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The Travel & Leisure Magazine May/June 09

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Getting to know Egypt Escape to Reykjavik Caribbean cruising Newfoundland Golf in Scotland The Isle of Wight Plus win a 4000 holiday for two in Newfoundland and 1500 of Pride of Britain hotel vouchers

Getting to know Egypt Escape to Reykjavik Caribbean cruising Newfoundland Golf in Scotland The Isle of Wight Plus win a 4000 holiday for two in Newfoundland and 1500 of Pride of Britain hotel vouchers

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  • 1. The Travel & Leisure Magazine MAY/JUNE 2009 £2 where sold EGYPT Timeless wonder REYKJAVIK Cool – and affordable CALYPSO CRUISING ROCK STAR Caribbean island hopping The Isle of Wight TRAVELLING TEE TIME IN IN STYLE SCOTLAND Magical railway Perfect days in journeys the home of golf NEWFOUNDLAND Nature’s playground May/June 2009 ★A week’s holiday for two worth £4,000 to WIN Canada’s Newfoundland ★£1,500 of Pride of Britain hotel vouchers PLUS: Steam Heritage Guide 2009 copies, Royal Albert Hall tours and more
  • 2. £2 where sold MAY/JUNE 2009 r Timeless wonde CALYPSO REYKJAVIK CRUISING rdable Cool – and affo ibbean Car island hopping ROCKofSTAR TEE TIME IN Wight The Isle TRAVELLING SCOTLAND Perfect days in IN STYLE the home of golf Magical railway journeys OUND ND NEWFplaygroundLA Nature’s T R A V E L 0 to for two worth £4,00 WIN #A week’s holiday land da’s Newfound Cana ers Britain hotel vouch #£1,500 of Pride of copies, age Guide 2009 PLUS: Steam Herit tours and more Royal Albert Hall FROM THE EDITOR LOOK ON THE BRIGHTER SIDE W elcome to the new issue of The Travel & Leisure Magazine. Once again, this edition focuses very much on giving you ideas not only for taking holidays overseas but also things to do and places to see in London and beyond. The doom merchants have been having a field day of late, compounding warnings about the country’s economy with grim predictions about swine flu. Thankfully, concerns over the latter have eased and nerves in the travel indus- GETTING TO KNOW Pharaoh tales in Egypt 6 try are less frayed. Yet despite all the dire news, the British always take a very determined view. Holidays TRAVEL UPDATE Travel news 15 and breaks are the one thing that many look for- ward to as a way of escaping the daily grind of IN YOUR FLIGHT BAG 19 work and household worries. They have worked PLUS – Under-Eye Revival Patches giveaway hard to save up for a holiday – and they are determined to take it, come what may. If you are looking for ideas, read on for some IN YOUR SUITCASE 20 inspiration. We visit Egypt, flavour of the WIN – AfterBURN Sunburn Rescue Gel moment thanks to its good value. There’s the natural wonderland of Newfoundland in ESCAPE TO Reykjavik – Iceland’s capital of cool 23 Canada, where you can win a fabulous week’s holiday for two. We also head off to another current hot favourite destination – Reykjavik – ALL ABOARD Caribbean cruising + Cruise News 28 where lower prices have made it affordable. Then we look at holidays by train, which are OFF THE BEATEN TRACK Newfoundland 34 growing in popularity and scope, and we go cruising in the Caribbean. LET’S TRY Great rail holiday experiences 42 On the home front, we focus on the Isle of Wight and look at London festivals. I hope you enjoy the read, and wherever your PACK YOUR CLUBS Teeing up in Scotland 48 travels take you this summer, have a peaceful and relaxing time. ON YOUR DOORSTEP The Isle of Wight 54 Peter Ellegard 4 The Travel & Leisure Magazine May/June 2009
  • 3. L E I S U R E COMPETITION 40 WIN – A £4,000 holiday for two to Newfoundland COMING NEXT What’s in store in the next issue 47 OUT & ABOUT What’s on outside London 62 WIN – a Steam Heritage Guide 2009 EDITORIAL TEAM Editor Peter Ellegard Writers Peter Ellegard, Keeley Gordon, Sara Macefield, Dave Richardson, Paul Erlam and Laura Dixon Design Nick Blaxill COMPETITION 65 Advertising Team Jeannette Cumbers, Beverley Sennett & Elaine Smith WIN – £1,500 of Pride of Britain hotel vouchers Admin/Accounts Wendy Barfoot Production Keeley Gordon, Loretta Prince LONDON REVIEW: Focus on festivals + News 68 Publisher Terry Stafford Digital Publisher Peter Lewsey WIN – a pair of Lovebox festival tickets Published bi-monthly by Travel & Leisure Magazines Ltd WIN – Royal Albert Hall tour tickets First Floor, 103 Cranbrook Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4PU Tel: 020 8477 1529 Fax: 020 8514 4536 Email: info@tlmags.com Printed by Wyndeham Heron FREE BOOKS for new READERS’ © Travel & Leisure Magazines Limited 2009 subscribers – see page 77 The publs scannotacceptr pons biiy f i her es i lt orer orr sor Don’t forget the next issue of The LETTERS om i s ons W his si . l tever car i aken,al at i ubm it t Tr y e st lm erals ted o avel Travel & Leisure Magazine will be We want to hear from you. & Lei ur M agazi s e rs and neiherTr ik t nesLi ied i m t sdone s atisow ner s avel& Lei ur M agazi s e o t ’ nesLi ied nor m t available from July 2009. Let us have your thoughts on isagent t scan acceptany labiiy f os i lt orl sordam age. Tr avel& Lei ur M agazi s e nesLi ied i com pl el i m t sa et y nde- Subscription price £6 for 6 issues plus The Travel & Leisure Magazine’s pendentcom pany and can hol no r pons biiy f he d es i lt ort receive a FREE Travel Book. new look, or on any topic.The actonsofout i agent .N o par i s de s r oduced w ihoutprorw rten cons . epr t i it toft sm agazi m ay be hi ent ne best letter will win a A l i e adveri er e t aly r pons bl f hei lprvat ts sar ot l es i e ort row n Take out a subscription STAR PRIZE. w or ng w ihi t radveri em ent di M agazi t n hei m t ts her or ake ,and Travel& Lei ur nesLi ied can t ef e t no r pons biiy as es s e i lt Call 020 8477 1529 Email us at t t rcont .Pl e s l o hei ent eas eek egaladvi and t eafer ce her t verf al he det l iy lt aisofyourpur chas i w rtng bef e e n ii or 6 issues just £6, inc postage. SAVE 50% letters@tlmags.com proceedi ng. Front cover photo: Pet erElegar l d M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 5
  • 4. Pharoah venerable Mena House Oberoi hotel, right next to the pyramids at Giza. I spent lunch gazing in awe through the windows at the mighty edifices. With another meeting due later that after- noon, I grabbed 15 minutes at the Great tales Pyramid of Cheops, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world – most of it spent haggling with a camel driver whose lumbering steed I clambered aboard just long enough to have my picture taken in front of the pyramids and Sphinx – before jumping back in the taxi. Next stop was Sakkara, the necropolis for Egypt’s ancient capital, Memphis, where his- toric structures include the Step Pyramid. The oldest of all pyramids, it lies some 30km Egypt is flavour of the moment this year, and with good south of Cairo past timeless rural scenes, and its lack of tourist hordes and nearby built-up reason. Offering far more than just dusty old tombs and areas made it feel even more special than its desert, it combines magical history tours with glorious Giza counterparts. But there was no time to dwell. I was on a mission. beaches, high-class resorts and much more besides. A guide took me on the briefest of tours, Peter Ellegard fell under its spell long ago… enlightening me by pointing out that the fish- shaped hieroglyph carvings were, in fact, fish M y first visit to Egypt mind as I was heading on to Luxor the next while the wavy lines above them represented 23 years ago was an day for some R and R, followed by diving in the Nile. I’d never have guessed. adventure I will never the Red Sea at Hurghada prior to my flight After a fast journey back to Cairo for my forget. I was in Cairo home. final meeting, I was dropped at the Egyptian on a short business At least, that was the plan. Museum just 15 minutes before closing time. trip, but managed to Renting a taxi for the day in Cairo (as Glancing at the statues on the museum’s squeeze some whistle-stop sightseeing in cheap as a single journey I had taken in a ground floor, I sprinted up the stairs to reach between meetings on my final day that would London cab), I set off for my pre- my ultimate goal – the exquisite, golden have even exhausted a Japanese tour leader. arranged appointments. My mask and other funerary exhibits from Time was ridiculously tight, but I didn’t lunchtime meeting was at the the tomb of Tutankhamun. Main photo and below left: Egyptian State Tourist Office Peter Ellegard Peter Ellegard ■ The souk at Aswan ■ Al-Azhar Mosque minarets, Old Cairo ■ The Karnak Temple sound and light show 6 The Travel & Leisure Magazine May/June 2009
  • 5. getting to KNOW EGYPT Not only was it the climax of that trip, it fered several harrowing terrorist attacks, as ting people off, the visible security measures was also the final highlight. That night, in have many countries including the UK, of are a reassuring factor. On my most recent February 1986, security police conscripts course. Yet each time it has bounced back visit, in December, I took a Nile cruise with stormed out of their barracks in Giza, burn- stronger than before. my wife. At night as our luxury ship cruised ing nearby hotels and businesses and clash- Huge investment in its tourist infrastruc- downriver, two security guards manned a ing with the army. Instead of flying to Luxor ture, with the development of classy, new machine gun on the stern. As I photographed the next morning I took refuge at an airport resorts and extensive leisure facilities, has dawn over the Nile from the back of the ship, hotel when the airport was locked down and been matched by slick advertising campaigns they nodded in acknowledgement of my a city-wide curfew was imposed, and I and, just as important, a strong security pres- smiled greeting and happily let me photograph caught a special repatriation flight back to ence in tourist areas. them and the gun the UK the following day. All have helped make Egypt more popu- against the ris- I felt immensely sad, not just for my lar than ever. With prices in eurozone coun- ing sun. You unfortunate timing but also for what I feared tries rocketing because of the weak pound, it can’t even was the end of Egypt’s tourism industry. I offers British tourists even better value for photograph needn’t have worried. The insurrection was money compared to quickly quelled, the capital soon recov- other holiday destina- ered and the tourists returned. In the tions this year. intervening years, Egypt has suf- Far from put- ■ Pyramids at Giza, Cairo Peter Ellegard ■ Karnak Temple, Luxor May/June 2009 The Travel & Leisure Magazine 7
  • 6. ■ The Temple of Philae at Aswan Did you know? Starwood Resorts and Hotels Photos: Egyptian State Tourist Authority ● The first pyramids were built in 2650 BC. ● Cleopatra was born in Egypt in 69 BC. ● Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. ■ Hot tub at the Sheraton Soma Bay ● The Nile flows for 915 miles through Egypt. ● About 96% of Egypt is desert Pars and spas Egypt Tourist Authority ● Flights from London take 4.5 hours to Cairo and 5.5 hours to Red Sea resorts. Egypt may seem an unlikely golf ■ Left: Tutankhamun’s mask, the Egyptian museum destination, but its three original, century-old clubs have been augmented by another 14 new facilities, taking the policemen without risk of arrest now in London. beaches carpeting both the Red Sea and total to 17 across Egypt. One security measure which had been an Mediterranean coasts; and the crystal clear You can tee off on courses in beach irritation to visitors had just been relaxed waters of the Red Sea, rich in marine life. All resorts from the Mediterranean coast prior to our visit. For the past 11 years, make a visit to Egypt not just a magical his- to the Red Sea and from Cairo to coaches travelling between Red Sea resorts tory tour, but a holiday like you will experi- Luxor, site of ancient pharaonic capital and Luxor had had to travel in armed con- ence nowhere else. Thebes. You can even play in the voys, following the 1997 attack at the Temple It has certainly made its mark on me. shadow of the pyramids at Giza, on the of Hatshepsut in which 63 tourists were These are some of the country’s key historic nine-hole course at the Mena killed. That often led to long journey times sights: House Oberoi. as vehicles had to wait at convoy points and A number of resorts have courses travel in line, and it also resulted in massive Cairo with luxury spa hotels alongside or queues at key attractions as busloads dis- Bisected by the Nile, Egypt’s frenetic capital nearby, so golfers can play while non- gorged at the same time. is a city where the modern world collides playing partners can pamper themselves We made the minibus journey from Red Sea with that of the country’s ancient past. Roads and enjoy the other leisure facilities. tourist resort Madinat Makadi to Luxor to join and buildings have crept almost to the foun- Among them are Soma Bay, El Gouna, our cruise in a comfortable four hours, and we dations of the Sphinx and the iconic pyra- Stella di Mare Golf Resort, at Ain could stop when we wanted and go at the speed mids at Giza. Yet behind them the desert Soukhna, and Egypt’s newest course at our driver wanted – radar traps permitting. stretches out as far as the eye can see. A day Madinat Makadi Golf Resort, which Since my first, eventful visit to Egypt, I visit should be augmented with a return at opened in late 2008. have returned a number of times and seen night to watch the atmospheric Sound and Other Red Sea resorts with courses much of the country, both on land and below Light Show. are Taba Heights, Sharm el Sheikh and the sea. Ever since I was a child, it had Due to be replaced by a modern building Hurghada, while Porto Marina is a new always held great fascination for me. Few at Giza in the near future, the Egyptian addition on the Mediterranean coast. All countries make my spine tingle and get the Museum holds some of ancient Egypt’s have a choice of nearby hotels. pulse racing in anticipation and excitement greatest artefacts, the highlight being as Egypt does, when I visit. Tutankhamun’s treasures. However, give The great monuments the ancient yourself more than the 15 minutes I had on Egyptians and later civilisations left behind; my first visit there as it has much else from the tombs of the pharaohs with their wonder- the pharaonic era to wonder at, including the fully-decorated walls; vast expanses of desert Mummy Room. with their lush, hidden oases; stark moun- The imposing 12th century Citadel Jaz Hotels, Resorts & Cruises tains which glow pink at sunset; the hustle fortress was built by Saladin and looks out and bustle of Cairo, modern and old; time- across Cairo’s UNESCO World Heritage-list- warp towns and villages which line the ver- ed Islamic Quarter. At night the narrow ■ Madinat Makadi Golf Resort dant Nile Valley, their markets a jumble of streets of the quarter’s Khan el Khalili bazaar sights, sounds and smells; glorious sandy come alive to raucous bartering and the cries 8 The Tr & Lei ur M agazi avel s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 8. Nile cruises A great way to experience Egypt is on a Nile cruise. You relax and enjoy the facilities onboard while the timeless scenery of farmers tending irrigated fields and fishermen casting nets constantly moves. Most cruises operate the 240km between Luxor and Aswan with itineraries from three nights to seven nights. Passengers can explore historic sites at stops along the route, including Dendera’s temple, the valleys of the Kings and Queens, Karnak Temple, temples at Kom Ombo, Esna and Edfu, and Aswan’s Temple of Philae and the High Dam. Three and four-night cruises also operate between Aswan and Abu Simbel on Lake Nasser. Peter Ellegard ■ Onboard the Jaz Regency Nile cruise ships are like luxury ocean-going cruise ships but much more intimate. The largest have about 70 cabins; most have far fewer. of traders selling their wares. Nearby is the only Roman amphitheatre. The famed Traditional two-masted, wood-panelled 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar Mosque, with its Library of Alexandria, the ancient world’s dahabiya Nile cruisers, with just six or graceful minarets and crenulated walls. largest, disappeared long ago. Its latter-day eight cabins, are featured by operators Coptic Cairo is the oldest part of the city successor, the six-year-old Bibliotheca including Bales Worldwide and includes the Coptic Museum, situated in Alexandrina, features modern architecture (www.balesworldwide.com) and a garden of the Roman-era Babylon Fort. El- including a raked glass roof. Mosaic Holidays Muallaqa Church is Cairo’s oldest Christian Former royal palace Montazah, built by (www.mosaicholidays.co.uk). church. Dating back over 1,700 years, it is the last Khedive of Egypt in 1892, is set in Facilities onboard ships generally known as the “Hanging Church” as it is built gardens used for summer concerts and the- include a small swimming pool, spa pool, over a Roman gate. atre performances. Another former palace, sun deck, canopied deck, massages, A day trip can take in Sakkara’s Step Fatma el-Zahara, is now the Royal Jewellery lounge, dining room and shops. Cabins Pyramid. Museum. Other notable institutions include often have a TV, sound system and mini the Graeco-Roman Museum and Museum of fridge. Alexandria and the Fine Arts. Ships are either full board or all Mediterranean coast The ancient city of Rosetta, 65km east of inclusive. Besides breakfast, lunch and Founded by Alexander the Great and ruled Alexandria, succeeded it as Egypt’s principle dinner, afternoon tea is also usually over by Cleopatra, Egypt’s last pharaoh, Mediterranean port after the Ottoman con- served, with cakes and biscuits. Alexandria nestles on the Mediterranean coast quest in the 16th century. It is known for the Locals, especially children, smile and by the Nile Delta. It is steeped in history. distinctive Delta-style Ottoman architecture wave as you pass by their traditional The Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria, of its restored merchants’ houses. The Rosetta villages and age-old towns – and laugh in another Ancient Wonder of the World, was Stone, discovered there in 1799 and now in delight when the captains blare their the tallest structure on earth at 40 metres the British Museum, helped Egyptologists horns with cascading notes resembling high until an earthquake destroyed it in the decipher ancient Egypt’s hieroglyphics. the spaceships scene from sci-fi movie Middle Ages. Its harbourside foundations El Alamein, 60km west of Alexandria, Close Encounters of the Third Kind which now support a 15th century fort. was the