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tlm winter 2012

£3.50

B iss ig ue ge ev st er

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

the travel & leisure magazine

GO WEST Living the high life in Western Canada

FIESTA TIME Top carnivals and festivals

DESERT ROSE Blossoming Gulf state Oman

CHAPTER AND VERSE Going by the book in Dublin

ANIMAL MAGIC The lure of farm stays

LOVE IS ALL AROUND Valentine’s cities

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win

PLUS Luxury Indian Ocean South Devon Renting vs taking your own car

a luxur Spain, y spa stay in aS foodie outh West Champ break, ag flights ne balloon & more

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tlm the travel and leisure magazine

 Over-water luxury at the Anantara Kihavah Villas. See page 56 Anantara Hotels & Resorts

contents 4

in the frame picture perfect WIN – two Polaroid instant cameras worth £310 in our new photo competition

6 15 20 28 34 39

getting to know Western Canada escape to Dublin uk uncovered Britain’s World Heritage Sites hit the road taking your car away versus renting resort report seven days in Turkey’s Antayla competitions WIN – a £800 Champagne balloon flight for four and a £350 South West foodie break

40 seasonal focus valentine’s cities 47 on your doorstep South Devon 53 competitions WIN – a £2,000 luxury five-night wine spa break in rural Spain

55 56 60 67

travel fare Valencia’s iconic dish, paella a touch of class luxury Indian Ocean 10 of the best carnivals and fiestas around the world in your flightbag what to take on the flight WIN – a QuickSmart Backpack Stroller worth £120

68 in your suitcase what to pack for your holiday WIN – a £150 James Lakeland summer dress, three pairs of Butterfly Twists boots worth £45 a pair, and a pair of Bootights worth up to £27

70 off the beaten track Oman 77 travel update travel news 80 pack your clubs play where the stars play + golf news WIN – a Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch worth £179

86 let’s try farm stays 92 travel tech gizmos and gadgets to take away WIN – a pair of Digital Silence in-ear headphones worth £70

94 checking out focus on budget hotels, self catering, news + reviews 102 london life London’s movie trail + London news WIN – one of two pairs of Brit Movie Tours tickets, worth £50 per pair

106 out & about what’s on outside London 110 coming next what’s in store in the next issue subscribe to tlm – and get an Insight Step by Step guide FREE

from the

editor Peter Ellegard

A

winter chill might be in the air but we are aiming to inject more than a little warmth with our bumper 116-page winter issue, our biggest one to date. We have much to brighten those winter nights and, thinking ahead to hot, summer days, our new Resort Report feature focuses on the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, Antalya. We also help you decide whether taking your own car abroad or flying and renting is best in another new feature, Hit the Road. For anyone with love on their mind, in the first of our seasonal-focused features, we look at places to take your loved one for a romantic Valentine’s Day break or special treat, while we also look at honeymoon favourite, the Indian Ocean, in our Touch of Class feature. This issue takes you to extremes, from the deserts of Oman to the forested Rocky Mountains of Western Canada, while closer to home we look at the UK’s World Heritage Sites, take a trip to South Devon and follow in the footsteps of the stars in our capital city. We have nearly £4,000 worth of prizes to win, too, including a luxury, five-night Spanish wine spa break and a Champagne balloon flight for four. So pull that duvet up a bit further, snuggle down and get ready for a good read...

EDITORIAL: Editor Peter Ellegard Editorial assistant Julie Thompson Writers Peter Ellegard, Julie Thompson, Dave Richardson, John Law, Jane Anderson, Mike Swindell and Carlton Reid Design Nick Blaxill Production June Barnard Publisher Terry Stafford Advertising sales Elaine Smith Digital Publisher Peter Lewsey Published quarterly by TLM Media Limited, Langdale House, 11 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1EN Tel: 020 3176 2570 Fax: 020 3176 2572 Email: info@tlm-magazine.co.uk Printed by BGP © TLM Media Limited Front cover photo: Sightseeing at Peyto Lake, Banff, Alberta, Canada © Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka    

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tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk


 

in the frame competition

Go with the flow A

 Waterfall and stream in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge

Peter Ellegard

cascade through a leafy forest in America’s Pacific Northwest. In the depths of winter, it is an image to lift the spirit in anticipation of spring. Water can have a wonderfully calming effect, in all its forms. Which is why we have chosen it as the theme for our next photo competition. See below. Junior prize (under-16s): Polaroid 300 camera: RRP £79.99 This retro camera is perfect for those looking for an instant photo choice in a fun way and is available in red, blue or black. With four scene settings and automatic flash, you can capture the perfect shot in any light and print it instantly.

Instant karma Take to the water and WIN one of two instant Polaroid cameras in our new photography competition

 The Polaroid Z340

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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how to enter Po laro i d

this time is water and what form it takes is down to you. It could be a scenic waterfall, or a pristine lake, cleverly-captured rain droplets or ocean-crashing waves, and even clouds. Send us up to two water-themed shots and you could win one of two instant digital Polaroid cameras; one for adults and one for under-16s. Po laro i d

Digital photography might mean instant images but it doesn't necessarily mean instant printed photographs. Two new cameras from Polaroid provide the solution, and you could win one in our brand new photo competition. The theme

 Polaroid’s retro 300

the prizes Adult prize (16 and over): Polaroid Z340 camera: RRP £229.99 The Polaroid Z340 combines the convenience of a digital camera with instant printing and this 14 megapixel camera features a 4x digital zoom, 3x4 full colour images printed in under a minute as well as onboard editing and viewing options.

For details of how to enter the competition, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Entries will consist of a portfolio of a maximum of two photographs.You must be a UK resident. Only one entry is allowed per person and professional photographers are excluded. Closing date is midnight on March 4, 2012 whereupon the final 12 will be selected for a vote on the tlm website. See the tlm website for more terms and conditions. For more information on the range of Polaroid cameras go to www.polaroid.co.uk

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getting to know  Western Canada

The great ou td oor s Encompassing everything from rugged Pacific coastline and verdant rainforests to vast lakes and glaciercloaked mountains, the outdoors doesn’t come any greater than in British Columbia and Alberta. Peter Ellegard explores Western Canada’s natural wonders and takes in some adventure on the way

I

remember seeing the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics on TV at home and laughing, like everyone else watching around the world, at the antics of Britain’s clown prince of ski-jumping, Eddie the Eagle, as he hurtled down the ramp, only to plunge like a stone instead of soaring like his namesake. Fast forward some 20 years and I am standing on the very spot where hapless Eddie launched himself into history at the top of the 90-metre ski-jump tower at

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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getting to know  Western Canada

 Ready to fly: Calgary's Skyline

Peter Ellegard

Calgary’s Olympic Park, looking down that same slope. And I am anything but laughing now. A sit-in harness is being put on a safety helmet-clad colleague a few steps down from me and hooked to a grab handle slung on wheels from a suspended cable that runs from the top of the tower and all the way down the length of the ramp to another tower 550 metres away and 100 metres below us. On the other side of the track, a fellow Brit is undergoing the same procedure…and I would be following suit moments later. We are about to take on Skyline at the Park (http://skylineziplines.ca/calgary) – North America’s fastest zipline, which emulates the speeds and sensations of the 90-metre ski jumpers. So fast do you travel, reaching speeds of between 120kph and 140kph, that the harness incorporates a parachute, which is deployed as you leap to help slow your descent. For me, climbing the tower was ordeal enough. I am not merely scared of heights, not even petrified; I have a morbid dread of them, probably not helped by a wellmeaning PR friend in New Zealand who thought she could help me overcome it by tricking me into doing a bungy jump off a bridge when I thought I was only getting a behind-the-scenes tour.

adventure Yet here I am, about to throw myself into nothingness again, and I can feel the panic levels rising. All too soon, the moment arrives and I am hurtling down to a yell of “Geronimo!”, the force of the wind trying to pull the skin off my face and the fear replaced by pure adrenalin. With a thump, my miniature cablecar hits the buffers, sending arms and legs flailing. As I dismount,

 Forest in Queen Charlotte Islands National Park Tourism British Columbia

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tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk


GettingtoknowTLMwinter12v1pp06-12_T&L 18/01/2012 22:17 Page 8

Banff Lake Louise Tourism

getting to know Western Canada

 Mountain vistas from Lake Agnes Teahouse, Alberta

British Columbia and Alberta have a wealth of wildlife you can see. Here are some of the opportunities to see wild creatures up close:  Go grizzly bear viewing at Knight Inlet Lodge (www.knightinletlodge.com), 50miles north of Campbell River, in British Columbia. Peak season is autumn, when the salmon return to the rivers.  Bears are commonly seen throughout Banff National Park while elk often graze by the roadside, creating the unusual phenomenon of elk and bear jams.  The communities of Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island hold an annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival (www.pacificrimwhalefestival.com) each March to celebrate the migrating grey whales.  Venture below the waters of Puget Sound between Vancouver Island and the mainland and you might catch a glimpse of the fearsome wolf eel or the giant octopus.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

 Bears can often be seen  Up to 4,000 bald eagles congregate each year around Brackendale, near Squamish, in British Columbia. They begin arriving in November and stay until mid-February.  Whale-watching cruises head out from Victoria to see the resident killer whales off Vancouver Island’s southern coast. Prime viewing is late spring to early autumn.

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Tourism British Columbia

animal encounters

ready to be hooked up to the final, gentler section, I look back up to where I had been…and my stomach churns. In a land where adventure of every kind beckons, the zipline is just a taste of what’s in store. Calgary is the biggest city in Alberta and is one of the main gateways to explore the province and neighbouring British Columbia, which together are known as Western Canada. A favourite way of combining both is to drive, go on a coach tour or take a sightseeing train between Calgary and Vancouver, on British Columbia’s Pacific coast. It traverses the Rockies, several other mountain ranges, even a desert, while also passing by forests, lakes, orchards and wineries as well as charming towns and all-season mountain resorts. I have done the journey several times myself, and it is one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. If you love nature, adventure, excitement or tranquillity, there really isn’t anywhere that beats these two natural and spectacular neighbours. They truly sum up the Great Outdoors. Calgary is just 90 minutes from the Rockies. You can see its peaks in the distance on clear days. Before leaving the city, step back in time at historic Fort Calgary and Calgary’s fascinating Heritage Park (www.heritagepark.ca). Then perhaps head south for a couple of days, to visit the wonderfully-named Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (www.head-smashed-in.com), a UNESCO World Heritage Site over which buffalo were driven by native Americans to their deaths below, and beautiful Waterton

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FrontierCanada the finest tailor-made Canadian holidays

Western Canada Rocks From Calgary, Alberta, with its famous Stampede, and the awesome Rocky Mountains to the delights of Vancouver, Western Canada excites, inspires and surprises. Offering dozens of fly-drive itineraries, escorted tours and Rocky Mountaineer rail trips, Frontier Canada are the experts in tailor-made holidays. Whether you are looking for a bear viewing trip, a motor-home holiday or back-country adventures call Frontier Canada on 020 8776 8709 or visit www.frontier-canada.co.uk

Winter 2011/12

tlm â–  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 9

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getting to know  Western Canada

Lakes National Park, where you can cruise on a historic steamer into US state Montana and get a commemorative but unofficial stamp in your passport when you make a brief landing to stretch your legs.

 Canoeing on the Bow River, near Banff

Peter Ellegard

tumbling glaciers

rodeo gaga For 10 days every July, Calgary lets its hair down and goes rodeo gaga when the Calgary Stampede takes over Canada’s Cowtown. A national institution visited last year by royal newlyweds Wills and Kate and annually by over a million people, the so-called “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” celebrates its centenary this year. It could also be called the bravest show on earth. Cowboys climb onto the backs of three-quarters of a ton of angry bull or wild-eyed broncs (they don’t call them broncos) in tiny pens, then hang on for dear life as the gate is opened and the thrashing beasts launch themselves into the air in a series of frenzied bucks The fast and furious chuckwagon races recall when cowboys had to break camp quickly and race rivals to get the best location at the next site. For sheer speed, nothing beats the steer wrestling and roping events. Blink

and you’ve missed the action, as it is all over in just three or four seconds. The Calgary Stampede is a giant party which takes over the city. Many malls and communities put on free breakfasts. The 193-acre Stampede Park also features a funfair, shops and food stalls, a nightly Grandstand show and plenty of live entertainment. Downtown Calgary has parades, dances, entertainment, old-fashioned gunfights and even a hat stomp contest as well as wagon rides through city streets. There are cowboys and cowgirls strutting their stuff everywhere in Calgary. The most eye-catching outfits are worn by “Buckle Bunnies”, young ladies who sport massive belt buckles, micro-skirts and little else. The Stampede Queen and Stampede Princesses have their own distinctive silver buckles.  The 2012 Calgary Stampede runs from July 6-15. www.cs.calgarystampede.com  Bull riding at Calgary Stampede

Visit Alberta’s Badlands to see Dinosaur Provincial Park and visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (www.tyrrellmuseum.com), of the world’s largest displays of complete dinosaur skeletons. Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest, most visited and most famous national park and came about thanks to the chance discovery of hot springs in a mountain cave by three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains in 1883. Together with neighbouring Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay national parks and three British Columbia provincial parks, it forms the Canadian Rocky Mountains Parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. It is a landscape of towering mountains reflected in exquisite blue lakes, of tumbling glaciers and icefields and of lush, forested valleys and pretty alpine meadows. The park attracts over five million visitors annually, thanks to easy road and rail access. The railway’s arrival linked it with the rest of Canada and inspired two Rockies icons – the turreted Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, built in 1888 to resemble a Scottish baronial castle, and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Both enjoy picturepostcard settings, the chateau’s romantic views across Lake Louise to Victoria Glacier perhaps just shading it. There is boating on the lake plus hiking in the surrounding mountains and nearby Moraine Lake. In winter, the area is a haven for skiers, notably Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. When the snow melts, Sunshine Meadows’ high alpine trails become a hikers’ paradise. For more highs, savour the sweeping vista of Banff and the Bow Valley from the Sulphur Mountain Gondola or ride the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola and join a guided nature walk. I took part in a bear-spotting ramble led by a ranger on my last visit. You can ride horses in the mountains and canoe on the Bow River, far from the madding tourist crowds yet just minutes from town. A gentle paddle to Vermillion Lakes reveals a glorious view of Mount Rundle. Drive back at sunset for stunning reflections of pink-tinged mountain tops. But mind the mozzies; they attack in squadrons, underlined by the 50-plus bites on my back.

Peter Ellegard

heritage towns

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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Beyond Lake Louise, you can take a cruise on Jasper’s turquoise Maligne Lake. En route, ride a special Snocoach bus on a three-mile excursion up the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper’s Columbia Icefield. In Edmonton, the sprawling West Edmonton Mall (www.wem.ca) not only offers over 800 stores, but also has a water park, the world’s second-largest indoor amusement park complete with seven thrill rides, and a sea lion habitat along with an adjacent themed hotel. British Columbia brims with superlatives: rivers deep, mountains high, cascading waterfalls, ancient

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GettingtoknowTLMwinter12v1pp06-12_T&L 18/01/2012 22:17 Page 11

Peter Ellegard

getting to know Western Canada

 Horse-drawn carriage passing Victoria’s Parliament Building

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cable car up to the peak, but it was a lovely day back in the village and my companions and I sat in shirtsleeves as they helped me celebrate the occasion. Once the snow has gone, you can enjoy hiking on mountain trails, rent a mountain bike or ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola which links the summits of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

totem poles Thrill-seekers can hurl themselves down Whistler’s Ziptrek (www.ziptrek.com/whistler-canada) zipwire or go bungee jumping over a white-water river. Bears are often seen around Whistler, while other wildlife includes bald eagles. Brackendale is famed as the bald eagle capital of the world and nearly 4,000 were counted there on one occasion. The downside is they only visit in winter. The road between Whistler and Vancouver is known as the Sea to Sky Highway. There are several photo stops along the highway. They include Shannon Falls, BC’s third-highest waterfall and scenic rest areas overlooking Howe Sound. At Horseshoe Bay, you can take a ferry over to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. From there, it is 90 minutes to Victoria, with Duncan (for its 80 totem poles) and Chemainus (murals and statues) worth stopping off for on the way. British Columbia’s elegant capital is a delight, its bustling Inner Harbour overlooked by the stately provincial Parliament Buildings. Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city then savour the early-evening atmosphere on foot. The mild climate is the reason behind the exotic

“There really isn’t anywhere that beats these two natural and spectacular neighbours”  Totem pole in Stanley Park, Vancouver

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Tourism Vancouver

moss-draped rainforests and Canada’s only desert among them. The Kootenay Rockies region is rich in attractions and activities. There are heritage towns such as Bavarian-flavoured Kimberley, ghost towns and restored 1890s pioneer town Fort Steele (www.fortsteele.ca). You can explore the region’s four national parks – Glacier, Kootenay, Mt Revelstoke and Yoho – or get a close encounter of the furred kind at the world’s largest grizzly bear habitat at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Other activities to indulge in include hiking, mountain biking and whitewater kayaking. Half-way between Vancouver and the Rockies, the Thompson Okanagan region makes a good place to stop off for a few days to relax. The region’s landscape encompasses an amazing variety and contrasts, with everything from lakes and gentle, rolling hills to lofty mountains and from lush orchards and vineyards to arid desert; this is where the Sonora Desert reaches right up into Canada. It also takes in alpine resort Sun Peaks. Whistler is a year-round mountain playground dominated by its twin peaks, with plenty to do by day, including four top golf courses, and lots of restaurants, bars and stylish shops in the resort. It hosted the downhill ski races and bobsleigh events in the 2010 Winter Olympics. I was lucky enough to fly in to Whistler’s lake on a vintage Beaver floatplane as a birthday treat some years back, having taken off from Vancouver Harbour. Although mid-May, snowboarders were enjoying some late spring snow on the mountain top when we took the

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getting to know Western Canada

 Vancouver’s Granville Island

when to go

Tourism Vancouver/John Sinal

Western Canada has a similar summer climate to that of the UK although parts of interior British Columbia enjoy hot summer days. The west coast is prone to some rain, but May-September will suit most for touring the country by car, coach or train. Ski the Rockies resorts or Whistler in BC from November through until early May.

 Yoho National Park, BC

Tourism British Columbia/JF Bergeron

western canada facts

getting there Air Canada (www.aircanada.com) flies daily from London Heathrow to Vancouver and Calgary year round and daily to Edmonton from April. Connecting flights to smaller interior airports are served by Air Canada Jazz. British Airways (www.ba.com) has daily flights to Calgary and Vancouver while Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) will fly to Vancouver four times a week from May-October. Canadian Affair (www.canadianaffair.com) has regular charter flights to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary from May to October.

floral displays of 55-acre Butchart Gardens, a popular attraction. The city itself blossoms with plants and flowers, and it is the only place in Canada where palm trees grow. You can also take a boat trip from Victoria to see killer whales, otherwise known as orcas. There is a resident pod of about 80 which lives in its waters. Vancouver Island’s rugged Pacific coast is a long trek from Victoria but is worth it for its natural splendour. The road from Nanaimo to Tofino is one of the most spectacular in the world and goes through towering, oldgrowth forests and through the stunning Pacific Rim National Park.

getting around Canada’s roads make for easy driving and fly-drive holidays are the most popular offered by the tour operators below. You can also rent motorhomes or take an escorted coach tour. Brewster Tours (www.brewster.ca) operates coach sightseeing tours through the Rockies while the Rocky Mountaineer (www.rockymountaineer.com) scenic daylight rail journey has various routes through the Rockies to Vancouver and Whistler.

Lively downtown

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tour operators Operators offering Canada include Bridge & Wickers (www.bridgeandwickers.co.uk), 1st Class Holidays (www.1stclassholidays.com), Canada4U (www.canada4u.co.uk), Frontier Canada (www.frontier-canada.co.uk), Prestige Holidays (www.prestigeholidays.co.uk), Audley Travel (www.audleytravel.com), Tailor Made Travel (www.tailor-made.co.uk) and Thomas Cook Holidays (www.thomascook.com).  Brewster Ice Explorer Travel Alberta

Vancouver enjoys a stunning peninsula setting flanked by mountains and sea. It pulsates with a lively downtown full of shops, restaurants and bars, a large Chinatown and the funky Gastown and Granville Island districts. Stanley Park is one of the most popular places for locals and visitors. A 1,000-acre forested park, it is Vancouver’s green lungs with wooded trails and a perimeter path offering joggers, walkers and cyclists a sweeping vista of downtown from across the water. A favourite stopping off point is the display of totem poles at Brockton Point while other attractions include the Vancouver Aquarium (www.vanaqua.org), which has beluga whales, sharks, sea lions and otters among its 60,000 marine creatures. Stanley Park’s totem poles are new, but you can see many excellent surviving examples of north-west coast First Nations totem poles at the Museum of Anthropology (www.moa.ubc.ca) Across Lions Gate Bridge on the North Shore are Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, both popular summer excursions. In summer, Vancouverites head to the coast to picnic, sunbathe or play. A favourite spot is English Bay Beach, where the annual Celebration of Light fireworks competition lights up the skies at the end of July. From Sunset Beach, another popular summer hangout, you can take a water bus resembling an overgrown bath-

tourist information Tourism British Columbia: http://uk.britishcolumbia.travel Travel Alberta: http://remembertobreathe.com Canadian Tourism Commission: http://uk.canada.travel

tub toy across to Granville Island to browse the public market and boutique shops and take a guided tour of Granville Island Brewing, Canada’s oldest microbrewery. Vancouver is actually my favourite city in the world and one I never tire of visiting, with its laid-back, outdoors lifestyle and a natural wonderland right on its doorstep. Like Calgary, it, too has hosted the world’s top winter athletes for an Olympiad. Unlike Calgary, I haven’t found somewhere high there to throw myself off.

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Thinking of CANADA Then you need to look no further — with over 30 years experience of the destination CANADA 4U will offer advice on all aspects and help tailor the holiday to your own personal requirements.

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Winter 2011/12

Contact your own personal consultant NOW on 01502 565648 to help you plan your special holiday.

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Discovering Dublin on a pub crawl punctured by readings from its literary greats is one of the delights that makes the city such a unique place to visit. But, as Dave Richardson explains, you shouldn’t just go by the book

n The Literary Pub Crawl leaders outside the Duke Pub, Duke Street

A novel experience

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n Dublin you have to expect the unexpected, and that’s exactly what happened when I went on the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. Professional actors were taking us from pub to pub where Ireland’s literary greats spent a lot of their time, pausing outside each one to give a reading from Yeats, Bernard Shaw, Beckett, Behan or Joyce. One was dressed as a

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tramp, but as time went by I realised he wasn’t an actor but a genuine man of the streets. He knew his stuff, too – and went away full of the black stuff and with coins jingling in his pocket. Being able to combine a love of literature with a love of traditional pubs is one of many reasons drawing me back to Dublin, as here famous writers were and are part

n Halfpenny Bridge Photo: Tourism Ireland/Holger Leue

Winter 2011/2012

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escape to  dublin

of everyday life rather than an elite living in ivory towers. You can even visit the real tower in the opening of James Joyce’s Ulysses – without doubt the most lauded but least read novel of all time. Dublin is a place which you feel, as much as see – and many people’s fondest memories are of a particular moment when the atmosphere seeps through, rather than of a particular sight. You could certainly spend a week sightseeing here, yet it doesn’t have one stand-out attraction to compete with Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building.

Tourism Ireland/Tony Pleavin

walking

 Trinity College

on the write track First step in discovering Dublin’s rich literary tradition is to visit the Writers Museum (www.writersmuseum.com) where Swift, Sheridan, Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, Beckett and Joyce line up alongside more recent authors such as Christy Brown. Then take a DART train to Sandycove for the James Joyce Museum, in a Martello Tower built to withstand Napoleon. End the day with the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (www.dublinpubcrawl.com), which

departs from the Duke pub off Grafton Street (nightly year-round, Thursdays to Sundays from December to March). If you’re feeling up to it the next day, head for the George Bernard Shaw Birthplace (www.visitdublin.com) and the James Joyce Centre in the city (www.jamesjoyce.ie). Time a visit to include June 16 and you can re-enact Ulysses on the annual Bloomsday celebrations. There are lots more wordy ideas on Dublin Tourism’s website.

It’s a great city for walking, with most of the atmosphere and major sights within a one-mile radius of O’Connell Bridge. Look north towards the General Post Office, which still has bullet holes from Ireland’s liberation struggle, and the Parnell Monument (both O’Connell and Parnell were heroes of the independence movement). To the south are the genteel Georgian districts around St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square, and Grafton Street, the main shopping hub. To the west are the quays where riverside trade once flourished on the “Whiffy Liffey”. The river doesn’t smell bad any longer, but some of the streets of the Temple Bar district certainly do, as this is where young people flock for a night out. To the east is Docklands, where some of the many modern buildings that went up during Ireland’s financial boom now lie empty in the teeth of the economic crisis. Don’t let the crisis put you off. Visitors are welcomed all the more, and prices in pubs, restaurants and shops are more competitive than a few years ago. But as the Irish Republic is part of the Eurozone, British visitors will find the pound doesn’t go as far as they might wish. The choice of dining is now very eclectic, but look for set menus to save money. So what do visitors most enjoy in Dublin? According to the Dublin Pass, a pint and a prayer. The most popular attractions are the Guinness Storehouse, Old Jameson Distillery, Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral, with 43% of pass users visiting both a brewery and a cathedral. The Guinness Storehouse (www.guinness-storehouse.com) is where you can learn about and sample Ireland’s most famous export. Whiskey is no longer made at the Old Jameson Distillery (www.tours.jamesonwhiskey.com), but you can sample it before a “Shindig Evening” with a tour, tasting, four-course meal and traditional music and dancing.

fun element

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 Visitors dress up for a reading at the Joyce Museum

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St Patrick’s (www.stpatrickscathedral.ie) honours Ireland’s national saint, with Christ Church (www.cccdub.ie) reminding us that Ireland has Protestant as well as Roman Catholic traditions. Dublin’s main attractions might be historical and cultural (with a range of national museums including archaeology, natural history and art), but the fun element is never far away. If you’re travelling with children, then there are lots of family-friendly things to do, including Viking-themed

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 St Patrick’s Day Festival

Tourism Ireland

 Drinkers at the Gravity Bar, Guinness Storehouse

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10 things to do in dublin  Take the hop-on, hop-off bus around Dublin to get your bearings (www.loveireland.com).  See the ancient Book of Kells in Trinity College (www.bookofkells.ie).  Brush up on the saint at St Patrick’s Cathedral (www.stpatrickscathedral.ie).  Take the DART to Howth for a seafood lunch by the sea.  Walk off your lunch in Phoenix Park (www.phoenixpark.ie).  Hear about the Vikings at Dublinia (www.dublinia.ie).  Visit the Guinness Storehouse (www.guinnessstorehouse.com).  Enjoy afternoon tea at historic Bewleys Coffee Shop (www.bewleys.com).

