Saturday, 31 March 2012

British Airways increases flights from London City

British Airways is expanding its aircraft fleet and route network at London City Airport where it is now officially the largest operator with the highest number of routes and customers.

The airline is to take delivery of another Embraer 190 in the late summer, bringing the total fleet size to 14 aircraft.

It will be used for new year-round flights to Venice and to increase frequency to the key business destinations of Frankfurt from March and Glasgow from September.

The new route means even more choice for customers wanting to take holidays in Venice, the gateway to Northern Italy, when the flights launch in September and there will be one extra flight a day to Frankfurt and Glasgow.

The news comes as British Airways is about to start brand new services from the Docklands airport to Mahon in Menorca, Quimper in Britanny and Angers in the Loire Valley in France from May.

As the airline continues to grow its network, passengers now have more choices of leisure destinations when they fly from London City on one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the business. A total of 22 destinations in the UK, Europe and the USA will be served by British Airways from London City Airport.

Peter Simpson, managing director British Airways wholly owned subsidiary airline BA CityFlyer, said: "We are very excited about the arrival of our 14th aircraft which will add frequency to existing business destinations and has opened up new flying possibilities to popular leisure destinations. Our customers love the quick and easy service at London City, just 15 minutes from curbside to airside, making the most of their valuable time.

"We have some very competitive all inclusive fares to all our destinations, which include a generous free 23kg luggage allowance, free on-line check-in and seat selection 24 hours before departure and complimentary food and drink on board."

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

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UK’s exclusive hotel created for sufferers of life-limiting illnesses

The seaside resort of Bournemouth is the idyllic setting to escape from the world for a while. For Cancer sufferers, often that is exactly what is required, taking their mind off their illness and getting away for a short, well-deserved break. With first class care in mind, The Grove Hotel in Bournemouth has recently been launched, serving as the UK’s only hotel of its kind exclusively for use by sufferers of Cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Previously, Albany Lodge was launched to serve this market, and had been running for over 25 years. However, with growing demand, the Albany was no longer able to cope with the demands, so a new and even more charming site needed to be found, resulting in the launch of The Grove.

Situated on Bournemouth’s leafy East Cliff, and just minutes away from the town’s famous 7 miles of golden beaches, The Grove Hotel was created as a haven offering a week or two away from the tough business of getting well, and simply focuses on recuperation and relaxation. During their stay, guests of the hotel will enjoy evenings of entertainment arranged by the hotel and exceptional dining laid on by their team of talented chefs, who are entirely mindful and trained to deal with any specific dietary requirements which are products of the guests’ illnesses.

To the delight of guests, The Grove has a dedicated beach hut in a prime location so that guests can take advantage of the sunshine in the ultimate comfort. To enhance their stay, complimentary coach tours are arranged by the Hotel to allow guests to explore the surrounding areas of the New Forest and the Purbeck and Jurassic coast.

Given its focus on healthcare, The Grove has a duty nurse available 24 hours a day. They are on hand to offer guidance and support and to arrange any services that they may require. The Grove is owned and operated by Macmillan Caring Locally based in Christchurch Dorset, whose aim is to support people suffering from cancer and other life threatening illnesses, as well as members of their family and carers. As the hotel is a registered charity, they welcome support and donations to help them provide outstanding breaks for their guests.

General Manager of The Grove Hotel, Brenden Howard, spoke about the idea behind the property: “Our aim was to create the UK’s leading hotel exclusively for sufferers of life-threatening diseases. Of course, we welcome their family or carers to join them at the hotel which will hopefully enhance their stay. We strive to offer a serenely peaceful and enriching holiday, whilst offering the highest level of service and care.”

Hotel guest, Gillian Burr, commented on her stay: “The staff at The Grove are just wonderful – nothing is too much trouble for them! The food was also fantastic – such a lovely variety every day! This is exactly what I needed to take my mind off things for a week, and I cannot wait for my next holiday here.”

For more information, visit

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Jurassic Coast Gets Ready for the Purbeck Marathon September 16th 2012

Organisers are putting plans in place for what is to be the first Purbeck Marathon. The predominantly off road course starts and finishes in Swanage, and covers the area’s famous land marks such as Durlston, Worth Matravers, Kimmeridge, Tyneham and Corfe Castle. Featuring approximately 2000 feet of climbs (there are 4 main climbs), this will certainly not be your everyday race but for anyone fond of a challenge the stunning scenery should provide plenty of distraction.

Rose Clarke, part of the Organisational Team behind the event says: “We have a very active running community in the Purbecks, including a very well supported running club. The area already boasts popular 5k, 10k and Half Marathon races so it was time to complete that package with a marathon. We can offer a truly unique event, incorporating some of the best of the UK’s Coast and Countryside into one race with the added bonus of a great experience for supporters. We are positive that the Purbeck Marathon will quickly establish itself in the World running calendar.”

Billed as “One of The World’s Most Scenic Marathons” the organisers hope to attract approximately 300 runners for this year’s launch event. News seems to be travelling fast, with registration enquiries coming in via the web site, running clubs and with an active Twitter campaign already in place, the event is sure to be a winning formula.  With proceeds going to local charities it already has wide support within the community.

For general information about the route and registration go to

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Radisson Blu Hotel Prague restaurant awarded first Michelin star

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced that the Radisson Blu Hotel Prague's fine dining restaurant, "The Alcron", been awarded its first Michelin star. The intimate restaurant featuring just 24 seats is headed by Czech chef Roman Paulus and offers an exclusive menu focused on fish and seafood.

"We are very proud of Roman Paulus and his professional, dedicated team. Michelin honors the best of the best only and "The Alcron" is a true jewel where our guests enjoy food and hospitality of outstanding quality", said Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of the Rezidor Hotel Group that operates the hotel.

"The Alcron" opened its doors in 1932 and soon became a favourite venue for celebrities such as writer Frederick Forsyth, French cabaret owner Maurice Chevalier, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and Czech athlete Emil Zatopek. Much like the Radisson Blu Prague hotel itself, the elegant dining room is designed in Art Déco style. It features an original fireplace from the 1930s and wall paintings of dancing couples by Tamara de Lempicka.

Chef Roman Paulus, who has worked in famous kitchens like at The Savoy in London and on board the legendary cruise liner "Queen Elizabeth II" before joining "The Alcron" four years ago, firmly believes in perfect, fresh ingredients and excellent service: "Food must have taste and be fun at the same time", he said.

Together with David Patek, Food & Beverage Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel Prague, Paulus has put together a carefully selected, rigorously trained and highly creative team at "The Alcron".

"To have the right attitude and ambitions is crucial for us. We cannot work with people who are willing to make a soup out of instant powder", he commented.

