IF you are in search of holiday ideas, travel tips, the latest holiday news, reviews and features - this is the place to be!

Thursday, 31 December 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

JUST a quick note to readers and contributors to say thanks for your support this past year - and here's to a busy and prosperous 2010!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

£40m of improvements at Haven parks this winter


THIS winter Haven Holidays are spending a whopping £40m on new facilities and improvements to their 35 family holiday parks in the UK.

They say, ‘The stay-cation is definitely here to stay. We’re investing in new facilities, new accommodation and new ways to make our holidays even better for families. And we’re including more in the price to make sure our holidays are really good value for money.’

New Space Bowls
Several million pounds will make swimming even more fun. All Haven holiday parks have heated indoor swimming pools and they’re always popular whatever the weather. This summer the pools at Combe Haven, near Hastings and Marton Mere, near Blackpool will both have fabulous new Space Bowls where fun-seekers can reach speeds of up to 50 mph as they’re propelled down the flumes. And there will be new terraces for sun-bathing, better changing facilities and a unique new ‘SplashZone Grotto’ at Rockley Park.

Free swimming lessons
This year Haven are planning to encourage even more children to learn to swim by providing FREE swimming lessons with qualified instructors. ‘We helped more than 40,000 kids to improve their swimming in 2009,’ say Haven ‘and hope that even more children will benefit in 2010. It’s really important that everyone should be confident and happy in the water.’
It’s not just about swimming – splashtastic fun includes all sorts of extra activities to keep kids happy in the pools. Check out the Water Walkerz – where you climb inside a giant inflatable ball to roll and bounce over the surface of the pool; AquaJets (James Bond style powered submersibles); Aqua Gliders (mini inflatable jet skis) and wacky sessions with giant fun inflatables.

Even more sports
Other activities on offer at Haven parks include golf, fishing, surf lessons, climbing walls, tennis and horse-riding. In 2010 several more parks will have Adventure Golf - more challenging than crazy golf and more fun than pitch ‘n’ putt! Next year Adventure Golf is new at Marton Mere, Littlesea in Dorset and Hopton Holiday Village near Great Yarmouth.
And Coke FC Football coaching will be FREE in 2010 – so you can learn a range of attack and defence skills, dribbling, shooting and top hints and tips for ball control and goal scoring.

Better accommodation
If you’ve never stayed in a caravan before – give it a try! They’re surprisingly comfortable and spacious and Haven are spending £12million to provide even better quality and more choice for 2010. Treat your family to an Exclusive or Platinum holiday home and you can enjoy even more space and luxuries such as ensuite showers, flat screen TV’s and heating throughout. Exclusive holiday homes even have a verandah where you can relax and enjoy stunning sea and lakeside views.
But for sheer value for money you can’t beat the comfortable Standard and Superior holiday homes with everything you need for up to six people.

Great entertainment
Daytime and evening entertainment at all Haven parks will include some brand new stage-shows for 2010, character shows featuring kids favourite’s Rory the Tiger and friends, music, dancing , professional cabaret, pantos, wrestling and international circus stars. Kid’s clubs are free of charge and there are special breaks with lots for under-5’s as well.
You’ll find Haven parks at some stunning locations around the UK with direct access to some truly breath-taking beaches and close to some of Britain’s favourite resorts as well.
And if you book your holiday before January 17th you can take advantage of some excellent early booking deals with three or four night Spring Breaks are available from as little as £129 for a family of up to six on a wide choice of dates and parks.
Click on www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900 for immediate bookings, more information and details of other special offers.

Discounted holidays - book before New Year

There is a 15 per cent discount available at Vauxhall Holiday Park to anyone booking a week’s stay in 2010 if they book before 31 December.

The 5 star holiday park has a great choice of accommodation and facilities to suit all tastes and budgets and is situated in Great Yarmouth with its 15 miles of golden sandy beaches and many other attractions.

The V-Lounge, Falcon Range of accommodation, Adventure Climbing Wall and Laser Skirmish are all new for 2010, while visitors to Vauxhall Holiday Park can also enjoy the Indoor Tropical Water World, fully equipped gymnasium as well as football, tennis, adventure golf, kwik cricket, electric go-karts and much more.

There are a wide variety of luxury holiday homes available with prices for a week’s stay starting at £216* in the ‘Sandpiper’ which is ideal for a family of four, it has one double and one twin bedroom, a shower room, lounge and fully equipped kitchen.

For more information please call 01493 857231 or visit www.vauxhall-holiday-park.co.uk.

*including 15 per cent discount.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Show Haven you have the X-Factor!

AS JOE McElderry celebrates his victory and his debut single looks set to be the Christmas number one you might be wondering where to start in order to emulate his success.
Haven Holidays say ‘Don’t wait for the X-Factor – we’re looking for the H-Factor in our talent contests every single week at our 35 family holiday Parks!’
‘Haven’s Got Talent’ takes place throughout the season – so whether you sing, dance, play a musical instrument or fancy yourself as a comedian – the stage can be yours. Everybody loves the talent show and it’s a great way to start performing in front of an audience.
The talent contest is just part of a sensational programme of entertainment on Haven Holidays parks next year. Glitzy new stage-shows, brand new character shows with Rory the Tiger and his friends, professional cabaret, tribute bands, circus performers and pantos are all on the agenda for 2010. And there are Kid’s Clubs, sports and activities and first class facilities for families as well - talented or not there’s loads to keep all ages amused!
With 35 award winning family holiday parks in fabulous locations around the UK there’s a talent contest within easy reach. And with prices from as little as £129 for a Spring break for a family of four you’ll enjoy a great value for money holiday as well!
Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com for immediate bookings, more details and early booking deals.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

kids keeping fit while on holiday


WE ALL know that it’s good to encourage even little kids to exercise – but have you thought about booking a break that will help them to have fun keeping fit on holiday?

Haven Holidays are so keen to get under-5’s up and moving that they’ve set up the Haven Fun & Fitness Sports Equipment Giveaway for pre-schools – and they’ve introduced a series of new breaks that include lots of activities especially geared for under-5’s.

The Fun & Fitness campaign is a great idea of real benefit to pre-schools and nurseries – now in its second year the programme has been endorsed by the Pre-school Learning Alliance to provide sports equipment for even more children. Pre-schools simply register on www.havenfunfitness.com and encourage parents to pledge their support on the website. If 70% of their parents sign up the school receives a pack of sports equipment – and if all the parents sign up they receive a bonus item as well. Easy – you don’t even have to make a purchase or collect vouchers! Bearing in mind that the kit available could be worth more than £200, clicking on a website is MUCH easier than selling cakes or raffle tickets to raise money for much needed sports equipment.

Haven’s new Fun & Fitness breaks are specifically aimed at parents with toddlers – which makes for a pleasantly relaxing environment if you have small children. It’s a real treat to take a break where having a toddler is the norm – not something that attracts disapproving glances from fellow guests who’ve forgotten the unique joys of holidaying with a three year old! And of course – there’s no need to tell them to sit still and keep quiet – they’re SUPPOSED to be running around and having fun!

Haven have come up with all sorts of activities to get little ones up and moving and in keeping with the ethos of the Fun & Fitness campaign – and they’re all included in the cost of the break.

There are Wake and Shake sessions with lots of equipment (much of which is available through the Giveaway ), a Water Confidence session in the swimming pool with instructors trained by the Swimming Teachers Association; Mini-Fencing, Tri-golf and Mini Archery. Kid’s favourite Rory the Tiger will be championing Sporty Rory’s Sports Day (make sure you’ve trained up for the parents race!) and there’s a Letterland Treasure Hunt with a free gift from Letterland to encourage kids to learn their alphabet.

Regular tot-friendly entertainment on the agenda of all the fun & Fitness breaks includes Annabel’s Creative Kitchen, Little Cubs Kids’ club sessions and character shows on stage with Rory the Tiger and friends.

And, when the little ones have finally given up in exhaustion you can always let them drop off to sleep in their buggies whilst you enjoy the evening shows - you won’t be the only family with a sleeping toddler out past bedtime!

Accommodation is in comfortable self-catering holiday homes sleeping up to six people. If you haven’t tried caravanning before and have a vague notion about cramped conditions, windswept fields and visiting a toilet block in the middle of the night you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Expect spacious comfortable lounges, well-equipped kitchens, two or three bedrooms, separate shower and loo – and heating. Kid’s love them because they’re like ‘proper’ houses but scaled down to toddler friendly proportions.

Four night Fun & Fitness breaks take place at all 35 Haven parks in 2010 on Monday 19th April, Monday 28th June and Monday 27th September and Monday 11th October. Prices start from around £129 for a family of four in Superior accommodation including the early booking discount if you book before the end of December.

Click on www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900. And if your local pre-school hasn’t registered for the Haven Fun & Fitness Giveaway make sure they click on www.havenfunfitness.com before the end of January to secure a place on the scheme.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Staycation is here to stay, say Haven


EARLY predictions by Haven Holidays based on sales figures to date suggest that 2010 will be a busy year. They say, ‘The staycation is definitely here to stay!’

2009 was a record breaking year for Britain’s favourite family holiday company with more families than ever before choosing to take a UK break. Many of them enjoyed the experience so much they have already booked again for next year.

‘We have a choice of early booking deals available that include discounts for peak summer holiday as well as Spring breaks,’ said a spokesperson for the brand ‘but many of the more popular dates are already filling up. You can still make significant savings on the cost of your holiday at a choice of parks but unless you are flexible with dates and destinations it’s worth securing your holiday as soon as possible. Early birds really do get the best deals!’

