Monday, 29 February 2016

Make-over for Cox’s Cave

ONE of the most historic underground spaces in England is being transformed before being re-opened to the public at Easter. 

Cox's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset – discovered in 1837 – is getting a make-over with the aim of re-establishing it as a must-see attraction.

It comprises seven small grottoes joined by low archways, offering a natural, atmospheric setting of calcite sculptures and mirror pools.

Access to the cave will continue to be included in the general admission price of a visit to Cheddar Gorge. 

The make-over is part of a £400,000 investment plan at Cheddar Gorge and Caves for 2016.


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Everything you need to know about visas … but were afraid to ask

TO HELP British travellers prepare for their holidays, Airport Parking & Hotels (APH) has created a guide comparing #visa requirements around the world. 

It compares the visa requirements of 12 countries – including Abu Dhabi, the US, Canada, and Iran – and compares the cost of the visa, its validity, and any stipulations faced when applying for the visa.

British citizens are required to apply for visas for six of the 12 destinations researched, including China, Iran, and Sri Lanka. Of the destinations researched, British citizens can travel visa-free if visiting European countries, Canada, and Peru. However, travellers should note that an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will be required when flying to Canada from March 15 this year.

The cost of visas vary between destinations, ranging from £10 for the US Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) to £135 for a visa stamp fee for entry into Iran. 

Travellers should know that cash is the only form of payment accepted when applying for a tourist visa in person at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.

For Iranian visa applications, women and girls over nine-years-old must wear a headscarf in their application photographs, and for eVisitor visas to Australia travellers must be free of tuberculosis. 

Travellers who have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011 will not qualify for entry to the US under the visa waiver programme.

The research can be found in the Know Before You Go section of the APH website at www.aph.com/visarequirements.   

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Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69362954@N00/6917889900">Dambulla cave temple (දඹුලු ලෙන් විහාරය ) Sri Lanka</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">(license)

Antiques for sale at Blenheim

THE COTSWOLD ART & ANTIQUE DEALERS' ASSOCIATION (CADA) Fair will celebrate its 5th anniversary at #BlenheimPalace, Oxfordshire (April 21-24).

It is the only antiques fair held at Blenheim Palace, in the Orangery and Campaign Rooms overlooking the Italian Garden.


The very best of each discipline will be represented, including:
  • Furniture 
  • Pictures 
  • Silver 
  • Early needlework and antique boxes 
  • Sculpture 
  • Bronze 
  • Clocks 
  • Barometers 
  • Carpets 
  • Textiles 
  • Glass 
  • Jewellery 
  • English and oriental ceramics 
  • Garden ornaments and statuary 
All works are for sale, with prices ranging from £100 to £100,000+.

The dates of the fair encompass major anniversaries of historical significance: the Queen's 90th birthday on April 21, St Georges Day and Shakespeare’s birthday (and death).

John Howard, chairman of #CADA says: 'This year's fair promises to be an especially exciting one, and is a much anticipated event in the antiques calendar, providing collectors and first time buyers with the opportunity to view and purchase outstanding antiques and works of art, showcased in the most stunning setting. The fair is now established as one of the best quality events in the country.’


www.cotswolds-antiques-art.com
www.blenheimpalace.com


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Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61978064@N00/1497849890">Blenheim Palace</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)

Barbados ‘top’ Caribbean destination for 2016

#BARBADOS has been named as the top #Caribbean #destination for 2016 by Expedia, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) reports. 

The selection was based on the opinions of travelers in major tourism markets such as the US., Britain, and Canada.

The CTO pointed out that Barbados was chosen as Best Destination by the Caribbean Journal, and ranked third among Caribbean islands by Trip Advisor in 2015.

‘Each award we have received over the past 12 months has been confirmation for us that we are moving in the right direction with our destination marketing and product development, which continues to be a team effort across the public and private sector,’ Barbados Tourism Marketing CEO William Griffith said.


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Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Corrs confirmed for Nocturne 2016 at Blenheim Palace

MULTI-MILLION-SELLING Irish quartet The Corrs will join Elton John on the bill for a four-day summer concert series – #Nocturne – at #BlenheimPalace (June 23-26).

The Corrs will perform at the event on June 24, while Elton John closes it on June 26.

Nocturne transforms The Great Court at Blenheim into an open-air concert venue.