Located in the heart of the Golden City, the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel Prague is just steps away from famous attractions such as Old Town Square, Prague Castle, Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. A lavish, avant-garde accommodation when it opened in 1932, the hotel's historic features have been meticulously restored, preserving details like glittering chandeliers, rich Italian marble and creamy milk glass. All 206 guest rooms retain the grace and elegance of a bygone era while offering modern conveniences, such as free high-speed internet access, LCD flat-screen televisions, Nespresso coffee machines and state-of-the-art online entertainment systems.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 reports the return of the staycation has revealed the 'staycation' might be making a comeback. The latest figures from the tour operator have shown sales of UK breaks have increased by approximately 9% compared to the same period last year. This has been put down to the UK being under the spotlight during 2012.

There are a variety of factors causing this resurgence in UK breaks with the main one being the UK playing host to some top events during 2012 such as the Queens Diamond Jubilee, The Olympics, the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic and the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens birth. Other popular events drawing in the crowds are the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Wimbledon Tennis Championships, the Chelsea Flower Show and Royal Ascot Ladies Day.

It's not just events that are proving to be a hit for people choosing to take their break in the UK in 2012, VisitEngland have recently launched a campaign showcasing the advantages of taking a 'staycation' instead of heading abroad. The campaign draws on the benefits of avoiding the hassle of passport control, lengthy queues to check-in at airports, poor exchange rates and the risk that travellers' suitcases may not arrive at their destination - which happened to many when London Gatwick suffered a power failure earlier this month and the baggage conveyors did not work. The 2012 campaign has got thousands of fantastic offers to make holidaying at home more affordable than ever this year.

With all the focus pointing towards London during 2012, short breaks to the UK’s capital city remain popular with holidaymakers. Latest figures from have shown a 63% rise in sales for London city breaks and this does not include sales of London theatre breaks that have also risen in popularity. Many believe that the 'Royal Effect' has also had a positive impact on the popularity of UK breaks and coach holidays in England with interest in the Royal Family reaching new heights after The Royal Wedding. Sales for Door2Tour coach holidays to Buckingham Palace, its gardens and of course Windsor Castle have risen steadily in popularity. Traditional seaside favourites are also making a comeback with resorts such as Blackpool, Bognor Regis, Scarborough and Great Yarmouth all seeing a rise in hotel bookings.

Rachel Jones, Online PR and Marketing Co-ordinator for commented: "Our figures have shown that although the credit crunch is still affecting many of our customers, it has not dampened their spirits where holidays are concerned. It just means that for 2012, most will be shopping around for the best deal for their money. Europe is still a temptation for holidaymakers simply because of its guarantee of sun, sea and sand. In 2011, many people who chose to have a 'staycation' were probably let down because of the typical British weather and are more determined than ever to seek out that summer sunshine in 2012. Let's hope that with all the focus on the UK and the possibility of a beautiful summer, people will be persuaded that holidaying at home is the far better option this year."

FACTFILE: is a consolidation of national and regional tour operators creating a diverse choice of UK, European and worldwide touring holidays including New Year breaks and Christmas breaks, UK coach holidays, day trips, mini cruises and holidays by air to many exciting destinations. All have live availability and offer the customer the opportunity to book online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. features over 35 operators, including Cosmos holidays, Travelsphere and Leger Holidays.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Men head to Med whilst women stay with friends for big Olympic rent-out

A recent survey conducted by holiday home specialists Owners Direct has revealed that 50% of Brits in the South East who plan to, or have already rented out their homes for the Olympics games are looking to escape the UK for a Mediterranean break.

Owners Direct has also seen almost a 90% rise in enquiries during 2012 to date for the London area and an 80% increase for surrounding areas such as Essex.

And the sexes have been divided. Whilst more men said they’d go abroad while they rented out their property, more women said they’d bunk with friends. Either way, 40% of home owners surveyed said they would be or have already rented out their main residence for the weeks in July and August during which the games take place.

As a result of increased demand for properties near the Olympic sites next summer, Owners Direct have launched a service specifically to cater to the needs of those looking for short term let options. Launched at the end of October last year, it offers landlords a cost effective way to market their homes to people all over the world who are looking for accommodation during the Olympics.

Owners Direct advisers home owners to make sure they do their research before renting out their home.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for properties in the London area and our advice for people considering renting out a holiday property or even their own home would be to ensure that you make it clear to prospective tenants what you are offering within the price – are you providing linen and towels, a welcome pack or any other added extras? Before renting your London property, make sure that you have the relevant insurance required and check that your local council allows short term letting. Once you receive a booking always confirm the booking with a written contract” says Owners Direct Marketing Manager Angela Southall.

46 year old Rochelle Peachey who runs transatlantic dating site and her husband secured a booking last October for their four bedroom semi in the Woodford Green area to a Russian family for a total of four weeks during the Olympics and Paralympics.

“We are super close to everything and the opportunity was too good to pass up. I might send my mother in law on a cruise so we can stay in their flat but something more exotic is calling my name – California maybe!”

With over 50% of people who took part in the study who own a holiday home in the South East already having received enquiries for the 2012 games, Marketing Manager Angela Southall said the company was keen to extend their offering to people who didn’t need to list their properties for a long period of time.

“We have launched a service that will allow homeowners who wouldn’t normally rent out their properties to do so for a short time. We’ve been amazed at how many people are willing to pack up their lives and find a roof elsewhere for a few weeks!” says Angela Southall.

Of those who are renting out their homes or are planning to, the majority are of the 35-54 age group. With options to take a holiday, move in with friends and family or rent elsewhere, some have said they would happily crash on a mate’s sofa or hole up in a converted shed or garage with 30% looking at such options. As well as the Med, popular destinations included Northern Europe and America.

The majority of enquiries regarding rental properties are coming from within the UK, with Brits who were lucky enough to get tickets looking to stay close by and make a holiday of the event. The UK was followed by the USA and France.

In the UK for the Olympics? Let Rabbie's help you

Following nearly 20 years of success in Scotland, independent small-group tour operator, Rabbie’s Small Group Tours, has turned its sights to London by launching its first range of tours departing from the Capital in May 2012, just in time for the Olympics.

Rabbie’s will offer London ’s visitors the perfect opportunity to explore some of the country’s most iconic and spectacular scenery. Destinations of their new two to five day tours include Oxford , Snowdonia, Dartmoor, Bath, the Cotswolds, Devon and Cornwall .

Travelling in comfort in luxurious Mercedes mini-coaches and with a maximum of just 16 passengers, the new intimate tours will take guests off the beaten track to experience the real England , its people, history, legends and culture. All brought to life by one of Rabbie’s knowledgeable and entertaining, local driver-guides.

A truly authentic experience, visitors will find themselves off the traditional tourist track, throughout their break staying in a choice of local B&Bs, hotels or hostels (as budgets allow) and all pre-booked by Rabbie’s. Time off the bus is very important and the Rabbie’s team has personally researched and experienced every stop on their routes to ensure visitors are seeing the very best of what the region has to offer.