Haven have a number of discounts available but due to the demand for UK holidays some of their special offers have already sold out.

Haven’s top money saving tips for 2010:

- April 23rd is showing good availability at most Haven parks and you should be able to save up to 50% on the cost of your holiday.

- Save even more by upgrading your holiday home if you can afford to. A 40% discount on a top of the range Seaview Platinum at Devon Cliffs for a family of four on May 7th will save you around £300!

- Take advantage of all that’s included in the price. Swimming lessons and football coaching are both free of charge at Haven next year – and so are kid’s clubs, daytime and evening entertainment and many of the activities for under-5’s.

- Save an extra 20% on ‘pay as you go activities’ – available at a number of popular Haven parks next year. It’s not just about saving money – you also get to pre-book the activities too!

- And ....finally, make sure you beat the VAT man! VAT increases to 17.5% at the end of December. Haven say, ‘You could be treating the kids to a fish and chip supper instead of forking out extra tax!

For immediate bookings, details of special offers and more information call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Chance to dance with the stars


IF YOU are keen to be the new Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova - but still feel a bit like a John Sargeant or Lynda Bellingham - then this is your big chance!

Andrew Cuerden & Hanna Haarala, past stars of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, are hosting a new exciting holiday at the Carlton Hotel at TLH Leisure Resort on the English Riviera. This is a wonderful opportunity for dancers to learn and develop their Ballroom and Latin dance expertise under the professional eye of these sensational dancers.. With teaching every morning to include Mambo, Salsa, Tango, Quickstep, Foxtrot and Waltz and supervised practise sessions every evening an enjoyable dancing holiday is assured – and you just never know, it may be you next in front of Len Goodman and Bruno Tornioli!!

And whilst you are here why not take some well earned relaxation in our luxury Aztec Spa where we offer a wide range of Elemis treaments to ease those aching muscles – or have a St Tropez spray tan so you really are set to Salsa!

4 nts from 1 Feb 2010at the 3 star Carlton Hotel dinner, bed and breakfast and tuition from only £215 per person

To book this holiday call 01803 400500 and mention Dancing with the Stars.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Swiss Chalet recreated at London hotel


Swissôtel The Howard, London has built an authentic Swiss Chalet in its’ Garden Courtyard and launched it recently.

The chalet is a special venue for private parties and corporate events right in the heart of London. For the first quarter of 2010 Swissôtel The Howard, London offers a 10% rebate on the final bill for all events held in the Swiss Chalet within the month of January, February or March.

Traditional Swiss décors and handcrafted Swiss furniture has been brought to
central London from the Alps to create the charm, warm and cozy ambience of a traditional Swiss Alpine Chalet. Situated in a quiet oasis close to London’s Embankment, the Swiss Chalet at Swissôtel The Howard, London, has a size of 92 sq/m (990 sq/ft) and will be available for parties and corporate events for up to 250 persons when combined with the adjacent 12 Temple Place Restaurant.

To get a culinary experience of Switzerland, event packages include Swiss delicacies such as cheese fondue, Veal Schnitzel, petits–fours, Orange Brulée or Swiss wines. The Swiss Chalet can be booked as an event venue until 31st March 2010.

Every Tuesday until the end of March 2010 the chalet becomes a separate restaurant within the hotel. During the Swiss Nights traditional Swiss food is being served which includes cheese fondue, sliced cured meats, mixed leaf salad and dessert (apple strudel with custard or cherry cake with Chantilly cream). After dinner, in true après-ski style, guests can perch by the fire with a glass of mulled wine; a scene reminiscent of an evening in native Switzerland.

The chalet will be open for Swiss Nights from 6pm–10pm every Tuesday evening until 31st March 2010 and is £23 per person.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Gear up for Christmas with a Butlins break

IF YOU'RE planning on staying at home for the festive holiday why not take advantage of the fabulous, fun-packed pre-Christmas breaks at Butlins?

At all three Butlins beachside Resorts, Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness, you will walk into a Christmas wonderland, starting with the giant Skyline Pavilion, the heart of each resort. The 30-metre dome will be transformed with a magical lantern-lit horse drawn parade, a traditional Christmas Market, Santa’s Grotto where every child receives a free present, lots of carols and plenty of Christmas cheer.

This year there’s even more to enjoy with a Winter Farmyard where you can get close to real live Reindeer, Bjorn the polar bear and his many friends invite you to his magical snowstorm, Billy Bear will be busy entertaining you with his Christmas Downloads, Jingle Band and discos. Christmas chaos is guaranteed with Skyline Gang and the evenings are packed with live shows for all the family such as Rock The Country, when rock meets the sounds of country, Altogether Now, a real good singalong, and Sound of the Underground. There are also shows for the kids whatever their age including Nick Jr’s Rainforest Adventure, Cartoon Network’s Game Show and Looney Tunes Live

All prices based on a family of four sharing a Silver self-catering apartment and include accommodation, the majority of activities and all live entertainment.

Bognor Regis
11th – 14th December @ £75pp per break
18th – 21st December @ £88pp per break

Minehead
18th – 21st December @ £84pp per break

Skegness
18th – 21st December @ *£63pp per break

Check out the great offers on Butlins breaks by calling 0845 070 4730 or visit www.butlins.com (The maximum call charge is 2p per minute from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary)

Lavish New Year celebrations

BRING in 2010 in the luxurious surroundings of a magnificent house at Ickworth Hotel and apartments in Suffolk, and its rolling 1800 acres of National Trust Parkland.

Be entertained with a circus morning, chocolate fountains, laser clay pigeon shooting and giant slot car racing before a black tie gala dinner and dancing. Children are supervised with the qualified nannies whilst watching a movie until midnight when they can join the parents to celebrate the New Year. Then start 2010 either relaxing or energetically joining in with laser quest, before settling down to a well deserved dinner of fine cuisine in Fredrick’s Restaurant.

If you wish to invite the whole extended family then The Dower House Apartments at the Ickworth Hotel are ideal for larger gatherings. With 11 apartments and room for 26 adults and 14 children one really can have the ultimate get together. The four acres of private gardens are a great way to enjoy nature before heading back to your very own private apartments.

3 night all-inclusive package from 30th December-2nd January, subject to availability. Rates at the hotel and the apartments start from £990 (per person sharing) Children under 2 yrs free, 2-12 yrs £225 per child, 12-18 yrs 50% off adult price if sharing with parents or 10% off adult price if occupying their own room. Prices inclusive of VAT, full board, all wine and drink, and everything listed on the programme.
For further details and reservations, please call 01284 735350 or visit www.luxuryfamilyhotels.com

Monday, 23 November 2009

Christmas break with your dogs

IT CAN be so hard for pet owners to find accommodation that welcomes pets, let alone 3 dogs! But this Christmas and New Year they can all join you at Byways near Padstow in Cornwall.

With a log burner to cosy up to and an embarrassment of beach and coast walks to choose from, this doggy heaven is even offering discounted accommodation for the owners. For a full list of dog friendly beaches and attractions in the area, download the Cornwall Visitor Guide for Dog Owners at www.cornwallenterprise.co.uk

Cornish Horizons (01841 533 331 www.cornishhorizons.co.uk) are offering up to 5 people (and 3 dogs!) seven nights commencing 21 or 28 December was £378, now £340 or 14 night commencing 21 December was £756, now £643.

Friday, 20 November 2009

New Year celebrations at a real castle


CELEBRATE the New Year in style at Dromoland Castle, County Clare and experience a five-star fairytale at Ireland’s most distinguished and historic castle hotel.

Located near the delightful city of Limerick, Dromoland Castle is easily accessed from Shannon International Airport and with great flight deals available from eight UK airports*, there has never been a better time to explore this stunning part of Ireland.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat, a relaxing spa getaway or an action-packed family break there’s something for everyone at this elegant hotel, set amidst 410 acres of magnificent rolling scenery with meadows, immaculate lawns and a picturesque lake, providing a perfect backdrop to your special New Year celebrations.

For a New Year’s Eve to remember, dress up to the nines and enjoy an evening living it up in style at Dromoland Castle’s New Year’s Eve Gala Ball, which includes a black-tie gourmet dinner with fine wines from the castle’s extensive wine list. Guests can also enjoy the resort’s cocktail reception and fireworks over Dromoland Loch.

For the perfect ‘morning after’ remedy, enjoy a reviving stroll around the idyllic estate or choose from a variety of outdoor pursuits including golf on the Ron Kirby-designed course, horse riding, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, archery, falconry, fishing and boating on the nearby lake.

Or, if your idea of New Year’s Day nirvana is a day of sheer pampering, you’ll love The Spa at Dromoland, with its exclusive products from the 100% organic Irish Voya range and the chic Anne Sémonin collection, plus an extensive treatment menu including the Gaelic Escape signature treatment - a deep release full body massage incorporating a blissful hot stone back, neck and shoulder massage.

Enjoy a lazy afternoon relaxing in one of the castle’s elegant reception rooms, all of which feature period fireplaces, antique paintings and exquisite furnishings, and you can indulge in Mrs White’s afternoon tea – a long-standing tradition at Dromoland – which includes a tempting selection of freshly baked pastries, piping hot teas and coffee, all served by friendly and attentive staff.

The Dromoland Castle New Year’s Eve package costs £270** per person for one night including accommodation in a Queen Anne bedroom, cocktail reception and gourmet dinner at the New Year’s Eve Gala Ball with full Irish breakfast.***

For bookings call 0800 056 7434 visit www.dromoland.ie

* Eight UK airports include Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted
**Based on two adults sharing a double or twin room
***Two and three night New Year packages also available.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Free swimming lessons with Haven Holidays


HAVEN Holidays, the biggest provider of swimming lessons in the private sector, will be splashing out even more next season.

