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AY GETAW You’ve worked hard, so now enjoy January 2016 Vol 1 Nr 1 St Lucia for a winter break Get the best flight deals January Features Family holidays Southern Africa destinations Oman a best kept secret www.getaway-magazine.co.uk Tradedoubler2825358

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Travel Magazine featuring great destinations and information from locations worldwide. St Lucia to Lisbon, Bournemouth to Southern Africa. Plus travel tips and gadgets.

Text of Getaway Travel Magazine

  • AY GETAW Youve worked hard, so now enjoy January 2016 Vol 1 Nr 1

    St Lucia for a winter break

    Get the best flight deals

    January Features

    Family holidays

    Southern Africa destinations

    Oman a best kept secret

    www.getaway-magazine.co.uk

    Tradedoubler2825358

  • Welcome Welcome to the first edition of Getaway the first travel and leisure magazine created specifically for busy business owners and executives like yourself. Having run business ourselves for many years we understand the time pressure that people like you are under, plus wanting to maximise budgets both business and personal.

    So, Getaway brings you a range of travel and leisure opportunities, an escape to Paris for an overnighter or a European short break which is Conveniently Close In this edition we also explore Lisbon, just a couple of hours flight time away and ideal place to recharge those batteries!!

    We look at escaping to London and the West End for the evening; we give you pointers to the best places to stay and where to secure best ticket prices.

    Maybe getting on a plane detaches you too much? Therefore a Staycation is something to consider. Over the next months we will profile various UK based excursions, where

    If you are undecided as to whether you would like to purchase a permanent holiday home , then Fab Timeshare can offer you an ideal solution for fabulous holidays without a year round or large financial commitment. Thousands have chosen quality holiday ownership, offering the peace of mind of a luxury holiday, with a home from home feeling, without the pressures or financial outlay of full property ownership. Marriott Vacation Club resorts are among the best in the world, with superb five star accommodations, exceptional facilities and service.

    We offer Marriott timeshare resale worldwide, with two of our most popular resorts being on the Costa del Sol; Marriotts Marbella Beach Resort and Marriotts Playa Andaluza. Our offices are conveniently located within walking distance of both resorts. Our multi-lingual sales team have a combined experience of over 25 years in timeshare and have sold more than 20 million worth of Marriott Vacation Club ownership. Most importantly when you are considering

    purchasing a timeshare resale with our vast experience we can explain in detail exactly what benefits are transferred to the new owner. Our reputation has been quickly established as the European experts, for both buyers and sellers, of Marriott Vacation Club timeshare.

    Buying a resale timeshare can offer you and your family a lifetime of quality holidays with savings of up to 70%. You will enjoy the full benefits of ownership when staying in your resort and with the opportunity to exchange to over 3,000 resorts worldwide. All transfers of ownership are processed by us , directly with Marriott Vacation Club with payments made through a client escrow account held by a trustee.

    For more information contact:

    Fab Property Spain SL Elviria, Marbella, 29604, Spain

    Tel. 0034 952042028 / 0034 952886340 Email: [email protected] Web: www.fabtimeshare.com

  • Contents of this Months Edition Page

    4 Exotic Escapes: St Lucia Wake up to a symphony of birds

    8 Exotic Escapes: Panama, small but perfectly formed

    12 Staycation: There is lots to do and see in Kent

    16 Staycation: A busy 2016 ahead for Bournemouth visitors

    20 Conveniently Close: Marbella, more than just Glitz and Glamour

    24 Special Feature: Slow Down You Move Too Fast

    26 Conveniently Close: Recharge the batteries with a short break to Lisbon

    28 Special Feature: Family holidays- for the more discerning travellers

    32 Special Feature: The Oregon Trail

    34 Diversions: Escape from Las Vegas

    36 Further afield: Make Southern Africa your next destination

    40 Special Feature: Oman, one of the Middle Easts best kept secrets

    44 Getting There: 7 secrets of finding the best low cost flights

    46 Getting There: Travel Gadgets with John Sansom

    48 On The Move: San Sebastian or San Francisco

    50 Incentive Travel: What are incentive trips and what are the benefit?

    Welcome Welcome to the first edition of GETAWAY the travel and leisure magazine created specifically for busy business owners and executives like yourself. Having run business ourselves for many years we understand the time pressure that people like you are under, plus wanting to maximise budgets both business and personal whilst being able to identify that next holiday break simply and easily.

