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tlm Spring 2011

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tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

the travel & leisure magazine

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

10 of the best romantic escapes

TURKEY SIZZLERS

Where’s hot to trot around the Turkish coast

ORIENTAL PEARL

China's hidden delights

ROCK STEADY

Britain’s seaside resorts fight back

THRILLERS

The magic of theme parks

PLUS Constable Country Golf in Dom Rep Luxury spas Royal London

win

Spring 2011

a golf a nd a Kodak spa break, our spr camera in in contest g photo & more www.tlm-magazine.co.uk


tlm the travel and leisure magazine

■ Ethnic minority girls, Yangshuo, China

contents

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in the frame winter photo competition winners getting to know Turkey’s Mediterranean coast escape to Tallinn let’s try theme parks competitions

28 36 42 47

uk uncovered Britain’s beach resorts off the beaten track hidden China and Tibet a touch of class UK spas in your flightbag what to take on the flight

Peter Ellegard

from the

WIN – a £1,000 family theme park break to Germany’s Europa-Park WIN – a £335 golf and spa break to Heythrop Park Resort + READER OFFER

WIN – one of five pairs of Rollasoles shoes, worth up to £9.95 each READER OFFER – get 20% off Rollasoles shoes online WIN – one of three Fulton Minilite-2 Photo Rose Pink umbrellas, worth £14 each

48 in your suitcase what to pack for your holiday

WIN – one of four pairs of Brasher shoes and boots, worth up to £110 each

50 travel tech gizmos and gadgets to take away 53 on your doorstep Constable Country: Dedham Vale 59 photo competition

WIN – a Kodak EasyShare Max digital camera and a Pulse digital photo frame, worth £470

61 pack your clubs Dominican Republic + golf news WIN – a Z1 Push golf trolley, worth £179

67 70 74 78 82

travel update travel news 10 of the best romantic escapes checking out focus on pubs with rooms + reviews london life royal London + London news out & about what’s on outside London READER OFFER – buy one SpaFinders voucher and get 25% off a second one 90 coming next what’s in store in the next issue subscribe to tlm and get one of 50 Michelin London guides FREE EDITORIAL TEAM: Editor Peter Ellegard Editorial assistant Julie Thompson Writers Peter Ellegard, Julie Thompson, Howard Carr, Jeannine Williamson, John Law, Jane Anderson and Clare Mann Design Nick Blaxill Production June Barnard Publisher Terry Stafford Digital Publisher Peter Lewsey Published quarterly by TLM Media Limited Castle Court, 41 London Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 9RJ Tel: 01737 735575 Fax: 01737 735233 Email: info@tlm-magazine.co.uk Printed by BGP © TLM Media Limited The publishers cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Whilst every care is taken, all material submitted to TLM Media Limited is done so at its owner’s risk and neither TLM Media Limited nor its agents can accept any liability for loss or damage. TLM Media Limited is a completely independent company and can hold no responsibility for the actions of outside agents. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written consent. All private advertisers are totally responsible for their own wording within their advertisement, and TLM Media Limited can therefore take no responsibility as to their content. Please seek legal advice and thereafter verify all the details of your purchase in writing before proceeding. Front cover photo: Lizard Island, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – © Lizard Island

Spring 2011

editor Peter Ellegard

T

he year is barely three months old, yet already we have witnessed global disasters and tragedies on an unimaginable scale and other momentous events. Australia, New Zealand, Japan – our TV screens have been filled with scenes of devastation almost impossible to comprehend, while people across North Africa and the Middle East have stood up against oppressive regimes. Such is the human spirit, the affected areas are attempting to rebuild their shattered communities, through their own resolve and with national and international help. And while it may seem frivolous to be thinking about holidays at such a time, we can help to make a difference as holidaymakers, too. Tourism dollars are the lifeblood of many destinations, and when visitors stop going those dollars dry up. Very often people cancel or switch holidays in the belief that their chosen destination is affected, when in reality it can be well away from trouble hotspots. So before reconsidering travel plans, do indepth research and then make an informed decision. On a lighter note, we hope you find the latest issue of tlm interesting, thought-provoking and an enjoyable read. Inside, there’s a wide cross-section of topics, and the chance to win many fantastic prizes. And if you are unsure of your travel plans, you can always visit tlm’s website and ask the editor.

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

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in the frame ■ winter photo competition results

Ice ones

■ James Murphy’s photo of a snowy Southsea promenade

James and Bex take the winter honours with their cool photos

W

e asked you to send in your favourite ice, snow and frost photos for our winter photographic competition – and we were literally snowed under with entries! The competition was run in two parts over January and February, with winners for both receiving a copy of the Insight Guide to Travel Photography, worth £14.99, courtesy of Insight Guides. The hundreds of entries were narrowed down to 12 finalists each month, which were then posted on tlm’s Facebook page for the public to vote. For February’s vote, we rolled all the unsuccessful January entries together with those that came in for the February competition. And the results were overwhelming. January’s winning picture was of a snowy promenade scene on Southsea seafront, in Portsmouth, taken by James Murphy, a student at Portsmouth University who is a keen amateur photographer. February’s vote went to Bex Saunders, another student, from Romsey in Hampshire, for her atmospheric close-up of icicles. Well done both of them. ● WIN a Kodak camera in our summer photo competition. See page 59.

Other top readers’ picks

4 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

■ Bex Saunders’ photo of icicles

■ Madeline and Barley by Jodie Forbes

■ Winter in Swaledale by Caroline Brookes-Leyland

■ Form an Orderly Queue by Alan Roberts

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Spring 2011


getting to know ■ Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts

Med to make your

mouth water Turkey has soared in popularity as a holiday destination, thanks to its excellent value and the range of resorts it offers all round its coast. Howard Carr gives a guided tour

H

Cosmos

■ The stunning beach and lagoon at Oludeniz

6 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

asan was tinkering with the engine of his little boat before taking us for a trip around the bay. He assured us that he only did this for friends. We didn’t like to tell him that it seemed everyone was a friend in Gumusluk. In the space of just a couple of days in this idyllic village on the tip of the Bodrum peninsula, the staff of one of the restaurants had taken us swimming and the local baker had shared yoghurt and freshly-picked almonds with us. Now the owner of the village antiques shop was about to take us for a late-afternoon jaunt on his boat. Turkey is famous for its hospitality. It doesn’t come any warmer than in Gumusluk, which has largely avoided the tourism trappings of Bodrum just 40 minutes away.

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We had intended to spend only a few days in this village, where the road ends – literally. The settlement’s position on the site of ancient Myndos means that development is severely restricted. Accommodation is limited to village houses, a few apartments and a couple of pensions. Many of the houses and most of Gumusluk’s handful of shops and restaurants are accessed directly from the beach, which acts as the village’s main thoroughfare. And with very little passing traffic – save for a few Bodrum visitors to Gumusluk’s renowned fish restaurants each day – the beach is more country lane than high street. Our “few days” in Gumusluk turned into two weeks. Apart from a trip to the market in Bodrum, we rarely ventured out of the village – such is its halcyon-like grip. With the garden gate of our stone cottage opening

Spring 2011


getting to know ■ Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts

Spring 2011

Peter Ellegard

■ Aspendos amphitheatre

■ Antalya yacht harbour Starwood Hotels and Resorts

directly onto the beach, days began with an early-morning swim. Then it was a few strides along the beach to buy fresh bread, yoghurt and apricots for breakfast. The rest of the day was distinctly lazy and hazy, with the odd break for kayaking in the bay or walking over the headland to explore meadows, cliff-top paths and remote coves. It was a rare walk when we didn’t stumble across tiny patches of ancient mosaics in the fields around the village. We could have headed for bigger and busier resorts along the coast. We could have swapped weed-covered mosaics for more impressive historic sites such as Ephesus. Turkey’s popularity has boomed in the last couple of years as holidaymakers look for good value outside the eurozone. But Gumusluk is proof that Turkey is big enough to cater for all types of traveller – on and off the beaten track. The country covers an area three times the size of the UK and has more than 2,700 miles of Aegean and Mediterranean coastline. Beach resorts are served by the four main gateway airports at Izmir, Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya.

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

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getting to know ■ Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts

gulet cruising

■ Explore the coast on a gulet

■ Bodrun Castle

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

Anatolian Sky

Traditional wooden sailing boats known as gulets are a great way of exploring tiny fishing villages and secluded coves. Most of the coast remains undeveloped, with many bays and beaches only accessible by water. Trips can range from a day to a week or more. Each vessel has its own crew, including a cook, and usually up to eight cabins. Facilities vary from basic to luxury but most boats have a sunbathing deck to the fore and a sitting and dining area at the back. Potential passengers should bear in mind that unless they are hiring the whole boat, they will be holidaying with strangers in a fairly confined space. Cabins are often tiny, with little room for luggage. Major bases for gulet cruises include Marmaris, Bodrum, Kusadasi and Fethiye. Boats sail during the day, with plenty of time for swimming and snorkelling, and moor at a different town or village each night.

izmir area

The area’s other main resorts are Cesme, a charming town dominated by a 14th century castle, and Altinkum, where the large sweep of golden sand makes it popular with families. Quieter options include Foca and Ayvalik. At first sight, the sprawling city of Izmir appears to have little to offer tourists – mainly because of its lack of a decent beach. But its hectic bazaar is a fun place to haggle for Turkish souvenirs and there are some good restaurants along its seafront.

Izmir is the most northerly of the coastal gateways. The area’s biggest and best-known resort is Kusadasi, where mass-market tourism in Turkey began in earnest. Today it’s a cosmopolitan resort, with lots of shops and a bright and busy nightlife. The main town beach can get crowded in summer but there’s a good choice of other beaches a short distance out of the centre that are just as sandy but offer more space. The resort has a large range of hotels to suit all budgets – but accommodation should be chosen carefully. While Kusadasi has done much to spruce itself up over the last few years, some hotels remain a little jaded. Kusadasi’s main advantage is its proximity to Ephesus, Turkey’s most famous and best-preserved ancient city. The historic site is just 30 minutes from the resort. The short transfer to Ephesus also makes Kusadasi a favourite call with cruise ships.

bodrum area

■ Gumbet beach

8 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

Cosmos

“The country… has more than 2,700 miles of Aegean and Mediterranean coastline” www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Bodrum boasts a beautiful marina overlooked by a Crusader castle and backed by a warren of narrow streets. It gets crowded in the height of summer – mainly due to its clever approach to satisfying a wide variety of visitors. A popular base for sailing holidays, the busy harbour gives the waterfront a jet-set atmosphere. Clubbers are attracted by one of the largest open-air nightclubs on the Mediterranean, while families come for shopping, the castle and the waterside cafes. Bodrum has a fair selection of chic, boutique-style hotels, while on the edge of town, Gumbet is a kiss-mequick-type resort with budget accommodation and brash bars and clubs that are a big hit with the 18-30 crowd. The 26-mile long Bodrum peninsula offers a quieter alternative among its lush countryside dotted with olive groves and whitewashed villages. Resorts such as Turgutreis and Ortakent have developed considerably over the last few years but still retain an authentic Turkish atmosphere. They offer a good balance for holidaymakers keen to avoid the big resorts but who still want a reasonable selection of restaurants and bars and don’t wish to be too off the beaten track. Bitez has a mature, upmarket following, while

Spring 2011


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

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getting to know ■ Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts

magical history tours

Anatolian Sky

■ Village life in Alacati, near Izmir

village stays Beautifully restored stone houses, full of character and history, make a refreshing alternative to modern hotels for holidaymakers who want to immerse themselves in village life. The rural Kaya Valley in the hills above Fethiye offers lots of options. Strict conservation rules mean there are no large hotels. Accommodation is limited to renovated houses in tiny villages. The biggest nod to tourism is the deserted village of Kayakoy, which attracts day-trippers from the coast. The settlement was abandoned after the Greco-Turkish war in the 1920s. The valley offers many scenic walks.

Among the most scenic is a hike through pine forest to Afkule, an ancient monastery carved into a cliff overlooking the sea. Should the bright lights beckon, Fethiye is just five miles from the Kaya Valley and Oludeniz, seven miles. Other areas with a good selection of village houses for rent include the Bodrum and Datca peninsulas. Most houses are well-equipped, with facilities often including washing machines, dishwashers and airconditioning. Maid service is usually provided at least every few days to tidy up and change linen.

Gumusluk and Yalikavak are among the quietest places on the peninsula.

Turkey claims to have more Greek ruins than Greece and more ancient Roman sites than Italy. There are so many historic attractions that wherever you choose to stay, you are bound to stumble across mosaics, tombs, statues or the odd amphitheatre or two. But the size of the country means it’s unlikely you will be able to pack all the main ancient sites into one holiday. If you’re keen to combine a beach stay with a visit to a particular attraction, choose your resort carefully to ensure it’s within easy reach. Top sites are: Ephesus: The best-preserved classical city in the whole of the Mediterranean covers a large area, so ditch the flip-flops in favour of comfortable shoes. Troy: Not even Brad Pitt could make the ancient site of Troy as popular as Ephesus with holidaymakers but that is largely due to the legendary city’s position on the northern Aegean coast – a lengthy drive from any resort south of Izmir. Hierapolis: The ruins of the ancient spa town sit alongside Pamukkale, a spectacular series of white terraces that are a popular attraction for daytrippers from Kusadasi, Altinkum and Bodrum. Didyma: One of the ancient world’s most sacred places, near Altinkum, was built in the 7th century BC and restored by Alexander the Great. Aspendos: Thirty miles east of Antalya, this impressive Roman site boasts a beautifullypreserved amphitheatre and aqueduct. Perge: One of Turkey’s best-preserved archaeological sites, 10 miles from Antalya, this was a major city of ancient Pamphylia. It was used by Alexander as a base but most ruins date from later Roman times and include a theatre.

■ Didyma, near Altinkum

Exclusive Escapes

■ Kas Harbour

Dalaman is the gateway to many of Turkey’s most popular resorts. They include the Brits’ favourite, Marmaris. Bustling, neon-lit and with a busy harbour, this is definitely not a resort for those in search of a quiet holiday. Nearby Icmeler is popular with families because of its sandy beach and shallow waters. It has a wide range of hotels and apartments but has more of a relaxing, laidback atmosphere than Marmaris. Small, family-run hotels make up most of the accommodation in Turunc, reached by a steep, winding road. The beautiful Datca peninsula remains relatively undiscovered despite its proximity to Marmaris. Few tourists venture off the main coast road to explore the pretty countryside and traditional villages. Further south, Oludeniz – near the attractive town of Fethiye – boasts one of the country’s best beaches

10 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Anatolian Sky

dalaman area

cradled by a stunning lagoon. Most of the area immediately bordering the lagoon is protected, meaning that most accommodation is set back from the beach. Because development at Oludeniz is heavily restricted, nearby Hisaronu has grown into a lively resort. A more relaxed option for families and older couples is

Spring 2011


getting to know ■ Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts

Colin Antill/Fotossker.com

■ Ephesus is the Mediterranean’s best-preserved classical city

■ Perge ruins

Calis Beach, the nearest stretch of sand to Fethiye. Further west, Patara has the longest beach in Turkey – 14 miles of white sand backed by dunes and mimosa bushes. The harbour towns of Kas and Kalkan have grown into upmarket resorts with swanky boutique hotels and luxury villas.

Spring 2011

■ Antalya’s harbour

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

Cosmos

Peter Ellegard

■ Temple of Apollo at Side, near Antalya

antalya area Oodles of winter sun make Antalya Turkey’s only major year-round beach holiday destination. The Turkish government has invested heavily in the region’s tourism infrastructure over the last few years. A focus on four and five-star hotels is designed to rid the

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

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getting to know ■ Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts

turkey’s mediterranean facts when to go

■ Alanya

country of its reputation as a bargain-basement destination and show that it’s a match for more established rivals around the Mediterranean. Some of the new hotels are jaw-droppingly ostentatious. They include the vast Mardan Palace, reputed to be the most expensive hotel in Europe when it opened in Antalya two years ago. Much development has been focused on the purposebuilt resort of Belek. With luxury spas and more than 12 golf courses, it’s out to prove that Turkish beach holidays can offer more than just sunbathing. Other resorts with a spate of new upmarket hotels include Side and Alanya. There is plenty of nature to explore in this region. The beaches around Belek are a nesting ground for Careta careta (loggerhead) turtles, and hotels have to turn off beach lights during the nesting season. The Taurus mountains, snow-capped in winter, form the backdrop to the beach resorts. Inland, there are many beautiful pine forests, lakes and rivers. The Managvat Waterfall, just north of Side, is one of the most popular natural attractions, and has tourist shops and cafes. You can also take a boat trip along the river. Howard Carr has been a frequent visitor to Turkey for the last 25 years. He loves the warm hospitality – including the odd glass of raki.

Charter flights operate to all four main ■ Mardan Palace coastal gateways. Low-cost options include easyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Pegasus (www.flypgs.com). Turkish Airlines (www.thy.com) serves Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya.

getting around Turkish driving is erratic, so car hire is not for the faint-hearted. Dolmus – usually a minibus – is the typical form of public transport in Turkey. Services connect villages with local towns. Fares are cheap and it’s a great way to meet the locals, although the vehicles can get hot and stuffy in summer.

tour operators A wide variety of operators features Turkey. Cosmos (www.comos-holidays.co.uk) offers a one-week all-inclusive deal in ■ Belek tourism Belek from £499. Specialists include village WingsAbroad (www.wingsabroad.co.uk), with a one-week all-inclusive stay in Altinkum from £497, and Anatolian Sky (www.anatoliansky.co.uk), with a one-week gulet cruise from Marmaris from £599. Upmarket operator Exclusive Escapes (www.exclusiveescapes.co.uk) specialises in villas and small hotels.Two weeks in a two-bedroom villa in Kordere, near Kalkan costs from £5,100 for a family of four, with flights and car hire. Alternative Turkey (www.alternativeturkey.com) has a week’s golf holiday with three rounds from £599. Co-op Holidays (www.co-opholidays.co.uk) and Prestige (www.prestigeholidays.co.uk) also feature Turkey.

tourist information Turkish Culture and Tourism Office: 020 7839 7778; www.gototurkey.co.uk

12 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

■ Chicken shish kebab

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

local food

If it’s your first visit to Turkey, don’t worry about the food. Turkish cuisine is among the best in the world. It relies heavily on fresh ingredients. Herbs and mild spices are widely used, meaning that dishes are flavourful without being too hot. Main meals normally start with meze – a selection of appetisers – traditionally accompanied by raki, an aniseed-flavoured brandy similar to ouzo. Lamb and chicken are staple ingredients

Mardan Palace Hotel

getting there

Peter Ellegard

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

Early and late summer is best, particularly if travelling with young children. July and August are stiflingly hot; temperatures often top 35ºC. Winter-sun holidays are mainly restricted to the Antalya region.

for main dishes. Kebab comes in lots of regional varieties. Among the best is Bursa kebab, served with a savoury tomato sauce. There is also, of course, plenty of excellent seafood along the coast. Turks love their desserts and pastries – the sweeter, the better. Best known is baklava, flaky pastry soaked in honey. Despite Turkey’s reputation for strong coffee, the national drink is tea served in small glasses. Local beer is good, as are many Turkish wines.

Spring 2011


The most romantic hotel in the world... Boasting the classification of "Special Class Hotel", Tuvana Hotel is an oasis of relaxation and quiescence, ensconced in the heart of the historical Mediterranean metropolis of Antalya, Turkey. The Tuvana Hotel, chosen the most romantic hotel of the world in 2011, was once the house of a successful Ottoman officer, Abdi Efendi, and the centre of prestigious imperial visits during the early 18th century. Now it has been transformed into a distinguished boutique hotel, surrounded by orange, plum, tangerine

and pomegranate trees, creating a fragrantly unequalled atmosphere and managed by ancestors of Abdi Efendi, with whom you can meet during your stay in the hotel and enjoy their hospitality. The timeless splendor of this hotel’s yesteryears has been impeccably conserved and heightened by a refined and contemporary philosophy in décor. Ottoman tradition is still highly present throughout the Tuvana, with its stately ambiance and classic furnishings. The rooms of the hotel

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are spacious and come with all of the modern commodities to be expected from a hotel of its class. There's a choice of four restaurants on site; two indoor, one lovely one situated in the garden, all three of them serve traditional Turkish cuisine and famous with their barbecue parties. The fourth really is something special: Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant is headed by the most talented chefs of Turkey, and is a sophisticated dining affair with global influences and is the best restaurant in the area.