Britain's favourite family holiday company is making all swimming lessons in its highly-acclaimed Learn2Swim programme free!

And Haven is introducing free water-confidence sessions for babies for the first time so even the youngest holidaymakers can start splashing with mum or dad.

Every year Haven's fully qualified lifeguards give more than 40,000 swimming lessons in the heated indoor pools at the company's 35 family holiday parks.

The ages of those taking part ranges from tots having their first session in a pool to mums, dads and even grandparents who want to improve their technique.

Haven has more than 400 lifeguards and one in four of them have been trained by the Swimming Teachers' Association to teach the Learn2Swim programme.

Marcus van der Gaag Haven’s Sports and Leisure Director, said: “We are very proud of our association with the STA and are delighted so many children and holidaymakers take part in our Learn2Swim programme.

“Many of our guests say that being on holiday is an ideal time to have swimming lessons especially if they are on the holiday park for a week or more. Next year our Learn2Swim sessions will take place every day!

“Our lifeguards are all trained to the highest standard and there are five levels of achievement to aim for with certificates presented at each stage. They range from initial water confidence to swimming 50 metres.

The Learn2Swim sessions are in addition to the wide range of fun water activities on Haven’s parks such as messing around in mini paddle-boats or surging along underwater with powered submersibles.*

Haven are offering excellent value for money deals if you book early for 2010.

Take advantage of early booking discounts and avoid any possible increases in VAT by booking before the end of December. Prices start from as little as £99 for a four night Spring break for a family of four – including the half price early booking deal.

Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com

Twixmas break overlooking the coast


TITCHWELL Manor Hotel, near Brancaster, which overlooks North Norfolk’s unspoilt coast, is offering a three night dinner, B&B break between Christmas and New Year priced from £200pp.

The special Twixmas break is available between Sunday 27 and Tuesday 29 December inclusive.

Renowned for its two AA Rosette restaurant, Titchwell Manor is a smart retreat for those seeking fine dining in stylish surroundings. The former Victorian farmhouse now offers a delightful fusion of traditional values and contemporary furnishings.

There are 27 bedrooms, in either the main period hotel, a cottage or around a courtyard herb garden. Pets welcome in selected ground floor rooms.

For details call Titchwell Manor Hotel on 01485 210221 or visit www.titchwellmanor.com.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Show you have talent with Haven


IF YOU are inspired by the debate about whether or not Jedward should still be in the running for the X Factor finals Haven are offering the chance for budding contenders for next year’s show to start practising at their UK holiday parks.
The Haven’s Got Talent contest takes place every week at all 35 parks and is a showcase for performers of all ages. Singers, dancers, musicians, comedians are encouraged to audition for a moment of fame on the Haven stage. The judging panel of Haven’s own FunStars promises to be more gentle on contestants than X-Factor’s Simon Cowell – and the family audiences are always keen to show their appreciation. And you never know – plenty of showbiz careers started with a holiday talent contest!
Haven’s Got Talent is just part of a lively package of entertainment planned by Haven for 2010 – which they describe as ‘probably the best ever’. Live entertainment takes place at all parks every single night of the season – and it’s all included in the cost of the holiday. Expect variety shows, professional cabaret and top tribute bands featuring the best of Queen, Abba and other favourites – as well as professionally written and choreographed stage-shows and performances from Haven’s FunStars. Top international circus acts, pantos and wrestling are also included as part of the package.
Entertainment is very much aimed at families with early evening character shows for younger audiences and children genuinely welcome in the ShowBars. And next year Tom & Jerry will be live on stage with an exclusive Warner Bros. Production on all Haven parks during the summer holidays – with the iconic characters there to meet and greet their fans.
Haven have just released their new 2010 brochure and offering discounts of up to 50% on 2010 holidays. Prices for a Spring break start at as little as £99 for a family of four in ‘Superior’ accommodation at a choice of parks if you take advantage of the early booking offer.
For immediate booking , more information and details of other special offers click on www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900.

Dog-friendly weekend breaks

DOG lovers have long been welcome to bring their pooches in to the bar of The Bird In Hand Hotel at Knowl Hill, near Maidenhead, but with the launch of dog-friendly weekend breaks at the 14th century country inn, man’s best friend will also be able to stay overnight.

Set in the heart of the Berkshire countryside, just a couple of miles from the Thames Footpath and close to woodland and rural trails, there are plenty of scenic walks nearby that may be enjoyed by dogs and owners alike.

Plus, with dog beds provided, along with complimentary treats, plenty of water bowls, an exercise field and a ‘poop bin’, dog lovers can rest assured that their favourite pets will feel right at home at The Bird In Hand.

Dogs are welcome to join their owners for dinner in the character-filled bar area, complete with oak panelling and inglenook fireplace – the perfect place to warm up after a winter walk.

Dog-Friendly Weekend Breaks at The Bird In Hand start from £80 per person in a single room and from £90 per person based on two sharing a double room, and include two nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast and VAT. Dogs stay for free.

For further information tel: 01628 826622 or visit www.birdinhand.co.uk.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Festive packages in cottages


A VARIETY of festive packages for couples, families or larger groups are featured under ‘Celebration Breaks’ on the Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire website.

In addition to seven nights’ self-catering in a five-star cottage, these special packages also include ‘extras’ to give the holiday a really festive feel:

For couples, Christmas breaks include a traditional hamper full of local produce, a chilled bottle of bubbly and a festive flower bouquet. Prices from £269 per person.

For families with children, as well as a hamper and bottle of mulled wine, also included are pantomime tickets to see a performance of Pinocchio at a local theatre. Prices are from £289 per person.

Finally, for groups of friends – party sizes up to 14 – the package includes a traditional hamper and fine wine, with prices from £200 each.

Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire features a choice of more than 550 properties, all within easy reach of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and the county’s superb beaches…ideal for bracing winter walks.

01437 772760, www.coastalcottages.co.uk

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Vote for Butlins' next generation of Redcoats

FOR the first time ever, Butlins is launching an X-Factor-style search for the next generation of its famous Redcoats.

The nation can play Simon Cowell by looking at the would-be Redcoat’s audition videos online and voting for their favourites.

Current TV stars Stephen Mulhern and Naomi Wilkinson got their first break at Butlins and now hopeful Redcoats are being urged to upload their audition videos to YouTube with the best 300 applicants being put through to the next round of interviews.

What to do
1. To vote log on to www.youtube.com/user/wearebutlins and visit the ‘I Want To Be A Butlins Redcoat’ playlist to view the videos
2. To enter log on and upload a video before 15th November 2009
3. Keep up to date with all the latest news at twitter.com/redcoataudition or by joining the ‘I Want To Be A Butlins Redcoat’ group on Facebook.

Known for world class family entertainment, Butlins Redcoats are famed for their high energy, lively personalities and ability to entertain parents and children alike. The holiday company receives thousands of applications for the 20 new Redcoat positions created each year.

Butlins Head of Entertainment Mike Godolphin said: “It’s time for the Redcoats to go online! The Redcoat auditions are always an important time of year for us and we’ve now truly embraced the social media phenomenon and invited the nation to become part of the process. We’re even on Twitter! Hopeful Redcoats are about to become internet stars for the first time.”

Monday, 2 November 2009

Haven spending £40m on holiday parks


WHILE many companies are tightening their belts Haven Holidays are investing a massive £40 million in new facilities and new developments on their UK Holiday Parks.
‘It’s all about the Wow factor,’ say Haven. ‘We want to provide the best possible family holiday experience. More and more people are choosing UK holidays and we want to make sure they love our Parks as much as we do! The £40 million investment will ensure that families can enjoy even better facilities and some spectacular new innovations on our parks.’
Top favourites will be a number of Space Bowls to make the swimming pool complexes even more fun for families. The Space Bowl at Haven’s Thorpe Park, near Cleethorpes has proved a huge success this summer- and next year similar flumes are planned for Marton Mere, near Blackpool and Combe Haven, near Hastings. Rockley Park, in Dorset will benefit from a spectacular indoor tower flume and a unique ‘SplashZone Grotto’. Several other parks will have pool makeovers that will mean more fun, even more indoor swimming, attractive terraces for sun bathing and improved changing villages.
But it’s not just about swimming. Haven Holidays are investing in Adventure Golf courses, tennis and sports areas and children’s play areas.
Self-catering will be even more relaxed with Papa John’s pizzas coming to more parks - including Burnham on Sea, Cala Gran, Devon Cliffs and Hafan y Mor. The Mash and Barrel cafe lounges, which have been exceptionally popular with guests on a number of Parks, will be rolled out to Reighton Sands and Church Farm for 2010.
And £12million will be spent on new accommodation. Haven offer a wide choice of holiday homes to suit all styles and budgets from the luxurious ‘Exclusive’ and ‘Platinum’ range to the comfortably appointed but more economic ‘Standard’ and ‘Superior’ caravans.
‘It’s all about exceeding guest expectations,’ say Haven. ‘Our parks are in stunning locations but that’s not enough. We need to provide a complete experience that includes first class facilities, comfortable and welcoming accommodation, a wide range of activities and excellent entertainment as well.’
They also offer excellent value for money. Take advantage of early booking discounts and avoid any possible increases in VAT by booking before the end of December. Prices start from as little as £99 for a four night Spring break for a family of four – including the half price early booking deal.
Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com. The new 2010 Haven brochure – and the new 2010 website will be live from November 6th.

