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Monday, 12 April 2010


GOOD news - my travel blog has become so successful that it is now off on its own travels!

Due to its popularity, my blog has now been given a new home - and a new name On Your Travels - thanks to Trinity Mirror, on the Loughborough Echo website.

The new blog - http://blogs.loughboroughecho.net/onyourtravels/ - will continue to deliver all the latest travel news, deals, last minute breaks and suggestions for a relaxing holiday.

So don't delay - add it to your favourites, join the RSS feed and keep on reading - and thanks for all your support!

Last-minute breaks with Haven

HAVEN have come up with a cracking late half-term offer for families wanting to make the most of the lovely spring sunshine.

They’re offering a three-night weekend break from Friday April 16th from just £149 for a family of up to six in Standard self-catering accommodation. The offer is available at a number of Haven parks including their flagship resort Devon Cliffs near Exmouth.

For bookings and to check out similar deals click on www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900

Sunday, 11 April 2010

More grandparents taking grandchildren on holiday

WITH families facing ever more pressure on their time, Haven Holidays has noticed a big increase in Grand Travel – grandparents taking their grandchildren away on holidays.

Haven says almost one in five spring breaks at its 35 caravan parks are grandparents giving their grandchildren a treat.

Haven’s holiday parks offer family-friendly breaks with masses to do for all ages from Annabel’s Creative Kitchen for tots to get messy making with cookie and cake decorating to archery, fencing and golf for older siblings and grown-ups.

There are also kids’ clubs in three age ranges from little ones to teenagers and a full programme of entertainment from children’s shows to live bands and cabaret acts.

The parks are also an ideal self-contained environment for youngsters to learn greater independence. Away from traffic and with security teams on duty round the clock, many families feel they offer a great deal of peace of mind.

One family who have found Haven appeals to all generations is the Shaws who live near Durham. They have been going on Haven holidays for 11 years, but as the breaks have become more popular they have had to increase the number of caravan holiday homes they book from two to four!

This year the family, including grandparents Kevin and Joanne, their sons Liam and Tom and seven youngsters, are all going away together to Haven’s Primrose Valley Holiday Park on the Yorkshire coast near Filey.

Joanne said: “It’s become something of a family tradition and it’s great the grandchildren still want to come away, but they really enjoy the holiday parks. Quite often we go out for the day, but we always like to be back by the evening for the entertainment.”

For families with younger grandchildren, Spring breaks are especially popular.

‘It’s a lovely treat for pre-school children before the parks get busy during the school holidays. And there are lots of activities especially designed for under-5’s which makes it easy to keep little ones entertained,’ say Haven. ‘Feedback from grandparents has suggested that they appreciate having so much to do without the need for any additional travelling. And the price is attractive too, with mid week breaks in April on selected parks and dates starting at just £99 for up to six people in ‘Superior’ accommodation.

For more information visit www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900.

Magical fun at a Sheffield hotel

A LEADING Sheffield hotel has sprinkled a touch of magic to its evenings by hiring a resident magician.

Steve Faulkner, the 2009 British Street Performing Champion, will be up to his usual tricks at The Copthorne Hotel Sheffield to entertain guests and enhance their stay.

Steve, 36, from Sheffield, has been a magician and street performer for 14 years performing his captivating illusions at corporate events around the world and warming up audiences for music acts including The Rolling Stones.

As well as holding the current national accolade for street performance, Steve was also the winner of the 2005 award.

Steve joins The Copthorne Hotel as the City’s only resident hotel magician.

Steve said: “The wonderful thing about Copthorne is that it gets me in contact with the people of Sheffield. The hotel attracts lovely people of all ages and it’s a great place for me to work.

“I live and breathe what I do. As well as the hours I do performing, I practice for four or five hours a day.

“Some of the tricks have taken nine years to develop and I will never get rid of them but I like to try new things. Magic is a bit like golf – you can always improve! People remember it for long time and that’s what I like about it.”

Orla Watt, General Manager at The Copthorne Hotel Sheffield, said: “We are thrilled Steve has joined our team. He’s great at connecting with our guests and making them laugh.

“It is really important for us to further enhance our guests’ visit to the hotel and Steve provides an entertaining and fun experience for all ages. We’re the only hotel that has its own resident magician so you could say we’ve pulled a rabbit out of the hat!”

Steve will be working his magic at The Copthorne Hotel Sheffield once a week in the hotel’s bar.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Prague is the place for a cheap break

PRAGUE has pulled ahead of its Eastern European rivals to emerge as the cheapest city for UK holidaymakers to take a bargain break this spring, according to Post Office Travel Money’s City Costs Barometer (www.postoffice.co.uk/cityreport2010).

However the survey by the UK’s largest provider of foreign exchange also revealed price falls in some eurozone cities, with Lisbon and Dublin rating as best buys.

Despite the weak pound, which now buys 7.4 per cent less Czech koruna than a year ago, Prague was by far the cheapest of 15 city break destinations surveyed by Post Office Travel Money – with prices well down on 2009 levels (-38 per cent, comparing seven of the items also surveyed in 2009, including meals and drinks).

