In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • News 648

    Fan Museum

    Fans for the Memory

    almost 8 years ago

    Planning a break in London? Not as well known as it should be, the fascinating Fan Museum in Greenwich has launched a new exhibition concentrating on the first half of the 19th century. Political upheavals at the start on that period meant many fan makers went off to war. Fans became less sumptuous but no less creative. The exhibition (The Fan in Europe: 1800 – 1850), which runs until May 12, includes some examples made in the then newly emerging Spanish fan factories. Though they are not all on view at the same time the museum has a collection of over 3500 fans, dating from the 11th century – and even including one painted by Gaugin.

  • News 647

    Brittany Ferries

    New fast ferry route to France

    almost 8 years ago

    Brittany Ferries is to launch services between Portsmouth and Le Havre. Crossing time, by high speed ferry, will be 3hrs 45mins, allowing travellers to leave the south coast at 7am and be in France at 11.45am local time. The service will start on May 17 and run until September 16.

  • News 646

    Outback adventures

    New Aussie bush tour

    almost 8 years ago

    Fascinating new bush tours keep popping up down under. One of the latest takes small groups to the  Innes National Park on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula, whose wildlife includes emus, dolphins and (in winter) whales. Participants meet Aborigine elders and learn about their culture, visit a winery and get the opportunity to swim in lagoons. Operated by Heading Bush it costs from AUD$895 – about £577.

  • News 645

    Mirage Fashion Hotel, Budapest

    Budapest's new hotel

    almost 8 years ago

    A new place to stay in Budapest. The four star Mirage Fashion Hotel is a converted 19th century villa overlooking Heroes Square, on the Pest side of the Hungarian capital. It has 38 rooms, including one suite, with free wi fi internet access and laptop size safes. The Museum of Fine Arts is 300 metres away.

  • News 644

    Minoan Air

    Dublin and Edinburgh - from Oxford

    almost 8 years ago

    Flights to Edinburgh and Dublin will soon be available from London Oxford Airport. Crete based Minoan Air will operate two daily round trips to Scotland on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and to Ireland on Wednesdays and Fridays with a single return service on Sundays. From May 10 frequency will be stepped up to two daily round trips (Monday – Friday) and one on Sundays on both routes. The Edinburgh service will start on March 4, those to Dublin two days later. The flights, by Fokker 50 turboprop, will take 1hr 30mins.

  • News 643


    Luxury line launches new short cruises

    about 8 years ago

    A new range of short "sampler" cruises, varying in length from 4 – 7 days has been launched by luxury cruise line Silversea. They include a four day trip from Hamburg to Copenhagen costing from £1120 and a five day cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona – calling at Malaga, Cartagena and Valencia – starting at £1190. These price don't include air fares.

  • News 642

    Blenheim Palace

    Blenheim Palace to host new flower show

    about 8 years ago

    Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire is to host a new flower show this summer. The event, which will run from June 21-23, will be staged in grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. Over 150 exhibitors will be joined by TV gardening celebrity Christine Walkden, who will be there on Saturday and Sunday to offer visitors advice at question and answer sessions. On the final day the Heritage Motor Club Rally will also take place in the park. Advance tickets are available.

  • News 641

    Napa Valley vineyard

    California cycling

    about 8 years ago

    Cycling through California wine country is an innovative new option from Headwater. Luggage is transferred between hotels as customers pedal through the Napa, Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys, winding up in redwood forests before reaching the Pacific Coast at Bodega Bay – where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds. Departures for the 10-day, self guided trip are from April 7 – November 17. It costs from £3298 including flights, bike hire and baggage transfers. An option to stay in b&bs instead of hotels is available.


  • May re-opening for Munich gallery

    about 8 years ago

    Munich's Lenbachhaus Museum is set to re-open in May after a major refurbishment which began in 2009. The museum is best know for its impressive collection of works by the Blaue Reiter group of artists, including Klee and Kandinsky. Since its closure, works in the collection have been  exhibited temporarily at the neighbouring Kunstbau.

  • News 639

    Radisson Blu Strand Stockholm

    Stockholm hotel opens Garbo suite

    about 8 years ago

    You probably won't want to be alone in the Radisson Blu Strand Hotel's new Greta Garbo suite. The Stockholm hotel recently opened the suite to mark the 100th anniversary of the waterfront property. Swedish born Garbo first visited its rooftop terrace as an aspiring starlet in the 1920s. After success in Hollywood the Strand  became her favourite place to stay in the capital. Her family collaborated on the design, which incorporates artwork from her movies.

  • News 638

    Sea Life Manchester

    New aquarium for Manchester

    about 8 years ago

    Manchester is to get a new aquarium. The Sea Life chain, which already has 13 others elsewhere in the UK, will open a new centre in June at the Trafford Centre. It promises 30 different marine displays with over 5000 sea creatures – from seahorses to sharks – and a walk through underwater tunnel.

