Sunday, January 13, 2019
It's mid January already and have you got some time to give travel some thought? It's about time don't you think?
Our suggestion is to start now as travel will be bigger and better than ever this year. Seems as though market predictions are for increased travel with most Americans and also increased spending for many Americans too.
So it's never too late or too soon but why not join us this October on our cruise North and back from San Francisco.
It's only a week and the ship will sail to Astoria, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria with two lovely days at sea to experience what it is like to sail the high seas in comfort and style with the GRAND PRINCESS.
We do need to tell you that as of this blog the ship is nearly SOLD OUT and rooms are at a premium now.
While final payment is not due until July you can deposit and reserve your stateroom and make a final decision in July so NOW is the time to make the commitment. Rooms will be gone very soon.
JOIN OUR GROUP TO THE NORTH COAST THIS OCTOBER BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
This week we roll out our new DEALS AND STEALS section of our website. Actually to some of you it really is not new. We actually have been plaing with it since November and we kept it online so you can see us make changes along the way.
Two weeks per month Fred will show is sense of speciality in the business by profiling two destinations as well as DEALS AND STEALS for those destinations. He will place that on our website the second and fourthe weekend of the month. In between that time we also will have updated DEALS AND STEALS in bothe the cruise and tour world. Those offers are updated sometimes several times a week and it is your best bet to check that section often as changes happen regularly. So please check out our new and upadted DEALS AND STEALS section soon. At least this way you can see the latest in offers from our world of travel. And rather then sending you emails about it you can merely check it out on our website at your convenience.
A couple of special offers are below from vendors that usually specialize in the British Isles however they have expanded to ohther locales and ow is the time to take advantage of those all important BOGO opffers.
SPECIAL PROMOTION WITH CIE FOR BRITISH ISLES AND BEYOND
SPECIAL TRAVEL OFFER
Travel in the US domestic market has now officially gone high tech and modern with the adddition of domestic service on board a Boeing 787. It is the first regularly scheduled 787 service in America since the introduction of this modern aircraft. And of course the friendly skies of UNITED are making it happen.
United Airlines’ newest aircraft type – the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner – is now flying paying passengers for the carrier.
United Flight 2418 – the airline’s first revenue flight with the “Dash 10” – departed from Los Angeles at 8:49 a.m. local time (11:49 a.m. ET) en route to Newark, New Jersey.
The debut comes as United starts putting the 787-10 on some of its existing flights that connect the carrier’s hubs at Newark Liberty and Los Angeles. In addition to the LAX-Newark flights that begin today, United’s 787-10s will begin to pick up some of its Newark-San Francisco flights starting in February.
The 787-10s expand to international service in March, when United adds the jet to routes from Newark to the European cities of Frankfurt, Germany; Paris Charles de Gaulle; Barcelona, Spain; Brussels and Dublin. United also will fly the jet between Newark and Tel Aviv, Israel.
The 787-10 is the newest and biggest version yet of Boeing’s Dreamliner. Essentially a stretched version of the smaller 787-8 and 787-9 variants, the 787-10 is 18 feet longer than the 787-9.
United, which already had the other two variants in its fleet, is now the only carrier in the world to be flying all three versions of the Boeing Dreamliner.
United touted the debut of the 787-10 in a statement, saying in a statement that the aircraft’s “entry into scheduled service continues United’s comprehensive fleet plan, while providing an improved experience for customers. The aircraft is United’s first Dreamliner model delivered with the airline’s signature Polaris business class seats, and new United Premium Plus seats.”
The 787-10 is the newest airplane variant to be rolled out from Boeing, which delivered its first one just this past March to launch customer Singapore Airlines.
Now, United has become the first North American airline to both receive and put the 787-10 into passenger service.
United’s 787-10s seat 318 passengers. Included in that configuration are 44 of United’s new “Polaris” lie-flat business-class seats and 21 international-style “Premium Plus” premium economy seats, United’s newest class of service that debuted in 2018. It’s not yet widely rolled out to United’s fleet, but is being installed on all 14 787-10s that United has ordered.
Completing United’s 787-10 layout are 54 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats and 199 in standard coach.
By comparison, United’s 787-8s seat 219 passengers and its 787-9s seat 252
We have another cruise line that is seeing potential of the wect coast cruise market. NCL is expecting the arrival of the brand new NCLGem this week on her maiden voyage west. The west coast market has been a challenge for the cruise industry as our itineraries are quite limited and because ships aren't traveling like airplanes they are much slower so cruises tend to be longer especially from San Francisco.
Norwegian Gem Sails the Panama Canal to Start West Coast Cruises
Last week Norwegian Gem embarked on her first Panama Canal cruise, calling on 10 new ports and set to debut on the West Coast when she concludes her itinerary in Los Angeles. On Jan. 10, Norwegian Gem became the 10th ship of the modern Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to cross the Panama Canal, visiting 10 new port cities during that sailing.
Among the new ports Norwegian Gem is sailing this season are Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Willemstad, Curacao; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Los Angeles; Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Corinto, Nicaragua.
“We are very excited to showcase another one of our incredible ships on the West Coast, offering guests there a chance to experience our fleet and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with cruising Norwegian,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s president and CEO.