At £106.17, the 11 typical city break items -including drinks, meals, accommodation, sightseeing and transport - cost almost two-thirds less in Prague than in New York, the most expensive city surveyed (£307.96). Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Budapest and Warsaw emerge as cities where thrifty tourists will get more for their money, even though sterling has slipped significantly year-on-year against their currencies.

Low prices in Lisbon, second-placed in the City Costs Barometer, prove that the eurozone can also be good value for a city break. However the Post Office found wide variations in prices between the eight eurozone cities surveyed. For example, barometer items that totalled £122.53 in Lisbon cost over twice as much in Paris and Rome, the most expensive eurozone cities.

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “UK holidaymakers planning a city break this spring should do their homework very carefully. We found big price differences between cities and in cash-strapped times tourists can make their pounds stretch further by picking one of Europe’s cheaper capitals, like Prague or Lisbon.

“The exchange rate is another factor to consider before booking a break. Although sterling remains weak against the euro, it is stronger than 12 months ago so UK tourists picking a eurozone city where prices have fallen could actually be quids in.”

One of the cities where the Post Office did find lower costs was Dublin, second cheapest in the eurozone (£174.86). Criticised in the past for high accommodation, meal and drinks prices, Dublin looks to be 2010’s dark horse and a definite contender for a bargain break – especially for culture vultures. The Irish capital was cheapest for cultural attractions – with free entry to the top museum and gallery surveyed.

Accommodation prices in Dublin have also dropped by 11 per cent, one of the biggest price falls recorded by Hotels.com, who contributed room costs for the Post Office City Costs Barometer.

Alison Couper, Communications Director at Hotels.com said: “Now is a great time to visit the Irish capital as hotels there haven’t been so affordable for years. Dublin hoteliers have been offering great rates and promotions to attract customers during the credit-crunch.”

Istanbul, one of three European Capitals of Culture for 2010 – with a range of special cultural events scheduled, is another good value choice for a city break. At fourth place in the Post Office barometer, prices were low for all the items surveyed and sterling remains relatively stable against the Turkish lira. Although accommodation prices were up 15 per cent year-on-year, three-star hotels rooms were among the cheapest in the cities surveyed for the City Costs Barometer.

Currencies featured in the City Costs Barometer are available on demand at 1,600 Post Office branches (except the Hungarian forint, which can be pre-ordered). 2,600 additional branches offer US dollars on demand, while a total of over 8,500 branches stock euros. Alternatively over 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Bulldog goes for Breakfast....

SAVVY travellers have known The Bulldog Club for over 20 years and now, with expansion plans in place, the time has come for the company to change its name and refresh its image.

So, after many years loyal service, the bulldog retires to make way for The Bed and Breakfast Club.

In spite of its new name, it’s very much business as usual. The Bed and Breakfast Club has a respected brand, and high quality homes in its portfolio. Its principle remains the same: to offer upmarket bed and breakfast accommodation in exceptional private homes in London and the UK via a first-class booking service.

It has also made a few other changes, which include expanding its team, improving its website and enhancing its marketing efforts.

Its properties are popular with tourists and business travellers alike. Homes are in central locations at affordable prices.

For business travellers and cost-conscious companies, The Bed and Breakfast Club provides accommodation that is a home away from home for those who prefer intimate charm to an impersonal hotel. All properties are personally inspected to ensure the highest level of accommodation.

Emma Crane-Robinson, Managing Director, said: “Our hand-picked, privately owned homes each have a character of their own and promise sumptuous surroundings. We believe that bed and breakfasts reflect the culture of the city, provide a personal touch and make a refreshing change from the uniformity of hotels.”

Carol Ann Nicholls, Communications Director, added: “From our client base it’s obvious that there has been a sea change in attitude towards bed and breakfasts. Tourists and business people alike are choosing to stay in elegant private homes at enviable addresses instead of the run of the mill hotel chain.”

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Escape from the pressures of everyday life

WANT some time away for just the two of you to escape the pressures of everyday life?

Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire has the perfect break for you to do just that in a stunning part of Pembrokeshire, where you can discover yourselves again and enjoy that tranquil sense of well being.

Yr Hen Efail was once the old smithy and is perfect for a romantic retreat; it has been beautifully converted into 1 of 4 stone cottages set around the owner’s farmhouse. Surrounded by shared gardens it has its own patio where you can enjoy a relaxing alfresco meal in the beautiful surroundings of this magical property. Furnished to reflect the character of the cottage the open plan living space with exposed beams and stone walls are a real feature in this unique property. Enjoy an evening walk up The Crug to enjoy the panoramic views over Fishguard and out to sea to watch the sunset is a must.

This cottage is perfectly located to explore the beautiful north Pembrokeshire cost path and shares the same location as Periwinkle and Jemimas.

A week’s stay in Yr Hen Efail starting on May 21st 2010 is only £315 for 2 people for a really relaxing break to recharge the batteries.

01437 772760, www.coastalcottages.co.uk