Thursday, 31 May 2012

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Voyager Travel Direct announces family deals for Madeira

Voyager Travel Direct has revealed reduced prices on luxury holidays to Madeira departing in July and August 2012. The online travel agency is offering school holiday departure dates with added extras and special offers for families.

Five star deals in July and August are rarely discounted, yet Voyager Travel Direct offers families an affordable holiday to Pestana Grand in Funchal with an abundance of free extras, such as an upgrade to half board, a room upgrade and a live show at the nearby casino.

The Pestana Grand occupies an ocean-front location and is set within 5,000 acres of gardens. The hotel's very large, 1,000 square metre swimming pool is an ideal place to relax with a drink from the poolside bar. The hotel also features a gymnasium, sauna, Jacuzzi, treatment rooms and a free daily shuttle bus to the city of Funchal.

It can be difficult for parents to find good value family holidays during school breaks, when prices always rocket due to increased demand. With this in mind, Voyager Travel Direct has decided to offer discounts for children, discounts on family rooms and will guarantee interconnecting rooms for families where required on selected holidays to Madeira.

Madeira Island offers plenty for families to do in terms of culture and exploring. Families can take a catamaran trip and look for dolphins, take a jeep expedition and explore areas such as Câmara de Lobos, Boca da Corrida, Jardim da Serra and Quinta da Grande, or take a tour to the Gardens of Madeira. There is also Madeira adventure Kingdom which offers a range of excursions, including Canyoning and an aqua park at Santa Cruz which boasts five toboggan rides, four fast slides and a lazy river.

Verity Eyre, the general manager of Voyager Travel Direct, said: "Madeira is a great island which may have been overlooked by families in the past. However, the temperature in summer averages around 24 degrees and there is good quality accommodation available for a reasonable price this summer compared to other destinations.

"This, combined with discounts for children, has led to a surge in Madeira bookings and we would recommend that families consider Madeira for their holiday this summer, as the same deals may not be around next year."

The Ideal Hand Luggage Range from

Sports DirectIf you’re travelling on a budget airline, have a tendency to return with more luggage than when you left, or for those times when it simply won’t go back the way you packed it- have the answer with their fantastic new range of hand luggage suitcases.
Available from a huge range of brands like No Fear, Dunlop, Lonsdale and Karrimor; you can choose the ideal sized hand luggage in whichever colour takes your fancy! Including lime green and pink for the girl trips away! You can also get your hands on the Lonsdale Union Jack Suitcase for just £24.99 from 7th June- perfect if you’re travelling to support Team GB in the Olympics!

Not only are there a range of bright, funky colours and patterns to choose from- also have an array of sizes to suit the majority of airline hand luggage requirements. Most airlines (Virgin Atlantic, BA, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2, BMI Baby) allow hand luggage to measure up to 22 inches long, so the 16inch, 18inch and 20inch options are ideal for carrying the extras without paying the extra.

You can pre-order these fantastic cases online right now in time for the summer holidays! Wherever you’re heading, be it Europe, further or even a trip down to the Capital, has the ideal luggage solution for your journey. Log on to day at to find all the latest deals, as well as the latest news on their official Facebook and Twitter pages.

At a Glance Guide to All of Orlando’s Water Parks This Summer

Water park enthusiasts are getting excited about the grand opening of LEGOLAND Florida Water Park on 26th May 2012.

For families taking the plunge and heading to Orlando this summer, Attraction Tickets Direct has compiled a comprehensive guide of Orlando’s Water Parks to help parents book their Orlando theme park tickets.

Water Parks are a fantastic way to cool down during the hot tropical summers in Florida and there are six water parks which provide varied experiences for all ages.

Currently Orlando has three traditional water parks and LEGOLAND Florida Water Park will be the fourth!

1) Wet n’ Wild: located on International Drive is Orlando’s oldest and largest water park and has a choice of 14 thrilling rides for all the family.
2) Disney’s Blizzard beach: located in Lake Buena Vista resembles a ‘Ski Resort’ with a selection of flumes which are divided into Green, red and purple depending on the thrill factor.
3) Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park: located in Lake Buena Vista, is an active water park where visitors can learn to surf and snorkel as well as experience the traditional flume rides.

Aquatica and Discovery Cove both offer fantastic water experiences for all the family. Aquatica is a tropical paradise and is home to the incredible Dolphin Plunge ride which enables visitors to speed through 250 feet of clear tubes through the Commerson’s dolphin habitat. In Discovery Cove visitors are able to meet and even kiss the dolphins face to fin in the Dolphin Lagoon.

Attraction Tickets Direct offers a fantastic range of Orlando tickets for visitors to experience the water parks. LEGOLAND Florida Two Day Water Park Combo Ticket is just £59 for an adult and £53 for a child and guests have access to both LEGOLAND Florida theme park and water park. When booking Discovery Cove Tickets there is a choice between Discovery Cove Choice Package and Discovery Cove Ultimate Package, which offers 14 consecutive days entrance to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens and costs from £126 for non swimmers and £184 for swimmers. If guests want to experience all the theme parks and water parks on offer in Orlando they can purchase the best selling Orlando Freedom Ticket which costs £424 for an adult and £385 for a child.

Visit to purchase your dinner show tickets.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

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Choice Hotels Europe offers rewards members chance to earn double points

Choice Hotels Europe, the company behind the Comfort, Quality and Clarion brands in Europe and part of Choice Hotels International, one of the largest and most successful lodging franchisors in the world, has launched a promotion enabling members of Choice Privileges, its award-winning rewards programme, to earn double points every time they stay in a participating Choice-brand property.

Between 17 May and 15 August, 2012 Choice Privileges members enrolled in Europe can now earn double bonus points for every qualifying stay at any hotel worldwide that participates in the Choice Privileges programme including the Quality Hotel Coventry, Comfort Hotel Finchley and Clarion Collection Birmingham in the UK, Quality Hotel Delfino in Venice, Quality Hotel Berlin Tegel in Germany, Clarion Hotel Park Avenue in New York and the Marque Sydney Clarion Collection in Australia. To qualify reservations must be booked between 17 May and 15 August at or by calling 00800 800 44 800.

Originally launched in 1998 by Choice Hotels International, the Choice Privileges rewards programme has been available in Europe since 2008. To become a Choice Privileges member travellers can log on to or sign-up when checking in to a Choice-brand hotel.

Members can earn points or miles at 5,500 locations around the world and also enjoy express check-in, extended check-out, and the opportunity to redeem points for free nights at thousands of properties throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australasia, North America, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Members can also redeem points at luxury partner hotels, such as Preferred Hotel Group and Barceló Hotels & Resorts, through airline partners including airberlin, American Airlines, Qantas, Delta, and Czech Airlines, and for free car hires from Avis and Budget.

"We are delighted to offer Choice Privileges members in Europe the opportunity to now earn double points when they stay at any of the 5,500 participating properties in our global network of hotels." said Duncan Berry, CEO UK, Choice Hotels Europe.

Terms and Conditions apply and can be found at

Book An Eco Break With Holiday Villas in Lanzarote

Lanzarote is usually associated with standard package holidays and conventional hotel breaks. But visitors to the fourth largest of the Canary Islands who are seeking something a little more adventurous can now book a variety of eco breaks via the Holiday Villas in Lanzarote website

Just as glamping (glamorous camping) has taken off in many other destinations Lanzarote now also offers plenty of options for those who are seeking a holiday with green credentials. Finca de Arrieta in the north of the island is the island´s only eco friendly holiday village – boasting 30,000 metres of lush former farmland right by the sea – and offers a number of unconventional accommodation options for the independent traveller, all of which are powered by solar and wind energy.

If you fancy a spot of glamping (glamorous camping) for example then you can book a break in a luxurious eco yurt. These former Mongolian yak herders tents offer high levels of comfort and have been very stylishly decorated – making them the ideal choice for anyone who is too push to pitch.

A seven night stay in a basic yurt for two people starts from £440 per week. Ranging through to £1225 for a week’s break in the Eco Yurt Royale – which is a massive 83 metre square and which boasts no less than three bedrooms, a shower room and large covered outdoor kitchen.