Norwegian Gem, the final ship in the Norwegian Jewel Class, hosts more than 2,300 guests each sailing and features one of the largest suite class in the fleet, the Garden Villas. These suites measure more than 4,000 square feet and sleep up to eight guests. They include three spacious bedrooms, a living room and a private garden with a hot tub. The ship is also home to a kid’s aqua park, a climbing wall, an expansive casino, more than 15 dining options, and 14 bars and lounge
Legroom in the aircrafts are really a source of comfort these days and some are better than others as is reported in Conde Nast.
October 17, 2018
No, you're not suddenly a giant. Economy class legroom has been shrinking as some airlines launch jam-packed, "efficient" flights. Find out which airlines cut tall travelers the most slack.
How does flying 3,000 miles with only 30 inches of legroom sound? Unfortunately, this measurement of "pitch"—the industry word for how much space you have between your seat and the one in front—is all too common. As airlines feel the pressure to offer lower fares, they're putting the pinch on personal space. Generous legroom on a flight is almost a pipe dream, but we've found a few airlines for which it's still a reality.
Condé Nast Traveler's rankings are not universally inclusive; only major, recognizable airlines were taken into account in our survey. Because airlines are constantly updating their cabins and fleets, the figures listed below are subject to change.
In the United States
The airlines in the U.S. with the most legroom in economy are:
1. JetBlue: 33-34 inches
2. Alaska Airlines: 32 inches
3. Southwest: 32 inches
4. Hawaiian Airlines: 31-32 inches
5. American/United/Delta: 31 inches
Alaska Airlines can thank its purchase of Virgin America for its spot near the top. The addition of Virgin’s mood-lit fleet of 32-inch-legroom Airbus A320s to Alaska’s 31-to-32-inch range pushes the average up, but still won’t beat JetBlue. Meanwhile, the Big Three U.S. airlines—American, Delta, and United—all average 31 inches of legroom. At the bottom, with seriously squashed legs, are pasengers on Allegiant (30 inches), Frontier (28 inches), and Spirit (28 inches, with no recline).
This year has brought more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to the skies over North America and, with them, denser cabins and less economy legroom. American Airlines, United, and Air Canada all now fly 737 MAXs with between 30-31 inches of legroom, below the average for the rest of their fleets. Southwest is so far the only U.S. 737 MAX operator to keep 32-inch legroom on its newest planes.
Comparing data from searching popular routes and long-haul aircraft on Routehappy and SeatGuru, and cross-referencing with the airline's own sites, we're happy to find that some international airlines go above and beyond the typical average of 31-32 inches. These have the most legroom for long-haul flights:
1. Aeromexico and Interjet: 34 inches
2. Japan Airlines and Turkish Airlines: 33-34 inches
3. South African Airways: 33.5 inches
4. ANA and EVA Airways: 32-34 inches
5. Asiana and Air China: 32-33 inches
Worthy of a mention are the Middle East’s Big Three of Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, whose tooth-and-nail competition with each other (and against other major international airlines) means relatively generous 32-inch legroom prevails. Icelandair’s Boeing 757s also ply their North Atlantic routes with 32-inch legroom in economy.
Unfortunately, one airline drops off the “best legroom” list this year after taking delivery of new aircraft: Air Tahiti Nui is beginning to replace its aging fleet of Airbus A340s, all with generous 33 inches of legroom in economy, in favor of brand new Boeing 787-9s. It may have that “new airplane smell” and an improved business class cabin, but economy seat legroom on the 787-9 is sliced to 31 inches. The airline will eventually fly a total of four 787-9s on routes between Tahiti and Los Angeles, as well as to Paris, Tokyo, and Auckland.
As for the least legroom, several airlines stand out for squeezing passengers in space that's below the 31-to-32-inch standard: Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, Cebu Pacific, easyJet, Ryanair, and Royal Air Maroc, all at a measly 30 inches.
While deals as low as $99 for a transatlantic flight from ultra-low-cost carriers like Wow Air and Norwegian Air may tempt, remember that it’s truly a you-get-what-you-pay-for situation. These airlines rank lowest for legroom, with the cheapest seats sardine-packing passengers in between 29 to 31 inches of seat pitch. Looking for a little more space? You’ll have to pay up; “ultra-low-cost” means everything comes at an extra price, and seats with a few more inches charge fees that vary with the flight’s duration and aircraft type.
From Fred this week his offer of tidbits of information. Feel free to contact him to duscuss these or anywhere else you may want to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY.
Best Places to See and Things to Do While in Paris
The question isn't what to do in Paris, but rather how to decide. With so many wonderful and varied options, it can be hard to plan your itinerary, whether you're an art lover, a history buff, or a serious shopper.
Here's a mix of some of the best things to do in Paris that you simply can't miss, from local favorites that will make you feel like a true Parisian, to some of the city's best sites and experiences. All you have to do now is pack and Getaway Cruises ‘n Tours all the planning to make your stay in the City of Lights the best!