scene of a decisive Allied victory in echo off the palm-fringed river banks. Greek and Roman ruins include the World War II. Now a burgeoning tourist Catacombs of Kom al-Shuqafa and Egypt’s resort with luxury hotels, it has a war muse- 10 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 9. Jaz Hotels, Resorts and Cruises Dive, dive, dive The Red Sea is the closest coral sea to the UK and has been a favourite with British divers for decades. You can go diving all around the Red Sea Riviera. Many hotels have their own dive centres and dive boats. You can go diving for the day or, if you are experienced, spend a week on a liveaboard dive vessel, cruising more distant waters to dive less-explored reefs and wrecks. The serious can go deep with Nitrox and other mixed gases. The Red Sea is also a great classroom for those wanting to learn diving or just try it. Centres regulated by PADI and other dive organisations offer learn to dive courses. The waters of the Red Sea provide some of the finest in the world for diving, with breathtaking coral reefs and abundant marine life. Top sites include Ras Mohamed National Park, at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, near Sharm el Sheikh, and the Thistlegorm wreck which is accessible from both Sharm and Western Red Sea resorts. If you prefer to stay above the waves, the Red Sea’s constant winds, which can reach 30 Peter Ellegard knots, make it one of the world’s foremost destinations for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The world’s biggest kitesurfing school recently opened in El Gouna, north of Hurghada. um and cemetery. Farther west, Mersa painted walls still amaze. Other beautiful Unfinished Obelisk and the Nubian Temple Matruh has white beaches, azure seas and tombs can be explored in the Valley of the of Kalabsha. The Temple of Philae, set on an rock formations – and the Rommel Museum. Queens, below towering cliffs, and another island, is bathed in lights with narration Siwa Oasis, 300km south of Mersa Matruh highlight is the terraced Temple of about the legends of Isis and Osiris in a in the Sahara, can be visited on a tour. Hatsheput. sound and light show. You can sail in a feluc- You can view Luxor’s ancient sites from ca to visit Elephantine Island and Kitchener’s Luxor on high on a dawn balloon trip from the Island, for the Botanical Gardens. In ancient times, Luxor was called Thebes – West Bank. Flights last up to 50 minutes. Agatha Christie wrote much of her Death and more than 3,000 years of history are For a true experience of the Nile, sail in a on the Nile novel at Aswan’s Old Cataract spread across both banks of the Nile. On the traditional felucca or spend a few days on Hotel. East Bank, Karnak Temple is the world’s a Nile cruise. largest temple complex and has a spectacu- Sharm el Sheikh and the lar nightly sound and light show. The Temple Aswan Sinai Peninsula of Luxor is close to the city centre and walk- Aswan is the gateway to Lake Nasser and Located at the southern tip of the Sinai able from some hotels. Visit both tem- Abu Simbel, where the temples Peninsula, Sharm el Sheikh is the mummy of ples early to beat the tour buses and four colossal statues of Egypt’s Red Sea resorts. It originally catered which arrive from mid-morning Ramses II were moved to purely for divers, drawn by sites such as Ras onwards. Dusk turns the sky higher ground when the Mohamed National Park on its doorstep. But orange and pink over Luxor Aswan High Dam’s Sharm is now a top-class resort with appeal Temple’s illuminated construction flooded for those wanting a beach stay with all mod columns and statues. their original loca- cons as well as for those who want to explore Across the Nile on the tion. below the Red Sea. Lively Na’ama Bay is West Bank is the Valley of The High Dam is where to head for night-time fun and to the Kings, where Ramses the one of the highlights browse its shopping mall. Great, Tutankhamun and many of a visit to Aswan. Excursions include camel riding, wadi- other pharaohs were buried in Among other sights are bashing and 4x4 trips into the Sinai desert as tombs where detailed carvings and ■ Luxor Temple the Old Aswan Dam, the well as visiting Bedouin camps to take tea or Egypt Tourist Authority M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 11
  • 10. Beyond that lies upmarket resort Soma Bay. It has several hotels including La Residence des Cascades, built in the centre of Gary Player-designed The Cascades golf course and housing the huge Les Thermes Marins des Cascades thalassotherapy centre. The “Little Venice of Egypt”, 20 minutes north of Hurghada, El Gouna is a stylish new resort laced by canals, with over a dozen hotels, elegant private villas, a Mediterranean- El Gouna Resort style marina lined with restaurants and bars, a ■ The beach at Red Sea resort El Gouna shopping centre, casino and art galleries. There’s sailing and other water sports from its extensive beaches, as well as diving. coffee or to dine out under the stars. Hasheesh features an Oberoi hotel with plans At the top end of the Red Sea, near the From Sharm you can also visit 1,500- to build several golf courses, more hotels and southern entrance to the Suez Canal, is the year-old St Catherine’s Monastery, built an Atlantis-style sunken city viewable from a developing resort of Ain Soukhna. It possess- around a chapel housing the biblical Burning boardwalk. es a golf course and several hotels, as well as Bush. It lies at the foot of Mount Sinai, Madinat Makadi is a resort village with a one of the region’s largest spa and thalas- where Moses was given the 10 wide beach in nearby Makadi Bay. Its eight sotherapy centres. Commandments. A popular option is to hotels include the new, five-star Jaz Makadi The Southern Red Sea is fast developing, climb Mount Sinai at night to witness the Golf hotel where Scary Spice Mel B and her too. Popular with divers who want to reach spectacular dawn from the top. husband Stephen Belafonte renewed their less visited reefs and wrecks, it includes the Other Sinai wonders include the Coloured wedding vows in November. The hotel is resort of Marsa Alam and nearby Port Ghalib, Canyon, named for its brightly-hued sand- alongside Egypt’s newest golf course. a new marina resort development. TL stone formations, the White Canyon and sev- eral oases. Among natural atractions is the mountainous Abu Galum natural reserve, Egypt facts where wildlife includes Nubian ibex, hyrax and striped hyena. When to go: At the top end of the Sinai Peninsula is Summers are hot and dry and winters are warm, with Egyptian State Tourist Authority Taba, across the border from Israel’s Eilat, little rainfall – making it the ideal time to go. Breezes and the neighbouring, purpose-built resort of help keep Red Sea resorts cooler, while the Taba Heights. A sister development to El Mediterranean coast has a more temperate climate. Gouna, across the Red Sea, it is a collection Getting there: of hotels with stylish designer architecture Direct flights to Cairo from London Heathrow are operated nestling against the Sinai’s mountains and by British Airways (www.ba.com), bmi (www.flybmi.com) and Egyptair fronting the Red Sea. There is also a golf (www.egyptair.com). Egyptair also flies from Heathrow to Sharm el Sheikh, course. Excursions from Taba Heights go to while easyJet (www.easyjet.com) flies there from London Gatwick. Charter the ancient city of Petra in Jordan with its flights operate from airports around the UK to Sharm, Hurghada,Taba, Marsa buildings carved into the rocks. Alam and Luxor. Other Sinai resorts include laid-back Entry requirements: Dahab and Nuweiba, much less developed UK and EU nationals travelling only to Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and than Sharm or Taba. Taba resorts in the Sinai for up to 14 days do not require a visa. Otherwise, visas can be obtained at the airport on arrival into Egypt or from the Egyptian Hurghada and the Western consulate in London (020 7235 9777; www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk). Red Sea Getting around: The Western Red Sea’s largest and longest- Egyptair operates internal flights from Cairo to points established resort offers an extensive range throughout Egypt. Destinations include Luxor, Sharm of hotels appealing to a wide cross-section el Sheikh and Hurghada. Other internal routes Peter Ellegard of holidaymakers. It has a lively centre with include Luxor-Aswan. Local taxis are inexpensive and plenty of nightlife and an abundance of in plentiful supply in major cites and resorts. sports and activities along its sandy beaches. Tour operators: One of the region’s top diving destinations, UK operators offering Egypt include Discover Egypt sites include offshore islands and the famous (www.discoveregypt.co.uk),Thomas Cook (www.thomascook.com), wartime wreck, SS Thistlegorm. Monarch Holidays (www.monarchholidays.co.uk), Longwood Holidays Hurghada’s origins as a fishing village can (www.longwoodholidays.co.uk) and Peltours (www.peltours.com). still be seen in the Old Town, now engulfed Tourist information: by the modern, purpose-built resort. Egyptian State Tourist Office: call 020 7493 5283 or visit www.egypt.travel South of Hurghada, fledgling resort Sahl 12 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 13. TRAVEL update Dads’ delight Not to be sniffed at Allergy sufferers can sleep a little easier thanks to a new H otels are serving up room treatment service for special offers to treat ■ Woolley Grange hotels by the Healthy Sleep dad for the Father’s Company. It Day weekend. Luxury Family reduces Hotels (www.luxuryfamily dust mites hotels.co.uk), part of the von and Essen Hotels group, has several associated deals. A Papa Pamper Package allergens by at Fowey Hall in Cornwall – the up to 97.4%, inspiration behind Toad Hall in leaving rooms virtually allergy- Wind in the Willows – with free. Luxury Family Hotels three nights for the price of two The Millennium & Copthorne and a spa session in the new Hotel in Slough has become Aquae Sulis Retreat for half the fifth UK hotel to add the price on Father’s Day (Sunday, service, with four Healthy June 21), costs from £465 per Sleep rooms. room including breakfast. ●More information on Children sharing their parents’ parkland in Suffolk, shoot rab- stay overnight from £240 for www.thehealthysleepcomp room stay for free. bits or pigeons on Father’s Day, dinner, bed and breakfast for two any.co.uk Jacobean manor house then help prepare them for serv- people on the Sunday night. Woolley Grange, near Bradford- ing as your “catch” for dinner in If you prefer shooting inani- on-Avon, has a two-night Friday the hotels’ restaurant. The shoot- mate objects, von Essen’s Beware malaria and Saturday package from ing day, equipment hire and din- Congham Hall in Norfolk The Malaria Awareness £360 per night for two adults, ner costs £175 per person, or (www.vonessenhotels.com) is Campaign, launched with including dinner, bed and break- offering a clay pigeon shooting Malaria Awareness Week from fast and a beer tasting session taster and Sunday lunch on May 11-17, aims to raise with local brewery Bath Ales. Father’s Day. The half-hour shoots awareness of this easily- Guests staying for lunch on cost £60 for dads and £35 for all preventable disease which Von Essen Hotels Father’s Day can check out at other family members, including affects hundreds of British 3pm. a three-course Sunday lunch. travellers every year, while still And at Ickworth Hotel, set in Overnight stays cost from £125 encouraging people to take ■ Congham Hall 1,800 acres of National Trust per room, including breakfast. long-haul holidays. It is organised by GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health, with the Foreign Tops down under and Commonwealth Office and ABTA.Visit www.malariahotspots.co.uk R eaders of Diver magazine ■ Malta's for more information and have voted the Maltese waters are the advice. Islands the top dive desti- best in Europe nation in Europe and third best globally in the publication’s Ferry fast annual Diver Awards. This is the Ferry operator LD Lines’ new first time such an award has gone high-speed ferry, Norman Malta Tourism Authority to a Mediterranean country. Arrow, becomes the largest- Malta has diving to suit all ever fast ferry across the levels and interests and boasts English Channel with its entry some of the best underwater con- onto the Dover-Boulogne ditions anywhere in the world, route on May 29 after a three- with year-round warm tempera- week delivery voyage from tures, up to 30 metres visibility reef dive sites for beginners to experienced. Tasmania. and abundant marine life. reefs and wartime wrecks, as For more information, visit Visit: www.ldlines.com Dive sites range from shallow well as night dives for the more www.visitmalta.com M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 15
  • 14. TRAVEL update Check your cover T he recent swine flu outbreak has led to an increase of up to 300% in the purchase of travel insurance. Travel insurance is a must for any trip, but it is also essential to check the insurance you buy, and what it covers. World First Travel Insurance has pro- duced a check list with tips to bear in mind before you buy, including: El Gouna Resort, Egypt ● Check the policy meets your demands and needs, and check for limitations and exclusions as cover varies from insurer to insurer. ■ Ensure activities are covered by your policy ● Check what is automatically covered or if an additional premium is required, for activities such as scuba diving or pre-existing medical conditions. The checklist can be found in full online at kitesurfing. They may be covered by one ● Policies generally limit cover for any one www.world-first.co.uk/media/checklist.pdf. policy but not another. item, normally £250, so see if you can You should also check your insurance provider ● Declare all medical conditions. Most extend your household insurance to cover is authorised by the FSA; go to policies exclude claims that arise from jewellery, iPods, laptops or cameras. www.fsa.gov.uk/register/ to check credentials. Green stays Cheap and cheerful remains one of the most expensive with costs 16.7% higher than in Spain. H otels are continuing to 90-minute treatment. Upgrades Despite price increases in improve their eco cre- to a four-poster room or suite Where is the Thailand and Egypt, they still dentials. start at £40 per person. best value remain great value for money The four-star country house For more information, visit holiday this overall. Wallett’s Court Hotel and Spa www.wallettscourthotel.com year? The Post near Dover in Kent has been Fingals, a luxury country Office’s annual Go retro Peter Ellegard awarded a silver star rating in the house hotel in Devon, has just Holiday Costs Green Tourism Business built an “Eco House” with a Barometer Take advantage of the Scheme (GTBS), the only certi- wood frame from sustainable has put ■ Belek tourism predicted hot UK summer by fication scheme validated by sources and solar panels on the Bulgaria,Turkey village, Turkey touring the country in a classic Visit Britain. roof. It features the contempo- and Croatia top of its list, after Volkswagen camper van. It is offering a three nights for rary Stream Room, with a bal- comparing the cost of 10 Surrey-based the price of two break until cony overlooking a stream. It holiday items, including drinks CampinaVDub.co.uk September 30. Valid Sunday to also has a new spa and a gym in and meals. (www.campinavdub.co.uk) Thursday and costing £199 per addition to a swimming pool, However, price cutting in some has three retro-style VW person, it includes breakfast grass tennis court and croquet of the UK’s favourite eurozone campers for rent. All come daily and dinner on two nights. lawn. It costs £135 for two shar- destinations means that fully fitted with bedding, A three-night spa break costs ing in May and June, including holidays could cost less than outdoor furniture, GPS £269 per person and includes a breakfast. www.fingals.co.uk expected, despite the weak navigation,TV/DVD with pound. Falling prices in the Freeview and a stereo system Algarve in Portugal now put it with fully-loaded Ipod.They second only to Spain, the also have full AA cover and cheapest eurozone destination Camping and Caravanning surveyed. Club membership. Local prices have fallen in Prices range from £150 for Greece and Italy too, while day hire to £750 for a week in ■ Fingals’ France – along with Cyprus – high season. Stream Room 16 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 15. M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 17
  • 16. In Your FLIGHT BAG Feel first class Eye will survive! Revive tired eyes and restore sparkle with hydrogel soothing Under-Eye Revival Patches G ive yourself the first from Girls With Attitude. class treatment! Long After a long journey and a few distance travellers late nights, girls can be forgiven will love the Travel Tool Kit for looking a little less fresh – from Aroma Therapeutics. but who wants to? Simply Each kit includes essential oil apply, relax and recover. products to help lift your spir- Under-Eye Revival Patches help to reduce the its after long journeys, relax appearance of fine lines and dark shadows, your mind, soothe aches smoothes and moisturises.This perfect pick-me- and pains and enhance rest- up quickie will get the skin back to its fresh and ful sleep. vibrant best in next to no time, ready for the If a delay at the airport next party! leaves you feeling run Each pack includes enough pads for a full down and lethargic, the weekend away. RRP £4. Available from Aroma Therapeutics www.amazon.co.uk Recharger Spray ● We have 12 packs of Under-Eye Revival Concentrate’s powerful Patches to give away. Go to blend of rosemary, gin- www.choicetravelinfo.com and click on ger, rosewood, nutmeg competitions & giveaways.Terms & conditions and orange sprayed apply. Closing date July 3, 2009. directly onto pulse points will lift your mood. Alternatively, soothe away aches and pains with Muscle Comforter Bath & Colourful memory Body. Cooling peppermint, lavender, The Travel Tool Kit Brilliant orange, super black pepper and birch (a natural retails at £35.85 and includes: Sleep sunny yellow, painkiller) blend together for instant Enhancer Spray Concentrate (20ml); raindrop blue, relief. Recharger Spray Concentrate (20ml); arctic white, Aroma Therapeutics’ best-selling Relaxer Bath & Body (10ml); Muscle deep viola, Sleep Enhancer Spray Concentrate has Comforter Bath & Body (10ml); Mood cherry red, been given to British Airways First Enhancer Aroma Travel Candle (10g); ultra mint, real Class passengers for years to help them and Sleep Enhancer Aroma Travel red, intense drift off in flight. Candle 10g. www.aroma.co.uk blue and vibrant pink – Pressure points to sickness relief what’s your colour? Small and D on’t let travel ness and is safe for Stylish, the My sickness ruin patients taking prescrip- Passport Essential USB hard your trip. tion medications, preg- drive delivers up to 320GB of portable storage Sea-Band is an nant women and chil- in the palm of your hand, comes in 10 fresh new acupuncture pressure dren from three years colours and weighs in at less than five ounces. wristband known to old. Simple to use, light and easy to carry, and with relieve feelings of nau- Sea-Band is available no power adapter needed – your My Passport sea associated with trav- from Lloydspharmacy, Essential will become your favourite accessory. el sickness within min- acupressure point, long Superdrug, Tesco, Store thousands of songs, videos or photos on it utes. known to relieve feel- Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and always have them to hand. Sea-Band works by ings of nausea. Morrisons, other phar- Western Digital’s My Passport Essential USB exerting a constant, gen- Sea-Band is latex- macies, and the Penny drives are available now at select retailers in tle pressure on a point free and drug-free so Brohn Cancer Care capacities of 160GB (£66.99), 250GB (£96.99) on the inner wrist called does not cause side Centre. RRP is £7.82. and 320GB (£119.99). the Pericardium 6 (P6) effects such as drowsi- www.sea-band.com www.westerndigital.com M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 19