There are also plenty of other eco friendly options for holidaymakers who prefer bricks and mortar to sleeping under canvas. Ranging from the eco luxury farmhouse at the top end of the price scale through to the wallet friendly Eco Tower, which costs from £410 per week.

Lanzarote is a UNESCO protected biosphere – and was in fact the first island in the world to secure this status back in 1994. Development on the island has been carefully controlled, so tourists will find that there are no high rise hotels or holiday complexes blotting the landscape here. The north of the island is particularly unspoilt and this is where the bulk of Holiday Villas in Lanzarote´s rural properties are located.

Contact : - 0034 619591579.

News from Flanders - May 2012

Optimistic about the thought of summer on our doorstep, we bring our usual cornicopia of information about what is happening in Flanders in the coming weeks. Look out for us at next month's Taste of London festival where we'll be offering the public the chance to best of Flemish fayre. Enjoy the summer sun from the team at Tourism Flanders!


B&B De Witte Nijl
This new B&B with 2 rooms is located in a quiet street in the centre of Antwerp in the trendy neighbourhood of 'Zuid', famous for its array of cool restaurants and terraces. Close to the site of the Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp it is also within walking distance to the fashion area, antiques area and the historic centre.  Decorated in a colonial African-style fashion, the building is located  in a beautiful 19th century house, typical to the area.  Rooms start at € 100,00 per night.


Dinner in the Sky - Brusselicious
Brussels has always loved surrealism. From 4 June to 1 July 2012 “Dinner in the Sky” meets the challenge from a gastronomic angle. It is a unique occasion to discover Brussels haute-cuisine in the most extraordinary setting: 22 guests and 1 ‘Michelin starred’ chef will offer an unforgettable gastronomic experience serving rare dishes and fine wines, suspended in the skies of the capital city to provide  an unparalleled view of Brussels and its surroundings
More information :   and  

Culinary festival in Ghent 'Gent Smaakt'
Twenty of Ghent’s best kept culinary secrets are revealed when they present their finest work at the culinary festival 'Gent Smaakt' from the 17th till the 20th of May. Any visitor to this beautiful city will be able to recount the boundless range and quality on offer for all tastes ! Entrance fees for the festival are free and visitors can pay for their food and drink via a token system or 'Gentse stropkes'  ( medieval nooses and also the nickname for the Ghent locals).The festival takes place on  Leopoldskazerne, Gaspar De Craeyerstraat 2 , Ghent  

New tourist beer guide
With more than 30 breweries that collectively produce over 250 beers, Flemish Brabant - with its beer capital Leuven - is the beer province par excellence. Eager to showcase the local brews,a new tourist  beer guide entitled  "Beer, a round of Flemish Brabant" has been produced. The book aims to offer an overview of the breweries, the varieties on offer and  beer flavours, as well as the history of the brewing process and a list of delicious beer recipes. For beer enthusiasts looking for a more physical challenge, there is a selection of beer walks and cycle routes aimed to highlight the authentic ambiance of typical beer cafés in the region! The guide is available in English and exists as an online guide also.

Hard Rock Café in Brussels
Coming soon to the Grand Place, the HARD ROCK CAFÉ opens at the end of May. As well as the tried and tested favourites, the Brussels café will also serve Belgian food and Belgian artists will be contacted for memorabilia to adorn its interior. Its new premises housed in a 16th Century restored building will offer live music, late night lounge and shop. As well as cocktails the café will be offering more than a few Belgian brews remind visitors of where they are!

Taste of London 2012
Look out for the Tourism Flanders-Brussels stand ( IP4)  at the TASTE OF LONDON festival taking place 21-24 June . We’ll be joined by the best of Flanders in terms of food and drink and consumers will be able to sample a range of local delicacies . Eating and drinking are always factors that influence the success of any  foreign trip. With this in mind, the Flemish look forward to  impressing  visitors with some  innovative and tasty cooking ! For more information see and

3D-Cutting Edge Fashion
The Materialise World Conference put on a fashion show with a 3D printed twist. Making their runway debut were four hats from Brussels’ master milliner Elvis Pompilio. Also on the catwalk, were the top 20 designs of a hat and hair accessory competition, the “Hat’s Off to 3D Printing Challenge,” which was put together by  Leuven’s Materialise’s consumer division i.materialise. Flanders is a world leader in 3D printing and can lay claim to three companies in the world’s top 10. Its combination in fashion has been inspiration to designers like Elvis Pompilio who often use the technology to create award winning cutting edge design. The ability to create intricate lace-like designs in millinery is  made possible via 3D technology.

Examples of the stunning designs on show are included in following link. However, the technology employs itself to other forms of design in jewellery (  and designer crockery too!

Art and Design
From May 1 until August 1, 2012, Belgium’s most famous contemporary Comic Strip artist, painter, theatre and television producer Kamagurka will act as curator for a special art project in Bruges: Kamarama. He will display his own work as well as work of other artists who inspire and fascinate him at several locations around the city. It will be an exhibition full of remarkable art, surprising perspectives and a certain amount of humour. Look out for Yves Obyn’s wooden crashed airplane in the heart of the city!

Google Art Project
The Google Art Project, launched in February 2011, offers virtual tours of seventeen of the world's major museums, including the New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in London, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.
The second phase of the Google Art Project began in April 2012. The goal is to significantly expand the number of participating museums and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium have been invited to take part. The selected works span the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries, and include paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (The Numbering at Bethlehem (inv. 3637) and The Fall of the Rebel Angels), Jacob Jordaens, Rogier van der Weyden, Gustaf Wappers, Alfred Stevens, Jacques-Louis David and Fernand Khnopff. In December 2011, a team of the Google Art Project came to Brussels to digitize the masterpiece of Bruegel the Elder "The Fall of the Rebel Angels" (1562) with a 1 Gigapixel camera. For more information see

Duvel Collection
Every year, the  Duvel-Moortgat brewery release a new series of exclusive, printed glasses, designed by the Belgian and Dutch artists Arne Quinze, Daan and Stefan Glerum.  Original and limited in sales, the series is available in local, Belgian stores and in the Duvel webshop, starting June 7.
For more information:

Leuven’s 2012 Summer Scene
Leuven is getting ready for a colourful summer with the second edition of “Summer in Leuven”. Huge murals by Sol LeWitt, the most influential conceptual artist, will completely take over the M-Museum Leuven. This is the first time that an overview of his work will be on show in Belgium. And to cap it all, enjoyable concerts, music festivals, a culinary event and the city’s unequalled atmosphere will be jostling for your attention: The terrific 3=2 campaign held by Leuven’s hotels and B&Bs will make Leuven a summer hotspot that is not to be missed.

Middelheim Museum
On 26 and 27 May the revamped Middelheim museum will throw a party when it reopens its doors to the public. The highlight of the weekend will be the performance given on Saturday by Swiss artist Roman Signer. Countless other performances are due to take place across the entire park during the opening festivities. 

In the Braem Pavilion, fashion designers Bernhard Willhelm and Jutta Kraus will present their selection of internationally renowned works from the Middelheim museum's permanent collection. The custom artwork by Ai Weiwei, Thomas Schütte and Philippe Van Snick complete the line-up for this fabulous opening weekend

Thomas Schütte Exhibition: 26 May 2012 - 16 September 2012
The Bradt Guide to Flanders
 Author Emma Thomson has finally had her detailed guide to Flanders and Brussels published by Bradt. The book, which took many months to compile was the Emma's brainchild and during her 10 year love-affair with the region, she was able to painstakingly research the length and breath of Flanders . With surprises at every turn, she applied an "off the beaten track" approach to her travels to provide a comprehensive visitors guide to the many cities, vast countryside and coastal towns in the area. Emma's book is available online from Bradt.

Monday, 21 May 2012

European Parliament Set Proposals To Cut The Cost Of Using Mobile Phones in The EU

Cheap international calls provider Firstnumber are encouraging everyone to educate themselves with new regulations - designed to significantly reduce the cost of using a mobile phone whilst in the EU - which have been passed by the European parliament.