Notre-Dame Cathedral is the finest example of French Gothic architecture on earth. For 800 years its towers have dominated the Île de la Cité, an island in the heart of central Paris. Despite heavy crowds, you’ll feel awed in the soaring, cavernous nave, looking out through the famous stained glass. Even if you don’t have time to wait to go inside, stop by for a look at the iconic exteriors; the façade is especially beautiful in the evening, once it's all lit up. If you have the time (and energy), climb all those spiral steps to the top for gargoyle-framed panoramas of all Paris.
The Louvre hardly needs an introduction—it is the most-visited museum in the world, with more than eight million visitors in 2017. The former royal palace is now the magnificent home of some of the world's most iconic artworks (ever hear of the Mona Lisa?). Walking through the halls where Louis XIV once strolled (he lived here before moving to Versailles), surrounded by the most famous art on earth, is an overwhelming experience.
Located in the heart of the Sixth Arrondissement, the famous Jardin du Luxembourg is an inviting green oasis for Parisians and visitors alike. Come for people watching, romantic strolls, picnics, or just to admire the mash-up of English, Italian, and French landscaping influences. If you're feeling athletic, join the early-morning joggers or stake out one of the tennis and pétanque courts.
The Palais Garnier is one of the lushest, most opulent Beaux Arts buildings on earth. Commissioned by Napoleon III, this opera house was the setting for The Phantom of the Opera, though it is now reserved primarily for ballet performances. Once inside, visitors will be dazzled by the grand marble staircase and immense foyer with the history of music painted across the ceiling. Don’t miss the famous (and controversial) Marc Chagall artwork on the theater’s ceiling.
When the Centre Pompidou opened in 1977, it was a radical (and controversial) design for a museum—all industrial pipes and open glass views of Paris. Forty years later, it's the undisputed grande dame of Paris's contemporary art world. Within the massive, 100,000-piece collection, you’ll find everything from Picassos to video installations.
Sacré-Coeur is a Catholic basilica that sits on the highest hill in Paris, in the Montmartre neighborhood. Its height is topped only by the Eiffel Tower. The basilica's distinct white travertine façade gives the Romano-Byzantine structure a unique look among Parisian monuments. The church is open all day to anyone who wishes to visit, though big crowds mean you may have to wait to go inside.
There are a few major reasons to visit the Panthéon, starting with the gorgeous neoclassical architecture. People also come to visit the final resting places of some of France's most famous sons and daughters, from Victor Hugo to Marie Curie. And then there are those who come to marvel at Foucault's Pendulum, tracing the path of the Earth. The vibe in the crowd is a mix of awe, reverence, and curiosity.
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. Climb the nearly 300 steps to the top for some of the best views of Paris, with clear vistas straight down the Champs-Élysées all the way to the Louvre. You'll need a ticket to go inside and up to the viewing platform, but anyone can come admire the ornate façade for free.
The Marché des Enfants Rouges is the oldest food market in Paris (it first opened in 1615), and is now a buzzing Marais hub for food sellers of all types. Stroll through the dense maze of stalls selling everything from North African grains to Italian deli specialties. For those who want a break from the formality of the traditional French dining experience, this market offers a relaxed and convivial atmosphere (and a great place to stock up on snacks).
A vast collection of Impressionist art is the focus at the Musée d’Orsay, the second-most-visited museum in Paris (after the Louvre, of course). At every turn, you'll be delighted to recognize yet another piece from pop culture or that art history class you took. There is no room not worth exploring here, so let yourself just wander among masterworks by boldfaced names like Degas, Cézanne, Manet, Renoir, and Monet.
Dating back to the 1850s, Le Bon Marché is the oldest department store in Paris, and certainly the most iconic. The elegant Left Bank institution is as celebrated for its airy layout as for its top selection of the world’s best designers—if it’s luxe, you can probably buy it here. Before your shopping spree is done, peek in at La Grande Épicerie, Le Bon Marché’s fine-foods emporium in an adjoining building.
A prime example of the Beaux Arts style, the humongous Grand Palais exhibition hall combines elements of classical architecture (friezes, columns) with hallmarks of the Industrial Age (glass, steel). Though it’s worth visiting the building just to admire its soaring interiors and impressive glass-domed roof (Europe’s largest), it’s the full calendar of rotating exhibits and special events that draws Parisians and visitors back again and again.
Opened to the public in 2014, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is a newbie in Paris's cultural scene—but it arrived with a bang. Star American architect Frank Gehry designed the building, which looks like a magical sailboat afloat on a man-made lake in the Bois de Boulogne. Thanks to the spectacular architecture and blockbuster exhibitions, the museum is bustling at all times, despite its location in the far-western 16th Arrondissement.
The Forum des Halles is a sprawling shopping, dining, and transportation hub right in the heart of Paris, with nearly 150 shops and restaurants. A recent renovation saw the addition of a spectacular wavy roof nicknamed La Canopée—you’re going to want a picture of it. Though the architecture is new, the shopping concept is not: A market has stood on this very site since the 1100s.
And NEWS AND VIEWS are here for ya. Interesting that last week Carnival announced a major change in their room service policy and have since temporarily waked it back. Sometimes you just can't upset your base no matter what type of business you are in.
by Newsdesk |
Jan 7, 2019 10:12am
OAG has released the results of its annual Punctuality League 2019, a ranking of on-time performance (OTP) for the world’s largest airlines and airports. U.S. airlines dominated the global rankings, finishing with five of the top 10 most punctual airlines in the world: Delta Air Lines (4), Alaska Airlines (5), Southwest Airlines (7), United Airlines (8) and American Airlines (9).