  • 17. In Your SUITCASE Save your skin with AfterBURN A fterBURN Sunburn Rescue Gel is a revo- lutionary product to help soothe and repair sun SwimHut.com damaged skin, unlike tradition- al after sun products that simply moisturise. AfterBURN Sunburn Rescue 15% off at www.swimhut.com Gel is a unique dermatological gel with an osmotic action that for every reader draws water from within the skin You can be in the swim with the new range of (the dermis) to the surface (the SwimDresses, exclusive to SwimHut.com in the UK. epidermis), helping to rehydrate The stylish SwimDresses are designed to be and treat sun-damaged skin. practical yet beautiful with an integrated tummy The gel is odourless, non-sticky mesh panel and pants.They are ideal for those and non-staining, is rapidly who want more coverage from their swimwear, absorbed and acts quickly on the active mums or those who like to be able to party skin. It contains no alcohol, added and swim without changing in between! preservatives or colourings and SwimHut.com offers a fantastic range of swimwear, helps to reduce the chances of pre- bikinis and tankinis from a selection of leading mature skin ageing and redness of brand names, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all the skin as well as cooling irritation and year round. easing discomfort. ● WIN one of 10 AfterBURN ● To claim your 15% discount, go to Available from Boots and other phar- Sunburn Rescue Gels. Go to SwimHut.com’s website and enter the code: macies and leading retailers nationwide, www.choicetravelinfo.com and click on TLMAG2009.This code should be printed in AfterBURN Sunburn Rescue Gel is competitions & giveaways. Terms & capitals (the code is case sensitive).The code will priced at £9.78 for 75g. conditions apply. Closing date July 3, 2009. be valid from June 1 to June 30, inclusive. Cool Crocs! www.swimhut.com Feel the noise with this funky new sound system! T One of the best portable speakers on the he new Captiva the Captiva looks equally and added flexibility. market, the crystal-clear Soundtraveller flip flops from stylish when worn on the Being made of Crocs’ K3000 ST weighs in at just 420g – but Crocs are great beach or around town traditional Croslite mate- packs a heavyweight punch. It docks for the summer months. and keeps your feet rial means the Captiva directly with all iPods, including the They are ultra comfort- happy in the hot weather will give your feet anti- new iPod Nano and iPod Touch, and able, lightweight and with its pillowed footbed bacterial protection while comes with an audio adaptor cable available in a choice of also being very easy to so can be used with virtually any other bright colours such as clean. RRP £25.95. audio device, even your Sony PSP and Nintendo DS. jade, citrus and berry – To see Crocs’ full Featuring touch button volume control, it can be your feet will be smiling range of summer powered by the two included AA batteries or along with the summer styles, go to mains charger, and also comes with a USB cable so sun! www.crocs.eu you can power it from your laptop. It also charges With a soft toe iPods when powered from the mains or by USB. stump and Price £65. www.powertraveller.com ove r- t h e - foot straps, 20 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 20. ESCAPE to… REYKJAVIK On top of the world Iceland’s weird and wonderful capital of cool, Reykjavik, is a upstairs bar at Kaffebarinn, where I was teaching two Aussie visitors to love feast for the senses – and the economic crash has now made it Brennivin, the Icelandic spirit brewed from affordable for short breaks. For Laura Dixon, it was love at fermented potatoes and flavoured with car- first sight, if not at first bite… away seeds, while sharing my spot at the bar with the lead singer of Sigur Rós, a gaggle of dancers from Björk’s show in neon tribal E thereal music drifted above this city is famed for its cutting-edge fash- make-up, and a transatlantic stag party. us into the pale blue cloud- ion. When I collapsed into bed mid-morning, the less sky, blonde-haired red- Under the glare of the midnight sun, I sun was still blazing through the window as cheeked children were on saw the cream of Icelandic music perform in it had all night. their parents’ shoulders and a festival celebrating the environment in My love affair with Reykjavik started there was a worrying display Reykjavik last year, and it’s one of the expe- long before the economic crash, when a pint of woolly lopipeysa jumpers on Icelanders riences of my life. of beer still cost around £5 (it’s now about of every age from 0 to 60, considering that It ended somewhat less poetically in the £2). In January, The Economist’s annual ■ The Blue Lagoon All photos: Iceland Tourist Board ■ The Northern Lights ■ Vatnajökull Glacier ■ Hot springs near Hverageri town – South Iceland M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 23
  • 21. Take a dip Don’t forget your swimming kit – Iceland is heaven for water babies. Carved out of a black lava field, the milky blue water of the Blue Lagoon is a constant 37-39°C, and is particularly good for the skin. If you want to act like a local, head to one of the city’s swimming pools. They are geothermally-heated, open air and are open come rain, shine or snow. Most have hot pots and saunas and are much cheaper than pools at home, costing about £1.20 per visit. Or if you’re feeling brave, take a dip in the North Atlantic.The city beach at Nautholsvik, near the city airport, has imported white sand, hot pools, a snack bar and an area of heated water in the sea so you won’t catch hypothermia. How very Icelandic! ■ Getting steamy in the Blue Lagoon study rating the most expensive cities in and looking at the city from above to get warning – don’t take too much. It’s made Europe put the city at 62, from a previous your bearings. from Greenland shark, buried in Tupperware position at number five, making it the lowest You’ll see Faxaflói Bay, where you can underground for three months to rot, and featured city in Western Europe bar take whale-watching trips, Mount Esja, usu- then excavated and served when it is at the Manchester. ally some kind of purple colour and topped right texture. The edges are slightly gooey It’s a real shock to the system – for years with snow, and then in the background, the and centre is chewy; unsurprisingly, it hasn’t the reason why people haven’t been visiting cone-shaped glacier on Snaefellsnes, where, taken off anywhere but here. the world’s northernmost capital city has in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Har_fiskur is a dried and salted white been the price, but now there’s no excuse. Earth, the explorers started their descent. fish eaten a bit like crisps by the local chil- dren. It still tastes of fish, though it’s Party town Icelandic cuisine crunchy and salty, and takes some getting Sure, Reykjavik has an outsized reputation Wandering around the city itself is fun – it’s used to. as a party town, but it’s barely as big as lined with coffee shops and designer bou- That’s not all there is to say about Bath. In fact, the population of Iceland as a tiques as well as more traditional shops sell- Icelandic cuisine – it’s a whole story in itself whole is roughly the same as that of ing wool and wool products, stuffed – but suffice to say that you will find Norwich, which gives you some idea. puffins, bags made from fish restaurants where you can eat Reykjavik is about half the size of that; skin and the like. grilled puffin, seabird’s eggs, when viewed from the air it looks like Bargain hunters might dolphin and whale and someone has scattered a handful of multi- like the Kolaporti mar- boiled sheep’s head coloured dolls houses around a small lake. ket, particularly the among other strange It is really that tiny. fish market at the delights. That makes the city a great destination back. There are two There was once a for a short break. Book a hotel in the 101 delicacies that you’ll McDonalds in the district and you can’t go wrong: all the city’s find here but nowhere centre of the city, but main sights are on your doorstep. else – Hákarl and it closed down The strange-looking concrete har_fiskur. through lack of cus- Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrims Church) is visi- The first is a real spe- tom. It wasn’t just that a ble from nearly everywhere, and it’s worth ciality that you can try for meal cost £10; taste buds ■ Food and fun starting out here, taking the lift to the top free in the market. Word of are made differently up here. 24 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 22. ■ Icelandic Horse ■ Lobster path around the harbour and bay area, you can’t miss the marauding past. Icelanders can ■ Skógafoss Waterfall - South Iceland trace their genealogy way back to the Saga times – the island wasn’t settled until 871 – Modern art Back in the days before cars, farmers and the fiercely independent attitude of their While wandering round the city, drop into used to ride into town on their horses to do forebears has definitely filtered down. the Town Hall, perched on a lake, which has business, and then, as now, successes were There’s a pride in being different, tough and a relief map of the country in it and a cafe. celebrated in the pub. The shed acted as in tune with the environment here that you Nearby, the Harbour House art gallery is one a kind of horse pound for the don’t feel anywhere else in the of the city’s finest if you like modern art. It owners who lost their hors- world, and you can see it in the celebrates Erró, a 1960s artist who has a lit- es due to reckless drunk- fashion, art, music and drink- tle in common with Peter Blake (who creat- enness, and they had ing ability of the locals. ed The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album to pay to get them My favourite Viking cover) and is all high colour and shock fac- out. sight has to be tor. Downstairs are modern installations. You can still see Thingvellir National grooves in the floor Park. This area, outside ‘The population of and hooks where the city but easily they were tethered reachable on a day tour, Iceland…is the same on the walls, is where the Vikings although you won’t see held their meetings and as that of Norwich’ horses in the city today. the location says as much But you can ride Icelandic ■ Hallgrimskirkja about them as anything else. And if you’re intrigued to find out more horses close to Reykjavik. A river runs through the valley about modern art, don’t miss the Lost Horse where dissenters were drowned and a large Gallery. Run by local artists, it’s got a mod- Viking history black cliff rears up at its edge. There is a rift ern flavour but tends to mix styles so you History knits this city together. From the stat- in it that excites geographers – it’s the exact never quite know what you’re going to see. ue of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler, on place where the American and European tec- The gallery is actually an old animal shed the hill overlooking downtown, to Sólfar, a tonic plates are pulling apart from each and has a charming history. sculpture of a Viking boat that sits on the other, at a rate of approximately 2cm a year. M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 25
  • 23. Reykjavik facts When to go It all depends on what you want to see. For midnight sun, head north from June to mid-August. For the Northern Lights, try November to March. The spring and autumn months have a lot to recommend them, but can be wet; bring an umbrella, and expect a roughly-balanced night and day. Most tourists visit from May to September when it’s warmer and light (but expect showers and cold winds). For nightlife, you need to be there on a Friday or Saturday night. Getting there Icelandair (www.icelandair.co.uk) and Iceland Express (www.icelandexpress.co.uk) both serve Reykjavik, flying into Keflavik Airport. Icelandair flies twice daily from London’s Heathrow, while Iceland ■ Swimming in Express moved its daily service to Gatwick on May 1. Reykjavik A bus runs to Reykjavik from the airport, taking about an hour, and costing significantly less than a taxi (www.flybus.is). Golden Triangle Accommodation and eating out Thingvellir is one third of the Golden Reykjavik’s tourist board has good recommendations on where to stay on Triangle, the three key sights to visit outside all budgets – check out the city’s tourist office website, the city. Gullfoss is another of these; the www.visitreykjavik.is, or www.accommodation.is. Or visit www.i- golden waterfall, where Odin's horse is said escape.com for boutique hotels and city centre apartments. A new youth to have left a hoof print that formed into a hostel opened by the old harbour this spring: www.hostel.is. Iceland’s circular, many-tiered waterfall bringing gla- youth hostels rank in the top five in the world, according to Hostelling cial water down to the land. International. For food, check out www.icelandgourmetguide.com for Rainbows play in the light the best unusual and gourmet places to eat. and its roar is deafening. Geysir, the farthest Tour operators away, is the water Icelandair and Iceland Express offer some good value spout that gave long weekend packages. Other good package the world the operators to the country include Discover The name geyser. World (www.discovertheworld.co.uk), Regent It’s actually a Holidays (www.regent-holidays.co.uk) and collection of Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com). spouts in a geologically Excursions active zone and Day trips to the Golden Circle, Geysir,Thingvellir National Park and into it goes off regu- the countryside are available through the city tourist office or through ■ Vatnajökull Glacier larly, to the delight recommended tour operators Touris (www.tour.is) or Reykjavik of photographers and Excursions (www.re.is).There is also a bus that will take you to the Blue onlookers. Lagoon on the way to the airport – perfect for a long weekend – with A trip to the Blue Lagoon will round Iceland Excursions (www.icelandexcursions.is). things off nicely; it’s where nature, beauty and the country’s strange energy combine to Getting around create a swimming pool and spa like no The city itself is walkable, particularly if you’re staying in the 101 district in other in the world, whether it’s snowing, the centre of the city.Taxis can be taken from the centre of Reykjavik, sunny or blowing a gale. Enjoy the weird- outside the tourist information centre and are reasonable for short ness – that’s what Iceland is all about. TL distances within the city area. Tourist information Travel journalist Laura Dixon is the author of Iceland Tourist Board: www.icetourist.is Footprint Reykjavik. Her top tip in Reykjavik is to Reykjavik: www.visitreykjavik.is, Adalstraeti 2, 101 Reykjavik. try everything once – Brennivin, the hottest hot Tel. 00 354 590 1550; info@visitreykjavik.is pools and the rotten shark. 