 St Patrick’s Cathedral

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Dublinia (www.dublinia.ie) and Dublin Zoo (www.dublinzoo.ie), situated in Phoenix Park, the city’s historic piece of greenery. I can never visit the park without thinking of the raucous Dubliners song, Zoological Gardens, telling of the antics of a honeymoon couple. Dublin has a fine musical heritage, and you can find traditional music all over the city. The Traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl (www.gogartys.ie) could be a good way to start, but to find your own way round see the website www.dublinsessions.ie that lists all types of

 See a show at Abbey Theatre (www.abbeytheatre.ie).  Take a day trip by train to Cork, Galway or Kilkenny.

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Tourism Ireland

escape to  dublin

 Doheny & Nesbitts

dublin facts when to go Any time is good, but spring and autumn are not as crowded as in summer.

getting there

contemporary music. Dublin has produced some great names in rock and pop too, and the Rock’n’Stroll walking trail highlights places where U2, Bob Geldof, Sinead O’Connor and The Corrs made their names. Dublin’s love of a party extends to many special events, but remember to book travel and accommodation well in advance, especially when rugby internationals are played at the Aviva Stadium (the old Lansdowne Road). The Jameson International Film Festival is from February 16-26 this year, and St Patrick’s Festival from March 16-19. A gay festival takes to the streets from June 16-26, and the Tall Ships are in town on August 23.

You can fly to Dublin from most airports in Britain with scheduled routes. The main carriers are Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) and Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com), with Aer Arann  Sweet Molly Malone (www.aerarann.com) operating some regional services. Ferry services to Dublin Port are operated by Stena Line (www.stenaline.co.uk) and Irish Ferries (www.irishferries.com) from Holyhead, and by P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com) from Liverpool. Stena Line also operates the HSS fast ferry from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire, seven miles from the city centre.

Tourism Ireland

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 Posing with a statue of Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott

beyond dublin tour operators

There’s more than enough to keep you within the city limits, but Dublin is also close to some lovely coastline and countryside. The DART suburban rail network reaches seaside towns including Howth and Bray, and the Wicklow Mountains make an easy day trip by road. I’ll finish where I started, with a few more words about Dublin’s pubs. The Irish pub has been exported worldwide complete with off-the-shelf artefacts, but in Dublin you will enjoy the real thing. I won’t be giving away any secrets by naming McDaid’s, Mulligan’s and the Palace Bar as among my favourites, so if the barman asks, do say I sent you…

Dublin is a mainly tailor-made destination these days, with a vast choice of airlines and hotels. Thomas Cook (www.thomascook.com) has a lead-in price for three nights in March from £129 per person twin-share at the Croke Park Hotel, including Aer Lingus flights from Gatwick. Upmarket Kirker Holidays (www.kirkerholidays.com) quotes from £628 for three nights at the deluxe Merrion Hotel, including private car transfers.

getting around In addition to bus routes, Dublin has the DART coastal rail system and LUAS tramway, which has two lines. The three-day Freedom Ticket covers regular and airport bus routes, and the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing service (26 euros).

Ever since he became a travel journalist more than 30 years ago, Dave Richardson has called Dublin and its pubs a second home.

Tourism Ireland

dublin pass Covering over 30 attractions and 20 special offers, it costs 35 euros for one  The day, 55 euros for two days, 65 euros statue of for three days and 95 euros for six James Joyce days (www.dublinpass.ie).

tourist information

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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 The DART skirts Dublin Bay

Dublin Tourism: www.visitdublin.com

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has contributed much to Irish life throughout its long history (it was founded in 1191). Jonathan Swift was Dean of Saint Patrick’s from 1713-1745, during which time he expressed his “savage indignation” at the appalling social conditions in Ireland, and wrote his masterpiece Gulliver’s travels. He also was Dean when Handel’s Messiah received its first performance in 1742 sung by the combined choirs of Saint Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals. A permanent exhibition interprets and compliments this unique 13th century gothic building, which serves both as a fascinating place to visit and a dynamic place of worship. Check www.stpatrickscathedral.ie for more information

Winter 2011/12

Opening Times for Visitors Daily 9.00-17.00, Sunday 9.00-10.30, 12.30-14.30 (16.30-18.00 March-October) Admission Rates: €5.50 Adult, €4.50 Concession €15 family (two adults, two children) OPEN DAILY FOR VISITING For information call (0)1 453 9472 office or (0)1 475 4817 • Fax: (0)1 454 6374 Email: tours@stpatrickscathedral.ie

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uk uncovered britain’s world heritage sites

World of

VisitBritain/Britainonview

wonders  See the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

 Edinburgh is overlooked by its majestic castle

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VisitLondonImages/Pawel Libera

VisitBritain/Britainonview

Whether it’s the might of William the Conqueror’s Tower of London and Edward I’s “Iron Ring” castles, the industrial legacy of tin and coal mines, ironworks and mills, or natural wonders such as the Giant’s Causeway and Jurassic Coast, Britain has a wealth of world-class heritage. John Law examines our UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 Gates of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

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Visit Britain/Britain on View

uk uncovered britain’s world heritage sites

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hey range from ancient castles and cathedrals to powerhouses of the industrial revolution – and landscapes to take your breath away. Britain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites stretch from the remote islands of the Outer Hebrides to the mining communities of Cornwall and West Devon. Chosen under a 1972 convention for the protection and conservation of natural and cultural heritage, each has been chosen for its “outstanding universal value”. The UK’s first seven sites were listed in 1986 and we currently have 25 locations guaranteed to lift the spirits or give a fascinating insight into our history.

london and the south east If you’re seeking the Crown Jewels of Britain’s historic attractions – literally – head for the Tower of London (www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon). Having been built by William the Conqueror to protect London and assert his power, this iconic castle has remained part of royal history for nearly 1,000 years. The Tower is one of the country’s most-visited tourist attractions, attracting 2.4 million people last year. This Easter sees the new re-presentation of the Crown Jewels opening in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Maritime Greenwich (www.greenwichwhs.org.uk) has lots of historical interest, including Wren’s Old Royal Naval College and Inigo Jones’s elegant Queen’s House and Royal Observatory. The Victorian clipper Cutty Sark re-opens after a five-year restoration and Greenwich celebrates its new royal borough status with festivals and events in June to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. At the National Maritime Museum, historian David Starkey curates a major new exhibition tracing royal links with the Thames. In the summer, 20 tall ships will make scenic trips along

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the river in the Sail Royal Greenwich event. The Olympics figure prominently, with Greenwich Park hosting equestrian competitions and the O2 Arena staging basketball and gymnastics. Enjoy some flower power at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (www.kew.org), where stressed-out escapees from central London can find an oasis of calm only a few miles west. There are 300 acres of gardens, shady ancient trees and a jungle in the Palm House. Get a treetop view of nature while swaying along the canopy-level walkway. Westminster Abbey (www.westminster-abbey.org) has staged every coronation since William the Conqueror. Lesser mortals can view the graves and memorials of numerous Great Britons – from Chaucer to Dickens – and the spectacular fan-vaulted Lady Chapel is regarded as the last great masterpiece of English medieval architecture. Another awe-inspiring church can be found in Kent. Canterbury Cathedral (www.canterbury-cathedral.org) has been a place of pilgrimage since the 12th century and today’s visitors can see the spot where Thomas Becket was brutally murdered, the ancient crypt, vivid stained glass and the tomb of Henry IV.

VisitBritain/Britainonview

 Awe-inspiring: Canterbury Cathedral

 Palm House at Kew Gardens

central england and the midlands The birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace (www.blenheimpalace.com) is a perfectly preserved 18th-century stately home set in a 2,100-acre park designed by Capability Brown. This striking example of English baroque extravagance near Oxford offers glorious gardens and artistic treasures to discover. Smoke and fire first roared from its blast furnaces 300 years ago, turning Ironbridge Gorge (www.ironbridge.org.uk) into the country’s first major

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VisitBritain/Martin Brent

uk uncovered britain’s world heritage sites

VisitBritain

 Stonehenge has stood for 50,000 years

 Dorset’s Durdle Door

iron-making centre and heralding the start of the Industrial Revolution. Museums reflect the lives of people who worked there from the early 1700s through to Victorian times. You can learn about early iron production, explore the Tar Tunnel – a source of natural bitumen – and factories producing Coalport china and decorative ceramic tiles. At Blists Hill, a Victorian town, you can meet costumed characters in the stores and workshops, see pills prepared in the pharmacy, hear gruesome tales at the dentist’s chair, and enjoy a pint in the pub. A £13 million redevelopment scheme completed last year has given Blists Hill a new visitor centre, a new Victorian street, an Artisans’ Corner and Clay Mine Railway. An interactive design and technology centre called Enginuity has also opened and special London 2012 celebrations will include a digital art exhibition and Olympic Torch Relay. Derbyshire’s Derwent Valley Mills (www.derwentvalleymills.org) is home to a series of 18th and 19th century cotton mills and the area is now an industrial landscape of high historical and technological interest.

did you know?

 New building development nearby could endanger the World Heritage listings of the Tower of London, Westminster Palace and Liverpool’s port area, reveals the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.  Italy and Spain have the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with 47 and 43 respectively. With 25 locations, the UK is slightly ahead of the Russian Federation (24) and the USA (21).  In the 1940s, there were plans to demolish Shropshire’s famous Iron Bridge and sell it for scrap. These were revisited in the late-60s and early-70s when a new river crossing was considered. Fortunately the bridge was saved and is now under the protection of English Heritage.  Something to consider next time the South Africans beat England at rugby: it was Cornish miners who introduced them to the sport!

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

the south west With its Roman Baths, medieval Abbey and grand Georgian architecture, the City of Bath (www.visitbath.co.uk) has plenty to fascinate those with an interest in the past. The Romans discovered a natural hot spring here and built a magnificent Temple and bathing establishment. Today’s visitors can tour remains that are remarkably complete and take tea afterwards in the genteel surroundings of the 18th century Pump Room. Bath’s beautiful Georgian heritage is evident elsewhere in its sweeping crescents and elegant buildings. Gems include the Royal Crescent, Theatre Royal, and The Assembly Rooms. Nobody’s certain how they got there, but the stones at Stonehenge (www.english-heritage.org.uk) have been around for 50,000 years and form the world’s most famous megalithic monument. The jury is still out on whether Wiltshire’s great edifices were a place of ritual sacrifice, sun worship – or a massive calendar. The best way to enjoy the dramatic 95 miles of the Dorset and East Devon coastline (www.jurassiccoast.com) is on foot. Better known as the Jurassic Coast, it provides trekkers with spectacular scenery and a geological “walk through time” spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The firstever location to be inscribed as a “natural” World Heritage Site, the coastline reveals 185 million years of the Earth’s history. Pick up your hard hats and torches and scramble down the dark and cramped shafts where Victorian miners once toiled. Set on dramatic cliffs 10 miles from St Ives, Geevor Tin Mine is one of 10 heritage sites forming the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (www.cornish-mining.org.uk). At Geevor you can visit the mine and its museum and learn about mineral panning. Elsewhere, visitors can

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discover other mines, foundries, towns, ports and harbours set in glorious surroundings. Major recent investment has improved the attractions and a new audio trail, with commentaries by ex-miners and historians, is available for smartphones.

wales It was hard graft in the coal mines and ironworks of South Wales. Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (www.cadw.wales.gov.uk) offers a range of free attractions, headed by Big Pit: National Coal Museum where you descend 300ft underground to witness the sights, sounds and smells of life from Victorian times until the mine’s closure in 1980. Blaenavon Ironworks features the world’s best-preserved early blast furnaces. Find out about the region’s history at Blaenavon’s World Heritage Centre before taking a tour of the town, with its cottages for colliery and ironworkers, and grand Victorian Workmen’s Hall. The town celebrates the cultural Olympiad in June with music, dance, drama and a carnival. If you’re seeking well-preserved fortresses on a grand scale, head for Gwynedd. The four Castles of King Edward I (www.cadw.wales.gov.uk) are fine examples of medieval military architecture, built as an “Iron Ring” to pacify the Welsh. All four are staging cultural Olympiad events this summer. Caernarfon and Harlech are hosting exhibitions and performances, and Beaumaris a Medieval Fantasy of music, dance and food. Harlech is opening a new visitor centre. It’s an exhilarating experience to take a canal boat or simply stroll over the top of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (www.pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk) in North Wales. Britain’s newest World Heritage Site – it was signed up in 2009 – is the country’s longest and highest aqueduct, towering 126ft above the River Dee. The 200-year-old engineering marvel is considered Thomas Telford’s masterpiece.

northern england Lose yourself in the atmospheric dark passageways and winding staircases of Britain’s largest monastic ruins at Yorkshire’s Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

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(www.fountainsabbey.org.uk). Founded in 1132, the abbey thrived until Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries and it now stands uninhabited save for a colony of bats. Visitors to this enchanting spot can also explore the 18th century water gardens and Jacobean mansion Fountains Hall. The “model village” of Saltaire (www.saltairevillage.info) in West Yorkshire is a complete and well-preserved industrial centre. Built by Sir Titus Salt in 1876, the village is an important part of the country’s industrial heritage. UNESCO recognises Liverpool, Maritime Mercantile City (www.liverpoolworldheritage.com) as a supreme example of a British port at the time of this country’s greatest global influence. The area’s big attractions include the towering Liver Building, Albert Dock, the Mersey ferry, World Museum Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery and Maritime Museum. Durham Castle and Cathedral (www.durhamworldheritagesite.com) date back to Norman times. Considered the largest and finest example of Norman architecture in England, Durham’s

“It’s an exhilarating experience to take a canal boat or simply stroll over the top of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct”

 Vaunted cellarage at Fountains Abbey VisitBritain/Britainonview

VisitBritain/Pawel Libera

 Three Graces viewed from the Mersey Ferry

world heritage site wannabes Ten new UK sites are hoping to achieve World Heritage listing. The Twin Monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow (www.wearmouth-jarrow.org.uk) and Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory (www.darwinatdowne.co.uk) are already being considered by UNESCO and join eight others on the so-called Tentative List. The Anglo-Saxon monastery is based around St Peter’s Church in Wearmouth and St Paul’s in Jarrow, home to the scholar, the Venerable Bede, and a leading centre of learning in the Middle Ages. The site also features Bede’s World, where visitors can tour the Anglo-Saxon farm and discover how the monks lived. Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory comprises the house, gardens and countryside in Kent where Darwin lived and worked for 40 years and where he completed his work on The Origin of Species. The eight other locations are Chatham Dockyard and its Defences, Kent; Cresswell Crags, Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire; England’s Lake District, Cumbria; Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire; Mousa, Old Scatness and Jarlshof, Shetland; Slate Industry of North Wales; The Flow Country, Scotland; and the Forth Bridge (Rail), Scotland.

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UkuncoveredTLmwinter12v1pp20-26_T&L 18/01/2012 19:27 Page 26

 Hadrian’s Wall is Britain’s largest World Heritage Site

scotland and northern ireland

Travel journalist John Law recalls being gob-smacked by the Tower of London as a schoolboy and seeing his own children’s delight on “history trips” years later. He enjoys living in Georgian Bath.

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official bodies UNESCO: http://whc.unesco.org/ Department for Culture, Media and Sport: www.culture.gov.uk VisitBritain: www.visitbritain.com The National Trust: www.nationaltrust.org.uk English Heritage: www.englishheritage.org.uk Cadw: www.cadw.wales.gov.uk National Trust for Scotland: www.nts.org.uk

 Durham

accommodation If the thought of staying overnight at a castle – or even an arsenic mine – appeals, Landmark Trust (www.landmarktrust.org.uk) has an interesting range of historic rental properties handy for World Heritage Sites. More conventional accommodation can be booked through agencies such as Expedia (www.expedia.co.uk) and Superbreak (www.superbreak.com), which have a choice of hotels at many of the locations. Alternatively, you can get a new perspective on your slice of history from a canal boat. Waterways Holidays (www.waterwaysholidays.com) offers waterborne access to the cities of Edinburgh and Bath and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal.

save money Visitors can reduce the cost of enjoying historic or scenic splendour by joining the National Trust or English Heritage, which are responsible for several of the sites. A year’s membership for 2012 respectively costs from £37.88 (joint £62.63, family £66.38) and £46 (joint £80, up to six children under 19 free). The Scottish capital provides the Edinburgh Pass, offering free entry to 30 attractions, special offers and free Airlink airport transfers from £29 (child £18) for one day.  Harlech Castle  Background image: Giant’s Causeway

VisitBritain/BritainonView

The striking contrasts of Edinburgh Old and New Towns (www.edinburgh.org) make it a fascinating city to visit. The famous Castle overlooks the medieval cobbled streets and dark alleyways of the Old Town, while the New Town has elegant Georgian crescents, squares and terraces. New Lanark (www.newlanark.org), near the spectacular Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve, rose to fame in the early 1800s when mill manager Robert Owen transformed life there by abolishing child labour and corporal punishment, and providing decent homes, schooling, free health care and affordable food. Today, you can see the old textile machinery and discover how millworkers lived. There’s a village store and youngsters can dress up in period costume in the 1820s classroom. Those planning a real escape from the rat race should consider St Kilda (www.kilda.org.uk), a group of islands that form the remotest part of the British Isles in the Outer Hebrides. Its exceptional cliffs and sea stacks form the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe. Also out on a limb is the Heart of Neolithic Orkney (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/neolithic-orkney), a remote and beautiful island group with prehistoric monuments pre-dating the Egyptian pyramids. The 5,000-year-old burial mound of Maes Howe is one of the most impressive in Western Europe. The intriguing Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (www.beta.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway) has been shrouded in myth and legend for centuries. Made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea, the Causeway lies at the foot of the cliffs along Northern Ireland’s rugged Antrim coast. A striking new visitor centre opening this summer will allow families to learn about the region’s heritage and participate in conservation work.

world heritage site facts VisitBritain/Co Durham Tourism Partnership

cathedral has recently received £3.5 million of Heritage lottery funding to reveal more of its important collections and hidden architectural wonders. Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Hadrian’s Wall (www.hadrians-wall.org) is the country’s largest and most complex World Heritage Site. Running 150 miles across north and west Cumbria and the North East, it was built by the Emperor Hadrian in AD122. Big investment in visitor improvements over the past four years resulted in more than one million people touring the wall’s forts, sites and museums in 2011. The most-visited Homesteads Roman Fort re-opens in March after refurbishment, while the Queen’s Jubilee will be celebrated by 60 blazing beacons along the wall. Also running the entire length will be an art installation as part of the cultural Olympiad.

VisitBritain/Rod Edwards

uk uncovered britain’s world heritage sites

VisitBritain/BritainonView

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Winter 2011/12

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hit the road taking your car away vs renting

D riven b y you

W

ith th e p ound ral l ying against th e euro, a m otoring h ol id ay on th e C ontinent or in I rel and is a tem p ting p rosp ect f or m any th is year. T h e b ig q uestion is: d o you f l y and rent, or take your own car on a f erry? Peter Ellegard l ooks at th e m erits of b oth

A

motoring holiday in Europe has long been part of the English psyche, conjuring up visions of classic roadsters hugging the sweeping curves of the Cote d’Azur or touring through verdant Alpine valleys. For those venturing across the Channel, or indeed to Ireland or Scandinavia, there has traditionally only been one way to go: pack your car to the brim and take it on a ferry, driving to your destination and stopping off for an overnight break on long journeys. The advent of low-cost airlines and cheap flights to Europe’s cities and beach resorts means that it can now be just as cheap, if not cheaper, to fly direct to your final

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destination and rent a car while you are there. Countering that is the hassle factor of flying and security checks as well as the limited amount of luggage allowed on aircraft, particularly those of budget carriers. Each has its advantages and its downsides, and the final choice will depend on a number of factors. Here is how they weigh up against each other:

driving your own car Whether you are heading off to a French campsite or gite, a log cabin in Scandinavia, B&Bs in Ireland, a parador hotel in Spain or a holiday park in Holland,

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 Ship ahoy – packed and ready to sail away

taking your own car gives you lots of flexibility. One of the biggest advantages is that you can take as much luggage as you like, as there are no restrictions on ferries. Filled up the boot? No problem; just rent or buy a roofbox to give you more space. You can also put a cycle rack on the back of your car so that the whole family can explore the countryside by bike once at the holiday destination. Then there’s the convenience of setting off from your home with everything packed in the car and no need to unpack it until you reach the other end. You can stop at a supermarket, winery or shopping mall and grab bargains to bring back, without the inconven-

Brittany Ferries

 Driving in France

ience of not being allowed liquids as on aircraft. Once on the ferry, you have the freedom to roam the ship and get fresh air instead of being shoehorned into cramped airline seats. The ferry journey itself is also part of the holiday, especially on longer routes such as to Denmark, Normandy, Brittany and Northern Spain. Ferries today are a far cry from the old days of poor onboard facilities and transport café-style food. Now they are havens of comfort, with ensuite cabins, cinemas, night clubs, spas, gyms, bars and shows on longer routes. Most ferries offer a choice of dining, comfortable seating including reclining seats on some services, shopping and play areas. Some boast club lounges to rival those of airports, yet with check-in times from just 30 minutes and no lengthy security queues. Unlike cheap flights where changes can cost more than the original ticket, check-in and travel policies are flexible. Frequent services on short-sea routes give extra peace of mind, knowing that there is another sailing soon after if you miss your intended one. Those in a hurry can book priority loading to ensure they are first on and first off. High-speed catamaran ferries cut crossing times on some routes. If you can’t bear to be parted from your four-legged friends, many ferry operators welcome Fido or Rover if you have got them pet passports under the Government’s Pet Travel Scheme. Flying is not always the cheapest travel option, either. Booking ferry travel early means you can get good-value fares, with travel from as little as £1 per mile between the UK and France for a family of four with a car. National Ferry Fortnight each year brings special advance-booking promotions and last-minute offers. Several ferry companies, among them Brittany Ferries and Irish Ferries, offer ferry-inclusive holidays, with a range of accommodation close to or within easy driving range of ferry ports. And if the thought of crossing the English Channel by sea makes you go green at the gills, you can always opt for the Eurotunnel option, with journeys taking just 35 minutes through the Channel Tunnel on its car-carrying trains.

Brittany Ferries

hit the road taking your car away vs renting

“The ferry journey is also part of the holiday”

 Watch out for offers during National Ferry Fortnight

Discover Ferries

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hit the road taking your car away vs renting

The UK has the seventh-highest petrol prices in Europe and the second-highest diesel prices, according to the AA’s Fuel Price Report for December 2011. In Europe, Spain is the bargain popular holiday destination for drivers, although tiny Luxembourg is Europe’s cheapest for diesel, at the equivalent of 100.47 pence per litre, and Bulgaria is cheapest for unleaded petrol, at 100.04 pence per litre. Norway is the most expensive, at a whopping 152.15 pence per litre for unleaded petrol. Here are fuel prices for selected countries across Europe, with average UK prices:

Fuel prices in Europe Country Austria Belgium Denmark France Germany Netherlands Ireland Luxembourg Spain Sweden

Currency

Local currency per litre Sterling equivalent Unleaded Diesel Unleaded Diesel Euro 1.35 1.37 113.09 114.85 Euro 1.59 1.48 133.15 123.79 Danish Krone 12.16 11.59 136.77 130.36 Euro 1.51 1.44 125.88 120.62 Euro 1.47 1.40 123.12 117.11 Euro 1.68 1.42 140.34 118.78 Euro 1.48 1.47 123.62 122.79 Euro 1.30 1.20 108.50 100.47 Euro 1.29 1.31 107.83 109.50 Swedish Krona 14.03 14.34 130.47 133.35

Source: AA Prices in selected countries as at December 19, 2011

UK fuel prices Unleaded 95 Octane (pence) litres (gallons) UK AVERAGE 132.5 602.4

Diesel (pence) litres (gallons) 141.1 641.45

Source: AA Prices are an average across the UK as at mid-December 2011

Europcar

 Pre-book a satnav with your hire car

fuel’s gold

fly and rent Even with the extra time it now takes at airports, with earlier check-ins and longer security procedures, flying to your destination is generally quicker – much more so if you are going further afield and not just puddle-jumping. If you are heading somewhere that would be a long drive from a coastal port, you will arrive far more refreshed than if you had to sit behind the wheel for several hours, and you won’t have the constant cries of “Are we there yet?” from fractious children. Car rental facilities are generally either on-airport or very close by, so you need only stroll over to the desk and your car is usually just a short walk away and ready to be driven off. Hotels sometimes have rental locations and there are always rental facilities in cities, so you don’t have to jump straight in a car when you arrive at the airport if you don’t want to. You can also rent for just a few days instead of the whole stay, ensuring you are not wasting money with the car sitting idly in a parking lot while you are lazing on a beach. Pre-booking cuts down on the time to process your booking, guarantees you the vehicle of your choice and generally gets you better rates than prices charged inresort. You can also pre-book satnavs and child or baby seats with your car. Holiday Autos sales support manager Stephanie Hills notes: “By pre-booking your car rental you know exactly what the fully inclusive price is and can be sure you

fare’s fair? Price comparison – ferry travel vs flights to Spain Ryanair

Brittany Ferries

Route Flight price Car hire price London-Santander £623.92 £142.31

Route Ferry price Portsmouth-Santander £958.00

Airport parking Total price £80.00 £846.23

Difference in price £111.77

easyjet London-Bilbao

£539.92

£161.11

£80.00

£781.03

Portsmouth-Bilbao

£958.00

£176.97

Source: Brittany Ferries Travel based on family of four, travelling July 2012 (ferry includes standard car) This table comparing the cost of ferry travel to northern Spain with that of flying and renting may look like the flights option is a clear winner. But according to Brittany Ferries, which carried out the study, it does not tell the whole story. The comparison is for a family of two adults and two children travelling for a week’s holiday in late July and includes one night’s accommodation onboard in each direction on the ferry company’s

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Santander and Bilbao routes. A Brittany Ferries spokesman said: “Although this price comparison shows us as being slightly more expensive, it is based on only one bag of less than 20kg per person [on the flights], which is not much for a family. Yet you can pack as much as you want in your own car and save money by taking cool bags of food, etc. Travelling by ferry is, of course, much more relaxing as well!”