Tuvana Hotel, 07100 Tuzcular mah. Karanlik sok. No: 18 Kaleiçi/ Antalya Tel: +90 242.247.6015 Fax: +90 242.241.1981 info@tuvanahotel.com www.tuvanahotel.com Seraser Restaurant: info@seraserrestaurant.com www.seraserrestaurant.com Spring 2011

tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 13


escape to ■ tallinn

Baltics culture club With a host of special events to celebrate its status as European Capital of Culture, this is the year to visit historic Tallinn. Jeannine Williamson gets on a bicycle made for seven to take a tour

W

■ Tallinn old town Visit Estonia/Jaak Kadak

Spring 2011

ith its perfectly preserved medieval Old Town, towering church spires and charming cobbled streets, Tallinn has every reason to bask in the limelight as European Capital of Culture 2011. What I hadn’t banked on was actually becoming one of the many head-turning sights. As our guide Kristina urged us to pedal faster, and the “conference bike” gathered speed, curious Estonian drivers slowed down to take a look and bemused tourists turned their cameras from architectural gems to focus on our novel mode of transport. While walking is the best way to discover Tallinn at leisure, the

circular bikes made for seven illustrate that this is no city stuck in a time-warp and it’s easy to combine history with a decidedly different experience. After cycling past the wood-boarded houses of the Kalamaja neighbourhood to the coastline that was out of bounds to citizens under Soviet occupation, we reluctantly turned for home, wishing we’d signed up for the 32 euro one-hour tour. We’d opted for 30 minutes based on pre-ride nerves that were quickly dispelled with Kristina firmly in charge of the steering – and brakes. Tallinn’s focal point is the Old Town square, a great place to start a city tour. The town hall is a Gothic masterpiece and the main sights are within walking

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

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escape to ■ tallinn

■ Festival time

Visit Estonia/Jaak Nils

Visit Estonia/Toomas Tuul

■ Tallinn city walls

10 things to do in tallinn

distance, including the fortified city walls, soaring churches and unique attractions such as the Town Hall Pharmacy with ancient lotions and potions on display. After stopping for coffee in one of the many cafes lining the square, we set off to Toompea, once the preserve of the city’s aristocracy and home to the president’s residence and parliament building. It’s well worth the walk to the Patkuli viewing platform overlooking the stunning UNESCO-listed Old Town and we stopped for a breather at the Cathedral of St Mary, where countless coats of arms adorn the white walls.

● Head up Toompea hill for panoramic views of the Old Town. ● Visit ornate Alexander Nevksy Cathedral, an onion-domed reminder of Estonia’s Russian links. ● Stroll along quaint St Catherine’s Passage with its colourful craft shops. ● Discover medieval remedies in the Town Hall Pharmacy, Europe’s oldest chemist shop. ● Explore the revitalised Rotermann Quarter with its modern cafes, shops and bars. ● Take to the streets for an unforgettable sightseeing tour on a bicycle made for seven (www.citybike.ee). ● See classical and modern art in the striking Kumu building, Estonia’s first purpose-built museum (www.ekm.ee). ● Admire beautiful interiors at 18th century Kadriorg Palace, built by Peter the Great (also www.ekm.ee). ● Visit landmark St Olav’s Church which was once the world’s tallest building. ● Relax with a beer or two in one of Tallinn’s many bars.

festivals

Visit Estonia

■ Tallinn Medieval market

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Spring is the start of the main tourist season and ■ Olde Hansa midsummer, with up to 18 hours of daylight in June, is Visit Estonia another popular time to visit and also a good time to enjoy some of Tallinn’s many festivals. One of the biggest celebrations takes place at the beginning of June. Old Town Days is a week-long street party packed with medieval characters, musicians, dancers and entertainers. In July there’s Beer Summer (www.ollesummer.ee), the largest outdoor festival in the Baltics. Despite its name it actually incorporates a huge music festival, albeit with plenty of beer on the side. By the end of October things quieten down. But if

Spring 2011


escape to ■ tallinn

Visit Estonia/Toomas Tuul

■ The Old Town

you don’t mind cold weather then winter is a magical time to visit, especially during Tallinn’s Christmas market that starts in the last week of November. After the cycling and walking, we had worked up an appetite and the next stop was Cafe Moon (www.kohvikmoon.ee) in the Vorgu district. Far removed from your average cafe, talented Tallinn chef Roman Zashterinski has teamed up with two fellow chefs to serve fantastic food worthy of a designer restaurant but in an informal setting. Although Estonia waved goodbye to its kroon and joined the eurozone at the beginning of the year, it’s still an inexpensive destination for UK visitors. My borscht soup with beef was three euros and the main course of duck in a honey lemon sauce was under 10 euros, a fraction of what you’d pay for similar food at home.

beyond tallinn Tallinn may be the undeniable jewel in Estonia’s crown, but the city is surrounded by beautiful countryside leading to the western islands, famous for their spas. Twincentre holidays are available or day excursions can be booked in Tallinn. A popular trip combines Lahemaa National Park, 30 miles east of Tallinn, and old fishing villages on the northern coast. The eight-hour excursion costs around 50 euros per person. Alternatively a 12-hour day trip, from 125 euros, takes visitors to the beautiful western isles of Muhu and Saaremaa. A two-hour drive through densely-forested countryside leads to the resort town of Haapsalu, lined with quaint wooden houses. An hour from there is Virtsu, gateway for the 30-minute ferry ride to tiny Muhu, which is connected by causeway to neighbouring Saaremaa.

When it’s time for shopping check out the Rotermann quarter (www.rotermannikaubamaja.ee), where old industrial buildings have gained a sophisticated new lease of life and rub shoulders with striking modern architecture. Loovala is an open-plan craft studio and the place to find unusual gifts, accessories, art and jewellery – although getting a rocking chair made of bricks back on the plane is probably a souvenir too far! Bright hand-made knitwear and butter knives and bowls made from sweetly-scented juniper wood make excellent and more portable gifts.

Spring 2011

■ Rooftop architecture

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

Visit Estonia/Karrel Mikkin

shopping

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escape to ■ tallinn

■ Medieval theme at the Olde Hansa restaurant

tallinn facts The main season runs from April to October and summer is pleasantly warm with long hours of daylight. Snow-covered Tallinn is beautiful in wintertime but it gets very cold.

getting there Estonian Air (www.estonian-air.ee), easyJet (www.easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) fly from London to Tallinn.

■ St Catherine’s Passage

Visit Estonia/Jaak Nilson

when to go

accommodation For a luxury hotel near the Old Town try historic Hotel Schlössle (www.schloesslehotel.com) or Swissotel Tallinn (www.swissotel.com/tallinn), which has a spa. On Saaremaa, the modern Go Spa hotel is by the sea (www.gospa.ee).

tour operators Baltic Holidays (www.balticholidays.com) features Tallinn short breaks, Estonia tours and spa holidays and Regent Holidays (www.regent-holidays.co.uk) offers city breaks and a Tallinn and islands tour. ■ Tallinn festival Visit Estonia/Jaak Nilson

Round the corner, and part of Rotermann, we discovered the equally fascinating Soviet Technology Exhibition, which reinvents itself each spring and is only open during the summer. Housed in a cavernous former grain store, household appliances, motorbikes, food packaging, clothes, leisure items and industrial equipment are among the eclectic exhibits. Teenagers will love things such as the conference bike and these more off-beat attractions. However, Tallinn is not an obvious destination for younger children and is best suited to couples and groups of friends. A big draw is its good value nightlife, much of it centred in the Old Town, and we spent an entertaining evening at Olde Hansa (www.oldehansa.ee). The candlelit restaurant serves hearty medieval-style dishes including wild boar, elk and even bear, although some Brits might be reluctant to try the latter. Huge plates of food were interspersed with beer, wine and rather questionable “medieval” shots served up by jovial staff in period attire. Set menus start at 35 euros a head, which is pricey for Tallinn but it’s a fun night out. The many nearby watering holes include everything from atmospheric wine vaults and cellars to karaoke, sports and 70s-style retro bars. Try Viru beer, which comes in distinctive tall bottles, and other local brews. This year is a particularly exciting time to visit the smallest Baltic state and one of northern Europe’s oldest capitals. To celebrate its European title, Tallinn is hosting one of the biggest cultural events in Estonia’s history with a host of special exhibitions, festivals and attractions on the theme, “Stories of the Seashore”, highlighting the legends and inspiration the sea has given to generations of Estonians. That said, there’s always plenty to see whenever you decide to visit and if you set off on a conference bike you’ll probably end up being the centre of attention.

Visit Estonia

Visit Estonia/Jaak Nilson

■ Kadriorg Palace

getting around The best way to enjoy Tallinn is on foot. The Tallinn Card, available at the Tourist Information Centre and starting at €12 for six hours, offers unlimited free public transport.

tourist information From canoeing along part of the Mississippi to rounding up sheep in Iceland, Jeannine Williamson’s work as a freelance journalist takes her to well-known and remote destinations around the globe.

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Tallinn City Tourist Office: www.tourism.tallinn.ee Visit Estonia: www.visitestonia.com

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let’s try ■ theme parks

Ticket to ride With everything from high-octane thrill rides to family-friendly attractions, we are a nation hooked on theme parks, as Peter Ellegard reports

W

alt Disney is often credited with inventing the theme park, when he opened Disneyland in California back in July 1955 and followed it with Walt Disney World in Florida in 1971. However, the world’s oldest amusement park dates back over 400 years; Danish park Dyrehavsbakken opened north of Copenhagen in 1583 and is still operating today. There is conjecture about when the world’s first themed amusement park, or theme park, first opened – but the UK’s oldest theme park, Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, has been going strong since 1843. Wikipedia even claims it to be the world’s oldest. Whatever the history, theme parks appeal to everyone, young and old, and many of us now take holidays based around them. New rides and attractions are continually being added to entice visitors back and parks try and outdo each other with the scariest, highest or fastest rides. Many also have hotels alongside so that visitors can enjoy longer stays instead of cramming everything into a day trip. Here’s where you can go for those thrills:

usa

■ TH13TEEN, the world’s first free fall drop coaster at Alton Towers Resort Alton Towers

Spring 2011

“Theme parks appeal to everyone…and many of us now take holidays based around them”

Walt Disney World alone attracts nearly 50 million visitors a year to its four Florida parks, with Orlando known as the theme park capital of the world for its profusion of parks and attractions – attracting more than one million UK visitors a year. A holiday here needs serious planning to maximise both your time and budget, as it is expensive for families who want a week or two of theme-park hopping. Disney’s original Magic Kingdom park remains a big favourite, with its iconic Cinderella Castle and character parades along Main Street. Major expansion in 2012 will almost double the size of Fantasyland, adding a new coaster. The sprawling Walt Disney World Resort also comprises sister theme parks Epcot, with is futuristic pavilions, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which has a new Pixar Pals parade, and Animal Kingdom, where the new

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Background image: Disneyland California

let’s try ■ theme parks

Disneyland Paris

■ Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland Paris

did you know? ● More than twice as many people visit Disneyland Paris each year as the Eiffel Tower. ● The world’s tallest roller coaster is Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. It stands 456 feet (139m) high. ● Europe’s highest coaster is Silver Star, at Europa-Park in Germany. It is 239 feet (73m) high. ● Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, has 17 roller coasters, more than any other park. ● The Ultimate coaster at Lightwater Valley in Ripon, Yorkshire, is the world’s second longest steel roller coaster, at more than 1.4 miles long. ● Since it opened in 1955, Disneyland Resort in California has welcomed an estimated 600 million guests.

■ Manatee at SeaWorld, Orlando

SeaWorld Parks

■ The Perilous Plunge at Knott’s Berry Farm

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Kennedy Space Centre

Knott’s Berry Farm

■ Spaceman encounter at Kennedy Space Centre

Wild Africa Trek soft adventure experiences includes a vehicle safari and a guided “bushwalk”. There are also two water parks, nightlife at Disney Downtown including a Cirque du Soleil show and four golf courses. Universal Orlando opened its new Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year in the Islands of Adventure park. It features a giant Hogwarts Castle, through which visitors take a tour, as well as three rides including Flight of the Hippogrif. Among rides at Islands are the Incredible Hulk and Spiderman, while the Universal Studios park has recent openings The Simpsons Ride and the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster as well as old favourites Jaws and ET Adventure. Nearby Wet ‘n Wild is a sister water park. The SeaWorld family of parks includes SeaWorld Orlando, where Shamu the orca (killer whale) stars in a show and where the new Manta coaster adds aquatic thrills. Alongside it are Discovery Cove, where visitors can swim with dolphins and will be able to explore new underwater attraction The Grand Reef from June, plus the new Aquatica theme park, offering wave pools, water rides and flume tubes through a dolphin pool. Busch Gardens Tampa, another member of the SeaWorld family, opens the Cheetah Hunt high-speed, twisting coaster ride this spring to add to its collection of thrill rides and animal attractions. Also in Florida is the Kennedy Space Centre, dedicated to America’s space programme and including the Shuttle Launch Experience, IMAX movies and the chance to meet an astronaut. LEGOLAND Florida is due to open in October on the old Cypress Gardens site in Central Florida. California also offers a world of fun in its many theme and amusement parks. Mickey Mouse and friends have been welcoming visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim for 55 years. Disneyland Resort augmented the original Disneyland Park, which has eight themed lands and the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle, with Disney’s California Adventure park, in 2001. The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is a new attraction opening there this summer. Former fruit farm Knott’s Berry Farm opened its first attraction – Ghost Town – in 1940, to entertain queuing diners at its adjacent chicken restaurant. It became the first of six themed areas, making it what it claims is America’s oldest theme park. Camp Snoopy is the home of the Peanuts characters. Universal Studios Hollywood offers a mix of studio backlot tours with shows and rides based on movie and TV blockbusters. It opened King Kong 360 3D last year to replace the original destroyed in a fire in 2008. Animal magnetism is a major draw at SeaWorld San Diego, which has shows including one starring its own Shamu plus rides such as Journey to Atlantis and Wild Arctic. LEGOLAND California Resort is geared for under12s and features 50 family rides, attractions and shows. But for hard-core adrenalin-seekers, Six Flags Magic Mountain features 100 rides and attractions including 16 roller coasters, the fastest of which – Superman: The Escape – was the world’s first ride to reach 100mph.

Spring 2011


PortAventura

■ The Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park

There are other great amusement parks across the USA, although away from the warmth of Florida and California they are generally seasonal. Canada does have a year-round theme park. Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall is not only North America’s largest shopping mall, it also contains the world’s secondlargest amusement park as well as the world’s largest water park and an indoor salt-water lake with a replica of Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria ship.

■ Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Europe also has a plethora of theme parks; old favourites LEGOLAND in Denmark, Efteling in Holland and Germany’s Europa-Park have been joined more recently by Futuroscope and Disneyland Paris in France, mainland Spain’s PortAventura and Siam Park on Tenerife. Disneyland Paris is Europe’s leading tourist destination and has had over 200 million visitors since it opened in 1992. It has two parks, with Walt Disney Studios opening in 2002, plus seven themed hotels. Last year saw the opening of Toy Story Playland, featuring themed rides and attractions inspired by the Pixar films. Also near Paris is Parc Asterix, based on the cartoon hero, Asterix the Gaul. A Gallic village is at the heart of the park, which also has areas themed around the Roman Empire, ancient Greece and the Vikings. Still in France, Futuroscope is a futuristic educational theme park near Poitiers. A new “ride” called 8th Continent is based on the vast mass of plastic waste found floating in the Pacific in 1997, in which riders sit on scooters and use laser pistols to eradicate waste polluting the sea. Another new attraction, Sea Monsters, is a 3D experience that

Spring 2011

Universal Orlando

europe

Disneyland Paris

Thorpe Park

let’s try ■ theme parks

■ Hurakan Condor at PortAventura

brings you face to face with gigantic creatures from the age of the dinosaurs. History forms the basis for the Puy du Fou theme park near Nantes, while volcanoes are the theme behind Vulcania, set amid dormant cones in the Auvergne. But if it’s fantasy you want, it is dished up in spades at Holland’s enchanting Efteling park, while Copenhagen’s Tivoli Park has been an institution since 1843 for its gardens and theatre. Denmark is also home to the original LEGOLAND theme park, at Billund. Fantasy is also the theme this year at Europa-Park, Germany’s biggest theme park and second only in popularity in Europe behind Disneyland Paris with four million visitors a year. An enchanted forest, nestling between the England and Austria areas and new for 2011, is all about fairy tales. The park, located near the border with France and Switzerland and featuring 100plus attractions and shows in 13 European-themed areas, also sees the addition of the interactive Volo da Vinci ride, in which riders hover above the Italian area in a recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine. The resort has four themed hotels. Spain has several parks which you can combine with a holiday by the beach. Close to Benidorm on the Costa Blanca, Terra Mitica has Mediterranean-themed areas filled with thrill rides including Magnus Colossus – the longest wooden roller coaster in Europe. PortAventura, near Salou on the Costa Dorada, is Spain’s largest theme park and was its first, opening in 1995. A sixth themed zoned, Sesamo Aventura, opens in April based on children’s TV series Sesame Street. The existing zones encompass 30 attractions, including the Hurakan Condor freefall ride in its Mexico area and eight-loop Dragon Khan coaster in China, 75 restaurants and over 100 live shows a day. It also offers the adjacent PortAventura Aquatic Park, four themed hotels and two Greg Norman-designed golf courses. Europe’s biggest water park, Siam Park, opened in

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let’s try ■ theme parks

theme park facts

■ The original LEGOLAND

uk Spurred on by the growing interest in family parks and white-knuckle rides, the British theme parks scene has seen heavy investment. Making its debut on April 9, Peppa Pig World is a new park for young ones based on the popular children’s TV show at Paultons Family Theme Park in Hampshire. Alton Towers Resort, the UK’s leading theme park, opened TH13TEEN – the world’s first vertical freefall drop roller coaster – last year. Other major attractions include the Nemesis inverted coaster, the Oblivion vertical drop coaster and the high-speed Rita coaster. The Staffordshire park also offers two hotels and the Caribbean-themed Alton Towers Waterpark. Surrey’s Thorpe Park has added a new attraction in 2011, in the shape of the Storm Surge spiralling wildwater raft ride. Extreme thrills are offered by rides such as the inverted, corkscrewing Nemesis Inferno roller coaster, the multi-looping Colossus coaster, SAW: The Ride, and Stealth, a launched coaster which reaches 80mph in just 1.7 seconds. Drayton Manor opens its new Ben 10 – Ultimate Mission coaster, based on the Ben 10 cartoon series, on April 23. Its other rides include Shockwave, Apocalypse and G-Force. The on-site Drayton Manor Hotel opens in July. New for 2011 at Chessington World of Adventures are the Azteca ruins at its Sea Life centre. It also features thrill rides including Kobra, Vampire, Dragon’s Fury and Rameses Revenge and it has a safari-themed hotel. LEGOLAND Windsor celebrates its 15th birthday this year with a new £8 million LEGO-themed underwater attraction, the Atlantis Submarine Voyage, with submarines taking 14 people through an ocean tank full of sharks, rays and fish.

european parks Disneyland Paris: www.disneylandparis.co.uk Parc Asterix: www.parcasterix.fr Futuroscope: http://uk.futuroscope.com Efteling: www.efteling.com ■ Blackgang Chine LEGOLAND: www.legoland.dk Europa-Park: www.europapark.de PortAventura: www.portaventura.co.uk Terra Mitica: www.terramiticapark.com Siam Park: www.siampark.net

uk parks Alton Towers: www.altontowers.com Thorpe Park: www.thorpepark.com Drayton Manor: www.draytonmanor.co.uk LEGOLAND Windsor: www.legoland.co.uk Paultons Family Park: www.paultonspark.co.uk Chessington World of Adventures: www.chessington.com

middle east Ferrari World: www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com

tour operators & tickets

24 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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■ The 8th Continent at Futuroscope

NAR (UK): www.orlandoattractions.com Virgin Holidays: www.virginholidays.co.uk Attractions Tickets Direct: www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk Orlando Flex Ticket: www.orlandoflexticket.co.uk Cosmos: www.cosmos-holidays.co.uk Travel City Direct: www.travelcitydirect.com First Choice: www.firstchoice.co.uk Superbreak: www.superbreak.com Leger Holidays: http://tothemagic.co.uk DFDS Seaways: www.dfdsseaways.co.uk

Rossa, which reaches 150mph in under five seconds. In the Far East, parks worth making a detour for include Hong Kong’s impressive Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland, while Down Under you should try Australian-themed Dreamworld, on the Gold Coast.