26 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 24. Calypso cruising Nowhere conjures up the spirit and romance of a cruise holiday Where to cruise Caribbean cruises cover three areas: eastern more than the Caribbean, with its intoxicating cocktail of Caribbean, western Caribbean and southern island delights. Our own Caribbean Queen, Sara Macefield, Caribbean. guides you through the multitude of choices… The eastern Caribbean is the most popu- lar; here you’ll find the largest choice of voy- ages which typically call at islands such as I f you’ve ever dreamt of sailing now arriving on the steady stream of cruise Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, the British through a perfect tropical paradise ships that now ply these waters, making the Virgin Islands and Grenada. with beautiful cobalt blue waters Caribbean the most popular – and at times the Western Caribbean voyages concentrate dotted with sleepy, sun-kissed isles most crowded – cruising ground in the world. on Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, of dazzling white sand, then come to For British cruisers, the Caribbean is the top Mexico and other Latin America countries; the Caribbean. cruising spot after the Mediterranean, attract- while southern Caribbean itineraries will gen- One of the best ways to discover this idyl- ing around 230,000 passengers each year. erally include Costa Rica and the Netherlands lic collection of 7,000 islands, stretching from The region’s tropical climate and sheer Antilles islands of Aruba, Bonaire and the tip of Florida southwards to the coast of beauty of its surroundings coupled with the Curacao. Many of these cruises also transit Venezuela, is on the water, reflecting the rich wide choice of islands where ships can moor the Panama Canal. maritime history of this corner of the globe. up has proved to be an intoxicating mix that The length of such sailings can vary great- Cruise the Caribbean Sea and you’ll be few cruise lines can resist. ly. Some cruises can be little more than week- following in the footsteps of legendary Such popularity takes it roots from the era end breaks, lasting just two or three days and explorers, bloodthirsty pirates and swash- of American Prohibition in the 1930s when only having time to visit the Bahamas. buckling naval heroes. short booze cruises to the Bahamas Most commonly, they last one or two After all, Christopher Columbus first became all the rage. The Caribbean weeks, which gives passengers plenty of dropped anchor in these parts dur- cruise market has grown steadily opportunity to experience several different ing the 15th century as he searched ever since, accelerating in the last islands. for the New World, and he has been decade as the global cruis- Cruises that traverse the Panama Canal followed by a long line of ing boom has taken hold. into the Pacific or cross the Atlantic between adventurers ever since. As a result, there is a stag- the Caribbean and Europe can span three But today’s visitors are seeking gering choice of cruises and weeks. Atlantic sailings take place in spring riches of a different kind. Many are Princess Cruises ships to be had. and autumn as ships are re-positioned for the 28 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 25. A l BO A RD lA CARIBBEAN Cruise tips ● Eastern Caribbean cruises tend to give the most all-round flavour and are the top choice for first-timers who want to visit the main islands. ● If you’re going in the winter peak season, look for more unusual itineraries which will help you to escape the crowds. ● Do some advance planning before you book. Look at how long the ship stays in port and opt for those that depart later, giving you more time to explore or enjoy a sundowner in a local bar. ● If you’re considering a summer cruise and are worried about hurricanes, pick a voyage to the southern Caribbean Princess Cruises as this is outside the hurricane belt. Carnival Cruise Lines ■ Carnival Triumph in the Caribbean The leader of the pack is Miami, followed The beauty of setting off from the heart of by Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral and the Caribbean means passengers don’t have Tampa. Other options include Galveston in to waste two or three days’ sailing time at main summer and winter seasons. These Texas, New Orleans and even New York – either end of the cruise, enabling them to visit cruises are often extremely good value. from where some ships sail to Bermuda, more islands within the timescale and spend A few cruise lines, such as Norwegian 1,000 miles north of the Caribbean. a few days longer on the islands before or Cruise Line (NCL), Royal Caribbean But growing number of cruises now start after their cruise. International (RCI) and Princess Cruises, from Caribbean islands, with companies even have their own private islands, in the including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland Who to cruise with Bahamas or off the coast of Haiti. They offer America Line and P&O Cruises. Passengers fly Do you want to go big or small? There’s no passengers a desert island experience with directly to join their cruises on scheduled air- end of choice among the cruise lines and the water sports and beach barbecues. lines including Virgin Atlantic or charter carri- type of ship you pick will determine your ers such as Thomas Cook or Thomson Airways. Caribbean experience. Where to cruise from Barbados is the most popular departure Major cruise lines such as RCI, Carnival, Most Caribbean cruises depart from American point, followed by others such as Puerto Rico, NCL and Princess Cruises dominate these ports and these are mainly in Florida. Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. waters, but the beauty of the Caribbean means there is also room for smaller lines too as they can call at islands that larger ships cannot squeeze into. Cruise customers looking for a more inti- mate escape can opt for atmospheric smaller vessels owned by the likes of Star Clippers, Windstar Cruises and SeaDream Yacht Club, safe in the knowledge that they need never cross paths with the mega-ships and their hordes of passengers. While larger ships call at the bigger islands of Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua which have bigger ports to accommodate them, smaller vessels can drop anchor in tucked- away spots in the Grenadines or the British Wind Star ■ Vessels such as Wind Star Virgin Islands, where they may be the only can call at smaller islands ship to sail in that day. M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 29
  • 26. ct s C ar ib be an C ru is e Fa ises: Sample Caribbean cru , www.princess.com) on a Sai l off with Princess Cruises (0845 3555 800 on July 8, calling New York Caribbean Princess from nine-night voyage aboard Turk before returning to New omas and Grand at Bermuda, San Juan, St Th ,595 and include flights. York. Prices are from £1 (0871 781 9877, Virgin Holidays Cruises Carnival Cruise Lines a nine- www.virginholidaysc ruises.co.uk) is offering ludes a week’s voy age aboard night package which inc Miami Carnival Cruises ship Carnival Valor, flights to arts and a on e-night hotel from where the cruise dep Thomas stay beforehand. Ports of call include Nassau, St from £1,099. and St Maarten. It costs o- /cruise) is offering a tw 8, www.thomson.co.uk Thomson (0871 231 593 Januar y 3, 201 0.The voyage p,Thomson Destiny, on week fly-cruise on its shi ports of call include Bar bados, St n Republic and starts from the Dominica es flights. ts from £1,299 and includ Kitts and St Lucia. It cos Princess Cruises ■ Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess ntacts: Other useful cruise co 351 0556, Ca rnival Cruise Lines (0845 www.carnivalcr uise.co.uk) What to do 456 1520, Celebrity Cruises (0845 On stepping ashore, cruise passengers can www.celebrity cruises.co.uk) P&O Cruises 746175, take their pick from no end of diversions or Fred Olsen Cruises (01473 s.com) they can simply flop into a sun-bed on one of www.fredolsencruise the many powdery sand beaches for which Holland America Line (0845 351 0557, o.uk) the islands are famous. www.hollandamerica.c A popular option is to take an island tour, 7412, www.m sccruises.co.uk) MSC Cruises (0844 561 w.ncl.co.uk) either through the cruise line or one of the Norwegian Cruise Line (0845 658 8010, ww .uk) cheaper deals offered by local taxi drivers that 0032, www.o ceanvillageholidays.co Ocean Village (0845 075 ruises.c o.uk) gather outside the cruise ports. 772344, www.oceaniac In Jamaica, daredevils can choose from Oceania Cruises (01344 ocruises.com) 0014, www.p P&O Cruises (0845 678 4, www.royalcaribbea n.co.uk) canopy tours that skim the treetops or white- Royal Caribbean Int ernational (0845 165 841 achtclub.com) dreamy water rafting. One of the most popular, and 00 783 1373, www.sea fun, trips is to climb the iconic Dunn’s River SeaDream Yacht Club (08 clippers.com) 029, www.star Star Clippers (01473 292 indstarcruises.com) Falls. Windstar Cruises (020 7292 2387, www.w ises.co.uk In Antigua, enthusiasts can swim with iation: www.discovercru stingrays and visit Nelson’s Dockyard, the Passenger Shipping Assoc Georgian dockyard where the young Horatio Nelson was based in the 1700s, while in St When to go ricanes are comprehensively tracked by Lucia they can go quad-biking or take a heli- You can cruise the Caribbean all year various meteorological and hurricane cen- copter sightseeing trip. round, though October to March is regard- tres, they can take action long before the The islands also have their fair share of ed as the best time as the weather is stable storm actually hits. stately buildings, old sugar mills and historic and there are few alternatives for This ensures ships can stay well away plantation houses dating back to the times Europeans and North Americans looking from bad weather, but if they do get caught when some were under British rule, and these for sunshine. out, cruise ships will change course, drop- make interesting diversions. During the summer, there tend to be ping planned port calls, and literally run- Alternatively, there is a huge range of boat fewer ships in the Caribbean as many have ning for cover. It is very rare for cruises to trips at most ports of call, offering the chance sailed to the Mediterranean, Alaska and get cancelled and if they are, cruise lines to go snorkelling or spot dolphins, whales and northern Europe. will refund the cost of the cruise and often turtles. While this means the islands are less give discounts off future bookings. TL Sports fans can take advantage of the mobbed by cruise ships, the downside is Caribbean’s excellent sporting credentials to that May to November is hurricane season A travel journalist for 20 years, Sara Macefield go diving, fishing or play a round or two on when the weather is unpredictable and the decided to drop anchor and specialise in cruising. some of the top-rate golf courses to be found days are more humid. She now sails the world, writing on the subject for the Sunday Telegraph and Conde Nast Traveller on islands such as Barbados, Jamaica and the Cruise companies keep a careful eye on among others. Bahamas. the weather and as tropical storms and hur- 30 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 27. CRU I N ew s SE CRUISE CLIPS Who would you like to sail off with? A survey by Co- The price is right B operative Travel revealed that ritish holidaymakers may ities and facilities?” be strapped for cash in With so many new ships, these credit-crunch times, cruise companies are battling but cruise companies say it hard to attract customers, so this makes 2009 an ideal time to try means there are more bargains a cruise. to be had. With so much included in the Not only are prices lower, but price, a cruise makes it easy for lines are also offering more free holidaymakers, and particularly extras such as upgrades to more families, to budget in advance. superior cabins, free car parking Carnival Cruises After all, as food and even at UK departure ports, reduced BBC Pictures some drinks are free of charge supplements for single cruisers, along with entertainment, kids onboard credits and even free clubs and most onboard activi- ■ Most onboard activities and facilities are flights on some fly-cruises. the most sought-after ties there isn’t much extra to included in the price of a cruise Another big bonus is that tak- companions that Britons want fork out for. ing a Mediterranean cruise on a to cruise with are James Bond “This is a good time for us to week cruise to the Canaries, British cruise line such as P&O star Daniel Craig, actress Julie explain the fantastic value of a with all the meals and entertain- Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Walters,TV hostess Myleene cruise to consumers,” said Phil ment, to two weeks in a four-star Lines or Thomson Cruises Klass and BBC QI host Nuttall, director of Blackpool- hotel in Tenerife. And remem- means you can explore Europe Stephen Fry (above). based cruise travel agency the ber, if it rains what is there to do without getting hammered by Cruise Village. in a hotel compared to a cruise the strong euro as the currency More Brits are cruising than “Compare the price of a two- ship with all the organised activ- on these ships is in sterling. ever before, according to the Family favourites latest figures from cruising body, the Passenger Shipping Association, which showed that nearly 1.5 million took A a cruise nyone who thinks cruis- last year. es are just for fuddy- ■ Cruise ships RCI now boast some If you want duddies should think of the best to gen up again. children’s facilities on cruises, More and more families are you will find take a look at the Passenger discovering the attractions of Shipping Association’s newly- spending their holidays afloat revamped website Discover and cruise companies have Cruises at www.discover- invested millions of pounds in cruises.co.uk. It has details gleaming new ships that boast of the major cruise lines, plus some of the best children’s information about different facilities you’ll find. cruising destinations around But passengers need to the world. make sure they choose family- friendly ships – once they do If you’ve never cruised it’s plain sailing. before, why not try a four- Royal Caribbean night short break offered by International is launching a Holland America Line push to attract even more fami- (www.hollandamerica.com) lies by improving its Adventure on July 6 from Dover to Ocean youth programme and RCI Zeebrugge, Cherbourg and expanding children’s dining back to Dover. It costs from options. £379. It has also started a Babies 2 organic baby food, wipes and sengers – delivered to the fami- Go programme providing nappies for its youngest pas- ly’s cabin on arrival. 32 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 29. Close encounters A visit to the western part of Canada’s Newfoundland saw Peter Ellegard come across whales, moose, Vikings, an iceberg and TV star Billy Connolly – not to mention Peter Ellegard ■ Humpback whale breaching jaw-dropping scenery off Quirpon Island T he Atlantic rollers crashed one whale – but two, side by side. friend,” one of my companions – a lady – into the base of the cliffs far Quirpon is a windswept dot off the far wryly noted, adding: “Typical!” below us, throwing up blue- north of Canada’s most easterly landmass, the We watched the whales continue their jour- white spume to contrast the island of Newfoundland. This is where the ney past us and on towards the lighthouse and slate-grey ocean. Thankfully, world’s largest population of humpback headland, with one breaching and the other the mist and drizzle which whales, 5,000 of them, pass on their annual gracefully breaking the surface every so often. had cloaked Quirpon Island the previous migration. I raced back through the rock gullies, past the night had been chased away by the brisk beacon and one-time lighthouse keepers’ cot- August wind, against which my fellow Iceberg Alley tage, now an inn and where we were staying, explorers and I were protected by several lay- Just weeks earlier, these same waters had wit- to reach a rocky ledge just above the shoreline. ers of warm clothing. nessed another amazing spectacle. During The whales had already swum by but were so We had clambered across lichen-covered late spring and early summer, huge icebergs close I felt I could almost touch them. rocks to reach the high promontory from shed by Arctic glaciers are carried past the Converted into accommodation in the where we now scanned the waves with binoc- Newfoundland coast along what is called 1990s when the lighthouse was automated, the ulars. Looking back, the green lamp of the “Iceberg Alley”, coming so close to Quirpon inn is a cosy refuge from the elements in one white and red lighthouse on the island’s north- at times they get stranded in its bays. As they of the most amazing settings imaginable. You ern tip glowed brightly in the still-gloomy drift south, they meet the whales heading can watch for whales and ice- morning light. The leaden sky also made it north. bergs from your bedroom win- hard to spot our quarry as we gazed out to sea. As our two whales approached us one dow, or sit in the special view- Then in the distance, my eye was caught by began breaching – spectacularly leaping out ing hut set on the cliff edge a telltale spout. I focused my camera’s zoom of the sea with its flippers outstretched and its with its floor-to- lens on the spot and, sure enough, moments belly uppermost – to land in a massive splash ceiling win- later a jet of spray erupted from the water, fol- alongside its partner, the noise reverberating lowed in quick succession by another. off the cliff. “That’s got to be a male “Thar she blows!” I yelled, excitedly. At showing off to least, I meant to. I think it came out as just a his girl- strangulated: “Tha…” And in fact, it wasn’t 34 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 30. Off the Beaten Track NEWFOUNDLAND Did you know? Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism ● Newfoundland & Labrador together form Canada’s youngest province, joining in 1949. ● The province is as large as Japan and has its own time zone, GMT -3.5 hours. ● Provincial capital St John’s is on the same latitude as Paris. ● The Flat Earth Society claims that Newfoundland is one of the four corners of the world. ● The Vikings established a settlement in Newfoundland in 998 at a site now called L’Anse aux Meadows. ● Explorer John Cabot named it “New Founde Land” when he set foot on it in 1497. ● Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission Peter Ellegard from England at St John’s ■FBilly Connolly and latter day Viking in Newfoundland Signal Hill. dows. Above it, the helipad is great for view- cloudberries everywhere else, they were won- Newfoundland English with ing in good weather. derfully sweet and juicy. words found nowhere else. For Eight of us had arrived the previous after- example, tickle is a narrow noon after a precarious trip, our boat climbing Traditional dinner saltwater strait: hence the watery mountain peaks before plunging into At the inn our friendly co-hostess, Madonna, Dark Tickle Company, which deep valleys. It had to dock some distance served up a traditional Jiggs’ dinner of salt harvests the local berries as away in Pigeon Cove, leaving us a half-hour beef, boiled potatoes and cabbage and then jams and jellies. Even pro- hike across the boggy island interior. Along regaled us with tales of the island. I could nunciation is a world apart, the way, our captain and guide, Jerry, point- have listened to her talk for hours, for her as in Quirpon being pro- ed out small orange berries growing by wonderful local accent and the idiosyncratic nounced Kharpoon. the track. Called bakeapples up Newfoundland dialect. So unique is its lan- Having bade a sad here in Newfoundland, but guage that there is even a Dictionary of farewell and trudged back to the boat, the return jour- ney was just as memorable Peter Ellegard ■FWalkers at Quirpon M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 35