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031TLMwinter

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The Great British Escape Isle of Wight getaways for less

Value Holidays from

£140

*

inc. ferry

For a great value 2012 holiday, head to the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel. With beautiful award winning beaches and loads of attractions and activities for                

redfunnel.co.uk/escape 0844 844 2690             


HittheroadTLMwinter12v1_T&L 18/01/2012 20:10 Page 32

hit the road taking your car away vs renting

Breath test kit law Dover ferry operator DFDS Seaways is highlighting the need for drivers to begin carrying disposable breathalysers when they drive in France from this spring. The measures, allowing drivers to test whether they are over the legal limit, are part of a programme to cut the number of road deaths in France, and those caught without a breathalyser in their car will face a 17 euro fine. The ferry company – which formerly operated in the route as Norfolkline – will be offering breathalysers in its onboard shops. Prices are yet to confirmed. DFDS operates up to 12 return sailings a day to Dunkirk. www.dfdsseaways.co.uk

Former cross-Channel ferry operator SeaFrance has gone into liquidation on the orders of the Commercial Court in Paris. An automatic refund process has been set up for all current bookings. Customers with any queries should call 0845 458 0666.

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Alamo+National

driving in europe facts useful websites

 Airport pick-up The AA has a Driving Abroad section on its website (www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas) with information including general tips, driving requirements and compulsory equipment by country. Driving Abroad (www.drivingabroad.co.uk) also lists handy information for driving in different countries. The Passenger Shipping Association’s Discover Ferries website (www.discoverferries.com) details ferry routes, member companies and has lots of other information, including details of National Ferry Fortnight, from March 17-30. Car rental company National has information on driving in 50 countries on its Drive Safe website (www.nationaldrivesafe.com).

car ferry companies Brittany Ferries: www.brittanyferries.com Condor Ferries: www.condorferries.com DFDS Seaways: www.dfds.co.uk Irish Ferries: www.irishferries.com LD Lines: www.ldlines.com P&O Ferries: www.poferries.com Stena Line: www.stenaline.co.uk

car rental companies Alamo: www.alamo.co.uk Avis: www.avis.co.uk Budget: www.budget.co.uk Europcar: www.europcar.co.uk Hertz: www.hertz.co.uk Holiday Autos: www.holidayautos.co.uk National: www.nationalcar.co.uk Sixt: www.sixt.co.uk

Avis

For any long distance driving holiday, be it to the slopes of the Swiss Alps or to the beaches of Southern France, fuel costs and finding space for the whole family’s luggage will be among your concerns. Thule offers the very best solution with its latest range, the Thule Dynamic. Its sleek aerodynamic design actually complements the vehicle it is mounted upon, which in turn minimises unwanted drag and wind noise, leading to greater fuel efficiency. Fitting is simple, thanks to Thule’s new Power Click System, which offers a helpful indicator to ensure the correct fitting tightness. For ease of use, the box will open on either side, and it features a non-slip base mat to help prevent your luggage from moving within the box. The Thule Dynamic is available in two sizes; the 800 offers 420 litres capacity whereas the larger 900 offers 520 litres. Prices start from £649.99 from www.halfords.com For more information on the Thule range, go to www.thule.com.

Condor Ferries

Box clever

 Peace of mind when you rent

 Ferry fast

 Renting in France

Peter Ellegard

MOTORING CLIPS

won’t have to pay any extras for compulsory insurance, taxes etc. You are assured of the car you want, plus you have the full back-up service of a 24-hour helpline.” For families with small cars, opting for a hire car means they can rent a larger vehicle just for the time they need it, knowing the vehicle is fully-maintained and covered by 24-hour road assistance. It also allows them to enjoy their holiday in more comfort than if they had taken their own, smaller car and without the wear and tear such a long journey would have put on it. Conversely, if you are only using the hire car to drive locally and don’t need the extra comfort, you can cut down on cost by renting a much smaller vehicle than your own car. Renting allows you to be an eco-champion on holiday, too, with hybrid and electric cars now featured by several companies. Rental company National has a fleet of 250 compact, all-electric Citroen C-Zero cars in Paris and all main French cities, with rates from 35 euros per day. Many people also use a holiday to treat themselves, renting a convertible or luxury model that they would never drive at home. While in winter, you can rent a 4x4 to cope with the snow and ice in ski resorts.

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033TLMwinter

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 

resort report antalya, turkey

 of the south S ev en d ays i n T urki s h R i v i era g atew ay A ntalya. Peter Ellegard i s yo ur g ui d e

T

 Club Arma restaurant

urkey’s fastest-growing city, Antalya lies on its southern coast in the heart of what is known as the Turkish Riviera, or Turquoise Coast. Cupped between the Taurus Mountains, snow-capped in winter, and the clear waters of the Mediterranean, this beguiling part of Turkey has been attracting visitors for millennia and is said to have been given to Cleopatra as a dowry by Mark Antony, when the Romans ruled the region. While the early visitors – who also included Greeks and, later, Ottomans – were not drawn by aesthetics, in more recent years it has attracted the holidaying masses with its captivating mix of ancient history, culture, and exotic cuisine as well as for its glorious scenery and beaches. With so much to explore, the city of Antalya is very much a destination for those who don’t just want to fly and flop, although for those who prefer to do that it has beaches with hotels alongside. Konyaalti, a pebble beach, is the closest at just 3km west of the city centre, while sandy Lara Beach, 12km to the east, is hemmed in by a pine forest. Many of the hotels there are all-inclusive, with meals and drinks part of the package – something to bear in mind if

you fancy sampling some of the great local cuisine in Antalya’s restaurants or want to  Shop in kick back in some Kaleici of its bars. This is how you can make the most of a week’s stay:

day 1 daytime After a long and tiring journey, you will want to relax and wind down. Once unpacked, you can laze by the hotel pool or on the beach, followed by a gentle stroll to take in the wonderful sea views.

evening Take a taxi to the Mermerli Restaurant (www.mermerlirestaurant.com), at the top of steps leading up from the harbour wall in Kaleici, Antalya’s historic centre. It has one of the best vantage points for a sundowner high up on the cliffs looking out to the mountains across the bay and down to its private beach. Have mezze with your beer or cocktail as you watch the tourist boats cruise back to the harbour, but leave room for dinner. Stroll round the harbour and go for dinner at the Kale Bar Restaurant (tel: +90 242 248 6591), in a pedestri-

 Konyaalti Beach Pictures: Peter Ellegard

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resort report antalya, turkey

anised side street above the harbour. Part of the Tutav Turk Evi hotel, its rooftop patio restaurant has superb views over the harbour and the old Selcuk Quarter, but book in advance to guarantee a table. Choose your fish main course and giant prawns for starters from the iced fish counter, and they take them away to cook them.

day 2 daytime Explore old Kaleici today, perhaps after an iced coffee in one of the cafes perched above the marina by the main Cumhuriyet Square to get your bearings. This fascinating citadel frames the harbour with some of the fortified walls that still partially enclose it. Within the historic centre, you can explore the maze of narrow streets lined by traditional houses, minarets, mosques and shops selling everything from spiced tea powders to belly-dancing outfits, bangles, bags, handicrafts and, of course, carpets. Highlights include the Clock Tower, fluted 13th century Yivli Minaret and adjacent multi-domed mosque, and the well-preserved Hadrian’s Gate, dating back to 130AD. For lunch, have a bite and a beer on the terrace of the Hotel Odile (www.hotelodile.com), with a grandstand view of the adjacent Hirdilik Tower, then walk along the clifftop path through leafy Karaalioglu Park with a glass of freshly-pressed pomegranate juice before returning through Kaleici’s narrow streets, stopping by Ataturk Museum, dedicated to Turkey’s founder.

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ResortReportTLMwinter1v1pp34-38_T&L 18/01/2012 22:48 Page 36

resort report antalya, turkey

(www.rixosroyalspa.com) at the Rixos Downtown hotel (www.rixos.com) in Konyaalti, along with luxury Thai, Bali and Indian massages and other treatments. The wonderful Antalya Museum (www.antalyamuzesi.gov.tr/en) is just around the corner. If you don’t want to immerse yourself in its fascinating displays now, save it for another day.

 Antalya’s harbour and fortified walls

“Explore the maze of narrow streets lined by traditional houses, minarets, mosques and shops”

evening After freshening up at your hotel, and perhaps a quick dip, head back to Kaleici for sunset cocktails and dinner at Club Arma (tel: +90 252 417 2808), one of Antalya’s top restaurants. Dine on its patio with wonderful vistas of the harbour and minaret-crowned old city.

day 3 daytime Your feet will probably be complaining about all the walking yesterday, so give them a treat today. The indolent can just laze by the pool or beach. But the more inquisitive can return to Kaleici’s harbour to take a cruise on one of the numerous gulets moored there. Trips last anything from one to six hours and take in the rocky coastline, caves and waterfalls tumbling into the sea. On your return, pamper yourself even more with a Turkish bath. The historic Sefa Hamam (www.sefahamam.com) is in the Barbaros Quarter of Kaleici and offers a traditional sauna and massage in baths that records show were restored in 1450. If you want a traditional hammam treatment in five-star splendour, that is an option in the palatial Rixos Royal Spa

did you know?  Visitors to Antalya have included Alexander the Great, Cleopatra and Hadrian.  Karain Cave, 30km from Antalya, is the site of Turkey’s oldest settlement and is one of 500 caves in the area.  Antalya is one of the most important nesting grounds for the loggerhead, or Caretta Caretta, turtle.  In March and April, you can ski in the morning at Saklikent, 50km from Antalya, and swim in the sea in the afternoon.  Bellerophon slew mythological fire-breathing monster Chimaera while mounted on his winged horse, Pegasus, at Yarnatas, 80km from Antalya.

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The Turkish Culture & Tourism Office

evening Stay in Konyaalti to chill out in one of the beach-side bars of Konyaalti Beach Park, followed by dinner at 7 Mehmet restaurant (tel: +90 242 238 5200), just above the beach next to the retro-chic Hillside Su Hotel (www.hillsidesu.com).

day 4 daytime Take a magical history tour today, visiting some amazing remnants of Antalya’s past. North-west of the city in the Gulluk Mountains National Park, the ruins of the ancient city of Termessos lie in a beautiful natural setting. East of Antalya, the Pamphylian city of  Perge ruins Perge is among Turkey’s bestpreserved archaeological sites and was a base for Alexander the Great, although most of the ruins are Roman. But the area’s star turn for history buffs is the magnificent Roman amphitheatre at Aspendos, 50km east of Antalya. Part of a site also including aqueducts and temples, it is one of the most imposing structures from ancient history still surviving today and is used for open-air concerts, seating more than 15,000 spectators. Venture further afield, if you want, to visit Antony and Cleopatra’s hangout, Alanya, and the classical city of Side, with its well-preserved Roman theatre and Temple of Apollo, then it’s back to the hotel and some pool time. evening A traditional Turkish meal beckons this evening, and what could be more traditional than kebabs? Feast on the best in Antalya at Ali Haydar (tel: +90 0242 247 6430), a little restaurant tucked away near the city’s stadium. They don’t speak English, but just point to what you want on the menu.

day 5 daytime Antalya’s founder, King Attalos of Pergamum, named it after himself and regarded the region as heaven on earth. Take a leaf out of his book and explore some of the magnificent natural beauty of the area.

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resort report antalya, turkey

antalya facts getting there Direct, non-stop flights are operated by several charter airlines as well as easyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Pegasus (www.flypgs.com). Turkish Airlines (www.thy.com) operates flights to Istanbul with connections on to Antalya.

 Mind the turtles

getting around Use taxis in Antalya, but ensure they have a meter. For longer journeys, you can take taxis (rates to different destinations are often posted on boards by taxi ranks) or cheap dolmus minibuses. Airport transfers and day trips can be arranged through Matrix Travel (www.tourantalya.net). Antalya also has trams and a new Antray light rail line.  Aspendos amphitheatre eat and drink A mezze in a reasonable restaurant costs around £2 and a beer about £2.80. Dinner can range from kebabs at £5 in a no-frills eatery to around £15 for a steak or fish in a classy restaurant. Wine is pricey in restaurants, typically costing £25 or more a bottle.

 Lower Duden Waterfall

To the south-west of Antalya, en route to ancient Olympos, Cerali Beach is a protected area where loggerhead turtles haul up on the beach to lay eggs. Go in September and you may see the hatchlings emerge and scramble to the safety of the sea. Around 10km north of the city, the Upper Duden Waterfall plunges 20 metres into a pool amidst forested splendour, and you can walk behind the cascade. The Lower Duden Waterfall, 8km from Antalya, tumbles over the cliff into the sea just by the road to Lara Beach, and there are viewpoints on the cliff and above the falls.

evening tour operators

Enjoy first-class seafood with amazing sea views at Antalya Balikevi restaurant (Tel: +90 242 323 1823) on the road to Lara.

Holidays are offered by companies including Thomas Cook (www.thomascook.com), Thomson (www.thomson.co.uk), Anatolian Sky (www.anatoliansky.co.uk), Sovereign (www.sovereign.com), Classic Collection (www.classiccollection.co.uk) and Mosaic Holidays (www.mosaicholidays.co.uk).

day 6 daytime Golfers will be chomping at the bit to get out on the fairways of purpose-built tourist resort Belek, around 40 minutes to the east of Antalya. There are now 279 holes of golf at 11 clubs in Belek and you can easily fit in a round with some après-golf refreshments and meal on a day trip. Among the courses to try are the Nick Faldodesigned Cornelia Deluxe (www.corneliagolfresort.com), which has 27 holes, and the Colin Montgomerie-designed Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club (www.montgomeriemaxxroyal.com). Both are excellent tests of golf in beautiful settings amid pine trees and lakes. You can rent golf clubs at both. Rental clubs are also available through Turkish Golf Advisor (www.turkishgolfadvisor.net), although they generally rent clubs by the week. You can arrange transport through Matrix Travel (www.tourantalya.net). Non-golfers can spend the day soaking up the sun.

evening Stay in Belek and grab a steak at Moods restaurant and bar (tel: +90 242 715 3525) before returning to Antalya, while those who never made it past the beach or hotel pool can try the Jolly Joker pub (tel: +90 242 316 7515) in Antalya.

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hotels Antalya hotels include the Rixos Downtown (www.rixos.com), Hillside Su (www.hillsidesu.com), Puding Suite (www.pudingsuite.com), Hotel Odile (www.hotelodile.com) and Hotel Alp  Sundowner Pasa (www.alppasa.com). at Mermerli restaurant

tourist information

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office: www.gototurkey.com

day 7 daytime Today is your final day, so after packing you can squeeze in some last-minute time on the beach to top up that tan. But why not arrange your airport transfer earlier and stop off at the band new TerraCity shopping mall (http://terracity.com.tr/en) en route in Lara? It is not far from the airport and has 150 shops by brands including Burberry, Massimo Dutti and GAP, so you can grab some designer bargains before you board your plane back home.

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competitons foodie weekend + balloon flight

WIN a £350 South West foodie escape he Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is a weekend of culinary delights, celebrating all that is delicious about the South West. Co-founded by two-star Michelin chef, Michael Caines MBE, and now in its ninth year, the festival is being held in Exeter Castle’s landscaped grounds from April 13-15 and offers something for everyone – from dedicated foodies to families:  At the Festival Cookery Theatre, rub shoulders with top chefs including Michael Caines and familiar Masterchef faces.  Enjoy regional food and drink in the food pavilions.  The Food is Fun teepees will feature chefs, artisan food producers, workshops and handson family activities.  Pick up tips in expert masterclasses, enjoy fine dining at gourmet pop-up restaurants, have fun in the children’s area and get advice on herb, vegetable and fruit gardening and BBQ cooking tips in the mini show garden.  Enjoy live music, delicious regional food and real ales at the Festival After Dark events.

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We’ve teamed up with the festival and the Jurys Inn Exeter to offer one lucky reader and partner the chance to win the ultimate foodie escape, with weekend festival passes and two nights at the hotel, including a meal in the restaurant on one night. One of Exeter’s finest hotels, the Jurys Inn Exeter offers great-value, comfortable accommodation in 170 stylish, air-conditioned rooms with large beds, high-speed internet and flatscreen Freeview TVs. The city-centre location is a short walk from Princesshay, Exeter’s newest shopping quarter.

how to enter For your chance to WIN this fantastic South West foodie escape, simply answer the following question: Question: Who co-founded the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink? To enter, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Closing date is February 28, 2012. Terms & conditions apply; see website for details. Visit www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk for latest information on the festival, and www.jurysinn.com for information on the Jurys Inn Exeter.

WIN a Champagne balloon flight for four, worth £800! A balloon ride is a unique way to explore beautiful Britain, from high above the landscape. Now tlm has teamed up with Virgin Balloon Flights to offer you the chance to win this experience of a lifetime, with a Champagne balloon ride for four people. The flights cost £199 per person, so it is a prize with a total value of £796. The adventure includes:  A three to four-hour experience, with around an hour’s flight  Traditional Champagne toast after landing  Certificate signed by your pilot and endorsed by Sir Richard Branson  One of over 100 launch sites across England, Scotland & Wales including sites in all South East counties  18 months to book a flight (flying season is March to October)

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READER OFFER

Question: How many Virgin Balloon Flights launch sites are there across the Britain?

how to enter For your chance to WIN this fabulous prize of balloon flights and Champagne for four, simply answer the following question:

To enter, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Closing date is February 19, 2012. Terms & conditions apply; see website for details.

For a limited time, Virgin Balloon Flights are offering national 7 Day Anytime Plus flight vouchers (RRP £199 per person) for just £139pp – a saving of 30%. Every customer who takes up this offer will also receive a F R E E luxury gift hamper while stocks last. Be quick, this fantastic offer ends on February 26, 2012. Simply call 0844 8448070 or visit the Virgin Balloon Flights website, at www.virginballoonflights.co.uk and quote TLM. Terms and conditions apply.

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seasonal focus valentine’s cities

C ities o f

passion

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ith th e m o st r o m antic d ay in th e calend ar ap p r o ach ing , w h er e in th e w o r ld can y o u w h isk y o u r lo ved o ne o f f to f o r a co sy city b r eak th at w ill m ak e y o u r h ear ts b eat f aster ? I n th e f ir st o f o u r new seaso nal f eatu r e ser ies, Jane Anderson g ives a g u id ed to u r o f so m e o f th e w o r ld ’s sex iest d estinatio ns

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t Valentine’s Day first became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished and writer Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales, championed affairs of the heart. Today February 14 may be somewhat commercialised with teddy bears clutching hearts and inflated prices for a dozen red roses, but it still offers the chance to show your loved one just how much they mean to you. And what better way to do that than whisk them away for a romantic city break?

cities close to home Paris may be an obvious choice when it comes to romance, but it still melts hearts, and you can begin the seduction even before you leave the UK. Treat yourselves to a Victorian-style cocktail in The Booking

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Office bar at the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel before boarding Eurostar to the heart of the French capital. As long as you book well in advance, you can dine at the Eiffel Tower and take a Seine River Cruise. Alternatively take a more avant-garde approach and stroll the Left Bank, stopping in romantic bars; hunt around the many vintage markets and enjoy a classic movie at an old-style cinema like Le Champo in the Latin Quarter. A little bit more left field is the Dutch city of Amsterdam, where lovers can explore the Van Gogh Museum or Stedelikj Modern Art Museum, or browse the boutiques and curiosity shops around Nine Streets (a grid within the canal network). By night, book a dinner cruise by the risqué Supperclub with live DJs and dancing till late. The Italian city of Venice has a history of famous lovers and romantics from Lord Byron, who used to swim down the Grand Canal, to Casanova, who was imprisoned in the Doge’s Palace. For maximum impact,

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seasonal focus valentine’s cities

 Candlelit dinner overlooking the Czech Republic’s Chateau Mcely Czech Tourism

 Romance in Prague

Czech Tourism

arrive by natty water taxi across the lagoon from the airport and up the impossibly-narrow canals to your waterside hotel. There’s uber-romantic dining at Cips, the floating alfresco restaurant at Hotel Cipriani, art galleries galore, glass-making on Murano island and colourful houses and lace-making on Burano, not forgetting the famous gondola rides under the Rialto Bridge. If you’ve seen the Woody Allen movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, or ever been to the magnificent Catalan city of Barcelona, you’ll know this is an exciting city for lovers. Explore the Gothic Quarter, the Museu Picasso and Gaudi’s architecture, go designer shopping and dine late at 7 Portes, one of the oldest in the city.

 Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

love in a cold climate There’s something undeniably seductive about an icy destination. The chance to wrap up warm and explore frozen cities, drink hot toddies and snugPeter Ellegard

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 Lovers can explore Amsterdam’s canals

“There’s something undeniably seductive about an icy destination”

Visit Finland

DFDS Seaways

seasonal focus valentine’s cities

 Helsinki Cathedral in winter

gle up together under reindeer skins at an ice hotel, carved out and constructed from blocks of ice. This winter has been one of the best to view the Northern Lights and Iceland is one of the key places to head for this romantic spectacle. Couples can spend a night or two exploring the capital, Reykjavik, seeing the Imagine Peace Tower cast its geothermally-powered beam of light into the night sky and taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon before heading to Akureyri, the Capital of the North and Lake Myvatn, a geological wonder renowned for its natural beauty. Finland is also far enough north to catch the Aurora

Borealis spectacle and you might just catch a glimpse from its cool capital, Helsinki, where you can spend your days exploring the Kiasmna Museum of Contemporary Art and bargain hunting around the vintage shops and art boutiques of the Design District. Don’t miss a romantic dinner at Olo, a low-key but achingly-stylish restaurant serving Finnish favourites such as reindeer. Russia’s St Petersburg is blanketed in snow in February, making it the perfect city to take a horse-drawn carriage past splendid palaces, majestic cathedrals and frozen canals. Couples must also catch a performance of the Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre and go skating together on one of the many outdoor ice rinks. Montreal is the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec and has a vibrant food and arts scene which lends itself to romantic weekends. Snow lovers should head to Montreal Snow Village, the first of its kind in North America, located in the grounds of St Drapeau Park on St Helene’s Island. It’s made entirely of ice and snow and includes an ice hotel, polar snow igloos, a crystalline wedding chapel (just in case you decide to tie the knot), an ice restaurant, Le Kube Ice Bar and a heated outdoor Spa under the Stars.

 The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland casts a beam into the night sky

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www.arctic-images.com

far-flung romance New York is one of the most glamorous cities in the world, guaranteed to sweep your loved one off their feet. Despite its cutting-edge culture, the Big Apple does oldstyle romance to a tee with horse and carriage rides around Central Park, iconic sights such as the Empire State Building and ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre rink. If you want something more hip, head to the

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 A caleche in Marrakech

boutiques, bars and clubs of the Meatpacking District for a super cool Valentine’s night out. For a transatlantic trip in warmer climes, Miami's another high-octane choice for couples, for the art deco charm and chic clubs and bars of South Beach. Cape Town is another certainty for Valentine’s sunshine, top cuisine and wines. If you’re feeling adventurous you can take the cable car up Table Mountain, site of many a wedding proposal, or hire a car and head off into the Cape Winelands for a romantic toast. And if you’re prepared to travel half way round the world for your love, the Hawaiian city of Honolulu is one of the most romantic on the planet. Located on the main island of Oahu, this is the vibrant epicentre of Hawaii, from the underground bars of the Chinatown arts district to the Hawaii Theatre. It’s also a fabulous jumping off point for a romantic trip round the islands.

Djemaa el Fnaa, is a thousand-year-old carnival with storytellers and soothsayers, acrobats and mint tea-sellers. Its labyrinthine souks offer a blast of exoticism, but the great thing about this city is its many calm and totally-enchanting hideaways, from the Jardin Majorelle, formerly owned by Yves St Laurent to the many stunning riads (small hotels). Couples can also take a caleche (horse and carriage) out to the palmeraie (palm groves) surrounding the city or head out to the Atlas Mountains for a night under the stars. For something further afield, Cuba’s capital Havana

exotic cities The Turkish capital of Istanbul is widely known as the meeting point of East and West, but increasingly it’s where the ancient meets the brand new. The city is seeing an explosion of cutting-edge hotels, bars, boutiques and galleries, all vying for space with its spectacular Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, traditional hammams and Grand Bazaar. Or you can escape the crowds and enjoy the perfect picnic when you take a ferry up the Bosphorus to Anadolu Kavagi. The village is surrounded by wooded hills and there are great views from the Byzantine ruins of Yoros castle. The Moroccan city of Marrakech is another exotic city of romance and intrigue. Its central square, the

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 St Sophia in Istanbul

eRail Travel Ltd

Morrocan Tourist Board

seasonal focus valentine’s cities

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valentine’s getaways facts

 The Las Vegas strip

valentine’s packages

Las Vegas National Tourist Authority

Paris: Fall in love all over again at Le Bristol Hotel, one of the first hotels in Paris to be named a palace. An overnight stay with American breakfast, a treatment for two at the Spa by La Prairie, a glass of Champagne and a Boucheron gift costs from €930 for two in a superior room. www.lebristolparis.com

offers hopeless romantics the chance to travel back in time, with classic American Buiks and Chevvies on the road, perfectly-preserved colonial architecture and Che Guevara billboards. There are happening nightclubs and that famous Havana rum to keep things lively. Or how about a trip to the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, renowned for its hot tango classes and the best steak restaurants in the world?