The new proposals are set to come into effect on July 1st of this year, placing a cap on the cost of calls and mobile data whilst roaming in the EU. Call costs are to be reduced to a limited €0.29 per minute, continuing to fall to €0.19 by 2014. The cost of mobile data will be capped at €0.70 per megabyte, reaching a surprisingly low €0.20 per megabyte by 2014. Furthermore, the legislation denotes the inclusion of a cap on the cost of text messaging, which will see a drop to €0.11 this July, with a further reduction to €0.06 in 2014.

A spokesperson at Firstnumber commented: “This news is great news and since the initial proposals in March the goal of eradicating the current divide between domestic and foreign mobile charges is the only way forward, With millions of consumers to benefit”.

“With the changes beginning on the 1st of July this year, this will no doubt help reduce the number of those victim of 'bill-shock' when returning from their holiday. At Firstnumber, we are doing our bit to help foreign visitors cut their phone bills with our discounted call rates from both landlines and mobiles for anyone dialling abroad from the UK.”

This action has been taken by the European Parliament to help combat the frightening bills consumers have experienced when coming back from their holidays, known as 'bill-shock'. The EU have confirmed that once the changes are implemented will mean savings up to £800 a year, for a “typical” businessman.

What’s more, other changes are also set to be introduced under the new regulations, allowing consumers to choose a different operator that can offer cheaper pricing – without the need to change their mobile phone number.

The spokesperson went on to say: “At Firstnumber we are happy to provide the cheapest calls to over 500 countries worldwide. We also promote a high level of transparency to all our customers by ensuring there are no hidden costs or subscription fees. Hopefully the new regulation will follow suit and ensure that network providers promote transparency regarding price and information available to their consumers, when travelling worldwide.”

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Malmaison launches new menu at its brasseries

Malmaison, the luxury boutique hotel brand in the UK, has announced the launch of a new menu at its brasseries, plus updated bar and room service menus.

The menu includes an array of starters that feature seasonal offerings, such as the Scotch quail egg and bacon salad with a piccalilli vinaigrette and the 'From the shore' smoked salmon blini, creme fraiche and caviar.

In addition to the new starters, the Malmaison hotel restaurants offer an array of heartily portioned mains, including six different choices from the grill. In keeping with the overall quality of the menu, all of the beef on offer is naturally reared, grass-fed and dry-aged on the bone for a minimum of twenty eight days.

Vegetarians and seafood fans aren't without options either. The new menu also includes a risotto primavera with young fresh vegetables and a hefty sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Seafood options include the yellow fin tuna steak and the salmon fish cake with spinach and parsley sauce.

Emma Benney, Group Marketing Director, said: "We are delighted with the new menu. It's a return to the Malmaison classics, with a few new ones which are already becoming hot favourites. There's a great selection, something for everyone. I personally recommend the Chicken Skewers and of course The Mal burger."

The updated bar menu features a new wine list, headed-up by world renowned sommelier Johnny Walker. Every Malmaison bar also regularly hosts 'Vino Voyages' for wine enthusiasts and occasional wine drinkers alike. These events are presented by guest wine producers and include a large sit-down feast matched with various wines.

Another component of the new bar menu is the cocktail list, which features exotic mixed drinks like the Blackforest Martini as well as classics like the Tom Collins.

Also on offer for Spring 2012 is a new dessert menu, which includes a baked New York cheesecake with blueberries, an array of ice cream sundaes, a Valrhona chocolate tart and a classic vanilla crème brulee. The dessert menu also features an artisan cheese slate with crackers and chutney and an iced fresh fruit plate for those looking for something a bit lighter.

Guests at the brasseries can choose from a range of liqueurs and rich ports to enjoy with their desserts. Also paired well with dessert is the Irish coffee, the French coffee and the Espresso Martini.

Also, the room service menu has been upgraded to reflect the fresh ingredients of the season. It includes a range of starters, salads and mains, many of which are exclusive only to room service. The menu also offers a selection of sandwiches, the ideal option for guests wanting a light lunch. Catering to guests' late-night cravings, the room service menu also features some 'Midnight Munchies', such as the British classic, beans on toast.

Malmaison offers twelve boutique luxury hotels in the UK, all featuring super slinky rooms and suites, with super-fast broadband. Guests can enjoy visiting the high-octane bars stocked with cocktails and bubbly within the hotels and can dine on the best local produce in the hotel restaurants.

Park Inn by Radisson unveils global 1+1 Stay One, Get One event

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the launch of the Park Inn by Radisson 1+1 Stay One, Get One offer, where the first 20,000 people to register will be eligible to receive 44,000 bonus Gold Points, enough for a free night at any Park Inn by Radisson hotel, worldwide.

"This year marks the one-year anniversary of Club CarlsonSM, our global hotel rewards program, and in celebration, we’d like to encourage new customers around the world to experience the bright, bold and fresh offerings that Park Inn by Radisson has to offer," said Heather Passe, vice president, Marketing, Loyalty and E-commerce.

"1+1 Stay One, Get One allows our customers to earn a free night at any Park Inn around the world and experience how our hotels add color to life," added Eric De Neef, Senior Vice President for Park Inn at Rezidor, Carlson’s strategic partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Travellers can now register for the 1+1 Stay One, Get One event by visiting The first 20,000 guests to register and stay at least one night at any Park Inn by Radisson hotel, now through July 22, 2012, will earn 44,000 bonus Gold Points - enough points for a one-night stay at any Park Inn by Radisson hotel. Once the 20,000 spots are filled, guests who register for the promotion and complete a one-night stay at any Park Inn by Radisson hotel by July 22, 2012, will earn 15,000 bonus Gold Points, enough for a free night at select hotels.

For details on the offer, as well as terms and conditions, interested parties can visit Club Carlson is the global hotel rewards program from the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Guests who are not members can join for free during any stay at a Carlson Rezidor hotel or resort, during registration for the 1+1 Stay One, Get One event, or by visiting Club Carlson redefines hotel rewards with a collection of superior benefits and offers a faster way to a free night stay at any of the more than 1,000 participating hotels worldwide: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Enjoy Staffordshire’s Right Royal Giveaway!

Emma Bridgewater JubileeTo celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Enjoy Staffordshire is hosting a Right Royal Treasure Hunt giving away 60 tickets to top attractions across the county.
Whether you are an adventure junkie, nature lover or culture vulture, ten tickets from six of the county’s leading attractions including Alton Towers Resort, Drayton Manor Theme Park, Shugborough Estate, Emma Bridgewater, Trentham Estate and the Trentham Monkey Forest, as well as Enjoy Staffordshire Thrill Hopper tickets, will be given away each day from 28th May until the Jubilee weekend celebrations begin on 2nd June.

If you have a keen eye for detail, a nose for sniffing out clues and a dream of becoming the next Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Clouseau then this unique online virtual Treasure Hunt will test your mettle, knowledge and brain power, giving you and your family a fantastic opportunity to win some fabulous days out this summer!

Each day, clues will be given out on the Enjoy Staffs Facebook Fan Page that lead participants to one of Staffordshire’s vast array of attractions and destinations. There will also be hints to the answers given out on the @EnjoyStaffs Twitter feed, and the clues can then be solved with the help of the Enjoy Staffordshire website,

Ten lucky winners will be selected each day, giving 60 Right Royal Treasure Hunt entrants the opportunity to enjoy the following attractions and experiences around the county this summer:

New to Alton Towers Resort and located in the Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre, Ice Age The 4-D Experience combines 3-D footage, based on the third blockbuster movie, with an exhilarating variety of physical effects including icy blasts, snow and bubbles.

Also new for the Alton Towers Resort in 2012 is Nemesis Sub-Terra, a psychologically and physically thrilling experience, taking place in a dark, intense underground setting which is based around the back-story of the original Nemesis attraction. Set to be one of the Resort’s most popular attractions, Nemesis Sub-Terra takes guests down into the deepest, darkest location of the theme park for the terrifying experience. Visit for more information.

Drayton Manor Theme Park, one of the UK’s most popular destinations for a day of family fun and adventure, will offer Treasure Hunt winners an action packed day full of incredible rides and attractions, including a 15-acre zoo.