  • 31. Ice, ice baby Newfoundland affords some of the best opportunities to see icebergs close-up. These 5,000-year-old cathedrals of ice take two years to reach Newfoundland after calving from Greenland glaciers, Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism drifting on the cold Labrador Current along “Iceberg Alley” – the Titanic struck a berg 400 miles south of the island in 1912. Icebergs come in all shapes and sizes – from 10-million-ton giants to piano-sized ■FIceberg watching “growlers” and “bergy bits” – and their blue-white appearance is from frozen meltwater while part of the parent glacier. can take boat tours, watch from vantage which migrate along Newfoundland’s Almost 90% of icebergs are under water. points such as Quirpon Island or go coast, its waters are visited by 28 other Berg-watching season is late spring and kayaking to see both. marine mammal species including blue early summer, when the whales visit.You Besides the 5,000 or so humpbacks whales, orcas (killer whales) and dolphins. as the one out. Not just for the rollercoaster one of the “Vikings” on camera. With their way there, save for a cross-island stretch of waves, but also for bow-waving dolphins, a matching bushy beards, the pair could have road to the east coast which I took for an humpback alongside us and another which been brothers. overnight stay at the gloriously-situated breached right behind the boat. Tuckamore Lodge, near Main Brook. It was That whale experience was not my only Silly billy only the day before Quirpon, but I had notable close encounter on the trip. The inn’s Having gone inside the longhouse to take pic- watched the sun setting over the adjoining owner, local tour operator Ed English, was tures, I saw Billy standing just beyond the door lake, beer in hand, in shirtsleeves. Such is the waiting as we docked. He was heading there as I walked back out – distracting me so that I fickle nature of the weather up here. to help prepare it for the arrival of comedian didn’t notice the low doorway. The cracking Talking of nature, I also encountered my Billy Connolly and a TV crew, who were vis- sound when my head made contact must have first Newfoundland moose that day. You are iting as part of filming a series tracing the been loud, as he came over to see if I was OK. almost bound to see them as you travel Northwest Passage route. I felt a real silly billy! But hearing my Essex around. With more than 110,000, the island I had a strange feeling I would bump into accent, he guessed I wasn’t a Newfie and we has more moose per square mile than any- him that day, and I did – almost literally. got chatting. I told him I knew he was going to where else in the world. I would see another The only authenticated Viking settlement Quirpon and whetted his appetite about the five during my visit. in North America, L ’Anse aux Meadows is a whales, and the hairy boat trip. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whereas Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula is VikingTrail Quirpon is striking for its cliffs, crashing awash with reminders of its Nordic settlers. The Viking Trail is a route to savour, dotted by waves and spectacular visitors, this is a bleak Close to L ’Anse aux Meadows, the Norstead picture-perfect fishing villages, harbours and yet hauntingly-beautiful coastal spot of undu- living history site has demonstrations of Norse drop-dead gorgeous views of the Gulf of St lating grassland and stunted fir trees. lifestyle and a mid-summer Viking Festival in Lawrence. In the distance, off the coast of The Vikings didn’t stay long before late July. The Norseman Restaurant is worth a Labrador, I even spotted an iceberg – a flat- returning to Greenland. Today, the recreated stop for its tasty fare, which includes Caribou. topped monster resembling a white supertanker. Norse settlement features a longhouse with I had driven almost 500km up the west But the west coast’s crowning glory is Gros costumed interpreters. It was here that I coast of Newfoundland, travelling on Route Morne National Park, another UNESCO site. came across Billy Connolly, interviewing 430, known as the Viking Trail. It is the only It is a natural wonderland, with awe-inspiring geological features such as the stark Tablelands, Gros Morne Mountain and Western Brook Pond, a glacier-carved fjord with 2,000-foot-high walls where you can take a sightseeing cruise, and wildlife such as moose, caribou and bears. The park envelops communities including the coastal village of Trout River, with its quaint timber houses, lines of brightly- Peter Ellegard coloured, knitted socks and gloves, and wood- ■FThe Viking Trail – today en boardwalk lining the crescent-shaped beach. Three youngsters were braving the 36 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 33. Newfoundland facts When to go May to September is the island’s tourist season. In summer, daytime temperatures can reach 20ºC but the weather is very changeable, so be prepared and take layers of warm clothing as well as waterproofs. Also take sunscreen and mosquito repellent. In winter, you can go skiing at Marble Mountain Resort, near Deer Lake, as well as snowmobiling and ice fishing. Getting there Air Canada (www.aircanada.com) serves Deer Lake and St John’s airports via transatlantic gateways including Toronto. Peter Ellegard Getting around ■ Colourful socks at Trout River Renting a car is the best way to see Newfoundland. But you need to book well in advance to guarantee a car, Peter Ellegard especially in high season. Rental companies include Avis freezing water to go swimming with body- (www.avis.co.uk).Watch out for moose while driving. boards, making me shiver. They obviously Accommodation breed them tough in these parts. Hotels are smaller than in other areas of Canada, but are good quality and Taking in the view from my room at the often family-run.Western Newfoundland options include Quirpon hillside Red Mantle Inn, in Shoal Brook, I Lighthouse Inn (www.linkumtours.com/site/inns_quirpon.htm), watched clouds spill over the top of Gros Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook (www.tuckamorelodge.com) and Red Morne Mountain across Bonne Bay inlet Mantle Lodge in Shoal Brook (www.redmantlelodge.ca).Villas at while the dawn sun lit up a three-masted Humber Valley can be rented from Visit Humber Valley schooner moored at Woody Point. I drove into (www.visithumbervalley.com). the town and got chatting to a visiting Harley- Tour operators Davidson biker and his family as we admired Frontier Canada (www.frontier-canada.co.uk/newfoundland) offers the vista, before photographing the wooden several packages to western Newfoundland and a wide range of product lighthouse on a ridge above town. throughout the island. Other operators include 1st Class Holidays (www.1stclassholidays.com), Audley Travel (www.audleytravel.com), Romantic sunset Canadian Affair (www.canadianaffair.com),Titan HiTours Across the inlet, I visited pretty Neddy (www.titantravel.co.uk),Tailor Made Travel (www.tailor-made.co.uk) Harbour and Norris Point, and tucked into and Windows on the Wild (www.windowsonthewild.com). fish and chips at Rocky Harbour after a beau- Tourist information tiful dusk – preceded by a truly romantic sun- Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism: Peter Ellegard set at nearby Sally’s Cove. Hugged by a tree- www.newfoundlandlabrador.com covered bluff and flanked by some fisher- Western Newfoundland & Southern Labrador: men’s huts with boats hauled up alongside, www.westernnl.com this deserted strip of boulder-edged beach is to die for. And it nearly was for some. Ed English’s grandfather famously ran the SS Ethie ashore here in a hurricane in 1919, from the horrors of that day. tub at Humber Valley Resort, a lovely leisure saving all 92 aboard. Rusting remnants of the I ended my trip where I had started it, at complex with a superb golf course, spa and a vessel were being washed over by gentle Deer Lake airport, just half an hour from Gros beach on which I sat and drank beer in front waves on the rocky shoreline in the setting sun Morne park. My first few days had been spent of a log fire with a Swiss mother and daughter on my visit, in a tranquil scene far removed in a luxury villa complete with outdoor hot from a neighbouring villa. Sadly, Humber Valley’s parent company went into administration soon after and the ■ Woody Point and Gros Morne Mountain resort closed, ending direct charter flights from the UK. With the Humber River being one of the world’s finest salmon fishing rivers and Gros Morne’s glories on its doorstep, it can only be a matter of time before the resort rises again. In any event, I will cherish the memories of this very special island. If anywhere could claim to be a slice of heaven on earth, Newfoundland is surely it. Peter Ellegard ● The DVD, Billy Connolly – Journey to the Edge of the World, is available from stores and online merchants, priced £19.99. TL 38 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 35. COMPETITION WIN a seven- day holiday to Newfoundland for two people, worth £4,000! Courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, Frontier Canada and Air Canada F ollow in the footsteps of Vikings and win a fantastic seven-day holiday for two to the eastern- quent sightings of wildlife such as bears, cari- most part of Canada, the natural bou and moose. You can also hike along pris- wonderland island of tine coastal trails, climb Gros Morne Mountain, Newfoundland. or explore the charming and colourful fishing Your prize will include Air Canada flights to villages tucked into quiet bays and coves. Deer Lake, gateway to the unparalleled natural You will then drive north to St Anthony, beauty of Gros Morne National Park, a which will be your base for the next three UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island’s nights, allowing you to explore the recreated west coast. You will spend three nights in the Viking settlement at L ’Anse aux Meadows, park where you can take a boat ride on the another UNESCO World Heritage Site at the spectacular glacier-carved, land-locked Western northern tip of Newfoundland, and take a Brook Pond fjord, seeing waterfalls cascading whale or iceberg watching tour. The Viking from 2,000 feet, billion-year-old cliffs, and fre- Trail encompasses a medley of communities Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism / Barrett and MacKay Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism ■ Kayak up to giant icebergs ■ Lobster feast 40 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 36. How to enter For your chance to win this fabulous prize trip to Newfoundland, just answer this question: Question: What is the name of Newfoundland's Viking settlement site? To enter please go to www.choicetravelinfo.com and click on the competitions & giveaways button. Closing date is June 30, 2009.The first correct entry drawn will win. dotting the coastline along the Great Northern Peninsula, such as Main Brook, St Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism / Barrett and MacKay Port au Choix, Conche and Rocky Harbour – all of which have a part to play in Newfoundland’s Viking saga which began over 1,000 years ago. There will also be a chance to extend the holiday (at your own cost) and stay in the lighthouse keepers’ cottage on magical Quirpon Island, where Billy Connolly stayed in his Journey to the Edge of the World series ■ Glacial-carved fjords in on ITV From there you can watch migrating . Gros Morne National Park humpback whales and towering icebergs at close quarters, depending on the time of year. Your last night will be in Corner Brook, at the mouth of the Humber River – one of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism / Barrett and MacKay best rivers in North America for fishing wild Atlantic salmon. The holiday will also include a rental compact car for seven days. Newfoundland is a stunning destination – and specialist tour operator Frontier Canada knows it well. Visit their website, www. frontier-canada.co.uk/newfoundland, for lots of holiday ideas and packages. You can also email them on canada@frontier- ■ L'Anse aux travel.co.uk or telephone 020 8776 8709 for Meadows Viking site further advice and bookings. TL incomplete entries. promotion accept no liability for any loss, damage Terms & conditions 5.This competition is open to all UK residents over or injury caused by, or to, the prizewinner or their the age of 18, other than employees of Frontier guest, or their property whilst taking the prize. 1.The prize includes two return economy-class tickets Travel, Air Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador 9. Passports and any required visas are not included in from London Heathrow to Deer Lake, Tourism and Travel & Leisure Magazines, their the prize but are a requirement of booking the Newfoundland, including all known taxes, seven families, agents and anyone connected with the holiday and must be obtained by the winner prior nights’ room-only accommodation as specified draw. to travel. based on two people sharing and seven days’ basic 6.Winners must adhere to Frontier Travel’s standard 10. Dates of travel subject to availability. rental of a compact car.The holiday can be booking conditions, available on request. 11.There are no cash alternatives available and the extended, at the winner’s expense. 7.The prize is exclusive of transfers to UK airports, prize is non-transferable. 2. No purchase necessary. connecting flights to London Heathrow and any 12.The promoters are not responsible for any delay 3.The closing date for entries is June 30, 2009 and the services other than those mentioned. or cancellation of any element of the prize or for winner will be notified by email shortly after.The 8. Holiday insurance is not included in the prize. any inability of the prizewinner or their guest to judges' decision is final. No correspondence will be Adequate travel insurance must be in place to take up the prize. entered into. cover the winner and guest.The partners in this 13.The prize is valid for 12 months from June 30, 2009. 4.We cannot accept responsibility for any lost or M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 41
  • 37. All photos: Great Rail Journeys I From left to right: the Ghan, Palace on Wheels, and Coast Starlight passing Mount Shasta Going loco Whether you want to relive the golden age of trains or experience stunning scenery in effortless comfort, rail holidays are the perfect antidote to today’s stressful world. And as Dave Richardson reports, there are plenty of tempting loco motives… M y most guilty train train travel in the 1980s, when the BBC experience came one screened its first Great Railway Journeys morning as I enjoyed of the World programme. Some people have a champagne break- ticked off every journey in the four series, fast on the British following in the tracks of Michael Palin, Pullman while pass- Clive Anderson & co. ing through the London suburbs. Downcast You don’t have to be a champagne- commuters gazed enviously as I raised a guzzling wannabe aristocrat, as there glass, before piling into their are several styles of rail holiday. You sardine cans. can spend over £5,000 on a trip I felt like royalty. Ever just around Scotland, or rough it since I steamed off as a child with ordinary folk taking their on the Red Rose express from chickens to market. Most journeys Liverpool, I’ve been fascinated by fall somewhere in between, either trains and travelled as far as Australia on privately-operated tourist trains to ride in them. But there are still or reserved carriages on national rail many famous trains I’ve yet to try, networks. and the range grows every year to satisfy public demand to travel in style. Land cruises Orient-Express, operator of several Many tour operators are now involved, luxury trains including the British although there are only a few rail spe- Pullman, brought back the golden era of cialists. No wonder these holidays are 42 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 38. ?? ? ? let’s TRY… RAIL EXPERIENCES sometimes described as land cruises, as they share many characteristics including a leisurely pace to enjoy the views, sumptuous food and “shore” excursions. On some trains you sleep onboard in cabins which convert to seated accommodation by day; others oper- ate day trips only, or with accommodation in hotels. An example of the latter is Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer (www.rockymoun taineer.com), its main route being between Banff and Vancouver with one night spent in Kamloops. Gold Leaf class passengers enjoy I The Golden Pass Line train the best views in glass Dome Carriages, as the train crosses the Rockies and descends to the Pacific or vice versa. Australia’s most iconic trains criss-cross this vast country – the Indian Pacific from west to east (Perth to Sydney); and the Ghan from north to south (Darwin to Adelaide, via Alice Springs) (both www.gsr.com.au). ‘You don’t have to be a champagne- guzzling wannabe aristocrat’ The Ghan was named after the Afghan camel herders who first beat a path into the Outback, and the route was extended from Alice Springs to Darwin as recently as 2004. You sleep onboard these trains, with staff converting the seats into beds as you dine. You can have a reclining seat rather than a sleeper berth, but that’s not recom- mended on long journeys (68 hours from Perth to Sydney!) when you’ve reached a certain age. Whistle stops The scenery is not as attractive as in Canada, but the bar and lounge carriages are con- I The spectacular Flam vivial and some of the journey is in dark- Railway in Norway ness. “Whistle Stop” excursions are avail- May/June 2009 The Travel & Leisure Magazine 43