    In this edition you will start with an exotic escape to the Caribbean islands and later a surprising Central American country.

    For those of you unable to venture quite so far afield we help you to explore the Garden of England and Bournemouth with its calendar of exciting attractions right through 2016.

    We have a great article about where to take that all important family holiday, with suggestions from around the world. Plus two pieces from John Carter the former presenter of the travel

    programme Wish You Were Here. He looks at travel at a more leisurely pace and the delights of the Oregon Trail in America. Whilst in the USA we look at alternative and out of this world attractions in an Escape from Las Vegas.

    We look at Lisbon in Portugal, often overlooked as a conveniently close location for both a weekend break or a longer stay. Looking further afield we travel to savour the sights and sounds of Southern Africa and explore the various opportunities the different countries offer the visitor. Then together we discover a Middle Eastern gem in Oman.

    Our Getting There features look at finding the best low cost flights and our gadget king, John Sansom talks about his experiences and modern day travel essentials.

    Finally we take a brief look at moving abroad and also consider the benefits of incentive trips for staff and stake holders.

    So all in all, a pretty busy first edition which we hope you enjoy.

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  • Exotic Escapes

    Brilliantly-plumed tropical birds abound, including endangered species like the indigenous St. Lucia parrot. The rainforest is broken only by verdant fields and plantations of banana, coconut, mango, and papaya trees. You can explore everything from the Piton Mountains and rainforest to the Sulphur Springs of Soufriere and the Caribbean coral reef on this 238 square-mile island in paradise.

    A rich and vibrant culture

    St. Lucia has been inhabited since long before colonial times, and stands apart from the rest of the Caribbean islands thanks to its varied landscape and diverse culture, heritage and cuisine. Its cultural treasures are a fascinating mlange of its rich past and its many different traditions with the island dotted with aged fortresses, small

    villages, and open-air markets, alongside the French Creole patois spoken by the locals.

    The active traveller can snorkel in the refreshing Caribbean Sea, hike to the top of the Gros Piton or Petite Piton peaks, or take advantage of a wide range of water sports. The island's steep coastlines and lovely reefs offer excellent snorkelling and scuba diving. The rainforest preserves of St. Lucia's mountainous interior are one of the Caribbean's finest locales for hiking and birdwatching. Of course, the island also possesses excellent facilities for golf, tennis, sailing, and a host of other leisure pursuits. Not to be missed is St. Lucia's Soufriere volcano, the world's only drive-in volcanic crater.

    The foodie can indulge in fresh local flavours by stopping at roadside stands or dining at five-star restaurants offering the islands distinctive local cuisine, which is a sumptuous mix of African, West Indian, Creole and European influences, all prepared by internationally recognised chefs.

    Romantic couples can relax on the white sand of a pristine beach or in a mud bath, before going on a one-of-a-kind date at one of St. Lucias music or cultural festivals. Romance can be found at upmarket resorts and intimate inns. Bask together under the Caribbean sun, sail into a champagne sunset, and relax beneath the vast starry sky.

    St. Lucia, one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. It is the sort of island that visitors to the Caribbean dream abouta small, lush tropical gem that is still relatively unknown. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado (depending on your taste). The Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea.

    Its dramatic twin coastal peaks, the Pitons, soar 2,000 feet up from the sea, sheltering magnificent rain forests where wild orchids, giant ferns, and birds of paradise flourish..

    Click on the stunning photograph of the beautiful Pigeon Island and beach to view a promotion video from StLucianow.com

    Wake to a symphony of bird song then explore the reef

  • Tropical weather, welcoming accommodation, and unexpected adventures await all who travel to this paradise island.