City and countryside breaks combined


WHERE could you be caught up in the vibrancy of the city one minute and relaxing in the peace and quiet of rural tranquility the next?
Sheffield and the Peaks of course!
With the stunning scenery of The Peak District only 15 minutes from Sheffield, with many free attractions and activities and accommodation ranging from boutique to budget, you can enjoy the perfect combination for a day, weekend or week-long break for any budget.

Peak Perfect
Take time to ‘Take a Peak’ into a world of grandeur at the Palace of the Peaks - Chatsworth House. Well worth a visit at any time of the year, A Candlelit Christmas (01 November – 23 December), offers an extra special reason to visit, with traditional Christmas decorations and candlelight attracting visitors from far and wide. Just 15 minutes from Sheffield lies The Peak District National Park. Experience adventure on all levels, from climbing and bouldering, to picturesque strolls and scenic walking trails. Visit the delightful villages of Bakewell, Castleton and Hathersage, stay in the Peaks to walk in the footsteps of the Brontë’s, enjoy a delicious cream tea or some traditional pub grub in front of a roaring open fire. The renowned Old Bakewell Pudding Shop in Eyam Village is well worth a visit for a taste sensation and don’t forget to wrap up warm for Treak Cliff Cavern!

Sensational Sheffield
Fill the senses with a Sheffield winter events programme, full of sights and sounds for all ages. Towering almost 60 metres above the city, view it day or night from the warmth with The Wheel of Sheffield (until 10 January 2010). Escape the cold with a trip to Sheffield Winter Garden, this green oasis in the heart of the city houses the largest temperate glasshouse in any European city centre. Enjoy an illuminated, magical winter wonderland with a Real Magical Christmas at Sheffield Botanical Gardens (11-13 December). For your Christmas shopping needs visit Kelham Island Museum Victorian Christmas Markets (5 -6 December) or Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Europe’s largest undercover shopping centre.

Culturally Cool vs Family Fun
Sheffield’s music festival is available 365 days a year which may be music to your ears! From the impressive Don Valley Stadium, which has recently hosted U2, to superb live music venues such as The Plug and Leadmill. Art, culture and literature are celebrated by Museums Sheffield and the many cultural festivals unique to the city. Make a silver bowl or a copper spoon or take a Steel Walk with Galvanize Sheffield: Festival of Contemporary Metal Design ( 6th November – 6th December). If you missed out on the Magner’s Sheffield Grin Up North Comedy Festival (1-31 October), why not sample some Yorkshire humour The Last Laugh Comedy Club held every Friday at Sheffield City Hall?

Spooky fun isn’t just for Halloween, ghoulish entertainment continues throughout winter with the Steel City Ghost Tours. Wrap up warm and discover the darker side of Sheffield with haunting tales and gruesome stories told by tour guide, Mr Dreadful. No winter trip to the theatre would be complete with a family pantomime. Find out where the funniest panto of them all is, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Lyceum Theatre (10 December - 10 January 2010). Witness the dazzling spectacle of glitz, sweat and sequins as the Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour 2010 comes to Sheffield Arena (29-31 January 2010).

Feeling Peckish?
Sink your teeth into top notch, locally reared produce at Sheffield’s first true gastropub and winner of the local Restaurant of the Year award, The Milestone Restaurant & Bar near Kelham Island, take a trip to Hunter’s Bar and enjoy a traditional Italian treat at the illustrious Nonnas restaurant on Ecclesall Road or venture to Moran’s Winebar & Restaurant on Abbeydale Road for a critically acclaimed feast. For a tasty treat in the heart of the action, try Leopold Square, a secluded retreat of Grade II listed buildings, packed full of bars and restaurants with a varierty of world cuisine on offer. Sample small plates at Platillos or Kashmiri cuisine at Yorkshire’s famous Aagrah. Try modern Yorkshire cuisine at The Wig & Pen in the stunning Georgian Cathedral Quarter, while nearby Silversmiths, (housed in a former Silversmiths) celebrates Sheffield’s industrial past with unique displays of the city’s culinary trademarks and it’s choice of Sheffield cutlery.

Bars & Stars
The evening wouldn’t be complete without a tipple or two. On West Street, boogie in former fire station at Bungalows and Bears, enjoy glass of fizz in Sylvester’s Piano Bar, or star gaze at Crystal, with its stunning glass roof. For an alternative beat, try The Showroom Café Bar with it’s unmistakable art deco exterior or The Forum Cafe Bar in the trendy Devonshire Quarter, a bohemian microcosm, where you can shop, eat, drink and dance. Relax in The Lounge Bar and Restaurant on Glossop Road and be wined and dined by the brothers Szurko who have previously entertained the likes of Noel Gallagher and Mick Jagger.

The new ‘Take a Peak’ Sheffield and the Peaks short break packages are great value for money and offer fantastic flexibility for creating your own unique getaway. With prices starting from as little as £62.00 per night for a B&B stay for two, you can certainly beat the winter blues whatever the budget, occasion or activity. Take a Peak – you won’t regret it!

For further information about Yorkshire South visit www.yorkshiresouth.com or call 0871 700 2214

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

McFly performing at Butlins in November

MCFLY are to appear live at Butlins in Minehead from November 13-16.

Prices cost £55pp for the full weekend break, including tickets for the live gig.

Butlins is planning a very special music break at their beachside Resort in Minehead when McFly appear live over the weekend of November 13-16. With just 5,000 seats you will not only really feel the adrenalin of a live intimate gig but also as though Harry, Tom, Dougie and Danny are singing just to you!!

The live entertainment continues long after the concert ends with further live entertainment shows, a giant water park with water rides, Go-Cart track and multi sports courts, shops, bars and restaurants or simply places to hang out and unwind.

With prices start from £55pp for the full weekend including accommodation, all live entertainment plus tickets to the gig, meaning the concerts are better value for fans than travelling the country for a one night event. For more information or to book the break call 0845 070 4730 or visit www.butlins.com/McFly (The maximum call charge is 2p per minute from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary)

* Based on four people sharing a Silver self-catering apartment.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Haven's brochures proving popular

‘People still love to browse through a brochure,’ say Haven Holidays. Despite the rise in on-line bookings it seems more people than ever are requesting holiday brochures.

‘This year we had 25% more brochure requests from new customers than we received the previous year,’ said a spokesperson for the brand. ‘Even people who have already booked a holiday via our website often ask for our literature to be sent to them as well. Whilst people like the ease and convenience of booking on-line and love the videos of our parks they also enjoy the more tactile experience of reading the brochure and sharing their holiday plans with all the family.’

The research into brochure request figures was released soon after the Haven Call Centre was declared industry favourite in Britain’s biggest call centre awards. The Call Centre, which is based in Haven’s Head Offices in Hemel Hempstead achieved ratings of more than 90% in extensive mystery shopper surveys, despite answering 6% more calls than the previous year.

Whilst it’s possible to book a holiday via the internet, over the counter in a Travel Agency or by post – it appears that people still love to flick through the brochure and then follow it up with a chat on the phone!

Haven’s new 2010 brochure will be mailed during the first week of November and the new website goes live on November 6th.

They both feature 35 family holiday parks around the UK all offering good value for money holidays and some excellent half price early booking deals. Family Spring breaks at a wide choice of parks start at as little as £99 for a family of four in Superior accommodation.

Next year even more family activities are included in the price and the entertainment package promises to be even more extensive with professional cabaret, comedy, tribute bands, stage-shows, variety nights, pantos and circus performances.

Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Halloween fun with Butlins


FAMILIES can enjoy all the spooky fun at Halloween and Fireworks, 30th October – 2nd November at all three Resorts.

Only for the very brave is Captain Jak’s Haunted Hotel where you may see a ghostly sighting on the 13th Floor, or frighten the adults at the Little Monsters Fancy Dress Ball. Spooky Science will make your hair stand on end whilst you never know what you may get Trick or Treating.

Really get into the Halloween mood at Halloween Make and Takes, arts and crafts around a ghostly theme. The whole family will enjoy the grand Firework Display, weather permitting, as well as live entertainment from *Britain’s Got Talent stars, Strike, and *X-Factors Eoghan Quigg.

Prices for 30th October – 2nd November, based on a family of four sharing a Silver self-catering apartment

Minehead – £65pp per break
Skegness – £85pp per break


Bognor Regis

Take advantage of a brilliant mid-week, 2nd – 6th November, family break at Butlins Bognor Regis with prices from £48pp per break based on four people sharing a Silver self-catering apartment

Enjoy a little extra luxury by staying in one of the two modern hotels on the Resort.

Shoreline Hotel, prices from £63pp per break based on a family of four (2 adults and 2 children aged 2 – 14 years) sharing a Columbus Quarters on room only basis.

Ocean Hotel, prices from £74pp per break based on a family of four sharing a Mariner Room on room only basis.

To book a Butlins family break call 0845 070 4730 or visit www.butlins.com

* Check who's appearing at your chosen break at time of booking to avoid disappointment.

Monday, 19 October 2009

New Haven brochure to be released



HAVEN Holidays’ new brochure will be released on November 1.
Tip of the week is to nab next year’s holiday whilst the current brochure is still valid and book a break at 2009 prices.
The savings are significant with three night weekend breaks next Spring at a number of their family holiday parks from as little as £95 for a family of four in a ‘Superior’ two bedroom holiday home.
Prices include a wide range of activities and access to excellent facilities including heated indoor and outdoor pools, sports activities and indoor ‘FunZones’. Kid’s clubs are included in the price and there is no extra charge for entertainment. Rumour has it that Haven are spending significantly on new developments over the winter so many of their 35 parks are likely to have even more to offer families next year.
Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com to book.