Winners of the Diamond Jubilee tickets will also experience a number of new additions for 2012 at Drayton Manor Theme Park, including some fantastic new live shows performed on the stage above the park’s popular Ben 10: Ultimate Mission rollercoaster, as well as shows performed in Thomas Land™ as part of its fifth year celebrations. The park's sensational 4D Cinema is also showing a new adventure film, The Little Prince. For more information visit

Shugborough Estate will welcome winners with the opportunity to see the works of critically acclaimed photographer and the Queen’s cousin, Lord Patrick Lichfield, as part of an exclusive photographic exhibition of the some of the 21st Century’s most famous iconic images including Royal family members. Visitors will also be able to step inside Lord Lichfield’s private apartments, which opened last year, including the elegant Boudoir with original real silver leaf wallpaper dating from 1794, and the magnificent Bird Room which was his private drawing room.

The Emma Bridgewater Factory, in the heart of the historic Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent, is giving away ten tickets for a morning or afternoon session in the artistic Emma Bridgewater decorating studio at its atmospheric Victorian factory.

Winners will receive expert tuition in how to decorate a plate or half pint mug in the classic Emma Bridgewater shapes and even take inspiration from the company’s own Diamond Jubilee range. Winners will then get to keep their own piece of ware as a memento!  For more information on the factory visit

Those who are lucky enough to hunt down clues and win tickets for Trentham Estate, will also gain complimentary access to the Trentham Monkey Forest, where you can take a leisurely stroll with over 140 Barbary Macaques set in 60 acres of beautiful Staffordshire Woodland.

The Trentham Estate, garden and shopping village will also give winners the opportunity to relax, indulge and enjoy the surroundings of one of the UK’s top visitor attractions with over 725 acres to explore!

The Thrill Hopper Tickets worth £47.50 each give winners the chance to enjoy the county’s top action packed attractions. Thrill Hoppers are valid for one visit each to Alton Towers theme park, Drayton Manor theme park, SnowDome and Waterworld. For twists, turns and adrenaline pumping action the Thrill Hopper will certainly take you to another level!

For an opportunity to win one of these fabulous prizes, join the EnjoyStaffs Facebook Fanpage at and become a fan to receive the clues! For full terms and conditions visit

British Airways announce new route from Gatwick to Vegas

British Airways is launching another new route from Gatwick with the start of flights to Las Vegas from October 29 2012.

The three-times-a-week service will be operated by a three-class Boeing 777 offering a premium Club World cabin with fully flat beds.

The new Gatwick route offers more choice and frequency from London airports. Together with the Heathrow service British Airways will operate 10 flights a week to Las Vegas.

Colm Lacy, British Airways' head of commercial Gatwick, said: "Las Vegas has proved to be an incredibly popular year-round destination from Heathrow so we are delighted to now be able to offer the route from Gatwick as well.

"This is the kind of destination our leisure customers at Gatwick are looking for and it will complement our existing USA and longhaul leisure network."

Customers can book holidays in Las Vegas for less by booking their flights, hotels and experiences together. Home to sumptuous spas, luxury hotels and many excellent attractions, Las Vegas is the perfect place to enjoy luxury holidays.

British Airways has a wide range of top hotels in Las Vegas on the strip available, from the three-star Riviera Hotel and Casino which has just completed a multi million dollar renovation to the famous and luxurious Bellagio. The five-star hotel treats guests to sweeping views of the magnificent lake and classical gardens while five-star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino recreates the glory of Venice and has suites nearly twice the size as a typical Las Vegas hotel room. The five-star Aria Resort and Casino, located in the heart of the City Centre, combines architecture with sustainable design and five-star The Wynn Resort Las Vegas provides gastronomic options for every taste.

Las Vegas is a hotspot of activity out in the Nevada desert. Customers looking for things to do in Las Vegas as an alternative to the casinos and shows will not be disappointed by amazing helicopter rides over the Las Vegas Strip or the Grand Canyon or visiting the impressive Hoover Dam, built during the Great Depression.

Bookings for flights from London Gatwick to Las Vegas can be made now at

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Burj Al Arab unveils its romantic Gold Package offering

Burj Al Arab, reputed to be the World's most luxurious hotel, has announced the launch of its Gold Package, offering guests the most romantic experiences imaginable for each night of their stay in Dubai.

Designed to celebrate once-in-a-lifetime moments, the Gold Package at the Burj Al Arab includes a selection of romantic experiences, ranging from a prestigious Rolls Royce Phantom drive and an intimate dinner on Burj Al Arab's secluded private beach, to a romantic setup in the privacy of a suite and a moonlight swim in the candlelit infinity pool filled with rose petals.

With every extra night spent at the Dubai hotel, guests are offered additional benefits, making their experience even more indulgent depending on the length of their stay.

The Gold Package includes:
- Airport transfer in Rolls Royce Phantom
- A scenic drive around the city of Dubai
- 25 mins back, neck and shoulder massage
- Aromatherapy bath in the privacy of the lavish bathroom suite
- Romantic setup with bespoke flower decorations in the Suite
- An intimate beachside dinner
- 55 mins aromatherapy couple massage
- A personalised gift for him and for her
- Romantic moonlight swim

The highlight for those guests staying seven nights at the luxury Dubai hotel is the romantic moonlight swim. This all-sensory journey commences with a relaxing couple's massage, followed by the moonlight swim, with twinkling candles surrounding the infinity pool and the moonlight serving as a setting for the evening. The evening is ended with a glass of champagne. The romantic moonlight swim is the perfect celebration for a marriage proposal, wedding anniversary or birthday.

For bookings, customers can call +971 4 301 7700 or email

Monday, 14 May 2012

Enjoy a rustic UK staycation at The Sherwood Hideaway

The Sherwood Hideaway - new Rustic lodgeExclusive retreats directly inspired by the countryside, with no compromise on luxury.
The Sherwood Hideaway has added two brand new luxury lodges to its sought-after and popular retreat in the heart of Sherwood Forest.

Perfectly complementing the existing ‘Contemporary’ and ‘Traditional’ lodges, the ‘Rustics’ bring guests even closer to nature and are perfect for people seeking an escape this year.

Taking the total number of lodges to 14, the new accommodation takes inspiration from the idyllic surroundings, offering guests a way to indulge in the tranquillity of the forest environment both inside and outside. The design and décor reflect the colours and materials of Sherwood Forest, with the rich earthy and leaf tones and textures of Mulberry and Designers’ Guild fabrics complementing distinctive fittings and furnishings made predominantly from natural materials.

Guests visiting the new two-bedroom lodges can relax in their own private hot tub on the decking beneath the forest canopy. Indoors they can enjoy views of the woodland scenery and a sense of privacy and peace whilst cocooned in luxury.

In all 14 Sherwood Hideaway lodges, comfort, aesthetics and modern convenience prevail. Beautifully appointed state of the art kitchens, wood-burning stoves, flat screen TV, DVD, CD and iPod entertainment facilities, Porcellanosa bathrooms and Molton Brown toiletries make self-catering an indulgent pleasure.

Close at hand is Thoresby Hall Hotel, where guests can enjoy professional spa pampering and a sanarium at a discounted rate. And if guests are feeling too relaxed even to enjoy the splendid lodge kitchens to create their own meals, the fine dining restaurant in the hotel is an easy alternative. Thoresby Park also boasts its own art gallery and Victorian Courtyard with craft and boutique shops, military museum and café – the perfect place for a relaxed browse.

 Acres of beautiful countryside around The Sherwood Hideaway are available for guests to explore at their own pace by hire bike or on foot. For a change of scene, a little further afield there’s the Sherwood Forest visitor centre, Rufford Golf Club, Ollerton Watermill and Clumber Park and the many other attractions of Nottinghamshire within leisurely driving distance.

The Rustic lodges are available to book now for breaks in 2012. Prices start from as little as £300 for a weekend or from £625 for a week. Visit to check availability or make a booking.

Further images of the new Rustic lodges can be found on the facebook page:

And granny came too - families unite on holiday front

Holidaymakers at Park Cliffe in Cumbria
Holidaymakers at Park Cliffe in Cumbria
Many families will holidaying with grandma and granddad, this year.

That's the finding of a major holiday parks group, Best of British, which reports a growing trend for couples with kids to join up with grandparents for holidays.