Hawaiian Airlines kept its first-place ranking among North American airlines for a fifth straight year, with an almost unchanged OTP of 87.5 percent, and placed fourth overall in the global rankings. U.S. low-cost carriers (LCC), including Spirit (OTP 80.8 percent) and Southwest (OTP 78.2 percent) moved up the rankings, placing fourth and fifth for the region, and ninth and 13th for global LCCs, respectively. JetBlue placed 16th in the Mega Airline category (OTP 71.4 percent).
“The low-cost carriers in North America continue to step up their game and invest in punctuality. Southwest Airline’s strategy to focus on secondary airports is especially noteworthy, as it continues to positively impact its OTP. The carrier owns a large share of activity at the airports it flies in and out of, which creates more control and flexibility over daily operations. Out of the 86 airports Southwest services, it has more than a 10 percent share at 39 locations and over 40 percent share at 14 locations,” said John Grant, senior analyst with OAG, in a written statement.
Delta Air Lines retains its second-place ranking in North America for a second straight year with an OTP of 83.1 percent. “Delta continues to be a shining example for other airlines when it comes to OTP. Their performance is especially noteworthy considering the size and scale of their operation,” added John Grant.
Globally, airports in the U.S. performed strongly, with at least two finishing in the top five for each of the Large, Major and Mega Airport categories. Honolulu (HNL; OTP 87.7 percent) was second in OTP behind Japan’s Osaka (ITM; OTP 88.2 percent) in the Large Airports category and Salt Lake City (SLC; OTP 85.9 percent) ranked fourth. Seven of the Top 20 airports in the Mega Category are in North America, including Atlanta (ATL; OTP 82.2 percent), Denver (DEN; OTP 80.7 percent) and Los Angeles (LAX; OTP 80.0 percent). The Top 20 Major Airport category featured 11 U.S. airports, including Minneapolis International Airport (MSP; OTP 84.0 percent) and Detroit (DTW; OTP 83.8 percent), ranking third and fourth, respectively.
“Global on-time performance continues to be strong across the board. Many airlines and airports have made significant investment in infrastructure and transparency over the past decade and the results are paying off,” said Grant. “As an industry, we’ve never been better equipped to maximize OTP and avoid severe delays.”
The OAG Punctuality League is derived from an airline schedules database with over 58 million flight records using full year data from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.
To qualify for inclusion in the OAG Punctuality League, the OAG schedules database must have data for at least 80 percent of all scheduled flights operated by an airline or for an airport. OAG’s definition of on-time performance (OTP) is flights that arrive or depart within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival/departure times.
by Susan J. Young |
Jan 7, 2019 5:48am
Carnival's plan to begin charging for room service (except continental breakfast) onboard all ships has been temporarily put on hold while adjustments are made.
After annnouncing last week that it would begin charging for room service (except continental breakfast), Carnival Cruise Lines has "put the brakes on" that change -- at least temporarily.
“I had previously told you about changes to our room service offerings that would go into effect in January. I wanted to let you know that we are in the process of making some adjustments to that plan to balance the interests of our guests with our efforts to reduce food waste costs.
Heald continued: “For the time being then, there will be no changes until we finalize a plan that will I will communicate to you all."
More than 750 people had commented on that update by early Monday morning.
One reader called the decision “fantastic,” another “awesome,” and one said “at least it shows that Carnival is listening” to its customers.
Other consumers, though, still weren’t happy, noting that the line was “going to nickel and dime itself out of being the cheaper cruise alternative” or putting the blame back on the line for food waste (one reason the line cited for implementing room service fees).
For some, the initial announcement's timing was the issue, as they didn't like being enticed to book -- then being told they'd have to pay for this and that onboard.
If and when the line moves forward with any charges for room service, one reader suggested that any new policy “should go into effect in 2020 or when the cruises are not available to customers yet,” so the travelers knows what they’re paying for before booking.
Heald followed up on Facebook when asked whether the previous policy of charging after 10 p.m. will still be in effect. To that, Heald said: “As some are asking, ‘yes’… stays as before – no charge until 10 p.m.”
On Sunday, Travel Agent reached out to Carnival's corporate office for official confirmation the line was indeed putting the previously announced policy on hold, and when -- and if -- it will be implemented?
Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen responded by email with this statement:
“We had previously communicated changes to our room service offerings that would go into effect in January. We are in the process of making some adjustments to that plan to balance the interests of our guests with our efforts to reduce food waste costs. For the time being, there will be no changes until we finalize a plan that will be communicated to guests and travel agency partners alike.”
So stay tuned here. We'll post any updates.
by Adam Leposa |
Jan 5, 2019 8:00am
An expansion of flights to Ghana and new Dreamliner service lead this week’s air travel news.
This week South African Airways (SAA) announced plans to expand its recently launched service between Washington, DC, and Accra, Ghana. Starting April 2, frequency on the nonstop route out of Dulles will increase to five times per week. SAA is the only airline to offer a nonstop flight on the route, which offers connections to and from over 100 cities in the United States and Canada via SAA’s Star Alliance partner, United Airlines.