  • 39. Luxury trains I Orient-Express British Pullman carriages being hauled by the Flying Scotsman steam engine in Great Wishford, Wiltshire All photos: Orient-Express Hotels,Trains & Cruises Orient-Express (www.orient- express.com) was the modern day pioneer of luxury rail travel, reviving a name made famous by Agatha Christie and which epitomises the decadent lifestyle of the rich in the 1920s. It revived the original name but not the Ron Bambridge original route, as most trains operate from Calais to Paris and Venice with the I Lunch on the Northern Belle connecting British Pullman from London to Folkestone. One departure this year, on August 27, operates on the old route from Paris to Istanbul. On Orient-Express trains you are expected to dress smartly for dinner, with jacket and tie a minimum requirement for gentlemen. On the European train, many opt for a dinner jacket although this is not compulsory. Both this and the Eastern & I The Royal Scotsman I Eastern & Oriental Ian Lloyd Oriental Express, from Bangkok to – passengers relaxing Express – drinks in in the lounge the observation car Singapore, are sleeper trains. A good way of seeing if luxury train travel is for you is to try a day trip, usually sleeper train, carrying a maximum of 36 follow the same successful formula, such as to a stately home or event, or possibly just passengers on scenic itineraries north of South Africa’s Blue Train, India’s Palace on a round trip for lunch. Orient-Express the border, with private visits to castles Wheels and the Golden Eagle Trans operates both the British Pullman and and distilleries. Minimum price is £1,840 Siberian Express. But in most cases they Northern Belle, with departures from all-inclusive for a three-day trip from use modern carriages, whereas Orient- stations throughout Britain. Edinburgh. Express has truly brought back the great Top of the range is its Royal Scotsman Several luxury trains around the world trains of yesteryear. able along the way, including the ghost town In India, the only comfortable way to trav- Moscow with Siberia, Mongolia and China. of Cook in South Australia (on the Indian el overland is by train, so why not travel like a GW Travel (www.gwtravel.co.uk) oper- Pacific) whose population is just four. Maharaja in the Palace on Wheels ates a private train called the Golden Eagle The Blue Train (www.bluetrain.co.za) (www.palaceonwheels.net)? This also has on the Trans Siberian route, and also offers is a luxury experience running from Pretoria cabins onboard, operating a circular tour from tours on the Pride of Africa, Canadian to Cape Town in South Africa, with cabins Delhi via Jaipur, Jodhpur and Agra, for the Empress, Deccan Odyssey (India) and onboard and an observation lounge at the Taj Mahal. Shangri-La Express (China/Tibet). rear for uninterrupted views. There are sev- A very different experience awaits on the eral other trains in southern Africa, includ- Trans Siberian Express across Russia, and Service trains ing the Pride of Africa, which takes a longer there is now a luxury alternative to the Many of the most popular rail holidays are on route between the same cities. rough-and-ready service train that links regular service trains, but on an escorted tour 44 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 40. All photos: Great Rail Journeys everything is done for you while you interact can start their trip more with “ordinary” passengers and the often- with Eurostar from London St Pancras to bustling scene at stations. Popular trains in the Paris or Brussels. US include the Coast Starlight (Seattle-Los The Alpine countries are especially popular, Angeles) and Southwest Chief (Chicago-Los with Switzerland’s Glacier Express Angeles) operated by Amtrak (www.glacierexpress.ch) narrow-gauge train (www.amtrak.com), while the Copper Canyon offering a lovely trip between Zermatt and St railway in Mexico is another very scenic run Moritz via the Oberalp Pass (6,670 feet). This (Chihuahua-Los Mochis). is a day trip, and one of several scenic Swiss In Europe most holidays are on regular lines that can be combined on a rail holiday. service trains, but standards are high and I A waiter on South Africa's Blue Train Norway also has some very scenic rail- people who want go green or avoid flying ways, including Oslo to Bergen with a side trip on the Flam Railway (www.flaams bana.no/eng) – one of the world’s most Rail Holidays facts steeply-graded routes which descends to a fjord. It can be combined with the Arctic Sample prices: Circle Express, a sleeper train to Narvik fea- Great Rail Journeys (01904 527110, tured in the BBC documentary Joanna www.greatrail.com), the biggest specialist, has Worldwide Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights. and European brochures plus a lower priced Treyn Holidays programme.The six-day Glacier Express & Swiss Highlights Closer to home tour by Treyn costs from £695. You can enjoy scenic rail journeys much closer Titan HiTours (0800 988 5853, www.titanhitours.co.uk) is one of the to home, especially in the Scottish Highlands operators featuring the Blue Train in South Africa. A 14-day holiday including which you can reach by sleeper from London. two days onboard costs from £3,275. The highlights are the West Highland route A one-way, two-day trip on the Orient-Express from London to Venice from Fort William to Mallaig – where the costs from £1,550 (0845 077 2222, www.orient-express.com). A day trip steam-operated Jacobite train (www.west from London to Bath costs from £285. coastrailways.co.uk) operates most days Railtrail (01538 382323, www.railtrail.co.uk) operates a seven-day from June 27-August 30 – and the “Road to Queen of Scots tour using service trains, including the Jacobite steam train the Isles” from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. (pictured below) and Kyle line, from £979. Kyle is where my love affair with scenic railways began, as I gazed across to Skye Other useful contacts: and realised that the sea was crystal clear Ffestiniog Travel – See the World by Rail (01766 unlike in my home town of Liverpool. And I 772030, www.festtravel.co.uk) got there before Michael Palin! TL GW Travel (0161 928 9410, www.gwtravel.co.uk) Explore (0844 499 0901, www.explore.co.uk) French Travel Service (0844 84 888 43, www.f-t-s.co.uk) An interest in railways led Dave Richardson International Rail (08700 841410; www.internationalrail.com) into travel and transport writing 30 years ago. Going to his first engine sheds and acquiring Railbookers (0844 482 1010; www.railbookers.com) his first model railway at nine, he has been slipping down the gradient ever since. 46 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 41. Coming Next Subscribe and WIN Subscribe to The Travel & Leisure Magazine now to win a FREE travel guide Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey FREE travel guide for the first 5 new subscribers... Fill in the subscription form below to get The Travel & Leisure Magazine delivered to your door every two months – be one of the first 5 new subscribers and you will receive a travel guide worth at least £10 Don’t miss out on the July/August 2009 issue of Plus – you can win fabulous holidays and other prizes Plus – great reader giveaways and special offers How to order Simply call our Credit Card Order Line 020 8477 1529 (9am–5pm Monday to Friday) and quote reference T&L0509 OR complete the coupon below and send it, with your payment, to: GET TO KNOW Travel & Leisure Magazines Ltd. First Floor, 103 Cranbrook Road, Ilford, Essex THAILAND Starwood Hotels and Resorts IG1 4PU – Your subscription will start with the July/August 2009 issue. South-east Asian beauty THE TRAVEL & LEISURE MAGAZINE TEE UP IN SPECIAL SUBSCRIPTION OFFER – MURCIA 6 issues for just £6 Save 50% Spain’s fastest-growing golf region Polaris World ■ I would like a subscription MY DETAILS ON YOUR DOORSTEP Mr/Mrs/Miss/Other Initial Surname Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey The Channel Islands: Address close to home but with a unique French flavour Postcode Telephone (optional) E-mail Date of birth (optional) OFF THE BEATEN Please ensure you have completed the details as payee on the form above TRACK I wish to pay by (please tick) Reference T&L0509 South Africa’s Kwazulu- ■ Cheque/Postal Order for £ Peter Ellegard Natal – historic Cheques payable to: battlefields, safaris and Travel & Leisure Magazine Ltd. Please print your name and address on more the back of your cheque. ■ Please charge £ to my credit/charge card (please tick below) LET’S TRY Visa ■ MasterCard ■ Delta ■ Switch ■ Holidays by coach Card number ESCAPE TO Expiry date Valid from Vilnius – European Capital of Culture Issue number (Switch only) Security code (Last 3 digits on signature panel) PLUS all our other regular features, Signature special offers, competitions and giveaways Date Please tick here if you do not wish to receive promotional offers from other companies ■ M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 47
  • 42. Perfect days in the home of golf With over 500 courses, Scotland offers golfers the perfect golfing escape. A recent visit took Peter Ellegard to the “undiscovered” Aberdeenshire coast and on to where it all began – St Andrews T he benign North Sea waves were gently caressing the wide, sandy beach to my right with a rhythmical mur- mur as I stood on the 7th tee at Aberdeen’s Murcar Links and lined up my drive. Ahead, the hole plunged down to a fairway criss-crossed by the two-pronged Serpentine burn and edged by a huge dune thickly carpeted in bright yellow gorse. My ears were still ringing from the warn- ing of a playing partner, a near-as-damn-it scratch golfer native to north-east Scotland, when we were climbing up to the tee box of the 423-yard, par-4 hole. “This is one of the hardest holes of golf in Scotland,” he had said. My drive somehow went arrow-straight, soaring high into the cloudless sky and end- ing in prime position on the fairway. Amazingly, my next shot was also a peach, coming up just short of the green and setting Peter Ellegard up a chip to secure a rare par. Rare for a 23 handicapper, that is. I Drive time at Cruden Bay It was the highlight of my round. But the real stars were the wonderful but testing old beginning of April, and yet we were in shirt- gem of a course set right on the coast, its links course – which celebrates its centenary sleeves as though it was mid-summer. To present layout dates back to 1926 although this year and which uses the contours of the borrow Visit Scotland’s new promotion slo- golf is reputed to have been played here sandhills to create a delightfully natural lay- gan, it was a perfect day for golf. since 1791. out with superb views from its elevated tees Similar balmy weather had greeted us the But our luck ran out the following day at – and the astonishing weather. This was the previous day at nearby Cruden Bay. Another the prestigious Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. 48 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 43. Pack your CLUBS SCOTLAND Golf at St Andrews Golf has been played at St Andrews for Peter Ellegard at least six centuries. I The 18th hole on the The St Andrews Links land was Old Course at St Andrews granted to the people of the town in 1123 by King David I for them to use for recreation. By 1457 golf had become so popular, King James II issued a warrant banning it because he was worried it was distracting his men from archery practice. The Society of St Andrews Golfers was established in 1754 to organise an annual competition. It became the Royal & Ancient Golf Club 80 years later.The Open was first staged at St Andrews in 1873; it returns to the Old Course in 2010 for the 28th time. Today, St Andrews Links is still public land. It consists of seven courses, five Peter Ellegard of them 18 holes, plus a nine-hole course.Three of them, including the I Dalhousie Castle New Course, are over 100 years old. Others include highly-rated Kingsbarns A chilly fog had blown in overnight off the ferent clubhouse, and sheepishly had to get and recent addition, the Castle Course. North Sea, shrouding everything in a murky a taxi back to Royal Aberdeen to retrieve All are run by the charitable St embrace and steadily soaking us with the their car. Andrews Links Trust. drizzle being borne on the fresh breeze. The Both Royal Aberdeen and Murcar are just weather could not have been more different. five minutes by road from Scotland’s third Yet Royal Aberdeen lies cheek-by-jowl with city and Europe’s oil capital, Aberdeen. Yet eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and is Murcar, to the point where as you make the this beautiful, rugged coastal stretch of gorse the sixth oldest golf club in the world. turn after the front nine and head back to the and heather-covered sandhills – where Historic relics adorn its clubhouse, and golf- clubhouse you walk by Murcar’s 4th tee. American tycoon Donald Trump has won ing history permeates the air. You could easily carry on playing the permission to build his huge, controversial Golf's five-minute rule was first intro- adjacent course if you weren’t paying atten- Trump International Golf Links golf course, duced here, in 1783, setting golfers a time tion. Indeed, we were told that a group of housing and luxury hotel project – is a world limit of five minutes to find their ball before Americans had done just that while playing away from the hustle and bustle of the it is declared lost. It was a rule I did not Royal Aberdeen a few years ago. Instead of Granite City. bother taking advantage of each time my turning for the back nine, they accidentally Originally founded in 1780 as the Society ball disappeared into a clump of gorse, my continued onto Murcar’s holes – only realis- of Golfers at Aberdeen, the Royal Aberdeen lack of ability having been found out by the ing their mistake when they finished at a dif- Golf Club incorporated the society on the tough, tight Balgownie Links layout and the M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 49
  • 44. Did you know? G Scotland was named Destination of the Year in the annual industry awards held by top-selling golf magazine, Today’s Golfer, beating the Algarve and Ireland. G The Old Course is a public course. Anyone can play, provided they have a handicap of 24 for men and 36 for ladies. G The Royal & Ancient Golf Club’s clubhouse is not open to visitors, and women guests are only welcomed on St Andrew’s Day. G Limited tee times on the Old Course Peter Ellegard can be booked, up to a year in advance. I Gleneagles G Most golfers get tee times through the daily ballot, by calling the St Andrews Links Trust (01334 466666) on the miserable, dreaky conditions. Airport, has a distillery which has been pro- morning before they want to play.The This was my first visit to Aberdeenshire; ducing single malt Scotch whisky for more ballot results are posted on previous golfing forays north of the border than 200 years. Part of Japanese-owned www.standrews.org.uk had taken me to the west coast and around Morrison Bowmore, the Glen Garioch dis- G Individual players can also queue at central Scotland. I had joined a group trip tillery (www.glengarioch.co.uk) has had a the starter’s hut to join a two-ball or discovering the golf delights and other chequered history and reopened for produc- three-ball game. attractions of the Grampian region coast tion as recently as 1997, having been closed before going off by myself to revisit one of two years earlier. my favourite areas, the Trossachs, followed Guided tours are offered daily from which produces some of Scotland’s finest by a long overdue pilgrimage to golf’s Holy 10am-3pm, Monday to Friday, including shortbread biscuits, using recipes created by Grail – St Andrews. whisky tasting. Our tour guide pointed out Helen Dean in her kitchen in the 1970s. Her Less celebrated than many of Scotland’s some village buildings downwind of the dis- son, Bill, runs the factory today. other courses, this Aberdeen trio is as fine a tillery’s huge, now-redundant chimneys Aberdeen makes a great base to play the collection of golf links as you will find any- which he told us once housed the local alco- area's courses, with fine eateries including where. And the city and surrounding area hol rehabilitation centre. Talk about being the Albyn, offering French-Scottish cuisine. has much else to offer besides. cruel to be kind. The Marcliffe Hotel is a five-star sanctuary This part of Scotland is synonymous with Another tradition in the area is short- in the city with a putting green to practice on whisky-making and the Highland village of bread; you can tour the factory of family-run before your round and a spa to ease aching Old Meldrum, just 12 miles from Aberdeen Dean’s of Huntly (www.deans.co.uk), muscles afterwards.. After Aberdeen, I headed south to revisit Gleneagles, one of my favourite golf resorts Golf galore and venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. This With more than 500 courses, Scotland grand old lady, set in 850 acres of beautiful has golf galore wherever you look. Perthshire countryside an hour’s drive from Besides those I played on my trip, there Edinburgh and Glasgow, was built 85 years are some household names which host ago. A recent £70 million makeover has the Open. Among them are Carnoustie, included the addition of a new wing with 59 where Jean van der Velde famously went rooms, many featuring balconies and cosy paddling and lost the title, Prestwick, fires, and 10 luxury Spirit suites. Troon and Muirfield. There are three courses at Gleneagles. Another Open host course is The Ryder Cup will be played on the newest Turnberry, which reopens after major of them, the PGA Centenary Course (for- renovations in time to stage the 2009 merly the Monarch’s Course) which was cre- Open, from July 16-19. ated by Jack Nicklaus. On my previous visit Other top courses include the likes of I had played the Queen’s, enduring a night- Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Machrihanish and mare round straight after a video lesson at Loch Lomond. the golf academy and then witnessing a Recent additions have included Spey playing partner achieve that rarest of feats – Valley and the Castle Course in St a hole in one albatross on a par four. Peter Ellegard Andrews, while projects due to open On this occasion I took on the tougher soon include Machrihanish Dunes. I Murcar Links King’s. Getting the first tee time of the day, I had the course to myself, save for the 50 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 45. M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 51