Although the move helps spread holiday costs, says the group, many families are also motivated by wanting to spend quality time together outside their busy working lives.

The growth of three-generation holidays has been pinpointed by Best of British among the 50-plus independent holiday parks in its membership.

Many parks say their 2012 bookings show that a record number of holidays this year will be taken by extended family groups going away together.

Best of British chairman Claire Jeavons says that although pressure on household budgets is a likely factor behind the trend, there were other good reasons to team-up with gran and grandpa:

"Multi-generation holidays were once more common in Britain, but became less practical - and with fewer savings benefits - as overseas holidays gained popularity," said Ms Jeavons.

"Now, though, British stay-cations are gaining ground, and families are using the opportunity to come together and enjoy each other's company in neutral territory away from home.

"As well as sharing the expenses, it also means mum and dad have a built-in child care service so that they can make an occasional escape and be just a couple again," she added.

Parks belonging to the group, said Ms Jeavons, are mainly family-owned businesses at the top end of the holiday parks market, and were often quick to spot changing dynamics.

"Our experience is that a wide range of ages creates the most relaxed atmosphere for everyone," said Ms Jeavons who helps manage her family business of Beverley Holidays in Paignton, South Devon.

Members of Best of British can be found throughout the UK, and variously provide caravan holiday homes and lodges, plus pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

More information can be found on-line at

(EDITOR: I can recall holidaying with our family and grandmother in the late 1950s and early 1960s, so this is not a new idea, but can be a great deal of fun!)

Etihad Airways celebrates Manchester City title win

Etihad Airways has led the cheers of celebration for Manchester City as the club was crowned Barclays Premier League champions with victory over Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

It was the first time since 1968 that Manchester City has won the title in England's top tier of football and the first time the club has lifted the Barclays Premier League trophy.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "We congratulate everyone at Manchester City for their fantastic achievement this season and securing the Premier League title.

"Etihad Airways is immensely proud to be a close partner and friend of Manchester City and look forward to celebrating this famous moment with the management, staff and players at the club.

"It has been an incredible season at the club and to seal the title at home, at the Etihad Stadium, is very special for the loyal City fans that have waited a long time for this, as well as everyone at Etihad Airways and those in Abu Dhabi."

The Etihad Airways logo has been on the Manchester City shirt since 2009 and the Abu Dhabi-based airline became naming sponsor of the club’s Etihad Stadium and Campus in August 2011.

To celebrate the final day of the season and show their support of Manchester City, staff at Etihad Airways wore sky blue coloured attire at work on Sunday 13 May.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ragdale Hall listed in prestigious Awards 2012 is the world’s leading free travel guide and research website and many travellers would not even consider leaving home without checking out the reviews on their chosen destination.

"It is therefore extremely prestigious to be listed in their annual awards….. as they are compiled from the results of consumers’ reviews," explained a spokesperson for Ragdale Hall.

Ragdale Hall is listed 4th in the Top 25 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the UK. The listing is based wholly on the ratings given by travellers on their visit and experience of spas and spa hotels.

The spokesperson added: "We are extremely grateful for all the feedback and lovely reviews posted on by our guests."

National Geographic Traveller - Family Summer Out Now

The new special issue of National Geographic Traveller - Family is available now on UK newsstands, focusing on great adventures for the whole family and top tips on booking your summer holiday.

Cover story: An Awfully Big Adventure highlights active breaks
with all the family — from pre-schoolers to teens — and covers destinations as far afield as the Amazon and as close to home
as Scotland.

Maria Pieri, editor and editorial director, says: “Planning an adventure with the kids can simply mean staying close to home — from the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands to YHA breaks in Wales. Or it can involve looking further afield — perhaps a cycle trip to the moon (Iceland in this case!), diving in the Red Sea, riding a donkey in Spanish Castille, or kayaking in Croatia.

“There’s never been a better time to introduce families to authentic travel experiences and this issue offers a host of innovative ideas, easy-to-use guides, expert advice and tips from parents.

“Plus, there’s stuff for the kids to get involved with too — from did-you-know? facts to maps and interactive games.”

Also in this issue:
• Go on safari in South Africa
• Self-drive France
• Dive into the Indian Ocean with kids
• Oman with teens
• Self-catering options for Italy
• UK active breaks
• Sleep: Ibiza accommodation ideas
• City guides featuring Amsterdam, Boston and London, plus pull-out kids’ guides
• Real life — discussion topics include: late bookings, summer camps, and families of five or more

PLUS a fabulous competition: Win a seven-night walking holiday for four to Austria with Inntravel.

The Summer special issue of National Geographic Traveller - Family is on sale from 10 May. The magazine is published twice a year*, with a cover price of GBP£3.85, via subscription — along with National Geographic Traveller (UK) — and on newsstands.

The holding page is available at: or visit

Find us on Facebook:
And Twitter:

For a taster of the issue, view this 26-page digital sample issue:

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Be CO2 aware on your camping holiday

This weekend’s tragic news highlights yet again the potentially devastating dangers of what has become known as ‘the silent killer’ – carbon monoxide (CO2) poisoning. With the holiday season just starting, more and more cost-conscious holidaymakers are opting for a camping holiday, but campers need to be aware that fuel-powered camping equipment can be potentially dangerous to your health – and even fatal.

Being CO aware and taking simple measures could literally save your life.

How to Avoid or Reduce the Risks
• Camping usually involves a tent, camper or caravan. When combustibles are used within these enclosed quarters without proper ventilation people in close proximity are at high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
• Lanterns, space heaters, portable grills, gas burning appliances, and other fuel-powered equipment should only be lit and burnt outside
• Ensure tents, campers, caravans and any other enclosed areas are adequately ventilated
• When using gas burning units such as the portable stove in your caravan, or gas lanterns in your tent, keep the door or windows open
• Always cook at least 2-3 metres away from your tent
• Never use or bring a barbecue into a tent. Carbon monoxide will still be released from the hot coals
• When camping at high altitudes, the effects of carbon monoxide are heightened and consequently, more care is required. Also, when alcohol or drugs are ingested the negative effects of CO inhalation are intensified
• Camping in cold weather is especially dangerous for carbon monoxide poisoning because there is a frequent need for heating units and a strong tendency to stay inside due to the weather. Choosing other alternatives like electrical or battery-operated models is highly recommended

Figures from the Department for Health suggest that 4,000 people a year are poisoned by carbon monoxide, with 200 being admitted to hospital1. Last year, 50 people died from the effects of CO2 poisoning – a dramatic increase from four deaths the previous year2 – and the cost to the NHS is estimated at £178 million a year.

Badly-fitted appliances, which use gas or other household fuels such as coal and wood, along with faulty boilers, flues or poorly ventilated ovens are often to blame. Worryingly, CO2 can also enter a property from adjoining households.

But the workplace can also pose a hazard and the spate of camping incidents in recent years shows the potentially fatal risk of CO2 poisoning from taking barbecues into tents.

Nick Rutter, managing director of Sprue Safety Products, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of CO alarms, said: “Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, potentially fatal gas produced from fuel-powered camping equipment - including barbecues. With no colour, taste or smell, it is totally invisible to the human senses. Because the gas is so difficult to detect and the symptoms (such as headaches) so common to other complaints, many people can be poisoned without knowing it. The actual number of people affected is thought to be much higher.

“Carbon monoxide is potentially fatal, but exposure to low levels of the gas over just a few hours can be just as lethal as high levels over a short amount of time, causing lasting damage to your health,” added Nick.

“With such serious potential consequences, CO2 safety should be given the same attention as fire safety and we strongly support the call from the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group for the co-operation of Government, industry, and the health sector to take simple measures which will help raise awareness, improve detection and develop better regulation which will ultimately save lives.

“We are also supporting the charity, CO2 Angels’ ’10 by 20’ campaign, in a bid to install CO2 alarms in 10 million homes across the UK by 2020.”

Warning Signs:

The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to ‘flu’. They can include:

• nausea
• dizziness
• tiredness
• headaches
• stomach pains
• chest pains

If you experience these symptoms, but feel better when you are outside or away from the appliance, you could be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

More severe symptoms are respiratory problems and brain damage leading potentially to death.