Montreal Snow Village: Bon Voyage (www.bon-voyage.co.uk,  The Grand 0800 316 3012) offers four-night Valentine’s Canal, Venice breaks to Montreal, including a night at the Snow Village in a polar igloo and three nights at the historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, from £895 per person with flights.  The New York skyline

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Emirates

living the high life There are certain cities which shout out decadence. Edinburgh may still be in the grip of a Scottish winter in February but there are plenty of ways to live the high life – literally. For anyone who’s read David Nicholl’s novel, One Day, climbing Arthur’s Seat could be the start of a big romance with its majestic views of Edinburgh Castle, and the Old and New Towns. There are plenty of top-notch places to wine and dine. Top of the list for many is the extraordinary Witchery by the Castle which also has fabulously gothic rooms or its sister hotel and restaurant, Prestonfield, with its private dining room, the Salon Privee, which has a 100% success rate for marriage proposals. If you’re determined to follow the jetset, a honeymoon jaunt to Monte Carlo could be just the ticket. In this tiny principality of Monaco, you can arrive by helicopter, hang out in the casinos, dine at Michelinstarred restaurants and generally have a blast. Prague is a European city that captures the imagination of couples who revel in the splendour of history. Spend a day in the historic part of Prague and take a romantic cruise on the river Vltava, then enjoy a candlelit dinner overlooking Prague’s glorious skyline, guaranteed to put you in the mood for love. Or you can find your very own fairytale castle, such as the 17th-century Chateau Mcely an hour to the northeast of the capital, with a rejuvenating spa, chic salons, gourmet restaurant and Alchymist Club bar. Spa romantics can indulge themselves in a special Valentine’s Day wellness package with chocolate and honey massages, prepared for guests of the Krivan Hotel in the Western Bohemia spa town of Marianske Lazne. A number of relaxation and wellness stays for couples are also offered in hotels in the town of Luhacovice, in East Moravia. Of course, for a true taste of the high life, Las Vegas is

Archers Direct

Venice: Seasons (www.seasons.co.uk, 01244 202002) offers two nights in a garden view room with balcony and breakfast at Hotel Cipriani, with flights and transfers, from £1,072 per person.

New York: Celebrate Valentine’s Day in New York at the Philippe Stark-designed Hudson Hotel. The hotel has a neomodern design and is home to the Hudson Bar, one of New York’s hottest nightspots. Depart on February 11 with Letsgo2 (www.letsgo2.com, 020 3582 4492) for five nights, room-only, from £689 per person with flights.

Kasbah Tamadot: Head to the ultra-romantic Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains just outside Marrakech, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition group (www.virginlimitededition.com, 0800 716 919). A Valentine’s package costs 2,330 euros per couple for four nights, with daily breakfast and dinner, bottle of Champagne, traditional Hammam spa treatment each and private transfers from Marrakech. Las Vegas: Stay three nights, room-only, at the Palms Casino Resort with Virgin Holidays (www.virginholidays.co.uk, 0844 557 3865) from £865 per person with car hire and flights.

top websites for romance www.mrandmrssmith.com www.i-escape.com www.101honeymoons.co.uk

impossible to beat for overt decadence. Stretched limos, day-time pool parties with top DJs and private cabanas, incredible cuisine, outrageous suites and some of the best shows in the world, from Absinthe to Cirque de Soleil’s La Reve, just spell out high-rolling romance.

 Background picture above: the northern lights Visit Finland

Travel writer Jane Anderson counts romantic journeys as one of her specialist subjects having been travel editor at You & Your Wedding magazine and currently editor of www.101honeymoons.co.uk. She also contributes to Unique Honeymoons magazine.

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on your doorstep south devon

The moor the merrier From its English Riviera resorts and historic ports to the wild beauty of Dartmoor, South Devon has something to captivate everyone – Uncle Tom Cobley and all. Julie Thompson managed to keep her family on-side after a footballing diversion on one of many visits

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 Kite flying on Hay Tor, Dartmoor

should have known it was a mistake, as a footballloving twenty-something, to take my sport-hating mum away in June in a World Cup year. And not just any World Cup year; it was 1986, when England had been knocked out by the “hand of God” goal and Argentina had made it to the final. We checked in to a delightful bed and breakfast in Totnes and I was trying to reach a compromise; enjoy a good dinner in one of the riverside restaurants in the heart of the town, and then feign tiredness to be able to watch the second half of the final on the portable TV in our room. I have to say it worked. I did make up for it for the rest of our stay, too. We enjoyed exploring the ancient market town – reputed to have more listed buildings per head of the population than anywhere else in Britain. We took a boat trip on the River Dart and indulged in a shared passion – shopping – buying some Dartington crystal from the Shops at Dartington (www.dartington.org/shops), part of the nearby Cider Press Centre.

Britainonview/Martin Brent

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on your doorstep south devon

Britainonview/Daniel Bosworth

 Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, in her home town of Torquay

 Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink (www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk): April 13-15, 2012. The South West’s ultimate foodie event includes masterclasses by top celebrity chefs in a celebration of the region’s best food and drink.  Brixham Pirate festival (www.brixhampiratefestival.co.uk): May 5-6, 2012. Now in its third year, events include live music, games, reenactments and a Pirate Party Night.  Geopark Festival (www.englishrivierageopark.org.uk): June 2-10, 2012. Celebrate the geological splendours of the region, including events at the Seashore Centre, Kents Cavern and Torquay Museum.  Dawlish Air Show (www.dawlishairshow.co.uk): June 8, 2012. Dawlish’s dramatic coastline is the perfect setting for a magnificent air display that includes the Red Arrows and Royal Navy helicopter demonstrations.  Kingsbridge Fair Week (www.kingsbridgefairweek.co.uk): July 21-28, 2012. This week-long family entertainment event for all ages dates back to 1461, when a royal charter was given to allow the town to have an annual fair.  Shaldon Water Carnival (www.shaldon-village.co.uk/water_carnival.html): August 4, 2012. For over 50 years, the

village of Shaldon has held its parade of fancy dress floats and multi-coloured boats on the Teign estuary. Torbay Steam Fair (www.torbaysteamfair.com): August 3-5, 2012. See working steam engines, and vintage and classic cars. South Devon crab festival: July 30August 5, 2012. This week-long event takes place throughout South Devon in the first week of August, with events include crabbing competitions, crab cooking demonstrations and special crab menus at a range of local restaurants. The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta (www.dartmouthregatta.co.uk): August 30-September 1, 2012. First held on the River Dart in 1822, becoming the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta in 1856 and is now the second largest regatta after Cowes Week. The Agatha Christie Festival (www.torbay.gov.uk): September 9-16, 2012. A celebration of the life and works of the most published novelist of all time, who was born in Torquay in the late 19th century.

You can WIN a two-night stay in Exeter plus weekend festival passes to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink; see our competition on page 39.

Britainonview

10 south devon events  Dartmouth Castle

Totnes sits in the heart of South Devon between Dartmoor National Park and the coastal towns of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay, known better as the English Riviera resorts. Torquay typifies the traditional British seaside resort, although its sandy beaches, fine dining, water sports and the spectacular natural cave are a world away from the town’s Fawlty Towers portrayal. Neighbouring Brixham is one of the busiest fishing ports in the UK; over 100 fishing boats land and sell their catch at the local fish market on the quayside. Brixham is also home to a full-size replica of Sir Francis Drake’s iconic flagship, the Golden Hind (www.goldenhind.co.uk), on which you can experience life as a sailor in

 Local delicacies Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink

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on your doorstep south devon

 Torquay Harbour Britainonview

rockpooling Make sure you take the 30-minute walk to Berry Head National Nature Reserve, one of the gateways to the English Riviera Global Geopark (www.englishrivierageopark.org.uk), an internationally-acclaimed heritage site with recently-restored Napoleonic War fortifications. Combined with Paignton’s long, sandy beaches, bustling pier and its zoo, one of Britain’s best, as well as the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company (www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk) offering trips from the town, the English Riviera is an ideal, family-friendly holiday destination. Brixham lies within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which also takes in Dartmouth to the east, Salcombe to the south and Wembury on the eastern edge of the region. Wembury’s safe and popular beach, administered by the National Trust, which also runs the nearby Old Mill (www.nationaltrust.org.uk), is perfect for rockpooling and its shallow waters are idyllic for children. One of the first holidays with my eldest son, now 18, was staying in farm accommodation at Wembury with good friends and their two young daughters. We could walk to the beach each day, fishing nets in tow, and happily let the children loose to find us an array of sea urchins and crabs. It was one of the joys of our stay – unlike the cows’ early morning wake-up calls each day. Salcombe, located in the most southerly part

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of Devon, is home to picturesque villages and stunning beaches and its waterside location makes this vibrant town worth a stop on any South Devon itinerary. Dartmouth is one of the prettiest towns in South Devon and has a strong maritime heritage – it was the embarkation point for the first Crusaders’ sailing ships in 1147, bound for the Holy Land, and it has a long association with the Royal Navy – making it a perfect spot if you’re a water sports enthusiast. And to quench your thirst after a long hard day on the water, take a stroll through the delightful cobbled streets to find that perfect pint. In May 2010, a fire tragically destroyed some of Dartmouth’s oldest buildings; however the people of the town rallied round and these historic buildings are now thankfully being restored to their former glory.

 A local pint and pasty

unspoilt The city of Plymouth satisfies even the most ardent townie while still capturing the spirit of South Devon. From its vibrant shopping centre to the historic Barbican, this maritime city’s old port area, with its cobbled streets, Elizabethan warehouses, cafes and restaurants, is a great place to idle away a day or two. Dartmoor National Park’s 368 square miles of unspoilt beauty are the perfect antithesis to the beaches and busy coastal towns. With the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the UK, Dartmoor is ideal for lovers of ancient history. But there is more to this enthralling park than ancient barrows and spectacular scenery. Plenty of outdoor activities are on offer to satisfy even the most hardcore adventure fanatic. There are countless areas for walkers and cyclists to discover but with rivers, dramatic tors and rolling countryside,

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink

days gone by. With the colourful houses lining the waterfront, it is one of the prettiest harbours on the South Devon coast.

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on your doorstep south devon

south devon facts  Boats on the river, Salcombe

First Great Western (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) provides services from London to Plymouth, Exeter and Totnes, among others. By car, the M5 links up with other major motorways with the A379 coast road leading to Dawlish, while the A380 is signposted to Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Torquay and the A38 leads to Totnes and destinations south of Torbay.

getting around

Britainonview

If you are relying on public transport,  The Scorhill Stone Stagecoach Devon Circle, Dartmoor (www.stagecoachbus.com) and First Devon and Cornwall (www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/devon_cornwall) operate services throughout the region and offer a range of rover tickets for multiple journeys. First Great Western (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) also offer a number of rover tickets.

south devon beaches

Visit Devon

 Exmouth

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accommodation A wide range of places to stay, including camp sites, pubs and hotels are available throughout South Devon but, for longer stays, self-catering cottages and houses are ideal. Blue Chip Holidays (www.bluechipholidays.co.uk) has a wide range of cottages and houses, including a former working mill, throughout the region while Coast and Country Cottages (www.coastandcountry.co.uk) has over 425 luxury self-catering holiday properties exclusively in Salcombe, Dartmouth and the surrounding coast and countryside. Traine Farm in Wembury (www.cottageguide.co.uk/traine-cottages) has a number of cottages available for rent.

more information Visit Devon

There are miles of award-winning beaches in the region. Some of the best include:  Blackpool Sands (www.blackpoolsands.co.uk): This Blue Flag beach – highlighted in tlm’s recent 10 of the best – has a distinct Mediterranean feel and is one of the most popular family beaches.  Bigbury on Sea (www.lovingthebeach.co.uk): In an Area of Outstanding Beauty, Bigbury’s most famous landmark is Burgh Island, overlooking the beach itself. The island is accessible at low tide by a causeway linking it to the beach, or you can take a ride on the unique “sea tractor” when the tide is in.  Wembury Beach (www.nationaltrust.org.uk): Wembury’s clear and shallow waters have won an award from the Marine Conservation Society and its rockpools make this a family favourite.  Dawlish Warren (www.dawlishwarren.com): Voted by The Times as one of the “top 10 places by the sea” and nine-time Blue Flag award winner, this 1.5-mile stretch of beach is also one of the most important areas for wildfowl and wading birds in the country.  Teignmouth (www.teignbridge.gov.uk): This long, sandy, traditional family beach, which is overlooked by an impressive Victorian pier, won the Quality Coast Award in 2011.

Britain on View

getting there

 Preston Sands, Paignton

Visit South Devon: www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: www.southdevonaonb.org.uk The English Riviera: www.englishriviera.co.uk

climbing and canoeing are especially popular; you could also take part in the annual Ten Tors race if you were so inclined. More leisurely pastimes include watching the grazing ponies on the village green of picturesque Widecombein-the-Moor, most famous for its fair and Uncle Tom Cobley and all (the character from the traditional folk song, Widecombe Fair, who may or may not be fictional), or just taking in the breathtaking landscape of rolling valleys, bogs and wetlands of the moors. Whether it’s glorious beaches, fascinating maritime history, dramatic landscapes, or a combination of them all you are looking for, South Devon fits the bill. Just make sure you check your dates for important sporting events before you travel, or you could score an own goal.

“Dartmoor National Park…is the perfect antithesis to the beaches and busy coastal towns.” 


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The Spa by OCCO is the first spa operation in Croatia to use home grown natural local ingredients in the range of OCCO amenities and treatments. The OCCO concept offers an authentic and enriching spa experience true to its place and surroundings. All products are naturally formulated and inspired by the unspoiled beauty of The Dalmatian Coast and Adriatic Sea.

SPECIAL SPA OFFER Indulge in a relaxing, three-night accommodation at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens.

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For more information please contact us: T: +385 20 361 901 | E: reservations.dubrovnik@radissonblu.com www.radissonblu.com/resort-dubrovnik


 

competition spanish wine spa break

All pictures: Valbusenda Hotel Resort & Spa

 Valbusenda was a finalist as Hotel Spa of the Year

 Exterior view of the hotel at night

WIN a luxury five-night wine spa break for two in rural Spain – worth over £2,000* Opened in September,  The historic 2010, the five-star town of Toro Valbusenda Hotel Resort & Spa is located in the beautiful Duero River valley in the Toro DO wine region, in the heart of Castile and Leon in north-western Spanish province Zamora. The hotel, a finalist in the 2011 European Hospitality Awards’ Hotel Spa of the Year category, has its own vineyards and winery as well as the region’s first luxury spa.  Valbusenda has its own Valbusenda Spa is an innovative wine spa vineyards trailblazer offering a variety of wine spa treatments, such as wrapping with pomace (crushed grape pulp), wine bathing and body cleansing using grapes, and improving blood circulation by massaging with wine oils. Besides its wine-based treat Local dishes with a new twist ments, the spa pampers guests with a selection of other treatand Elements night club. The resort’s ments and massages. Guests can also enjoy the culinary philosophy is timelessness; there are expertise of chef Santiago no timetables in the restaurant, spa or Vincente in the hotel’s elegant even for check-out, in keeping with its Nube restaurant, which combines motto: “Porque lujo es – tomarse inventive modern cuisine with tiempo” (Because luxury is – to take time). Mediterranean cooking and typical Iberian and Beyond the resort, guests can explore the Zamoran specialities. charming and historic town of Toro, the Valbusenda features 35 spacious rooms and delightful surrounding region and nearby cities suites and also offers a wellness area, fitness Salamanca, Zamora and Valladolid. room with personal pilates and yoga lessons, We have teamed up with the Valbusenda wine cellar, paddle and tennis courts, outdoor Hotel Resort & Spa to offer the chance to win swimming pool, and the Valbusenda Lounge a fabulous five-night stay for two in a

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Premium double room with breakfast. The prize is valid until the end of March, 2012 and includes a welcome drink, one three-course dinner for two, return flights (to the value of 100 euros per person – or an additional fourcourse lunch or dinner for two as an alternative), transfers to and from Madrid Airport (or free valet parking and a bottle of Champagne with snacks on arrival if the winner chooses to rent a car at the airport), free internet and a tour of the resort’s own winery. It is a prize worth over 2,500 euros.

how to enter For a chance to win this fantastic five-night spa break for two people, simply answer the following question: Question: Where is the five-star Valbusenda Hotel Resort & Spa situated? a) In the south of Spain b) In east of Spain c) In the north-west of Spain To enter, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Closing date is February 28, 2011. Terms & conditions apply; see website for details. For more information on the Valbusenda Hotel Resort & Spa, go to www.valbusenda.com. * Equivalent value in sterling as at January 2012

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travel f are paella & valencia, spain

Rice and shine

 There are many types of paella

origins Founded by the Romans, Valencia was under Muslim rule from 714 until 1238. It was the Moors who introduced rice from North Africa, cultivating the flat coastal plain. Today, almost one-third of all rice produced in Spain comes from around Valencia. Paella was originally a peasants’ dish, made by farmers and labourers with whatever ingredients they had to hand and eaten straight from the pan. The name actually refers to the pan – la paella – rather than the food itself.

the dish Most people would probably associate paella with seafood. Yet the traditional Paella Valenciana has no seafood in it at all. A type of stew cooked with dry rice and including green beans and garrofon (butter beans), it uses chicken, rabbit and snails as ingredients. Today, there are many types of paella. A lunchtime dish, it should take up to 35 minutes to cook and will usually be for a minimum of two people.

valencia facts getting there: Direct flights are operated by several low-cost airlines.

Carmen. Buy local produce in the Central Market and trace the area’s rice history in the Rice Museum, set in an old rice mill (www.museoarrozvalencia.com).

where to eat paella in Valencia tourist card: The Valencia Tourist Card offers free public transport within the city, including to the airport, and discounts for attractions and restaurants. Buy online at www.valenciatouristcard.com.

 Valencia

Peter Ellegard

P

aella is one of Spain’s most iconic foods. This rice-based dish is inextricably linked to south-eastern port city Valencia. It is a meal family groups enjoy in restaurants, at home and cooked in the open on picnics. Traditionally men cook the paella over an open fire, similar to barbecues in the UK, and giant paella dishes often form the centrepiece of fiestas.

Valencia Tourism

In the first of our series on famous dishes and their origin, we focus on Spanish favourite paella and the city of Valencia

restaurant week: Begun in 2009, this annual event held each November involves over 60 restaurants, with lunch costing just 20 euros and dinner 30 euros. www.vlcrestaurantweek.com

Valencia has more than 8,000 bars, cafes and restaurants. For some of the best paella in and around the city, try one of these restaurants:  La Pepica (www.lapepica.com): Founded in 1898, this restaurant by the beach has played host to such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Orson Wells, Antonio Banderas and King Juan Carlos.  Restaurante Navarro (www.restaurantenavarro.com): Third generation family-run restaurant, it serves traditional Valencian dishes as well as innovative ones.  La Matandeta (www.lamatandeta.es): A short distance south of Valencia in El Saler, this rustic eatery near Albufera lagoon offers a selection of paella dishes.

where to eat paella in London

information: Valencia Tourism www.turisvalencia.es

the city Valencia is full of history and beautiful archi tecture, augmented by the majestic new City of Arts and Sciences. Enjoy 7km of Blue Flag beaches and the nightlife in Barrio del

You can find paella in many London restaurants, including these:  Andalucia Tapas Restaurant in Haymarket (www.andaluciatapas.co.uk): Two types of paella served, including a Valencia one but with seafood as well as chicken.  La Siesta Bar De Tapas in Ealing (www.lasiestabardetapas.com): Several types of paella on offer including Mixta, with chicken, prawns, mussels and squid.

For a Paella Valenciana recipe, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Travel Fare

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a touch of class luxury indian ocean

Islands of

luxury I f you w ant t o g et aw ay f rom ev eryt h ing and b e p am p ered in t h e lap of luxury, now h ere does it w it h q uit e as m uch p anach e – or s eclus ion – as t h e I ndian O cean. Mike Swindell rep ort s

 Relaxing in the Seychelles

Beachcomber Tours

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“The opulence of Maldives resorts is hard to beat”

walled garden, tropical outdoor showers and staff of hen Prince William and his bride around 25. And as a little sweetener to the price, starting headed off on a belated honeymoon at $66,500 per week, guests get the use of the island’s after the worldwide phenomenon that private yacht. was their wedding, they managed Another sole-use island hideaway is Banyan Tree Madiwhat no-one thought they could – they varu on North Ari Atoll, offering just six tented villas gave the press the slip. Speculation on the honeymoon destination choice ran dotted around the island, costing from £6,550 per person in low season, May-October, including flights from the UK. wild in the days after it became clear that Wills and Kate The opulence of Maldives resorts is hard to beat in the had disappeared, and while the Seychelles eventually Indian Ocean, as the government has taken a pragemerged as the winner there has never been official confirmation that the exclusive North matic view of tourism, opening new atolls for development complete with the latest Island resort received the royal seal of concepts of luxury. A proposed ban on approval. spas threw the whole future of its tourism Still, it has been widely reported that  Coco industry into doubt, but the threat has the 600-acre single resort island boastPalm been lifted for the moment. ing just 11 villas was where the happy Resort in Over-water bungalows and villas, couple spent their 10-day honeymoon. the made famous in French Polynesia, are But the fact that it is still all a bit of a Maldives now widely available in thesuch as at Coco mystery and that the voracious paparazzi Palm Resort on Dhuni Kolhu, while new failed to get a single snap highlights the resort facilities go under water and into the trees. reason why many of the rich and famous Coco Palm Resorts choose the Indian Ocean to get away from it all. Anantara Kihavha Villas is among properties to have harnessed the underwater scenery, with the Wine While a report by US Weekly that the royal estate rented out all 11 villas at a cost of $720,000 to ensure the Cellar allowing guests to dine with sealife swimming couple’s privacy seems a bit far-fetched, the concept of around and above them. Another is at Conrad Maldives sole use in Indian Ocean resorts is not unheard of. Rangali Island, where the Ithaa underwater restaurant is one of three dining choices to be made. Others are the the maldives Atoll Market featuring eight show kitchens and The Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo whisked his Russian girlSunset Grill set atop a coral reef. friend Irana Shayk off to the Maldives to see in the 2011 Aerial architecture can be found at Dusit Thani on New Year, taking over The Rania Experience, Mudhdhoo Island, in Baa Atoll, where the newly-opened which has a sole-use policy for a miniDevarana Spa features six treatment pods built into the mum of two people and up to 12 guests trees. While not actually a Tarzan experience, the in a single group. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa on Addu Atoll This private island holiday destinaboasts eight tree house villas that are perched on stilts to tion boasts a three-bedroom suite and three offer stupendous panoramic views, and Viceroy separate beach villas, each with their own Maldives on Shaviyani Atoll offers guests a Moroccan-

Beachcomber Tours

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a touch of class luxury indian ocean

 The OverWater Spa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Hilton Worldwide

 A romantic dinner on the beach at Raffles Praslin, Seychelles

Raffles Hotel and Resorts

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

 Shangri-La’s Villingili resort, Maldives

 Le Touessrok, Mauritius

style dining experience at its Treehouse Lodge. For the best of both worlds, especially-pampered guests at the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa on South Male Atoll can loll in the Rehendi Presidential Suite’s glass bathroom that is said to offer “infinite views” or take a dip in a freshwater pool suspended over the lagoon. The appeal of the Maldives, notwithstanding some outrageous examples of tourism luxury, lies in the sense of peace to be found in the remote, scattered atoll resorts. That, and some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. A holiday in the Maldives allows guests to unwind, especially if you choose to ignore TV, DVDs and other 21st century distractions - after all, there's not a lot else to do on a remote desert island but enjoy the sun, sand and sea.

mauritius Mauritius is more old-school holiday, offering luxury resorts around a big island but plenty to see and do for those who want to get out and about. The service that guests receive in big resorts such as the One&Only Le Saint Geran and Le Touessrok is oldschool as well, with masses of staff on hand to make sure that everything is absolutely right in what amounts to private tropical estates with beaches. Rooms and public areas at the top resorts are always big and airy, with the plantation-style architecture of The Residence Mauritius typical of a colonial style. But there are smaller examples of luxury Mauritius as well – the Angsana Balaclava offers 49 suites and one villa, while Shanti Maurice has 61 villas and suites and The Oberoi boasts 48 pavilions and 23 villas.

Sun Resorts

sri lanka

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It can be old-world chic in Sri Lanka as well – an island that, like Mauritius, offers stylish beach resorts and plenty of interest elsewhere.

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a touch of class luxury indian ocean

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

 Serene Pavilions, Sri Lanka

While not a beach resort, Amangalla in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Galle Fort offers grown-up luxury in a 17th century building that boasts period furnishings, teak floors, free-standing bathtubs and four-poster beds. The Fortress at Koggala, Galle, is another that echoes history, with fortified walls and colonial-style lobby but modern rooms with glorious sea views. Serene Pavilions at Wadduwa, on the other hand, is decidedly modern, with an all-suites design offering four garden and eight ocean-walled pavilions spread around the landscaped grounds.

luxur y indian ocean facts Destinology offers seven nights at Dusit Thani Maldives from £2,049 per person, B&B, including Emirates economy flights and seaplane transfers. www.destinology.co.uk Scott Dunn offers seven nights at One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius, B&B, from £3,430 per person, including British Airways economy flights and transfers. www.scottdunn.com

the seychelles

Freelance travel writer Mike Swindell has travelled the world charting the development of tourism, with a particular interest in the Indian Ocean and Africa.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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ITC Classics offers seven nights at North Island, Seychelles, from £15,120 per person in a Presidential Villa including economy flights from the UK and helicopter transfers. www.itcclassics.co.uk Carrier offers seven nights at The Fortress Koggala, Sri Lanka, from £1,280 B&B, including economy flights from the UK and transfers. www.carrier.co.uk

butler service can be found at:

Tropical Sky

For the best of both worlds – resorts accompanied by big island interest and small island retreats – then you have to head for the Seychelles. The main island of Mahe boasts the dramatic Four Seasons Resort with 62 villas set on forested slopes that swoop down to the isolated Petite Anse Beach, Banyan Tree Seychelles, featuring 60 Victorian-style villas, and the recently-opened Constance Ephelia Resort, incorporating 267 suites and villas within almost 300 acres of bush-clad grounds. Praslin Island has its own luxury options in the form of the recently-opened and very stylish Raffles Praslin Seychelles, offering 86 villas, and the Constance Lemuria Resort that sets 96 suites and nine villas amidst palm trees and along two pristine beaches. For island getaways, Sainte Anne Resort & Spa is a short boat ride from the main island and is sprinkled with 87 villas, while others such as Desroches Island, Denis Private Island and Fregate take fewer guests and are served by light plane from Mahe. Then there’s North Island, which likes to bring in its guests by helicopter. On arrival, they’ll spread out in one of 10 450-square-metre villas or go really upmarket with the 750-square-metre Villa North Island, all with butler service and a chef who cooks just what you want to eat. And you don't have to be a prince to enjoy it.