Nocturne Director Ciro Romano says: ‘We set the bar incredibly high by announcing Sir Elton as our first headliner for this year's event, so we're delighted to have been able to follow this with the news that a band of the quality and stature of The Corrs will also be performing this year. The opportunity to watch them perform their timeless songs against the gorgeous backdrop of Blenheim Palace is one not to be missed.’

The remaining two headline acts will be announced in due course.

www.nocturnelive.com


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App guide to Japan’s 72 seasons

PLANNING a trip to #Japan, but don’t really know when to go to find the best attractions for the season? Travellers can now log on to an app that divides the year into no fewer than 72 #seasons to help tourists understand the nuances of the changes that take place across the country. 

Named simply as 72 Seasons, the free app highlights periods including Spring Winds Thaw the Ice; The First Peach Blossoms; Damp Earth Humid Heat; and The Maple and the Ivy Turn Yellow.

Unlike conventional weather apps, 72 Seasons features photographs, illustrations, and haiku poem. It was made by the Utsukushii Kurashikata Institute, which focuses on the culture of Japan. It updates every five days.

The 72 seasons have their origins in the 24-season calendar, which can be traced back to ancient times. This system, used in a number of cultures, plotted the path of the sun as a zodiac creating 360 degrees. These were then split into 24 sections of 15 degrees each, equating to periods of 15 days and all given an individual name. It was refined further by the Japanese, who split each section into three, creating the 72-season calendar. Each of these was then given a poetic name to reflect the changes that happen during the period.


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Cheaper travel costs offset £ slump

THE POUND has plunged to a 13-month low against the euro and some other European currencies, but there is still good news for people planning trips abroad in one of the busiest holiday booking months.

Research by Post Office Travel Money for its Holiday Money Report reveals that lower prices in most European resorts will cancel out the impact of the sterling slide. At the same time, currencies for many popular long-haul destinations including Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand have weakened against sterling.

The biggest gain for sterling has been against the South African rand, so UK tourists on safaris, fly-drive trips along the Garden Route, or exploring Cape Town will see their travel cash stretch 26 percent further than last year. In just five years sterling has doubled in value against the rand.

Sterling is also surging against the Mexico peso, which means that Cancun will be a bargain bet in 2016. Holidaymakers heading east will be better off in Asia and the Indian Ocean, too. A sterling surge of over nine percent against the Malaysian ringgit compared with a year ago has compounded the impact of falling prices in Penang to make tourist staples 27 percent cheaper in Malaysia’s most popular destination. Sterling has strengthened by 1.5 percent against the Thai baht year-on-year.

While the US dollar is at a five-year high against the pound, making Orlando and New York some 10 percent more expensive, three other dollars are significantly weaker. The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars have each fallen in value since last February, and are now over 10 per cent weaker than two years ago.

The Norwegian krone has lost value against sterling. A six percent year-on-year drop, rising to 22 percent over two years, makes a Northern Lights trip to Norway a better prospect than visiting Iceland for the Aurora Borealis. Sterling has fallen 10.5 percent in value since last February against the Icelandic krona.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: ‘This is definitely a year when it will pay people to do their homework before booking a destination. With sterling’s recent fall in value against more than half of our bestselling currencies, you can’t blame them for thinking twice about where to go on holiday. However, canny travellers will be quids in if they opt for destinations with weak currencies or those where local prices are low. Better still, if they combine both elements their holiday money will stretch further.’

Despite a fall of more than 10 percent since last summer, when sterling hit €1.41 to £1, the picture is far from gloomy for people planning visits to the eurozone. Post Office Travel Money research shows that fierce competition to attract tourists has led to hefty price-cutting in many popular holiday destinations – resulting in lower rather than higher prices this year.


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Save a third on summer sailing holidays


ANTLOS, an online site dubbed the ‘Airbnb of the seas’, is on a mission to offer affordable #sailing #holidays, shunning the belief that boating holidays are for only the rich and famous. The company is planning to ruin what it calls the elitism of private boat charter vacations in the British Virgin Islands and Mediterranean this summer, with prices that offer 33% savings. 

Antlos connects travellers with boat owners and skippers directly, cutting out agents and charter brokers, the ‘middle-men’ it says have kept sailing holidays expensive for so long. The site provides boat and #yacht owners the freedom to set their own rates and offer flexible dates, locations, and customizable itineraries.