If you are concerned about the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning whilst on holiday in the UK or abroad, you can take a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm with you.

When you buy a carbon monoxide alarm, make sure it meets current British and European safety standards. Look for alarms marked with the name of the European Standard 'BSEN 50291:2001' and with the 'CE' mark, which should be found on the packaging.

For more information on the CO alarms available from Sprue Safety Products, visit:
Sprue Safety Products supports the CO Angels’ ’10 by 20’ campaign, in a bid to install CO alarms in 10 million homes across the UK by 2020. For more information on how you can back the bid, please visit

National Rail Enquiries launches Britain’s No. 1 travel app

Responding to the constant rise in passengers accessing National Rail Enquiries (NRE) services on-the-move via their mobiles, the UK’s busiest travel website has now launched its first owned and free mobile travel application for iPhone and Android mobile users.

Shooting straight to the top spot for free travel apps after just one day, the fast take up of this app is quickly helping to improve the ease and speed of rail journeys up and down the country.

The NRE app is both free and gives real-time train progress information rather than being timetable driven. This allows passengers to be alerted to any disruptions and re-plan their journey immediately, giving unprecedented transparency into the rail network and making the lives of every rail passenger easier.

Designed and created by NRE’s digital agency Fortune Cookie, this advanced use of mobile technology sets a new benchmark for traveller information services by allowing users to track specific trains along their route.

The app is particularly helpful for London commuters with journey planning to or from any Dockland Light Railway or London Underground Zone One station. And with more than four million extra visitors expected to use our transport network during the Olympics, this app will help give us, and our visitors the means to effectively plan our journeys on the go and keep on top of the large volume of expected disruptions.

Two particularly unique features of the app are push notifications and alerts of any delays or service changes and the ability to plan a journey with real time information, on the go, without the need for an Internet connection.

The apps ability to personalise its notifications and alerts to individual’s chosen and regularly used services and stations is an especially useful feature that further sets this service apart.

The app even features a helpful ‘wake me up alarm’ to alert passengers when they are approaching their final destination.

Chief Executive of National Rail Enquiries, Chris Scoggins, is enthusiastic about the launch: “Development and innovation are at the forefront of all we do at National Rail Enquiries, and we are confident that this app will help the growing number of smartphone users to quickly and easily access up-to-date information about train services while on the move.”

“Innovation in the mobile market continues to gather pace, and we are delighted to offer customers the choice of a free app that provides relevant, real time information about UK train journeys,” concludes Chris Scoggins.

Justin Cooke, CEO of Fortune Cookie and Chair of BIMA, adds: “There were over 7 million visits to the NRE website from mobile devices last month - Britain’s rail travellers want real-time service information wherever they are so their journeys can be as stress-free as possible, and that’s exactly what this app gives them. Being able to re-plan your journey on the move makes peoples everyday lives that little bit better, and the inclusion of personlised, real-time journey tracking and location based features make the app an example of genuine mobile utility.”

Features at a glance:
- Real time journey planner
- Live departure boards
- Push notifications
- Information about service disruptions
- Journeys can be planned without an internet connection
- “Wake me up alarm” alerting passengers of their final destination
- Shows journeys to/from Docklands Light Railway and London Underground (Zone One stations)
- The tools are integrated and draw on real time information about train departures
- Free to download funded through small advert displays.
- Developed for Apple iPhone and Google Android operating systems

The National Rail Enquiries app is now available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Customers can download the free app which features a small advert display.

That's Green: Radisson Blu Astrid and the Park Inn Antwerp recei...

That's Green: Radisson Blu Astrid and the Park Inn Antwerp recei...: The Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel and the Park Inn Antwerp are proud to announce that they ...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Kick Start Your Summer Travel in Style with the New LUXE White Linen Summer Box

“LUXE City Guides, your stylish and must-have travel companion, announces the launch of the Limited Edition White Linen Summer Box, exclusively available at,” explained a spokesman.

He went on to say: “Containing five LUXE City Guides of your choosing, this summer keepsake is handcrafted in classic, fresh white linen, with a rich and chic coral interior sleeve and lining, plus a LUXE embossed gold logo. It's a piece that evokes long sun-drenched days and romantic balmy nights.

“It's the perfect accessory to kick start your holiday planning, or to gift to your fabulous pals, who spend their summers in the beach clubs of Bali, bodegas of Barcelona, ruins of Rome or lively LA lounges.

“Who wants to stay home when the world is beckoning? From sunny city breaks to beach getaways, it's time to dust off your bags, grab your LUXE City Guides and jet off to paradise. And the staple of everyone's summer wardrobe, cool white linen, is this season's perfect accessory for the world's chic-est guides. The White Linen Summer Box is available exclusively online and retails for $55.00

“And remember, whether it's one guide or multiple boxes, we can giftwrap and ship anywhere in the world. And when you buy at = we guarantee that you will have only the best and the latest editions to all of our 36 titles, including our new series of family guides, LITTLE LUXE.

“Famous for their ultra short, sharp and snappy reviews and highly personal and selective entries, LUXE City Guides have sold well over one million copies - no padding, no maps, no daft pictures and graphics, just super-curated, highly opinionated quickfire speed reads from resident editors and contributors who REALLY know their city, so you can spend time enjoying the city not head down in a book. Packed from concertina cover to cover with snazz, snark and snap, if it's in LUXE, it's IN - enough said!”

Food Galore At The Rock Oyster Festival

The Rock Oyster Festival is set to return to the north Cornish coast this June with an all star foodie line-up destined to tantalise your taste buds.  Now in its third year, the boutique food and music festival will for the first time feature the Flying Fish chefs’ theatre where some of Cornwall’s best culinary talents will take to the stage.

The festival,described by those in the know as: " a Glasto for the foodies", will be staged in the grounds of Dinham House near Rock, North Cornwall, and will run from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 June 2012. 

Event organiser Charlie Anderson said: “The festival has always had a strong food focus and so it seemed like a natural progression to introduce live cookery demonstrations. Flying Fish have kindly sponsored the theatre and will be providing the chefs with fresh Cornish fish for the weekend. 

“The chefs’ theatre will have plasma screens so the audience will be able to see their favourite chefs preparing dishes close up. They will also be able to learn professional tips and sample some of their cooking afterwards.”

The Camel Estuary, where the festival is set, has rapidly become synonymous with fabulous food, amazing produce and talented chefs, and the demonstration line-up is certainly representative of this. 

Local chef James O’Connor from the St Moritz Hotel will be showcasing his culinary skills along with Tom Scade, who is head chef at the nearby Tides restaurant and was 2011 South West Chef of the Year. 

From across the estuary, Paul Ainsworth will be demonstrating some of his favourite dishes and talking about his time on the BBC2 program The Great British Menu. 

Sharing their secrets on stage will be Stephane Delourme, head chef from The Seafood Restaurant, alongside Rick Stein’s executive chef David Sharland and sous chef Peter Murt. 

More gastronomic entertainment will come from Andy Appleton, head chef of the Jamie Oliver inspired restaurant Fifteen Cornwall and Neil Haydock, executive chef for Watergate Bay Hotel. Andy was one of the team that launched the original Fifteen concept which has gone from strength to strength and has just celebrated its tenth birthday, with sister restaurants in London and Amsterdam. 

James Nathan, Masterchef winner in 2008, will be going head to head with a mystery guest in a timed ‘chef off’ with Daphne Skinnard from BBC Radio Cornwall judging the winner. 

Annie Sibert of My Fish Kitchen was a fishmonger from the start of her working life. She set up My Fish Kitchen to be able to share the knowledge and experience she has from her upbringing as part of a large Cornish fishing family. Annie can teach us everything we need to know about how to buy, prepare and cook fish fresh from the sea. 

Festival goers will also be able to watch their favorite chefs compete in the hotly contested oyster shucking competition. Contestants battle it out to present perfectly prepared fresh oysters in the fastest time possible. 

As well as demonstrations, a wealth of Cornwall’s best food and drink producers will be on site selling their wares for you to buy and take away. 

Charlie said: “The Rock Oyster Festival is all about celebrating the delicious artisan-produced food and drink that we have here in Cornwall. Many chefs that are demonstrating will be in the food court selling their food.