 A villa at Banyan Tree, Maldives

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts

packages

Niyama, Maldives: niyama.peraquum.com Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives: www.tajhotels.com/maldives Banyan Tree Madivaru, Maldives: www.banyantree.com/en/maldives_madivaru The Residence, Mauritius: www.theresidence.com/mauritius Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort, Mauritius: www.heritageletelfair.mu Constance Belle Mare Plage Resort & Villas, Mauritius:  Trou Aux Biches, www.bellemareplagehotel.com Mauritius Trou Aux Biches, Mauritius: www.trouauxbiches-hotel.com, www.beachcombertours.co.uk Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, Seychelles: www.maia.com.sc North Island, Seychelles: www.north-island.com

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10 of the best carnivals and festivals

 Spectacular float at Rio's Sambadrome

Fiesta forever Embratur

Dust off your party clothes and get ready to join in the fun as we track down some of the most colourful and spectacular carnivals, festivals and fiestas around the world

1 of th e0 b

carniva es t: ls and festival s

1. Rio Carnival, Brazil

and some sun and beach, from £3,300, including The event: The biggest and most famous direct UK flights. A package from Dehouche fiesta of them all, Carnival takes over costs £3,310 staying at celebs’ favourite, Rio with its parades, balls and events Hotel Fasano, excluding flights. www.tucantravel.com, www.telltalemarking the arrival of Lent. www.rio-carnival.net travel.co.uk, www.dehouche.com When: February 17-21, 2012; 2. New Orleans Mardi February 8-12, 2013 Gras, USA What happens: Kicking off on the Friday night before Fat Tuesday The event: New Orleans’ Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday), Rio turns into one is the daddy of America’s carnivals and big street party when the mother of all around one million people take to the carnivals comes to town with featherclad, sequinned and body-painted streets over the final two weeks of dancers from the city’s samba schools Carnival to experience its world-famous competing with each other as they swirl to parades and parties. www.mardigrasthe infectious rhythms of the samba drums. neworleans.com The Sambadrome stadium is the focal point, When: Parades start on February 4 this year, with the most spectacular parades featuring with the culmination on Fat Tuesday, February colourful floats on the Sunday and Monday 21. Embratur nights. There are colourful carnival balls, and What happens: Dubbed the “Greatest Free Show on impromptu street parties take place throughout the city Earth”, the 2012 Crescent City Carnival season features including on its beaches, with Ipanema the pick of them. 57 parades in the greater metro area, more than 1,000 Do it: Four-night Rio Carnival packages with Tucan floats and 100,000 participants. Join the crowds in DownTravel start from £480 as a bolt-on to a longer tour and town to grab multi-coloured beads and doubloons tossed include a Sunday ticket to the Sambadrome. Stand-alone by riders on the carnival krewes’ decorated floats as they package prices start from £530 per person, excluding pass by, then down Mardi Gras mojitos in the bars. flights. Tell Tale Travel includes the carnival as part of a Do it: Trek America is incorporating Mardi Gras into its two-week Brazil tour that also features wildlife-spotting 21-day Southerner tour for the first time this year.

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10oftheBestTLMwinter12v1pp60-65_T&L 18/01/2012 20:55 Page 61

10 of the best carnivals and festivals

Where and when: Salvador, Olinda and Recife carnivals; same dates as Rio. What happens: Bahia’s one-time capital, Salvador, has a strong African heritage and hosts South America’s wildest carnival celebrations, the Afro-samba rhythms at the heart of the carnival. Recife and neighbouring Portuguese colonial town Olinda throw Brazil’s most traditional carnival celebration, with parades, frenetic frevo dancing and African-Brazilian balls and parties. Do it: A Salvador Carnival package from Dehouche includes a stay at a former convent, the Convento do Carmo, and a fiveday VIP pass, spending all five carnival days on the Olodum Afrosamba drumming band’s float, for £3,347 excluding flights.Veloso has the Convento do Carmo on seven-night stays, from £2,053 with flights.Tell Tale Travel includes Recife and Olinda; a twoweek trip costs from £2,999 with flights. Flights to Salvador de Bahia from Amsterdam and Paris are available from Air Europa. www.dehouche.com, www.telltaletravel.co.uk, www.veloso.com, www.aireuropa.com

Departing on February 15, it also takes in Washington DC, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and an overnight cowboy camp, and costs from £1,779 with flights. Leger Holidays combines Mardi Gras with visits to Nashville, Memphis and Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion and birthplace at Tupelo on an 11-day tour, from £1,249 with flights. www.leger.co.uk, www.trekamerica.co.uk

 Carnival at Olinda

Embratur

B raz il’ s o th er carnivals

 Giant figures adorn Mardi Gras floats



Jeff Anding

The event: The world’s most spectacular gathering of hot air balloons, with hundreds of all shapes and colours taking to the skies of New Mexico. www.balloonfiesta.com When: October 6-14, 2012 What happens: The annual, nine-day spectacle is the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. From just 13 balloons launching from a shopping mall car park in 1972, it has grown into a multiple-launch event with a 78-acre launch field as the centrepoint of the 365-acre  Mass ascension custom-designed Balloon Fiesta Park which includes a over Albuquerque host of other activities and entertainment. Up to 750 hot air balloons can fill the skies at the same time during the mass ascensions, while other events include “special-shape rodeos” featuring unusual designs, earlymorning and evening “balloon glows” with burners being fired to light up dozens of tethered balloons, and flying competitions.   Balloons Do it: Cosmos includes two nights in Albucome in all shapes querque for a mass ascension at the fiesta as part of its 15-day Native Southwest & the Rocky Mountains Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta tour. Also taking in Arizona, Colorado and Utah, including Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, it costs from £1,879 with flights. www.cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

3. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, USA

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10 of the best carnivals and festivals

4. Ottawa Winterlude/Quebec Winter Carnival, Canada

ClaudelHuot

 Dancing on ice in Ottawa

Tourism Quebec

 Quebec Carnival’s Bonhomme

The events: Fun annual celebrations of winter in neighbouring provinces Ontario and Quebec with lots to do for the whole family. www.carnaval.qc.ca/en, http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/celebrate/winterlude When: Winterlude takes place this year from February 3-20; Quebec Carnival is from January 27-February 12. What happens: Quebec City’s annual winter carnival is the largest of its kind in the world and has been going for over 50 years. It features parades, night events and activities from family fun to extreme, including snow rafting, snow-tube slides, skating, dogsled racing through Old Quebec and a canoe race on the frozen St Laurence River. Winterlude features skating, sledding and walking along the frozen Rideau Canal, snow and ice sculptures, a gigantic snow playground and shows. Do it: Cosmos has a six-night Quebec Winter Carnival tour, from £1,375, with departures up to February 8, including flights and a stay in Montreal, then a VIA Rail trip to Quebec City for four nights with a Winter Experience Passport giving access to carnival events and activities. Bridge & Wickers offers three-night stays in Ottawa for Winterlude from £1,043, including flights. www.cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk, www.bridgeandwickers.co.uk

5. Trinidad Carnival, Caribbean

 Fire-breather at Trinidad Carnival

Trinidad and Tobago TDC

Trinidad and Tobago TDC

 Feathers in Trinidad

The event: The Caribbean’s best carnival, it is a riot of colour, steelpan and soca music – and partying. www.gotrinidadandtobago.com/trinidad/carnival When: February 20 & 21, 2012 What happens: Many cultural events take place across the island leading up to the highlight – two days of street parades before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, with things kicking off at 4am on the Monday when revellers take to the streets for the pre-dawn J’Ouvert party. Carnival Monday brings out elaborately-costumed “Pretty Mas” bands, dancing to soca music blasting out from speaker-filled trucks before the main event on Carnival Tuesday, when masqueraders take to the streets en masse and vie for the title of Masquerade Band of the Year. Do it: Flights with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Monarch and Trinidad hotels can be booked through Newmont Travel for the island’s carnival. www.newmont.co.uk

6. Holi festival, India The event: A Hindu holiday known as the Festival of Colour, it is one of the most exuberant festivals in the world and is celebrated all over India. When: March 8, 2012 What happens: Revellers welcome the arrival of spring and disregard social norms and taboos with parades, music, dancing, and mayhem – spraying friends and family with brightly-coloured powders and water. Do it: World Expeditions’ seven-day compact Delhi to Kathmandu trip will make sure you are in Jaipur, the capital of the desert lands of Rajasthan, for Holi. Departing on March 7, it costs from £590 not including flights. You can also take in the festival on a tour through

 Splashes of colour at for Holi

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10 of the best carnivals and festivals

Rajasthan aboard India’s luxury Palace on Wheels train, starting and ending in New Delhi. It is featured by several UK tour operators. www.worldexpeditions.co.uk, www.palaceonwheels-train.com

 Sydney’s Mardi Gras

7. Sydney Mardi Gras, Australia The event: Originally begun as a protest event, this irreverent and fun celebration by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities has now come to define the diversity and tolerance of Sydney. www.mardigras.org.au When: March 3, 2012 What happens: Sydney’s biggest party of the year involves tens of thousands of participants watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators. Proceedings are kicked off by the Dykes on Bikes, with more than 100 groups taking part on gaily-decorated floats or walking, among them Lifesavers with Pride, Rainbow Babies and Oz Fag Hags. A Mardi Gras Party including theatrical shows and four dance venues follows the parade, continuing the carnival atmosphere into the night. Do it: Flight Centre offers flights to Sydney and hotels, with airfares and four nights in the city starting from £1,099. www.flightcentre.co.uk

Sydney Mardi Gras

8. Cante de las Minas, Murcia, Spain

Azalea

 Flamenco's finest strut their stuff in Murica

The event: The village of La Union, in Murcia, is the setting for the world’s most important annual flamenco festival, which translates as the Song of the Mines Festival. www.fundacioncantedelasminas.org (Spanish only) When: August 6-15, 2012 What happens: Song, dance and guitar playing are the three disciplines in an event packed with authentic flamenco. La Union’s Public Market is the site for this major festival, which represents the flamenco history of the mining tradition in this area and includes prestigious competitions. Gala performances feature top stars and during the festival, parallel activities include exhibitions, wine tastings, flamenco soirées, and courses in guitar playing, dance and percussion. Admission to all the festival’s parallel activities is free. Do it: Murcia-based travel company Olympia Mar has a two-night stay in a four-star hotel in La Manga del Mar Menor for 385 euros, including transfers to and from La Union and entry on two nights to festival events. Airport transfers to Murcia and Alicante airports are optional extras, as is an excursion to historic Cartagena. www.olympiamar.com

9. Day of the Dead, Mexico  Fundacion Cante de las Minas

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The event: Despite the name, this is no sombre remembrance of the departed but a joyous event celebrated throughout Mexico. www.dayofthedead.com When: November 2, 2012 What happens: From brightly-adorned graves and papier-mache skulls to bakery windows full of skeleton-shaped bread, children’s sugar skull sweets

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 Face-painting, Mexican-style

10. Edinburgh International Festival & Edinburgh Festival Fringe The events: Scotland’s capital takes centre stage each summer with world-class music, opera, dance and theatre at the Edinburgh International Festival, and the eclectic offerings of the Fringe, now the world’s largest arts festival. www.eif.co.uk, www.edfringe.com When: 2012 dates – International Festival August 9September 2; Fringe August 3-27 What happens: The Edinburgh International Festival brings together some of the world’s elite performers over a three-week period for concerts and performances including, for 2012, two modern Shakespeare adaptions. Starting and ending a week earlier, the Fringe attracts thousands of performers from big names to little-known artists and includes theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, music, exhibitions and events. Do it: Connoisseurs Scotland features four luxury properties offering accommodation during the Edinburgh International Festival. They include former home of The Scotsman newspaper, The Scotsman Hotel, with rooms



from £370 and baroque Prestonfield, originally built in 1687 as the home of Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, where rooms start at £295. www.luxuryscotland.co.uk  Fringe performer on Princes Street

 Fringe masked lady Gillies and Zaiser PR

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital: www.edinburgh-inspiringcapital.com

and competitions for the best-decorated altar, Mexico’s most colourful festival is held on All Souls’ Day and is marked in many different ways across the country. Do it: A 10-day tour of Oaxaca, discovering its celebrations of the festival and then exploring ancient archaeological sites, natural landscapes, a cloud forest and local markets, costs £2,325 with Travel the Unknown, leaving on October 29. www.traveltheunknown.com

Travel the Unknown

10 of the best carnivals and festivals

Do you know of better carnivals or fiestas? Tell us on tlm’s Facebook page: http://bit.ly/tlm_facebook – and see our suggestions for 10 of the rest.

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in your flightbag

Stroll on ravelling with a baby is never easy, with the pushchair often proving to be one of the biggest hassles for parents. A new range of products from QuickSmart aims to make it easier to take this essential item on-board. The Backpack Stroller weighs less than nine pounds and folds down in four easy steps into a backpack. Better yet, it is accepted by airlines as a carry-on and easily fits into the overhead locker. Suitable for use by babies from six months up to a child weighing 45 pounds, the Backpack Stroller also comes with a handle for tall parents, an extra high backrest to keep your little one comfy and has a retractable hood to provide shade. Other products in the range include the Easy Fold Stroller, which folds easily into an over the shoulder travel bag, and the QuickSmart Easy Fold

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Highchair. Prices start from £119 and they are available from www.amazon.co.uk. For more information go to www.quicksmartgo.com  For your chance to WIN a QuickSmart Backpack Stroller worth £119.99 go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2012.

Tired eyes French travel brand Hayasei is bringing its Fast Fix grooming range to the UK for 2012. The company’s unique, simple products are ideal to pop in your bag for an instant pick-me-up on arrival at your destination. The Fast Skin Fix Anti-Fatigue Eye Patches contain Champagne yeast, ginseng, green tea, white mulberry and liquorice and provide an instant boost to tired, puffy eyes while the Fast Skin Fix Energy Coach Pro Taurine provides an immediate skin stimulant. The Pro Taurine moisturiser capsules contain grapefruit extract, potassium, chlorine and vitamin C in single dose shots to massage onto the face for instant absorption. The individual packaging means you don’t have to worry about bottles, making them ideal for travel. The eye patches are available individually or in packs of 10, while the moisturiser capsules come in packs of six or 24. Prices start from £4.90; go to www.hayasei.com for more details.

Travel buddy

Cute carry-ons he Cuties and Pals luggage range have two new designs for 2012, ensuring your little one will have the best-looking luggage at the airport. Polka the

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ladybird is in stores now and will be joined by Chico the chick in February.

These new designs will line up alongside the existing P-Rex the dinosaur, Cheri the panda, Cazbi the bumblebee, Pookie the pig and Peko the penguin. They cost £25 for a backpack, £50 for a suitcase or £69.99 if bought together as a set and are available from John Lewis and House of Fraser, or online at www.cutiesandpals.co.uk.

For a quick and easy way to remove make-up or brush your teeth while travelling, Amirose Cosmetics have developed a range of liquid-filled cotton buds which are perfect to pop in your handbag. The range includes packs of 24 eye make-up remover and corrector buds and 12 express dental stain remover buds as well as 24 blemish blitz buds. All packs cost £3.99 and are available online from www.amirose.com.

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in your suitcase

Summer in the city t’s never too early to think about summer, but if you are lucky enough to be heading for warmer climes now, you will need some summer attire. Clothing specialist James Lakeland has just launched its spring summer 2012 range and the trademark bold colouring and unique prints of the dresses make them ideal holiday wear for both day and night. As well as the feminine, floaty dresses, the range includes easy-to-wear tunics, trousers and skirts in natural cotton and linen. There are six stand-alone stores, including Westfield in London, and you can also buy online from www.jameslakeland.net.  For your chance to WIN a summer dress of your choice from the James Lakeland range, up to a value of £150, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2012.

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Tight space There is nothing worse than having to remove your shoes when going through airport security and having holey tights or socks; so embarrassed was the inventor of Bootights that she designed the first tights specifically for boots. Bootights are a premium tight with a sock attached so your legs look great and your feet stay warm, making them perfect for winter holidays. Available in semi-opaque in black, brown or heather-grey, there is an ankle (black only) or midcalf sock option (the Core range) as well as fashion styles such as flannel pinstripe, fishnet and seamed with a mid-calf sock (Metro Chic) and a luxury 70-denier style (Luxe) with ankle sock in black or charcoal. Prices start from £22.99 a pair and are available online from www.bootights.co.uk. And tlm readers can get a £5 discount when ordering any two pairs by entering the code “surprise” on checkout.  For your chance to WIN a pair of Bootights, worth up to £26.99, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2012.

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Twist and tote inter travel inevitably means more luggage space is needed, particularly when it comes to footwear. A cleverly designed range of boots from Butterfly Twists is ideal for popping in your suitcase; the boots simply twist and fold up and have their own carry bag for easy storage. They are available in

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two styles; the longer Chelsea range is ideal for dresses, skirts and jeans, while the shorter, ruched Angel range is perfect with trousers or leggings. The Chelsea boots come in black, crimson, grey and sand as well as leopard print and cost £44.99 while the Angel range are also available in brown and cost £39.99. They are available from selected retailers

including Fenwick at Brent Cross. Go to www.butterflytwists.com for more details on stockists or to buy online.  For your chance to WIN one of three pairs of crimson Butterfly Twists boots, worth up to £44.99 a pair, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2012.

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off the beaten track  oman

Gold, frankincense and more Gulf state Oman has emerged from the shadows of its neighbours to become one of the region’s rising tourism stars. Carlton Reid goes in search of its legendary frankincense in the deserts and souks of Dhofar and also explores capital Muscat with its fish and gold souks, while Peter Ellegard reflects on Oman’s other attractions

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 A frankincense seller in Al Husn Souq, Salalah

Carlton Reid

his is not good, come back in two weeks, then you will be able to cut the wood again and get the best sap.” Mohammed, our guide, is an expert on a certain milky-white tree sap. We’re in Wadi Dawkah, a valley about 15 miles from Salalah in the Dhofar region in the far south of Oman. The wild desert trees we’re being shown don’t look much. Straggly, in fact. But these are Boswellia sacra trees and they produce a resin which, when dried and then burnt, emits a pungent, heady odour. This crystallised gum – which we know as frankincense – has been prized throughout history. It was one of the three gifts brought by the Magi for the baby Jesus when they travelled from the East. Today, the Sultan of Oman keeps the best stuff for himself and his ultra-luxe Amouage perfume house. Visitors to Salalah, Dhofar’s main town, can haggle in Haffa Souk for the next-best grades. Frankincense resin droplets are dried in caves to form small, hard, multi-coloured lumps. The frankincense shops of Salalah – of which there are a prodigious  Bedouin children number – will sell you directfrom-the-farmer frankincense Peter Ellegard

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off the beaten track  oman

oman tips

 Desert mountain scenery

Oman Ministry of Tourism

 Buying frankincense: A half-kilo bag of midgrade, mixed frankincense can be picked up for about £2-£3. Prices in the souks of Salalah and Muttrah are little different, so haggle.  Must visit: Built in 1995, the five-towered Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is cut from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. Its domed prayer hall has room for 6,500 devotees beneath the world’s second largest chandelier, kneeling on the world’s second largest, hand-knotted onepiece carpet; it took 600 Iranian weavers four years to make.  Eating out: The Chedi, Muscat, a large, beachside boutique hotel with an infinity swimming pool to die for, has a restaurant acclaimed as one of Oman’s best. The Mumtaz Mahal Indian restaurant in the Qurum National Park serves made-at-yourtable “snake coffee”, where brandy is drizzled over orange peel and set alight.

Oman Ministry of Tourism

 One of Oman’s 500 forts

rocklets as well as painted burners and charcoal brickettes. Oman’s Dhofar region produces the world’s best and costliest frankincense because of warm winters and summers dotted with rain showers, an unusual microclimate for a region that contains part of the Empty Quarter, an expanse of desert made famous by post World War Two British adventurer Wilfred Thesiger (or Mubarak bin London as he was called) in his book Arabian Sands, a must-read for any visitor to Oman. Our small convoy of 4x4 vehicles – led by Mohammed – leaves the Boswellia sacra groves and heads into the sands for some dune bashing. In Arabic this is called tloua al ramel, or “climbing the sands”.

lost city Our drivers show us some of their tamer moves before heading off to the Lost City of Ubar. Clearly, this is no longer lost. Known as “Atlantis of the Sands” by Lawrence of Arabia, this caravan staging post was discovered by under-sand satellite scanning by NASA. It was unearthed by explorer Sir Ranulph TwisletonWykeham-Fiennes, who led the on-ground search team in 1992. In truth, there’s not a lot to see but the walled town was once a strategic transport hub on the famous incense road. More scenic by far is Khor Rori, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Legend has it one of the Queen of Sheba’s palaces was located here. Khor Rori – to the ancients it was Sumhu An Omani frankincense burner ram – dates Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

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off the beaten track  oman

Oman’s strategic position on the Arabian Peninsula has brought with it not only wealth from trade through the centuries but also conflict, borne out by the 500 centuries-old forts, castles and watchtowers littering the country. The impressive Nizwa Fort, in the inland town that was once the capital, is Oman’s most visited monument. Nizwa is a green oasis in the desert thanks to its aflaj irrigation canals. Rise early on Fridays to watch locals barter for goats at the livestock market in Nizwa’s souq. On my visit, some wore traditional, decorative curved khanjah daggers strapped to a belt while several even brandished rifles and ammunition belts, and beaming smiles. Omanis are disarmingly friendly and welcoming, none more so than the Bedouin. When I came across a camp while on a 4x4 excursion into the vast Wahiba Sands desert, they lived up to their reputation for hospitality, inviting us to join them for lunch, cross-legged on a rug. I followed my hosts’ lead when a bowl containing a rice and meat dish, qabel, was passed round, sticking my fingers into the stodgy goo then rolling it into a sticky ball and dipping it in a bowl of oil

Oman Ministry of Tourism

forts, fjords and desert hospitality

 A 4x4 excursion

before eating it. Refusing would have offended. At ancient shipbuilding town Sur, just two hours from Muscat via a new highway, wooden dhows are still made by hand and huge turtles haul up the beach to nest. Cut off from the rest of Oman by a 45mile strip of the United Arab Emirates, the northernmost Musandam peninsula is known as the Norway of Arabia because of its rugged mountains and deep fjords. When I visited just before Oman’s tourism boom, it had one 15-room hotel in the main town of Khasab and you could only fly there.

at least to 300BC and flourished until the fourth century AD. The walled town is impressive, and scenic; it’s sited on a bluff overlooking an Arabian Sea inlet. The Arabian Sea is a big draw for visitors. Oman has some stunning beach resorts. Some of them are even

Now you can also take the world’s fastest ferries and there is more accommodation. Guarding the Strait of Hormuz – gateway to the Arabian Gulf – gives Musandam a very different feel to the rest of Oman. Tiny fishing communities dot the steep-sided coast, while inland, villages cling to the sides of stark, barren mountains. Sightseeing options include taking a dhow fjords cruise, watching dolphins and snorkelling or diving on isolated reefs, as well as taking 4x4 trips into the mountains. Peter Ellegard

livelier in the early hours of the morning. But the parties are of the eco variety – small groups of people being shown the night-time egg-laying ritual of green sea turtles at the Ras al Jinz nature reserve. Guides know the best spots. Turtles can also be found lumbering up the beaches of the Daymaniyat Islands Nature Preserve, offshore from Oman’s capital, Muscat, as well as other areas nearby and around the city of Sur.

 View towards Muscat's corniche

Oman Ministry of Tourism

chic

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Muscat has been much developed since the current sultan came to power; he deposed his father in 1970. However, unlike neighbouring Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Muscat is low-rise, tasteful and really quite chic. Muscat’s harbour at Muttrah has a 3km-long corniche, or promenade. It’s dotted with statues and canopies and seats. Try to rise early for a corniche amble. At 5.30am, the mountains are black behind the city and the cloudless sky starts its purple-to-red-toyellow welcome to the day. Sprinklers along the corniche add mist, and mystique. At 6am, head along to Muttrah Souk, for the sights, sounds and smells of the fish market. There is also a gold souk there. Sip your first Arabian coffee of the day as Muscat comes to life. And come to life it does. The city – the

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Omantravel is fully ATOL bonded for complete peace of mind

Discover the ‘real’ Oman with our friendly and experienced Omani partners Explore the heritage, culture and diverse landscapes of this welcoming and fascinating country – or just take time to relax in one of our comfortable hotels. From the excitement of driving into the stunning Empty Quarter to visiting camel races in the Wahibas, from observing the nesting turtles in Ras al Jinz to simply chilling out in one of Muscat's fabulous hotels. We have no standard holidays. We plan your holiday to take in what you want to do – at a price you can afford! We are the only travel company in the UK with Oman as its sole destination – so to find out how we can help you plan your perfect holiday in Oman please call us on 020 8748 6630 or email info@omantravel.uk.com or visit www.omantravel.uk.com

Omantravel Ltd 62 Church Road London SW13 0DQ

Winter 2011/12

tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 730


Off theBTtlmjan12v1pp70-72_T&L 18/01/2012 20:25 Page 74

off the beaten track  oman

 Lunch

when to go The best time to visit Oman is from October to April, with average daytime temperatures of 25ºC-35ºC. Between April and September, it is baking hot and humid on the coast and bone dry inland. From mid-June to mid-September, the Khareef monsoon hits the south.

active oman

Oman Ministry of Tourism

 Turtle and diver

Oman Ministry of Tourism

oman facts

diving

getting there

With newly-sunk wrecks, coral-lined fjords, 900 species of fish and rays, turtles and dolphins, Oman offers world-class diving, but without the crowds. The Muscat Diving & Adventure Centre offers day and evening dive tours. A two-night package for two people costs £300. www.omandiving.com

National airline Oman Air (www.omanair.com) flies non-stop to Muscat from London. Other services include British Airways (www.ba.com) and Etihad (www.etihadairways.com) via Abu Dhabi, Emirates (www.emirates.com/uk) via Dubai and Gulf Air (www.gulfair.com) via Bahrain. Visitor visas can be bought on arrival.

getting around

camel racing

Taxis are widely available in Muscat and other cities. From Muscat, it’s a one-hour flight with Oman Air to Salalah. Flights and fast ferries link Muscat with Khasab in northern peninsula enclave Musandam. Self-drive is available. Take 4x4 excursions into the desert.