Rabbie’s promise to put its customers in touch with the people, places, history and legends of all its destinations and deliver a unique and memorable experience to last a lifetime. – Or your money back.

Having won many tourism and green awards, Rabbie’s take care of any environmental and carbon footprint concerns, working hard to su pp ort local communities in some of UK ’s most remote areas. Rabbie’s offer a huge range of tours throughout Scotland , England and Ireland , lasting between one and 16 days.

For more information on Rabbie’s and their new 2012 tours from London , please visit

Olympic Torch Relay Crosses the Iron Bridge

In its 230 year history the world's first iron bridge in Shropshire has been crossed by millions of people, horses, cattle, cars, trucks, members of the Royal family and even an elephant, and on the 30 May 2012 the Olympic Flame will be crossing the famous Iron Bridge at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, as part of the London 2012 Torch Relay.

The Flame is expected to cross the Bridge over the River Severn at 3.14 pm and makes its way along the Wharfage watched by crowds of well-wishers before it goes on to Telford town centre.

There will be two temporary London 2012 banners on either side of the structure making the perfect backdrop for everyone to take photographs, recording this once in a lifetime moment.

Barrie Williams, Chairman Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust said: "It is wonderful to be able to welcome the Flame to the area and see it cross the Iron Bridge. The Gorge has been at the centre of the London 2012 Games since the Museum launched the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands in 2008. Having crossed the Iron Bridge, the Torch Relay will continue past Enginuity in Coalbrookdale, where there are three amazing Cultural Olympiad exhibitions, including CORE, a spectacular digital art exhibition which is also part of the London 2012 Festival. Once the Flame has left the area we are inviting the local community to visit Enginuity and the exhibitions as our guests between 4.00-5.30 pm.”

Anyone wishing to view the Torch Relay in the Ironbridge Gorge should visit where they will find maps of the routes and useful information about parking and other details.

Monday, 19 March 2012

easyJet Celebrates 100th Engine Overhaul

easyJet, the UK's largest airline, was delighted to attend a celebration event in Cardiff yesterday to mark the 100th easyJet engine to be serviced at GE Aviation Wales.

The factory based in Nantgarw, just North of Cardiff, services a range of aircraft engines and completed the servicing of the 100th CFM56 engine for the airline this month.

Guests, including Chief Operations Officer of easyJet Warwick Brady, attended a celebratory event held at St Athan to mark the significant milestone, and to recognise the 150 - strong team who are employed to work on the CFM engine line, including aircraft engineers, apprentices, interns and support staff.

Warwick Brady, Chief Operations Officer of easyJet said: "Reaching this milestone would not have been possible without the vision and hard work of many people at easyJet and GE Aviation Wales, who by working together have created a successful partnership. Working with GE Aviation Wales has given us access to one of the best, highly skilled and knowledgeable teams in the aviation industry."

The contract to overhaul the CFM56 engine for easyJet began in 2007. It is estimated that over 400 engine shop visits will take place over the next 10 years.

Adrian Button, Managing Director of GE Aviation Wales said: "Overhauling the 100th easyJet engine is a fantastic achievement for GE Wales and a significant milestone in our partnership with easyJet. From the first engine into the shop to the 100th, our commitment to delivering a quality product, on time with technical excellence has not wavered.

"As we celebrate our accomplishment, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked on this contract over the last five years. As a site we are extremely proud of what we have achieved and we look forward to continuing to work closely with easyJet."

GE Aviation Wales occupies over 1.2 million sq. ft. and has two state-of-the-art engine test facilities. Employing a highly skilled workforce of over 1,200 people, the facility provides customer support for a range of global companies including Emirates, Continental and British Airways.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

New web portal offers social networking for business travellers

MVI is designed for business travellers
MVI is designed for business travellers
A new web portal has been launched that will enable friends, family, colleagues and other acquaintances to connect, socialise and stay with each other as they travel around Europe and globally.

My Village International (MVI) – - provides social and business networking opportunities to individuals who frequently travel because of their work.

This international online networking village has been established by a group of friends who themselves have held a number of European and international posts in business enterprise. As well as helping people to socialise through their international connections, other benefits of MVI to members include travel sharing to help reduce CO2 emissions and getting the most from their visits to new places.

“The idea first occurred because of our own experiences of travelling extensively on business throughout Europe,” says Director of MVI, Kathy Vuillaume. “Women in particular find it difficult to do simple things like go to a restaurant or bar on their own, so they end up ordering room service and staying in their hotel room, rather than enjoying the local environment and meeting people.

“We tried to find a social networking site that was offering this type of service, but couldn’t. Facebook is geared towards friends, LinkedIn is very business-oriented, and we really wanted to connect with professionals with international lifestyles who travel regularly and have several addresses. None of these other traditional sites enable you to appear registered in different locations.”

The current functionalities of MVI allow members to promote their social and business activities by using forums and groups, and uploading multimedia materials. They can initiate or participate in MVI events open to all members or host private events with their own connections. They can share their itineraries - both business trips and holidays - to make new business contacts and friends wherever they go. Members can also set up profiles tailored to their different social and business circles.

Future functions of the site, already under development in partnership with the University of Surrey, include the development of a smart phone app and the potential to car-share between members; the University is currently assessing members’ willingness to share, their relationship to potential sharers, and the routing and timing of planned journeys.

“The feedback from MVI is raising some exciting new research challenges,” says Paul Krause, Professor of Software Engineering at the University of Surrey. “We are using latest techniques to ensure the smart phone app will work across all major device types. More interestingly, we are developing some innovative tools to enable us to introduce a range of location aware services. We believe this will reinforce MVI as the leading social networking site for business people on the move.”

The main aim of MVI is for members to reconcile their social and business lives in very practical ways. For example, if you are going to be in a city or town at the same time as other people that you know, then book into the same hotel and catch up on your business ventures, or go out and visit the town together to enjoy a more social experience.

The objective is to grow MVI to around 3,000 members in the first year and to reach more than 100,000 members within five years.

MVI has been launched in English and French languages with the aim of adding new languages as membership grows. Currently, 16 countries are represented in the network - 99% of members are professionals with the remaining 1% made up of students and other individuals.

For a free trial experience, visit:

British Airways launch sale with up to thirty per cent off flights

British Airways has started a twelve day sale, ending on March 27, which includes hundreds of great value holiday packages as well as flights to more than 90 worldwide destinations for various travel departures between March 15, 2012 and January 31, 2013.

Travellers can discover a new city or just enjoy one of the offers on short breaks to Europe including two night holidays in Nice from Gatwick and accommodation only at the 2 star Comte de Nice. Menorca is another option with a two night break at the 4 star San Luis including accommodation with breakfast and return flights from London City. Costa del Sol holidays also feature in the sale with a seven night fly-drive to Malaga including return flights from Gatwick and Avis car rental.  