For consumers, Antlos has what it says is a showcase of privately-owned and fully skippered boats. Guests can choose from a single place on a boat, a private cabin, or an entire yacht for their exclusive use. Antlos’ prices include fuel, marina fees, food, skipper, and other costs that are usually billed on top by brokers.

www.antlos.com/en


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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Caerhays wins gardens award


THE #CAERHAYS ESTATE in South #Cornwall has won the Historic Houses Association’s 2016 #Garden of the Year award, which recognize the importance of the country’s most spectacular gardens with outstanding horticultural and public appeal.

Above Porthluney Cove and framing the castle designed by John Nash, the 140-acre gardens are Grade II* listed and considered of outstanding importance by The Royal Botanic Garden at Kew.

A traditional Cornish flowering garden, it originated from the work of plant hunters in China at the start of the 20th century. It is today the home of a Plant Heritage National Collection of Magnolias containing more than 600 species and named hybrids from around the world. The gardens have an international reputation and have been described as world class.

Charles Williams of Caerhays Castle Gardens said: ‘It is a great honour for the work of four generations of the Williams family and the four talented head gardeners at Caerhays since 1897 to be recognized with such a prestigious award from Historic Houses Association and Christie’s.  A woodland garden like Caerhays never stands still and is never “complete”, but this is certainly a key moment in the history and development of the plant collections here.’

The estate, half-way between St. Austell and St. Mawes, has self-catering holiday accommodation.

www.caerhays.co.uk

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FIFA museum to opens in Zurich (no, it’s not April 1)


WITH what appears to be straight face, a torrent of superlatives, and no mention at all of corruption, Switzerland’s tourism authority announces that the FIFA World #Football Museum opens in #Zurich on February 28. 

‘This is where the vast collection of memories of every single FIFA congress, game, player, news story, and selected images will be artfully exhibited under the one roof and across three themed floors,’ boasts the country’s tourism director.

There will be five ‘educational and entertainment areas (including the lab, library, a gaming area, giant football pinball, sonic pods and a 180° cinema screen) giving visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of football.’

The original World Cup will be on show, plus exhibits dating back to the start of the game.

www.fifamuseum.com
www.myswitzerland.com


Go Holiday editor David Kernek comments: Some mistake here, surely. Shouldn’t it be the FIFA Museum of the Beautiful Racket?


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Ballot opens for tickets to the HMQ90 Windsor celebration


MEMBERS of the public have the opportunity to win a free ticket for The #HMQ90 #Celebration on The Long Walk at #WindsorCastle May 15. This is a part of the Queen's 90th birthday celebration to be held from May 12 to May 15 in the castle’s private grounds. The ballot of 5,000 tickets closes on March 14. 

The event offers the opportunity to be involved in a pre-performance party on the final night of the event and watch a live-screening of a television broadcast from the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park.

The show tells the story of the Queen's life encompassing a reign spanning more than 60 years, starting from when she was born in 1926, through World War Two, to The Coronation in 1953. Performers and displays will include The Oman Royal Cavalry, The New Zealand Army Band, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Azerbaijan Cossack Riders, State Carriages from The Royal Mews, The South Australian Police Band, The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, The Fijian Army Dancers and Band, 100 military and Commonwealth pipers, and The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

Applications for the ballot can be completed online by filling out a short form, which can be found at www.hmq90.com or they can be applied for in writing to: Celebration on The Long Walk, The Old Booking Hall, Windsor Royal Shopping, Thames St, Windsor SL4 1PJ. 


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Record 105 million tourists for Florida in 2015


#FLORIDA set another record in tourism by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015, according to Visit Florida. It’s the fifth consecutive record year, exceeding the previous high of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 percent. 

The average number of direct travel-related jobs in 2015 was also a record high, with 1,199,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up by 53,400 or 4.7 percent over the same period last year.

Will Seccombe, CEO of Visit Florida, said: ‘Five years of record-setting visitation does not happen by accident. It’s the direct result of a global marketing strategy focused on maximizing the economic impact of Florida tourism. Today’s announcement shows tourism marketing works.’