SAA will operate the flight on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday on Airbus A330-300 and Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Also this week, United Airlines is preparing to launch its new 787-10 Dreamliner service, which will officially begin flying January 7 on the airline’s Los Angeles - Newark route. The Boeing 787-10 is United’s first Dreamliner to include the airline’s signature Polaris business class seats, and United Premium Plus premium economy seats. The aircraft also has a new entertainment system and a lighting setting that mimics the sunrise and sunset to help customers arrive at their final destination feeling more refreshed and adjusted to the time zone, the airline said.
The airline said it would hold gate events for customers and employees to celebrate the new flights
by Newsdesk |
Jan 9, 2019 11:12am
Photo by RyanFletcher/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
The Air Monitor 2019, published by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), finds that fare levels should remain stable on many of the world’s major air routes in 2019. Capacity and growing competition, including new low-cost carriers on long-haul routes, will likely restrain fare rises on key routes from Europeand Asia-Pacific, even as the global economy is forecast to grow and airlines face rising operating costs. However, current economic and political uncertainties and developments may impact the forecast.
There are some exceptions to the projection of stable air fares: demand growth in premium classes across North America is forecast to outstrip capacity growth, meaning buyers could see significant price rises on these fares within the region and to Europe. In contrast, fares to Middle East destinations are forecast to fall from all regions, in both business and economy classes. Overcapacity on Middle Eastern routes is the chief factor in the expected price fall.
“While current global political and economic uncertainties create a challenging environment for price forecasting, it’s important for buyers to access the information and insights that help them drive better value in their air programs,” said Joakim Johansson, vice president of business development, American Express GBT, in a written statement. “For the Air Monitor 2019, we have developed a robust, scientific methodology that combines GBT’s own historical flight transaction data with a wide range of critical metrics that drive supply and demand, shaping pricing conditions.”
To generate the forecast, the Global Business Consulting team scanned American Express GBT’s vast data lake to examine five years of flight transaction data. This analysis was combined with variables including oil prices, economic projections and airline strategies to forecast price changes on key business travel routes around the world. The Air Monitor 2019 explores the diverse factors that influence air pricing, ranging from the adoption of premium economy fares in the U.S. to massive infrastructure and aviation expansion in China.
For comprehensive details and analysis of the conditions impacting air fares over the coming year, please download the Air Monitor 2019. Strategies to effectively capitalize on these insights to drive savings and promote traveler wellbeing are available in GBT’s Smarter Buying white paper.
The Air Monitor 2019 is the latest in the regular Monitor series designed by the Global Business Consulting team at GBT to help travel buyers optimize their travel policy and program. The next edition will analyze ground transport and will be published in 2019.
by Telegraph Reporters |
Jan 8, 2019 2:09pm
Hever Castle // Photo by richardik/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
by Telegraph Travel experts, The Telegraph, January 8, 2019
Sherelle Jacobs introduces Telegraph Travel's guide to the best castle hotels in Britain, including the best castle hotels in England, Scotland and Wales, from family-friendly castles big on country pursuits to the best castle hotels with spas and gourmet dining. Expect staggering medieval military architecture, bathrooms behind hidden walls, jousting tournaments, murder mystery parties, and the odd friendly ghost.
9Telegraph expert rating
It was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and later ended up in the hands of Anne of Cleves. Expect the executed queen's prayer books, torture instruments and England's best collection of Tudor paintings after the National Portrait Gallery. Rooms are all four-poster beds, rolltop baths, leaded windows and gold-threaded chaise longues. Guests get to explore the grounds – including the ancient yew maze, handsome croquet lawn and pungent rose garden – out of hours. Breakfast is taken overlooking the orchard. Jousting tournaments and archery displays spice things up in summer. Monthly 'dine and stay events' often feature a Tudor banquet. Read expert review. From £110per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
8Telegraph expert rating
A pugnacious medieval knight called Ralph Lumley built this commanding castle that bears over the River Wear. He was a bit of a troublemaker and executed for conspiring to overthrow King Henry IV. It isn’t a property that does things by halves, with its bombastic silk flower arrangements, heraldic wall coverings and staff scurrying about in medieval garb. Bedrooms boast heavily-draped four-poster beds and original features like swags and pelmets. Some have bathrooms behind hidden doors. The dining room is well pitched for romance: think soft candles, stone pillars and vaulted ceilings. Plan a stay to coincide with the regular murder mystery dinners or Elizabethan banquets for extra fun. Read expert review. From £66per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
9Telegraph expert rating
Elizabeth I built this star-shaped fortress in 1593 to defend the Isles of Scilly. It postures on a fortified hill, offering views of the sea from all spokes. Crooked, queer-shaped rooms have been crammed into all eight points of the star, which only adds to the fun when it comes to having an explore. Furnishings are no less quirky – an unwieldy caboodle of Persian rugs, flashy modern prints and Jacobean chairs. Bag a garden room with French windows that open directly onto the lawns. Eating here is also particularly atmospheric; the dining room was once the officer’s mess and guests can try wine from the owner’s local vineyard. Read expert review. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
9Telegraph expert rating
It’s been referred to as "a triumph of vanity over common sense". Augill Castle is also a rather histrionic testament to the power of sibling rivalry. John Bagot Pearson "a gentleman of leisure and considerable means" built it in 1841 to outdo his brother. And because he could. Expect frantically steep turrets, sweeping mahogany staircases and lattice windows as intricate as French lace. A championship golf course, ESPA spa, swimming pool, archery and rifle range means it great for families. There’s sloe gin making, horse riding and hot air ballooning too. Food in the glittery, flock-wallpapered dining room wows: think estate venison and local seat trout. Read expert review. From £160per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
7Telegraph expert rating
Medieval military architecture doesn’t get much better than this sandstone fortress held in a gentle nook of the River Avon. Setting off to bed up 55 spiral stairs is pretty special, especially when your room was once occupied by King Edward IV during the Wars of the Roses. Other treats include the remains of a Norman motte, 14th-century sandstone walls, a lot of English oak and historical historical graffiti on the walls. Rooms have four-poster beds draped with damask-look curtains and loos tucked into medieval garderobes. A stay includes breakfast in bed and an after-hours private tour with a member of the history team. Read expert review. From £600per night.