“Tickets are selling quickly so people should buy now so as not to avoid disappointment.”

The Rock Oyster Festival certainly promises more than just oysters with critically acclaimed music acts, children’s entertainment and food galore. 

For more information and to buy tickets visit:

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Historical London members club now open to all

with 8 rooms to choose fromExclusive Private Members club the Army & Navy club now open to non-military non-members for private functions, including weddings.
For its 175th anniversary, the Army & Navy Club in London (more commonly known as “the Rag” to its members) is opening its doors to non-members for the first time. As well as offering this exclusive venue to the public, as part of the anniversary celebrations the Rag is also giving newlyweds a chance to host a drinks reception at St James Square gardens.

Situated in relaxed refinement in the heart of St James's, the Rag prides itself on offering a unique combination of the ambience traditionally found in an officers' mess, with the comfort and facilities of an exclusive hotel with 76 air-conditioned bedrooms. Renowned for its prestigious relationship with the Royal Army and Navy since 1837, the Rag is mostly known for its exceptional service and homely feel amongst its members. Now, non-members will have a chance to use this exclusive venue to host their weddings for the first time since the Army & Navy club opened. Situated in the heart of London the Rag offers civil Wedding Ceremonies and exclusive use of St James square garden for wedding photographs.

The Rag’s dedicated banqueting team provide exceptional service and style, and offer a range of packages to work within your budget along with a huge network of trusted retailers and services associate, offering significant discounts for bridal and groom wear, flowers, chauffeurs and more.

To find out more please contact the Wedding team at or phone 020 7827 8023.

Feel free to visit The Rag - although the website is under reconstruction just at the moment.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Festival Lovers Look To Europe For Their Festival Fix This Summer

Festival season is fast approaching and it’s time to start making those summer plans. Where to this year? With Glasto taking a break along with Ireland’s Oxegen festival, perhaps it’s time to look further afield? According to Virtual Festivals, more of us than ever before will look to Europe for our festival fix this year. The global music festival scene is thriving and Europe is leading the way but with so many to choose from where do you start? Well we’ve made it easy with a quickfire festival quiz to find out which festivals will be ticking your boxes this year.

Last summer you…

A. Backpacked across South America. This year is all about Eastern Europe, exploring the underground scene.
B. Spent A LOT of time hanging out in London Fields and Dalston.
C. Saw Primal Scream in Paris, The Flaming Lips in Barcelona and Pulp in Oslo. Magic.
D. Did a season in Ibiza, took up DJing, got myself a tan that St. Tropez would be proud of and finished off the summer with a final rave at DC10.

What’s on your stereo right now?

A. You’re a walking encyclopedia of music with an eclectic mix of old and new across the genres.
B. Whatever’s new and happening or cutting-edge. You’ve got your finger on the pulse and are always the first to discover a new band or DJ.
C. The very best in indie and electronic music and all the acts I want to see this summer.
D. My latest mix featuring Nicolas Jaar, Jamie Jones, Nina Kraviz, Mark E and Seth Troxler!

When camping you…

A. Get fully involved. More often that not I’ll know all of our neighbours by the end of the weekend. The stories I could tell…
B. When I’m not hanging out backstage with my friends band I’ll be lining up some new shots on my Lomo Camera or Hipstamatic.
C. Camping? What’s camping?! You wouldn’t catch me sleeping in an uncomfortable tent for all the money in the world. After a day and night of raving I need a comfortable bed and a warm shower in the morning. Hotels all the way.
D. Pitch up on the beach. Sun, sea, sand and…no sleep. Perfect.

If you answered mostly A, you’re a FESTIVAL EXPLORER

Never one to shy away from a challenge you relish an adventure and proudly reject the mainstream in favour of something completely new and unique. It’s a big wide world out there and you’re goddam determined to see it all! Forget Ibiza, forget Barcelona, you’ve dragged your friends to the weirdest and wildest places they’ve been and it’s not stopping now. You’re ready for the next quest. Check out…

6th – 7th July 2012
Tunari, Bucharest, Romania

Since it's inaugural event in 2008, Romania's B'estfest has played host to a string of high profile international artists, attracting an adventurous crowd of music lovers from all over Europe and beyond. Taking place in Tunari in the vibrant city of Bucharest there is much to discover. The festival itself offers up a generous helping of music with Pulp, Garbage, Caro Emerald, Meshugga, Selah Sue, Stanton Warriors, Kreator, Mala Vita, Modestep (Live), Moonspell, Tristina, The Qemists and Dope D.O.D on the bill for 2012, not to mention the fairground, art exhibitions, local arts and crafts. Food and drink is dangerously affordable and then there’s Romania’s burgeoning underground nightlife scene right there for the taking if you fancy an extended stay, as well as an array of cultural gems such as Dracula’s Tomb plus amazing weather to boot.

Exit Festival
12th –15th July 2012
Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia

Taking place in the magical Petrovaradin Fortress overlooking the river Danube, EXIT continues to deliver the most adventurous and best value for money festival experience, with a diverse and cutting edge line up, bathed in the hot Balkan sunshine. The award winning festival has something for music lovers of all genres with over 600 artists performing on 20 stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels. EXIT is also home to the world famous Dance Arena, renowned for its incredible energy and set within a moat of the fortress walls. Pushing cutting edge new talent and tipping its hat to the old school, the experience of dancing with 20,000 people as the sun rises over the fortress walls is truly mind blowing! Launched 11 years ago as a student initiated protest against the communist Milosevic regime, EXIT has proved that music is a universal language that can connect and bring people together. Acts for 2012 include Guns N’ Roses, Duran Duran, New Order, Erykah Badu, Plan B, AVICII, Richie Hawtin, Gossip, Wolfmother, Luciano, Laurent Garnier LBS, Miss Kittin, Hercules & Love Affair, The Toy Dolls, Skindred, Little Dragon, Felix Da Housecat, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Azari& III, Buraka Som Sistema, Sneaky Soundsystem, Art Department, MaceoPlex, Reboot live, Brodinksi, Kenny Larkin, Robert Dietz, Citizens!, D.R.I., When Saints Go Machine, MaayanNidam, Street Dogs, Lone, Pariah, Teengirl Fantasy live, The Chain, Playground Syndicate
with much much more to be announced!

If you answered mostly B, you’re a HIPSTIVAL LOVER
When it comes to music you don’t mess about. You’ve got one serious finger on the pulse and are always the first to discover the best new acts in indie and electronic music. You’re looking for a festival that offers the most cutting-edge lineup around. Why not check out…

Melt Festival!|Germany
13th – 15th July 2012
Ferropolis, Germany

This July, the Ferropolis City of Steel will come back to life, welcoming a truly international audience of party revelers to one of Europe’s most popular boutique music festivals. Less than 2 hours from Europe’s epicentre for electronic music – Berlin - the Melt! Festival site is a sight to behold – imposing industrial diggers are scattered across the landscape, the cool Gremmin lake lies in wait for swimmers looking to take a dip in the sunshine and the lights at night are nothing short of spectacular. In celebration of Melt! Festival’s 15th edition this summer, thousands of people will come together and dance underneath the giant industrial diggers to an impressive soundtrack that showcases the crème de la crème of indie and electronic music! This years acts include M83, The Rapture, Gossip, The Whitest Boy Alive, Bloc Party, Lana Del Rey, Maya Jane Coles, John Talabot, Niki & The Dove, Plan B, Yeasayer, Justice, Two Door Cinema Club, Destroyer, Modeselektor, Caribou, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Steffi, L.B.S., Austra, Ellen Alien, Floating Points, Jacques Lu Cont, Two Door Cinema Club, Vondelpark, Rufus Wainwright, The War On Drugs and lots more still to be announced, Keep an eye on the Melt! Facebook page for special announcements and exclusive artists news.