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Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92686475@N00/25054197182">Evening on the Beach</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)

Friday, 26 February 2016

Tallinn flights from Edinburgh

NORDIC AVIATION has announced a new thrice-weekly service between Tallinn and Edinburgh for this summer. It will be Scotland’s only flight to #Estonia. The service will commence on May 28 and operate until October 3. 

Nordic Aviation board member Erik Sakkov said: ‘Edinburgh’s rich historical heritage makes it perfect for Estonian holidaymakers who will enjoy a unique combination of ancient Scottish and modern European culture. Moreover, I’m sure that Tallinn and Estonia have a lot to offer Scottish people, too.

Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar said: ‘This new service adds to our city’s and Scotland’s growing international profile.

The airport reported recently that January’s passenger numbers exceeded 700, 000, double digit growth from the January 2015 total.


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New record for Oz tourism

AUSTRALIA’S visitor economy continues to grow, with the latest numbers confirming that 2015 was another record-breaking year for overseas arrivals, says the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF). The number of overseas tourists rose by 8.2% to 7.4 million, of whom 4.2 million were return visitors. 

The country’s four leading source markets were New Zealand, China, Britain, and the US.

Total tourist spend for the year was A$13.4 billion.

‘There are very few industry sectors in #Australia at the moment that can claim to be seeing consecutive years of strong growth as we can say about tourism,’ said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO. ‘We are continuing to see massive growth in the China market which has recorded 21.9 per cent growth in 2015 compared to the previous year.

‘This is what happens when you invest in the tourism sector – you see a strong uptick in visitor numbers and that means more Australian jobs and more economic activity in our cities and regional communities. Tourism is a booming industry for Australia and it’s one of the key pillars of our future economic success. We need a stronger partnership between government and industry that puts tourism at the heart of Australia’s future economic growth strategy to help fill the post-mining boom void.

‘We need to see more investment in Australia’s tourism industry by federal, state, and territory governments – they are all making tough financial decisions in their up upcoming budgets, but the evidence shows that investing delivers a strong long-term financial return.’

Ms Osmond said that more than 63 percent of overseas visitors in 2015 had been to the country previously, which highlighted the importance of the return visitor market to Australia’s tourism economy. ‘The first rule of any good business is that retaining existing customers is cheaper than attracting new ones – so it’s crucial to provide the best visitor experience possible and strong attractions with smart marketing to keep them coming back, because return visitors spend just as much on average as those during their first visit.’


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A history of fashion in 100 objects

BATH’S fashion museum is to unveil a new exhibition on March 19: A History of Fashion in 100 Objects. Celebrating fashion from the 1500s to the present day, it will showcase 100 star objects drawn from the museum's collection. 

The exhibition, which will run until January 2018, will feature garments and fashion accessories that created the look of history or hit the headlines. From a late 1500s 'blackwork' embroidered man's shirt to a 'body-con' Galaxy dress of the early 2000s, the exhibition will present iconic and influential garments and accessories spanning five centuries of fashion design.


One of the earliest fashion garments to go on display is an intricately embroidered woman's jacket – known at the time as a waistcoat – worked in coloured silks and glittering metal thread and dating from the 16th century.



Silk robes and embroidered and tailored coats for men, the styles fashionable during Bath's Georgian heyday, will also be on display, along with Regency fashions from the time of Jane Austen. 

The finale of A History of Fashion in 100 Objects is a selection of the most recent choices in the museum's Dress of the Year collection, commencing with the Dress of the Year 2011, a frock in ivory silk tulle embroidered with tiny silver bullion eagle motifs by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. 

The exhibition will include four collections of accessories to dress – gloves, fans, and jewellery. These include a collection of 17th century gloves.

www.fashionmuseum.co.uk




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Picture Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/36967498@N00/7094496837>The weir, Bath.</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)

Ryanair expands Athens winter flights

RYANAIR has launched its biggest ever #Athens winter 2016 schedule, with one extra based aircraft, six new routes (to Bologna, Bucharest, Dublin, Malta, Mykonos, and Sofia), and more flights to Rhodes and Rome. 

The expansion will sustain 2,500 jobs at Athens Airport.

Greek passengers and visitors can now choose from 19 Athens routes this winter.

Ryanair will continue to connect Athens with Europe’s major business centres including Berlin (daily), London (two daily) and Milan (daily), as well as Thessaloniki (eight daily).


