronic devices.
  • Create strong passwords with a mix of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols on sensitive accounts accessible through electronic devices.
  • Avoid public WiFi when possible. 
  • Delay social media posts that indicate you're out of town; wait until you're back from your trip to share your travel adventures.
  • Choose to pay with a credit card versus debit card; credit cards often offer better fraud protection.
  • Bank at the branch - ATM's in high-traffic tourist areas may put you at risk for skimming.
  • Avoid travelling with unnecessary items, such as Social Security cards or credit cards that will not be needed.

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See Guernsey in bloom

GUERNSEY’S annual summer flower festival takes runs from July 5 to July 13. Events and attractions include open gardens, guided walks and an appearance by renowned garden photographer Clive Nichols.

Visitors can expect to see rare orchids, crocuses and exotic lilies in historic gardens and wildflowers along the coastline and in the rural interior.

Getting there: Guernsey is accessible by air with Aurigny (www.aurigny.com), Blue Islands (www.blueislands.com) and Flybe (www.flybe.com), and by sea with Condor (www.condorferries.co.uk).

Aurigny flights are available from Gatwick, Stansted, Bristol, East Midlands, and Manchester. Blue Islands flights are available from Southampton and London City (via Jersey). Flybe from Birmingham, Norwich, Southampton, and Exeter.

Three-hour Condor ferry crossings from Portsmouth, Poole, or Weymouth start from £253 return for a car and four passengers.

www.floralguernsey.co.uk
www.visitguernsey.com

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Shop until you drop in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH will be hosting its first shopping festival this autumn … from the 12th to the 28th of September.

Retailers, bars, restaurants, attractions, and cultural venues are being encouraged to run special offers, discounts and incentives. There will also be street markets and free live entertainment in the Guildhall Square and other areas across the city.
                                               
It will be possible to pre-register interest in the festival via the Visit Portsmouth website and Facebook page to get discount vouchers and event updates.



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Monday, 23 June 2014

Funny asides.......

.....and Quick quips;

Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

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Tenerife? How nice!

TENERIFE’S tourism chiefs have launched a campaign calling for locals and business owners to go the extra mile and impress visitors with their innate kindness.

Tenerife Buena Gente – which translates as Tenerife Nice People – aims to ensure the five million visitors, of whom 1.59 million are British, never forget the kindness, good manners and generosity of the islanders.

Pia Louw, director of Travel Industry & Promotion for the Tenerife Tourism Corporation, explains: ‘What makes Tenerife people special is their naturally kind, patient and welcoming nature, and their ability to make visitors feel at home on foreign soil. We want visitors to connect with our people and experience these personality traits first-hand so we inspire them to return time and again.’


The campaign offers training to the tourism community so that visitors not only associate Tenerife with its beaches, natural wonders, cultural diversity, and gastronomy, but also with the service the locals provide. The campaign's website has tips on how to be a “nicer” person.

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Ryanair offers city guides

RYANAIR has introduced a new city travel section on the Ryanair.com website, offering customers a complete guide to each of its 186 destinations in Europe and North Africa.


The guides include: 
  • hotel, accommodation and dining listings; 
  • recommended things to see and do; 
  • nightlife and shopping info; 
  • maps and general city information; 
  • flight, fares and airport information; 
  • car hire, parking and transfer services; 

and downloadable PDF guides to each destination.


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Norwich Airport among free WiFi leaders

A RECENT survey by Airport Parking and Hotels showed that of the UK’s 25 main airports, Norwich was one of only four to provide passengers with unlimited free Wi-Fi access throughout the terminal building.

Gary Blake, customer services manager of Norwich International, said: ‘We see the provision of unlimited free Wi-Fi access as essential, as so many people now travel with Smartphones, tablets and laptops. In addition, we also offer a free-to-use business zone, a dedicated quiet area within our departure lounge offering free access to a Wi-Fi printer, charging points and work stations.


The other airports providing unlimited Wi-Fi access were named as Aberdeen, Birmingham and London City.

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Now that's funny......

My mechanic told me, 'I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.'

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Try Cumbria, for English whisky

THE new Lakes Distillery near Bassenthwaite in Cumbria is opening its doors to visitors for the first time. 

Its bistro & bar, shop, and tours will open to the public in December this year, but in the meantime it has a pre-opening visitor reception centre.

Situated in the house next to the distillery's site on a former Victorian model farm, the centre will welcome visitors from 11am until 4pm every day, allowing them to find out about the distillery's story so far and have a complimentary English whisky tasting.

Katie Read, Business Development Manager for The Lakes Distillery said: ‘Visits are free of charge, so it's a great excuse to come and see what we're all about.’

Progress at the site is underway with a brand new boiler recently installed and Buttermere and Westmorland slate currently being put into place on the distillery roof.  Distillery staff have gone to Spain to oversee production of bespoke casks.


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Wildlife deal in the Cotswolds

COTSWOLD cottage company www.manorcottages.co.uk has teamed with the Cotswold Wildlife Park to offer guests savings during their holiday.