    For those planning a family getaway, you too can visit Saint Lucia. Enjoy on-site water parks, kids' menus and evening entertainment for everyone. Adventure seekers can surf and sail in the pristine waters. ATV adventures and rainforest zip-lining are family favourites. Relaxation isn't far off either with many resorts offering kids' activities so parents can enjoy a cocktail, or just a quiet hour together in the knowledge that the children are looked after.

    The waters surrounding St Lucia not only feature a carnival of colourful coral reefs but also great marine life. Over 20 species of whale and dolphin live and

    property ideal for getting out and exploring. The next decision to make is whether to stay in the cosmopolitan north, next to golden-sand beaches, or base yourself down in the south, where youll be surrounded by the islands most magical scenery. Alternatively divide time between the two.

    Saint Lucias beautiful plunging valleys, rising twin peaks and 98 miles of coastline beg to be explored, and you can do so at the pace you prefer. Whether you take a scenic helicopter excursion, sail along the west coast or canter on horseback riding along a stunning beach.

    Indulge yourself alternative treatments

    St Lucia has a history of offering rejuvenating and restorative treatments. You can soak in the restored baths in the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, and in bathing pools at the nearby Sulphur Springs, or you can cake yourself in purifying mud the ultimate natural spa treatment.

    Getting there

    Whether you choose to fly direct, stop off on a cruise or just pop over from one of the neighbouring islands you will find a warm Saint Lucian welcome awaits.

    You can fly to St Lucia from the U.K. with Virgin Atlantic, British Airways or Iberia.

    It is a mere 3.5 hours by plane from Miami, 4 hours from New York, 5 from Toronto and 8 hours from London.

    In some cases visas may be required check with your travel partner

    .

    All images courtesy of the St Lucia Tourist board

    visit these waters. You can spot sperm, humpback and pilot whales as well as spinners, spotted and bottleneck dolphins. This is a great tour for the all the family to enjoy.

    For more information, visit

    www.saintluciauk.org

    Where to stay

    The choices are endless. Saint Lucia offers a world-class array of accommodation. Hide away in a candy-coloured cottage in the grounds of a plantation estate, or be right next to the jammin nightlife of Rodney Ba; book into a high-end hotel with A-list levels of luxury, or stay with locals in a homely guest house.

    Alternatively, spend your holiday at an all-inclusive resort or base yourself in a more informal

  • Exotic Escapes The Marina can accommodate 40 yachts from 30ft to 250ft.

    The Marina Village, with its wide range of shops, boutiques, French bakery, bank and supermarket is open year round.

    For more information www.marigotmarina.com

    Rodney Bay Marina

    Considered one of the Caribbeans leading centres for yachting and sport fishing, Rodney Bay Marina offers yachters 253 slips and a 4.5 acre boatyard, as well as excellent accommodations for mega yachts up to 280ft with drafts of up to 15ft. Rodney Bay Marina is an official port of entry with immigration and customs offices. It is a full service facility with 253 berths each with individual meters for electricity and water. There are first-class restroom facilities, a swimming pool and recreational area, as well as restaurants, banks, a supermarket, car rental agencies, taxis and boutiques. The dry dock facility accommodates up to 120 boats with on-site workshops for wood, fiberglass, aluminium, stainless steel and bronze.

    For more details visit http://www.igy-rodneybay.com

    When to Visit St. Lucia

    St Lucia enjoys a moderate, warm climate throughout the year.

    May and June is the best time to visit St. Lucia. These late-spring months offer wonderful weather temperatures high 70s to 80s plus enviable room rates at the best hotels. Music lovers should consider

    visiting in early May specifically to attend the St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival that's held on Pigeon Island National Park. The island is flush with activity in the summer and late fall, but there's a greater chance of hurricanes. The busiest and most expensive time to vacation is from December to April.

    December to April is the ideal time to visit temperature-wise but is the busiest and most expensive time to vacation. Brace yourself for some of the highest room rates in St. Lucia (as much as $1,000 a night at some hotels) and the worst onslaught of crowds. The island's generally breezy weather is also at its best, with temperatures that range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s

    April to early December if you're on a budget but remember, this is a beach destination and June to early December in Lucia has high humidity and heavy rainfall.