Camel races on the Sharqiyah Sands, in Oman’s interior, no longer use young boys as jockeys, but robots, radio-controlled from 4x4s which race along with the camels. Races take place from October to April, overseen by the wonderfully-titled Directorate General of Camel Affairs. Find race schedules on www.rca.gov.om.

accommodation Oman now has a host of top-class hotels. They include the Al Bustan Palace (www.albustanpalace.com), Sifawy Boutique Hotel (www.sifawyhotel.com), The Chedi (www.ghmhotels.com), Crowne Plaza Muscat (www.cpmuscat.com) and Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa (www.shangri-la.com) in Muscat, and the Salalah Marriott Resort (www.marriott.com) in the Dhofar region. You can also stay in Bedouin-style tents in the Desert Nights Camp (www.desertnightscamp.com) in the Wahiba Sands desert.

golf Muscat Hills (www.muscathills.com), Oman’s first 18-hole green golf course, opened in 2009. The first nine holes of the Greg Norman-designed Almouj golf course (www.almoujgolf.com) at The Wave development near Muscat opened in December.

holidays

caving

cycling Oman is criss-crossed by stony tracks. It’s possible to ride to the top of Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest mountain. Renting a full-suspension mountain bike from Oman Bicycle (www.omanbicycle.com) in Muscat costs £40 per week. The Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre has guided mountain bike day tours for £90.

Oman Ministry of Tourism

Majlis al Jinn – or meeting place of the spirits – is an Omani cave complex, 100km from Muscat, entered by abseiling. The Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre offers a two-day trip for £250. www.holiday-in-oman.com

Tour operators featuring Oman include Shaw Travel (www.shawtravel.co.uk), Omantravel (www.oman-travel.co.uk), Audley Travel (www.audleytravel.com), Elegant Resorts (www.elegantresorts.co.uk), Peregrine Adventures  Making rosewater (www.peregrineadventures.com), Kuoni (www.kuoni.co.uk) and Tropical Sky (www.tropicalsky.co.uk).

tourist information Oman Ministry of Tourism: www.omantourism.gov.om

climbing Oman has some classic via ferrata: high mountain routes equipped with fixed cables, ladders, and narrow bridges. Snake Gorge – named for its shape – in Wadi Bani Awf, 100km from Muscat, has a cable crossing 100 metres above the canyon floor. One-day via ferrata trips with the Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre cost £90.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

2012 Capital of Arab Tourism – stages a number of spectacular festivals during the year, including music festivals. The sultan is a classical music buff. In 1985 he wished into being the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, with Omani nationals employed as players at the Royal Opera House in Muscat. There are also yachting festivals – the Extreme Sailing Series is the world's toughest – and heritage expos. The Tour of Oman is an annual stage race which attracts the world’s best professional cyclists. Most festivals take place in the cooler spring months. Oman’s National Day is on November 18 and is famous for its camel races.

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45TLMautumn

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

travel update news

fter a late summer comeback in 2011, it seems that 2012 will see resurgence for Europe’s top holiday spots. Post Office Travel Money research indicates that holiday affordability will be a key factor this year and while Sri Lanka came out tops for value in their annual Holiday Money Report, Spain came a close second. Add in the combination of inexpensive travel to Spain, resort prices at 40% less than five years ago, plus the rising value of sterling – up 6.4% against the euro in the last three months – and Spain will seem very attractive to those

Peter Ellegard

A

 Sri Lanka is tops for value

on a tight budget. Conversely, Turkey – previously regarded as one of Europe’s

cheapest destinations – was 17th in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, making it 60% more

A sporting chance ven without the Olympics, 2012 is set to be another bumper sporting year and there are many packages available to some top events. More than 1.4 million supporters will travel to Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012 (June 8-July 1) and Thomson Sport (www.thomsonsport.com) has packages including day trips starting from £664 per person. Thomson Sport also has packages for the major Grand Prix events this summer, while Sport Abroad (www.sportabroad.co.uk) has four-night packages for the Indy

 New Bellagio room

E

Getty Images

New rooms with a view

 The F1 Grand Prix at Valencia

500 (May 27-28) from £447 per person including a Tower Terrace stand ticket. Rugby fans can head to Las Vegas for the HSBC World Sevens

(February 10-12), with hotel and match ticket packages available from Gullivers Sport Travel (www.gulliverstravel.co.uk) from £415 per person.

If you have seen the likes of the Great Barrier Reef and Sicily from the comfort of your sofa this winter, now is your chance to travel there for real. BBC2’s Great Barrier Reef featured both Lizard Island and Heron Island and Tailor Made Travel (www.tailor-made.co.uk) has packages to both these spectacular reef hideaways, starting from just £516 per person.

Delaware North

Screen stars



MGM Resorts International

Costa less

expensive than Spain. In fact, twothirds of destinations featured in the barometer show rising resort costs; the fact that sterling is stronger against 29 of its major currencies than a year ago will make this a little easier to bear. Further afield, Mexico and Thailand, fifth and eighth respectively in the barometer table, show strong signs of growth. The Mexican peso was the Post Office’s second-fastest growing currency of 2011, while the Thai baht showed a 6% growth in sales in 2011 and 35% over five years. Tenth in the table was Vietnam; with new direct flights there for 2012, the country is one of the top tips for 2012 from Post Office Travel Money, along with Argentina, Qatar, Chile and Costa Rica. www.postoffice.co.uk/travel

 Diving the Great Barrier Reef Andrew Graham-Dixon and chef Giorgio Locatelli, presenters of BBC2’s Sicily Unpacked, journeyed into the heart of Sicily

The AAA Five-Diamond Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas has just completed a $70 million refurbishment of the 2,568 rooms in its main tower, with three new designs.The new rooms include a lakeview option, overlooking the famous Fountains of Bellagio, which perform an aquatic ballet choreographed to music and lights. www.bellagio.com

exploring its lifestyle, food and festivals. Citalia (www.citalia.com) has seven-night packages in May from £729 per person. And if your child is a budding Brian Cox following the latest series of Stargazer Live on the BBC, head to the Rebali Riad complex in Marrakesh with Fleewinter (www.fleewinter.com), which offers a star map challenge to its visitors with roof terrace sunbeds available for perfect stargazing. Packages start from just £456 per person of two sharing during half-term.

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

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TravelTLMwinter12v1pp77-78_T&L 18/01/2012 21:03 Page 78

travel update news

 Celebrity Solstice

cruise.co.uk

 Skiers enjoying Whistler’s bumper snowfall

Whistler Blackcomb

Celebrity squares up to win

Let it snow, let it snow resorts of Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens are setting the pace and Whistler in Canada has had more than 17 feet of snow in the first few months of the season – almost double that of the US resorts. A mid-January foot-dump has helped boost Colorado’s top resorts. For the latest worldwide conditions, go to www.skiclub.co.uk.

Snow wise

 Check your ski insurance cover

Tirol Tourist Board

With record snowfalls already in the Alps, skiers are being told to beware avalanches this winter. With this in mind, Holiday Extras.com is urging travellers to make sure they have the correct travel insurance for their ski trip. Their policies cover up to 90% of the purchase price for lost, stolen or accidental damage to equipment and up to £100 for hire equipment, while skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, piste closure, ski passes and natural disaster such as avalanche are covered with medical expenses up to £5,000,000. Children up to age 17

enjoy travel insurance coverage free with an insured adult. For more information and prices, go to www.holidayextras.com/holiday-insurance.

Don’t cut the mustard Online European ski specialist directski.com has an interesting list of do’s and don’ts to pack for your ski holiday. Warm clothing, sun block and extra socks are

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

obvious requirements but Marmite, Colman’s mustard and duct tape? They are all on their yes pile, while all-in-one ski suits, tea bags and hair straighteners

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Swan upping the ante

are, apparently, best left at home. For information on taking your mustard to France, Austria, Italy, Andorra or Slovenia visit www.directski.com.

Specialist cruise company Swan Hellenic, which has been offering cruises for over 50 years, has spaces available on its spring Mediterranean cruises on the newly-upgraded mv Minerva. Swan Hellenic’s tradition of

Swan Hellenic

Canada, France and Austria, and, belatedly, some US ski resorts have seen some phenomenal snowfalls this winter already with more forecast to fall, making this a record winter for many resorts. The Austrian Tirol resorts of Kitzbühel, St Anton and Alpbach have amazing conditions, while Ischgl was even briefly cut off during early January snowstorms. In France, the Three Valleys

Celebrity Cruises has taken the Best Cruise Line spot in the fourth annual Cruise Passenger Ratings Survey from www.cruise.co.uk, which gets visitors to the website to rate operators and their ships for, among others, best ship, best food and best service. Cunard’s Queen Victoria was named best ship for the second year in a row while P&O’s Ventura was best for families. The website also provides real-time reviews on all the cruise lines.

 mv Minerva

cultural cruising began in 1954, when four classical history experts joined the 128 passengers to cruise Venice, Pireaeus and the Aegean Island and the multimillion pound investment in the Minerva will ensure many more years of discovery cruising. Prices start from £1,495 per person: www.swanhellenic.com.

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 

pack your clubs play where the stars play

 The Dubai World Championship final

Peter Ellegard

Star-struck I

pars

Enjoy watching your golfing heroes play some of the world’s top courses? Many of the venues that host key tournaments can also be played by weekend golfers, as Peter Ellegard discovered

England's Golf Coast

 The 18th hole at Royal Lytham

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

tried to shut out the huge spectator stand looming behind the green from my mind as I lined up my putt. I knew how it would break; the ball was in almost the identical place as Ian Poulter’s just two days earlier in his play-off match with Robert Karlsson for the 2010 Dubai World Championship title. Replaying the par-5 18th hole of Dubai’s Earth Course for the second time after they had finished all square, Poulter was left with a 30-foot birdie attempt putt. It came up agonisingly short – but he had accidentally dropped his ball onto his marker in any case, flipping it over and incurring a one-shot penalty. Karlsson rolled in his birdie and snatched the glory. The crowds had gone as I stood on the 18th, but with the stand, press centre, hospitality marquees and giant scoreboard all still in place, I could imagine just how it must have been for Poulter, putting for the 900,000 europlus (£750,000) first prize. I stroked the ball, watched it take the double break…and in it went! Eat your heart out, Poults, I thought and raised my arms to acknowledge the cheers from the non-existent spectators. Sadly, that was the only memorable moment of my round, but the day itself was amazing. I was taking part in a special “Ultimate Golf Experience” staged by the European Tour, which allowed weekend golfers like me to play Greg Norman’s superb Earth course in competition straight after the season-ending event, with the pins in the final day position, greens and fairways conditioned as they were for the pros and even playing from the same tees as the stars – all 7,675 yards! The day also included using the same lockers as the pro players, complete with personalised name badge (now adorning my office door) and a caddie bib with

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PackyourClubsTLMwinter12v1pp80-84_T&L 18/01/2012 21:04 Page 81

pack your clubs play where the stars play

 Amateur playing in the Ultimate Golf Challenge at Dubai

TPC

 Island green on the 17th

our names, with prizes given out by former Ryder Cup player David Howell. And although it cost over £500 for the day, there were plenty of people willing to pay that for the chance to emulate the stars. Thankfully I had been invited to take part.

dream

Peter Ellegard

Following your golfing heroes in a top tournament, whether on TV or on the course itself, and then playing the same course is a dream for most amateurs. And it is a dream which is far more achievable than you might think. Many of the courses that host key events on the European, PGA and Asian tour circuits are open for the public to play. You might need to break open the piggy bank to play some of them, but others are surprisingly affordable, given their lofty status. I have been fortunate to have played on many famous courses over the years, albeit badly for the most part. No matter how you play, though, treading in the spike marks of the game’s greats leaves you feeling exhilarated. For me, nothing beats the spine-tingling thrill of walking onto the first tee or striding across the Swilken Bridge of the Old Course at St Andrews, the home of golf, or sending an approach shot to the 18th green of the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, where a hard bounce after the perfect approach robbed Tom Watson of a fairytale victory in the 2009 Open. Some of golf’s most famous holes which have produced drama aplenty over the years are open for amateurs to play. I have contrasting memories of playing two notorious 17th holes at courses open to the public.



At Spain’s beautiful Valderrama, scene of Europe’s victory in the 1997 Ryder Cup under captain Seve Ballesteros, I managed to avoid the lurking lake with my third shot and my birdie putt agonisingly lipped out of the hole. Whereas on the infamous par-3 17th of the Stadium Course at Florida’s TPC Sawgrass – home to the so-called “Fifth Major”, the annual Players Championship – I gave up trying to land a wedge onto the island green after sending three balls into the water.

iconic I didn’t fare much better when I played another of golf’s iconic holes, the stunning par-4 8th at California’s Pebble Beach Links. Having watched Graeme McDowell win the US Open at Pebble Beach on TV in 2010

“Treading in the spike marks of the game’s greats leaves you feeling exhilarated”

star course packages One night’s bed and breakfast accommodation with one round at Gleneagles costs from £172.50 per person with Golfbreaks.com (www.golfbreaks.com). A seven-night stay on a room-only basis at Pebble Beach Resorts in California with rounds at four courses including Pebble Beach Golf Links costs from £2,950 per person with Bond Street Golf (www.bondstreetgolf.com). The price includes a large rental car but excludes flights. Enjoy an overnight stay at Celtic Manor Resort (www.celticmanor.com) with breakfast and 18 holes of golf on Ryder Cup host course the Twenty Ten as well as sister course The Montgomerie, from £119 per person until February 15 and from £182 in March. Six nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the Mission Hills Haikou resort costs from £1,499 per person with VGolfholidays.com (www.vgolfholidays.com) and includes unlimited golf on its 10 courses on weekdays, with a £10 supplement per course at weekends. Flights are extra.

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

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PackyourClubsTLMwinter12v1pp80-84_T&L 18/01/2012 21:05 Page 82

pack your clubs play where the stars play

where to play facts  9th hole on the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor

UK and Ireland

 Peter Ellegard after sinking his putt on the 18th at the Earth Course

and avidly followed Tiger Woods’s record 15-stroke victory in the 2000 US Open, I finally realised my dream of playing it on a visit last year. The setting, right on the coast of the spectacular Monterey Peninsula, is to die for. The signature 8th hole hugs precipitous cliffs before demanding a heroic shot to the green across a yawning chasm with the churning blue Pacific deep below. Having already leaked my drive over a cliff, I hit a majestic third shot with my rescue club and raced after it – only to discover the fairway doglegged more than I thought as I watched my ball plummet into the ocean. Playing Pebble Beach is no drop in the ocean at $495 a round, excluding caddie or rental clubs. You can also only play if you stay at one of the Pebble Beach Resort hotels, where rooms start at almost $700 per night. But for devotees who can afford it, the cost doesn’t even come into the equation. For bragging rights with their golfing buddies back home, it is priceless. Another of my favourite courses I have played is Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, in South Carolina. Host course of the notorious “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup of 1991, it is a stunning swampland layout next to the Atlantic which will stage the US PGA Championship in August. Closer to home, Celtic Manor in Wales brings back special memories for me. I have played the Twenty Ten Course on four different visits, and was lucky enough to be a spectator on “Magic Monday” during the 2010 Ryder Cup with a grandstand view over the 18th fairway and green. Playing it twice last year with that fresh in my memory added excitement as I recalled how the pros played each hole. Conversely, I braved “Soggy Saturday” at Royal St George’s during last year’s Open and marvelled at how the stars were able to play with such finesse in sideways rain, when I was beaten into submission in perfect, calm conditions the day I had played it. We may play the same courses, but it’s a very different game.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

All nine Open Championship venues are open to the public. The rota comprises: the Old Course, St Andrew’s (www.standrews.org.uk), Royal St George’s (www.royalstgeorges.com), 2012 host Royal Lytham & St Annes (www.royallytham.org), Turnberry (www.turnberryresort.co.uk), Royal Birkdale (www.royalbirkdale.com), Muirfield (www.muirfield.org.uk), Royal Liverpool, Hoylake (www.royal-liverpool-golf.com), Carnoustie (www.carnoustiegolflinks.co.uk) and Royal Troon (www.royaltroon.co.uk). Recent Ryder Cup hosts include 2010 venue Celtic Manor (www.celtic-manor.com), 2006 host The K Club (www.kclub.ie) and multiple host The Belfry (www.thebelfry.co.uk), while Gleneagles (www.gleneagles.com) will stage the 2014 event. Wentworth (www.wentworthclub.com) hosts the European Tour’s annual flagship tournament, the BMW PGA Championship.

Celtic Manor Resort

Here are some of the world’s top tournament venues the public can play:

Europe You can play 1987 Ryder Cup venue Valderrama (www.valderrama.com) and France’s Le Golf National (www.golfnational.com), host in 2018. Finca Cortesin (www.fincacortesin.com) on the Costa del Sol stages the annual Volvo World Match Play Championship.

USA Not all US Open venues welcome the public, but notable past hosts that do include Pebble Beach (www.pebblebeach.com) and Pinehurst (www.pinehurst.com), as well as Torrey Pines (www.torreypinesgolfcourse.com) and Bethpage State Park (www.nysparks.com/golf-courses), which are public courses, along with 2015 host Chambers Bay (www.chambersbaygolf.com) near Seattle. Among US PGA Championship hosts open to all are 2012 venue Kiawah Island (www.kiawahresort.com) and 2010 host Whistling Straits (www.destinationkohler.com/golf). Most Ryder Cup venues in the US are private, but publicly-accessible hosts include Florida’s PGA National (www.pgaresort.com), Kiawah Island and West Viginia resort The Greenbrier (www.greenbrier.com). Other courses you can play include Players Championship host TPC Sawgrass (www.tpc.com/tpc-sawgrass), WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship venue Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain (www.ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain) in Arizona and the WGC-Cadillac Championship host Doral Resort (www.doralresort.com) in Florida.

Middle East/Africa/Asia The European Tour finale Dubai World Championship is played at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course (www.jumeirahgolfestates.com). South Africa’s Sun City (www.suncity.co.za) hosts the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge. China’s 10-course Mission Hills Haikou resort (www.missionhillschina.com) is the host of biannual team tournament, the Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

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Chateau des Vigiers Whether you are new to golf or already an experienced club player, the luxurious Chateau des Vigiers set in beautiful Bergerac countryside, is just the place for you to enjoy some great golf, fabulous food and outstanding wine. If you're not a golfer, then perhaps our spa complex, swimming pool and scenery will entice you instead. For prices and more information about our extensive range of golf & spa packages, give us a call on 08451 222650 or visit our website: www.chateaudesvigierstravel.co.uk

Winter 2011/12

Chateau des Vigiers Travel is a trading division of

U5444

tlm â–  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 830


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golf news

Peter Ellegard

GOLF CLIPS

 Kauri Cliffs Cash in your savings if you want to join what could be the world’s most expensive golf tour. The eight-night Tiger Tour, from March 12-20, takes in New Zealand’s top-ranked sister golf clubs Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs with luxury accommodation at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, plus helicopter trips, ocean sailing, horse riding, art and winery tours, and costs NZ$33,350 (about £17,000) per couple, excluding international flights. www.kauricliffs.com/tigertour

 In the pink – and blue

Pretty in pink W

Jaz Hotels, Resorts & Cruises

Jaz Makadi golf course Golfers will find it easier to take their own clubs to play on Egypt’s 20 courses after Egyptair increased baggage allowances on flights. All passengers can now take two checked-in luggage items, with the economy allowance 23kg per bag. www.egyptair.com

A new golf ball massage, rolling and kneading them into muscles, has helped Spanish golf resort La Manga Club win Best Luxury Resort Spa in Spain in the World Luxury Spa Awards. The fivestar resort is a candidate for the 2015 Solheim Cup. www.lamangaclub.com

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caddies, who wear blue rather than pink. Formed six years ago, managing director Rebecca Keen says it “has enabled us to bring a little fun and glamour to golf courses across the UK and overseas.” There are currently 30 caddies, with more being trained from March. The caddies are available UKwide for corporate, charity and society golf days. They can also be booked for a round by golfers, caddying exclusively for them or

Timely marker Peter Ellegard

 La Manga Club

ant to get noticed on the golf course? Enlist the services of pinkclad Eye Candy Caddies and your playing partners will be green with envy. Despite the name and the company’s slogan – golf made gorgeous – the caddies are more than just eye candy. They all undergo professional training and several are golfers themselves. Lady golfers need not feel left out, either. Eye Candy Caddies also now has a team of male

f you want to know how far the pin is but don’t want to lug a hand-held GPS around, Garmin has just the gadget to keep at arm’s length. The Approach S1 doubles as a digital wristwatch, working out where you are on the course using its inbuilt GPS and displaying yardages to the front, middle and back of greens. Waterproof and lightweight, it comes pre-loaded with over 7,100 UK and European golf courses, including Ireland, Spain, Portugal and France. No subscription is needed.

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 You can WIN your own Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch. Just go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2011.

for their four-ball for £230. They meet and greet before tee-off, caddying for the round pushing a pink Stewart Golf trolley or driving a buggy, and then join the group for an hour at the “19th hole”. Ad-hoc bookings for Spain and the Algarve can be made ahead of a planned summer launch. Vouchers are available for birthdays, stag golf parties or other special occasions. For more information, go to www.eyecandycaddies.com.

The Approach S1’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts up to eight hours in GPS mode and up to three weeks in watch mode. As a watch, it features an alarm and automatic time and time zone detection. In golf mode, it displays a list of nearby courses and once one is selected, it provides the three distance options on every hole, automatically transitioning from one hole to the next and displaying each hole number and par. It also acts as a GPSenabled odometer, allowing golfers to track the total distance they cover on each round or when out for a walk. Originally available in black, the S1 now also comes in white and has an RRP of £179. For more details, and to see Garmin’s other golf GPS products, go to www.garmin.co.uk/approach.

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085TLMwinter

18/1/12

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let’s try farm stay holidays

The good life With staycations increasingly popular, farm stay holidays offer an awayfrom-it-all escape with a surprising diversity and the chance to muck in with farmyard life if they want to. Peter Ellegard looks at what awaits visitors who decide to holiday down on a farm

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f the mention of a farm stay holiday makes you imagine draughty old farmhouses with few creature comforts and unappetising, stodgy food, think again. These days, you are likely to find a home away from home in accommodation ranging from period cottages to converted barns, coach-houses, stables, shepherds’ huts, and even pigsties, sometimes complete with swimming pool, tennis court, spa or hot tub – and always with a friendly welcome. Spend a weekend break or longer holiday in a cosy, five-star rural retreat with a four-poster bed to snuggle into at night, bunk down in a hostel or get in touch with nature camping out in a yurt, tent or wigwam. Each of them alongside working farms, with all the sights,

activities, sounds and, of course, smells to make you feel you are in the heart of the countryside and away from the stresses of the frenetic modern world. You can choose between self-catering or bed and breakfast, and where there is food on offer you will find some of the best home cooking, much of it with a regional slant and using traditional recipes handed down over generations. Tuck into everything from farm-smoked bacon and kippers to home-made sausages, home-baked bread, farmhouse cheeses and freshly-gathered eggs. There is not only a wide variety of farm accommodation available but also a huge quantity, as a quick Google search will underline. But if you find all the choice a bit bewildering, help is at hand.

 Feeding a lamb at Tregondale Farm

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let’s try farm stay holidays

A national farmer-owned consortium with over 1,200 members offering farm accommodation stretching from the Highlands of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall, Farm Stay UK (www.farmstay.co.uk) celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, having originally started as the Farm Holiday Bureau. It is the largest network of farm-based accommodation in the UK. All of its members meet rigorous standards and have been inspected and quality-assessed under national tourist boards’ grading schemes and those operated by the AA.

awards Over 80% of members have been given four or five stars and many are award-winners. Blackmore Farm (www.blackmorefarm.co.uk), a 15th century, Grade I-listed manor house nestled in the foothills of Somerset’s Quantock Hills, was named AA Guest Accommodation of the Year in England for 2011-2012 in the annual awards which honour the country’s best B&B establishments. In its citation, the AA heralded its olde-world grandeur, adding: “Guests get the opportunity to step back in time when they stay at Blackmore Farm as it retains many period features including oak beams, stone archways and medieval garderobes. The Dyer family offer guests a friendly welcome, beautiful surroundings and wonderful home-cooked meals.” Other Farm Stay UK members have notched up awards, among them the four-star Low Urpeth Farm (www.lowurpeth.co.uk) in County Durham. It has collected six awards for its food, accommodation and service in the last three years, including winning Bronze in the Bed & Breakfast category of the North East England Tourism Awards for 2011.

 Feeding Chickens at Overwood Farm

 Daily animal feeding at Clydey

All pictures: Farm Stay UK

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letstryTLMwinter12v1pp86-90_T&L 18/01/2012 21:13 Page 88

let’s try farm stay holidays

spring activities For holidaymakers who want a real experience of life on a farm, spring offers a fantastic opportunity to get stuck in and lend a hand. It’s a wonderful time for children, as many farms offering accommodation will have lambs being born then. They can not only watch and learn about lambing first-hand, they are also often welcome to help out. Mary Pearson from Lovesome Hill Farm in North Yorkshire says: “Our Masham and Mule Sheep are due to lamb from March until April and we are expecting over 150 hundred lambs this year. It’s a busy time for us so guests are invited to

 Make friends with ponies

Latest research from VisitEngland shows that countryside holidays achieve far higher satisfaction levels from holidaymakers than both city and seaside holidays. It also highlights the fact that more people are turning to holidaying at home – for so-called staycations – rather than overseas, with the 20 million holiday trips recorded during the first six months of 2011 representing a 3.3% increase on the first half of 2010. Such is the growing appeal of a farm holiday that Farm Stay UK saw visits to its website increase by 20% in 2011. Besides Farm Stay UK, there are hundreds of other accommodation providers around the country where you can stay. So what is the appeal of holidaying on a farm, and what can you expect? When you stay on a farm, you get an intimate and first-hand view of the farmers’ world and life in rural Britain. You can look out of your window over fields of wheat and barley or pastures filled with sheep and cattle, gaze at orchards of ripening fruit, visit the milking parlour or see newborn lambs, and watch combine harvesters at work reaping the summer’s bounty or tractors scouring out furrows with their ploughs to plant next year’s crop.

“Many farms allow guests to actively participate in daily farm tasks”  tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

bring wellies and get involved with the lambing and for the help they give us on the farm we make sure they’re rewarded with lots of home-made meals.” Nannerth Fawr Farm (www.nannerth.co.uk) is a 200-acre family Powys farm offering visitors organic farm holidays that has Welsh mountain ewes, Tor Wen sheep and numerous other farmyard animals and poultry. Activities to be seen during the year include lambing, shearing, gathering sheep from the hills surrounding the farm, hedging and hay or silage making. Children can sometimes help with feeding the poultry, bottle feeding a lamb or bringing sheep in.