* Very late deals!
Still not booked for half term? Haven Holidays can still squeeze you in at a choice of parks from October 26th for four nights. Prices start at just £199 for a family of four people in ‘Superior’ two bedroom accommodation at Golden Sands (near Mablethorpe on the East Coast); Haggerston Castle (near Berwick in Northumberland); Seashore (near Great Yarmouth) and Riviere Sands (near St Ives in Cornwall).
The price includes Haven’s extensive facilities, a full programme of daytime and evening family entertainment and lots of sports and activities. Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com for immediate bookings and other special offers.

New routes to Canary Isles open this week

AIRLINE Monarch (www.monarch.co.uk) is strengthening its network from Birmingham airport with new routes to the Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria taking to the skies this week.

From today, weekly flights will operate to Gran Canaria and from 21 October weekly flights to Fuerteventura will also launch, bringing the total number of destinations served by the airline from its Midlands base to 13.

Commenting on the launch of these new services, managing director of Monarch flights and holidays, Liz Savage said, "We are delighted to be expanding our network to the Canary Islands with the launch of scheduled flights to Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura. These will operate in addition to our existing routes to Tenerife and Lanzarote, and we have been overwhelmed with how well these new services have been received with 9,000 advanced bookings already taken.

"We are seeing huge demand for our mid-haul destinations - in September we carried 61% more customers to Lanzarote and 12% more customers to Tenerife compared to September 2008 and the addition of Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura means even more people can take advantage of our low fares and award-winning onboard service to these popular sunshine islands this winter.

"The onboard service offered on Monarch's scheduled flights, which includes extra legroom seating, a great range of tasty hot and cold food and selected inflight entertainment is over and above the levels provided by most low fare airlines and is perfectly suited for longer flight sectors such as the Canary Islands."

Monarch operates scheduled flights from Birmingham to a range of destinations throughout Mainland Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Portugal and Cyprus. In addition to year-round low fares, Monarch also offers a unique range of tasty hot and cold meals onboard with prices from £3.00. To enable customers to select where in the cabin they sit and ensure that families and groups sit together, seats can be pre-booked from £7.50 per one-way flight, or from only £15, extra-legroom seats are available, which offer up to six inches of extra space.

Passengers travelling on scheduled flights can also avoid the queues at the airport and take advantage of online check-in which is available between seven days and 4.5 hours prior to departure.

In addition to flights, Monarch also now offers a huge range of great value holidays, accommodation options, car hire and travel insurance.

For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit www.monarch.co.uk.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

New way to donate to Pudsey

LOW cost airline bmibaby has launched a new way for people to donate money to BBC Children in Need, the airline’s national charity.

Passengers will now have the opportunity to donate £1 to the charity simply by ticking a ‘Donate to Pudsey’ box when making a booking online at bmibaby.com. This is the sixth consecutive year bmibaby has supported BBC Children in Need and last year raised over £40,000 for the charity.

As well as collecting via the bmibaby website, the airline is collecting on board every flight until the end of November and holding fundraising events at East Midlands Airport. bmibaby launched its fundraising appeal for the charity by unveiling ‘Pudsey, baby’, an aircraft covered in spots just like the famous bear’s spotty bandana.

Crawford Rix, managing director, bmibaby, said:

“We are proud to be supporting BBC Children in Need for the sixth consecutive year and we hope to raise even more money for the charity this year.

“By adding another way for people to donate, this time via our website, we are making it quick and easy for people to show their support for the BBC Children in Need Appeal. The new method of donating online has only been running for a couple of weeks and we have already raised over £1,600, which is a great start. We are also collecting onboard every flight until the end of November, selling Pudsey keyrings onboard and holding fundraising events at our head office and four UK bases.”

For more information visit www.bmibaby.com

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Last chance for cottage holidays for half term


JUST a few Cornish Farm Holidays properties are still available for October half term (week commencing 23rd/24th October).

All are working farms offering high-quality B&B and self-catering holiday accommodation. There’s a huge range on offer on the farms – some have private fishing, and children can watch cows being milked, meet pet donkeys and go on tractor rides.

Many are close to the coastal path for walking and cycling, and nearly all properties are close to Cornwall’s beaches. All properties are graded four or five stars by Visit Britain or the AA.

Bookings are made direct with the individual farms; availability and special offers can be checked through www.cornishfarmholidays.co.uk

The best deal is £275 for a week’s self-catering at ‘Anneth Lowen’ on Pulla Farm, near Truro from 23rd October (less than £10 per person per night for four people).

1 Cartole Cottages, near Looe
‘Linney Cottage’ is one of six holiday cottages set in six acres of grounds. Situated between Looe and Polperro with easy access to the coast, facilities include wifi, hot tub, children’s play area and field walks.
23rd or 24th October, £320 per week. Sleeps 4.

2 Higher Grenna Farm, near Falmouth
‘The Granary’ is one of only 600 properties in the UK to be given the five star Gold award for self catering accommodation. The recently-converted barn is hidden away down a private drive with stunning rural views.
24th October, £450 per week. Sleeps 2 plus baby.

3 Cadson Manor, Callington
Unlimited coarse fishing is included with a stay at this elegant manor house which dates from the 16th Century. The four star accommodation overlooks the croquet lawns, meadow and lake.
24th October, £625 per week. Sleeps 6.

4 Trevorrick Farm Cottages, near Padstow
Character 4 star accommodation, swimming pool, great children’s facilities. Stunning location near Padstow. Friendly farm animals
23rd October, £450 per week. Sleeps 4.

5 Chegwidden Farm, near Penzance
‘The Granary’ is a 17th century barn that has been converted to high standard accommodation sleeping four people. There is a large private walled courtyard with barbeque and an eight-seater hot tub.
24th October, £750 per week. Sleeps 4.

6 Higher Carthew Farm, near Helston
Each cottage has a wood burner, four poster bed and a pumpkin to add to your half term Halloween treat. A home made cream tea welcomes you to a wonderful part of Cornwall.
‘Corn Loft’: 23rd October, £307 per week. Sleeps 2.
‘Orchard View’: 24th October, £307 per week. Sleeps 2 plus baby.

7 West Woolley Farm, near Bude
Three converted barns are still available at this small farm on the Cornwall/Devon border. Close to the beaches, West Woolley is a great base for walking and wildlife, with animal feeding and collecting eggs on the farm.
‘Stables’: 24th October, £715 per week. Sleeps 6.
‘Parlour’: 24th October, £530 per week. Sleeps 5.
‘Grain Store’: 23rd/24th October, £530 per week. Sleeps 4.

8 Lower Dutson Farm, near Launceston
Coarse and river fishing on the farm are included, with carp weights into the low 20lbs. If you don’t catch anything there are some great pubs and restaurants in nearby Launceston.
‘Swallows’: 24th October, £300 per week. Sleeps 6.
‘Meadow Cottage’: 24th October, £300 per week. Sleeps 8.

9 Pulla Farm, near Truro
‘Anneth Lowen’ is a spacious ground floor apartment situated between Truro, Falmouth and Redruth. Less than 10 miles from the north and 6 miles from the south coast and beaches. All linen and towels, electricity and heating included.
23rd October, £275 per week. Sleeps 4.

10 Trengove Farm, near Portreath
With its listed farmhouse and buildings, Trengove Farm is surrounded by open fields close to the harbour-side village of Portreath. The farm buildings that surround the farmhouse have been sympathetically renovated with extensive use of natural materials.
23rd/24th October, cottages from £295 (sleeps 2) to £420 (sleeps 4) per week.

Monday, 12 October 2009

New log cabin site opens on banks of Loch Long

Forest Holidays has opened a new £2.1M Argyll Cabin site on the banks of Loch Long, Dunbartonshire. The development is part of a £8.5m programme that includes the opening of further sites and investment in its existing locations during the year ahead.

Phase one of the new Forest Holidays Argyll site comprises 14 luxury timber Cabins and a further 14 units will become available on completion in 2010. The Cabins are located to benefit from views of the surrounding landscape and blend in with the natural environment.

The two and three bedroom Cabins feature a range of deluxe furnishings and fittings including flat screen TV, well equipped kitchen, BBQ and even an outdoor hot tub. Prices for a four night mid week break during October for 4 people staying in a two bedroom unit start from £319 per Cabin.

Forest Holidays Cabins are designed with the environment in mind and most incorporate integral high efficiency log burners and associated internal wall/under floor heating, rain water harvesting, low energy appliances and excellent insulation levels.

Facilities on the Argyll site include a 'Forest Retreat' which incorporates the reception and offers local food products, wine, bakery, coffees and souvenirs. There is also a 'Forest Experience Room' for information on the local wildlife and talks by the on site Forest Ranger who can organise various themed walks for guests. A children's play area and Loch side jetty complete the facilities available.

Gary Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer, Forest Holidays said: "The 'Staycation' scenario in 2009 has certainly helped our Cabin sites and bookings are considerably ahead of last year. I am pleased to report that occupancy at our new Argyll site is at over 90% between now and Christmas. However, we are never content to rest on our current successes and will always seek new ways to better meet the public's changing tastes and expectations while remaining true to our sustainable tourism values."

Forest Holidays is a partnership between the Forestry Commission and The Camping and Caravanning Club. It owns and operates six Cabin sites and 21 Caravan and Camping sites in England, Scotland and Wales. The company operates entirely within the Forestry Commission estate and has a 125 year lease on the land on which the sites are based. The sites provide Cabin, Caravan and Camping holidays in stunning locations and stays are focused around using the forest itself for entertainment, rather than more commercialised activities.