  • 46. pheasants, curlews and deer which graced it throughout the round. It felt more like a wildlife ramble than a game of golf. Sadly, there was no time to try the resort’s many other leisure facilities, among them its chic Spa by ESPA and outdoor experiences such as off-road driving, shooting and fish- ing, falconry and an equestrian school. I took a break from golf to live like a laird Royal Aberdeen Golf Club for a day at Dalhousie Castle, a fabulous 13th century fortress south of Edinburgh I The 18th hole now part of the luxury von Essen Hotels at Royal Aberdeen group. While it has no golf course alongside, there are numerous courses in the area. There can’t be many hotels where you Scotland GOLF facts dine in a vaulted dungeon, with a suit of armour standing guard! Perfect golf breaks My final destination was St Andrews. Enjoy a perfect golf break in Scotland this year during the An important trading centre for many cen- Homecoming Scotland campaign, celebrating Robert Burns turies, the town oozes history from every Peter Ellegard 250th anniversary.Aberdeenshire, St Andrews and Perthshire are stone. A Greek monk is said to have among destinations to enjoy a golf break in the home of golf. brought the relics of St Andrew, who Tourist information became Scotland’s patron saint and whose For more information or to plan your break to Scotland, go to: saltire cross was adopted as the national www.visitscotland.com/perfectday or call 0845 22 55 121. For golf flag. Stately ruins tell of centuries of influ- information, go to: www.visitscotland.com/perfectgolf ence, power and strife. Getting there I played two rounds while at St Andrews. Flights operate from London region airports to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and My first was on the Kittocks Course at Glasgow.Trains also operate from Kings Cross on the National Express East Fairmont St Andrews, one of two courses at Coast line to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Leuchars (for St Andrews) and the luxury golf and spa resort which has just Gleneagles. undergone a £17 million refurbishment pro- Green fees/passes gramme – the other being the Torrance Green fees vary from course to course and by season. High season (May- Course, which reopens in July after major October) green fees for Royal Aberdeen are £100 weekdays/£120 redevelopment. The course hugs the cliff weekends. For the Old Course, high season costs £130 per round, and at edge, giving wonderful views to the town on Gleneagles, high season green fees for all three courses are £110 for some holes, and features double greens and residents and £155 for visitors. Passes are available for some areas of tough bunkers. Scotland. On my last day in Scotland I got to fulfil Golf tuition the dream all golfers harbour; a round on the You can hone your game alongside the Old Course at the St Andrews Links Golf most hallowed piece of turf in golf, the Old Academy (www.standrews.org.uk). It boasts one of Europe’s foremost practice Course. Having got my tee time from the and teaching facilities, with a 51-bay centre and video and digital swing analysis.The starter and joined a group of three golfers Gleneagles Golf Academy boasts a 320-yard, double-ended driving range. from Bristol, I nervously teed my ball up in front of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club – Courses Hotels the governing body for the rules of golf in Royal Aberdeen Golf Club The Marcliffe Hotel, most countries. The Marcliffe Hotel www.royalaberdeengolf.com Spa & Restaurant I’m not sure how, but I didn’t duff my www.marcliffe.com tee shot. Nerves got the better of me for Cruden Bay Golf Club much of the round but I did manage to play www.crudenbaygolfclub.co.uk Gleneagles a few good shots, including the daunting www.gleneagles.com drive on the 17th – the infamous Road Murcar Links Golf Club Hole – where you have to flirt with the old www.murcarlinks.com Dalhousie Castle railway sheds by the Old Course Hotel. I www.vonessenhotels.co.uk also managed to avoid Hell, the notorious Gleneagles and cavernous bunker on the 14th. And we www.gleneagles.com Fairmont St Andrews all stopped for the obligatory photo of each www.fairmont.com/standrews other standing on the famous humpbacked St Andrews Links Trust Swilcan Bridge, bathed in sunshine on the www.standrewsgolf.org 18th fairway. A perfect end to a memorable golf trip. TL 52 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 47. Little gem Isle of Wight Tourism Famed as much now for rock music as for royal heritage, and with adrenalin activities offering a counterpoint to its genteel resorts, the Isle of Wight has revamped its jaded bucket and spade image. One-time deckchair attendant Paul Erlam revisits the tiny, diamond-shaped island and finds it sparkling I t was once the ultimate bucket and spade resort, remembered fondly from family holidays or school trips. When I was a deckchair atten- dant in the 1960s families would return year after year to the same beach, even trying to bag the exact spot on the sand they had the previous year. When foreign holidays became accessi- ble and affordable the island’s resorts took on a “past their sell-by-date” air. Let’s put this politely: they looked a little frayed around the edges, in need of a good lick of paint. I have known the island all my life – I grew up there – and return regularly. The good news is that the island has definitely pulled its socks up. Sure, it is still a great place if building sandcastles and stretching out on a sunbed is your idea of an activity holiday. With its numerous long sandy beaches it could not help but be so. There is also beautiful countryside. Isle of Wight Tourism And it really does have the best of the country’s weather. Shanklin on the island’s ■ Walking the south-east coast has regularly held the Tennyson Trail record for most hours of sunshine. No won- 54 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 48. on yourD O O RSTEP ISLE OF WIGHT Isle of Wight Tourism ■ The Isle of Wight is famed for its sailing der it is known as the Sunshine Isle. ciate. You can get an intimate glimpse of You can sometimes stand on the island’s Queen Victoria’s private life just a few miles Did you know? downland in bright sunshine and see the from daredevils paragliding over cliffs or mainland, just a few miles away, cloaked in surfing waves. ● Nearly half the island’s 147 square grey clouds. So mild is the climate you will Residents and visitors agree the pace of miles have been designated Areas of see plants growing in Ventnor Botanical life slows down when you cross the Solent. Outstanding Natural Beauty. Garden on its southern tip found nowhere If you come by car, forget motorways. There ● Travel to the island and you may pass else in the country. aren’t any. There is one dual carriageway but 19th century forts in the Solent. it is no more than 300 yards long. Built at enormous cost with huge Contrasts Proud of its past, the island has adapted technical problems, they never fired But the Isle of Wight is more than just sand to the present demands of tourism without a shot in anger and were named and sun. Despite its size – just 13 miles by losing its charm – or its sense of history. after the Prime Minister who dreamt 22 – it is a place of contrasts. There is no better example than Dinosaur them up: Palmerston’s Follies. It is a place where Charles I and Jimi Isle at Sandown (www.dinosaurisle.com) ● Canned beer was first produced on Hendrix made their mark – for different rea- – a state-of-the-art museum showing fossils the island by a brewery at Newport sons, you will appre- and life-size reconstructions of dinosaurs. so it could be sent to troops in The island is the most important site for India. dinosaur remains in Europe ● The first hovercraft was developed thanks to erosion at East Cowes. Now the island is along the coast. one of the few places in Europe to Fast forward to be served by regular hovercraft services. ● Ryde Pier claims to be the first seaside pier in Britain.Today it is English Heritage terminus for the Island Line, on which old London Underground ■ Carisbrooke Castle trains run to Shanklin. M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 55
  • 49. Isle of Wight festivals Walking Festival The largest of its kind in Europe. Over 300 walks. Even a Speed Dating Walk. Isle of Wight Tourism May 9-24, throughout the island www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk Isle of Wight Festival ■ Bestival One of the major music festivals of the season. celebrating the island’s garlic growing International Charity Classic Car June 12-14, Newport industry, now a much bigger food festival. Show Extravaganza www.isleofwightfestival.com August 15-16, Arreton Everything from vintage vehicles to wacky www.garlic-festival.co.uk racers. Cowes Week September 19, Newport; and September World-class sailing – and much Bestival 20, Ryde partying. Quirky music festival with August 1-8, Cowes varied acts.This year’s dressing Cycling Festival www.cowesweek.co.uk up theme is Space. From a leisurely ride to the 14-hills September 11-13, Robin Hill challenge.Yes, as gruelling as its sounds. Garlic Festival Country Park, near Arreton September 19-27, locations across the island. Not to be sniffed at. Originally www.bestival.net www.sunseaandcycling.com Isle of Wight Tourism Roman times and superb remains of a villa Durbar Room, a reminder of when most of beaches loved by Victorians and Edwardians at Brading (www.bradingromanvilla. the world map was coloured red. are numerous and still attractive today. Among com) are described as one of the finest The royal couple’s love for the island cat- them are twin resorts Sandown and Shanklin, Romano-British archaeological sites in the apulted it from sleepy backwater to trendy where the long, sandy beaches are some of the UK with beautifully preserved mosaic floors resort. Think of a 19th century St Tropez or safest for swimming. Ventnor, the most and an extensive collection of coins, pottery Nice to which the rich and famous flocked. southerly resort, has a fine beach at low tide. and tools. People like the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, Freshwater Bay, in the west, is small, charm- the Victorian equivalent of a media star, ing but pebbly, while the sands of Colwell Bay Royal connections commemorated by Tennyson Down near and Totland are softer on the feet. Oh, and that earlier reference to Charles: Freshwater (there are spectacular views of Seaview is an upmarket seaside village 800-year-old Carisbrooke Castle is where the West Wight from here). His home, with a sailing tradition. Talking of sailing, the unfortunate king was imprisoned before Farringford, is now a hotel. Cowes is an international centre, home of the his execution. According to popular myth, Royal Yacht Squadron, probably the poshest he tried to flee only to get stuck in the win- Railways and seaside holidays yacht club in the land, and venue for Cowes dow through which he was trying to escape. If the royals did wonders for the island’s Week (www.cowesweek.co.uk) – one of the Houdini he was not. image, then the coming of the railways creat- premier events on the yacht racing calendar. The new Edwardian-inspired Princess ed the institution of the seaside holiday. The Alum Bay has a bit of a wow factor. It Beatrice Garden, celebrating Queen boasts cliffs of multi-coloured sands which Victoria’s daughter who was Governor of the as children we could collect in bottles. Amid Isle of Wight, opens in June at the castle, concerns for erosion and, I guess, health and which is one of the properties on the island safety, you can no longer do that – sand for administered by English Heritage sale is imported. But you get a spectacular (www.english-heritage.org.uk). view of the Needles, the much pho- Another is Osborne House, and this is tographed chalk stacks which have come a real gem. Queen Victoria fell in love to symbolise the island. with the island as a young princess, say- ing: “It is impossible to imagine a pret- Music festivals tier spot”. After her marriage to Prince A few miles away at Afton Down is a Albert, the couple built Osborne as a natural amphitheatre in the chalk country retreat. downs, and one of the original sites of Step inside today and it as though the music extravaganza the Isle of Wight couple have only recently left. Wander Festival. The third such festival, in 1970, through the Queen’s bedroom, the couple’s was the venue for the last show by one of study and the amazing Indian-themed rock’s greats – Jimi Hendrix – just a fort- Isle of Wight Tourism 56 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 51. night before his death. Others at early festi- vals included Bob Dylan, The Who and The Doors. Revived in recent years and now located near Newport, the island’s capital, the Isle of Wight Festival (www.isleofwight festival.com) is the first of the season in the UK festival calendar. Performers this June include The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx, Pendulum, The Ting Tings, The Stereophonics and Neil Young. English Heritage In recent years it has had an island rival, Bestival (www.bestival.net), staged in September at Robin Hill Country Park in ■ The Durbar Room, Osborne House the middle of the island. This year’s acts include Lily Allen and Mercury award winners Elbow. appeal, the island offers a range of opportu- is.co.uk) and Wight Waters (www.wight nities to learn a skill or get your adrenalin waters.com) offers courses in surfing, Adrenalin activities pumping. X-Isle Sports is one of the UK’s windsurfing, bodyboarding and kayaking. If neither festivals nor lying on a beach biggest kite-surfing schools (www.x- Medina Valley Centre at Newport (www.medinavalleycentre.org.uk) and Isle of Wight facts the UK Sailing Academy at Cowes (www.uksa.org) provide sailing courses. Getting there But don’t get the impression it is all surf- There are six ferry routes from the mainland to the island. ing and rock music. The Isle of Wight has Wightlink (www.wightlink.co.uk) operates two car ferry managed to update itself without losing its Isle of Wight Tourism services: Portsmouth to Fishbourne and Lymington to family-friendly appeal. Children’s attractions Yarmouth. It also operates a fast catamaran service between range from Blackgang Chine, the country’s Portsmouth and Ryde. first theme park, to a model village at Red Funnel Ferries (www.redfunnel.co.uk) operates both a car ferry service Godshill, and from the Isle of Wight Zoo, and the Red Jet passenger service from Southampton to Cowes. where ITV’s Tiger Island was filmed, to the Hovertravel (www.hovertravel.co.uk) operates hovercraft passenger steam railway at Havenstreet. services from Southsea to Ryde. Being such a small island you are never far from the sea. Do not leave without Accommodation and information sampling the seafood. The village of The Isle of Wight has a range of accommodation from luxury hotels and guest Bembridge is as good a place as any. You houses to self-catering and caravans.The Isle of Wight Tourism website can take up a fishing rod for a trip with the (www.islandbreaks.co.uk) has details, an online search facility and email optimistically named Catchalot Charters. booking service as well as informaon about the island. Nearby, and with an even catchier name, is Tip: Many places offer discounted ferry tickets when you book The Best Dressed Crab in Town, a shop accommodation so it’s worth enquiring before you arrange a crossing. selling shellfish straight off its own fishing boat. A short distance away the aptly- Attractions named Crab and Lobster is one of many Among the island’s main attractions are: fine pubs on the island. Osborne House (www.english-heritage.org.uk/osborne) – The island is still that little bit different – not Isle of Wight Tourism Queen Victoria’s holiday palace and gardens. quite abroad, yet not quite England. And, as an Carisbrooke Castle (www.english-heritage.org.uk/ old islander told me with a line he probably server/show/nav.14466) – 800-year-old castle and the new spins to many a visitor, the reason it is dia- Princess Beatrice Garden, from June. mond-shaped is because it is a little gem. TL St Catherines Oratory (www.english-heritage.org.uk/stcatherines) – 14th century octagonal lighthouse, known locally as the Pepperpot. Brading Roman Villa (www.bradingromanvilla.org.uk) – one of the finest Although freelance journalist and TV news Romano-British archaeological sites in the UK. producer Paul Erlam grew up on the Isle of Wight he is not really a caulkhead. His Dinosaurisle (www.dinosaurisle.com) – Britain’s first purpose-built dinosaur family only moved there when he was six museum and visitor attraction. months old, while caulkheads are third Isle of Wight Steam Railway (www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk) – five miles of generation islanders. Despite that, he writes track with rides by historic locomotives and carriages. extensively about the island 58 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
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  • 55. Out about & What’s on... and where Steam off on summer days out and WIN a copy of the Steam Heritage Guide 2009 Planning days out this summer? Get all steamed up with the Steam Heritage Guide 2009. Anyone for polo? It is the only publication to cover heritage railways, industrial archaeology, transport, ship, I aircraft and military t may be known as the Felbridge Hotel & Spa, museum sites and “Game of Kings” but which is offering polo contains over £100 of polo is no longer just breaks throughout the discount vouchers for travel and admission. the stomping ground of summer. The package This compact guide is ideal for carrying in your those with cash. includes an overnight in a bag or pocket or leaving in your car glove box, The Sussex Polo Club luxury double room with giving you constant inspiration for unique and in Rowfant, West Sussex, breakfast and a polo les- exciting places to visit which are perfect for days encourages people to son for just £168. out for families, friends and couples.There are take up the sport and in Partners who don’t fancy over 1,000 events and hundreds of locations order to try and lose the the polo part can stay for listed and categorised by date, attraction type, game’s exclusive tag; just £73. geographical location and alphabetically. their club motto is: Time your stay to The Steam Heritage Guide 2009 is available now “More new blood, less coincide with a tourna- from Tee Publishing at blue blood”. ment and you’ll get to see www.teepublishing.co.uk/steam_heritage.php Anyone from six years September. Go to experts playing, with or to order call 01926 614101. old upwards can learn to www.sussexpolo.co.uk ponies galloping at ● To win one of five Steam Heritage Guides go play the game with pri- for further information. 35mph and balls being to www.choicetravelinfo.com and click on vate or group polo les- Anyone not living in hit at 100mph. competitions & giveaways.Terms & conditions sons available for riders the West Sussex area can To book this package, apply. Closing date July 3, 2009. and non-riders alike, still enjoy the experience call 01342 337700 or visit from April through to thanks to a link with the www.felbridgehotel.co.uk 62 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 56. Out and ABOUT Take a hike Walk on – for Get ● Walking is free! A mile is less than a 20-minute walk Walking Day so you could save money by walking instead of using W alking group the the bus or your car. Ramblers is calling everyone in Britain ● Walking keeps your body to get on its feet – no matter fit and your mind healthy – what age or ability – to cele- and burns as many calories brate its free walking festival, as jogging over the same Tony Carney Get Walking Day 2009. distance. It also boosts Hundreds of carnival-spirit- happiness and reduces ed short walks are taking place stress. all over the country, in cities and June 1 in England, Scotland and motes the huge mental, physi- the countryside, to help people Wales. Many will include cal and mood-boosting bene- ● Walking is good for the of all ages discover the joys of refreshments and special events. fits that walking can bring. To environment. If we all walk walking. Each walk will be less Now in its second year, find a Get Walking Day walk more and use our cars than five miles, is open to national Get Walking Day near you, visit the walks finder less, we will significantly everyone, and will take place aims to help people discover at www.ramblers.org.uk/ reduce carbon emissions. over the weekend of May 30- the joy of walking and pro- campaigns/GWD Festival fun in Guildford Jam-packed June at Hylands H The 2009 Guildford Information Centre and ylands Estate in Chelmsford Summer Festival, running other information points hosts a series of events this from June 19 to August around Guildford from June including ones reliving 1, promises to be the the end of May. the 1940s. biggest yet with over Guildford Summer British Armed Forces and Veterans 100 events covering a Festival events book up Weekend (June 27-28) kicks off on the huge variety of activities, quickly, so to celebrate Saturday night with a concert of dance including sports, drama, your summer in style, music from the Roaring Forties by the music, art, tours, you should book tickets Memphis Belle Swing Band. Take your workshops and shopping as early as possible. own seating and enjoy a picnic on the as well as a wide array Full details can be back lawn of Hylands House. Advance of fun events for the obtained from the tickets cost £15; £12 for concessions. whole family. Tourist Information On the door ticket prices are £17 and With so many events Centre on 01483 £14 respectively. to pack into the festival, 444334 or visit As part of the same weekend, British many of which are free, www.guildfordsummer Armed Forces and Veterans Day is on the Festival Brochure is festival.co.uk and join Sunday, June 28. Celebrate our history bigger than ever; more the mailing list. and heroes on this day, dedicated to vet- than 20 new events are Events are also listed erans past and present. From 10am- included in this year’s on the site, along with 5pm, activities and attractions include Caprice Orchestra finishes off the festival. Copies of the information on planning the Essex Military Vehicle Exhibition, a weekend on Sunday June 28, 7.30– brochure can be your visit, transport links full-size Spitfire replica, Chindit Burma 10pm. Take a picnic again to make the obtained from the Tourist and accommodation. Mules and various talks and exhibitions most of an evening of stirring classical inside Hylands House, on veteran music. Advance tickets are £12, or £10 groups and Hylands’ own history dur- for concessions. On the door tickets ing World Wars I and II. cost £14 or £12. Tickets can be booked Donations from this event will go to through Chelmsford Civic Theatres Box veterans’ associations and the charity, Office by calling 01245 606505. Help for Heroes. Entry to Hylands For more information about these or House costs £3.60, or £2.60 for conces- other events at Hylands Estate, call sions; under-16s and veterans go free. 01245 605500, or go to Last Night of the Proms with the www.chelmsford.gov.uk/hylands M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 63