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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Terrorist bombings hit Turkish tourism

#TURKEY specialist Elixir Holidays has ceased trading, describing recent bombings in the country as ‘the writing on the wall’, and all-inclusive resort operator Mark Warner has pulled out of Turkey after six years.

Elixir Holidays, based in London, had 309 people booked to travel. A company spokesman said: ‘The bombings have made people very nervous about committing to the country.’

Mark Warner is offering booked customers alternative resorts in Greece, Italy and France.

In a statement, the operator said it had decided that ‘the time is right to bring our current operations in Turkey to an end’.

It follows Thomas Cook's decision to cut capacity to Turkey by 29%. Tui recently reported its bookings to the destination were down by "about 40%" across its markets as sales to Turkey fall amid consumers' security concerns.

Managing director David Hopkins said: ‘Mark Warner has enjoyed a long and happy history of offering holidays to Turkey, but the time is right for us to leave for the time being. We certainly hope to return in the future.’

Turkey's president has vowed to continue its fight against terror attacks after a bomb blast in the country's capital Ankara killed at least 28 people and injured dozens more.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office urged British nationals to stay away from the area, warning of further attacks, possibly against Western tourists. ‘The majority of attacks are likely to continue to target the Turkish state. Nevertheless, it is likely that some attacks will also target Western interests and tourism.’




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Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12962905@N05/5449469598">Moments of an old harbour I</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)

Doncaster to Disneyland … direct

#DISNEYLANDPARIS tickets can now be booked by people looking to fly direct from Doncaster Sheffield airport.

Steve Gill, the airport’s managing director, said: ‘We are delighted that our passengers can now book trips to Disneyland Paris flying out of their local airport.

‘For Yorkshire passengers, travelling to Disneyland Paris meant a trip to London for the Eurostar train or a flight from outside of the Yorkshire region. From March, they can use their local airport to fly directly to Paris and enjoy a family trip to Disneyland.’

The Disneyland Paris service is part of Flybe’s plan to operate eight new routes from Doncaster Sheffield. From March, passengers will be able to fly to Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Faro, Malaga, Alicante, Jersey, and Newquay.



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Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86989558@N00/7685688156">Disneyland!!</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)

Obama: I’m going to Cuba

PRESIDENT OBAMA is planning a trip to #Cuba in March, the first visit by a sitting US president in 80 years.

The US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said #Obama was travelling to Cuba to press for more reforms, noting that while advances have been made, ‘still, this progress is insufficient’.

‘We want to open up more opportunities for US businesses and travellers to engage with Cuba, and we want the Cuban government to open up more opportunities for its people to benefit from that engagement,’ said Mr Rhodes.

The move follows the president's pledge with Raul Castro to re-open diplomatic channels following a prisoner exchange and the release of a US citizen in December 2014. Since the announcement, the two countries have had a series of diplomatic talks, leading to the re-opening of embassies last summer and a recent deal restoring commercial air traffic.

The last and only incumbent US president to visit the island – only 90 miles south of the Florida Keys – was Calvin Coolidge in 1928. President Jimmy Carter travelled to Cuba in 2002, 20 years after leaving office, at the invitation of President Fidel Castro.

Carter also made a trip in 2011.


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Budget Brits prefer cash to credit when travelling

DESPITE the rise of credit and debit card payments in the UK, 69% of Brits choose cash as their preferred method of payment when travelling abroad, 

The research, conducted by International Currency Exchange (ICE), showed that both income and age played a significant role in making payment choices.

While 74% of people earning less than £10,000 would prefer to pay using cash while in a foreign country, that figure dropped to 58% for people earning more than £40,000. Eighty-four percent of those aged between 18 and 24 said they prefer to use cash over card, compared to 65% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

Koko Sarkari, CEO of ICE, says: ‘It’s interesting to look into the nation’s spending habits and look into what the norm is for us Brits when we go away. Using cash seems easier when it comes down to going abroad. This could be for many reasons. One of them is that it’s easy to manage and stay on top of our spending.’



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Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18090920@N07/12696360474">Credit Cards and Cash</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ryanair beefs up Berlin winter schedules

RYANAIR has launched its biggest ever #Berlin winter 2016 schedule, with 15 new routes - to Budapest, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Manchester, Rzeszow (Poland), Seville, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Timisoara (Romania), Toulouse, Vilnius, Malta, and Pisa. They will help to support 3,500 jobs as Ryanair doubles its Berlin Schonefeld operation. 