‘Visitors with children to the Burford region of the Cotswolds should certainly make some time in their holiday diary for a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park,’ says Chris Grimes, managing director at www.manorcottages.co.uk. ‘Set in more than 160 acres of parkland, it is divided into four different sections – birds, large mammals, primates, and small mammals and reptiles. It's a day out worth doing.’
www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk

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Crack down on air rage, says IATA

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling on governments to get tough on air rage offences. It wants them to ratify changes to the 1963 Tokyo Convention which provides the legal framework for dealing with passengers whose unruly or disruptive behaviour leads to physical assault or poses a threat to the safety of a flight.

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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Now that's funny...........

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

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No Speedos … we’re British!

DAVID BECKHAM and Cristiano Ronaldo might be able to pull it off, a survey conducted by UK leading travel agent On the Beach has revealed that most British women would prefer their men not to wear snug Speedos.

The survey of 1,500 British holidaymakers revealed that only two percent of women  would like to see their men sporting Speedos on the beach, with the majority (70 percent) choosing swim shorts as their preferred option.


More than 70 percent of men said they preferred to see their women in bikinis. 

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Gone fishing!

Time to head west for Pembrokeshire's famous Fish Week!   

LISTED last year as the UK’s top food festival by The Independent and known as one of the tastiest festivals in Europe, Pembrokeshire Fish Week is taking place between the June 28 and July 6.  

Start your week at the Fish Week Open Day on June 28 at Milford Fish Docks. The event will have plenty to entertain and keep everyone busy, including new chefs, demos, music and hands-on activities.  Pick up tips at one of the fish cookery workshops, or be inspired at a Bryn Williams demonstration.

Other events for foodies include a fish feast, gourmet nights, tapas, live jazz and tutored tastings.

There are also lots of family activities. Join Pembrokeshire Coast National Park throughout the week as they watch seabirds on the stacks, and go crab catching.

For full details, go to www.pembrokeshirefishweek.co.uk  


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Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?

THE answer could be that he’s on the beach............ 

Kent’s Changeling Theatre stages Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on Margate Main Sands on July 19. Reserve your deckchair – for £5 – now.

changeling-theatre.com


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Friday, 20 June 2014

Funny asides.....

...........& Quick quips;

In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

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Back to the Neolithic at Stonehenge


SH 05 Free Stonehenge Images for AllOver the past five months, a 60-strong team of English Heritage volunteers built the houses using authentic local materials – weaving hundreds of hazel rods through the main supporting stakes, thatching the roofs with wheat-straw, and covering the walls with a daub of chalk, hay and water.

The re-created houses are based on the remains of Neolithic houses discovered during excavations in 2006 and 2007 at Durrington Walls, a large ceremonial earthwork enclosure just over a mile to the north-east of Stonehenge. Radio-carbon dating showed that the buildings were built at around the same time as the large sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge in, approximately, 2,500 BC.

Pre-booked timed tickets are essential for group visits. Advance booking is also required for individual visitors, who can book online at www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge.


FIVE re-created Neolithic houses have opened at Stonehenge, revealing the type of homes the builders of the ancient monument might have lived in 4,500 years ago.

The houses are the latest phase in the major programme by English Heritage to improve both the setting around the monument and the overall experience of visitors to Stonehenge. They sit alongside the new visitor centre and are furnished with replica Neolithic axes, pottery and other artefacts. 







Stonehenge manager Kate Davies says: ‘The houses help visitors re-connect the ancient stones with the people that lived and worked in the surrounding landscape. They can step through the door of the houses and get a sense of what everyday life might have been like when Stonehenge was built.’






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Moroccan drive for Britain’s golfers

MOROCCO’S tourism board will showcase its growing portfolio of golf courses and resorts with an expansive programme of tournaments in UK clubs this summer. Prizes include golfing holidays in Morocco.

Morocco is regarded as one of the world's strongest emerging markets for golf tourism, with 29 courses already in existence and a further 11 under construction.


The destination's popularity with golfers has been boosted by direct flights from London, Bristol, Birmingham, and Manchester.

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New flights to Athens

AEGEAN Airlines has launched a twice-weekly Birmingham-Athens service, which this year will run until October 25.

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Travel facts.........

MANY have travelled to the Pitcairn Islands through the pages of The Mutiny on the Bounty but few actually get there. 



The Pitcairn Islands are among the most remote in the world; they are approximately halfway (2,982 miles) between New Zealand and the Americas.







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Super-ride set for Orlando

ORLANDO, Florida, has unveiled a £119m rollercoaster project that will dwarf anything previously seen in the theme park capital of the world – and claim the title of the world’s tallest ride at 570ft.

The Skyscraper will be the centerpiece of an ambitious shopping, dining and nightlife complex called the Skyplex, separate from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld.

The ride will last three minutes, hit a top speed of 65mph and be the only one of its kind to offer loops and rolls at such a height.


Skyscraper will be half a mile from the 400-ft high Orlando Eye, currently being built by Britain’s Merlin Entertainments company, making for two colossal structures on Orlando’s International Drive. Both are due to open in 2016.

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