  • News 637

    Airport shopping

    More than half airport shopping "impulsive" - report

    about 8 years ago

    Ever wondered why airports appear increasingly to be turning into shopping malls? According to the latest research the European traveller's average expenditure in duty free and duty paid outlets is US$76 and US$51 respectively (roughly £47 and £32). In the former, 46% of purchases are pre-planned and 54% "impulsive". In duty paid shops the proportion of impulse purchases is higher, at 56%.  Average spending on food and drink is £8 – £9. The research was by UK based Canadean.

  • Vatican credit card ban

    about 8 years ago

    Travellers planning to visit the Vatican should take plenty of cash. Though there’s no telling how long this situation will last, museums and businesses there have been declining credit and debit cards for tickets and other purchases and cash machines have been closed (other than those taking the Vatican Bank card). The Bank of Italy is reported to have which ordered the ban on plastic  over concerns that the Vatican had failed to meet international standards drawn up to prevent money laundering.

  • News 635


    Cyprus to create new marine parks

    about 8 years ago

    Four large fishing vessels will be scuttled in the Mediterranean around Cyprus this year as part of a £1m-plus project to attract divers. Five new marine parks will be created using funds from the islands tourism authorities, the Cyprus Dive Centre Association and the Department of Fisheries. Scheduled to be open to divers in July – and totalling 12 square kilometres – they will be in waters off Paphos, Limassol, Agia Napa, Protaras and Latchi. Fishing will be banned in the parks, with the aim of protecting marine life and encouraging its growth. Existing dive sites off Cyprus include MS Zenobia, which sank off the coast of Larnaca in 1980. One of the attractions is the possibility of spotting sea turtles,  following the introduction of a conservation programme that has increased their numbers.

  • Spanish Paradors face crisis cuts

    about 8 years ago

    The Spanish Government is to close one of the country's Parador hotels and limit the times of year during which around 30 others are open in a bit to counter big losses. The state run chain comprises over properties, many converted from historic buildings such as monasteries and castles. Though its future has yet to be settled, the Parador reportedly earmarked for closure is at Puerto Lumbreras in Murcia. According to the web site Murcia Today promotional efforts will concentrate on a another Parador in the area, newly built in the grounds of Lorca Castle. The properties whose operating periods will be reduced are expected to close for 40 days a year to cut costs. It's not all negative news, however. Restaurants at some Paradores will be upgraded. The chain, which once turned a healthy profit, is groaning under €77m of accumulated losses.

  • World's 10 hottest restaurants named

    about 8 years ago

    Is eating out a vitally important part of your travels? Here's a list of the "10 hottest restaurants in the world" from from the indispensable Zagat organisation. According to its ever watchful staff they are: Coya (Peruvian – London), Ekstedt (Stockholm), Faviken Magasinet (Jarpen, Sweden), Tanta (Barcelona), Le Dame de Pic (Paris), Mission Chinese Food (New York), Lolla (Singapore), State Bird Provisions (San Francisco), The Parish (Los Angeles), Grace (Chicago).

  • Seat maps now shown on German rail web site

    about 8 years ago

    German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) has taken a leaf from the airline book by introducing seat maps on its web site. Passengers accessing may now select seats on about 75% of its inter city express (ICE) trains. On some services they are also able to see the direction of travel.

  • News 630


    Maldives top selling long haul destination

    about 8 years ago

    Political unrest in the Maldives appears not to have deterred UK visitors. Long haul specialist Kuoni says the Indian Ocean islands are its top selling destination for 2013. Problems following last year's ousting of the Maldives' first democratically elected leader have not touched the islands' idyllic holiday resorts but the current regime has been criticised by Amnesty International for human right abuses. Second in the tour operators league table of top ten best selling destinations is Thailand, followed by Sri Lanka, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Malaysia, Barbados, Singapore and St. Lucia.

  • Cottage specialist taken over

    about 8 years ago

    Cumbrian Cottages has been acquired by the American company that owns Hoseasons. A spokesman for New Jersey based Wyndham Vacation Rentals said it was expected that UK self catering specialist would continue to do business  as at present. Besides the Lake District, Cumbrian has cottage rental operations in Northumberland, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Wales and Scotland.

  • News 629

    Toronto, Canada

    Toronto flight options expand

    about 8 years ago

    Flights to Toronto are set to increase. Air Canada is offering return fares from £582.34 (including taxes) on its new service there from Edinburgh, which will start in mid-summer. Flights will  be operated three times a week from July 3 – October 18 by the carrier's newly launched Air Canada Rouge leisure offshoot. Departures from Scotland will be at 10.20am, arriving at 12.45pm. Flights from Canada will leave at 8.35pm, arriving at 8.30am next morning. The airline will use extended range Boeing 767 jets with two cabins – economy and a "Premium Rouge" section offering extra legroom. Meanwhile British Airways has announced it will add new departures to Toronto from March 31 with extra flights from London Heathrow on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays increasing the weekly total on the route to 17 round trips.