USA destinations on offer include New York where travellers can bag a bargain with three nights' accommodation only at the 3 star Roosevelt Hotel and return flights from Heathrow. Holidays in Orlando are also available, staying room only at the 3 star Ramada Hotel Gateway with return flights from Gatwick.

Sun seekers can check out the Caribbean for a great deal on their holiday with seven nights room only in Tobago at the 3 star Rex Turtle Beach and return flights from Gatwick. British Airways is also offering all inclusive holidays in Cancun with seven nights at the 4 star Oasis Palm with return flights from Gatwick.

Thousands of flights are also on offer in the sale with savings of up to 31 per cent including a 20 per cent saving on Moscow flights, a 31 per cent saving on flights to Cancun, or save 28 per cent on flights to Beijing, 27 per cent on Bangkok flights and 17 per cent on flights to Cape Town from Heathrow.

Flight only deals to Europe include Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Zurich from London City, and Munich, Athens and Pisa from London Heathrow.

The sale ends March 27.

The National Trust reports son of RamCam born live on LambCam

A ewe that was tupped in a video made as part of the National Trust's MyFarm project has, nearly five months later, given birth on camera, too.

The Portland ewe, unimaginatively named '3462' after her tag number, shot to prominence after starring in MyFarm's 'RamCam' video.

RamCam saw Peacland Paolo, a Portland ram, fitted with a horn-mounted webcam as he went out for the tupping season at Wimpole Home Farm, the home of MyFarm, last November.

In his first tup, Paolo took a special shine to experienced ewe number 3462, one of 30 ewes in his field for the tup. The video has been viewed more than 18,000 times on YouTube.

As the end of the 145-day gestation period drew nearer, the MyFarm team moved the ewe into a lambing pen fitted with another webcam.

On Sunday evening, viewers on the MyFarm website saw the as-yet unnamed 'Son of RamCam' born into the world.

MyFarm Project Manager, Andrew Cock-Starkey, said: "First RamCam and now LambCam have been great fun and we hope people have enjoyed watching them.

"Though it’s all done slightly tongue in cheek - and we've had lots of pun fun with titles like RamCam and EweTube - there is a serious message too.

"Carbon footprints, food miles and food provenance are becoming more and more important both to consumers and the industry.

"Most people have eaten lamb, still more will have heard of the lambing season at farms but I'd wager not many knew what the tupping season was.

"Through the MyFarm project we want to involve people in farming and where their food comes from.

"MyFarm members vote on key decisions that affect the future of the farm. 

"If Paolo, ewe 3462 and their son help us teach people that British lamb born in the Spring is available to eat in Autumn, and not in the next few weeks as most people think, then they’ve done their job."

The lamb's birth was amongst the first at the home of MyFarm, Home Farm on the Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire. It signals the start of the farm’s lambing season that starts on Saturday 17 March and runs through to Sunday 5 April. Home Farm is open to the public and is expecting around 40,000 visitors during the five week period.

Andrew Cock-Starkey added: "Lambing is a very busy but hugely enjoyable time on the farm and the farm staff work really hard to share the goings on with the public.

"It's quite a magical thing to see a lamb that’s a few hours or even minutes old and lucky visitors may even see a birth for themselves. 

"For those that don’t we suggest they keep an eye our MyFarm webcams. We've had pigs farrowing recently and even a rare Bagot goat having twin kids all live on camera."

For more information on MyFarm visit

Holiday rentals company onefinestay unveils its 300th stylish London home

 onefinestay is celebrating its 300th member’s distinctive and upscale home in central London. Following the company’s launch in May 2010, the service has grown from six members to over 300, supported by a full time team of over 60 staff. The Index Ventures backed start-up has doubled its number of homes available in under six months, from 150 in October 2011.

Greg Marsh, onefinestay’s CEO and co-founder, says “This is a period of rapid growth for us. The company’s success has proven that people with beautiful homes are keen to have guests to stay in them while they’re away. Reaching this milestone of 300 homes is a great achievement for the onefinestay team, adding further anticipation around our international launch announcement later this year.”

onefinestay redefines the experience of visiting London: live like a local by staying in a distinctive home while the owner is out of town, with a service which offers all the convenience and comfort of a hotel. Guests enjoy luxury amenities like 5* hotel linens and toiletries from The White Company as standard.

Every guest is also loaned an iPhone for the duration of their stay which is filled with local tips and helpful videos recorded by the home’s owner, and from which they can make free local calls. Members benefit by earning an income from a house or flat which would otherwise sit vacant, without the risk or hassle associated with alternatives like holiday rentals or short term letting.

There are now 300 homes to choose from, at prices which range from £150 a night for a comfortable one bedroom apartment in Marylebone W1, to over £1,000 a night for a grand townhouse in South Kensington. Other stylish options available through onefinestay include a historic stay in St. Pancras Chambers, a four bedroom family home in Hampstead, a bachelor pad in trendy Shoreditch and a palatial home in luxurious Knightsbridge. This service suits everyone - from regular business travellers to London, couples seeking a more authentic experience, and families with children looking for the comforts of a real home.

onefinestay's early success was spotted by leading European venture capital firm Index Ventures which led a $3.7m funding round. Other angel investors include Brent Hoberman, co-founder & CEO of, Andy Phillipps, co-founder of ActiveHotels, and other leading figures from the travel and hospitality community.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Ulti-Mutt Dog Party: Yappy Hour at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Follow Fido to Yappy Hour, a monthly cocktail party for canines and their companions at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. It’s the ulti-mutt dog party with pooches, hounds and pups of all sizes romping and playing on The Dana Lawn. Canines enjoy complimentary hand-made dog biscuits and lapping up refreshing libations, thanks to bacon, chicken, cheese, beef and liver flavoured water, while their companions can purchase burgers, brews and wines, with proceeds going to support the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. The Second Season of Yappy Hour is held Thursdays, May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2, and September 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. on The Dana Lawn.

Yappy Hour is part of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Community Footprints programme. It is an event that brings the local community together, but also generates awareness and support for charitable causes. From the first Yappy Hour in April 2011, the event grew in popularity with more than 1,200 guests attending the October Howl-O-Ween Yappy Hour where a check for $7,500 was presented to Pet Project Foundation, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of all companion animals in a pro-humane manner through compassion, responsibility, education and service.

Through Community Footprints dedicated Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen provide a wide range of support and services to their community, including fund-raising for local charities, reading to the blind, preparing and serving lunches at homeless shelters, donating books to schools and volunteering at food banks.