Off Festival
3rd – 5th August 2012
Three Lake Valley, Katowice, Poland

A truly unique boutique music festival, OFF Festival takes place from 3rd - 5th August, in 'Three Lake Valley', Katowice - a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia. OFF Festival is a way of life, one that flies in the face of current trends and stays true to itself, and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time. This year promises the strongest line-up to date, in line with the festivals forward–thinking, eclectic music policy. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF festival has inspiring music in abundance. This year’s edition will showcase over one hundred acts across four stages and once again it’s a virtual who's-who of alt-rock faves and trailblazing electronic artists, First acts announced for 2012 include Africa HiTech, AfroKolektyw, Akron/Family, Alva Noto, annb: alva noto & blixa bargeld, Atari Teenage Riot, Baroness, Battles, Baxter Dury, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Colin Stetson, Connan Mockasin, Container, Converge, Das Racist, Death in Vegas, Dominique Young Unique, Fennesz & Lillevan, Forest Swords, Henry Rollins, Iceage, Iggy and The Stooges, Jacaszek, Josh T. Pearson, Kanal Audytywny, Kim Gordon & Ikue Mori, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, kIRk, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Matthew Herbert, Megafaun, Mordy, Nerwowe Wakacje, Nils Frahm, Nosowska, Other Lives, Papa M, Pietnastka, Retro Stefson, Shabazz Palaces, Sleep Party People, Spectrum, Suicide, Swans, Swietliki graja ‘Ogród Koncentracyjny’, The House of Love, Thurston Moore, Ty Segall. More acts to be announced soon.

If you answered mostly C, you’re a CITY TRAVELLER
You love music but you’re over roughing it on the campsite, opting instead to combine a music and festival experience with a city break and a few creature comforts – like a bed! It’s not much to ask is it?... So this year, book yourself a nice hotel and try a city festival!

Berlin Festival
7th – 9th September 2012
Berlin, Germany

Berlin Festival 2012 will return to the historic Tempelhof Airport on September 7th, 8th and 9th in the buzzing metropolis that is Berlin. Watch your favourite acts perform in the giant former airplane hangars or dance the night away at the world’s biggest Silent Disco – an area that is always a festival highlight! When it hits midnight the party continues at Club XBerg where many of the biggest names in electronic and indie music will come together to continue the party well into the early hours – as we all know – Berlin is the 24 hour party city that never sleeps. Expect another star-studded lineup in 2012 – first names announced include Airport Bonaparte, Cro, Daughter, First Aid Kit, Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires, Frittenbude, Jamie N Commons, Junip, Paul Kalkbrenner, Kraftklub, Little Dragon, Major Lazer, Morning Parade, Orbital, SBTRKT (live), Sigur Rós, Tocotronic, WhoMadeWho Club Xberg @ Arena Berlin Crookers, Digitalism, Dumme Jungs, Metronomy, Modeselektor live, Slagmalsklubben and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Check out the festival trail here.

Amsterdam Dance Event
17th – 21st October
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

If electronic music is your thing then there’s no better place to round off the festival season in style than at the Amsterdam Dance Event. It’s no secret that Amsterdam is one of Europe’s favourite cities with visitors flocking to the city every weekend to get a taster of Amsterdam life but it’s really during the ADE when the city becomes alive. Music is at the forefront of everyone’s mind and the energy is beyond belief. After selling out for the last five years, the ADE is without doubt the highlight of the international dance and electronic music calendar. A truly global event, which plays host to the worlds leading producers and DJs from all spheres of the electronic music world, the ADE festival lineup never fails to impress, reading like the who’s who of electronic music today. Taking place from 17th – 21st October, the 5-day strong event is expected to once again attract more than 140,000 festival-goers from all over the world. More than 800 DJs and acts will perform in over 220 events across the city, taking in the many of the Amsterdam’s best known, unique and legendary venues. Last years acts included Radio Slave (GB), Richie Hawtin (CA), Soul Clap (US), Sven Väth (DE), Theo Parrish (US), Aeroplane (BE), Afrojack (NL), Caribou (CA), Carl Craig (US), Frankie Knuckles (US), Henrik Schwarz (DE), Maya JaneColes (UK), Modeselektor live (DE) and many, many more. Names for 2012 will be announced soon.

If you answered mostly D, you’re looking for BEATS AND BEACHES
For you, a festival experience should combine the two best things in life – beats and beaches. You love the sun, you love electronic music and you LOVE a party. Here are 2 of the best beachside festivals we know, with the biggest and most cutting-edge artists around.

Garden Festival
Weds 4th – Weds 11th July 2012
The Garden Tisno, Tisno, Croatia

After six amazing years in Petrcane - the original epicentre of Croatia’s now burgeoning independent festival scene – The Garden Festival has moved to pastures new, just a little further along the stunning coastline. The Garden Tisno is an undiscovered musical paradise which fits right within the Garden’s esteemed and revered ethos, where the emphasis is always on an unparalleled experience combining festival and holiday vibes seamlessly as one. It’s set in a gently hilly area, which overlooks the Garden’s very own beautiful bay below, complete with sandy beach and crystal clear water It’s situated pretty much right between Zadar and Split airports, with lots of flights from Europe to each. This years acts include Nicolas Jar, Kenny Dope Gonzales, Tiger & Woods, Tim Sweeney, Space Dimension Controller, Appleblim & Metro Area.

KaZantip Republic
4th August – 15th August 2012
Crimea, Ukraine

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the extraordinary electronic music extravaganza on the beach in the Ukraine. The KaZantip Republic is unlike anything you have ever experienced – a nonexistent state somewhere under the sun that often draws comparisons with Ibiza and Burning Man. Once you have your “entry visa” you can step into the vibrant, fascinating world of KaZantip where you will marvel at incredible structures on the beach, look on in amazement at the colourful, flamboyant, music-loving crowd, dance like you have never danced before, to the beat of the world’s leading electronic music artists and watch in wonder as Kite Surfers zip across the air and the sea. DJs love to play there and the crowd comes back for more year on year. As ever you can expect to see the who’s who of dance music on show – the last few years the event has played host to Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Seth Troxler, Guy Gerber, dOP, James Zabiela, Booka Shade and many many more. The magical gates to the kingdom open on August 4th and we’re pretty confident that the 20th anniversary is going to be nothing short of spectacular…

Pack v roll. What's the best way to pack?

Sports Direct
When it comes to travelling, packing can be the most stressful part of the preparation process. Distinguishing essentials from luxuries, catering for every weather event, plus making sure there’s enough room in the case for gifts on the way back! To avoid any extra stress when going on a holiday, business trip or overnight visit, leading suitcases retailer set about a mission to find the best suitcase packing method.

After conducting an online survey, the UK’s travellers decided that overall, folding was the most popular packing method with a huge 64% of the vote- allowing holiday goers to organise travel items into neat piles.

Whilst folding maybe the neatest and most organised packing method, some argued it wasn’t the most space savvy; 29% of those asked favoured to roll their clothes up before packing to make the most of suitcase space and the help avoid the dreaded creases once arriving at their destination.

Other methods were suggested, including packing all items in to vacuum bags to save space and unnecessary ironing. A small percentage of those who took the survey (6.9%) even decided that packing was not a priority and it was much easier to ‘Throw it all in and hope for the best’!

If you are travelling abroad or around the UK this year, don't forget you can get web exclusive deals on selected suitcases and luggage items, including family sets over at You can also join the conversation and let us know how you pack your suitcase on the official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Jumeirah allows guests to Stay Connected prior to arrival at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a member of the luxury hotel group Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, has introduced iPads to its fleet of chauffeured hotel limousines as part of a service to allow guests to conveniently stay connected throughout their stay. In addition to the complimentary Wi-fi access provided throughout the hotel to all visitors, the new service provides guests availing of the hotel limousine services with uninterrupted connectivity from the moment they are picked up at the airport, should they utilise the hotel’s airport transfer service, as well as when travelling outside of the hotel.

iPads for complimentary guest-use have also been introduced into the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers’ Club Executive Lounge, where in addition to internet connectivity, guests can leisurely catch up on the latest news from home with various leading national newspapers conveniently downloaded onto the iPads.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers General Manager, Doris Greif said: "The iPad services were introduced as part of our Jumeirah Stay Different promise knowing most of our international business and leisure clientele required immediate internet and email access as soon as they checked into the hotel. By providing complimentary iPad usage in the hotel limousines, we hope guests arriving in Abu Dhabi can use the travel time from the airport more effectively, allowing them more time to relax once they check-in."