German consumers and visitors can choose from 39 Berlin routes this winter.

Ryanair will continue to connect Berlin with Europe’s major centres of business, including London (4 daily), and Barcelona (2 daily).


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Ski discounts

SPECIALIST ski tour operator and travel agency #Ski Solutions is offering #discountdeals on bookings made before February 25 and 26, and March 4 for Champoluc, Tignes, Courchevel, and Val d’Isère. 

 Offers include:

Book by February 26 to save up to £375pp on seven nights chalet board in Tignes. Seven nights chalet board accommodation at the four star Chalet Hotel L’Ecrin du Val Claret. www.skisolutions.com/countries/france/resorts/tignes/accommodations/l-ecrin-du-val-claret

Book before March 4 to save up to £210pp on four-star ski holiday in Val d’Isère. Seven nights chalet board accommodation at the four star Chalet Hotel Le Val d’Isère. The price includes flights and transfers from London Gatwick departing March 13. http://www.skisolutions.com/countries/france/resorts/val-d-isere /accommodations/le-val-d-isere

www.skisolutions.com



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Win a wedding!


PLANNING a marriage and looking for an unusual – and quite special – luxury venue? Appleby Castle, dating back to early Norman times and in 27 acres of Cumbrian countryside, could be it. 

The castle’s wedding licence has been renewed, and its first wedding fayre is scheduled for March 20. The names of couples attending the event will go into a draw, the prize being a free #ApplebyCastle #wedding.

Able to handle small parties to groups of 200+ guests – and with five wedding packages on offer – the castle has numerous rooms for civil ceremonies. 

They include the Great Hall (15th century, refurbished in 1686); the 15th century old Chapel; the Lower Hall, with seating for 100; and the Bee House, renovated in 1652.

Some of the bedrooms for guests – and the happy couple – have four-posters, and there are 17th century cottages available as self-catering accommodation. 

The castle is also available for business conferences, filming, and sporting events. It holds history tours, stages open-air theatre and battle re-enactments, and other activities for holidaymakers include golf, fishing, and shooting. 

www.applebycastle.co.uk/AC



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See before you rent

TOAD HALL COTTAGES is introducing 3D virtual tours for holidaymakers searching for their perfect rental self-catering.
With a smartphone, tablet, or PC, the tours give: 

  • Interactive floorplans 
  • A 'dolls house' view of the property in full 3D so that viewers can see how the space works on each floor, and how the property is laid out from top to bottom 
  • An walk-through of every room 

James Norton, marketing manager at Toad Hall Cottages says: ‘We are all naturally drawn to beautiful visuals, and then we read into the details before booking a holiday. However, it's really hard to visualize space and lay-out from photographs and descriptions alone, so we have introduced the immersion 360 tours so you can see the entire property laid out in one simple, easy to navigate visual.’

The agency has more than 500 self-catering cottages across the south west of England.

www.toadhallcottages.co.uk


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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Flood-hit Jorvik sets £2 million fundraising target

The #Jorvik #Viking Centre in #York has launched a fundraising drive to revamp the attraction, which was hit by December’s floods. York Archaeological Trust wants raise £2 million to recreate the Viking city and re-open the attraction by 2017.

David Jennings, the trust’s chief executive, said: ‘Whilst we could simply replicate the pre-flood displays, our mission to educate in an accessible way drives us to plan how we can do it even better than before – and to do this, we will need to raise a significant sum of money.’

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions, added: ‘The Jorvik is working with other major players in the city to ensure that tourists can still encounter Viking history during the attraction’s closure in 2016. We are delighted to be partnering with the York Theatre Royal, and in talks with two other central venues, to host three Viking exhibitions, the first of which will open in April and the other two in time for the summer.”


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La Manga Club set for 2016 take-off with Dublin flights

FROM MARCH 27, Aer Lingus will operate four flights a week from Dublin to Murcia-San Javier airport, which is a 20-minute drive away from the multi award-winning #LaMangaClub sports resort. 