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter
The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter opened in 1975 by a group of volunteers. The Shelter serves the residents of Laguna by providing temporary care for lost, stray and sick or injured animals rescued by Animal Services Officers within the city limits. At any one time, the facility houses dogs, cats, and a small number of other animals.

Every animal at the Shelter is held for seven days for reclaiming by its owner. Dogs and cats that remain unclaimed are seen by a veterinarian, bathed and groomed, vaccinated, micro-chipped and neutered/spayed and then put up for adoption. The aim of adoption is to place the animal in the most compatible situations possible and ensure an appropriate match between pet and owner. While the Shelter’s basic upkeep and routine operations are funded by the City of Laguna Beach, it is dependent on private donations to cover all other expenses. The City of Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel premiered as the first luxury resort along coastal Orange County in August 1984. Twenty-six years later, the resort is a re-imagined surfside retreat that awakens guests’ senses with its unique ocean-front setting and remarkable service heritage. The resort is the premiere destination for travellers who desire a playful approach to Southern California luxury.

The resort has been the recipient of many awards over the years, but is proud to boast earning AAA Five Diamond status for the 27th year, the longest in California. The resort offers many extraordinary luxury experiences including Raya, 180blũ, The Market Place, Eno, Bar Raya, The Spa and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment. For more information or reservations call 800-241-3333, the hotel directly at 949-240-2000, a travel professional or visit

American Cruise Lines Building Third New Riverboat

Construction begins as company plans to expand on U.S. Rivers.

American Cruise Lines (, the leader in small ship cruising, has announced it will be building another brand new riverboat due to the high demand for its U.S. river cruises. A contract has been signed and construction has already begun. The new riverboat will be slightly larger but similar in many respects to the 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi, which is nearing completion at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD.

“We recognize a considerable strength in river cruising and have observed an increased interest in our U.S. river cruises over the last several years,” said Charles A. Robertson, CEO of American Cruise Lines. “We look forward to introducing yet another new authentic paddlewheel riverboat to meet this demand.”

Robertson attributes the success of the company’s river cruise business to its “newer, low-density vessels, each built to meet the highest industry standards in comfort, safety and technology.”

American Cruise Lines’ third new riverboat will feature a similar capacity to that of the Queen of the Mississippi and will also boast the most spacious staterooms in the industry, entirely private balconies – all with sliding glass doors, a center atrium with a grand staircase, various lounges and numerous amenities including:

▪ Fully-functioning authentic paddlewheel
▪ 300+ square foot staterooms
▪ Private balconies with sliding glass doors
▪ Various unique lounges, libraries, and cafés
▪ Fine hotel-style bathrooms
▪ Room Service
▪ Wi-Fi in all staterooms
▪ Satellite TV and DVD player in all staterooms
▪ Single sitting, open seating dining
▪ Complimentary cocktail hour

As of yet, no decision has been made as to where the new riverboat will operate other than on U.S. rivers. Additional details and information will be announced in the coming months.

American Cruise Lines offers more than 35 unique itineraries on inland waterways and rivers across the United States. Over the last several years, American Cruise Lines has continued to add new itineraries and ships to accommodate demand.

Its newest river itineraries are offered on two authentic paddlewheelers – the 120-passenger Queen of the West operating on the Columbia and Snake Rivers of the Pacific Northwest, and Queen of the Mississippi, American Cruise Lines’ brand new authentic paddlewheeler. With a capacity of 150 guests and offering numerous never-before-available amenities, the authentic paddlewheeler is set to debut on the Mississippi River this coming August and is the first new riverboat built for the Mississippi River in nearly 20 years.

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise company, operates the newest fleet of small ships in the industry and offers more than 35 unique itineraries along the inland waterways and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Mississippi River System and East Coast of the United States, from New England to Florida. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit our Website at or call (800) 814-6880. Also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Women's Photography Retreat - Absolute Sanctuary Wellness Resort

Gaye Gerard knows how to take a good photo. As a professional freelance photographer with Getty Images she's shot Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr, Nicole Kidman, Beyonce, Megan Gale, Richard Branson and their friends.

Gaye also knows the importance of balancing health, nutrition and wellness to be able to achieve your dreams and goals. The spa devotee understands that image on the outside is about what's on the inside. This is why she has created a Photography Retreat at Absolute Sanctuary Wellness Resort in Koh Samui, from May 4th to 10th 2012. The Retreat is designed to give women an opportunity to connect with each other and be inspired as they share their passions, develop new photography skills, enhance their creativity with a camera and cleanse their body and mind so they leave feeling rejuvenated.

Guests on the six night retreat not only get direct access to Gaye Gerard's professional photographic expertise and guidance but will also feel re-energised with healthy raw food, divine smoothies and fresh juices & vegetarian cuisine.

The delicious cuisine will delight your senses and leave you lingering for more, optional daily yoga, meditation and over 3 hours of heavenly spa massage treatments are also included. You can also experience one of Thailand's best culinary cooking classes, where each person has their own wok station and will prepare and enjoy a Thai meal, a true feast of flavours and colours. There will be a series of inspirational talks by guest speakers and Gaye's Photography workshops and image review sessions.

"When the body is detoxed the mind becomes clearer and creativity is unleashed" explains Gaye. Thailand offers a plethora of photographic opportunities from landscapes to people. You don't have to be an expert photographer; you just have to give it a go."

The Photography Retreat will also feature guest talks on Health and renewing your Creative Inspiration and includes all meals. The cost is $1997 per person twin share.

Book and pay in full before April 4th.

For more information on Gaye Gerard visit to see Gaye's Portfolio visit contact Gaye Gerard or call
+ 61 410 898 293

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Festivals, Camping trips and the BBQ party…the beauty of the Great British Summer!

Be it Glastonbury, V Festival or a good old family BBQ, we as a nation are lovers of all things outdoors! Whatever portion of a summer we get, we all love to embrace the beauty of British nature and this Jubilee year; embracing British culture has never been more important!

In a year where the phrase “counting the pennies” has never been more important, it is crucial that embracing the outdoors isn’t a costly adventure. Whatever the budget may be, people want the best of the best. So if its’ tents, BBQ’s, climbing gear or even a canoe…a good old fashioned leisure specialist is the right way to go.

It is so easy to get bogged down with pretty looking items sold on the high street but odds are these are not always going to be the ones that last…shopping with the right company is important; don’t go throwing your money away.

Over thirty years ago, Taunton Leisure began as one store and has grown to vast heights with a range of stores around the South West and online; defying the economic climate to prove that the great British public just can’t get enough of all things outdoors!

Whether you’re a camping buff or a nature newbie, the best bet in this economy is to know just what you’re looking for and to invest in a product you can use and will last…no one wants a costly piece of equipment that never does the job.

In the excitement of music festivals, today’s youth might not always get it right and in the hurry of planning the perfect BBQ we might miss the mark…Taunton Leisure can make sure that whatever your needs, you will be embracing the great outdoors this Jubilee summer with success!