    January to June is the best time for dry weather and sunshine.

    April to June is less crowded and relatively affordable.

    July to November. You should have no trouble finding a great deal to visit during one of these two months, as some popular spots advertise rooms for less than $200 a night. Temperatures rest in the mid-80s most days, with a greater chance of showers the closer it gets to summer. You should book a few months early though, to secure the best rates.

    By Air Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly direct to Saint Lucia from London Gatwick. IBERIA? Thomas Cook airline flys direct to Saint Lucia from Manchester.

    Saint Lucia is just 8 hours flight time from London to Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in the South. The domestic airport, George F.L. Charles (SLU), is situated in the north, near Castries the capital and is used to island hop to neighbouring shores.

    By Sea Saint Lucias main seaport is Castries, and many cruise ships drop anchor at Pointe Seraphine and La Place Carenage, with visitors enjoying two duty free shopping malls in the heart of the capital.

    There are inter-island ferries available from Castries. Express Des Isles (www.express-des-iles.com) operates a modern high speed catamaran service between Saint Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. For more information, please contact Cox & Company Ltd on 001 758 452 2211 or visit www.coxcoltd.com. Also visit SLASPA (Saint Lucia Air & Sea Port Authority) for more information on cruise and ferry schedules. www.slaspa.com.

    Marigot Bay Marina

    The Marina at Marigot Bay is the ideal mooring spot for visitors sailing from the Grenadines, Tobago, Grenada and other southern islands of the Caribbean. Marigot Bay provides an exclusive berthing facility and full service marina for yachts of all sizes,.

  • Exotic Escapes

    It is in the centre of Central America . Its the isthmus just 50 miles wide at the Canal that joins together North and South America. Bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

    Panamas has a tropical climate, with fairly constant temperatures throughout the year. The lowlands tend to be warmer than the highlands, and the humidity is high year-round. The dry season usually lasts from mid-December to mid-April, and the rainy season lasting from mid-April to mid-December. Some areas of the country such as notably Bocas del Toro have microclimates that vary from traditional weather patterns.

    Although not a large country, the various Panama regions offer very different attractions.

    This being the case, the tourism opportunities sights and sounds is best understood on a regional basis.

    Most international travellers arrive through Tocumen Airport in Panama City. The capital and largest city, with nearly half of the country's 3.9 million population.

    One thing to mention for the traveller is that the local currency Balboa is US dollar linked and because they dont print their own paper currency the US dollar is legal tender in Panama. So we recommend that you take US dollars with you as is tough to exchange currencies, but ATMs are widely available to withdraw cash.

    Panama City is cosmopolitan and accessible, close to the Canal Zone and other outdoor features along the central portion. It has a definite

    Panama small, but perfectly formed!!

    Panama? You may only know

    it for its canal which is part of

    a global trade route. Or

    maybe you are aware of

    Panama as a world banking

    centre. But our guess is that

    you dont think of it as a

    holiday destination?

    energetic air compared to the more laid back and relaxed feel of the rest of the country. Theres loads to see and do. . Click through to Trip Advisor to find out more.

    To the east lie the beautiful archipelago of Guna Yala and the wild jungles of the Darin. Travel west from Panama City and youll go through Central Panama, with scenery and animates which vary from the breezy highlands to popular and stunning beaches.

    The Cordillera Central mountain range runs through the western half of the country and contains Panamas highest mountain, Volcn Bar, a dormant volcano that stands close to 3,475 meters high.

    Another mountain range extends through the eastern Caribbean coast, from the Comarca de Guna Yala to the Colombian border. For the naturalists among you the country has an impressive range of flora and fauna that include 972 species of birds, 200 mammals, 200 reptile species, almost 200 amphibian species, and more than 10,000 species of plants.

  • A final place of interest in central Panama is Punta Chame, a thin Pacific coast peninsula that famous within the windsurfing community

    Whether its beachside relaxation or a trek into the lush highlands, central Panama provides visitors with a charming place to spend their time abroad.