■ Meeting Euromaus

Europa-Park

middle east/far east/australia Abu Dhabi took the crown for the world’s largest indoor theme park with the opening last October of Ferrari World, featuring 20 Ferrari-inspired rides and attractions and the world’s fastest roller coaster – Formula

Blackgang Chine

Tenerife in 2008 with 25 Thai-themed buildings, thrill rides including a flume tube through an alligator pool and a Wave Palace with artificial surfing waves.

Walt Disney World Resort: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com Universal Florida: www.universalorlando.com SeaWorld Theme Parks: www.seaworld.com Kennedy Space Centre: www.ksc.nasa.gov Disneyland Resort: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com Universal Studios Hollywood: www.universalstudioshollywood.com Knott’s Berry Farm: www.knotts.com Six Flags Magic Mountain: www.sixflags.com LEGOLAND California: http://california.legoland.com West Edmonton Mall: www.wem.ca

Futuroscope

LEGOLAND

usa parks

● WIN a family theme park break to Europa-Park in Germany. See page 59.

Spring 2011


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competitions ■ theme park break + golf and spa stay

how to enter

To WIN a two-day family break to Europa-Park Resort for two adults and two children with flights by easyJet, simply answer this question:

Question: How many themed European areas are there at Europa-Park? To enter, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on the Competitions button. Closing date is May 15, 2011. See website for terms & conditions.

WIN a £1,000 family theme park break to

Europa-Park

F

ancy taking the kids to southern Germany for a fun-filled, two-day break at one of Europe’s top theme parks? You can do just that if you win this easy-to-enter competition, thanks to Europa-Park and easyJet. One lucky family will win an unforgettable stay at Europa-Park, including an overnight stay for two adults and two children in one

of the resort’s four themed hotels with breakfast, two days’ admission to the park and return flights with easyJet to nearby EuroAirport in Basel, Switzerland. It is a prize worth £1,000. Europa-Park is Germany’s biggest theme park, situated at Rust/Baden close to the border with France and Switzerland, and offers fairytale adventures and fun for the whole family. Open from April 9 to November 6, 2011, it offers over 100 attractions and international shows in 13 European-themed areas covering 210 acres. Enjoy the thrill of rollercoast rides such as Silver Star and Eurosat in France, Matterhorn-Blitz in Switzerland and Euro-Mir in Russia, plus water fun on SuperSplash in Portugal and Poseidon in Greece, as well as shows including knights’ contests, vaudeville performances, ice-skating and children’s theatre. Visit www.europa-park.co.uk for more information.

WIN a golf and spa stay at

Question: Who officially opened Heythrop Park Resort in October, 2010?

Heythrop Park, worth £335

Live like a lord for a weekend at Heythrop Park Resort – a former stately home in the heart of the Cotswolds – if you win this fantastic competition. One lucky reader and a guest have the chance to stay at the brand new, contemporary Crowne Plaza hotel adjoining the historic, 18th century, Grade II Heythrop Park Hotel, built as the home of the 1st Duke of Shrewsbury and now also a hotel. The winner will enjoy two nights’ accommodation for two in a chic executive room. The prize also includes a full English breakfast on both mornings and a three-course dinner on the first night at the four-star resort, opened last October by Prime Minister David Cameron. One round of golf for two plus two spa treatments at Heythrop’s

Spring 2011

To enter, go to www.tlmmagazine.co.uk and click on the Competitions button. Closing date is May 23, 2011. See website for terms & conditions.

■ Comfy beds, but you sleep inside!

READER OFFER Save £75 on a stay ■ The Crowne Plaza hotel

fabulous spa and health club is also included. Heythrop Park Resort is set in 440 acres of glorious, wooded estate grounds, with its 18-hole, par-72 course finishing on a green right in front of the grand hall (see page 65 for resort review). For more information, go to

www.heythropparkresort.co.uk or call 01608 673333.

how to enter To WIN a weekend golf and spa stay at Heythrop Park Resort, simply answer this question:

Don’t worry if you don’t win the competition, as we have a fabulous offer for tlm readers. Enjoy a night’s stay in the fourstar Crowne Plaza at Heythrop Park Resort, including dinner, bed & breakfast in an executive room for just £149 – saving over £75 on the normal price. The offer is valid for bookings until December 31, 2011, and is subject to availability. For details and terms and conditions, visit www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Travel Offers.

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uk uncovered ■ britain’s beach resorts

We do like to be

beside the seaside

Forget the kiss-me-quick hats and sticks of rock. These days, Britain’s seaside resorts are still pulling in the crowds – but now they are doing it with the wow factor, as John Law reports.

■ Camber Sands

Britainonview/Rod Edwards/Tourism South East

I

t’s enough to make you drop your ice-cream or choke on your candy-floss. Few summer afternoons start in a more stimulating fashion than with the sudden deafening roar of the Red Arrows scorching over your head. Not so long ago a kissme-quick hat and a quick dip in the briny were about as much excitement as you could expect at a British seaside resort. These days, families are more likely to be thrilled by a screeching Typhoon fighter, wartime Spitfire or the RAF’s display team being put through their paces. Air shows have become a star attraction at top resorts around the country. They’re fascinating – and they’re free. At Eastbourne, you can treat yourself to a spectacular helicopter flight along the coast from Beachy Head before watching fantastic air acrobatics over the sea which don’t cost a penny. What else can you do at resorts around the coast this summer?

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south coast Within a few years of the Prince Regent’s ornate palace the Royal Pavilion being completed in 1823, Brighton had become the country’s favourite seaside bolthole. Today, this East Sussex town is one of the busiest and buzziest of resorts, with a thriving arts and cultural life as well as traditional holiday attractions. It has a pebble beach and one of the best piers. There are also attractive gardens, water sports, horse-racing,

Spring 2011


uk uncovered ■ britain’s beach resorts

■ Wingwalkers at Bournemouth’s Air Festival

Sea Life Centre, live entertainment at the Brighton Dome, marvellous shopping and restaurants – and this year a new Regency fashion exhibition at the elegant Royal Pavilion. Eastbourne’s established attractions include awardwinning beaches, a unique seafront bandstand with summer concerts, a Victorian pier, Beachy Head and the start of the South Downs National Park. This year’s International Airshow (August 11-14) is among several special events. New ones include a Cycling Festival (May 21-22) and Eastbourne Fiesta (May 28-29) featuring food from around the globe, live music and dance. Seeking somewhere quieter? Bexhill-on-Sea is undergoing a £5 million redesign of its seafront, giving it new shelters and seating, and a new-look Metropole Lawn. The refurbished Colonnade is opening a new restaurant and kiosks, while the iconic De La Warr Pavillion arts centre is again staging a full programme of events and exhibitions. In neighbouring West Sussex, Littlehampton and Bognor Regis have award-winning beaches and promise

Spring 2011

VisitKent

Bournemouth Tourism

■ Broadstairs, Botany Bay

plenty of traditional family fun. You can jump on a waterchute or walzer at Littlehampton’s Harbour Park and catch your breath afterwards enjoying views across the Channel from the resort’s surprising new Long Bench, made from reclaimed driftwood and claimed to be the longest in the world. An Armed Forces Day (June 25) features a vintage vehicle show, land and air displays including a pipe and drum band. For something a bit different, Bognor’s annual International Birdman competition (July 16-17) offers the intriguing spectacle of would-be fliers leaping off the pier. If you miss that one, Worthing stages a similar madcap event on August 13-14. Another peak-season Worthing draw is the Festival (July 22-August 2), where holiday crowds gather for the fireworks, bus rally and American Rod and Custom Car Show. In Dorset, Bournemouth is a once genteel resort that’s getting trendier by the minute. Here you’ll find seven miles of golden sands, surfing and other water sports, a lively nightlife and good range of accommodation and classy restaurants. New this summer is the £3 million Pavilion Dance, where boppers can join 48 different classes from hip hop to samba. The award-winning gardens and an Oceanarium stocked with sharks and stingrays are popular, while special events include Carnival Week (August 1-7) and the Air Festival (August 18-21).

south east The opening of the railway line from London in 1843 placed Folkestone and its neighbouring Kent coastal towns firmly on the Victorian holiday map. Today, its attractions include the award-winning Lower Leas Coastal Park, with its sheltered bays for swimming, a sandpit and adventure playground. For somewhere quieter, try Folkestone Warren, which has a sandy beach with rock pools and fossils. Deal has been a resort since Victorian times but was a flourishing port before that. It has many B&Bs and holiday cottages, and its winding streets house many

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uk uncovered ■ britain’s beach resorts

■ Brighton Pier

speciality food shops. Nearby Ramsgate is a harbour town but has an award-winning sandy beach. From Pegwell Bay round to Reculver, which takes in Ramsgate as well as Broadstairs and Margate, there are 15 sandy beaches and bays, of which nine have been awarded Blue Flag status. Margate’s Old Town is undergoing a transformation and a new Turner Contemporary gallery is due to open this spring. Besides the beaches, visitors can go water skiing or play bowls, golf or tennis at Westbrook Bay, or stroll along the prom and hitch a donkey ride along the Main Sands. Adding to the appeal of Herne Bay’s Victorian architecture are events including Continental markets and carnivals, while Whitstable is noted for its oysters. You can tuck into them overlooking its north-facing beaches, followed by a pint at the Old Neptune pub right on the beach Just across the Thames estuary in Essex, Southendon-Sea offers seven miles of seafront and the world’s longest pier. There’s plenty of family fun and some cracking free festivals lined up for summer. These range from the Air Festival (May 28-29) to the Carnival (August 12-20), a Grand Puppet Festival and Old Leigh Regatta (both dates to be confirmed) where events include Morris dancing and a cockle-eating contest in addition to sailing.

splashing out Grand by name, grand by nature … Eastbourne’s leading hotel of that title remains, surprisingly, Britain’s only five-star seaside hotel. The elegant and traditional Victorian Eastbourne Grand (www.grandeastbourne.com) has 152 rooms and enjoys an enviable seafront position with views across the Channel and up to Beachy Head. Many holidaymakers prefer the more informal surroundings of smaller, contemporary boutique hotels springing up around the coast. Bournemouth, for example, has two award-winning boutique properties, the Urban Beach (www.urbanbeach.co.uk) and the eco-friendly Green House (www.thegreenhousehotel.co.uk). Others where style comes with sea breezes include The Vincent (www.thevincenthotel.com) in Southport, whose penthouse has a rooftop hottub, and Babbacombe’s Cary Arms (www.caryarms.co.uk), described as an inn on the beach gastro-pub.

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VisitKent

www.visitbrighton.com

■ Ramsgate

east anglia Still in Essex is Clacton, long popular with Londoners wanting to escape to the sea. This area of England boasts the lowest rainfall in the UK, so the chances of your holiday being spoilt are lower. Clacton has sandy beaches, a Victorian pier, themed gardens and factory outlet shopping. It also holds an annual air show over August Bank Holiday and stages an annual carnival and jazz festival. Frinton is Clacton’s more refined neighbour and has some fascinating Art Deco buildings. On the Suffolk coast, charming and unspoilt Aldeburgh has a great musical heritage, started by composer Benjamin Britten, whose Aldeburgh Festival (June 1026) remains an annual highlight. The town began as a port and fishing village and visitors can still buy the daily catch from fishermen on the beach. Southwold is a sleepy little resort with a pier, brewery and lighthouse. Great Yarmouth is set on a 15-mile stretch of soft Norfolk sand perfect for families who can also enjoy a Golden Mile of amusement arcades in the town, along with theme parks. Six museums include the Potteries and Smoke House and the award-winning Time and Tide. Sports fans enjoy the golf and regular summer horseracing. Nearby Caister stages an annual Weekender soul music beach party over the May Day bank holiday. Cromer visitors can swim or surf from the sand and shingle beach, delve in rock pools and enjoy a clifftop walk to the old lighthouse. Attractive Victorian buildings rise up from the beach chalets and crab boats and there are museums tracing the history of this historic fishing town. Norfolk has several small, charming resorts including one-time fishing village Sheringham and Wells next the Sea, popular for its holiday caravan sites, as well as Hunstanton, which faces west towards The Wash on the so-called “Sunset Coast”. It offers pristine beaches, cliffs, nature reserves and sport on land and sea.

east coast Yorkshire offers a good choice of popular resorts with lots of family entertainment. Among them, Scarborough has two beaches, including North Bay’s Blue Flag sandy beach set against hills and cliffs and dominated by Scarborough Castle.

Spring 2011


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.

Ƈ Choice of hotel rooms or 2 & 3 bedroom self catering houses Ƈ 2 night stays available in self catering Ƈ Watermark Brasserie and Bar Ƈ Health Club with fitness arena Ƈ Swimming Pool Ƈ Hot tub Ƈ Sauna Ƈ Steam Room Ƈ Free Parking

10% off all bookings made before 1 June 2011 and 15% off all quote new bookings for 2012 made before 1 February 2012 Please reference TLM 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

Spring 2011

tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 31


BOURNEMOUTH’S NEWEST 4! HOTEL & SPA

Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth is a beautiful 4! hotel in an enviable location within walking distance of the Promenade, golden sands and award-winning gardens of this cosmopolitan South Coast resort. With plush bedrooms, extensive leisure & spa facilities and a stylish Brasserie restaurant, you’re guaranteed a stay to remember. With spa breaks from just £60 per person, why not book today?

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

Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Durley Chine Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5JS 01202 751 000 bournemouth.reservations@hallmarkhotels.co.uk www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk

The best of the British seaside with great value coach holidays from Alfa Travel Alfa Travel is the fastest growing coach holiday company in the UK. In addition to coach holidays throughout the UK & Western Europe, Alfa also own 19 AA 2 star hotels many of which are listed buildings of great character and all are situated in prime seaside locations. From the strikingly picturesque town of St Ives to Scarborough, arguably Britain’s oldest seaside resort. With prices starting from £144 for a five day Spring break – including return travel, hotel accommodation, excursions, traditional British breakfasts and four course evening meals – you’ll struggle to find better value elsewhere!

Win a £100 holiday voucher! Answer the following question: How many hotels are in the Leisureplex group? Still a winner! Quote TLM* on any Alfa holiday and receive a £10 discount per person! Send your answer to info@alfatravel.co.uk

Call us now on 08451 305666 or visit www.alfatravel.co.uk The first drawn entrant to correctly answer this will receive a £100 Alfa Travel Holiday voucher. Closing date – 31/08/11 *Discount valid on holidays of 5 days or more, new bookings only, booking must be made before 31/08/11 offer valid on all departures until 30/11/11 cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, offer can be withdrawn at any time, for full terms and conditions see main holiday brochure

32 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Spring 2011


uk uncovered ■ britain’s beach resorts

Set on a sweeping bay, Filey offers a wide stretch of golden sand protected by the rocky grandeur of Filey Brigg, a haven for birds and wildlife. This elegant Edwardian resort has an attractive old promenade.

■ Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare

wales The neighbouring North Wales resorts of Rhyl and Prestatyn are traditional seaside towns with miles of sandy beaches and lots going on. Rhyl has plenty of family attractions, plus a theatre, marine lake, miniature railway, botanical gardens, and an airshow (August 6-7). The Seaquarium will even boast its very own resident mermaid this summer after advertising the post! In Prestatyn you can splash around the Nova Centre, with its pools, slides and waterchutes, or get the family rolling at the North Wales Indoor Bowls Centre. For a more sedate holiday, Tenby in Pembrokeshire is best known for its three Blue Flag beaches and pretty harbour.

Grand Pier

south west Dorset resorts Weymouth and Lyme Regis are major gateways to the Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile stretch of coast encompassing glorious beaches and fossil-strewn cliffs stretching into Devon. Devon and Cornwall’s marvellous beaches and countryside attract many longerstay visitors from the South East. The English Riviera in South Devon incorporates Torquay, Paignton and Brixham; Torquay alone has nine beaches. Lovers of crime fiction enjoy following the town’s Agatha Christie Trail. The writer lived there for much of her life and fans can track down Hercule Poirot at the Museum and – for the first time this summer – take a vintage bus tour to Christie’s splendid house, Greenway, now owned by the National Trust. A fun event for youngsters is the Brixham Pirate Festival (April 30-May 1). Last year, to an accompaniment of sea shanties and folk music, 1,744 budding Bluebeards and Captain Hooks set the record for the most pirates in a single gathering. Cornwall scooped top honours in the 2010 British Travel Awards, being named Best UK Holiday County and having St Ives voted Best UK Seaside Town. St Ives also collared the Best Family Holiday Destination title in the Coast Awards. The town is home to Tate St Ives and famed for its arts scene, superb beaches, scenic harbour and its warren of lanes with stylish cafes and working artist studios and galleries. Newquay is Cornwall’s liveliest resort, offering some of the country’s best surfing and plenty of nightlife and decent restaurants. Relentless Boardmasters, Europe’s biggest surf, skate and music festival, celebrates its 30th anniversary from August 10-14. Due to open this summer is a new four-screen digital cinema capable of screening 3D films. Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset is famous for the donkeys that trek along its wide stretch of sand and this will be the first summer for Weston’s newly re-opened Grand Pier. Between July and September 13 sculptors will use 500 tonnes of sand to create masterpieces up to 13ft (4m) high in the annual Sand Sculpture Festival.

10 peerless piers Britain’s seaside piers were much loved by the Victorians and enjoyed a second heyday in the 1950s. Sadly, many have since crumbled into the sea or been devastated by fire, but others are staging a further revival. 1. Weston-Super-Mare (built 1904): Wrecked by fire three years ago, the striking new-look Grand Pier reopened last autumn to feature the UK’s first laser maze, go-karts and mini-rollercoaster among its attractions. 2. Cromer (1901): An unspoilt gem whose Pavilion Theatre presents the only surviving end-of-the-pier variety show. 3. Southend-on-Sea (1890): The world’s longest pleasure pier, measuring 1.3 miles, has suffered several fires but still has a railway and was the National Piers Society Pier of the Year in 2007. 4. Brighton West Pier (1866): Once regarded as an architectural masterpiece, it now needs rebuilding after two serious blazes. 5. Brighton Palace Pier (1899):

Thankfully Brighton’s other pier is thriving and offers amusements, thrill rides and a new food court. 6. Eastbourne (1870): A handsome construction featuring restaurants, bars and gift shops beneath its turrets, domes and gables. 7. Lowestoft South Pier (1846): Major refurbishment in 2008 has turned the pier into a family entertainment complex with a bar, restaurant, gaming and live music. 8. Southwold (1900): A popular local attraction with shops, restaurant, café and arcade. Plans for a luxury hotel to replace the pavilion have recently been shelved. 9. Deal (1957): The first structure was washed away shortly after opening in 1838 and the current pier is built of reinforced concrete. The recentlyadded café has won a design award. 10.Southport (1860): The country’s second-longest pier. A carousel and amusement hall welcome visitors and a tram takes them to the pavilion at the end for the arcades and other attractions.

north west Boring it ain’t. Resorts don’t come any bigger or brasher than Blackpool, where iconic attractions and round-the-clock action continue to pull in the summer crowds. There are miles of golden sand and thrills galore on the Pleasure Beach Resort whiteknuckle rides and Sandcastle Waterpark’s huge rollercoaster. A new Nickelodeon-themed attraction is due to open at Pleasure Beach, while the town’s other top crowd pleasers include the famous Tower, the zoo, Sea Life Centre and autumn’s Blackpool Illuminations. Less boisterous is Morecambe, which has a wide stretch of sand on the edge of Morecambe Bay. Here you

■ Donkeys at Weston-Super-Mare North Somerset Council

Spring 2011

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uk uncovered ■ britain’s beach resorts

uk resor t facts

family holiday centres

For those seeking plenty of entertainment and activities for everyone without breaking the bank, family holiday centres are like mini-resorts in themselves. Butlins (www.butlins.com) celebrates its 75th birthday this year at its three seafront centres at Bognor Regis (West Sussex), Minehead (Somerset) and Skegness (Lincolnshire). There are live shows for all – from dance, music and drama for toddlers to cabaret for parents. Active types can try Splash Waterworld, beach sports, improve their rugby and cricket skills, or tackle the High Ropes or Climbing Wall. Haven (www.haven.com) has 35 holiday parks and Safari Tents are a new “glamping” option at Perran Sands (Cornwall) and Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset). In addition to super pools and plenty of sports, Haven tempts youngsters with Kids’ Clubs, cookery lessons, year-round pantos and Wildlife Detective trails. Along with tribute acts, this summer’s stars at some of the 39 Park Resorts (www.park-resorts.com) centres include Joe Pasquale, Chico and Shaun Williamson. Outdoor summer festivals are planned at resorts such as Bideford Bay (Devon) and Kessingland Beach, between the Suffolk resorts of Lowestoft and Southwold.

piers ■ Birdmen at Worthing

arun.gov.uk

can enjoy magnificent sunsets or spot the seabirds on a Cross Bay Walk. Architectural gems include the Victorian Winter Gardens and recently-restored art deco Midland Hotel, while a stroll along the prom reveals a cheery bronze statue of the town’s most famous son – comedian Eric Morecambe.

scotland and northern ireland If you’d rather avoid the tourist masses and sizzling nightlife to enjoy glorious sandy beaches and spectacular scenery, Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast has

Suffolk Coastal District Council

■ Beach sculpture at Aldeburgh

34 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Brighton: www.visitbrighton.com Eastbourne: www.visiteastbourne.com Bexhill-on-Sea: www.visit1066country.com Littlehampton/Bognor Regis: www.sussexbythesea.com ■ St Ives Worthing: www.visitworthing.co.uk Bournemouth: www.bournemouth.co.uk Folkestone: www.discoverfolkestone.co.uk Margate: www.visitthanet.co.uk Southend-on-Sea: www.visitsouthend.co.uk Great Yarmouth: www.great-yarmouth.co.uk Cromer: www.visitnorthnorfolk.com Aldeburgh: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk Scarborough/Filey: www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com Weston-Super-Mare: www.visitsomerset.co.uk English Riviera: www.englishriviera.co.uk St Ives: www.stives-cornwall.co.uk Newquay: www.visitnewquay.org Rhyl/Prestatyn: www.rhyl-prestatyn.co.uk Tenby: www.visittenby.co.uk Blackpool: www.visitblackpool.com Morecambe: www.visitmorecambe.co.uk ■ Surfing at Newquay Portrush/Portstewart: www.northcoastni.com Ayr: www.ayrshire-arran.com

www.visitcornwall.com

■ Butlins

Butlins

resorts

National Piers Society: www.piers.org.uk Weston-Super-Mare: www.grandpier.co.uk Cromer: www.cromer-pier.com Southend-on-Sea: www.southend.gov.uk Brighton West: www.westpier.co.uk Brighton Palace: www.brightonpier.co.uk Eastbourne: www.eastbournepier.com Lowestoft: www.thesouthpier.co.uk Southwold: www.southwoldpier.co.uk Deal: www.dealpier.com Southport: www.visitsouthport.com

much to commend it. Northern Ireland has eight Blue Flag beaches where families take to the water to swim, sail, windsurf and canoe. The neighbouring resorts of Portrush and Portstewart both have superb beaches and highly-rated restaurants. Portrush also has a golf course and an amusement park with thrill rides and children’s entertainment, while Portstewart is handy for Barmouth nature and wildlife reserve. The Ayrshire Coast has some of Scotland’s best sandy beaches, with the town of Ayr offering the most seaside entertainment. It has a decent beach with a children’s playpark nearby – and a wealth of history and other attractions.