Want to find your perfect holiday? British Airways will help you with that

British Airways is making it easier to find the perfect holiday with the launch of a new 'Holiday Finder' tool on their website,

Andrew Crawley, the commercial director with British Airways said: "We have been developing ways to make choosing the right holiday even easier, so we are excited to launch the new 'Holiday Finder' on  Now customers can be inspired and find a bargain that's just right for them at the same time."

A new section called 'Not sure where and when' has been added to homepage and this is where customers will find a link to the 'Holiday Finder'. The tool can also be accessed directly at

The new feature allows customers to find the best deal on their flight+hotel package to a range of British Airways' most popular holiday destinations. Customers can personalise their specific requests by adding in budget, departure date, number of nights, destination or group of destinations, journey time, star rating, board basis, type of holiday and temperature.

Once these filters are added a list of holiday packages will be displayed to fit their specific criteria.

This will not only benefit anyone not sure where or when they want to go on holiday but also those looking for a good deal, anyone on a budget, holiday-makers with flexible dates and those who do not have the time to shop around.

The 'Holiday Finder' tool offers a more personalised experience for customers, enabling them to search for specific options including  budget, departure date, number of nights, destination, journey time, star rating, board basis, type of holiday i.e. city break or beach, and temperature.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Divine Chocolate gets an upgrade on Virgin

Divine Chocolate is delighted to announce that complimentary 45g bars of Divine Milk, Dark 70%, and White Chocolate will be served amongst other special treats on the Virgin Upper Class Graze menu on flights from 1st March – 31st May. Milk and 70% dark 100g bars of Divine Chocolate are already available for sale from the Virgin Retail Therapy in-flight shop.
Virgin Atlantic’s chocolate choice is one example of the airline’s commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Operating Officer Steve Griffiths said: "A key focus for Virgin Atlantic is sustainable growth and we are working hard to bring our passengers the highest quality products whilst reducing our environmental impact and supporting developing communities. We're thrilled to have such a respected ethical brand as Divine Chocolate on board and we know it will be popular with our customers.

"The Divine milk bar will feature alongside a number of other treats for our Upper Class passengers as part of our recently upgraded meal experience which includes a whole new cutlery and crockery service as well as a more contemporary food offer and, on certain flights, a fabulous new afternoon tea service.”

Divine chocolate has a wide range of flavours, as well as popular seasonal specialities and gifts – the most diverse quality range of Fairtrade chocolates on the market. The brand has distinctive ethical credentials – being the only Fairtrade chocolate co-owned by the farmers who supply the cocoa. As well as being stocked in major supermarkets and independent food stores nationwide, Divine is available in many out-of-home venues, from station platform cafes, to cinemas and theatres, restaurants and hotels.

Enjoy England as a touist destination of Firsts in the World

England has a long history of innovation and over the years it has paved the way for the rest of the world in several industries. As well as being home to the world’s first motorcar and being the first ground of several of the world’s first sports, England has also led the way in tourism.

With the first ever English Tourism Week taking place this week (10th – 18th March), VisitEngland takes a look back at some of the country’s tourism contributions that have shaped how we holiday today.

First Afternoon Tea
The tradition of taking Afternoon Tea is said to have been started at Woburn Abbey by the wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford, Duchess Anna Maria, during the 1840s. The Duchess felt that taking tea and delicate sandwiches, cakes and biscuits bridged the long gap between luncheon and dinner. We couldn’t agree more. Today, afternoon tea is still our preferred way to break up the afternoon, meet friends, or celebrate – and it is still served in traditional form in the Duchess’ tea room at Woburn Abbey. £12.50 per person.

First Stamp
What goes around the world and stays in a corner? The answer… a postage stamp, and the first method of pre-paying to send mail in a convenient way was invented right here in England. The first stamp in the world was posted from Bath in May 1840. The Penny Black officially came into use on 6th May 1840 and was sold in 1990 for £55,000. To learn more about England’s postal history, visit Bath Postal Museum. Adults: £3.50, Child over 6: £1.50.

First Pier
Ryde Pier on the Isle of Wight is thought to be the oldest pier in the world. Built in 1813 and opened in 1814, the pier certainly made the experience of coming ashore more pleasant than being carried on a porter’s back or walking half a mile through wet sand in your fineries. The pier has recently been renovated to preserve its Victorian heritage and today is home to the Wightlink catamaran service between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde. Return crossing on the Catamaran from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde is £16.

First Flight
2010 marked the 1,000 year anniversary of the first flight, when Brother Eilmer, an 11th century Benedictine monk, attached wings to his arms and legs and attempted man’s first recorded flight. He jumped off Malmesbury Abbey tower in Wiltshire and managed a downward glide of some 200 metres. You could say this was the precursor to Hang Gliding. To learn more about aviation, visit the flight gallery at the Science Museum in London, which is brimming over with extraordinary exhibits reflecting both British and international achievements in aviation. Entry is free but charges apply for the IMAX cinema, flight simulators and some special exhibitions.

First Deckchairs
Englishman John Thomas Moore, the man who bought the deckchair to world, took out a patent for an adjustable folding chair made of wood and fabric in 1886. Mass production of the deckchair started in Macclesfield in Cheshire, before becoming part of the furniture on ocean liners travelling all over globe - including the doomed Titanic. They became - and still are - an essential part of British piers, beaches, promenades, cricket grounds and back gardens. Beer beach in Devon is a picturesque beach with striped deckchairs and charming beach huts. Head out mackerel fishing, or simply recline in a deck chair for the afternoon and watch the world go by…

First Package Holiday
It was a 32-year old cabinet-maker named Thomas Cook who pioneered the very first package holiday back in 1841, when he organised a rail journey from Leicester to Loughborough to allow 500 people to attend a temperance meeting on July 5th that year. During the next three summers, Thomas arranged a succession of trips between Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham on behalf of local temperance societies and Sunday schools. His first commercial venture took place in the summer of 1845, when he charged patrons to join an organised a trip to Liverpool. Today, Thomas Cook is the UK’s largest retailer of breaks on home turf, as well as being the official provider of short breaks to the London 2012 Olympic Games and providing more trips to UK sports events than anyone else.

First Hard Rock Café
You can go all around the world from Aruba to Sharm El Sheikh and find a Hard Rock Café. But if you want to find the original, head to Old Park Lake in London. In June 2011, the Café celebrated its 30th birthday; the brainchild of Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, the central London restaurant offered first-rate American food, a fascinating collection of memorabilia with live music. Still housing the first ever piece of memorabilia donated to Hard Rock Café, Eric Clapton’s Lead II Fender – originally donated to reserve a space at the busy bar – the London café today is as authentic and popular as ever.