8Telegraph expert rating
This is the real deal: a 14th-century castle – all battlements and seven-foot thick walls. It’s also one of the last remaining British castle hotels that still has its original fortifications. Expect exposed stone walls, wrought-iron candelabras, suits of armour plus gilt-framed portraits aplenty. The most expensive rooms (nine) are in the castle and go the full medieval hog with four-poster beds, heraldic-patterned carpets, lavish swags and window seats in thick stone walls. Food is taken seriously in the AA Rosettes restaurant, serving the likes of halibut with autumn truffle, salted cod with iced raita. Read expert review. From £150per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
8Telegraph expert rating
It’s so old it was recorded in the Domesday Book. Amberley Castle is initially forbidding, with a rare working portcullis (lowered every night), within its 60-foot high walls. The 900-year-old castle began life as a manor house for the Bishop of Chichester and was fortified in 1377. Inside though, the style is comfortable and unassuming, albeit with suits of armour dotted about. Some rooms are traditional, with four posters; others more contemporary. Dinner is served in a domed room decorated with coats of arms and throne-like steel-studded chairs. The history tours with three-course lunch (£55 per head) are particularly popular. Read expert review. From £158per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
8Telegraph expert rating
A fine example of 19th-century Scottish Baronial grandeur, set in a forest of giant redwoods with views over the Irish Sea. Sandstone battlements viewed from the Azalea Pond and Italian Garden evoke a fairy tale, and imposing public rooms with Austrian wood panelling, period furniture, log fires and objets d’art create a warm, modern Victorian ambiance. There's an all-weather tennis court, a croquet lawn and shooting (pheasant and partridge are on the estate). Oriental rugs and big canopy beds make for atmospheric rooms. Suites are palatial with curtained four-poster beds, fireplaces and flower arrangements worthy of Old Master paintings. Don’t miss the six-course dinners either. Read expert review. From £245per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
8Telegraph expert rating
This is the real McCoy, Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle with a turbulent history dating from the 13th-century. Musket shot is still embedded in the stone battlements, but the interiors have been transformed into a luxury hotel and spa with fine dining. Rooms have period furnishings, tartan tweed and Molton Browntoiletries. The Mary Queen of Scots suite has a massive four-poster bed fit for royalty. You’re in good company too: Edward I spent a night here before marching to Falkirk to defeat William Wallace. Dishes like braised beef cheek with haggis pomme dauphine are served served by candlelight among suits of armour and battleaxes in the Dungeon restaurant. Read expert review. From £114per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
8Telegraph expert rating
A Liberal MP built this early Victorian castle (and one-time prep school) on a private peninsula of the Snowdonia coast. Gothic and Tudor styles collide: think slate floors, froufrou plasterwork and an ornate fireplace guarded by a fearsome stone knight. There’s an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Pick your room wisely as there are some standout suites: Castell Ten, in particular, offers superb estuary views and sunsets while Castell Nine features a turreted bathroom. Enjoy lunch al fresco on the sun-kissed terrace of the Victorian walled garden; retire to the wood-panelled lounge after dinner for coffee by the roaring fire. Read expert review. From £79per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
by The Daily Telegraph |
Jan 4, 2019 3:06pm
Photo by MarcelloLand/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
by Telegraph Travel, The Telegraph, January 4, 2019
It's not just far flung destinations that deserve our attention in 2019. There's plenty to see and celebrate on our doorstep too. Telegraph Travel's experts reveal their hotspots and hidden gems for the year ahead.
The ever-popular islands of Scotland have been a “destination” since Dr Johnson and James Boswell put the Western Isles firmly on the map in 1773. But despite last year’s coverage of overcrowding in Skye, there’s plenty of room for new discoveries in these beautiful isles.