John Law remembers happy holidays as a small child spent beachcombing and paddling in Devon and the Isle of Wight. A travel journalist for the past 35 years, he still enjoys visits to the English seaside.

Spring 2011


off the beaten track â–  hidden china and tibet

A taste of

China

For many visitors, a trip to China is a whistlestop tour of its famous highlights. But, as Peter Ellegard explains, if you can stomach some of the exotic delicacies, there are many wonders to savour around the country

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Spring 2011


off the beaten track ■ hidden china and tibet

■ Samye Monastery, Tibet

■ Karst scenery, Yangshuo, Guangxi province

Spring 2011

All photos: Peter Ellegard

“H

ow hungry are you?” my interrefused my attempts to share some, eventually admitting preter and friend, Lillian, asked it contained a special aphrodisiac ingredient meant only as the minibus headed back for men – dog’s testicles! Liquid Viagra, in other words. towards the city of Guilin, in On a different trip, I misheard a menu translation at a China’s south-western Guangxi traditional restaurant in Kunming, Yunnan province, and province. ordered what I thought were honeyed beans…only to be It was post-SARS and I was in China for three served a plate of fried honey bees! months as presenter for a TV series being filmed by an All of which demonstrates that, for the adventurous all-Chinese crew for national TV channel CCTV-9. We prepared to escape the well-trodden “Golden Triangle” had spent a gruelling day up in the mountain rice itineraries – Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an – when visiting terraces of Longsheng, a couple of hours’ drive away, China and explore off the beaten track, the experience is and I was starving. Without thinking, I replied: “I could a world away from what we are used to. eat a horse.” regional cuisines They nodded understandingly…and that evening, we The Chinese love their food. They live to eat rather than were tucking into horse flesh at one of the city’s horseeat to live, and the phrase “Chi fan le ma?” – meaning meat restaurants. Be careful what you wish for in China “Have you eaten?” – is used as a form of greeting. – they literally take you at your word. China has many different regional Such food may not appeal to animalcuisines. Some, like in Sichuan, are loving, squeamish Westerners like me, but very spicy. In the north, Mongoin many parts of China it is the norm. lian hotpot helps fortify against Throughout that and later trips around the cold winters. China, I was offered (and it was rude not to The people of Cantonese accept) various other “exotic” dishes. capital Guangzhou, near Camel hump, chicken’s feet, sparrows, Hong Kong, are renowned snakes, fried scorpions and silk worms on for their unusual tastes, as a stick – even a decapitated chicken’s head its Quingping Market which, as guest of honour at an official underlines. Starfish, dried reception hosted by the local Communist ants, bottled deer fawns – you Party chief, I had to tackle while they will see all that and more. looked on. After biting some skin off its Even in Beijing, you can find face and quickly swallowing it without bizarre foods. At Wangfujing Street’s chewing, I smiled politely and pushed night market, a short stroll from the the plate away, saying: “Wo chi bao la,” Forbidden City, you can try the fried scoror I am full. At which point the camerapions and silkworms. Beware the scorpions’ man grabbed the bird by its cockscomb stingers, though. They hurt if you prick your and dug out its eyes, slurping them down. lip on them, as happened to me. Thankfully, They are a prized delicacy, apparently. they are not venomous! Another time, I and the male film crew Most visitors to Beijing only see the most members were served a special whisky ■ Ethnic minority girl, Yangshuo famous sights, which also include the while the women were given tea. Lillian

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off the beaten track ■ hidden china and tibet

the historic, wooden Huxingting teahouse, on a lake in a pretty park. At Chinese New Year, it is decorated with traditional paper lanterns. Visitors going to Xi’an for the Terracotta Warriors should venture around the city to see its impressive city walls, Big and Small Wild Goose Pagodas and the Muslim Quarter, with its Great Mosque. China’s capital for centuries, it was the starting point for the Silk Road.

■ Mosuo girl rowing on Lugu Lake in Yunnan province

water towns

“Be careful what you wish for in China”

■ Old man in Shanghai

Temple of Heaven and Great Wall. Explore beyond those and you can find many hidden delights, such as Beihai Park, where locals practice tai-chi in front of ornamental arches, or some of the few remaining traditional hutong neighbourhoods, through which you can take a pedicab tour. In the grounds around key monuments, you can see people playing traditional instruments or ancient board games, or practising calligraphy with giant paintbrushes on paving slabs. At the Great Wall, you can escape the throngs by planning your trip in winter. It may be frigid, but you can walk the impressive ramparts in peace and often with clear-blue skies, even in normally-polluted Beijing. Combine it with a visit to Harbin, in Heilongjiang province. China’s most northerly city, on the Russian border, every January it hosts the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival – one of the world’s foremost winter festivals, with stunning ice and snow carvings illuminated by dazzling colours at night. Attractions include the oniondomed Church of St Sophia, now a museum, and a Siberian tiger park. Shanghai, famed for its space-age Oriental Pearl TV Tower and skyscrapers, has its hidden corners, too. Behind its famous waterfront area of colonial European architecture, The Bund, you will find glories including

China tips ● China is vast, so if you are planning to travel around the country, allow enough time for travel and don’t try to cram in too much. ● To the Chinese, drinking is sociable, so constant toasts punctuate meals. You must also knock it back in one go, after exchanging “Gambay” salutations. ● Never wear a green hat in China – it is a public statement that you are cheating on your partner. ● Avoid travel during China’s “Golden

38 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

■ Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces in Guangxi

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Just inland from Shanghai are a number of historic water towns often missed by visitors. They include historic Suzhou on the 1,500-year-old Grand Canal, famed for its many beautiful gardens, and quaint towns such as Tongli – where a former primary school now houses a tasteful sex museum! – plus Wuxi and Hangzhou, regarded as the queen of them all. In south-west China, the jagged limestone karst peak scenery around Guilin is a must-see. This area also has many caves with breathtaking rock formations, including Guilin’s famed Reed Flute Cave. The karsts are best viewed on a half-day cruise along the Li River to former hippy hang-out, Yangshuo. Take a side trip from Guilin to visit the mountain-top Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces in Longsheng. You can stay overnight in guest houses operated by the local Zhuang people in mountain villages such as Ping’An after a climb or sedan chair ride up precipitous paths. The area is also home to the Red Yao women, who boast the longest hair in China. China’s most famous ambassador, the giant panda, is best seen in Chengdu in Sichuan province, which has a breeding and research centre. The devastating 2008 earthquake decimated parts of Sichuan including the mountain preserve at Wolong, where I viewed 16 playful little cubs in their natural environment. The surviving pandas have been moved to other centres. Chengdu is China’s snack food capital and has more teahouses than anywhere else in China. It is the home of the wonderfully-colourful Sichuan Opera, with its ornate costumes and mask-changers, and the bizarre trade of ear-cleaning. There are nearly 400 professional ear cleaners, who use a selection of instruments to dig out accumulated wax – even while you watch opera. Ticklish rather than unpleasant, it costs around £3.50. Weeks” – Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, and after National Day in early October. Also around May 1. Everyone travels during those periods. ● Children will often stare at Westerners, especially in rural areas. Foreigners are also often referred to as Big Nose, because theirs are generally much larger. ● Do not sit until invited to by your host at meals, who will generally choose who to invite to sit either side. ● Never eat your plates clean. Your hosts or the restaurant will think you are still hungry and serve more.

Spring 2011


!!!!!


off the beaten track ■ hidden china and tibet

china and tibet facts

■ Songzanlin Monastery, Yunnan province

when to go Between spring and autumn is the best time to tour China, although winter can bring beautiful, clear but cold days to Beijing and the north.

■ Panda cub, Chengdu

getting there

Days out from Chengdu can take in the giant carved stone Buddha at Leshan, nearby holy Buddhist mountain Emeishan and the world’s first irrigation scheme at Dujiangyan. In northern Sichuan, another panda reserve area encompasses Jiuzhaigou Valley, sometimes called Nine Villages Valley, for the traditional Tibetan villages which dot the exquisitely-beautiful World Heritage Site landscape. Vivid greens contrast azure-blue lakes and milky-white waterfalls.

Flights from the UK are operated directly to Beijing and Shanghai by British Airways (www.ba.com), Air China (www.airchina.co.uk), Virgin Atlantic Airlines (www.virgin-atlantic.com) and China Eastern Airlines (www.chinaeastern.co.uk).Other airlines offer service via onward points in Europe, the Gulf, Hong Kong and various Asian cities, to points around China..

getting around In cities, taxis are the best option – but ensure you get your hotel to write down both your intended destination and the hotel address in Chinese characters, so that you can show the taxi drivers. Most do not speak English. For longer journeys, domestic flights are the most typical form of transport but trains are a great way to experience China.

elephants

accommodation

Neighbouring Yunnan is a province of amazing natural and cultural contrasts, with 26 of China’s 55 minority groups and settings from elephants and tropical rainforest in the southern Xishuangbanna region to towering snow-capped mountains in the Tibetan-influenced north. The town of Zhongdian has been renamed Shangri-La and is claimed to be the setting for the fabled paradise in James Hilton’s book, Lost Horizons. Nearby is the imposing gold-roofed Songzanlin Monastery. Locals dance in circles around a bonfire in Zhongdian’s main square, close to a giant bronze prayer wheel. Similar dances are performed by the matriarchal Mosuo minority people at Lugu Lake, which borders Sichuan and on which men and girls in traditional costume row visitors in dugout boats. It could almost be Peru. It is a five-hour drive from Lijiang, where the Old Town is full of winding, cobbled alleyways lined by quaint wooden houses and streams. At night, lanterns reflect in the streams and candles float along the swiftlyflowing water. You can also listen to local music by the colourful Naxi orchestra and Dongba shamen. The town of Dali has ancient city walls, soaring pagodas and a laid-back café society with backpacker bars. Kunming is another delight, with nearby Shilin Stone Forest a major attraction. Tibet can be reached by train from Beijing now as well as by air. Although part of China, it has very different traditions and culture. Yaks – and foul-tasting yak butter – are ubiquitous while the majestic mountains, fascinating villages and glorious monasteries take your breath away. Literally, in the thin air. Lhasa’s Potala Palace is the most imposing and a must. However, also try to take in other wonders including: Lhasa’s unassuming Jokhang Temple; Tashilhunpo Monastery, in Tibet’s

Most Western hotel chains have properties in China, usually in main cities. Chinese-owned companies with widespread hotels include Hong Kong-based luxury company Shangri-La Hotels (www.shangri-la.com) and Jin Jiang Hotels (www.jinjianghotels.com). China is also seeing an increasing number of luxury boutique hotels, while away from the big cities it is fun to stay in traditional courtyard hotels. Standards and service can vary, however.

40 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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tour operators Specialists include Wendy Wu Tours (www.wendytours.co.uk), Tucan Travel (www.tucantravel.com), Kuoni (www.kuoni.co.uk), Complete India & Asia (www.complete-india-asia.com), CTS Horizons (www.ctshorizons.com), China Holidays (www.chinaholidays.co.uk), Regent Holidays (www.regentholidays.co.uk), Silverbird (www.silverbird.com) and Travelsphere (www.travelsphere.co.uk).

tourist information China National Tourist Office: www.cnto.org.uk; tel 020 7373 0888 or 09001 600 188 (brochure requests).

■Colourful Sichuan Opera

second city, Shigatse; Palkhor Monastery and the mountain-top Old Fort at Gyantse, where I hitched a lift on the back of a motorised tricycle; and the 8th century Samye Monastery, near Tsedang. You may encounter pilgrims on the road to or from there, on journeys that can take years. China has many other places to visit, such as the tropical island of Hainan, Confucius’s home town of Qufu and China’s china town, Jingdezhen, where Ming porcelain was made and the tradition continues. There are also many villages and towns untouched by the country’s rapid growth, and as you travel around you will be met with smiles and waves. Or you can take a leisurely cruise on the Yangtze. That should give you plenty of food for thought.

Spring 2011


Travel to

CHINA with the Experts

Tailor Made and Standard Tours

Personal Experience and Service Best Prices and Great Value ! Ethnic Minorities ! Off the Beaten Track ! Tibet from China or Nepal ! !

01283 820467

www.complete-india-asia.com

Spring 2011

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a touch of class ■ uk spas

Spa spangled glamour

■ So Spa by Sofitel entrance

Lifehouse

■ The Lifehouse Spa

42 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

■ Indoor pool at The Grove

von Essen Hotels

E

ven in these austere times, there seems no stopping the rise of ever-more luxurious and sophisticated spas. Perhaps it’s the quest for well-being in our fast paced world or the constant desire for beauty that’s driving demand. It’s a phenomenon that has taken the hotel world by storm with any self-respecting fivestar establishment forking out for a top spa. London’s latest major facility is the recently-opened dazzling rooftop spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Park Lane (www.fourseasons.com/london). Normally the preserve of the penthouse suite or celebrity restaurant, this bold, basement-snubbing launch puts health and wellness on the very top tier. Designed by architect Eric Parry, this 10th floor wonder has nine glass-walled treatment rooms, each with individual relaxation pods. Views stretch over the treetops of Hyde Park and London’s cityscape. Another recent addition to the London spa scene is So Spa by Sofitel, at the Sofitel London St James (www.sofitelstjames.com). Reaching number one spot for a UK hotel spa in Condé Nast Traveller’s coveted Readers’ Spa Awards 2011, this sophisticated urban spa is infused with French panache with a topiary French poodle in the spa garden and macaroons in the Tea Bar. So Spa features Sofitel’s signature MyBed massage tables and there’s a private Turkish steam bath (hamam). The signature So Exhila-

The Grove

When the going gets tough, it seems the best way to escape the rigours of modern life is to pamper yourself and chill out. Spa diva Jane Anderson explores the growth of Britain’s luxury spa and wellness retreats

■ Child's play at Woolley Grange

rating Body Treatment takes one hour and costs £90. UK spas are heading in many directions. It seems that the baby boomers generation are demanding more ageinclusive treatments such as chiropractic and holistic joint therapies, thermal bathing and hydrotherapy. Within easy reach of London, Hertfordshire resort The Grove’s (www.thegrove.co.uk) Sequoia Spa is recognised as one of the finest spas in the UK and is one of only 10 in the world to offer ESPA Ayurvedic Treatments. These therapies harness the best of aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy and phytotherapy. There’s a general feeling that spa-going is less about beauty and more about health and well-being. Clients

Spring 2011


a touch of class ■ uk spas

day spas

■ The Lifehouse spa

Lifehouse

Sofitel

Day spas are a great way of indulging yourself without the expense of checking in overnight. Thermae Bath Spa (www.thermaebathspa.com) dates back to Roman times but is now an innovative modern spa with a fabulous rooftop pool. Prices are reasonable too with entry from £24. Hay Barn Spa (www.daylesfordorganic.com) in Gloucestershire will have you back to your best in a day and if you want a great drop-in spa in the capital, head to Harrods Urban Retreat (www.urbanretreat.co.uk) or Glow Urban Spa & Beauty (www.glowurbanspa.co.uk), also in Knightsbridge.

want scientific evidence that that their spa treatments are doing them good. Having said that, there is a market for extreme beauty, including stem-cell facials, laser treatments and harsh chemical peels.

walk-in spas

Titanic Mill & Spa

■ Relaxing at Titanic Spa

bootcamps Bootcamps are the new word in getting your body ready for a special occasion, a holiday on the beach or just rebooting your system. Usually over about three days to a week, bootcamps are a gruelling rollercoaster of exercise classes and if you’re lucky, spa treatments. Weight loss is more or less guaranteed if you stay the course. Many five-star hotels offer more lightweight ones like The Grove’s Bikini Bootcamp, but for more hard-core options try the women-only FitFarms in Somerset (www.fitfarms.co.uk) or NuBeginnings in Devon (www.nubeginnings.co.uk). For something with a more military edge, try No1 Bootcamp Monmouthshire with hikes through the Brecon Beacons (www.no1bootcamp.com).