For events and offers taking place this week for English Tourism Week, visit

Monday, 12 March 2012

That's Green: Camping With A Conscience - Sleep Super-Soundly Wi...

That's Green: Camping With A Conscience - Sleep Super-Soundly Wi...: Camping With Soul has teamed up with the planet–friendly Naturalmat company, to produce the ultimate, ecologically sound Naturalmat camping ...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cruise ship rescues sailors from crippled boat

The Amver participating cruise ship, Norwegian Star, rescued two sailors from their disabled sailboat 55 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba on Saturday, March 3, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard rescue authorities in Miami received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert for the 38 foot sailboat,  Hokulani.

The US Coast Guard, using an Amver surface picture, determined the Norwegian Star was only 30 miles away from the distress location and diverted them to assist. They also launched an Ocean Sentry aircraft to assist in the search.

The sailboat was severely damaged by rough seas and the crew was worried they would not make it to port. “We have been dragging our rogue [anchor] for 18 hours,” a survivor reported to the Coast Guard, “I don’t know we can make it.”

The 965 foot cruise ship arrived on scene and launched a small boat to recover the two sailors. Waves were 2 to 4 feet with winds gusting approximately 20 knots as the rescue boat came alongside the sailboat.

Within four hours of the initial distress notification the sailors were safely aboard the Bahamian flagged cruise ship and headed to its next port, Tampa, Fla. The sailboat was marked as a hazard to navigation and left adrift. The sailors were uninjured.

The Norwegian Star enrolled in the Amver system on July 28, 2004 and has earned seven awards for participation. The was not the first time the Norwegian Star has saved someone. The cruise ship also rescued a sailor from a damaged sail boat in 2009 near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Private Jet Central Introduces New and Improved Streamlined Booking Service

Chartering a private jet is now more convenient than ever with Private Jet Central. Flights tothousands of destinations around the world can be chartered in as little as two minutes.

Private Jet Central is delighted to announce the introduction of its new streamlined booking service to customers and clients in the UK. Introduced as a result of customer demand the service is now fully live following a successful trial run in early 2012. The aim of the service is to make a private jet charteras quick and convenient as possible.

Visitors to the site can now use a simple online quotation form that can be completed in as little as two minutes. All that is required from them is the departure date, departure airport, destination airport and the number of passengers who will be flying. The team of aviation experts at Private Jet Central then process this information to produce a number of alternatives to give to the client.

The MD of Private Jet Central John Smith stated that “The introduction of this new service will further enhance our client’s experience of dealing with us”. He went on to say that “Our clients our extremely busy people for whom time is a valuable resource”.

This streamlined booking process is designed to take the confusion out of private jet hire. It has been designed by Private Jet Central to ensure that the booking process is as convenient as possible whilst still ensuring that the highest possible standards of personal service are delivered.

Private Jet Central is a global jet charter company with offices in the UK, USA and the Middle East.

Founded in 2001 they offer a range of jet charter services to business and pleasure users in the UK and Europe. Their fleet of aircraft available for charter now includes the Gulfstream IV and V as well as the Falcon 2000. More information on the full range of services offered by Private Jet Central is available from their website and also by contacting any of their offices by phone or e-mail.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Make Mother's Day An Opportunity To Potter And Reintroduce The Literary Magic For Mum

The Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere is turning Mother’s Day on its head this year by inviting children of all ages to re-create the magic of Beatrix Potter for their mother, if she once made it a wonderful part of their childhood, or they are still young enough to enjoy Beatrix Potter stories at bedtime.

The hotel, which was once owned by Beatrix Potter and the residence of her mother, Helen, is making Mother’s Day 2012 a day on which sons and daughters can bring their Mum out to an idyllic place from which Beatrix would send her manuscripts out for publication and make various sketches. They can show Mum a letter sent to her publisher, which is on show in the sitting room, stroll around the gardens, take in lake views of Windermere and relax on the terrace, to get a feel for the author’s life here.

Younger children can sit read to their mum from the centenary gold edition of ‘The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes’, as they wait for their lunch. Beatrix was based at the home that the hotel now occupies when writing this Tale, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and also that of the ‘Tale of Pigling Bland’, which is 100 years old in 2013.

This charming literary twist is sure to delight mum, while lunch itself will also be a much-appreciated treat, thanks to a menu designed by head chef Marc Guibert who last year created the world’s most expensive dessert, which sold for £22,000.

The mouth-watering dessert choices on this year’s menu are the chef’s own Lindeth Howe sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and Earl Grey ice cream, a lemon glazed tart with gin and tonic sorbet and marmalade gel, a light strawberry mousse with white chocolate sorbet and strawberry sherbet and an English farmhouse cheese selection.

These are preceded by four choices of starter including roulade of smoked salmon and braised pork belly and four choices of main course, including pan fried west coast sea bass with new potatoes, ratatouille and lemon butter sauce, and a Roast Cumbrian strip loin of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and red wine gravy.

Lindeth Howe’s hotel general manager, Alison Magee-Barker, says: “Many mothers have brought Beatrix Potter into the lives of their children and grandchildren, so we thought it would be wonderful if they could return the favour and bring her exquisite Tales to life once again for those dedicated bedtime-story-reading mums. It really is possible to capture the essence of Beatrix Potter’s Tales at Lindeth Howe and a trip for lunch and some leisure time here has all the makings of a fabulous day out and a delightful thank you”.

Tables can be booked for the lunch, which costs £21.95 by calling 015394 45759. Children under 10 can eat from the same menu for £10.95 and enjoy half portions. Other requests will be accommodated if possible.

More information about the hotel can be found at

Families wishing to buy a centenary edition of the Tale of Timmy Tiptoes to take home, will be able to do so, at a price of £6.99

That's Entertainment News: Croatia Turns Up The Volume This Summer

That's Entertainment News: Croatia Turns Up The Volume This Summer: With no Glastonbury this year, festivalgoers can breathe easy - there is no need to go without! Swap your wellies for flip flops and head to...

Monday, 5 March 2012

St Christopher's Inns Launch Exclusive Accommodation Offers Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics

St Christopher's Inns – providers of backpacker hostel and budget hotel accommodation across Europe – have released a number of special Olympic deals – available exclusively through their website.

Duncan Robertson, Digital and Communications Director said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to reward anyone staying with us in the summer of 2012, with deals that offer superb value for money, during this incredible sporting event.”

The exclusive deals include two-night, three-night and seven-night packages at the St Christopher’s hostels in Greenwich, London Bridge, Camden, Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith. The deals can be viewed online now:

St Christopher’s Inns are part of Beds and Bars Ltd, a leading operator of tourist accommodation and entertainment venues in Europe with 26 backpacker hostels,
bars, nightclubs, and restaurants in seven countries.