If you’re looking towards the Hebrides, adventure holiday specialist Wilderness Scotland has new trips for 2019 (from £1,045 for six nights; wildernessscotland.com), while the new Hebridean whale trail will launch in spring (hwdt.org). Whisky lovers haven’t been left out either, with a new whisky trail running through Skye to the Isle of Harris (hebrideanwhisky.com). If making it home after over-indulging is a concern, you can now also stay in the new rooms at the Isle of Raasay distillery (raasaydistillery.com).
For an entirely different but no less compelling experience, turn northwards and explore the Orkney and Shetland islands. In Orkney you will find a Neolithic archeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, with open days on July 21 and Aug 18 where you can experience the rare sight of archaeologists at work (nessofbrodgar.co.uk).
There’s a lot going on in God’s own country in 2019. Tea lovers attempting to recover from December’s Yorkshire Tea biodegradable bag kerfuffle – the new incarnation has a habbit of tearing, to the ire of many – should head to Betty’s in Harrogate (bettys.co.uk), which will be celebrating its centenary. Those looking for an injection of art can explore the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which will be opening its brand new £3.6 million visitor centre – to be known as The Weston – on March 30 (ysp.org.uk). Something to distract from Brexitdoomsday, perhaps.
For a grand day out, you can’t beat a trip to Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington. Home to the UK’s largest mainland seabird colony and friendly faced puffins, RSPB Bempton Cliffs is making 2019 the year of “Bird”lington to mark the 50th anniversary of the reserve (rspb.org.uk).
The Cleveland Way is also celebrating a 50th birthday. Stretching across the North York Moors National Park in a horseshoe loop from Helmsley to Filey Brigg via Osmotherley, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Whitbyand Scarborough, events for the 109-mile (175km) way include a new film, a 50-mile (80km) ultra-marathon trail run (March 16) and a special event on the actual anniversary, May 24, that will see walkers wearing Sixties hiking gear striding out from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey (nationaltrail.co.uk). If you prefer life on two wheels, don’t miss the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire, on May 2-5 (letour.yorkshire.com).
There’s also the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks Dark Skies Festival to enjoy (Feb 15-March 3) with events that include night-time cycle rides, lantern walks, an Ale and Astronomy evening at Whitby Brewery and cinema screenings (northyorkmoors.org.uk). Finally, the much-anticipated remake of the film The Secret Garden will be released in 2019, some of which was filmed in Duncombe Park.
All eyes are turned to the east in London for 2019: Waltham Forest rang in the new year as London’s first Borough of Culture (wfculture19.co.uk) and events will kick off with a free festival from Jan 11-13, based at the vast 1941 Town Hall.
Year-round pleasures in the borough, which is one of London’s greenest, include the restored William Morris Gallery and its café; full English breakfast from the Twenties bikers’ hut at High Beech in the oak, beech and hornbeam woods of Epping Forest; the charming Vestry Museum in Walthamstow village; and all things neon at God’s Own Junkyard (so successful it had a pop-up in Selfridges this Christmas). Waltham Abbey church itself, with its Norman nave, is the alleged burial place of King Harold and the king certainly stopped to pray here en route to the Battle of Hastings. His body was brought back here by his mistress Edith Swan-Neck. Lots to see, then.
There’s always a good reason to go to Cheltenham, whether you’re an aficionado of Regency architecture, horse racing or buzzing festivals (jazz, science, classical music, literature). In 2019 there will be even more here, as the town ups its cool quotient.
This is largely thanks to entrepreneur Julian Dunkerton, who co-founded the fashion label Superdry in the Cotswolds town. Dunkerton’s hip hotel group The Lucky Onion made its name with 131 The Promenade and is opening two new ventures adjoining this boutique hotel in 2019. In February, Clarence House, an eight-bedroom haven of on-trend luxury, will be launched, while later in the year, uber-stylish Kings House will be completed.
Dunkerton recently moved his family’s organic cider factory, Dunkertons Cider, to Cheltenham and has started a rustic-chic shop there along with tours (dunkertonscider.co.uk). Across town, he is also refurbishing the George Hotel. In a separate development, Regency Arcade is seeing a major revamp, culminating in a state-of-the-art cinema that is due to open at the end of the autumn.
Long overlooked as the scruffy relation of neighbouring Pembrokeshire’s well-turned-out attractions, the historic market town of Cardigan in Ceredigion has recently been given a bit of a makeover and – as so often proves the case – is rediscovering its mojo as a result.
The revamping of its castle is old news now, having won Channel 4’s Great British Buildings Restoration of the Year in 2017, but that of its quayside is ongoing. Work will also begin on the Coalyard and Albion Aberteifi. On opposite sides of the river Teifi, the first is a 23-room hotel housed in two warehouses. The second is described as a place where “craftspeople, food producers, artists, performers and makers come together to promote Cardigan as a destination and example of what contemporary rural culture and enterprise can be”.
Both will be instantly Instagram-worthy, since they come from the family who created the gorgeous Fforest Farm “outdoor hotel” 10 minutes down the road (think domes, croft, lofts, and bell tents). They have already installed Pizzatipi on the town’s quayside, where wood-fired pizzas are fed to punters under canvas and Welsh beers, ciders and spirits are served in the snug Tafarn Smwglin across a courtyard.