Spring 2011

As spa treatments become something that we think of as a part of our routine and not a one-off luxury, there’s a growing demand for walk-in spa treatments. Britain is seeing more high street spas, such as Harrods’ Urban Retreat (www.urbanretreat.co.uk) and the small chain of Relax outlets (www.relax.org.uk), the latest in Covent Garden, that offer walk-in 10-minute energiser massages for just £14. The idea that you can have express treatments during your lunch hour is catching on. Salt is another hot trend for 2011, with salt caves and spas offering salt therapy – good for clients with respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as common skin problems such as psoriasis. Look for hyper-modern rooms made of sea salt blocks in such spas as the Salt Cave in London and Kent (www.saltcave.co.uk). Many spas seek to bring nature into their treatment philosophy. Set in the heart of the New Forest, Lime Wood hotel (www.limewoodhotel.co.uk) opened its 29 rooms in November 2009. A year later came its stunning, three-storey Herb House spa with 10 treatment rooms and Herbary filled with fragrant herbs that form the basis of many spa treatments. Perfect for forestloving couples looking for an indulgent break. The Herb House has two double signature rooms, including the Bath Garden with an outdoor double bath and private steam room. Hot pools and thermal rooms (Forest Sauna, the Steam House, the Mud House and Caldarium) add to the ambience along with a Hands and Feet room for manicures and pedicures and a roof-top gym with forest views. The Bamford Signature Treatment takes two hours and costs £125.

destination spas For serious spa goers, there’s a growing number of destination spas, with the spa as the raison d’etre for your visit, not as an add-on. Chilling out in Essex just got a whole lot easier with the opening of Lifehouse (www.lifehouse.co.uk) last December. Located in Thorpe-le-Soken, this contemporary “day and stay” spa

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a touch of class ■ uk spas

spa treatments for men

Sofitel

■ Treatment room at So Spa by Sofitel

Travel writer Jane Anderson has been pummelled, pampered and preened for the sake of research for the last 15 years in spas across the globe.You can find her work published everywhere from the Sunday Telegraph to Elle.

suits those looking for total rejuvenation or hens looking for a girly weekend of pre-wedding pampering. All 89 guestrooms are set in historic gardens. Taking the air in your fluffy dressing gown is encouraged and there’s even an outdoor fireplace for cosy soirées through the winter months. There are 38 treatment rooms plus a gym, outdoor fitness circuit, exercise studio, pool, thermal spa area, manicure and pedicure

spa facts There’s a host of spas around the country to try. Here are a few more:

country house spas Babington House, Somerset: www.babingtonhouse.co.uk Feversham Arms, Yorshire: www.fevershamarmshotel.com Lucknam Park, near Bath: www.lucknampark.co.uk Coworth Park, Berkshire: www.coworthpark.com ■ Lime Wood Whatley Manor, Wiltshire: www.whatleymanor.com

city spas The Dorchester, London: www.thedorchester.com Mandarin Oriental, London: www.mandarinoriental.com/london Chelsea Day Spa, London: www.thechelseadayspa.co.uk The Athenaeum Hotel Spa, London: www.athenaeumhotel.com The Chester Grosvenor & Spa: www.chestergrosvenor.com Waterfall Spa, Leeds: www.waterfallspa.co.uk Blythswood Square, Glasgow: www.townhousecompany.com

luxury spas The Royal Yacht, Jersey: www.theroyalyacht.com Champneys: www.champneys.com

more information www.spafinder.co.uk www.bookaspa.com www.goodspaguide.co.uk

44 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Men’s grooming is growing. Most spas now offer a good men’s range such as the Lifehouse spa in Essex. However if you want a more discreet men’s-only hideaway, head to London’s Nickel Spa (www.nickelspalondon.co.uk), where you can find a first class massage, facial, “overground” or “underground” waxing. Ouch! For the ultimate in male pampering, Flemings Hotel (www.flemings.co.uk) in London’s Mayfair and The Refinery (www.therefinery.com) have teamed up to offer a £120 Be Dapper package which has a hint of the James Bonds about it. A facial or shave is followed by a traditional massage and manicure before a Flemings Martini afternoon tea for two.

station, make-up bays, hairdressing salon and a spa boutique. If you have a specific goal, experts are on hand to tailor-make programmes for fitness, life coaching, nutrition, spiritual awareness and weight loss. The Oriental Bathing Experience is Lifehouse’s signature two-hour treatment, costing £120. Those who care about the environment but love spa treatments, should make a beeline for the Titanic Mill & Spa in Yorkshire (www.titanicspa.com). It may have the look of a dark satanic mill from the outside, but this restored textile mill is the UK’s first eco spa. This carbon neutral spa has a new mud chamber. It’s also a great place for those with disabilities as its Heat Experiences have a hydro-pumped chair for pool access, wide corridors, waterproof wheelchair covers and audio loops for therapists. Spa-goers stay in one of 30 spa apartments with all mod cons. Some sleep up to six – perfect for a group of friends. A signature Titanic Twilight Heat Experience takes three hours and costs from £45.

families Of course, there’s a whole raft of parents out there who love spas as much as the next person. Thank heavens, then, for von Essen Hotels’ Woolley Grange (www.woolleygrangehotel.co.uk), near Bath. Part of its Luxury Family Hotels brand, this is the perfect country house treat for families. Here, they don’t mind if your kids sit on the antiques or run around the gardens like lunatics; in fact it’s positively encouraged. Tired parents can deposit their little ones in the Ofsted-registered Woolley Bears Den and indulge in the new spa that has been cleverly designed both inside and outside the magnificent old walled garden. The modern wooden structure calms the mind as soon as you enter. There are just two treatment rooms, more cosy than Zen, so there’s nothing intimidating here. As well as over 40 well-being therapies from scrubs to scalp massages (a Signature Sublime Journey Facial take an hour and costs £75), there’s also a whole selection of treatments for pregnant women using Mama Mio Mama’s Touch products. If you fancy a dip before or after, the 12-metre pool in a glass structure overlooking the walled garden with sauna and steam rooms is sublime.

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Spring 2011

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Door to door

luggage delivery services Want to

lighten your load when you travel?

Don’t want to

struggle with luggage anymore?

Looking to

pay less for airline excess baggage? Contact Carrymyluggage.com and see how easy it is to travel luggage free. Call us on 0845 009 0362 or visit www.carrymyluggage.com

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Spring 2011


in your ■ flightbag

New beginnings

Sole savers

A

s well as those heels that just have to be worn while on holiday, comfy and compact flat shoes are a must to take. Rollasoles’ soft pumps are the ideal answer and can just slip into your handbag. Created by young entrepreneur Matt Horan after piggy-backing his girlfriend home one night, these amazing shoes, which roll up into a tight ball, are available from just £6.95 a pair, including a free carry bag for your heels. Colours include gold,

silver, black, red and pink. Rollasoles are easy on your feet and great for your posture too. For details of stockists, go to www.rollasole.com; you can also get a 20% discount by entering HRLLA4 when you place an order online. ● For your chance to WIN one of five pairs of Rollasoles go to www.tlmmagazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date May 9, 2011.

Designer brollies

F

ulton, a Royal Warrant holder and the UK’s largest supplier of umbrellas and rainwear accessories, has launched a new collection featuring leading designer Cath Kidston’s iconic prints. The “Cath Kidston by Fulton” rainwear is a fabulous addition to Fulton’s already impressive “Designers by” collections, which includes the iconic William Morris, Lulu Guinness, Orla Kiely and Ella Doran.The distinctive floral designs, along with polka dots and a striking London print, feature on a range of items including the popular Tiny and Superslim umbrellas, which are ideal to pop into a bag for those unpredictable showers. For full details of the designs and prices, go to www.fultonumbrellas.com

Spring 2011

or call 020 8963 3010 for stockist details. ● You can WIN one of three fabulous Fulton Minilite-2 Photo Rose Pink umbrellas, worth £14 each. Just go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date May 9, 2011.

Beginning, the natural products skincare range for new mums and their babies from baby product maker Maclaren, has been expanded to cater for mums on the move. For new mothers travelling post birth, the beginning Travel Kit features a sampler set of the key products in the mother range, such as nurturing bath milk and balancing facial mist, and is the ideal size to pop in your bag. The Travel Bag, with six full size products, is also available. For details of the full range and for stockists, go to www.maclarenbaby.com.

Koochu-coo

Make travelling with a baby easier with one of the new Koochu designer changing bags. Not only practical, but with a stylish leather look design in a range of classic colours, these bags meet all the requirements to combine a baby bag and handbag. Each style of bag includes a uniquely-designed detachable and washable lining with zip fastening, a mobile phone pocket and even a removable laptop case. Prices start from £65; for more details go to www.koochu.com.

An eye for travel Long flights can mean sore, tired eyes – but now eyeSlices offer an instant cooling sensation and can banish dark circles and puffiness in an instant. These natural hydrogel pads come in four varieties; each pack can be used up to five times for 10 minutes each time and lasts for two weeks after opening, ensuring bright eyes for your entire holiday. All the eyeSlices varieties are available from www.peak-nutrition.co.uk or by calling 0800 612 6394. Each pack costs £12.95 for one pair of treatment pads.

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

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in your ■ suitcase

Nyce and easy does it One solution to having smoothlooking legs on holiday without having to wear tights or stockings, or wearing fake tan, is Nyce Legs spray-on stockings. These “stockings in a can” originated in the USA. Made from non-toxic ingredients, they simply spray on to give a longlasting flawless, streak-free finish, without having to worry about runs or tears. The spray-on stockings are ideal for covering minor blemishes and for use while swimming, or even in the gym. Nyce Legs are available in three colours, light, medium and dark. Each can lasts for approximately three applications and is easily removed using soap and water. Prices start at £17.95. For more details and to buy Nyce Legs, go to www.peak-nutrition.co.uk or call 0800 612 6394.

Stay light on your feet

– and WIN four pairs of travel shoes worth over £400

T

ravelling light is always a problem, whether it is for a weekend away or a longer trip – and packing the right shoes is often the most troublesome. Outdoor footwear specialist Brasher’s new range of travel shoes for men and women are lightweight and stylish, making them the ideal travelling footwear. The men’s Kamati GTX desert-style boot (below) and Likoma GTX shoe have a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex lining and a rugged rubber sole. The Segula GTX boot and Pemba GTX shoe (above right) have the same features, and are

A New Look for the beach For model looks by the pool, head to New Look to pick up the newly-launched range of Kelly Brook swimwear. The range includes Kelly’s signature colourful gingham in fuchsia pink, as well as daisy and polka dot designs. Halter necks and side-tie bikini bottoms plus triangle and bandeau styles are available, in addition to the ubiquitous one-piece black swimsuit with plunging back detail. Further styles will be added in May. Prices start at £15 for bikini tops and £8 for bottoms; for stockist details, call 0500 454 094 or go to www.newlook.com.

48 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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specifically designed for women. Styled in soft grain leather or nubuck, and available in classic muted colours, the Likoma and Pemba shoes cost £100 and the Kamati and Segula boots cost £110. A full range of shoes and accessories is available for men, women and children. For stockists and further details, go to www.brasher.co.uk or call 0191 516 5780. ● You can WIN one of four pairs of these fantastic shoes and boots, worth up to £110 each. For details, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date May 9, 2011.

Sea scents

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ritish clothing company Henri Lloyd, which has been making sailing and lifestyle clothes since 1963, has branched out to launch its first-ever grooming range of skin protection products. The Henri Lloyd Ocean Mineral Skin protection range contains marine materials to improve skin elasticity and help to maintain moisture. Two travel kits are available in a handy zip-up bag with either four or five essentials, including Ocean Mineral shower gel, moisturiser and sun protection creams, making them

ideal for men on the move. The four-piece kit costs £19.30. For details of the full range and all stockists, go to www.henrilloyd.com.

Spring 2011


travel ■ tech

Tough customer W

hen the going gets tough, the tough will want the latest compact camera from Olympus to guarantee capturing those memorable holiday moments. The newly-launched, 14 megapixel Olympus TOUGH TG810 is crush-proof to a weight of 100kg, waterproof to 10 metres, shockproof, freeze-proof and scratch resistant – and it comes with GPS and electronic compass, making it ideal to take hiking, mountain biking, skiing or snorkelling. Available in black and silver, the TG-810 has a sliding double-lock mechanism and extra protective metal lens barrier. It can also be operated by tapping the body, handy while wearing gloves or when underwater.

Its three-sensor GPS and electronic compass records the direction the camera is pointing, even while turned off, and displays

over 700,000 nearby points of interest. The user can also check the latitude, longitude, altitude, date, time and air pressure at a glance. Eight Magic Filters help you get creative with your pictures and HD movies. One setting detects when the camera is submerged and adjusts white balance, while Beauty Mode smoothes wrinkles and eliminates blemishes. An optional 3D mode captures two shots of a scene from different angles to create an image that can be viewed in 3D on a 3D-compatible source. The TG-810 costs £269.99 and is available from Olympus and retailers. www.olympus.co.uk

Time travel L

Video a go go

Enjoy your favourite films, TV programmes and music while you are away with the new Cowon D3 Wi-Fi Android MP3/MP4 Portable Media Player. Featuring a 3.7-inch AMOLED screen and 1080p HD video playback, the D3 has a crisp, vivid display, 10-hour video playback time and adjustable sound to tailor how you listen to your music. With its Android OS, you can connect to the internet via wi-fi to read emails, tweet on your travels and access social networking sites as well as download apps from the Android store. The Cowon D3 is available from Advanced MP3 Players and costs from £219 for the 8Gb version to £279 for the 32Gb one. www.advancedmp3players.co.uk

50 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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ike to keep tabs on the time back home or elsewhere in the world when you are travelling? With the Men’s Citizen Skyhawk Red Arrows Chronograph Eco-Drive Watch, you not only have atomic timekeeping with radio-controlled accuracy, you also have the world time in 43 cities plus a permanent Greenwich

Mean Time display on your wrist in a stylish black display set off with

red detail. Other features include two alarms, a countdown timer, perpetual calendar, chronograph and EcoDrive power, which means it will never need a battery. The watch is also water resistant down to 200 metres. It costs £399 from Watchstop.com, which includes free shipping. www.watchshop.com

Click-throw R

emember disposable cameras? They’re back with the new Vistaquest, a lightweight and compact single-use camera which allows you to take 40 pictures, with or without flash, using its built-in internal memory and the camera’s fixed-focus lens.

Once you are done, download the pictures to your computer via USB cable to print out as sharp 5x7-inch prints – or share on social networking sites. Then throw the camera away; it is 100% recyclable. Also available from Advanced MP3 Players, it costs £9.99. www.advancedmp3players.co.uk

Spring 2011


travel ■ tech

APPS CORNER A new free iTunes app from Europ Assistance is aimed at helping users avoid cross-cultural blunders when travelling abroad. Available for the iPhone and iPad, the handy hints and video clips cover dos and don’ts etiquette in different countries, such as gestures, expressions or actions acceptable in some places but which may be considered offensive in others. www.europ-assistance.co.uk

Juice it up I

f you love your iPhone 4 but are frustrated by its poor battery life, help is at hand. The juice pack plus from mophie is an ultra-thin and lightweight rechargeable external battery case with a massive 2,000mAh capacity battery – enough to more than double the iPhone’s battery life to give an extra eight hours of talk time on 3G and 11 hours of Wi-Fi internet surfing. The juice pack plus comes in black, cyan, magenta and yellow and is designed

as a virtual speaker box, redirecting sound from the bottom of the iPhone to the front for a richer, fuller effect. It can be left attached to charge or sync your iPhone 4 and it comes with a toggle standby switch so you only use it when you need to. An LED indicator also shows remaining battery life. The juice pack plus is available from Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk) and costs £89.95. www.mophie.com

Eye-speed H

aving launched the world’s first wireless memory card for digital cameras, Eye-Fi Inc’s next-generation EyeFi Pro, Connect and Explore X2-family cards offer even faster Wi-Fi uploads and virtually limitless storage capacity, by automatically removing files once uploaded. The 4Gb Connect, at £49.99, automatically

Spring 2011

uploads JPEG photos and videos to your computer and online sharing sites.

The 8Gb Explore, costing £99.99, does the same and automatically geotags photos and videos, showing where they were taken, while the 8Gb Pro, at £119.99, also allows users to wirelessly upload to their computer away from a wireless router. The cards are available from retailers including Amazon and Jessops. www.eye.fi

Android users can now enjoy offline maps covering the whole of Europe, with free map and software updates for life. The ForeverMap app from Skobbler, already available for the iPhone, is now available on Android Market. The paid-for version costs £1.37 and offers quick map downloads from high-speed servers, while the free version relies on slower peerto-peer downloads. www.skobbler.co.uk Celebrity Cruises has made booking a cruise easier with its new iPhone app. Free to download from iTunes or the company’s website, it includes answers to questions including “What should I pack?” and also offers a wealth of search and explore functionality such as global ports of call, onboard activities and the option to have itineraries emailed. www.celebritycruises.com InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has followed the launch of its Concierge app – specifically designed for the iPad – by issuing concierge teams at 10 hotels including the InterContinental London Park Lane with iPad 2s so that guests can have the latest access to local attractions and insider tips and can video chat with them using Apple’s FaceTime. www.chat.intercontinental.com

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on your doorstep ■ constable country

Pretty as a

picture

Spring 2011

■ Constable’s Hay Wain

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e have spent many happy hours tramping along Dedham Vale, where we live. The Vale is celebrating its 40th year this May as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. My children’s favourite walk with the dogs is between Dedham and Flatford down the Stour River. In the summer the water meadows are filled with buttercups and the gnarled silvery willow trees trail their branches in the cool brown water of the river. The young John Constable would have walked the same two miles along the riverbank every day to school in Dedham

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

National Trust

■ Willy Lott’s cottage on the River Stour

The National Gallery, London

Straddling the Essex and Suffolk borders, picturesque Dedham Vale is known as Constable Country as it was where artist John Constable lived and painted many of his famous works. Clare Mann lives in the heart of this idyllic landscape and gives a guided tour

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on your doorstep ■ constable country

constable viewpoints

■ The River Stour

The viewpoints from the following paintings by Constable are still clearly recognisable today at Flatford Mill, along the Stour River and in Dedham Vale.

“Dedham remains unspoilt, despite the coach-loads that arrive in the summer”

Tate

■ Visitors to Flatford compare old paintings with the present view

from his home in East Bergholt. It is one of those walks you never tire of. There is always plenty going on: fellow dog walkers, children from the field centre at Flatford Mill on a mission, artists with easels entranced by the famous landscape and rowing boats on the river on summer days. When the children were younger, they fished for hours. They never caught anything, although large pike lurk in the deep shadows. There have been some best-forgotten incidents too. Plum, our English Bull Terrier, on the scent of a ham sandwich, trampled a painter’s canvas drying in the sun. Then the time when Plum ran amok amongst the clotted cream-coloured cows – only wanting to play with them. When we left London, our main desire was to find a house with a view. That we have, looking south-west up the Stour Valley from Higham. From our field, we can count five churches: Higham, Dedham, Stratford St Mary, Langham and Stoke-by-Nayland. There are some Constable sketches of Higham church, which might have

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National Trust

Dedham Vale

● The Hay Wain, 1821, now in the National Gallery ● Flatford Mill from the Lock, 1811, in the V&A ● Boat-building near Flatford Mill, 1814, in the V&A ● The Leaping Horse, 1825, the Royal Academy ● Boys Fishing ‘A Lock on the Stour’, 1812, part of the Fairhaven Collection, Anglesey Abbey ● The Entrance to Fen Lane, 1817, The Tate ● A Cottage in the Cornfield, 1817, V&A ● Golding Constable’s Kitchen Garden (his family home in East Bergholt), 1815, Ipswich Museum

been drawn from our field. Another famous local artist, Sir Alfred Munnings, was a regular visitor to our house. He was an old friend of Freddie Boucher, who lived here. Boucher was a keen horseman and, by all accounts, a great character. The story goes he kept a favourite horse in the drawing room after it had won a race at Newmarket.

constable tour Our view up the valley changes with the seasons. In winter, water meadows are frequently flooded where the River Brett meets the Stour at Stratford St Mary. The water brings great flocks of geese and swans, cackling and calling late into the night. Occasionally the floodwater has frozen and we’ve been able to skate on the shallows. The National Trust owns Flatford Mill. There is a tearoom and small museum with guided tours and talks about Constable. Willy Lott’s picturesque cottage,

Spring 2011


on your doorstep ■ constable country

10 things to do in dedham vale and the stour valley

immortalised in The Hay Wain, remains unchanged, overlooking the millpond where ducks still paddle. Throughout the year, both the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Project and National Trust organise walks of varying lengths throughout the vale with a knowledgeable guide. The popular Walking in the Footsteps of Constable tour never fails to enthral our family and friends. Maps, drawings and reproductions of Constable’s paintings are produced at various vantage points to compare past and present vistas. We learnt that his huge six foot masterpieces were in fact painted in his studio in London, reconstructed from his hundreds of sketches of Dedham Vale. From Fen Lane, leading down from East Bergholt, Constable sketched and painted the landscape over and over again. The two oak trees depicted in Dedham Vale Morning still stand today. The church in East Bergholt is unusual in that it has no tower (probably because of lack of funds at the time

Spring 2011

■ Boats for hire at Dedham

Dedham Vale

■ Little Hall, Lavenham

Britainonview/Richard Surman

Sir Alfred Munnings Museum

● The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Project arranges guided walks throughout the year. Numbers are limited and cost £3 for adults, with children free. For those and other events, visit www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org. ● The Flatford Mill Field Centre (www.fieldstudies-council.org), in Flatford Mill, offers children, students and adults a range of residential and day courses, which are both environmental and artbased. ■ A portrait of Alfred ● The Sir Alfred Munnings Munnings, circa 1911, by Museum at Castle House, Harold Knight located in Dedham (www.siralfredmunnings.co.uk), houses the largest collection of Munnings’ work. Open April 1-October 31, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 2-5pm, admission £5. ● Drift down the Stour in a rowing boat from Dedham (www.dedhamboathouse.co.uk) for £12 an hour. Boats are also available from Flatford, rowing upstream, at £10 an hour. ● Treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Maison Talbooth (www.milsomhotels.com) with a glass of champagne, £16.85 a head. ● Visit Stoke-by-Nayland Church. Constable sketched a studio composition of the church by moonlight, now in London’s V&A Museum. ● Constable was commissioned to paint three altar pieces; the only one remaining in situ is in St James’s Church in Nayland, where it was installed in 1810. ● Early 17th century, haunted Thorington Hall is a Grade II National Trust house, open once a year, on September 10. More information at www.nationaltrust.org. ● Take residential and day painting courses with DrawEast (www.draweast.com). ●The Stour Valley is ideal for cyclists, but bring your own bicycle. The Dedham Vale Stour Valley Project has produced a 69-mile cycle route, which takes in points of interest and accommodation. Available from Hadleigh and Sudbury Tourist offices for £3.50.

www.visitcolchester.com

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on your doorstep ■ constable country

dedham vale facts getting there From the M25, take the A12 for 60 miles, which takes you straight to Dedham and Stratford St Mary. By train, Liverpool Street to Manningtree takes an hour. Manningtree Taxis, on 01206 393333, are a reliable service.