    The Western Highlands start at the border with Costa Rica and run east for along the Cordillera Central and Cordillera de Talamanca.

    There are two national parks (Parque Nacional Volcn Bar and Parque Internacional La Amistad), a dormant volcano (Volcn Bar), and several picturesque mountain towns.

    The western highlands have more virgin forest than any other region in Panama, and are teeming with all kinds of plants and wildlife.

    One of the most popular destinations is Boquete. the town vies with Bocas del Toro

    Central Panamas mountain towns are equally lovely. El Valle, a quaint little town set 600 meters above sea level, and 75 miles (120 km) from Panama City, making it a convenient place to spend a day or two whilst traveling west. Settled into the valley of an extinct volcano, El Valle is surrounded by lush, towering hills that offer wonderful hiking opportunities. Visitors to El Valle can glide along zip lines, go on canopy tours, ride horses, and visit waterfalls. El Valles Sunday market is busting with all sorts of Ngbe-Bugl handicrafts, Kuna molas, and fresh fruits and vegetables that visitors can purchase.

    Santa F, the central regions other mountain town, is similar in look and feel to El Valle, but much less touristy.

    Like most of Panamas highlands, the climate here is much cooler and the pace much slower. Its a great place to visit after the beach.

    as Panamas hottest destination. One look at this charming mountain town and youll see why.

    Boquete lies on the southeast side of Volcn Bar in a valley shaped by green hills. This small town has long been known for its coffee and oranges, as well as an annual flower fair that draws in thousands of visitors every year. When visiting there is no shortage of things to do. Adrenaline junkies can ride Panamas longest zip line or go white-water rafting on the Ro Chiriqu. This province is the countrys most productive agricultural region, and there are several coffee plantations surrounding the town. These plantations not only offer up deliciously fresh cups of coffee, but also some fine bird watching opportunities in particular at Finca Lrida

    The Azuero Peninsula is just north of central Panama along the countrys Pacific coastline. Its eastern shores look onto the Golfo de Panam, while its

  • western shores border the Golfo de Chiriqu. The eastern part of the peninsula is the quiet developed side and it is in this portion of the peninsula that most visitors will likely spend their time.

    Towns in the Azuero Peninsula are unlike others in Panama. Red-tile roofs and ornate ironwork decorate Spanish-colonial houses, in stately streets that give way to central plazas lined with shady trees.

    Chitr and Las Tablas are the largest of the towns in the region. Chitr is located close to the ruins of an 11,000-year-old historical site. The town has an interesting history of its own, which can be glimpsed in its churches, museum, and plazas. Nearby, the tiny town of Parita provides visitors with a wonderful look into Panamas Spanish-colonial past.

    Most Azuero towns explode with activity during the annual Carnaval celebrations, an all-out party that occurs during the four days preceding Lent. Las Tablas Carnival complete with dancing clubs, elaborate floats, and drinking at every hour of the day is Panamas best.

    Last but far from least are Isla Contadora which means the island counter or bookkeeper in Spanish, and is supposed to be the island where the conquistadors took stock of their inventory before they returned to Spain.

    Because of its close proximity to Panama City, Isla Contadora is a popular destination for

    Panamas wealthiest families, and today has an abundance of spectacular mansions built along its sandy shores. Transport is largely limited to golf-carts, four wheelers, scooters and bicycles, all of which can be rented for the day. The island is only 0.5 of a square mile in size, so it's easy to get everywhere.

    There are eleven exquisite beaches on the island. The sea is full of intact and healthy coral reefs which can be found directly offshore from Playa

    Galen and Playa Larga. One of the nicest beaches is Playa Cacique, a secluded, lovely stretch of pure white sand that is rarely visited. For a truly private beach experience it is also possible to take a boat to one of the archipelagos uninhabited islands.

    Isla Contadora boasts a small airport, from where flights to Panama City take about 20 minutes. For a more economical option, the island can be reached via a scenic, albeit bumpy, two-hour boat ride.