Monday, 28 September 2009

101 reasons to holiday with Haven

FOLLOWING the Met Office’s false hopes for a ‘barbecue summer’ there seems little point in seeking their advice for the Autumn weather report.
Haven Holidays are offering their own advice when it comes to choosing a break. They say ‘rain or shine there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied on all 35 of our family holiday parks. And at less than £25 per person why stay at home when you could be on holiday having a good time?’
In fact they are so confident in their prediction that there is plenty to do whatever the weather that they have compiled a list of 101 things to do on a Haven holiday when it’s raining. The list ranges from watching a pantomime to having a manicure and includes activities that will appeal to couples, families and children. Suggestions include ‘Family it’s a Knockout’, all-weather bowling greens, Aquacise sessions in the swimming pools, Wake and Shake to get you up and moving in the morning, kid’s clubs, darts, pool, and Annabel Karmel’s Creative Kitchen sessions for tots – as well as nightly entertainment with music, dancing and cabaret.
And of course, if it’s sunny you can enjoy all the outdoor options Haven offer from tennis to golf, horse-riding or fishing – as well making the most of beaches, resorts and visitor attractions that are pleasantly quiet at this time of the year.
Best news of all is the prices. Four night mid-week breaks in October start at just £99 for a family of four – that’s less than £25 per person! Prices are based on ‘Superior’ accommodation and are available from October 12th at selected parks in Norfolk, Combe Haven near Hastings, Devon Cliffs on the World Heritage Coastline and Perran Sands on Cornwall’s glorious North Coast. Weekend breaks from October 9th are available from £129.
For immediate bookings and more information click on www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900. Facilities vary by date and from park to park and may be subject to extra charge, so check the website for details.
101 Things to do on a Haven park when it rains:
1. Indoor FunWorks Amusement Arcades
2. Heated Indoor Pool Complex’s some with flumes and slides
3. Relax in the Jacuzzi
4. Refresh yourself with Sauna
5. Massages for over 16’s
6. Enjoy a soothing facial
7. Try a Nail Treatment of your choice.
8. Experience Shower – a monsoon shower with different gradients and aromas
9. Fun Kiddies Pools for the little ones
10. NEW Water Walkerz – The Human Hamster Ball
11. Turbo Paddlers – The Pool Pedalo
12. Fun Inflatables – A bouncy castle on water
13. AquaJets – fun sized power submersibles
14. AquaGliders – mini motorised pool Inflatables
15. Water Tots – confidence building for pre school children.
16. Low impact fitness sessions with Aquacise
17. Surf Rider – multi activity teaching programme
18. Chaos and craziness with ‘Family It’s a Knockout’
19. Visit our Luxury Spa Complex’s with treatment rooms
20. All weather bowling greens
21. Watch the kids go crazy in the Children’s Indoor Fun Palaces
22. Indoor SportsDromes for all ages
23. Challenge a family member to a game of Table Tennis
24. Roller Disco – A fun fitness activity for all the family
25. Roller Extreme with tuition for beginners
26. Pilates sessions for over 16’s
27. Show off your skills at the all weather Multi-Sports Courts
28. Little Cub’s Kids Club for 1-4’s
29. Club R&B for 5-11’s
30. T-Co Zone for 12-16+ age groups
31. The FunStars are always around when you’re not sure what’s on and where
32. Enjoy Live Music throughout the season
33. See the top acts at our Cabaret shows
34. Grab a bite and a coffee at the Café
35. Soak up the great family atmosphere at our ShowBars
36. A wide variety of Restaurants on site
37. Get the Family motivated with Kids Alive Wake & Shake sessions
38. Go for gold with New Character Olympics
39. Look out for the special Character Birthday celebrations
40. Every day there is a whole range of Games & Events
41. Start the day with a Character Breakfasts
42. Keep the kid’s entertained with a choice of Pantomimes
43. Join Bradley Bear and friends for a Teddy Bears Picnic
44. Wrestling – action not to be missed
45. Laugh along with the top Comedy and Variety Shows
46. Surf the net with Haven WiFi
47. Get your evening meal delivered to your Holiday Home with Papa Johns Pizza
48. Music, dance, it’s all here at our Multi-Level Entertainment Venues
49. Big Green Weekend – with various indoor and outdoor activities
50. Learn2Swim led by qualified instructors
51. Buy souvenirs at the Box of Tricks Fun Shops
52. Visit our all-in-one Lounge, Bar, Café, the Mash and Barrel
53. Grab a continental coffee from Starbucks
54. Sit back and enjoy the various Stage Shows throughout the season
55. Join the adventure with Zoo Troop Kids Wildlife Conservation Show
56. Play a friend at Pool
57. Try your hand at Darts
58. Indoor Soft Play Areas for the little ones
59. Live Lounge – family entertainment for Free
60. Dine with the family at Sonny Jim’s Buffet & Grill
61. Sample our Traditional Fish & Chips
62. Challenge the family to a game of Mini Ten-Pin Bowling with Bowlingo
63. Get involved with Annabel Karmel’s Creative Kitchen
64. Be amazed by the breathtaking Circus Circus – on tour throughout the Summer season
65. Boogie on down with Disco Decades
66. Stock up at our convenience store
67. Pick up that cheeky red or crisp dry white from our Off License
68. Get you fresh bread and cakes from our on-site Bakery
69. Get to know your favourite Haven Characters with Meet and Greet
70. Experience a song and dance extravaganza with the Summertime Show
71. The best bands live forever with Band Mania
72. Don’t miss Professor Schloops and the Sherbet Blast Machine Show
73. If you are feeling fit, why not work out at the gym
74. Feel like you’re flying with our New Power Fan
75. Play Family Prize Bingo any night in our ShowBars
76. Have you got what it takes to enter our Haven’s Got Talent Competition?
77. Get the family involved in the activities with our Great Family Escapes
78. Trade your pin badges at special organised events
79. Give Table Tennis a go
80. Curb your hunger in Sonny Jims
81. Get up close and personal with the animals at Zoo Lab
82. Get some ‘me time’ in the Steam room
83. Take a dip in the Spa bath
84. Go to the Zoo Troop Prom between 19-23 October
85. Get your washing done on a rainy day at the Launderette!
86. Reinvent yourself with a stylish haircut at the Salon
87. Treat the kids to a Burger King!
88. Hunt your family down with Laser Battle!
89. Play a game of Air Hockey
90. Enjoy the luxury of the Owners Lounge
91. Strut your stuff on the Dance machines
92. Listen to a Story with your favourite character
93. Get involved in the Cheerleading Workshop
94. Don’t miss out with Indoor Crazy Golf!
95. Win a pile of coins in the penny cascade!
96. Curl up with a book in your cosy Holiday Home
97. Buy a DVD in the Shop on Park
98. Watch the latest Sports on the Big Screen
99. Ride a virtual motorbike in the FunWorks
100. See Rory defend his realm in 'Rory and the Dragon'
101. Watch out for Ned's Party Dance Show

www.haven.com/101

Friday, 25 September 2009

Enjoy a meal - and stay for free


AN HISTORIC inn which is situated in one of the most idyllic villages in the Cotswolds is offering guests an autumn treat in the shape of a trio of rooms which can be enjoyed for free when a three-course dinner for two is booked in the award-winning restaurant.

The New Inn in Coln St Aldwyns, which dates from the 16th century, has allocated three out of its 13 rooms each evening between Sunday and Thursday which can be used at no cost when two guests make a dinner reservation.

An inviting menu makes the very most of seasonal, local produce and there are regular changes made by the head chef Oliver Addis, whose direction has seen the restaurant win its two red rosettes award.

Oliver began his career at The Lygon Arms, Broadway when it was part of the Savoy Group before heading off to Australia to broaden his knowledge and experience. On his return to the UK he worked at Eastwell Manor in Kent and progressed to South Lodge Hotel – a four red star hotel in Sussex. Oliver joined the New Inn from Fosse Manor where he was sous chef for two years.

Now the New Inn has just been given a place in the Good Food Guide for 2010 which is bound to add to its popularity as the perfect destination for a break in the Cotswolds.

Close to Cirencester, Burford and Bourton on the Water, the New Inn is easy to reach and only a two hour drive from London – a shorter time than when it was built at the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 when she decreed there should be a coaching inn within a day’s coach and horses drive of every major centre of population.

Full details of the New Inn can be found on its website www.new-inn.co.uk

Bargain breaks for October half term


WITH prices from as little as £179 for a family of six a half term break on a Haven Holiday park works out at less than £30 per person.
Haven say, ‘If you’re a typical ‘Mum and Dad with two kids’ family - bring along the grandparents – the accommodation will still cost the same!’
If you haven’t tried a caravan holiday home – or last stayed in a caravan when the water had to be collected from a standpipe - expect to be surprised. Today’s caravans have come on a long way in terms of design and facilities. Expect contemporary styling, a comfortable lounge area with colour TV or DVD player, a well-equipped kitchen (easy to cook for six - or make use of Haven's restaurants, cafe-bars or take-away options), two or three bedrooms, separate shower and loo. Many top of the range ‘Prestige’ holiday homes even include ensuite facilities. There's more than enough space to share with the grandparents.
Haven’s 35 family holiday parks around the UK are in some fabulous locations with direct access to beaches, coastal walks and some of Britain’s favourite resorts.
There’s plenty to keep everyone happy with indoor heated leisure pools, multi-sports facilities and an extensive programme of daytime and evening entertainment. There are kid’s clubs, character shows with Rory the Tiger and friends, pantos, circus performances and evening entertainment designed to please all ages – from family games and contests to stage-shows, comedy, music, dancing and cabaret.
Check out parks with golf courses, fishing, surfing, horse-riding, climbing walls and boating lakes. Facilities vary from park to park so click on www.haven.com for details.
The special £179 half term deal is available at selected Haven parks including Golden Sands at Mablethorpe, Perran Sands on the North Cornish coast, Presthaven Sands in North Wales and Reighton Sands overlooking Filey Bay in North Yorkshire. The price is for a three night weekend break in ‘Superior’ accommodation arriving on October 22nd.
Click on www.haven.com or call 0871 230 1900 for details.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

StayKation package in London


K WEST Hotel & Spa has introduced a “StayKation” package for only £90 per room, per night. This offers a saving of £391.85 (usual room rate £419 + VAT).