Recently opened venues include the Mosaic House hostel and hotel in Prague, and La Rotonde bar and brasserie in Paris. Additional accommodation and bar venues are currently under construction in Barcelona and Paris.

Jet operator calls for industry to promote time saving, not luxury to business clients

Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, the CEO of London Executive Aviation (LEA), one of Europe’s biggest business jet charter operators, is calling on the business aviation industry to promote time-saving benefits rather than giving out 'luxury messages' in its marketing this summer.

Speaking ahead of the annual meeting of the British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA) later this month, Margetson-Rushmore says: “After a very tough recession, private jet charter operators stand to do good business this summer, thanks to Euro 2012 and the Olympics. However, we risk squandering the chance of a sustained recovery after these events if we don’t portray ourselves intelligently.

“The BBGA and the European Business Aviation Association do a great job in communicating the invaluable benefits we offer, namely efficient and convenient travel. But there is still a temptation for many operators to emphasise ‘the champagne lifestyle’ in their marketing, which is self-defeating folly given the general public mood,” Margetson-Rushmore continues. “The Zeitgeist is still very critical of excessive City bonuses, so it is vital we distance ourselves from so-called ‘corporate greed’. We should instead promote the true value of business aviation, which is all about saving precious time, an important ingredient for the economic recovery that will benefit us all.

“After the ‘tarring and feathering’ our reputation received during the credit crunch, there is a lot of PR damage our industry has to repair,” he says. “The BBGA can lead the way, but can only succeed if we present a united front. Only once we have detoxified the public’s perceptions of chartering an aircraft can a sustained industry recovery truly get underway.”

According to Margetson-Rushmore, the Olympics offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the public’s understanding of business aviation. “The fact is we have an essential role to play in the south-east’s overstretched air transport system. The Olympics will bring a huge number of people into London and our major airports will struggle to handle this volume.

"Heathrow Airport operated at 99.2% of its annual limit for flights in 2011 and has severe capacity issues. On its busiest days during the Olympics, Heathrow expects to handle 138,000 passengers, a 45% increase over normal levels. This increase is despite takeoff and landing slots at Heathrow being reduced during the Games from around 43 to 36 per hour. Therefore, not only will business aviation allow many to visit London without delays, but we will also be taking an important share of the strain on London’s travel infrastructure. This is a story we should be promoting.”

Euro 2012 gives operators another chance to promote messages of time-saving and value, according to LEA’s chief executive. “Fans travelling abroad face significant challenges because of where the matches are to be played, and these problems could worsen if England is as successful as we hope. Fans may need to shuttle between Donetsk and Kiev in Ukraine to support the team in the group stages, which could be a challenge as the cities are more than 400 miles apart. If England make the semi-finals, supporters may have to fly to Warsaw to watch the match. And, if the team gets to the final, fans may need to fly back to Kiev.”

With limited options for scheduled air and ground transportation, this situation is almost a case study for why business aviation is so invaluable, says Margetson-Rushmore. “Rather than losing days or weeks out of the office, fans chartering aircraft with their friends could fly out to see all the live action and be home again within hours. Splitting air charter costs between six or eight passengers could make the expense per person very attractive, especially when you factor in savings on hotels and ground transportation. Explained in this way, the financial attractions of what we offer become far clearer and less elitist to potential critics.

“Summer 2012 offers us all a great showcase for what we do as an industry,” Margetson-Rushmore concludes. “I hope we take advantage of the opportunity in a way that yields us the maximum mutual, lasting benefit.”

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Win a city break to Barcelona courtesy of the easyJet holidays website!

The easyJet holidays website is celebrating Barcelona being voted as one of Europe’s top gastro tourism destinations by launching a challenge for food bloggers to create a tapas dish worthy of winning a holiday to Barcelona.

This is following the news that Barcelona was recently voted in the top ten best European destinations for food and wine according to a world traveller’s poll commissioned by tripadvisor. The Catalan capital has steadily been on the rise on gastro tourists’ radar, with the city having a number of the world’s best restaurants and chefs residing in its limits in recent years.

The blogger competition is set up to showcase the delights of Spanish food. If you are a budding foodie blogger and fancy sharing your creation on your blog, you have the opportunity to enter and win a holiday in Barcelona. The top prize is a three night stay at the stylish 4 star Barcelo Sants hotel with return flights included. The competition runs until the 4th of April with entries being entered into a random prize draw, which gives everyone a chance to win no matter what the cooking ability is.

Mandy Round, general manager, easyJet holidays commented on the prize saying: “Barcelona is a beacon of both Spanish and Catalan cuisine and is home to some of the world’s best chefs and restaurants. The Barcelo Sants hotel is in a great location and a stay there will give the lucky winner a fantastic opportunity to get out and sample the city’s best gastronomic delights, something Barcelona is becoming ever more renowned for”

Entrants will have the chance to have their dish and blog promoted on the easyJet holidays competition page, giving great exposure to any aspiring food writers and adding to the already great incentive to enter. Along with the chance to win a three night holiday in Barcelona, there will be ten highly rated Catalan cookbooks, ‘Catalan Cuisine: Europe’s Last Great Culinary Secret’ up for grabs as runners up prizes that will be chosen at random from all competition entries, giving everyone a chance to win a prize.

The competition runs through March until the first week of April, with final entries being accepted at midnight on Wednesday 4th April 2012.

For all the details of how to enter the competition, visit the Barcelona food blogger competition page. Learn more about Barcelona holidays on the easyJet holidays website

Car hire website helps ski fans save on vehicle rentals in both Europe and North America this year

Ski fans taking advantage of heavy recent snowfall in Europe and North American resorts can save a small fortune on their car hire needs thanks to leading website The site has this week announced the availability of deals from as little as £20 per day.

Brits heading for the pistes can log on to the car rental website right now and get themselves some great value hire offers for late ski trips - prices are presently available starting at £20 a day from Salzburg and Innsbruck Airports, £21 a day in Aspen, £23 a day from Banff Airport and £21 a day in Salt Lake City.

Briony Fairbairn, spokesperson for, says: “There has been some fine quality snow on the slopes of Europe and North America recently, meaning that people are booking themselves late ski breaks."

“Whether you have already had a ski trip this season, or are taking your first one now, it's best to check into the weather and conditions to make sure you're going to the right resort."

“We also counsel booking in-demand accessories like winter tyres and snow chains in advance of travelling - rental providers only keep limited stocks of them and are prone to running out.” Top Ski Destinations –

1. Aspen
2. Banff
3. Salt Lake City
4. Salzburg
5. Innsbruck

To compare the latest ski deals visit Prices are based on seven-day rental from 12 March 2012 and are subject to change. is a specialist car hire company, providing car rental in over 12,000 locations around the World. Committed to finding its customers the best prices, offers a quick and easy search of the latest offers, including car hire Portugal deals and pick up locations for Madeira car hire.