  • Staycation

    extraordinary architecture, boutique shops, malls, and key attractions including the Chaucer-themed Canterbury Tales; Norman Canterbury Castle; Canterbury Roman Museum; treasure-filled Canterbury Heritage Museum; the home of Rupert the Bear creator Mary Tourtel and the recently refurbished Beaney House of Art and Knowledge. For a more leisurely experience explore Canterburys hidden gems by boat with the award winning Canterbury Historic River Tours.

    Canterbury's boldly modern Marlowe Theatre, built on the river bank is emerging as one of the south easts top theatres. It's just one of the great things to do in Canterbury.

    Hotels in Canterbury include the fabulous Abode, the

    superbly-sited Cathedral Lodge and the Holiday Inn Express. Feeling hungry? Try fine dining at Michael Caines Abode, or the Goods Shed; a restaurant-meets-permanent Farmers' Market that flies the flag for seasonal, local food.

    If you were considering trip to Africa then think again. You can encounter big cats, elephants, rhinos, and cheeky monkeys at the Howletts Wild Animal Park . At nearby Goodnestone Park Gardens discover the place where Jane Austen penned parts of Pride and Prejudice in 1796.

    Less than a 7-mile cycle away on Canterbury's coast, you can find the justly famous Whitstable. This charming port dubbed the Pearl of Kent because of its oysters, which still remain an intrinsic part of this sea town's character and are celebrated every July at

    Kent is an easy place to get to with great road and rail links. London is under an hour away with Southeastern's high speed links, which makes Kent an ideal weekend break or day trip.

    The beautiful Kent countryside is dotted with real gems like Canterbury, Herne Bay & Whitstable. The stunning coastline is filled with activities and fun, all connected and within easy reach of one another. Kents excellent road network and efficient local transport systems, as well as hundreds of miles of way-marked cycling and walking routes, ensures everyone is catered for once youve arrived.

    Visit Canterbury and discover why it's the jewel in Kent's crown. Buzzing with a youthful vibe thanks to the universities, Canterbury also excels at the historic, with parts of the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral dating back to the 11th century. Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered there in 1170, and is one of medieval Europe's great places of pilgrimage and knowledge whilst eighteenth-century Whitstable Castle has spectacular grounds.

    Along with the Cathedral, nearby St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking trails and guided tours wind past

    Theres lots to see and do in Kent, the Garden of England

  • Staycation

    revealed when the tide is low. With its sense of intimacy and rich character Whitstable has secured a favoured spot in the hearts and minds of all who visit the town.

    You can roam one of England's largest ancient woodlands at The Blean or cycle the nostalgia-rich Crab and Winkle Way, a tranquil 7 mile route linking Whitstable with Canterbury.

    Just 2 miles east, a few surprises await you at characterful Herne Bay. A hit with visitors since the Victorian era, with a legacy that still lingers in the bandstand, fragrant seafront gardens. Two miles of splendid seafront offer seaside favourites in the shape of candy floss, ice cream parlours, cafs, friendly pubs and fish and chip bars.

    Still further eastwards, you will find the Reculver Towers and

    Tourist Information Centre, Beaney Art Museum and Library, 18 High Street, Canterbury CT1 2RA

    Tel: 01227 862162 Email: [email protected]

    Discover more about Canterbury at www.canterbury.co.uk

    For more information visit: www.visitkent.co.uk

    the Oyster Festival. Oysters and other delicacies from the sea can be enjoyed at the local restaurants and pubs or taken home from the fresh fish market at the harbour.

    Today it has a funky, bohemian charm, with its independent craft and gift shops, bustling seafood eateries, picturesque lanes, delis, artisanal bakeries, boutique shops and art galleries. When you feel the need of refreshments you will be spoilt for choice with a wonderful array of cafes, restaurants and pubs. Soak up the atmosphere in a welcoming pub. Whitstable has one of only a very few pubs in the country on the beach. The Old Neptune sits right on the shingle beach. Whitstable is like no other town by the sea. Its traditional charms, strong arts culture and rich maritime history complement Whitstable's modern appeal.