Then there’s the beautiful Bara Menyn sourdough bakery and the new Crwst deli, which won “best rural start up” in the 2018 Rural Business Awards. Oh, and some of Wales’ loveliest beaches (including Poppit Sands and Mwynt), are a short drive away. Take that, St David’s.
Glasgow is on the up. It’s a sociable city that knows how to party and has a burgeoning foodie scene. The events of 2019 are sure to make the most of Glasgow’s enthusiasm for music, arts and culture. The fun starts on Jan 17 with Celtic Connections, a festival of world, folk and roots music featuring more than 2,000 musicians from 50 countries over 18 days (celticconnections.com).
In March, the city’s book festival Aye Write! returns to the Mitchell Library (ayewrite.com), while the summer festivals kick off at the start of June when local and international artists stage hundreds of performances, exhibitions, talks and workshops in the streets, pubs and clubs of the West End.
This is followed by the Glasgow Mela, an outdoor celebration of the city’s ethnic diversity with music, dance, food and market stalls (glasgowmela.com). A rousing climax to the cultural calendar is set for Aug 16 and 17, when 8,000 pipers and drummers from around the world will converge on Glasgow Green for the World Pipe Band Championships (theworlds.co.uk). William Wallace would love it.
If you’ve been hooked by Andrew Davies’s lavish adaptation of Les Miserables for the BBC, then you might want to consider planning a trip in 2019 to the island where Victor Hugo penned the novel.
Hauteville House, one of the island’s most popular attractions, is due to reopen in April after a £2.7 million renovation (museums.gov.gg). A visit will give you an insight into the creative genius of France’s literary legend. His son Charles described it as an “autograph on three floors and a poem in several rooms”. Each is decorated in a different style and packed with bric-a-brac and objets d’art. The house also has a lookout from which Hugo could gaze out across the water to his beloved country.
New routes launching from Edinburgh and Bournemouth with Loganair will make the island even more accessible (running May 11 to Sept 14; loganair.co.uk).
The salt-whipped seaside town of Tynemouth, North Shields, is my hotspot for 2019. It has everything you could possibly want from a British beach resort: the atmospheric ruins of an old castle and priory, wide sandy beaches and a popular, albeit chilly, surf scene, plus top-shelf music festivals and some cracking places to eat and drink. Riley’s Fish Shack, a rustic beachfront diner on King Edward’s Bay serves up turbot, monkfish and kippers fresh from the boat, while prohibition-era cocktails are on offer at Lola Jeans speakeasy on Front Street.
Three miles north is Whitley Bay, a cool little enclave with a largely independent high street and the teeny-tiny Jam Jar Cinema. It’s also home to Spanish City (spanishcity.co.uk), a newly revamped music hall with a Renaissance-style frontage, which first opened on the prom in 1910, and now has several restaurants, a champagne bar and a tea room hidden under its huge white dome.
“Overtourism” was a bit of a buzz word in 2018, but losing the Lake District crowds – and they’re big; more than 19 million visitors a year – is easier than you think. Ennerdale is only six miles from the A66 and 20 minutes from bustling Keswick, but a world away in terms of busyness. Road access to its lake, Ennerdale Water, is limited to the western end, which means you can walk the eight-mile (13km) circuit with little chance of meeting more than a handful of people.
Many visitors don’t realise that the Lake District has a coastline. Make your way to the west coast and you’ll find quiet walking in Eskdale and the Duddon valley – the former accessed by the charming narrow-gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale railway (ravenglassrailway.co.uk) – magnificent gardens at Muncaster Castle(muncaster.co.uk) and empty beaches at Silecroft.
For shopping, swap the tourist-hustle of Ambleside or Grasmere for Cockermouth with its handsome Georgian houses (one of them the birthplace of poet William Wordsworth, nationaltrust.org.uk), weekly market and independent shops and galleries.
This is also a big year for a big peak, as it marks 100 years since Lake District landowner Charles Henry Wyndham, the 3rd Baron Leconfield, gifted Scafell Pike to the National Trust. He gave the mountain, “in perpetual memory of the men of the Lake District who fell for God and King, for freedom, peace and right in the Great War”.
Established in 1919 as a response to timber shortages caused by the First World War, the Forestry Commission planted its very first trees at Eggesford in mid-Devon. Today, the FC is England’s largest landowner and looks after more than 1,500 forests. To mark the centenary, a year-long, nationwide programme of events is planned. These include a public wildlife survey called “The Big Forest Find”, the Forestry Run 100 series and Writers in the Forest (forestryengland.uk/100).
2019 will also see the county gear up to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, which carried pilgrims from Plymouth to New England in 1620. Celebrations start as early as May 2019 in Plymouth, with a history festival. The Rolex Fastnet Race will be held in August, while a series of film screenings will run for a whole year from November 2019 to November 2020. Dartmouth will join the festivities with a new heritage trail and light festival slated to open in November this year (mayflower400uk.com).
We are in for a very wet week here in Oakley this week. We need the rain but we just don't need the floods in the burned out areas of California. Getting that happy medium is truly a challenge. So to those in the areas burned this year we do hope you can handle it and remain safe.
For everyone please remain vigilant and we always want you to be safe, stay safe and travel safe.
Cheers from Oakley.
Bill and Fred