 Easter at Nannerth Farm

 Self Catering at Harrop Fold Farm

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feed animals Activities and the chance to get close to farm animals are big attractions, particularly for youngsters. Many farms allow guests to actively participate in daily farm tasks, such as helping to feed lambs and other animals, gather eggs and groom horses. Some have nature walks and trails on the farm itself or you can use the farm as a base from which to explore the local area on foot, by bike or on horseback. For horse owners, more than 170 Farm Stay UK members now offer stabling for them to take their own horses. Many farms also allow guests to bring their dogs – provided they are kept under control when near farmyard animals. Some also organise special activities for holidaymakers. Clydey Cottages Pembrokeshire (www.clydeycottages.co.uk), another award winner honoured as Best in Wales 2010 and Best in Pembrokeshire 2011 with 15 cottages set in 68 acres, organises an Easter Egg hunt for youngsters while, on a daily basis, children can join the Clydey Young Farmers Club and help feed the resident pigs, sheep, lambs, pygmy goats and donkeys before letting off steam in the adventure playground, which is set in 20 acres of grounds. You can also do other things on farms. Farm and Country Cottages (www.holidaycottages.co.uk) features soft and hard cheese-making courses at Hagley Bridge Farm (www.hagleybridgefarm.co.uk) near Taunton, in Somerset, for £60 (one day) and £120 (two days). Courses run monthly from the first one-day soft cheese course, on April 5. Accommodation is in a converted barn sleeping four at Lovelynch Farm, five miles away, with prices from £310 per week. Your accommodation may be anything from rustic or period to newly-built and will often include a host of amenities, such as a fully-equipped kitchen, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, comfy sofas and armchairs, en-suite bathrooms, log fires with outdoor children’s play areas and

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let’s try farm stay holidays

farm holiday facts

 Wood Farm Trampoline

farm stay uk Farm Stay UK publishes a variety of guides, maps and leaflets covering accommodation offered by its 1,200-plus members. Its main Farm Stay UK brochure details all its UK accommodation and can be ordered online from www.farmstayuk.co.uk. The website allows visitors to search its database of properties by accommodation type or region, and has regional microsites.

sometimes your own private garden. You can also choose to stay somewhere small and intimate, perfect for just the two of you, or at the other extreme go for somewhere that can take the whole family and in-laws or a group of friends.

farm holidays information Responsible Travel: www.responsibletravel.com/accommodation/farmstays VisitEngland: www.enjoyengland.com/Where-to-stay/Rural-escapes/Farm-stay.htm

other farm accommodation websites

easy reach Among VisitEngland’s top farm stays – some of them former farms rather than working facilities – is Compton Pool Farm (www.comptonpool.co.uk), in Marldon, Devon, which won the accolade of best self-catering business in Devon for 2011 in Visit Devon’s tourism awards. This 12th century farm has been converted into 10 luxury holiday cottages sleeping between two and 11, with activities including tennis courts, an indoor pool, games barn, fishing lake and a fenced-off area where children can meet the resident goats and pigs. Another top pick has star appeal. Yew Tree Farm (www.yewtree-farm.com) is a working Lake District sheep farm set among hills near Coniston that was once owned by Beatrix Potter and featured as Hill Top in the movie Miss Potter, starring Renee Zellweger. Its three guest bedrooms feature oak-panelled walls and period décor, while breakfast is served in a room furnished by Beatrix Potter herself. VisitEngland also suggests Common Barn Farm (www.cottages-with-a-view.co.uk), a traditional working sheep farm in the Peak District National Park near Macclesfield with five B&B en-suite bedrooms and two self-catering holiday cottages in converted stone barns. It has its own tea shop and sells fresh lamb from the farm. While a farm stay is a great away-from-it all escape, that doesn’t mean it has to be remote or take hours to find down winding country lanes. Many farms are within easy reach of motorways and cities. Overwood Farm (www.overwood.net) offers a peaceful farm cottage B&B surrounded by Worcestershire woodlands and farmland where you can watch bats hunting and hear owls hooting at night, yet it is less than three miles from Bromsgrove and 15 minutes from both the M42 and M5 motorways. It has won an EnjoyEngland award for its breakfasts, which include eggs gathered daily from its own chickens. One thing is certain – if you opt for the peace and quiet of a holiday down on a farm, you won’t be short of things to do.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

 Feeding The Clydey Sheep And Lambs

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National and regional farm stay websites include: www.holidaycottages.co.uk/farms www.stayonafarm.com www.holidaycottages.co.uk www.cheshirefarmstay.co.uk  Barns with www.farmstays.co.uk spring flowers www.pembrokeshirefarmstay.co.uk www.stayonamanxfarm.com www.devonfarms.co.uk www.farmholidays-southwest.co.uk www.farmhouseaccommodation.co.uk www.farmstayanglia.co.uk www.wiltshirefarmstay.co.uk www.irishfarmholidays.com www.peakdistrictfarmhols.co.uk www.cornishfarmholidays.co.uk www.wightfarmholidays.co.uk www.farmstaysomerset.com www.cotswoldsfarmstay.co.uk www.farm-stay-kent.co.uk www.lakesfarmholidays.co.uk  Guest kitchen www.nfag.co.uk

food for thought Autumn stays on farms bring tasty delights for visitors, with the chance to go foraging for mushrooms, nuts and berries. Autumn activities on offer at Farm Stay UK member farms include:  A Mushroom School at Kirkwood Farm in Scotland; guests can get tips on where to forage and tuition from a professional guide.  Take a bottle of gin to Damerons Farm in Suffolk, gather up sloes and head back to the farm kitchen, where you can create sloe gin.  Pick blackberries and hazel nuts at Cyfie Farm in Wales, then taste them while lazing in the hot tub in the farms’ converted pig sty.  Stay at Upperfields Farm in Herefordshire, where local foodie Raoul Van Den Brouke offers groups a guided food forage.

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travel tech

The sound of silence ant to shut the world out while listening to your favourite music on your travels? With Digital Silence in-ear headphones you can be at peace whatever is going on around you. The intrusive sounds of trains, announcements, street noise and aircraft engines will melt away when you put on a pair of the new DS-321D headphones, as they contain new Digital myZone noise cancellation technology from Wolfson Microelectronics. Music lovers will enjoy the sound quality producers intended with its HD-quality speakers, and on-cord voice microphone with a call management button will allow users to concentrate on their phone calls without interruptions from the hustle and bustle of

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the world outside. The rechargeable battery lasts for 14 hours and it still works as a normal headset when the battery is flat. The DS-321D stereo headphones are available for around £69.99 from Carphone Warehouse, Play.com and Richer Sounds, while the Digital Silence range also includes the entry-level DS-101As, priced at around £35. For more information, go to www.digital-silence.com  You can WIN your very own pair of DS321D noise-cancelling headphones from Digital Silence. Just go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2012

Solar saviour Another clever idea from Etón for when you need power on the move with your iPhone, the Mobius rechargeable battery case provides extra talk time from its own power or the sun. Designed for the iPhone 4 and 4s and Appleapproved, it features a solar panel that needs only one hour in the sun to provide an extra 25 minutes of talk time, 20 minutes of internet use, 35 minutes of video playback or over two hours of audio playback. Mobius features a quick charge time, the highefficiency monocrystal solar panel recharging the 1800mAh lithium ion battery pack on the back of the case. It also has optional charging via computer using a micro-USB cable. Once the battery has been charged, a standby switch can turn off direct power transfer to the iPhone, allowing the case to charge and store energy in its own battery – only using the power when it is needed. Weighing just 3.4 ounces, the case has both a battery charge and solar charge indicator and snaps onto the back of the iPhone. Mobius retails for £69.99 and is available from www.nevadaradio.co.uk.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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Crank it up lanning a camping or motoring trip this year? Etón’s Axis is a new allin-one emergency survival gadget that could help get you out of trouble if you break down, get lost or get stuck in poor weather. Besides sporting a flashing alert beacon and an emergency mobile telephone dump charger for smartphones and USB devices, it also includes an AM/FM radio, alarm clock and LED torch, all powered via its internal battery or handpowered crank handle. One minute of manual winding the handle gives your phone another 30 seconds for a voice call, or 15 minutes of radio or flashlight. Alternatively,

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the Axis can also be powered with AAA batteries or with an AC adapter. The device is weatherproof and features a telescopic antenna for enhanced range and recep-

tion as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. With an RRP of £69.99, it is available from online stores including www.nevadaradio.co.uk. More information on www.etoncorp.com.

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TechTLMwinter12v1pp92-93_T&L 18/01/2012 21:19 Page 93

travel tech

APPS CORNER

Charge around the world f the poor battery life of your favourite portable electronic devices leaves you feeling a little flat, gadget accessories specialist Proporta has come up with a device that will positively turbocharge your life. The latest addition to its awardwinning USB TurboCharger range is a compact, high-powered rechargeable battery that charges from any USB port and allows you to juice up even the most power-hungry gadgets again and again, no matter where you are. You can even power up two devices at the same time; the Proporta TurboCharger 7000’s capacity is an impressive 7000mAh, and it comes with two USB output ports. What’s more, it will charge up all the leading mobile devices, from the

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iPod and iPhone to Blackberry, HTC, Sony Ericsson and Nokia phones. It will also charge up your iPad, and even works with digital cameras. An LED display shows the level of charge, and the TurboCharger comes with two retractable cables and a range of interchangeable connector heads. Best of all, this stylish product is so lightweight (at about 175g) that you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it. The perfect accessory for anyone on the move, it means you need never run out of power again, no matter where in the world you are – and the increased capacity means that you can charge devices again and again without the battery running low. The Proporta TurboCharger 7000 costs £54.95, from www.proporta.com.

Quiet Mode ose yourself in your music when you travel with the first active noisecancelling headphones from Klipsch. The on-ear Mode M40 headphones feature leather ear cups and provide active noise cancelling (ANC) for up to 45 hours on a single battery. They can also be used without battery as normal stereo headphones. The stylish copper and black headphones have an Apple-based microphone and three-button remote system for taking calls and controlling music on iPods, iPhones or iPads. Costing £299.99, the Klipsch Mode M40 headphones are available from www.klipsch.co.uk as well as www.amazon.co.uk and other retailers.

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The new 2012 Berlitz cruise app takes the hassle out of choosing your perfect cruise. Among features is an enhanced filter so users can narrow down their preference of ship, searching through more than 275 cruise vessels to find one that suits them best. Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, it costs £6.99. www.berlitzpublishing.com French ski area Paradiski has launched a free app together with Les Arcs and La Plagne to give visitors up-to-the-minute information on the 425km ski region this season. It provides slope map, skier geo-spatial positioning, ski-lift opening hours, seven-day weather forecasts, webcams and personal performance measurements. The App is free and available on Android and iTunes. www.paradiski.com A new, free iPhone app gives greater freedom to people with specific access requirements planning a trip to the capital. Linked to the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) InclusiveLondon.com website, it provides a range of information to people with access needs, including those with disabilities, older people and parents with young children and buggies. www.inclusivelondon.com A new Android app from travel search engine Momondo.com now allows Android users to search for cheap flights. Momondo’s iPhone version, launched in May 2011, is already a top 25 free travel app. Users can search and compare prices and availability of flights, hotels and car hire from over 800 travel sites. www.momondo.com

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checking out hotel accommodation

focus: b u dg et and af f or dab le hotels

T

Z Hotels

new concept A new name on the scene for London is Tune Hotels (www.tunehotels.com), a sister company to Malaysian budget airline AirAsia and the former Lotus Racing F1 team now renamed Caterham. Tune Hotels’ slogan is “five-star hotels at one-star prices” and since opening in August 2010 its first London property, the 79-room Tune Westminster, has achieved average occupancy of 97%. The group’s latest hotel opened at Liverpool Street just after Christmas and more Tune Hotels properties are due to open in London this year, with a 137room one in Paddington and another with 217 rooms in Kings Cross, both set to open before the Olympics. Others are due to open in Liverpool and Edinburgh by 2013. Some 15 London hotels are  Bar at Z Hotels Soho planned by 2017. Another newcomer underlining that budget

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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 Ibis London Wembley

Sleeperz Hotels

he UK is undergoing an unprecedented boom in budget hotels, with London at the forefront. By the time the Olympics begin this summer, the number of rooms in the capital will have grown by 12% in the past two years, taking the total number to over 123,000. Much of that is accommodation at the lower end of the spectrum and several new names have joined the familiar budget brands of Travelodge and Premier Inn in recent months. Throughout the UK, the budget sector has been growing in leaps and bounds. A study last March by Melvin Gold Consulting found that, since 2008, the budget hotel market had grown by more than one-third despite – or perhaps because of – the economic downturn. Yet while branded budget accommodation now represents 16% of all hotels rooms, that still puts the UK behind the USA (at 33%) and France (25%). Leading the charge of the budget brigade is Travelodge (www.travelodge.co.uk), which already operates over 490 hotels across the UK, Ireland and Spain. It is opening another 41 in the UK during 2012, 12 of them in London. They include its 500th hotel, which opens at Stratford in February, while others will include Greenwich and at London’s ExCeL Centre, both before July. Travelodge has earmarked another 146 UK locations, adding them to its “target requirements list”.

Accor Hotels

B u dg et bonanza

 Sleeperz Cardiff

need not mean basic is Z Hotels (www.thezhotels.com), which says it has created a new concept that reflects the needs of today’s travellers. Its flagship property, Z Hotels Soho in the heart of London’s Soho, opened in November and is claimed to be the first hotel designed with the “Urbanite Stay” in mind: short-stay accommodation offering the highest quality at affordable prices in prime city-centre locations. A designer conversion of 12 Georgian townhouses offering room rates starting from just £85, all 85 rooms feature the latest 40-inch LED high-definition TVs with all Sky Sports and Sky Movies channels at no extra cost, power showers, bespoke hand-crafted beds, i-docking stations, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Guests and non-residents can use the Z Café, which serves freshlymade food focusing on salads, signature Z platters and “afternoon treats” and is open late into the night. More Z Hotels properties are planned. For no-frills value, the easyHotel chain (www.easyhotel.com) set up by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has five properties in London with rates from just £27 per night and a sixth opening soon at The Barbican. It also has hotels in Luton, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as others in Europe and Dubai.

cutting-edge design Sleeperz Hotels (www.sleeperz.com) brings cutting-edge architectural design and stylish interiors

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checking out hotel accommodation

HOTEL NEWS

 A Tune Hotels’ twin room

Tune Hotels

Travelodge

 Travelodge Tower Bridge

Z Hotels

 Z Hotels Soho bedroom

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Apex Hotels is to open its third hotel in London, Apex Temple Court, on April 1. The landmark building, bought from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, is being converted to a four-star property with a contemporary design in a project costing over £60 million. It will feature a restaurant, bar and gym and will offer free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Rates lead in at £129 per room per night. www.apexhotels.co.uk A Naughty & Nice package being offered for Valentine’s Day by The Hotel @ Times Square in New York includes one night’s accommodation, a box of chilli chocolates and two free tickets to the Museum of Sex, worth $35. The package is available throughout February and costs from $189.99 per couple (about £60 per person, per night). The hotel offers free Continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free national phone calls, a fitness centre and a bar. www.thehotelattimessquare.com

Tune Hotels

“Budget need not mean basic”

to its properties, while still offering budget rates. The group’s second hotel opened in Newcastle city-centre this month, having launched with its first hotel in Cardiff in 2008. The compact, vibrant guest rooms at the 98-room, glass-fronted Newcastle hotel feature wet rooms with underfloor heating and steam-proof mirrors. Rates start from £60 including free Wi-Fi access and local telephone calls. Sleeperz plans to expand with major UK cities such as London, Liverpool and Manchester as potential sites for development. Meanwhile, French hotel chain Accor (www.accorhotels.com) has plans to boost its UK presence to 300 hotels by 2015. Its UK and Ireland portfolio currently comprises 158 hotels, of which its budget hotels take in 56 in the ibis brand, 17 Etap hotels and two under the all seasons name. They are being rebranded to ibis, ibis budget and ibis styles respectively during 2012. Stays from just £18 per room per night are being offered at Accor’s Etap hotels (www.etaphotel.com) in a winter promotion, for stays until February 29, while guests booking into an ibis (www.ibishotel.com) hotel will enjoy a  Tune Liverpool Street special winter offer of up to 50% off per room per night, for stays up to February 26.

With their birthday only coming round once every four years, the Montpellier Chapter hotel in Cheltenham is providing a welcome consolation this February for guests born on February 29. It is giving a Jeroboam of Champagne – the equivalent of four bottles – for overnight bookings on February 28 and 29 by guests who can prove they were born on the leap year day. Standard rates start at £140 per room per night, including breakfast. www.chapterhotels.com

The UK’s first and only Crowne Plaza Resort opened its doors late last year and features two 18hole golf courses, two first-class restaurants and a luxury spa, featuring ESPA and Clarins products. The four-star Crowne Plaza Resort Colchester – Five Lakes is set within a 320-acre estate 194 beautifullystyled rooms, including some in their own peaceful location on the edges of the resort, or with golf course views. The hotel also has an indoor pool, spa bath, steam room and sauna. www.cpcolchester.co.uk

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checking out hotel review + reader offer

 Gin bar at The Feathers

Picrures: The Feathers

 Entrance and lobby

Gin palace ituated in the Cotswold market town of Woodstock – home to historic Blenheim Palace, birth place of Sir Winston Churchill – The Feathers hotel offers luxurious, individualised accommodation. Originally five buildings, including a sanatorium and a public library, it became one hotel in the 1960s and reopened in 2010 following an extensive, £1 million refurbishment. This history shows itself in the winding staircases and corridors. We stayed in an ultra-chic, boutique-style suite packed with

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antique furniture, sumptuous upholstery and fabrics, partnered with a luxury, designer bathroom and must-have technology in the shape of flat screen TVs Wi-Fi connection and iPod docking station. A warm welcome from the reception staff set the standards for the high level of unobtrusive but helpful and informative attention throughout our stay. We took pre-dinner drinks in the gin bar, the UK’s first such dedicated bar. My choice was a difficult one, with such a variety, but I was helped by a menu that provided details on the specific

qualities of each brand, and best combinations. Dinner in the award-winning restaurant met all our expectations. Using local, seasonal products, cooked to perfection, the two AA rosettes are clearly deserved. The three courses were complemented by amuse bouche, and we rounded off our evening with coffee and home-made petit fours. Sleep came easily following this, helped by the comfortable king-size bed. Breakfast next morning was individually prepared, partnered by a buffet selection of fruits, cereals and fresh juices. All too soon our stay at The Feathers was over, and we left feeling refreshed and relaxed. Peter Lewsey

factbox The Feathers Market Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1SX Tel: 01993 812 291 www.feathers.co.uk

Double room from £169 B&B best for  Romantic breaks  Great food  Gin aficionados could do better  Hard to fault  Exterior

READER OFFER

Enjoy a luxury stay at The Feathers – and SAVE one-third

Now all tlm readers can enjoy a luxury stay at The Feathers, Oxfordshire’s newest fourstar hotel, and save one-third off the normal rate with our special offer. You will pay just £158* per room per night for comfortable accommodation in an upgraded Cotswold Room, full English breakfast and a three-course dinner in the award-winning restaurant with menus featuring the best of modern English cuisine, created from locally-sourced ingredients.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

The Feathers has 21 delightful bedrooms, all completely redesigned in a major refurbishment with bold fabrics and eye-catching colours. For more details or to book, please call 01993 812291, quoting TLM or email: reception@feathers.co.uk For further hotel information, please visit: www.feathers.co.uk.

 Bedroom

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

*Offer (based on two adults sharing a double/twin Cotswold Room) valid Sunday to Friday inclusive until May 31, 2012, excluding Valentine’s Weekend and subject to availability of allocated rooms.

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Luxury hotels in Oxford, the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire

Lansdowne Place Hotel & Spa



BRIGHTON & HOVE

“The best of Brighton & Hove”

• Friendly staff at your disposal 24 hours a day • All facilities • Stunning bedrooms • Luxury Bar and Restaurant • Function rooms up to 250 delegates • Spa

“We make your stay the best experience”

Lansdowne Place Hotel & Spa

Lansdowne Place, Hove BN3 1HQ T: 01273 7365266 F: 01273 729802 Winter 2011/12

E: info@lansdowneplace.co.uk

www.lansdowneplace.co.uk

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checking out luxury self-catering + review

 Pool at Broad Downs Barn, Salcombe

Do it yourself in style S elf-catering accommodation might be seen by some as an economy option but with more upmarket rental companies offering luxury holiday homes, it is now possible to have a home from home that offers five-star comfort. For families and couples wanting to have a luxury break, yet with more space than a hotel room, a top-of-the-range self-catering property offers unrivalled flexibility and privacy. From a cosy one-bedroom apartment overlooking the sea, to a six-bedroom barn conversion in acres of land, or a former concert hall to an eco-pod, there are luxury

self-catering options to suit everyone. Most offer exceptional comfort levels with stylish furnishings, modern appliances and, quite often, broadband internet and cable television. Heralded on Caroline Quentin’s current ITV series Cornwall, Unique Homestays (www.uniquehomestays.com) offers luxury private holiday homes throughout the UK, predominantly in Cornwall but with selected properties in Kent, Gloucestershire and Wales. Coast and Country Cottages (www.coastandcountry.co.uk) has a collection of five-star luxury properties throughout South Devon, while Blue Chip Holidays

Luxury Cotswold Rentals

Coast and Country Cottages

Blue Chip Holidays

 Ensuite bedroom at Robin’s Lodge, Taunton

 The Old Surgery, Tetbury

(www.bluechipholidays.co.uk) offers everything from traditional cottages to luxury town houses throughout the South West. Norfolk Hideaways (www.norfolkhideaways.co.uk) offers a range of prestige properties, all awarded four or five stars in their Visit Britain Quality Assessment while Luxury Beach House Rental (www.luxurybeachhouserental.com) features three beach houses on the West Sussex coast and a Cotswold townhouse, as well as a stunning beach house in Punta Del Este in Uruguay. Luxury Cotswold Rentals (www.luxurycotswoldrentals.co.uk) has a small collection of stylish Cotswold holiday houses which are baby and child-friendly and, in most cases, pet-friendly.

Mod cons Reedmere cottage, Horning, Norfolk Our journey from London to Reedmere cottage, situated on the banks of the River Bure, in the Norfolk village of Horning, took two hours. On arrival, late in the evening, we were pleased to find a welcome pack; much appreciated as local shops were closed. The property is modern and spacious, and situated within an exclusive marina development offering private mooring and exclusive fishing. We were very impressed with the high standard of interior décor and attention to detail. The bedrooms and bathrooms were finished to the standard found in four-star hotels, and even included soap and towels.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

Reedmere cottage Horning, Norfolk NR12 8PT 3 bedrooms, sleeps 6; from £586 per week Norfolk Country Cottages

Tel: 01603 871872 www.norfolkcottages.co.uk

best for  Exploring the Broads  Relaxing breaks  Nature lovers could do better  Little to complain about

The large, open-plan living area featured a kitchen with everything we might need during our stay, including dishwasher,

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

 Reedmere Cottage washer/dryer and high-spec electrical appliances. Unusually for a self-catering property, tea and coffee were also available. The rest of the living area comprised large, comfortable leather sofas, a stylish dining table and chairs and a large flatscreen TV with Freeview. Added extras included a large range of home entertainment including books, games and DVDs to keep a family amused on rainy days. French doors opened onto the first-floor veranda, offering a

Norfolk Country Cottages

factbox

view of the marina and river. The marina has its own leisure facilities with an indoor heated swimming pool, spa bath, fitness suite and coffee bar, for which there is a small charge. Horning village is situated in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, and is a good location for outdoor pursuits, such as fishing, bird watching, sailing and golf. A short ride will take you to the Norfolk Coast and its miles of sandy beaches. Peter Lewsey

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■ SEASONAL BREAKS Hotel and Self Catering Newquay 50%

n on o ucti Self s Redotel & ookingcl H ing B 9th in gs b2 kin er Cat st-Fe 0 boo k” 1 st 2 rea Nov ed to firasonal B g it e Lim ote “S bookin Qu when

Overlooking Porth beach and the stunning North Cornish coastline, Glendorgal Hotel and Self Catering is set in a secluded coastal position within 17 acres of private headland, yet only a short stroll from Newquay town centre. ♦ Choice of hotel rooms or 2 & 3 bedroom self catering houses ♦ 2 night stays available in self catering ♦ Watermark Brasserie and Bar ♦ Health Club with fitness arena ♦ Swimming Pool ♦ Hot tub ♦ Sauna ♦ Steam Room ♦ Free Parking

The Hotel Collingwood is one of Bournemouth's finest hotels, ideally situated we are only a short walk to the beach, Bournemouth International Centre and cosmopolitan town centre. A family run establishment ensures you of an exceptionally high standard of service at all times. The hotel has 53 modern en suite bedrooms, which have their own distinctive style and are all furnished and equipped with individual heating controls, direct dial telephone, digital freeview TV, tea / coffee facilities. Lift access to all floors, as well as ample free parking for 70 cars. We provide an exceptional and exciting array of entertainment most evenings throughout the year, Each live cabaret is unique, whether you want to dance the night away or just listen, all tastes of music are catered for.

Hotel Collingwood 11 Priory Road, Bournemouth BH2 5DF Tel: 01202 557575 Email: info@hotel-collingwood.co.uk www.hotel-collingwood.co.uk

Lusty Glaze Road, Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 3AD Call now on 01637 874937 E-mail: info@glendorgal.co.uk www.glendorgalhotel.co.uk www.glendorgalselfcatering.co.uk

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SEASONAL BREAKS ■

Country living at its best

THE

Rural Retreats City Breaks Culture History Festivals Activities

HOTEL & RESTAURANT

Have you discovered HEREFORDSHIRE yet? A small boutique hotel steeped in history dating back to 1620, in the heart of the historic market town of Midhurst, in the middle of the new South Downs National Park. Located nearby are: Chichester Cathedral, Theatre, Sculpture Park, Art Galleries, Roman Walls, Fishboune, Bosham, Goodwood Motor Circuit, Horse Racing, Petworth House National Trust & Gardens, The Witterings beautiful sandy beaches Winter/Spring short breaks with an exceptional deal of £125 per room per night for a midweek two or three night stay to include dinner bed & breakfast and also a weekend 2 night break at £150 per room per night including dinner bed & breakfast.

Save

£100

Valid from 6th January to 30th April 2012* based on two people sharing a standard village room. Payment required at time of booking, 21 days cancellation required. * excluding 10-14th February – terms and conditions apply

THE ANGEL HOTEL North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DN Tel: 01730 812421 Email: info@theangelmidhurst.co.uk www.theangelmidhurst.co.uk

Winter 2011/12

Get your free brochure from tourism@visitherefordshire.co.uk (Quote TLMJan12) www.visitherefordshire.co.uk

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2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  Harry Potter publishing rights © JKR

london life london’s movie trail

Lights, camera,

action!