Available from now until August 31, 2009, The “StayKation” Package includes:

• Accommodation in an Executive Room
• Under 12 years sleep for free
• Unlimited in-room movies
• 20% discount in Kanteen restaurant on food only (not valid for breakfast)
• 25% off Valet Parking

Only a five-minute walk from Europe’s largest inner city shopping Mall, Westfield, K West is the perfect destination for the ultimate city break this summer. Popular with those from the music and media industries, guests are attracted by the cutting-edge design and relaxed ambience.

K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX
For reservations, please call: 020 8008 6600 or visit www.k-west.co.uk

Monday, 17 August 2009

Prime surfing season in the UK

EVERY UK surfer worth his salt knows that in autumn Britain enters prime surfing season.
Not only are the conditions perfect and the water still warm, surf enthusiasts enjoy more space – fickle summer surfers tend to leave once the summer is over. So to celebrate the upcoming season, Holiday-Rentals has compiled a selection of holiday properties in prime surfing locations in the UK, as well as in Spain and the US, to whet adrenaline junkies’ appetite.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, one of the beaches below is bound to appeal. For more surf inspiration worldwide, Holiday-Rentals also lists 260 holiday homes in South Africa and 83 properties in Australia, many in prime surfing spots.

THE UK

Fistral Beach, Newquay

With its breathtaking rugged coastal scenery and seven miles of golden sandy beaches, Newquay is hands down the most popular destination in Cornwall. Fistral Beach is considered the UK’s surfing Mecca suitable for surfers of all levels. And for those who still crave some action after dark, there are numerous bars and clubs in the area.

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p416749 - Modern, high-spec 2 bedroom apartment overlooking Fistral Beach. Perched on the desirable Pentire headland, this gorgeous property is only a short walk to Newquay town centre.
£420 to £1,025 per property per week

Woolacombe, Devon

Woolacombe is a surfing heaven on the North Devon coast. The beach is vast – three miles of glorious blue flag golden sands. It is also fast becoming renowned as the international surfing hotspot, ideal for beginners. Woolacombe is a quiet place, but for those demanding more in the way of nightlife, Ilfracombe is not far away.

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p420279 - Stunning elevated 2-bedroom house with breathtaking views along Woolacombe Beach to Putsborough and Baggy Point. Located just a few minutes walk from the centre of Woolacombe, yet in a peaceful location with a beautifully landscaped garden and terrace.
£430 to £990 per property per week

Croyde Bay, Devon

Another stunning beach in North Devon, Croyde Bay is renowned for its reliable and powerful wave, making it great for experienced surfers. Croyde Bay is a quiet spot famous for its cream teas and sleepy villages, but there are several pubs in the area to keep holidaymakers entertained après-surf.

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/420245 - Beautiful 1-bedroom bungalow within a very short walk of the golden sands of Croyde Bay, commanding a unique position with easy access via a level walk to the beach and pub.
£310 to £750 per property per week

SPAIN

Tarifa, Costa de la Luz

On good days, waves in Tarifa rise from half a metre to 2 metres. Storms in the Atlantic Ocean cause the swell reaching the Spanish Atlantic coast, so the best time for good waves are between October and May, when the storms are more frequent.

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p65231 - Pretty 1-bedroom holiday chalet at the foothills of La Peña. With breathtaking views over white sandy beaches and the Moroccan coastline across the Atlantic, it's the ideal place for a great surfing holiday. For guests who surf, owners have tools for running repairs, saving on luggage weight and space. They also offer storage area for surfing equipment.
£304 to £478 per property per week

THE US

Waimea Bay, Hawaii

Waimea Bay is widely considered to be the birthplace of big surfing, with quality, consistent wave. In the summer, the waves are mellow enough for beginners. Towards winter, however, they swell to 30ft and become the preserve of experts.

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p156303 - Spectacular beachfront 2-bedroom holiday home right on the beach, with ocean views from every room. There is no public beach access nearby to the house, therefore the beach remains mostly deserted.
£1,280 to £1,345 per property per week.

Monday, 10 August 2009

More people buying holiday homes in the UK

‘SALES to new customers buying holiday homes on our parks are currently 38% ahead compared to last year,’ say Haven.
‘Despite the credit crunch and so much economic doom and gloom we are selling more caravans to more couples and families than ever before. Sales figures at some of our parks, especially in Wales and Cornwall are showing an increase of more than 110% compared to 2008.’
Research conducted recently amongst new holiday home owners revealed that many of them simply wanted to make use of their money. ‘The money was sitting in the bank and not doing anything,’ said Mr Rorison, who bought a caravan at Haven’s Craig Tara holiday park in Ayr. ‘At least this way my family and I will get some enjoyment out of it. One of my friends had bought a caravan recently and invited me along to have a look. When I saw all that was on offer at the park I bought one too.’
With interest rates at an all time low the value of keeping money safely in the bank has never been less attractive.
Prices for a caravan holiday home on one of Haven’s parks start at around £14995 – and that includes the first years site fees and insurance. The average new purchase spend is around £18-19,000, with most people opting for a starter home to see if the ‘Owner’ lifestyle suits them. Opting to sub-let the caravan back to Haven during the season helps make it even more affordable although many new owners subsequently upgrade to more luxurious models - with top of the range holiday homes costing up to £70-80,000.
Mr and Mrs Davies recently bought a holiday home at Church Farm, less than 45 minutes drive from their own home in Worthing saying, ‘We were getting such a poor return on our money from the bank that we thought we’d buy a caravan instead.’ With his own chauffeur business and a lifetime of driving Mr Davies deliberately chose to buy close to their own home. He said, ‘I don’t want to drive all over the country to get the same as we have on own doorstep. I was very impressed with the site and we can use the caravan whenever we want.’
The Davies’ are not alone in choosing a holiday home so close to where they live. Most of Haven’s customers live less than 2 hours drive from their holiday home and some live even closer. Whilst initially this might be surprising, talking to new customers reveals some very sound reasons for buying so close to home.
‘Sometimes when we’re heading home from work we just turn left instead of right and go to the caravan instead,’ said one couple, ‘We’re really enjoying having a bolt hole by the sea.’ For others it’s almost an extension of their own home, using the extra facility to accommodate visiting friends and family, with the added benefits of all the facilities and entertainment on offer to keep their visitors amused.
One Owner from London said: ‘It means that if we fancy it we can just jump in the car and be at the park in just over an hour – we don’t have to plan or even pack. And with four children it will work out cheaper to have a holiday home than book family holidays overseas.’
In fact the research also revealed that many new customers had ‘just had enough’ of foreign holidays. Comments included ‘too much hassle’, ‘too expensive’, ‘the high value of the Euro’ and ‘by the time you’ve checked in, added on the flight and the inevitable delays it just takes too long’. ‘We’ve travelled a lot and been on lots of foreign holidays – but now we just want to stay closer to home’ was a common response, especially from more mature customers.
The idea that the ‘staycation’ has had its day is not borne out by Haven’s research. It would appear that people are re-discovering all that Britain has to offer – and realising that there are some very attractive holiday options much closer to home. So attractive in fact that they are shunning overseas holidays in favour of regular UK breaks in the comfort of their own home from home.
For more information about Haven’s 34 UK holiday parks and owning your own holiday home call 0871 230 1299 or visit www.havenholidayhomes.co.uk

Busy summer expected at Draton Manor Theme Park


DRAYTON Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire, is expecting a busy summer despite Met Office predictions of unsettled weather throughout August.

The Met Office forecast for August was in stark contrast with the seasonal prediction issued in April, which claimed the UK was “odds on for a barbecue summer.” Some families may have been disappointed by the forecast, but those planning to visit Drayton Manor can rest assured they will still have great day out at the award-winning attraction.

All of the theme park’s thrilling rides, including G-Force, Apocalypse, Shockwave and Pandemonium, can be enjoyed in any weather. There’s also water coaster, Stormforce 10, to enjoy, which has long been popular with people who are happy to get soaked.

In addition to the outdoor rides, a new 4D Cinema opened earlier this year, allowing the whole family to get out of the rain and watch a film in 3D, whilst seated in chairs that react to scenes in the film by moving up and down, releasing bursts of air, bubbles and various smells.

Drayton Manor’s popular Thomas Land™ attraction is also unaffected by the weather, which means families can still enjoy the 12 themed rides based on the popular Thomas & Friends™ characters.

Thomas fans of all ages will also enjoy the new Discover Thomas & Friends Exhibition, which is indoors at Farmer McColl’s Farm. The whole set has been painstakingly recreated to scale for enthusiasts to enjoy, featuring the familiar sights from the Island of Sodor and many of its most famous engines including Rosie, Edward, Terence, Trevor and Bulgy.