■ Flatford Mill

of its construction); instead it has a medieval bell cage, which houses five great bells. Constable’s parents are buried in the graveyard and Willy Lott’s grave can also be found there. A plaque in East Bergholt marks Constable’s tiny studio cottage by the village shop. Another plaque on some railings marks the grand house that his father built, but was pulled down in the 19th century.

medieval houses Dedham remains unspoilt, despite the coach-loads that arrive in the summer. It is very much a bustling village with a thriving community. Typical of East Anglia, the handsome Georgian houses along the High Street are just facades. The original medieval houses can be seen from behind. The pretty High Street is centred around the church. There is everything here from a butcher to a traditional tearoom, The Essex Rose. The young John Constable’s initials together with the date 1787, it is said, can be seen carved in the brickwork of Grade 1-listed Sherman House, the old grammar school, on the High Street. Visitors should not miss Castle House on the edge of Dedham; the home and studio of Sir Alfred Munnings, it is now a museum and gallery. It houses a wonderful collection of his drawings and paintings. The Dedham Players (www.dedhamplayers.org), an amateur theatrical group, put on plays in the Assembly Rooms and in the summer in the grounds of Castle House (mid-July). For those visiting the area, medieval Lavenham (www.discoverlavenham.co.uk) is England’s finest medieval village and is a must with its 340 listed buildings. The National Trust owns the exquisite lime-washed Guild Hall. Constable briefly went to the Old Grammar School there, in Barn Street. From the pharmacy on the High street visitors can rent an audiotape, which takes them on a 90-minute tour of the village. Elizabeth I visited Lavenham in 1578 with 2,000 servants and squires dancing in attendance, while John Lennon and Yoko Ono took off in a hot air balloon from the Market Square. The market town of Sudbury is also worth a visit, famous for being the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough. Gainsborough House, his home, is now a museum and gallery (www.gainsborough.org).

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The best option for exploring Dedham Vale is by foot; a two-mile path along the Stour River joins Dedham and Flatford. For excursions, a car is essential.

accommodation

■ The Swan Hotel at Lavenham There is a good selection of accommodation in Dedham Vale: smart pubs, boutique hotels and B&Bs. The Sun Inn (www.thesuninndedham.com), with double rooms from £105, is in middle of Dedham. Milsoms and the grander Maison Talbooth (www.milsomhotels.com), have doubles from £117 and are both close to Dedham. The Crown, in Stoke-by-Nayland, is a gastro pub with chic and contemporary bedrooms (www.crowninn.net); doubles are from £135. The Granary B&B (www.granaryflatford.co.uk) is right in Flatford; doubles are £58. Hillside House B&B is in Higham (www.wolseylodges.com) and has doubles for £90. For more information, go to www.visiteastofengland.com.

Britainonvie /Rod Edwards

National Trust

getting around

visiting flatford Bridge Cottage, museum and tearoom are open daily from April to October, and at weekends from November to March. The National Trust’s guided three-hour rambles, Walking in the Footsteps of Constable, and behind the scenes tours cost £6 per person. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk to book a place on a walk, or call Bridge Cottage on 01206 298260.

more information Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty & Stour Valley Project: www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org

You will need more than one visit to see all the sights around Dedham Vale. The coast is within easy striking distant, with the Stour estuary at Manningtree and the sandy beaches at Frinton. Further afield, but less than an hour’s drive from Dedham, are the sleepy coastal village of Aldeburgh (www.aldeburgh.co.uk) and Thorpeness for sailing and golf. Music lovers should take a trip to Snape Maltings (www.snapemaltings.co.uk), with its concert hall, galleries, shops and restaurants. We, though, are more than happy just looking at our view. ■ The Stour valley

Clare Mann has lived in Dedham Vale for 12 years with her husband, three children, dogs, pet pigs and bantams. She is a regularly contributor to the Sunday Telegraph Travel pages.

National Trust

Spring 2011


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Spring 2011


photo competition ■ win a camera

Spring into action

– and your pictures could WIN a fabulous new camera from Kodak Enter our spring-themed photography competition for a chance to win Kodak’s latest, highperformance EasyShare Max digital camera and a Pulse digital photo frame, together worth £470

W

ith the weather warming up and signs of growth everywhere, it’s time to get your cameras out and start snapping in our latest photography competition. This time, tlm has teamed up with one of the most iconic and historic names in photography – Kodak. There are two fabulous prizes: the 12 megapixel EasyShare Max digital camera (above) for the winner and the 10inch Pulse digital photo frame for the runner-up (right). The theme of the competition is spring. We will leave the interpretation to you, whether blossoming countryside, new-born lambs, fledgling birds or a spring scene in a city. There is no restriction on when photos were taken. The deadline is May 15, so you have lots of time to get snapping or dig out old favourites. You can enter up to a maximum of five pictures. The judges will then select 12 photos they feel best embody the competition theme as finalists, after which there will be a public vote on the tlm website to choose the winners.

the prizes First prize: Kodak EasyShare Max digital camera: RRP £299.99

This high-performance camera – jammed full of features – makes it a breeze to capture exactly what you see. The 12 megapixel, back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor and HDR (high dynamic range) technology combine to create true-to-life pictures with sharp details in shadows and highlights, even in low-light conditions. The fast (f/2.8 28 mm) 30X wide-angle SchneiderKreuznach Variogon zoom lens with optical image stabilisation delivers incredible flexibility across a range of picture-taking situations. And, with a three-inch (7.6cm) HGVA bright LCD screen with twice the resolution of standard displays, fast click-to-capture speed, fast auto ■ Greenwich Observatory and daffodils

Spring 2011

focus, and 1080p HD video, the MAX camera has all the high spec features you’d expect for the ultimate picture-taking experience.

Runner-up: Kodak Pulse 10-inch digital frame: RRP £169.99 With both Wi-Fi and its own email address, the Kodak Pulse’s unrivalled connectivity makes it the perfect way to enjoy your own photos and those of friends and family. Photos can simply be emailed to your Pulse frame from a PC or smartphone, and you’ll get a message to say new snaps have arrived. A mere touch of the high-quality, 10-inch backlit LED touchscreen later and you’ll be enjoying the latest photos minutes after they’ve been sent. You can even link the frame to friends’ Facebook pages and the Pulse will automatically refresh, showing new photos as they are posted. And with storage for up to 4,000 photos, there’s enough space to cope with most snap-happy photo enthusiasts.

how to enter For details of how to submit your photos and enter the competition, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on the Competitions button. Entries will consist of a portfolio of up to five photographs. Only one entry is allowed per person and you must be a UK resident. Professional photographers are excluded. Closing date is midnight on May 23, 2011, whereupon the final 12 will be selected for a vote on the tlm website. The judges’ decision will be final. See the tlm website for more terms and conditions. For details on Kodak’s EasyShare Max camera and Pulse 10-inch digital frame, go to www.kodak.com Peter Ellegard

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pack your clubs ■ dominican republic

Cigars and pars The Caribbean’s cigar-making capital is now also its prime golfing hotspot, thanks to a raft of new courses by top designers at sumptuous beachside resorts. Peter Ellegard reports

■ The 18th hole at La Cana

Spring 2011

Casa De Campo

W

ith more than 25 golf courses already open and several more under construction, the Dominican Republic can rightly claim to be the golf capital of the Caribbean. The second-largest Caribbean nation after Cuba, this Latin-flavoured tropical beach paradise was where the New World’s first European colony was founded by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. It is the world’s largest cigar producer, but these days Dom Rep, as it is often called, is earning plaudits for its pars, thanks to designs by notables including father and son architects Pete and PB Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Sr, Gary Player and Sir Nick Faldo. Indeed, it was recognised as the Latin America and Caribbean Golf Destination of the Year for 2009 in the golf industry’s premier honours, the IAGTO Awards, while Puntacana Resort and Club was named Golf Resort of the Year for the same regions in the 2011 IAGTO Awards. There are golf courses all around the coast, more than one-third of them opened in the past 10 years. Most of the golf is centred on its east coast, which is also where most visitors head to because of the numerous all-inclusives centred in and around Punta Cana and nearby Bavaro, as well as La Romana in the south-east. This area boasts mile upon mile of sugar-soft, white beaches and its tourism infrastructure is currently undergoing a multi-billion dollar investment programme with mega resorts featuring new designer-label golf layouts, luxury accommodation and facilities including marinas. Some of the best courses are part of lavish resorts and in stunning coastal settings. Casa de Campo Resort, in La Romana, is the setting for a trio of Pete Dye creations – the first of them, Teeth of the Dog, responsible for putting the Dominican Republic on the golfing map after it opened in 1971 with seven holes right on the Caribbean, its name deriving from the jagged rock outcrops resembling a dog’s teeth. It has since been joined by The Links and Dye’s critically-acclaimed third tour de force at the resort, Dye Fore, which is set on a

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Peter Ellegard

pack your clubs ■ dominican republic

Peter Ellegard

“Some of the best courses are part of lavish resorts and in stunning coastal settings”

■ The 18th hole at Corales

plateau high above the Chavon River. Teeth of the Dog may have been around for 40 years but it still hasn’t lost its wow factor and regularly ranks among the Caribbean’s best. A 2005 revamp helped sharpen its bite again, with several holes lengthened. The Caribbean comes into play on several holes, starting with the par-3 5th hole, with tee and green jutting into the sea, and also including even more daunting par 3 7th, the testing par-4 8th and holes 15 to 17, which skirt the sea again before the 18th returns shell-shocked golfers to the clubhouse. The Links opened in 1975 and echoes traditional links, featuring deep pot bunkers, doglegs and water. Completing the Casa de Campo set, Dye Fore’s forte is its perilous clifftop setting 300ft above the Chavon River, featuring seven holes right on the cliff edge. This is a course for long hitters but the fairways are generous. Its finest holes, the majestic par-3 12th and 15th, both require nerves of steel to cross yawning chasms. Taking cues from his dad, PB Dye has carved another monster from cliffs which tower above the snaking Chavon at nearby La Estancia, requiring several shots where you take on a plunging ravine – and pray your strike is crisp. It stretches almost 7,400 yards but has wide, forgiving fairways and forms part of an upmarket, hilltop residential community. Dye junior also worked his magic on La Cana at

■ Sea views on the Teeth of the Dog

Puntacana Resort, with 14 of its holes offering views of the adjacent Caribbean and huge waste bunkers a key feature of the course. Signature hole is the wonderful par-4 7th, which tempts the brave to go for the green over a waste bunker, palm trees and a pot-bunkered, mounded no-man’s-land named Hecklebirnie after the Scottish folklore purgatory. The par-3 12th has shades of TPC Sawgrass with its island green. Puntacana Resort is also the setting for the breathtaking, new Corales course, by Tom Fazio. It was built as the private plaything for the multi-millionaires whose mansions lie hidden just off its fairways, among them Julio Iglesias and Shakira, but it is open to Puntacana guests also playing La Cana. It sits on a stunning piece of land with seven holes perched atop wave-pounded cliffs, the par-4 8th requiring two carries over the crashing surf. The final trio of holes, called the Devil’s Elbow, is one of golf’s most scenic and challenging finishes and ends with what Dye calls “the mother of all holes” – a U-turn around sheer cliffs and pounding waves. Yet more stunning coastal views are on offer at Cap Cana’s Punta Espada course. This Jack Nicklaus masterwork opened to rave reviews in 2006 and was the first of three layouts by the Golden Bear that will grace the resort. Punta Espada has eight holes by the Caribbean. The 611-yard, par-5 2nd sets the tone for the course as it doglegs around an inlet to a green cupped on three sides

off-course attractions You don’t have to move far to enjoy non-golf activities if you are staying at one of the Dominican Republic’s all-singing, and all-dancing resorts, with their extensive leisure facilities, sweeping beaches, water sports galore and spas to pamper or revive aching limbs.

62 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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■ Kayaking at Chavon River

Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

■ Punta Espada

Beyond the resorts, there’s nature in abundance, with everything from forested mountain reserves teeming with tropical birds to stalactite-filled caves and Atlantic and Caribbean coasts where the seas are rich in marine life and are popular for diving and whale watching. You can explore history-rich cities by day, then go clubbing in the cities and in resorts by night. Shop for local handcrafted items and watch how cigars are made on cigar factory tours.

Spring 2011


pack your clubs ■ dominican republic

dominican republic golf facts weather The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures averaging 25ºC year round and 30ºC during the day from May to October. May is the wettest month, while November-April is drier with cooler evenings. The hurricane season lasts from the beginning of June until the end of November.

Casa De Campo

■ Horse riding

golf packages Tour operators offering Dominican Republic golf packages include Your Golf Travel (0800 043 6644, www.yourgolftravel.com), Golf Breaks (0800 279 7988, www.golfbreaks.com), Supertravel (020 7459 2984, www.supertravel.co.uk) and Golf Planet Holidays (0845 601 2175, www.golfplanetholidays.com). You can also cruise and play golf in Dom Rep with the Flagship Golf programme of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (01473 742424, www.fredolsencruises-flagshipgolf.co.uk).

accommodation Resorts include Secrets Sanctuary and Golden Bear Lodge, Cap Cana (www.capcana.com), Puntacana Resort and Club (www.puntacana.com), Casa de Campo (www.casadecampo.com.do), and the Westin and Fairmont hotels at Roco Ki (www.rocoki.com).

tourist information Visit the Dominican Republic Tourist Board website at www.godominicanrepublic.com or call 020 7242 7778.

Courses Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore, The Links) www.casadecampo.com.do Puntacana (La Cana, Corales) www.puntacana.com Cap Cana (Punta Espada, Las Iguanas) www.capcana.com

■ Teeth of the Dog

Roco Ki (Faldo Legacy) www.rocoki.com; www.thefaldolegacycourse.com La Estancia www.legr.com ■ The 13th hole at La Cana

Peter Ellegard

by bunkers and the sea after a drive from a tee atop a limestone ridge. Other standout holes include the par-5 12th and par-3 13th, both of which play to greens edged by rocks and sea, while the 17th demands a drive over a bay to a fairway set almost at right angles and edged by the rocky shore. The resort’s second Nicklaus course, Las Iguanas, opens soon and will offer more of a links-style experience. The new Nicklaus-designed Golden Bear Lodge sits alongside it and offers condominium units with superb views to the ocean. The Faldo Legacy Course at Roco Ki is partly laid out on the towering cliffs of a headland. Sir Nick Faldo’s first offering on Dom Rep, it is meant to be followed by three more of his designs at Roco Ki. It has a three-way split personality. Six holes are situated high up on headland cliffs with the Atlantic waves spuming far below, while another six meander through mangrove-edged wetlands and the remaining six are set around lakes. Sir Nick takes no prisoners with his fairways. As you drive longer they become fearsomely narrow and slope away from the centre so that you can get a nasty kick into trouble. The short par-3 17th plays down to a green clinging to the top of the headland. A wedge too far here and you can kiss your ball goodbye, while the 18th is arguably even more dramatic, starting from a high tee and traversing two ocean inlets. Elsewhere, the first nine holes of Greg Norman’s signature Costa Blanca course, his first in Dom Rep, opened in Juan Dolia, 30 minutes from capital Santo Domingo, in February. Also near the capital is Gary Player’s Guavaberry layout, opened in 2002. While the north coast features two Trent Jones Sr creations – Playa Dorada and his last-ever design, Playa Grande, which opened in 1997 and features 10 holes along the Atlantic cliffs. For golfers discovering the Dominican Republic today, good access between the main resort areas allows a choice of courses to play wherever you stay. Columbus wouldn’t recognise the place.

British Airways (www.ba.com) operates twice-weekly flights to Punta Cana from London Gatwick, while Air France-KLM offers greater choice and frequency from London Heathrow and a dozen regional UK airports to Punta Cana and the capital, Santo Domingo, via Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Peter Ellegard

Peter Ellegard

getting there

Spring 2011

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64 tlm â–  the travel & leisure magazine

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Spring 2011


golf ■ news

Trolley good Photos: Heythrop Park Resort

■ Heythrop Park’s golf course

Long drive checking out: Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire

T

here’s something very satisfying about a long drive at a majestic golf resort – and I don’t just mean when you tee off. I knew I was in for a special treat when I turned off the tiny B-road in the heart of the Cotswolds into the Heythrop Park Resort estate entrance, and the driveway kept going and going through beautiful woodland…for 1.7 miles, to be precise. At the end of it, the impressive 300year-old Heythrop Park hall – the ancestral home of the Earls of Shrewsbury – beckoned. But, although now a hotel, it was not where I would be staying. My destination was the four-star Crowne Plaza, a new addition bolted seamlessly onto the historic former stately home and opened last October by Prime Minister David Cameron. The exterior is functional, so as not to detract from the old hall, but inside it is contemporary and stylish, with plenty of deep reds including material lampshades resembling giant jellyfish. My room, one of 197 in the hotel with a further 153 in the converted hall and wings next door, was chic personified, with a comfy bed, large bathroom and a lounge area with TV. Being critical, the wardrobes had no direct lighting and the only electrical sockets were by the desk. In all other respects the hotel was faultless. The restaurant, one of four at the resort, served sublime food, while the health club has a large pool and a spa. The 7,088-yard golf course is the star for me, though. Although only opened in 2009, it has a mature feel as

Spring 2011

factbox Heythrop Park Resort Enstone, Oxfordshire OX7 5UE Tel: 01608 673333 www.heythropparkresort.com Rooms from £110 best for ● Lovely golf course ● Spacious spa and health club ● Clever blend of old and new could do better ● More room lights needed

it winds through the 440-acre estate, with the 11th hole offering glorious views back up the fairway to the old hall and the 18th fairway leading right up to the other façade. The winter drizzle didn’t dampen my spirits, but I look forward to returning in summer – and I am already dreaming of those long drives… Peter Ellegard ● WIN a weekend golf and spa break at Heythrop Park. See page 27.

L

uxury British golf trolley maker Stewart Golf has launched its first non-powered trolley. The Z1 Push uses a simple two-step folding mechanism allowing set up in seconds. Folded, the Z1 Push is the smallest push cart on the market, measuring just 27cm x 27cm x 66.5cm. Stewart Golf managing director Mark Stewart explained: “Push trolleys are becoming more popular as golfers realise that pulling a trolley puts unnatural stresses and strains on the arms and back.” For golfers who want it even easier, Stewart Golf has also launched a lithium-powered version of its X-Series remote-controlled golf trolley – the X7 Lithium. It features an all-new lithium

phosphate battery, which weighs a fraction of traditional lead acid batteries but delivers more power and has a longer lifetime. The Z1 Push costs £179 and the X7 Lithium £999. Both from www.stewartgolf.com. ● WIN your own Z1 Push trolley, courtesy of Stewart Golf. For details, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date, May 23, 2011.

■ The Z1 Push

GOLF CLIPS A three-night bed and breakfast break in May and June with unlimited golf is available from just £99 per person at the five-star Montecastillo Resort in Jerez, Spain, in the 2011 brochure from Your Golf Travel. It includes new options in Italy, Greece and Morocco. www.yourgolftravel.com The preopening phase of the new PGA National Russia ■ PGA National Russia course, 90km from Moscow by the Volga River, has begun. Building of the European Golf-designed course has been managed by St Andrews-based Braemar Golf. The course is due to open in summer 2012. www.braemargolf.co.uk

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Sailing

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Warm breezes, crystal sea & sunshine Modern high specification yachts from 32 to 72ft available for charter • RYA practical & theory courses • Beginner to Yachtmaster • Flotilla and bareboat holidays • Dedicated RYA school boats Get more enjoyment from sailing

WWW.A1SAILING.LTD.UK Tel: +34 971 547 986 Email: A1groupMallorca@aol.co.uk

66 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Spring 2011


travel update ■ news

Flirty-somethings

■ Gnaoua musician

If you are looking for the ultimate musical experience on your holiday this year, try Songlines Music Travel’s small group tours. Their exclusive holidays this year include new trips to Malaysia for the Rainforest Festival in Borneo in July and India for the Jodhpurr RIFF Festival in October, as well as the Serbia Guca Brass Band Festival in August and Morocco for the Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira in June. For trip details and prices, go to www.songlinesmusictravel.com.