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  • 58. COMPETITION £1,500 of WIN Pride of Britain vouchers and take your pick from the cream of Britain’s private hotels H ow would like to stay in one of Britain’s best private hotels? Enter this competition, and you could win £1,500 worth of Pride of Britain vouchers valid at any Pride of Britain property. Pride of Britain is a collection of the finest pri- vately owned hotels in Great Britain, of which there are currently 37 including the ship, Hebridean Princess. ■ Dormy House, Worcestershire ■ Northcote, Lancashire You could pick the beautiful Dormy House, which sits high on a hill in the heart of the Cotswolds, between the charming vil- lages of Broadway and Chipping Campden. This is a lived-in, much-loved bolthole where nothing is too much trouble. Crisp bed linen and plump pillows add to the feel- ing of comfort. Choose from the elegant rooms and suites of the main house, or the Danish Court rooms, with their flower-filled patios ■ Eastwell Manor, Kent ■ Plumber Manor, Dorset and landscaped garden. Newly-refurbished deluxe double rooms have modern features such as flat screen television, broadband and scene-setting lighting. The eight suites have large separate living areas and offer views over the hotel’s grounds. Dormy House also has a fine selection of four-poster bedrooms. In the kitchen, high-quality, locally- sourced produce is transformed into simple yet elegant dishes where the flavours of the key ingredients shine through, and are served ■ The Nare Hotel, Cornwall ■ The Torridon, Wester Ross alongside wine from the world’s leading regions. You can also work on your wellbeing in the Moroccan sauna and steam room or gym. You may want to play traditional bar bil- How to enter liards in the games room. There is a nine-hole To win £1,500 worth of vouchers, valid for one year and redeemable at any current putting green or croquet lawn if you want to Pride of Britain property, simply answer the following question. practise your skills outside in the sunshine. There are properties from distinguished Question: How many properties are there in the Pride of Britain collection? city hotels to country house hotels to choose from in the Pride of Britain collec- To enter please go to www.choicetravelinfo.com and click on the competition & tion. For more information go to giveaways button. www.prideofbritainhotels.com or call Closing date is July 6 2009.The first correct entries drawn will win. 0800 089 39 29 to make a reservation or Terms & conditions apply. order a free pocket directory. TL M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 65
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  • 61. Get bowled over by Lovebox Something Fun ● All Star Lanes boutique bowl- ing – the first-ever outdoor Tickets are available from both www.lovebox.net and bowling championship at a UK www.ticketmaster.co.uk Lovebox, Victoria Park, July 18-19 Festival. With multiple bowling or by calling 0844 847 Lose yourself in London’s Victoria Park this lanes, delicious cocktails, the 2436. summer when London’s award-winning best milkshakes, classic They can also be pur- Lovebox festival returns on July 18-19. American dining and guest DJs chased in person from From chart-topping bands to barn-storm- playing the jukebox all day. Stargreen Box Office, ing hoedowns, Lovebox offers something for ● thelondonpaper Sourced Market – 20/21a Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TT. everyone with headliners Duran Duran, the largest farmers’ market of any UK Ticket prices: £42.50 + booking fee per Groove Armada and N*E*R*D. A second festival. Traders, handpicked from day ticket; £75 + booking fee per weekend wave of artist bookings, including legendary Borough and other London-based farm- ticket. punk rockers New York Dolls and ers’ markets, will be selling a range of Now, WIN a pair of tickets for the award- Manchester’s epic rock-trio Doves, has also mouthwatering delights. winning Lovebox festival. been announced. Acclaimed modern folk ● Heavenly Healing – a fully-comprehen- To win a pair of tickets to Lovebox on quartet Noah and the Whale will also be sive tented village of massage and com- Sunday, July 19, go to www.choice joining the line up. plementary therapies to help you kick off travelinfo.com and click on competitions As well as great music, some of your weekend in style and enjoy some & giveaways. Terms & conditions apply. ★★ Lovebox’s highlights will be: outdoor pampering. Closing date June 26, 2009. ★ Champagne stars There are 10 concerts with an eclectic line-up of stars from the worlds of classical, pop and jazz music, including Something Special of concerts in its stunning grounds. Stars include José these highlights: ● Jose Carreras with Anna Carreras, Jools Holland, Leese and Faryl Smith – Hampton Court Palace Beverley Knight and Level the chance to see one of Festival, June 2-13 42, as well as a spectacular The Three Tenors joined by Enjoy a sophisticated summer firework finale. 13-year-old singing sensa- evening at its best as the The palace grounds are the tion Faryl Smith. Hampton Court Palace perfect setting for a pre-con- ● Jools Holland and his Festival returns. Now in its cert picnic. Take your own or Rhythm and Blues 17th year, the Hampton Court you can pre-order a delicious Orchestra with special Palace Festival combines his- Carluccio’s hamper and glass guest vocalists – see Jools tory and music with a series of champagne. Holland light up the stage 68 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 62. LO N D O N Review FESTIVALS North No need to splash out The Thames Festival Something Free heads September 12-13 Nearly half a million people attended the Thames Festival last year – and this year’s event is south expected to be just as big. Taking place between visitlondonimages/ britainonview/ Pawel Libera Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge, the festival Something Different is at the heart of London, open to all and free! Londoners of all ages will City of London Festival be out to enjoy free June 19-July 9 entertainment in a lively, Various venues festival atmosphere, with Celebrating the trading places of everything on offer from street art 60º North, the City of London and river events to pyrotechnics and circus performances. The Festival will feature artists and Thames Festival is London’s biggest free, outdoor arts festival Robert Piwko/arenapal.com music from Orkney, Oslo, and a highlight event on the London calendar. Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn The Night Carnival invites a colourful parade of dancers, and St Petersburg. Highlights costumed performers, musicians and revellers to take over include the Norwegian saxo- Victoria Embankment and Blackfriars phonist Jan Garbarek with the Bridge.Thousands of people join Hilliard Ensemble (St Paul’s the Night Carnival in a vibrant Cathedral, June 23), the great Recycling Opening Procession procession of lanterns, visitlondonimages/ britainonview/ Pawel Libera Swedish trombonist, conductor (June 19), featuring 1,000 young costumes and floats, and composer, Christian Londoners; The Leviathan, guaranteeing a memorable Lindberg, and his Nordic (June 21) a large-scale piece of final day of the festival. Chamber Orchestra (Guildhall music performance art for 800 The Thames Festival Great Hall, July 1). saxophonists created and direct- literally ends with a bang, This year, the number of free ed by John Harle; and The Street with a massive fireworks events in the City’s open spaces Pianos Project, which sees 15 display beginning at 9.45pm. (June 19-August 7) has expand- second-hand pianos dotted Tens of thousands will be out to ed, with spectacular open-air around the City for the length of see one of the most spectacular performances including theatre, the festival. displays of the year, lighting up the Thames music, dance and processions. Box office: 0845 120 7502; in a dazzling display of light and colour. Highlights include: the Art of www.colf.org www.thamesfestival.org with his lively performance. ● Russell Watson – the Brit For further information go to www.hamptoncourtfestival. Something Else Award winner will perform com alongside the City of Tickets can be purchased June events London Orchestra. from Seetickets, on 0844 811 June 3: Oyster Festival at Billingsgate Fish Market ● Beverley Knight and Lemar 0050, or Ticketmaster, on 0844 June 7-19: Spitalfields Summer Festival – chill out to some smooth 847 1638. Booking fee applies. June 8-July 4: Orwell celebrations at Trafalgar Studios sounds with these award- Prices vary depending on June 8-14: Coutts Jewellery Week winning soul singers. which concert you see. June 25-28: Greenwich & Docklands International Festival ● Beethoven Festival Finale fea- Tickets may be purchased in June 11-17:The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair turing Chloë Hanslip and person daily from 10am-3pm June 13-14: Open Garden Squares Weekend Freddy Kempf – the closing from Hampton Court Palace June 13-14: Bike and Kite Festival, Blackheath concert will celebrate the (Welcome Centre), Surrey, June 18-21:Taste of London, Regents Park works of Beethoven performed KT8 9AU or Tower of London June 20-28: Croydon Fashion Festival by the Royal Philharmonic (Welcome Centre), London, June 25-28:The Tennis Ball in Wimbledon Common Concert Orchestra. EC3N 4AB. Go to www.visitlondon.com for more information. M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 69
  • 63. LO N D O N NEWS & WHAT'S ON Review See behind the scenes at the Royal Albert Hall Ne w on st age – and WIN a pair of tour tickets Sister Act A front of house tour at the Royal Albert London Palladium, Hall will take you on a personal journey Argyll Street through one of London’s most iconic From June 2 buildings, bringing to life its fascinating history. Stars: Sheila Hancock, Patina Watch as the venue prepares for one of its 350 Miller and Ian Lavender events or witness rehearsals for that evening’s per- Produced by: Whoopi Marcus Ginns formance. Goldberg and Stage The one-hour tour covers all front of house Entertainment areas, including the auditorium and the Queen’s suite, the Royal Retiring Room. As a working Adapted from the 1992 venue, tours may include opportunities to see ing the run of The King and I. As well as getting a Golden Globe-nominated film rehearsals or technical preparations for a show. chance to view the cast’s wardrobe and dressing starring Whoopi Goldberg, Tours run daily, except Wednesdays, from 10.30am rooms, you’ll also be able to step out onto the Sister Act follows the story to 3.30pm. Visit www.royalalberthall.com for Royal Albert Hall stage! of disco diva Deloris Van more information. Available throughout the day, tours will last 90 Cartier. When Deloris For an extra special treat, and for only one date minutes and cost £12 per person, including 50p witnesses a murder, she is put this year, you can enjoy a behind the scenes tour at booking fee. To book, call the Box Office on 0845 in protective custody in the the Royal Albert Hall. Head backstage to witness 401 5045. one place the cops are sure the venue’s unseen workings and see the dressing ● To win one of two pairs of front of house tour she won’t be found – a rooms used by stars such as The Beatles, Frank tickets go to www.choicetravelinfo.com and convent! Sinatra and Pavarotti. click on competitions & giveaways. Terms & con- Disguised as a nun, she The backstage tour takes place on June 15, dur- ditions apply. Closing date: July 3, 2009. turns her attention to the convent’s off-key choir, helping the nuns to find their new exhibitions – Cosmos & true voices and breathing Culture and Watt’s Workshop. It new life into the rundown is also launching a £1 million neighbourhood but her cover fundraising appeal and will com- could be blown for good. memorate other anniversaries With the gang giving chase, is including the 40th anniversary of time running out for Deloris? the moon landings. Or have they underestimated The museum’s centenary the power of her new found website includes details of how Sisterhood? the public can get involved in the Street – A Taste of Spain 2009. celebrations, and site visitors The fiesta will showcase the Box office: 0844 412 2704 Ton-up museum can share their favourite memo- ries of the Science Museum. very best of Spain as live music and dance performances includ- Ticket prices: £17.50-£60 Nearest Tube: Oxford ● Entry is FREE to the Science T he Science Museum is cel- ebrating its impending cen- tenary with a year-long pro- Museum. For more information, visit www.sciencemuseum. ing flamenco and traditional Spanish bagpipers take place on the main stage. Circus Nearest Train: Charing Cross gramme of celebration events. org.uk/centenary or call Stores will be organising The Museum became an 0870 870 4868. shopping promotions and com- Restaurant suggestion: independent organisation on Open daily, 10am-6pm. petitions, while Heddon Street June 26, 1909. And to mark the Nearest tube: South Kensington. and Swallow Street will have Cape Town Fish Market 100th anniversary it will be: live Spanish performances to 5-6 Argyll Street,W1F 7TE; hosting a three-day public birth- day party (June 26-28) with spe- Fiesta time entertain al fresco diners. Entertainment for the fiesta will 0872 148 1907. A lively restaurant, fish market, cial science shows, events and performances open to school groups and the general public; C elebrate Spanish lifestyle, food and culture in London on Sunday, May 31, come from 12 Spanish regions, including dancing horses from Menorca, a fashion show from teppanyaki and sushi bar with a big South African wine list Average price for three unveiling a new Centenary when Regent Street will be traf- Andalucia and giant paellas courses: £40 Journey trail; refurbishing two fic free from 12-6pm for a fab- from Valencia. major galleries; and opening two ulous street festival: Regent www.regentstreetonline.com 70 The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 64. Travel and Leisure Directory Berkshire Essex Republic of Ireland Canary Islands Hampshire Isle of Wight Norfolk Norfolk Cyprus Channel Islands Somerset ALDERNEY, CHANNEL ISLANDS WESTON HOUSE COTTAGES L’HARAS GUEST HOUSE Weston House, East Chinnock, nr Yeovil, BA22 9EL Three superb cottages set in the courtyard of a Newtown Road,Alderney Jacobean farmhouse. Oak beams, log fires, linen Channel Islands GY9 3XP provided, hot water and heating included. Shared All rooms have CH, H&C water, garden area and barbecue. Ground floor bedrooms, one cottage wheelchair friendly. tea/coffee-making facilities and colour TV; Brochure available. Open all year. most are en suite.Contact Mrs Jansen. Three units sleep 2, 4/5. Weekly rates from £250–£595. Tel/Fax: 01481 823174 Tel: 01935 863712 Mob: 07884 214 768 lharas@internet.alderney.gg Email: sue@westonhouse.net www.internet.alderney.gg/lharas/ www.westonhouse.net M ay/ une 2009 J The Travel& Lei ur M agazi s e ne 71
  • 65. Caravan & Camping Motorhomes If you would Motorhome hire in Scotland like to advertise 2, 4, 5 and 6-berth motorhomes. Ideal for touring within Scotland and further afield. All vehicles are fully equipped please call (bedding optional). Our package includes unlimited mileage, full insurance, AA cover. End-of-season motorhome sales 020 8477 1529 For brochure contact Brown’s Motorhome Hire, Garrion Bridge Larkhall ML9 2UD (nr Glasgow) Tel/Fax: 01698 886255 74 The Tr & Lei ur M agazi avel s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J
  • 66. Caravan & Camping Motorhomes If you would Motorhome hire in Scotland like to advertise 2, 4, 5 and 6-berth motorhomes. Ideal for touring within Scotland and further afield. All vehicles are fully equipped please call (bedding optional). Our package includes unlimited mileage, full insurance, AA cover. End-of-season motorhome sales 020 8477 1529 For brochure contact Brown’s Motorhome Hire, Garrion Bridge Larkhall ML9 2UD (nr Glasgow) Tel/Fax: 01698 886255 74 The Tr & Lei ur M agazi avel s e ne M ay/ une 2009 J