In an area three times the size of Monaco, the resort's facilities include: 


  • Three 18-hole #golf courses and a nine-hole academy course, 
  • A Leadbetter golf academy – the only one of its kind in mainland Spain 
  • A 28-court #tennis centre 
  • Eight full-size football pitches

Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey was among the thousands of golfers to enjoy a golf holiday at the resort last summer. ‘I played the north and south courses again and they strike a really good balance between providing a challenge and being fair. The climate is perfect, the facilities are top-class and it all makes for a great golfing experience for those who want to get away from the unpredictable British and Irish weather.’


The resort's other facilities include a high performance sports centre, a spa and fitness complex, a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses, and more than 20 bars and restaurants.

www.lamangaclub.com





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Conservation champ’s Slimbridge home to open to the public

THE former home of the conservation champion and naturalist Sir Peter Scott is to be opened to the public, the BBC reports. The nature reserve at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, which he helped to establish, will also be developed. 

Sir Peter, who died in 1989, built his home near the Severn Estuary in the 1950s so that he could observe wildlife.

The WWT has been given a £4.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards the £6 million scheme. 

The BBC's first natural history show was presented by Sir Peter live from the lounge in the house in 1953. Much of his house remains as it was when he died.

New attractions at #Slimbridge will include an aviary and theatre, more observation hides, and access to the WWT's conservation duckery.

Sir Peter, whose father was the Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott, helped to found both the WWT and the World Wildlife Fund.

The WWT needs to raise a further £1.6 million towards the full cost of the project, work on which will start in 2017.


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Commercial flights linking US-Cuba expected to resume in autumn

COMMERCIAL flights between the #UnitedStates and #Cuba are set to resume for the first time in 50 years following the signing of an agreement between the two countries.

A small number of charter flights presently operate between the two countries, but capacity is expected to rise significantly as mainline airlines return. More than 100 flights a day are envisaged under the deal, five times the current number.

The flights could begin in autumn this year, with United States transportation secretary Anthony Foxx branding the latest deal a ‘critically important milestone in the US effort to engage with Cuba’.

The US imposed a trade embargo on the communist-run island in 1960.


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Monday, 22 February 2016

Biennial spending bonanza ahead for Liverpool

LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL 2016 is forecast to have an economic impact of more than £21 million when it returns to the city between July 9 and October 16. The festival, which takes place in galleries, unused buildings, and public spaces across Liverpool, attracted 875,000 visits in 2014 and is expected to be popular again when more than 40 international artists create work in the city this summer.

With more than 50% of visits coming from outside the Liverpool city region, overnight visitors are forecast to spend an estimated total of £11 million on accommodation, dining out, and visits to other attractions during their stay.

Following the 2014 Biennial, an independent report calculated that an economic impact of £20.8 million was generated by the festival in the preceding 15 weeks.

Sally Tallant, director of Liverpool Biennial, said: ‘The importance of culture in the city is well documented, but I think sometimes culture’s economic impact on the city and its businesses can be forgotten about. Liverpool Biennial welcomes visitors from around the world who come specifically to see the Biennial and stay in Liverpool.

‘While the Biennial itself is free, the visitors have a significant impact for hotels, restaurants, and bars. This is before even considering the longer-term benefits that come from the city’s growing reputation for culture.’


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Brits boost Croatian tourism

TOURIST numbers in #Croatia rose by 8.5% to 14.9 million in 2015. UK arrivals increased by 13% to almost 501,000.

Dalmatia attracted the largest share of tourists, with 6.5 million arrivals (7.31% growth).

Ivona Grgan, at the Croatian National Tourist Board, commented: ‘We look forward to welcoming more Brits to Croatia in 2016 than ever before – there’s certainly something to suit all traveller tastes, whether it’s exploring local culture in Dubrovnik, island-hopping off the coast of Split, truffle hunting in Istria, or trying adventure sports in one of our many national parks.’

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Hendrix home open to public

THE former #London home of #JimiHendrix has been opened up to the public and turned into a permanent exhibition. The house is next to the home of 18th century German-born composer, George Frederick Handel, which is already a small museum.

The new visitor attraction – a small apartment at 23 Brook Street, Mayfair – features Hendrix’s bedroom/living room, which has been recreated with the help of Hendrix’s then girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham.

Collectively known as Handel and Hendrix, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) projects are managed by the Handel House Trust, which has spent three years converting Hendrix’s rooms into a museum.

Improvements are also being made to the facilities at the Handel House Museum.

Hendrix died in London in September 1970, at the age of 27.

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