Spring 2011

Kuoni

down by day but dress up at night. Top hates while abroad include littering and loud voices, while having fun and new experiences top the list of what people want from their holiday. French holidaymakers are the most active, Italians flirt most, the Spanish splash the cash and 38% of Britons never keep in touch with the new friends they make.

Only 21% overall eat only local food, with the Brits and the Finns being the most likely to eat less healthily while on holiday. The top five future travel trends to emerge are exploring unseen places (38%), sustainability (34%), increased eco-tourism (27%), basic holidays (22%) and pure luxury (21%). More details at www.kuoni.com.

Young snappers

■ Smile please

F

amily adventure specialist The Adventure Company has introduced a new Safari and Spice Young Photographer holiday to Tanzania this summer, aimed at families with children aged six and upwards. This 11-day photographic safari, accompanied by professional photographer Gail Ward,

Bearly walking

T

he High Tatras mountains, stretching from Romania to the Czech Republic, are Europe’s only high alpine environment north of the Alps and Walks Worldwide has created a unique trip there.

combines learning with enjoying Southern Tanzania’s wildlife and culture. Departing on August 20, prices start from £2,649 per adult and £2,489 per child including flights, accommodation and most meals as well as expert tuition. Go to www.adventurecompany.co.uk for more information. ■ Spot bears in the High Tatras

In addition to following wellmarked tourist trails, Walking with Bears includes days spent off the trail, following animal tracks with guides who know the area –

The Adventure Company

Music to your ears

■ Few holidaymakers eat only local food

Walks Worldwide

Moroccan National Tourist Office

E

ver wondered how different nationalities behave on holiday, which nation spends most abroad and who are the flirtiest holidaymakers? Leading tour operator Kuoni has completed its first ever global holiday behaviour report, polling over 12,000 people, aged 25-65, from 12 different countries. The report highlights details about holidaymakers’ love lives away from home and how they prepare for a holiday, and reinforces how escaping from the rigours of everyday life broadens horizons and changes behaviour. Unsurprisingly, women spend more time and effort in preparing for their trip than men through exercise, diet and beauty regimes, and the inevitable retail therapy, with British and Indian women the most likely to buy new clothes for their trip. Yet Brits wear less on holiday and the French dress

and the wildlife – inside out in order to locate and observe some of the remaining 4,500-5,000 Carpathian brown bears in their natural habitat. This guided one-off holiday, including ground transportation, seven nights’ accommodation and most meals, departs on August 14, 2011, and costs from £985 per person, excluding flights. More information: www.walksworldwide.com.

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travel update ■ news

Bank on a royal break

■ Get health advice before you go – even to Tenerife

Cox & Kings

Sandals

Ten-night breaks departing April 23 to enjoy Jamaica’s sunshine and beaches include: Rooms on the Beach, Ocho Rios, for a family of four, from £4,126 (www.virginholidays.co.uk); allinclusive for two at Secrets Wild Orchid, Montego Bay (www.holidayplace.co.uk), from £1,899 per person; and a Royal Wedding package for £1,555 per person at Sandals Grand Riviera Beach (www.sandals.co.uk). See www.visitjamaica.com

Keycamp’s UK Escapes packages start from just £134 per person and offer family camping on 11 sites from the Lake District to Snowdonia. The sixberth tents feature three separate sleeping compartments and large living area and come fullyequipped. www.keycamp.co.uk

68 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

Keycamp

Wicked Campers

A 12-day royal road-trip around the British Isles from campervan company Wicked Campers takes in key royal landmarks from Windsor to Balmoral. With pick-up on April 21 and drop-off on May 2, free insurance for a second driver and sat nav, prices start at £173 per person based on five sharing. www.wickedcampers.co.uk

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Cut the risk O

ne major worry for all holidaymakers is falling ill on holiday. Now, a new travel health awareness campaign, developed and funded by GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health, is encouraging travellers to reduce their risk of ill-health by obtaining up-to-date, expert guidance from a GP or healthcare professional six to eight weeks before going on holiday, whether it be to popular short haul destinations such as Tenerife, Morocco and Portugal or long haul favourites like Mexico or Kenya. The awareness campaign follows research in 2010 suggesting that one in

two British travellers have become ill or injured on holiday. It is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Royal College of Nursing and Fit For Travel (www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk), and TV presenter Craig Doyle will be helping to raise awareness throughout the month of June. From a list of essential items to take with you to the answers to popular facts and myths on health risks while abroad, the 8 Weeks to Go campaign has advice, tips and information on all aspects of travel health. For more details, visit www.8weekstogo.co.uk.

On the beach T

he beach is a key part of many holidays – and now you can find not only the right beach to suit you but pick your perfect beach outfit and choose what to read and what to listen to. Luxury travel company Black Tomato has launched an editorial-based website called Beach Tomato, dedicated to the best of beach culture, featuring fashion, beauty and travel. Choose the sunniest spots, the beach of the week, the best swimsuit and the raunchiest novel. To get the best of the beach, go to www.beachtomato.com.

■ Kizhunna Ezhara Beach, in Kerala, India

Spring 2011

Black Tomato

Take a royal connections trip with luxury tour operator Cox & Kings. The Indian Experience, April 22-30, has three nights at the Maharaja of Jaipur’s former hunting lodge; the Oberoi Zahra Nile Cruise, April 23-May 4, visits the Valley of the Kings; and the Ancient Wonders of Southern Turkey, April 23-May 3, includes Anthony and Cleopatra’s meeting place. www.coxandkings.co.uk

Peter Ellegard

Combine the Royal Wedding bank holiday with Easter and the May bank holiday for a 10-night break, taking just three days off work. Here are a few ideas for breaks:


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10 of the best ■ romantic escapes

Get away 10

With the royal wedding in mind, here are our suggestions for 10 of the best romantic escapes – from the Indian Ocean to Australia and the Caribbean 1. Seychelles: Desroches Island

The romance factor: An exclusive private island where Prince William and Kate Middleton rekindled their relationship after their split in 2007, it is one of the world’s ultimate romantic destinations and is only accessible by plane. The hotel: A 40-minute flight from Seychelles capital Mahe, Desroches boasts over seven miles of white-sand beaches, luxury villas complete with private pools, invilla dining and butlers. Options include secluded picnics, side-by-side massages, sunset cruises and private candlelit dinners on the beach. Stay: Seven nights’ all-inclusive stay in a beach suite costs from £3,827 per person from May 1-December 23 with Elite Vacations (www.seychelleselite.co.uk), including return flights from London and inter-island flights. www.desroches-island.com

Lizard Island

2. Australia: Lizard Island

The romance factor: An idyllic retreat fringed with pristine coral reefs, crystal-clear waters and 24 powdery-white beaches, it offers a magical setting right on the Great Barrier Reef. The hotel: There are 40 villas and suites, with the Sunset Suites giving glorious sea views and The Pavilion offering complete privacy, panoramic views, expansive deck and private plunge pool. Couples can enjoy a seven-course degustation private dinner on the beach and gourmet

70 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

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Lizard Island

of the best: romant i escape c s

1

Seasons in Africa/Michael & Vanessa Lewis

2 picnics on hidden beaches, a double spa treatment and snorkel together right in front of the resort. Stay: Lizard Island starts from £412.50 per person per night, including all meals, champagne and premium Australian wines. Flights to Cairns cost from £1,339 with onward flights from Cairns to Lizard from £189 each way. Book through Tailor Made Travel (www.tailor-made.co.uk). www.lizardisland.com.au

3. Thailand:The Sarojin

The romance factor: Tranquillity is guaranteed at this luxury resort, with 55 guest rooms set amid 10 acres of gardens on a seven-mile beach in Khao Lak – and no children under 12 allowed. The hotel: Each guest residence features its own private garden and “sala” sundeck, couples’ baths with waterfall

Spring 2011


showers, and plunge and relaxation pools that blend into the natural habitat. Among free facilities are a fitness centre, mountain bikes, catamarans and sail boats, sea kayaks and windsurfing boards. Stay: A six-night Royal Sensations package, costing about £2,875 for two, includes a private spa and lunch on the beach, an exclusive sunset cruise, a private candlelit jungle waterfall dinner by chauffered elephant, all day a la carte breakfast with sparkling wine and private airport transfers from Phuket. www.sarojin.com

5

Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

4

Tanjung Rhu Resort

3

WhiteKaps Resort Company Limited

10 of the best ■ romantic escapes

The hotel: Tanjung Rhu is fronted by a 1.5-mile stretch of beach and features three swimming pools, the restaurants, water sports, a spa, nature trails, sunset cruises and mangrove river boat trips. Rooms have balconies and some have a Jacuzzi. Stay: Seven nights costs from £1,315 per person with Key2Holidays (www.key2holidays.co.uk) and from £1,595 with Thomson Tailormade (www.thomsontailormade.com), both on a B&B basis including flights and transfers. The resort’s Romance Package offers a private sunset beach barbecue, star gazing with a computercontrolled telescope and a couples’ spa treatment. www.tanjungrhu.com.my

5. Malaysia:Tanjung Rhu Resort, Langkawi The romance factor: Set on an otherwise-deserted white sand bay at the northern tip of Langkawi, lapped by the warm waters of the Andaman Sea and surrounded by mangroves, this five-star resort is perfect for couples seeking a luxurious, secluded escape.

Spring 2011

6 6. England: Langtry Manor, Bournemouth The romance factor: Built by a prince for the woman he loved, this historic small, luxury hotel will waft you to a bygone era with its Edwardian-themed suites and dreamy four-poster beds. The hotel: The perfect hideaway, the hotel is set among pine trees on Bournemouth’s East Cliff. It was built in 1877 for socialite and actress Lillie Langtry by Edward Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, and combines Edwardian elegance with mod cons including Jacuzzi rooms, free wi-fi and flat-screen LCD TVs. Stay: A romantic weekend break, from £188 per person, includes a champagne cocktail with Friday night candlelit dinner, a six-course Edwardian Banquet fit for a king served by staff in period dress on Saturday night, with a live performance of The Life of Lillie, and a lavish breakfast each day. www.langtrymanor.co.uk

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

Langtry Manor

The romance factor: Stay in a red-roofed villa in 60 acres of exotic gardens with a romantic beach, just as celebrity guests including Claudia Winkleman and Richard and Judy have done. The hotel: Styled after picturesque Mediterranean villages, the resort’s villas, many with private pools and terraces, have been refurbished to commemorate the resort’s 21st birthday. Guests can enjoy a romantic island cruise, candlelit dinner for two, in-villa spa treatments and beach massages, or share more exhilarating experiences such as water sports, jungle excursions, zip lining and horse riding. Stay: A four-night honeymoon package from May 1December 20 costs from US$3,120 for a premium suite and includes all food and drinks, a couples massage, champagne and flowers on arrival, in-suite dining one night and airport transfers. www.windjammer-landing.com

Langtry Manor

4. St Lucia: Windjammer Landing

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7

Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa

Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts

10 of the best ■ romantic escapes

7. Bermuda: Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa

The romance factor: With its four pink-sand beaches, secluded cottages and pool suites, candlelit beach dinners, couples spa treatments and optional clothing sunbathing deck, this adults-only resort is intimacy personified for loved-up couples. The hotel: Located on the western end of Britain’s oldest colony, just a seven-hour flight away, Cambridge Beaches is set on a 30-acre peninsula and has 94 cottage-style rooms and suites, each with its own décor, plus private coves and beaches, a spa and private marina. Stay: Prestige Holidays (www.prestigeholidays.co.uk) offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast, with direct British Airways flights and private transfers, from £1,565 per person. www.cambridgebeaches.com

9. USA: Cove Haven Pocono Resort, Pennsylvania The romance factor: Kitsch for some tastes, perhaps, but its lavish four-level suites complete with seven-foot champagne glass whirlpool bath for two, heart-shaped pool, log-burning fireplace, sauna and massage table certainly make an impression. The hotel: Cove Haven nestles on a cove of a manmade lake in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Pocono Mountains. Once you’ve had fun playing in your suite, try the indoor, year-round ice skating rink, water sports, indoor tennis and health club and spa. Stay: Cove Haven is all-inclusive. A two-night honeymoon package in a Champagne Tower suite costs from $1,070 and includes free champagne, rose petals, fire log, bubble bath and candles, private dining, a carriage ride or horse riding and an “aphrodisiac treat”. www.covepoconoresorts.com

8. Morocco: Riad El Fenn, Marrakech

The romance factor: Sumptuous décor, hanging gardens, quiet corners and a rooftop swimming pool and sundeck close to Marrakech’s bustling souks and colourful Djemaa el Fna square. The hotel: Vanessa Branson, sister of airline tycoon Richard, has created a romantic boutique escape featuring traditional architecture and modern art, with facilities including hammam spa, private cinema and library. Stay: From £360 per person for three nights in a standard room, with daily breakfast, Moroccan afternoon tea and cakes and airport transfers. Room 19, from £495 per night, has brown leather floors, a wooden ceiling, walls adorned with Antony Gormley ink studies, an outdoor colonnade and fireplace, a cast iron bath and sitting room, and stairs to a private terrace. Its heated plunge pool has a glass bottom, giving views to the sitting room below. www.riadelfenn.com

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10. St Lucia: Sandals Regency La Toc

The romance factor: Feel like king and queen of the castle in a Millionaire Suite, the height of luxury set at the resort’s summit with outdoor terrace, infinity pool and Jacuzzi, 24-hour butler service and 180-degree Caribbean views from your bed. The Honeymoon and Romeo & Juliet suites are equally romantic. The hotel: Situated on a 210-acre tropical estate, La Toc is one of the Caribbean’s most glamorous resorts, fronting a half-mile crescent-shaped beach and offering eight restaurants, nine bars, tennis and free water sports. Stay: Kuoni (www.kuoni.co.uk) offers seven nights in a Millionaire Suite on an all-inclusive basis, including flights and transfers, from £3,053 per person in August for bookings made by April 30, 2011. 10 www.sandals.co.uk

Do you know of a more romantic escape? Tell us on tlm’s Facebook page: http://bit.ly/tlm_facebook – and see our suggestions for 10 of the rest.

Sandals Resorts

Riad El Fenn

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Spring 2011


checking out ■ accommodation

Grade II listed The Castle Hotel in Lincoln has reopened after a six-month, £1million refurbishment. All bedrooms at the 159-year-old hotel have been renovated with luxury ensuites, a new lounge bar area has been created and the restaurant has been given a stylish makeover and renamed Reform. It features a contemporary European menu. www.castlehotel.net London was the world’s eighth most expensive city for hotel prices in February, according to research by online hotel reservations service hotel.info. Rooms cost an average 150.02 euros, up 7% on February 2010. Moscow remained the most expensive, at 178.50 euros, followed by Sydney (170.44 euros), New York (158.67 euros) and Tokyo (156.61 euros). www.hotel.info

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■ The Kingham Plough

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Kingham Plough

W

hat could be more idyllic than a traditional English roast dinner in an old country pub followed by a pint at the bar before retiring up creaking stairs to your oak-beamed bedroom and a restful night’s sleep? Pubs that offer accommodation may be a throw back to the days of Olde England but in today’s competitive world, you are more than likely to be offered haute cuisine food, Wi-Fi, a king-size bed and en-suite bathroom – often for a price that puts many bland and soulless chain hotels, with their stereotype rooms and indifferent service, to shame. Despite the industry’s woes – 25 pubs per month are closing, and nearly 900 country pubs closed in 2009 – there is still a surprising number where you can rest your head for the night, from thatched village pubs and rambling coaching inns to convenient town pubs. You can even sleep in the fourposter room at The Crown (www.thecrownamersham.com) in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, where Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell made out in Four Weddings and a Funeral. An Elizabethan coaching inn with inglenook fireplaces, it has been brought bang up to date with designer rooms. Sister property The Olde Bell (www.theoldebell.co.uk), in Hurley, Berkshire, is even older; parts date back to the 12th century. Soak up 600 years of history and enjoy gastro-pub food on the banks of the River Windrush at the newly-restored, grand Old Swan and Minster Mill (www.oldswanandminstermill.com), in the Cotswolds village of Witney and owned by the de Savary family. The Kingham Plough

■ Bedroom at the Fox and Anchor

■ Cosy: the Old Swan and Minster Mill

(www.thekinghamplough.co.uk) is another Cotswolds village inn but on a much smaller scale with seven boutique, en-suite bedrooms. Situated on Kingham’s village green, it reopened in 2007 after extensive renovations. An urban experience awaits at the beautifully-renovated Fox and Anchor Gastro Pub (www.foxandanchor.com) in the heart of London’s Clerkenwell. This traditional pub has six stylish rooms with all mod cons and offers weekend rates from £95. Breweries and pub chains offer rooms at many traditional pubs. Kent-based Shepherd Neame (www.shepherdneame.co.uk)

Shepherd Neame

The Castle Hotel

■ The Castle Bar

focus: pubs with rooms

Fox and Anchor

Eco resort the Langdale Hotel & Spa in the Lake District has launched a Blooming Marvellous Break for mums-to-be. The break includes two nights’ accommodation with daily breakfast in bed, a three-course dinner, a midnight feast picnic hamper to keep cravings at bay, a spa day and a bottle of conditioning Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil. Available yearround, it costs from £499 per couple. www.langdale.co.uk

Pubbing it

Swan & Minster

■ The Langdale Hotel

The Langdale Hotel & Spa

hotel news

■ Dining at the George, Cranbrook

offers rooms at 40 of its pubs and inns, including newly-restored historic pub The George, in Cranbrook, where Queen Elizabeth I once stayed. The Millers Arms, in the heart of Canterbury, 14th century The Sun Inn in Faversham, and 17th century New Flying Horse, on the Pilgrim’s Way in North Downs village Wye are others. Of other chains, Marston’s Inns (www.marstonsinns.co.uk) has over 40 pubs and inns in England and Wales with rooms, while Mitchells & Butler-owned Vintage Inns (www.vintageinn.co.uk) has characterful pubs throughout the country, a number with rooms.

Spring 2011


Spa star The Vale Resort, Hensol, Glamorgan

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s I pulled up outside The Vale Resort’s grand entrance, a small army of autograph hunters engulfed my car. I wasn’t expecting such a welcome. Of course, they weren’t there for me at all. They were waiting for the occupants of the luxury coach I had followed through the twisty South Wales country roads.