Get starry-eyed visiting London’s movie locations. Julie Thompson is your guide

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ome of the world’s top film makers choose to shoot their blockbusters in London. The capital’s streets and famous landmarks have formed the backdrop to many a hit film including the likes of Batman, Harry Potter and Bridget Jones movies, either as themselves or cleverly disguised. This is where you can follow in the stars’ footsteps; you can also find film locations with Film London’s online movie map: www.filmlondon.org.uk/film_culture/film_tourism/movie_maps/love_from_london

One of the most successful movie series of all time, many iconic London landmarks were used during filming. Kings Cross Station is home to platform 9¾ from where the Hogwarts Express departs (it is actually the arched wall between platforms four and five), whereas St Pancras International features in Harry Potter and the Chamber of  London Bridge has starred in many films

 Films starring Tower Bridge include Tomb Raider, The Mummy Returns and Thunderbirds.  Borough Market has been used in several movies, among them Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Entrapment and Bridget Jones’s Diary.  Futuristic 2006 film Children of Men was filmed in Woolwich and used 600 extras, 250 film crew, 30 sheep, three dogs, two mules and one donkey!  Ealing Studios, the world’s oldest working film studio, has been making movies since 1902. Its most recent, Burke & Hare, was in 2012.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

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Secrets when the Weasleys’ magic Ford Anglia takes to the skies. In The Philospher’s Stone, the reptile house at London Zoo takes centre stage and filming for the Order of the Phoenix closed Westminster tube station for a day in 2006. The triple-decker Knight Bus in The Prisoner of Azkaban careers wildly along Green Lanes, in Palmers Green, before squeezing between two double-deckers on Lambeth Bridge. The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley has two different locations in the films; Leadenhall Market and Borough Market.

james bond

Visit Britain/James McCormick

did you know?

harry potter

 The Knight Bus

While Britain’s most famous spy spends little time in London other than to receive his orders from his boss, M, the city features in several past films and the 23rd Bond, Skyfall, due out later this year, has filmed a poolside sequence at the Four Seasons Hotel in Canary Wharf. Roger Moore took a hair-raising helicopter flight over the Docklands area in For Your Eyes Only while in more recent Pierce Brosnan films, the Secret Service’s

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headquarters are identiSt Bartholomew the fied as being the new Great church in MI6 building on the Smithfield (one of Thames at Vauxthe most filmed hall. The opening churches in sequence of The England). Notting World Is Not Hill features locaEnough is an tions in Notting extended boat Hill, most notably chase from the Portobello Road MI6 building down and 280 Westbourne the river to the Park Road, where  Sherlock Holmes Millennium Dome, also William Thacker’s bluepartly filmed in Millwall doored bedsit was located; it Warner Bros. Entertainment Dock, while in 2002 movie Die is now actually a black door. Another Day, Bond visits a secret base in In Bridget Jones’s Diary, historic a disused underground station and visits Borough Market and the Royal Courts of his club, Blades. Justice on the Strand are featured and in that and the sequel, Edge of Reason, The original 1967 version of Casino Bridget’s flat is above The Globe pub in Royale features 10 Downing Street, Borough Market. Whitehall, Trafalgar Square (with Nelson’s Column replaced by a flying best of the rest saucer) and the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace, while Quantam of Solace uses several London locations including the Reform Club on Pall Mall and the Barbican.

suits you For families: Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, opening March 31, to find out some well-kept secrets. For couples: Have a romantic dinner at Cantina del Ponte in Butlers Wharf where Bridget and Daniel enjoy a date in Bridget Jones’s Diary. For value: Visit the Italian Fountains in Hyde Park, where Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver fight over Bridget Jones in the Edge of Reason and where tennis pros Peter Colt and Lizzie Bradbury take a romantic stroll in the 2004 rom-com Wimbledon. For luxury: Eat at Nobu on Park Lane, where Julia Roberts’s character talks back to a group of mouthy men during dinner with Hugh Grant in Notting Hill.

follow the stars

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The imposing Battersea Power Station has appeared in several films, from Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage back in 1936 to The Dark Knight, Children of Men and The King’s Speech. London Underground has featured in many films, including the plot of the 1998 film Sliding Doors which hinges on which tube train Gwyneth Paltrow’s character takes and several films where chases take place across underground tracks (28 Weeks Later) or the tunnel networks are used for atmospheric effect (An American Werewolf in London). The 1994 drama Closer, starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law, has many key moments filmed throughout the city, while other hit films from The Da Vinci Code to 101 Dalmations and, of course, Sherlock Holmes use locations throughout the city.

You can see some of London’s most famous film locations on several tours:  Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter: London’s newest film attraction opens at the end of March and you can see actual sets, props and costumes from the films. Must book in advance. www.wbstudiotour.co.uk  Blue Badge Guides: The Blue Badge Tourist Guides’ take on London’s film locations include the Bridget Jones-themed Big Knickers Walks. www.walkinginlondon.com  Brit Movie Tours: Walking and bus trips are available, with specialised tours (Harry Potter, Bridget Jones, Notting Hill) and generic location trips on offer. www.britmovietours.com  Celebrity Planet Tours: Tours featuring Harry Potter, Notting Hill and other film locations, as well as celebrity homes and music landmarks. www.thecelebrityplanet.com/london  WIN one of two pairs of  Looking for Harry £25 tickets for Brit Movie Tours’ Harry Potter Tour of London Locations bus tour. Just go to www.tlmmagazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date February 19, 2012.

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Brit Movie Tours

Visit Britain/Ingrid Rasmussen

 Portobello Road bags

 Scene from The King’s Speech filmed at Wembley

Momentum Pictures

the hugh grant connection Hugh Grant plays the archetypal Englishman in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, the caddish Daniel Cleaver in the Bridget Jones’s films and Will in About a Boy, with many London locations being used. Clerkenwell features in About a Boy along with the BFI London Imax Cinema and the penguin pool at London Zoo. Four Weddings features several north London addresses as well as the Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich and

2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  Harry Potter publishing rights © JKR

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© 2011 Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R.

london news

Love is in the air Valentine’s Day in the capital is always special, and there are a number of activities taking place commemorating this lovers’ event:

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Stars in their eyes Spend An Evening with the Stars takes place at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (www.rmg.co.uk), and includes a planetarium show, some time on the prime meridian with a glass of Champagne, plus a chance to look through the Victorian telescope at the night sky. Each couple also gets a single red rose. Tickets are £28 person and booking is recommended.

Romance on a plate Fortnum & Mason(www.fortnumandmason.com), Piccadilly’s classic food emporium, has a host of romantic goodies to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Enjoy the exclusive Valentine in Velvet cocktail in 1707 Wine Bar or have a Valentineinspired afternoon tea in the Parlour, as well as sampling the chocolates, flowers and Champagne gifts on sale in-store. For the ultimate treat, enjoy the special Valentine’s fourcourse Romance on a Plate dinner at the Fountain Restaurant.

It’s a kind of magic he iconic Harry Potter films have captivated the world for almost 10 years and, from March 31, the doors at the studio where it first began will be open for the first time to reveal how the eight films were made. From detailed sets to the amazing costumes, props and animatronics, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will take visitors behind the scenes to see the actual Great Hall at Hogwarts, explore Dumbledore’s office and step onto the

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cobbles of Diagon Alley as well as see props such as Harry’s Nimbus 2000 broomstick. The self-guided walking tour will take about three hours. The studios are located north of Watford, close to the M1 and M25 motorways. Tickets must be purchased in advance; for more information on availability and ticket prices, go to www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.

Eggstra special

Affair to remember

Cook it yourself The Love 2 Dine Valentine’s experience (from £699 per couple) at the InterContinental Park Lane (www.ichotelsgroup.com) includes a private cookery workshop with chef Theo Randall, where guests will prepare and cook their own special Valentine’s menu, then enjoy their endeavours in the award-winning Theo Randall at The InterContinental restaurant. A couples massage and overnight stay is also included.

 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Big Egg Hunt

Firmdale Hotels

The luxurious Covent Garden Hotel (www.firmdalehotels.com) in the heart of London’s Seven Dials area has a special Affair to Remember package. Costing from £454, it includes a bottle of Champagne and strawberries on arrival plus a gift from Seven Dials’ perfumery, Miller Harris. End your evening with a romantic dinner in the hotel’s Brasserie Max.

rom Shrove Tuesday, February 21, 200 fibreglass eggs – uniquely decorated by leading jewellers, designers and artists, such as Zandra Rhodes, Nicky Haslam and Fabergé – will be placed throughout the city for the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt. The hunt will continue until Easter Sunday, April 8. A map or downloadable app with clues will be available for a small fee

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and the eggs will be available afterwards for sale at three special auctions. Funds raised will go to charities Action for Children, which supports vulnerable and neglected children and young people, and Elephant Family, the world’s leading Asian elephant conservation charity. For more information, go to www.thebigegghunt.co.uk.

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 

out & about what’s on and where

 Celebrating Dickens

Blooming lovely

 Dazzling daffodils

hiddingstone Castle, Kent’s unspoilt Tudor castle, will feature a dazzling display of daffodils when it opens in early spring. The castle has a lake open for fishing, as well as some unique Japanese and Egyptian artefacts and additional rooms, such the Victorian kitchen, scullery and servants hall, are being opened up for 2012. Fully open to visitors from Good

Friday, April 6, the castle will be free to enter on Sunday, March 18 – Mother’s Day – as part of Visit Kent’s Big Weekend, for which 12,000 free tickets to 85 attractions in the Garden of England will be available. To register go to http://bigweekend.mykent.co.uk. For more information on Chiddingstone Castle, go to www.chiddingstonecastle.org.uk.

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Licence to Thrill isitors to the new Bond in Motion exhibition, showcasing 50 of the most iconic James Bond vehicles including the Phantom III Rolls Royce from Goldfinger, at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu will be able to take advantage of a special James Bond hotel package at The

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 tlm  the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

 Bond Rolls Royce

Master Builder’s at Bucklers Hard. An overnight stay including dinner from a themed 007 menu, breakfast and two tickets to the museum costs £199 for two people sharing a classic room. For more details on the hotel package, go to www.themasterbuilders.co.uk. This year also sees the 40th anniversary of Beaulieu; for more information go to www.beaulieu.co.uk.

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Visit Kent

The annual Maldon Mud Race, which began in 1973 when a local pub regular was challenged to serve a meal on the riverbank dressed in a tuxedo, is a fun race for charity in which participants compete to be the first to complete a 400metre dash over the bed of the River Blackwater in the Essex coastal town, negotiating 200 metres of mud along the way. The race can only take place when the tide is low enough for participants to run across safely, many of whom do so in fancy dress, raising money for their chosen charity. The event is watched by thousands of spectators and takes place this year on April 29. For more information, go to www.maldonmudrace.com.

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EON Productions

Muddy waters

ebruary 7, 2012 marks the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, whose works have transcended the years and are still being enjoyed today; a TV adaption of Great Expectations was recently shown on the BBC. To celebrate the occasion, there are a number of events taking place, most notably in Kent and in his birth town of Portsmouth. The Dickens Birthplace Museum, located at the modest house in which he was born, will have free admission on February 7 with a range of activities and celebrations in the street. A Tale of One City, a free Dickens’ exhibition running from January 28 to November 4 at the Portsmouth City Museum will feature a display of several pages from an original hand-written manuscript of Nicolas Nickleby. Kent events include a range of celebrations in Rochester and Chatham from February 5-11 as well as the annual Dickens festivals in Rochester and Broadstairs in June. For more information, go to www.dickens2012.org.

Chiddingstone Castle

 Slippery slope

Tony Worpole.Photoshelter.com

Dickens of a party


 

out & about what’s on and where

Mid-term crisis

Norman hunters Several English Heritage properties have exciting events for the whole family during the half-term period. Find the mini Norman and Saxon soldiers hidden around the grounds of Battle Abbey in the Norman and Saxon Quest, or hunt for the mini knights and squires lost in the grounds of Dover Castle in the Medieval Quest. Wrest Park in Bedfordshire is hosting a family fun trail to find hidden clues, solve the puzzle and win a delicious prize. Events are taking place from February 11-19; for more information go to www.english-heritage.org.uk.

Let off steam The Kent and East Sussex Railway will be hosting some special guests on February 11-12 and February 18-19 when Thomas the Tank Engine and some of his friends, including Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller, will be at Tenterden Station. Tickets costing from £13.50 per adult and £10.40 per child include a one-hour train ride. A special promotion with Bodiam Castle from February 14-17 allows children to travel with their parents for just £1 each. Families can board the beautifully-restored vintage steam trains at Tenterden Station and travel the 10.5-mile line to Bodiam Station. Bodiam Castle is just a short walk from

the station and the Kids for A Quid tickets will allow discounted entry to the castle, where a free children’s activity is also included. Downloadable vouchers are required from www.kesr.org.uk, where more information on the events is also available.

Record breakers The Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire is holding a

 The Sunbeam 1000hp

 The Inspiration steam car

Heritage Motor Centre

KESR

 Full steam ahead

Heritage Motor Centre

 Little soldiers

English Heritage

If you’re stuck for some ideas to keep the kids occupied during February half-term, we have some ways to avoid the “I’m bored” cries:

special Motoring Record Breakers exhibition, from February 11 until September 2 presenting some of the fastest British cars, the slowest and slightly wackier record breakers. Some of the cars on display include the Sunbeam 1000hp, the first car to set a land speed record of over 200mph (actually 203mph), and the Inspiration steam car, which holds the steam car land speed record (139mph) secured in 2009; the previous record (127mph) was set in 1906. A Record Breaking fun week, including a themed quiz and trail, will take place from February 11-19, plus a special free family craft day on Thursday, February 16. For more information, go to www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk.

500 for 6 declared udeley Castle in Gloucestershire is to celebrate the quincentenary of a remarkable English queen. Katherine Parr was the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. Born in 1512, she married Henry in 1543 and following his death she married Lord Seymour of Sudeley. She lived and died at the castle, where she is buried in the chapel. Special events during 2012 include afternoon teas with Lady Ashcombe, who now resides at the castle, and family Tudor fun days. The castle is open from April 1 to October 28; for more information go to www.sudeleycastle.co.uk.

 

 Sudeley Castle

tlm  the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Adrian Mason

S

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■ GREAT DAYS OUT

108 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Winter 2011/12


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GREAT DAYS OUT ■

Come & join in the fun

Discover the history of elementary education housed in two impressive grade 2 listed school buildings.

Explore the historic classrooms – have a go at writing with an ink pen or in a sand tray! Peek into the home of a Victorian headmaster’s family – what did they keep in the parlour?

Lots to see – lots to do – rain or shine!

Open to the public in 2012 from 14 February – 27 November every: Tuesdays 10 – 4, Saturdays 10 – 1, Sundays 2 – 5 Admission charge to museum – free entry to café & gift shop Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TS tel: 01462 420144 email admin@hitchinbritishschools.org.uk www.britishschoolsmuseum.co.uk

- STUNNING VIEWS OF BRIGHTON HOVE AND THE SOUTH COAST - YOUR OWN GUIDED TOUR FROM £48

FLIGHTS DEPART FROM SHOREHAM AIRPORT – BOOKING ESSENTIAL

Winter 2011/12

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W

Peter Ellegard

get to know South of France

off the beaten track Namibia The Kalahari and beyond

on your doorstep the New Forest Historic natural haven

uk uncovered UK canals and waterways

Navigating Britain’s 2,200 miles of waterways

resort report Marbella

Southern Spain’s playground of the rich and famous PLUS london life cycling in London 10 of the best exotic beaches let’s try camping hit the road Austrian Alps & South Tyrol

* While stocks last

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a touch of class luxury Caribbean

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Livin in Western Canada

SADDLE UP

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FIESTA TIME

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ls Top carnivals and festiva

Catching the beat in Cuba

DESERT ROSE

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Britain’s spa towns

CHAPTER AND VERSE

ASIA’S GLITZY TWINS

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111TLMwinter

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CLASSIFIED ■ NORFOLK

CORNWALL

MID-NORFOLK

Two 4 Star Self Catering cottages sleeping 2 to 13 in a peaceful hamlet. Tennis Court & Croquet. www.norfolkcountrycottage.co.uk 01362 692079

Waterside Cottages

Kett Country Cottages have 150 cottages across North Norfolk. Most accept pets at no charge. Short breaks available.

01328 887658 or kettcountrycottages.co.uk

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570

DEVON Lydgate House Hotel • POSTBRIDGE, DARTMOOR •

in Fowey, Polruan & Looe

• Superb views • Dinghies available • Children welcome • Open all year round

Tel: 01579 344667 www.cornquay.com

CUTKIVE WOOD HOLIDAY LODGES

Set in 36 acres in the middle of Dartmoor, we have 7 ensuite rooms, lounge bar, and restaurant. Overlooking the East Dart River. Ideal for walking breaks, and exploring the area. For further information tel 01822 880209 or www.lydgatehouse.co.uk

SUSSEX

Best of Brighton

&

Sussex Cottages

DORSET Bookham Court Holiday Cottages

Fully furnished, assessed and graded self catering houses, flats, cottages, studios and apartments in Brighton & Hove and also East and West Sussex. Try our various websites for full info and more pictures:

www.eastbourneapartments.com • www.apartmentsinbrighton.com www.bestofsussex.co.uk • www.bestofbrighton.co.uk Lets of from 3 days to 3 months. Four luxury cottages and B&B

relax and enjoy Cornwall 01579 362216 www.cutkivewood.co.uk

Situated in the tranquil Dorset countryside with panoramic views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale. Watch badgers and birds from our wildlife hide, scenic walks, fishing lake, games room, only 1/2 hour to sea.

Tel: 01300 345511 www.bookhamcourt.co.uk Please quote tlm when calling

Creekside Cottages Self Catering Holiday Cottages in Cornwall 01326 375972 www.creeksidecottages.co.uk

Tel: 0044 (0)1273 308779 CHANNEL ISLANDS

Vazon Bay Holiday Apartments

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570

GUERNSEY - CHANNEL ISLANDS

WALES

ISLE OF WIGHT

Renowned for our hospitality andcuisine

Tucked away in Shanklins Old Village, probably the Island’s most attractive corner, is where you will find The Braemar – a family run licensed hotel ideally located to offer you all the pleasures of the Isle of Wight. Whilst staying with us at The Braemar, you will enjoy the excitement of a top resort with golden sandy beaches offering safe bathing; a beautiful chine which leads down to the beach, speciality shops, a theatre, fantastic countryside to explore.

Tel 01983 863172 www.thebraemar.com

Right by beach, large heated swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna. Small play area. Restaurant, café and shop within walking distance. Range of accommodation 3 star, 4 star and 5 star. Two and three bedrooms.

01481 254353 info@vazonbayapartments.com www.vazonbayapartments.com www.rocquainebay.com

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570 Winter 2011/12

tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 111


112TLMwinter

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■ CLASSIFIED BALEARIC ISLANDS

CHINA

• APARTMENTS • FARMHOUSES • VILLAS COUNTRYSIDE & COASTAL LOCATIONS ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS – PAINTING CAR HIRE ALSO ARRANGED Take advantage of our knowledge and experience and let us guide you to a holiday where you can enjoy the unique experience of Menorca.

Telephone: 01949 860568 Fax: 01949 861521 Email: bardcc@aol.com www.discovermenorca.co.uk

China Holidays organise bespoke tailor made journeys and group tours to China. 11 Days Taste of China, fully inclusive at 4# hotels, visit Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai from £1,395

Please call 020 7487 2999 ATOL

www.chinaholidays.co.uk Villas • Apartments • Car Hire

Tel: 0800 328 4948 Email: villas@menorcagold.co.uk Web: www.menorcagold.co.uk

CRETE

At Menorca Gold, we put a little extra into your holiday, so you get a lot more out of it. With our personal service and attention to detail, we can talk to you with confidence to help you find exactly what you want; whether it be a villa for all the family, an apartment by the sea or a rural retreat for a romantic getaway. Our close partnership with owners means we can provide the best quality with competitive prices.

www.villas-menorca.com

Selection of very special privately owned Villas and Country Houses. Something to suit all tastes. Please contact Deanne on 01579 320800 or deanne@villas-menorca.com

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570 CANARY ISLANDS

Self Catering Holiday Rentals, Apartments & Villas in Tenerife

Management, Rentals & Maintenance SL www.villaslanzarote.net

FLORIDA

• Luxury 4 bedroomed villa on a

Holiday rental properties in Lanzarote Calle Teide 22 Puerto del Carmen Tias 35510

Tel: 00 34 928 515321 Fax: 00 34 928 512424 info@villaslanzarote.net

Tel: 01795 438830 Email: paul@spanishisles.com www.spanishisles.com

gated community • Secluded pool area • Only 15 minutes from Disney World • Visit www.sgbvillas.co.uk for more details • Contact Graham on 0208 482 2830 or 07941 661796

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CLASSIFIED ■ FLORIDA

NORTH CYPRUS Choose from our superb selection of privately owned luxury holiday villas with private

pools, spas and games rooms just minutes from Disney and I4. Each one of our homes is managed and maintained by us to a very high standard. Instantly book any of our homes online, all Major credit cards accepted. With nearly 20 years experience and a high level of customer service consider us for your property management needs.

One of the finest collections of hotels in Northern Cyprus with something to meet everyone’s expectations and budget.

THE NORTHERN CYPRUS SPECIALISTS Get mor e fo your £££s r a non-Eur : destinat o ion

tel: 02392 230030 www.cyprusdirectholidays.com

QUOTE ‘TLM’ FOR FREE WELCOME PACK WORTH $25! US: 001 407 909 9472 Email: info@justvillas.biz Fax: 001-407-909-9473

AUTUMN & WINTER OFFERS

Authentic North Cyprus with the Experts

Calabay Parc Villa

FRANCE ABTA W7161 & ATOL 6118 protected

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3 Luxury Villas Privately owned A new fully furnished luxurious villa, equipped to the highest standard. 4 double bedrooms, 2 king double en-suite bathrooms, 4 single beds with a shared bathroom, enabling the villa to sleep 10 people comfortably. Heated pool, spa/jacuzzi. Cable TV, video, music centre. Fully fitted kitchen and laundry room.

Flights from Stansted, Manchester & Birmingham to Ercan airport

sales@newpresidentholidays.co.uk www.newpresidentholidays.com NEW PRESIDENT HOLIDAYS For reservations please call 0208 406 4440 For your FREE brochure please call 0208 406 4449

PORTUGAL

Tel: 01628 823592 www.fearn-family-villa.com

FRANCE

2 & 4 en-suite bedrooms Private heated pools Free use of 5 or 7 seater car Enjoy home-from-home comforts in high quality holiday properties set amidst vines and open countryside within easy reach of the historic, picturesque towns and villages of Perigueux, Sainte Foy le Grande, Bergerac and St. Emilion.

Tel - 01422 820665 cdwoodproperties@btopenworld.com www.woodproperties-france.com

A detached light, airy, modern villa situated on the outskirts of a pretty village, offers self-catering accommodation for eight with a swimming pool. It is an excellent touring base for exploring the beautiful Languedoc, and is only five kilometres from the historic town of Carcassonne with its famous walled town.

SPAIN For more information www.lafrenchplace.com

GREECE

PAXOS

Planos Holidays - specialist Tour operators to Paxos, Greece. ATOL10291 AITO 01373 813022

www.planos.co.uk

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570

Algarve/Carvoeiro Terrific value full service, quality private properties (sleeping 2-6). Maid, pool. Short/long rentals available anytime.

For a colour brochure please email: algarveowners@aol.com or telephone: 01342 327501

Catalonia / Costa Brava Pals, Begur, Sa Riera, Aigua Blava, Aigua Gelida, Tamariu, Llafranc, Calella de Palafrugell, Calonge & Palamos. Top quality privately owned villas, apartments and country properties in the prettiest areas of the Costa Brava.

PCI HOLIDAYS QUALITY & CARE PROPERTY SALES MANAGEMENT & RENTALS TELEPHONE: 0330 555 0034

www.pci-holidays.com

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570 Winter 2011/12

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■ CLASSIFIED ANCESTRY

BOATING HOLIDAYS

FREE TICKETS

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ANCESTORS Let our professional genealogists trace your family history nationally and internationally.

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For the best, most economical services write to Ancestors.co.uk 11 Crosbie Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9BG (TLM)

0121 246 4260 To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570

BOOK PUBLISHING

GIFTS

BOOK PUBLISHING Authors invited to submit manuscripts all categories including poetry

New Authors welcome

A.H. STOCKWELL LTD, Dept. 610, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 8BA. Tel 01271 862557 www.ahstockwell.co.uk Publishers for 100 Years

Gift for a wine lover Rent a row of vines with 3D Wines and open up a whole world of exciting trips to visit your vineyard and taste your wine with the person who makes it.

www.3dwines.com

or please call us on 01205 820745

FARM HOLIDAYS MOTOR HOMES

Trenona Farm Holidays ROSELAND PENINSULA, CORNWALL

Motorhome hire in Scotland 2, 4, 5 and 6-berth motorhomes. Ideal for touring within Scotland and further afield. All vehicles are fully equipped (bedding optional). Our package includes unlimited mileage, full insurance, AA cover.

• Bed and Breakfast or 4 Star self-catering cottages • Wheelchair accessibility • Children and pets welcome • Superb accommodation in idyllic rural setting near St Mawes and the South coast

End-of-season motorhome sales

www.trenonafarmholidays.co.uk Tel: 01872 501339 Mrs Pamela Carbis

Brown’s Motorhome Hire, Garrion Bridge Larkhall ML9 2UD (nr Glasgow)

For brochure contact

TRAVEL PRODUCTS

UPGRADE YOUR SEAT! The Jetsleeper hooks onto the top of the seat and the strap loops over the armrest or seat belt. Soft n’cosy filling for a Good Flights Sleep, and then folds down small to fit in its zip bag. Soft, cushioned fibre pillow that supports your entire body, keeping you upright in the seat, not slumped over the aisle. Adjustable height. Only £20+P&P

www.jetsleeper.com

WINTER SUN

Tel/Fax: 01698 886255

INSURANCE

Farmhouse B&B on the magnificent Roseland Peninsula, an ideal base for exploring Cornwall.

www.trewithian-farm.co.uk tel: 01872 580 293 To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine – please call 0203 176 2570

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tlm - the travel & leisure magazine winter 2012