Those seeking cover from the rain can also spend some time in the theme park’s arcade, or visit one the numerous cafes and restaurants to enjoy some refreshments and dry off.

Colin Bryan, Managing Director, Drayton Manor Theme Park, comments: “We’ve already had lots of rainy days this year, but more families are choosing to holiday in the UK this summer and our mix of indoor and outdoor attractions means people are still enjoying a great day out come rain or shine.

“The Met Office has got weather predictions wrong before, so I would advise people not to worry about the weather and to come along to Drayton Manor because I’m sure they’ll have a fantastic time.”

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Hotel with a chocolate theme




IMMORTALISE yourself in chocolate at a chocolate portrait painting session run by top chocolatier Gerry Wilton, who owns and runs the world’s first chocolate themed hotel!

At Gerry’s unique Grade II listed Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, you can learn how to paint an amazing portrait of yourself in dark, milk and white chocolate, stay in chocolate themed rooms and indulge in the culinary art of making delicious Belgian truffles by hand at one of Gerry’s Chocolate Delight workshops.

There are also chocolate fountains, a chance to learn all about the history of chocolate and a Chocolate Bar, where you can treat yourself to a glorious handmade chocolate cocktail.

You can even learn how to match chocolate with wine and spirits in a unique chocolate tasting session inspired by the famous Belgian chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud, who has created and produced a range of chocolates designed to be eaten and tasted with wines such as Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as mulled wines, dessert wines and malt whisky.

For companies, Gerry also runs corporate “Apprentice” style chocolate team building events at locations nationwide, where teams get to take over a failing chocolate factory and turn it round, or work together to create a massive chocolate picture.

If you’re interested in finding out more about The Chocolate Boutique Hotel and its 13 unique chocolate themed bedrooms, go to www.thechocolateboutiquehotel.co.uk . For information on Gerry’s Chocolate Delight workshops, which are held at venues across the country, go to www.chocolatedelight.co.uk.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Apartments are a cost-effective alternative to hotels

A NEWwebsite,apartmentbreaks.co.uk, has been launched as a cost-effective alternative to booking a hotel in major city centres across the UK.

The user-friendly site allows visitors to view serviced apartments in 19 city centres and book directly online. The website is the brainchild of the directors of a major franchise of First Choice Retail and the directors of the leading Holiday Home Search Engine, Perfect Getaways.

Sales Director, David Palmer, said ‘More and more holiday makers are choosing a home-from-home when travelling abroad on their family holidays. However, until now, there has been very little opportunity to do so in major UK cities when going on a weekend break or to visit a concert/show etc. Apartment Breaks will revolutionise the City Centre break market, bringing a cost-effective alternative to hotels with more room and luxury living.’

0845 021 2211, www.apartmentbreaks.co.uk

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Stag parties going strong, but hen parties economise

DESPITE hard times, British men are preserving the right to enjoy their last days of pre-nuptial freedom while brides-to-be are reining in their spending and economising on hen parties, according to a poll by leading accommodation website Hotels.com.

Hotels.com and Wedding Ideas magazine found that stags continue to revel in a final fling of freedom as three quarters (74%) say their celebrations will last for a weekend or longer. Stay-at-home hens, meanwhile, are far more likely to economise as two-thirds (59%) say their pre-marital celebrations will only last one day.

Accordingly, the research found, stags are spending considerably more - parting with £179 each on average for each party they attend. Hens spend a more modest £118 on the celebration.

Stags are far more likely than their hen counterparts to venture beyond British shores for their celebration, with a third (32%) planning parties overseas. Of all stags polled, a quarter (27%) will head to European party destinations while another one-in-twenty (5%) will venture even further afield to the US or Canada. As a result, a number of the top stag do destinations were foreign cities: Prague (2), Amsterdam (3), Barcelona (5) and Tallinn (8) all feature in the top ten destinations for stags, although London retained the top spot.

At the other end of the scale, the vast majority (96%) of brides-to-be will celebrate in the UK and over a quarter (28%) will not venture further than their home towns. In fact, only one foreign destination - the Spanish party city of Barcelona - made it into the top 10 most popular locations for hen parties. For hens, London came out on top, closely followed by Brighton, Edinburgh, Devon, Cornwall and Bath.

Most popular stag/hen destinations

Stags Hens
1 London 1 London
2 Prague 2 Brighton
3 Amsterdam 3 Edinburgh
4 Brighton 4 Devon/Cornwall
5 Barcelona 5 Bath
6 Leeds 6 Cotswolds
7 Edinburgh 7 Lake District
8 Tallinn 8 Barcelona
9 Liverpool 9 Liverpool
10 Newcastle 10 Newcastle


Alison Couper, Director of Communications for Hotels.com says "Traditionally the wedding day is all about the bride, so it would seem that many grooms use their stag do as an opportunity to take share the limelight ahead of the big day."

Rachel Moschke, Editor of Wedding Ideas magazine, said: "Most of us worry about keeping our wedding costs to a minimum, and brides are becoming increasingly conscious of what they ask their friends and family to pay for. The hen do is one area where brides feel like they need to keep their eye on the budget and are celebrating in the UK so there is more in the kitty for their big day."

Monday, 27 July 2009

Get married for free

IF THE credit crunch is getting in the way of your dream wedding plans then fear not!

Travel group Monarch has teamed up with Birmingham's 96.4fm BRMB to offer one lucky couple the chance to say 'I do' on the Monarch Beach in Chamberlain Square - for FREE!

On September 4th the Monarch Beach will be transforming in to an idyllic wedding setting with the lucky couple winning a complete wedding package to include the beach ceremony followed by food, music and a fantastic after party. The prize also includes a whole host more; from bridal wear, flowers and rings to favours, a photographer, cake and of course the all important stag and hen dos.

No wedding would be complete without a fabulous honeymoon so the newlyweds will also jet off with Monarch to Larnaca, Cyprus to spend their first week as a married couple at the luxurious Amathus Beach Hotel in Limassol - one of the leading hotels in the world.

To enter, couples simply need to log on to www.brmb.co.uk and register themselves for 'One Beach and a Wedding' using the online registration form by 2nd August 2009. From the entrants received two couples will be selected as finalists who will then be flown to one of Monarch's European destinations from 6th to 7th August 09 to compete in a top secret head-to-head challenge to determine the winning couple.

Further details of the competition and full terms and conditions can be found at www.brmb.co.uk. For further details on the Monarch Beach, log on to www.monarch.co.uk/beach.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party


THE Promenade at The Dorchester will be transformed into a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party by English National Ballet for October half term.

From Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November, The Dorchester will be putting on a special afternoon tea with entertainment by English National Ballet’s young dancers inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Dorchester’s award-winning afternoon tea will be served with pirouettes, pliés and petit sautés as dancers from English National Ballet dressed as some of the favourite characters from Alice in Wonderland will be found among the specially created decorations and flower displays. Children can look out for favourite characters including the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse and Alice herself.

Accompanying adults will be able to sink back and enjoy the entertainment with a glass of champagne, delicious savoury finger sandwiches, homemade scones and a selection of indulgent cakes and pastries.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party will be served on The Promenade at The Dorchester from 26 October to 1 November 2009 at two sittings, 2.15pm and 4.45pm, and is priced at £47.50 per adult including a glass of Champagne and £30.00 per child. (Prices are inclusive of VAT and exclusive of service charge at 12.5%)

For reservations, please telephone The Dorchester on +44 (0)20 7629 8888 or email restaurants@thedorchester.com

Have you got talent?


Haven Holidays’ Combe Haven will be hosting regular talent contests throughout the summer with £1000 worth of prizes for winners in two age categories.
What’s more, Combe Haven will be welcoming some top performers from Britain’s Got Talent and the X-Factor to inspire contestants and entertain audiences at the park!
The Barrow Boys will be appearing on August 4th; CJ Harper on August 11th; Signature on August 18th and Journey South on August 26th.
Book a midweek break or a full week’s holiday at Combe Haven on Britain’s sunny South Coast and you could be performing on stage in front of an appreciative audience in the park’s state of the art ‘Live Lounge’.
Just like Britain’s Got Talent, any act goes – but contestants will be given plenty of support before they go live on stage. There will be a Master Class with Haven’s professional FunStars along with an introduction to the stage and DJ Box - including time to rehearse and a behind the scenes tour to make sure you’re familiar with the sound and light set up.
The winners from each heat will be invited back with their families to enjoy a free weekend at Combe Haven in November for the Grand Final. Top prizes will be £1000 in cash for over 16’s and £1000 worth of ‘technology’ equipment for under-16’s. All contestants will receive a free DVD of their performance.
Presenter Jeff Brazier was on stage at Combe Haven recently week when GMTV launched their search for singing families at the park. Several families were up before breakfast to sing the Nolan sisters’ hit ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’ to highlight the nationwide GMTV competition. Jeff, who stayed in a caravan holiday home on the park, said he was very impressed with the facilities and how much fun the holidays are for children.
There’s still time to book and take part in ‘Combe Haven’s Got Talent’ this summer, with prices from just £369 for four nights or £579 for a week in August. Prices are for a family of up to six people in Superior 2 bedroom accommodation and include entrance to the talent contest, a full programme of entertainment, kid’s clubs, sports, activities and first class facilities.
Call 0871 2300 1900 or visit www.haven.com or call the park direct on 01424 427 891. Once you have made your booking the park will call you to discuss all the details relating to any special requirements relating to your performance.