When they trooped off the bus I had to admit my ignorance. Ipswich Town Football Club, I was informed by a fan – staying overnight to play local Championship heroes Cardiff City. I barely recognised any of them. But I would certainly know some of the resort’s other celebrity guests, among them Jamie Oliver, Louise and Jamie Redknapp and

Photos: The Vale Resort

checking out ■ hotel reviews

factbox The Vale Resort Hensol, Glamorgan CF72 8JY Tel: 01443 667800 www.vale-hotel.com Two-night family breaks from £195 per room B&B best for ● Super spa ● Golf breaks ● Family fun could do better ● Softer restaurant lights

Catherine Zeta Jones. Close to the M4, The Vale’s extensive sports facilities have made it the training HQ for the Welsh national rugby and football teams. The 650 acres of woodland incorporate two championship golf courses, a 143-room hotel and the largest spa in Wales, with 19 treatment rooms including double treatment rooms for sharing. After using the health club’s superb steam room, sauna and relaxation room, I opted for an invigorating massage. Beauty treatments feature Clarins and other brands. Little ones have a supervised crèche, day nursery and activities programme. My spacious room had lovely golf course views but was let down by the cramped bathroom. The restaurant’s harsh lighting gave it a canteen feel, a shame as the food and friendly service were exemplary. Wales may be famed for the welcome you get in the hillsides, but you’ll be hard-pressed to feel more at home than at The Vale. Peter Ellegard

Photos: Careys Manor & SenSpa

Forest retreat factbox Careys Manor & SenSpa Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7RH Tel: 01590 623551 www.careysmanor.com Rooms from £178 best for ● Spa breaks ● Dining ● Great location could do better ● More coat hangers

Spring 2011

Careys Manor, Brockenhurst, Hampshire Situated in the heart of the New Forest, Careys Manor provides the setting for a relaxing break, combining state-of-the-art spa facilities alongside sumptuous accommodation. From the moment we entered the hotel grounds, the attentive staff made us relax and feel pampered. Our room was spacious and wellappointed, combining contemporary essentials, in the form of a large, flat-screen TV, and free wi-fi, with traditional comforts including a large, comfortable bed and sofa, and views of the hotel grounds. The attention to detail included fresh fruit and champagne on arrival. Our experience was enhanced when, on our return from dinner, a complimentary selection of beauty products had been left in the room for our use. The hotel has a choice of three restaurants. We chose to eat in the two-AA rosette Manor Restaurant. From pre-dinner

drinks in the adjoining lounge, close to the open fire, to coffee at the end of the meal, this was a delightful dining experience. The helpful but unobtrusive staff offered useful suggestions when we were spoilt for choice by the extensive menu. Breakfast offered everything from a New Forest option to healthier alternatives. The SenSpa treatments provided the ultimate escape from the stresses of modern life, with an emphasis on authentic Thai treatments; most of the therapists are from Thailand and bring with them their knowledge and experience. For a relaxing, luxurious break amidst outstanding natural beauty, Careys Manor must be a first-choice destination. Peter Lewsey

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SUMMER OFFER 1st July to 31st August £54 per person per night based on a minimum 3-night stay including:

Breakfast Free hire car (excluding insurance and petrol) Based on 2 persons sharing Single supplement £15 per night but no hire car Children under 12 £15 per night B&B if sharing with 2 adults

For more information, please contact: Les Dicqs,Vale, Guernsey GY6 8JP Telephone 01481 248400 reservations.pen@cwgsy.net www.peninsulahotelguernsey.co.uk

The Devon Hotel with a Different Outlook...

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www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Spring 2011


for luxury day spa and retreats

The Lorrens Ladies Health Hydro Cary Park, Torquay 01803 329994 www.lorrens-health-hydro.co.uk

• 83 en-suite rooms • 7 conference and banqueting rooms • City centre location • Ideal touring base • Restaurant and two bars

Norton Grange Coastal Resort ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

• Free car parking

The place to stay in the heart of Herefordshire - now taking bookings for 2011

Inclusive half board short breaks Beautiful secluded setting Spectacular Solent views En Suite Chalet Accommodation Live entertainment & cabaret Leisure Facilities Exclusively for adults Ferry inclusive breaks available. Weekend breaks from just £139pppb, quote 22TG8 Halletts Shute, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight PO41 0SD Tel. 01983 760323 Fax. 01983 760468

www.nortongrange.co.uk

Spring 2011

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london life ■ royal london

Pomp and Circumstance

■ Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace

London’s royal heritage spans nearly 1,000 years of history oyal life is very topical now with Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. But the capital’s royal heritage is in evidence year round, from regal robes and crown jewels to sumptuous state apartments and ceremonial carriages. Until 1603, the English and Scottish crowns were separate, although often linked by marriages between members of the two royal families. Following the accession of King James VI of Scotland to the English throne (as King James I of England), a single monarch reigned in the UK. There have since been many changes; from the end of the 17th century, monarchs lost executive power and increasingly became subject to Parliament, resulting in today’s constitutional monarchy. Over the years, Britain’s kings and queens have built or bought palaces to serve as family homes

78 tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine

and workplaces. Some are still used as official royal residences and many can be visited by the public. Here is our guide to London’s top royal attractions:

buckingham palace Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837 and today it also serves as the office of the Queen and as the administrative headquarters of the

Royal Household. It is one of the world’s few remaining working royal palaces. Its 775 rooms include 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, and 19 state rooms used by the Queen and other members of the royal family to receive and entertain guests. When the Queen visits Scotland each summer, the state rooms are open to visitors; they will be open from July 23-October 3, 2011. The Royal Mews is one of the

finest working stables, housing the state vehicles including the gold State Coach, and is open to visitors. Opening times and prices: www.royalcollection.org.uk.

windsor castle

did you know? ● Since 1952, the Queen has conferred more than 387,700 honours and awards. ● During her reign, the Queen has undertaken over 256 official overseas visits to 129 different countries. ● There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows in Buckingham Palace. All windows are cleaned every six weeks. ● The ravens at the Tower of London eat 170g of raw meat a day, plus bird biscuits soaked in blood. ● The number of rounds fired in a royal salute depends on the place and occasion; the basic royal salute is 21 rounds but in Hyde Park, an extra 20 rounds are added because it is a royal park.

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britainonview

R

visitlondonimages/britainonview

■ Windsor Castle

The largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle has been a home and fortress for over 900 years; it was first established by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. As well as a royal palace, it houses a magnificent chapel and homes and workplaces for many people.

Spring 2011


london life ■ royal london

■ Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760, and was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. When 18, she was woken in the cosy room – now known as Queen Victoria’s Bedroom – early on June 20, 1837, to be told her uncle William IV had died and she would accede to the throne. Diana, Princess of Wales, lived in an apartment until her death in 1997, which was publicly mourned at the gates of the palace. Building works have closed parts of the palace until 2012, but you can still visit the state apartments, now known as the Enchanted Palace, and the gardens. Details: www.hrp.org.uk.

hampton court Best-known as the home of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court

Spring 2011

visitlondonimages/britainonview

kensington palace

● For families: challenge the kids to see who can get through the maze at Hampton Court first. ● For couples: visit the famous Crown Jewels at the Tower of London and admire the diamonds together. ● For value: enjoy the

Palace was originally built by Thomas Wolsey, later Cardinal Wolsey, in 1514. Henry VIII redeveloped the palace to his own tastes with tennis courts and bowling alleys, as well as kitchens covering 36,000 square feet and a multiple garderobe (or lavatory) which could sit 28 people at a time. All of his six wives came to the palace and most had lavish new lodgings; the King rebuilt his own rooms at least half a dozen times. Today, visitors can enjoy Henry VIII’s apartments as well as the Tudor kitchens and the maze.

Changing of the Guard, a royal tradition not to be missed and free of charge to watch. ● For luxury: take an exclusive guided tour of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace and enjoy a glass of champagne and a 20% discount in the Royal Collection shop.

mous Bloody Tower or join a Yeoman Warder tour – their “beefeater” nickname is thought to have been given when as part of the royal bodyguard, they were allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king’s table. Details: www.hrp.org.uk.

other royal highlights kew palace

■ Kew Palace in Kew Gardens

Built in 1631 by rich merchant Samuel Fortrey, this palace latterly became a retreat for the ailing King George III. www.hrp.org.uk

Times and prices: www.hrp.org.uk.

tower of london

clarence house

Founded in 1078 by William the Conqueror, the Tower has been used as a fortress, a royal palace and a prison; some of its most famous inmates include Lady Jane Grey and Sir Walter Raleigh. It has also been used as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury and a zoo, and has been home to the Crown Jewels since 1303. Today, visitors can see these, explore the infa-

The official residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and the home of Princes William and Harry. From 1953 to 2002 it was the home of the Queen Mother. Open from August 6-September 4, 2011. www.royalcollection.org.uk

changing the guard

■ Yeoman warders at the Tower of London

Frantzesco Kangaris/newsteam.co.uk

Suits you

Steve Woods/newsteam.co.uk/HRP

■ King Henry VIII entertains visitors to Hampton Court Palace

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The Queen spends most weekends here and takes up official residence for a month over Easter and for a week in June, when she attends the Order of the Garter service and the Royal Ascot race meeting. Visitors can see the state rooms, the East Terrace and the semi-state rooms, as well as the Great Chapel and tour the Great Kitchen. During this August and September, you will also be able to take the new Conquer the Tower tour and climb the 189 steps to the top of the famous round tower. More information: www.royalcollection.org.uk.

The Queen’s Life Guard stand guard at the official entrance to St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace outside Horse Guards in Whitehall. Changing the Guard takes place at 11.30am daily from May until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting. www.royalcollection.org.uk, www.army.mod.uk For information on the history of the monarchy and today’s Royal Family, go to www.royal.gov.uk.

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london ■ news

Make an exhibition of yourself London’s museums and major attractions are host to a wide range of new and interesting exhibitions this spring:

Power House

Sensational Butterflies Natural History Museum, April 5-September 25, 2011 The sensory zones of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch are highlighted in this exhibition of these surprising creatures. Did you know that a butterfly tastes with its feet? You can come face to face with live butterflies in the butterfly house and learn more about the life they lead. www.nhm.ac.uk

Age of the Dinosaur

■ The Natural History Museum

visitlondonimages/britainonview

Natural History Museum, April 22September 4, 2011 This exhibition will transport visitors back more than 65 million years to Jurassic lagoons and Cretaceous forests. As well as life-size animatronic dinosaurs, you might also encounter insects, mammals and lizards. www.nhm.ac.uk

The Queue visitlondonimages/britainonview/Pawel Libera

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, April 2011 Queuing is a very British trait and nowhere is this more exemplified than at the Wimbledon Championships. For ■ Visitors arrive over a century, Wimbledon has at Wimbledon attracted more spectators than it can accommodate, with queues often starting outside the ground at 5am. This exhibition give tips for potential queuers as well displaying objects amassed from queuing over the years. www.wimbledon.com/visiting/museum

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britainonview

■ Lee Valley White Water Centre

Beat the Olympians

Y

ou can be one of the first to test some of the Olympic facilities when the White Water Centre at Lee Valley opens on April 22, the only brand new London 2012 venue that nonOlympic competitors will be able to use before the Games. Enjoy adrenalin-pumping white-water rafting and canoeing on the 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course

with obstacles, drops and fast flowing white water – enough to fill two football pitches in 30 seconds! You will be kitted out with a wetsuit, buoyancy aid, helmet and boots and, after a safety briefing, your raft guide will steer your raft onto a conveyor belt for the start of your runs. Prices start from £49. For more information, go to www.gowhitewater.co.uk.

Live like a Royal

W

ith the Royal Wedding a key part of London’s spring events, there are many celebratory menus on offer. The Palm Court at The Langham (020 7965 0195; www.palm-court.co.uk) has an afternoon tea throughout April including lobster and cucumber sandwiches, an apricot and raspberry Royal Crown dessert and a glass of champagne. Tea Royale is £51.50 per person. The OXO Tower Brasserie (020 7803 3888; www.harveynichols.com/oxotower-london) has given its Not Afternoon Tea (£28 per person) the royal treatment for the month of April with royal-themed desserts and a special wedding favour to take away. Park Plaza’s London hotels (www.parkplaza.com/london) have special-edition cocktails on offer from

■ Afternoon tea at Palm Court

Langham Hotels

visitlondonimages/britainonview/Pawel Libera

Tower of London, opens April 2, 2011 This new permanent exhibition at the Tower showcases the roles of the organisations that took care of royal business throughout the centuries; major institutions highlighted include the Royal Mint, the Record Office, the Ordnance Office and Royal Observatory. www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon; www.royalarmouries.org ■ Family day out at the Tower

April 1-May 16, fitting the something old, new, borrowed and blue theme. You can choose from Old Passioned, Wedded Fizz, Best Man-hattan or Blue Moon for £9 each in each of the chain’s six hotels.

Spring 2011


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out & about ■ what’s on and where

Spa-cially for spring

SpaFinder

S

includes a hair and make-up session, plus you can choose a dress and pair of shoes from the range of 1940s-1950s outfits for your next night out! ● SpaFinder vouchers are the

Ale and hearty Lovers of real ale and pub food have some lipsmacking events to look forward to at Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer, based in Faversham. They include an Ale Samplers’ Supper on April 15, which features an evening brewery tour and a twocourse seasonal supper, as well as a special lunch on Father’s Day on June 19. A St George’s Day Beer and Food Evening on April 23 and a Murder Mystery Evening on May 13 give further opportunities to try the real ales, and guided tours and brewery lunches are available over the two days of Faversham’s popular annual Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, from May 21-22. For more details on these events and Shepherd Neame pubs, visit the website at www.shepherdneame.co.uk.

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ideal way to treat yourself and we have teamed up with SpaFinder for a very special offer – buy one voucher and get 25% off a second voucher of the same value. Go to www.spafinder.co.uk to find the

spa of your choice and to buy your vouchers, then enter the code TLM on checkout. The vouchers can be used for any treatments. Offer closes May 9, 2011.

Peppa spices up Paultons

P

aultons Park in Hampshire has been providing family fun at its theme park for over 25 years and, from April 9, the new Peppa Pig World will bring even more to keep your little ones entertained. With seven magical rides, animated attractions, a Peppa-themed toy shop as well as Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Cafe, this new addition will bring your children’s favourite TV characters to life. The dedicated website has details, with ticket prices and opening times: www.peppapigworld.co.uk. Other new and exciting rides at Paultons Park include: EDGE, which swoops and spins through the air on a giant disc that travels along a 90-metre track with a “camelback” hill; Water Kingdom, an 8,500-square-foot kids’ splash park; and the Sky Swinger, which twirls and lifts riders six metres (20 feet)

Paultons Park

Shepherd Neame

pring is a time for renewal, so why not treat yourself and experience a spa day in one of the fabulous spas throughout the South East? Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Bagshot has a private VIP suite and also offers a Sunday Spa Treats package, ideal for mother and daughter outings, or the Dual Treatments package at the Urban Spa in Bishops Stortford is a shared treatment for two which includes half a bottle of champagne, chocolates, fruits and sorbets. Alternatively, the Ultimate Retreat Retail Package at the Retreat Day Spa in Deddington

above the ground. For more details, go to www.paultonspark.co.uk. ● You can WIN one of two Paultons Park family passes for two adults and two children worth £80 each. Go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date May 9, 2011.

Spring 2011


out & about ■ what’s on and where

Odd days out For those with an urge to do something unusual this spring, there are several out of the ordinary activities to choose from:

Hever Castle

It’s a family affair

Stilton Cheese Rolling Championship

May 28-30. Located in west Kent, 30 miles from London, the castle has award-winning gardens and a new exhibition – Hever Castle: A Family Affair – tracing its development from medieval times to present day, as well as the Water Maze and 100-year old Yew Maze. For details of events and opening times, call 01732 865224 or visit www.hevercastle.co.uk.

You can cheer on the teams as they roll the wooden cheeses down the high street in Stilton near Peterborough, celebrating the strong connection with the village and the famous blue cheese. Held this year on May 2, join the villagers to watch the teams battling for the Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions title. www.stilton.org/about_rolling.html

Tetbury Wool Sack Race Run between two Tetbury pubs, the Crown Inn and the Royal Oak, this gruelling race on May 30 involves competitors running in pairs and fours up a steep hill through the village carrying a large sack of wool – 60lb for men and 35lb for women. The race is said to have originated when local drovers wanted to impress the ladies. www.tetburywoolsack.co.uk

Style of the centuries

F

Spring 2011

St George’s Day Festival

RPM/Ascot Racecourse

ounded by Queen Anne in 1711, Ascot Racecourse is synonymous with tradition, fashion and style, all of which will be much in evidence as celebrations of 300 years of racing reach their peak at this year’s Royal Ascot from Tuesday, June 14, to Saturday, June 18. The highlight of the British social calendar, each day of the meeting follows the same format: the Royal Procession making its way to the Parade Ring from 2pm each day, with the first of the six races at 2.30pm. Ticket prices start from £19, with discounts available for tickets booked before May 13. To book, or for further information on the tercentenary celebrations and Royal Ascot, call 0870 727 1234 or visit www.ascot.co.uk.

See knights take on dragons and watch crack centurions show off their military prowess at England’s largest St George’s Day festival, at English Heritage’s Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, from April 23-25. The gardens and 18th century mansion are some of the most magnificent in the UK. www.english-heritage.org.uk

English Heritage

from April 22-25 where, as well getting a chocolate reward, they can learn about rare hen breeds and keeping chickens at home. From April 30-May 2, visitors can join costumed dancers for traditional maypole dancing and be entertained by morris dancing or join in the hustle and bustle of Tudor life during the Merrie England Weekend from

www.ecofocus.co.uk

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nce the family home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth 1, 13th century Hever Castle is host to some great family events in April and May. From April 16-21, children can make their own brass rubbings to take home from the dropin brass rubbing workshop or take part in the popular Easter Egg Trail

Ely is famous for its eels and this annual slithery celebration of the city’s traditions has eel tasting, an eel-throwing competition and historical entertainment. The festival, which takes place on April 30, starts with a procession through the city headed up by Ellie the Eel, a giant creation made by local schoolchildren. www.visitely.org.uk

Visit Ely

Ely’s Eel Day

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travel and leisure directory DORSET

CORNWALL

Trenona Farm Holidays Family run B&B ideal for touring, walking or enjoying the sandy beaches close by. www.trewithian-farm.co.uk 01872 580 293

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine please call 020 8554 4456

DORSET

South Coast Holiday Homes Hundreds of holiday homes in Bournemouth & surrounding areas. Sea views, town centre and rural locations. Pets welcome. Virtual tours online. SPECIAL OFFERS AVAILABLE Book online or contact us for a brochure

• 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

01202 437888 www.bournecoast.co.uk

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

Pentire Hotel THE

With panoramic views over Newquay and sandy beaches the perfect starting point for enjoying your holiday, with its 75 well-appointed bedrooms, which have stunning views overlooking the sea or the countryside. Perfect for a lazy weekend away, a romantic getaway or a family break

SPRING SPECIAL OFFERS

1st-22nd April 3 Nights from £109.00* Easter Weekend Break 3 Nights from £135.00* * Bed, breakfast and evening meal (incl VAT)

To book special offers at the Pentire Hotel please call on 01637 872 334

Perfect for exploring North Devon and Cornwall

Cottages sleeping 2 to 8, set in a 1.5 acre site, with good facilities situated in picturesque parish of Welcombe. Only half a mile from local beach and pub. Good network of footpaths, taking you through Devon wildlife conservation areas with plentiful wildlife and flora to observe, and coasting of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Please contact for special discount quoting TLM

Spring 2011

tlm ■ the travel & leisure magazine www.tlm-magazine.co.uk 87


travel and leisure directory CHANNELS ISLANDS

NORFOLK

BALEARIC ISLANDS

ALDERNEY - Channel Islands B & B from £30pppn. Situated between the harbour and town, only 5 minutes walk to the beach.

L’HARAS Guest House

Newtown Road, Alderney, Channel Islands GY9 3XP Email: lharas@internet.alderney.gg Website: www.internet.alderney.gg/lharas

Tel/Fax: 01481 823174 (Mrs. N. Jansen)

To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine please call 020 8554 4456

SHETLAND ISLANDS

Shetland Museum and Archives

Gateway to Shetland’s Heritage CANARY ISLANDS

Luxury Accommodation in the Canary Islands

El Marques - Tenerife 1 Bed Standard - €318 per week 1 Bed Luxury - €346 per week 2 Bed Luxury - €410 per week

Las Brisas - Lanzarote

Los Claveles - Tenerife

1 Bed - €417 per week 2 Bed - €520 per week

Studio - €230 per week 1 Bed - €367 per week 2 Bed - €427 per week

www.wimpen.com

Tel: 0203 1620885

Email: reservas@wimpen.com

Some availability is limited Terms & Conditions apply

www.shetlandmuseumandarchives.org.uk SUSSEX

Best of Brighton and Sussex 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.

Tel: 0044 (0)1273 308779

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www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

Spring 2011


travel and leisure directory NORTH CYPRUS

FLORIDA

• Luxury 4 bedroomed villa on a 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

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

PORTUGAL

FRANCE

WORLDWIDE

Worldwide Tailor-made Holidays & Tours To advertise in tlm – the travel & leisure magazine please call 020 8554 4456

0800 028 1951 www.othertravel.co.uk 100% financial protection

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.

MOTORHOMES 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. End-of-season motorhome sales For brochure contact Brown’s Motorhome Hire, Garrion Bridge Larkhall ML9 2UD (nr Glasgow)

Tel/Fax: 01698 886255

WORLDWIDE

For more information www.lafrenchplace.com

ITALY

Tuscany

SEA 25 MINUTES

Privately owned traditionally restored Villa with two internal adjoining apartments for 2/6 people with stunning views down to the sea with two local pools nearby. Beaches 25 minutes. Fly to Pisa/Rome. www.gotuscany.co.uk enquiries@gotuscany.co.uk 0771 433 6367

Spring 2011

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tlm-the travel & leisure magazine spring 2011