    Whether you take the main route through the town or enjoy haphazard progress through quiet lanes and alleyways with eccentric names such as Squeeze Gut Alley, you'll end up at the working harbour. Constructed in 1831 the harbour has an interesting history including diving, shipbuilding and fishing.

    Along the coast at Tankerton, grassy slopes dip to meet the sea throwing out an invitation to visitors and locals to walk along the promenade and take in some bracing sea air. There's a chance too to get unsurpassed views of Whitstable's skyline from The Street, a wide ridge of shingle stretching out to sea, but only

    Click on the photo to view the Whitstable video

    Roman Fort clinging to the sandstone cliffs.

    Great beaches lined with brightly coloured beach huts reflect the great character of this seaside town. The seafront has some interesting Victorian architecture and in the spring and summer months the town's beauty is enhanced by the seafront gardens, bringing floral colour to visitors. In recent years, the bandstand has become a focal point for summer concerts

  • Staycation

    the peak Summer season or for newly launched productions, bearing in mind that a quarter of all the visitors coming to London, both domestic and international, will be going to see a show during their stay.

    Websites like www.theatrepeople.com offer discounted seat to all London shows and also have a range of theatre and meal or theatre and hotel deals which will save you a great deal for the add-ons. In fact you can pretty well have a meal before the show and a ticket for about the same price as you would have paid at the box office on the day.

    If you are just looking for a show for that night head down to Leicester Square and the TKTS booth which is operated by the Society of London Theatre and also has discounted tickets up to half price.

    .

    Theres no business like show business as far tourism to London is concerned.

    When Irving Berlin first told us that there was indeed no business like show business back in the early 1950s members of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show were singing their hearts in in an effort to get Annie Oakley to join the show.

    Well little has changed, except that these days it is holidaymakers from all over the world who are joining the show and to do so they are buying some 14 million-odd tickets worth nearly 530 million. Talk about Wild West End shows!

    One of the reasons for the huge international popularity of Londons theatre is the steady stream of all-dancing all-singing musicals which naturally dont put a strain any holidaymakers English and currently account for just over half all London theatre land visits and over 60 per cent of revenue.

    There are the all-time favourites such as Wicked, Mamma Mia, Lion King, and Les Miserables, juke box musicals like Jersey Boys which reprises the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Beautiful, the Carole King musical and new shows that keep the audiences coming back to the capital like Kinky Boots, Motown the Musicaland Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith which premiers in April 2016.

    And if you want to get the seats youd like, for the show you really want to see it is highly advisable to book ahead, particularly in

    So head for the wild open spaces of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue in the heart of Theatreland and let them show you the business!

    The theatre beckons

    The encore of Kinky boots

    Katie Brayben as Carol King

  • Staycation

    made it into the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds shortest funicular!

    Bournemouth is now known worldwide for its programme of free festivals and events all year round.

    The Wheels Festival In spring, Bournemouth Wheels Festival roars into action with displays and demonstrations featuring monster trucks, supercars and stunt bikes. Over a quarter of a million people flocked to Bournemouth Wheels Festival this year as the high energy motorsport and freewheel action event the biggest of its kind in the UK returned to the resort for a second year, with a thrilling cliff top display from one of the countrys most renowned stunt drivers.

    Attracting an estimated 310,000 people over three days of weather extremes, the second Bournemouth Wheels Festival featured non-stop, high speed action along the Demonstration Straight, monster truck metal crushing, gravity defying quad bike jumps and breath taking BMX and skateboard tricks. There was also a seemingly impossible stunt along East Overcliff Drive on the biggest day, dubbed Super Saturday.

    Air Festival

    August welcomes the internationally-renowned annual Bournemouth Air Festival, when the skies come alive with four days of day and night air displays as well as on-the-ground entertainment.

    Voted the UKs best coastal resort in the 2014 British Travel Awards, Bournemouth is now making a significant investment of over 100m in seafront and tourism related developments to strengthen its appeal for future seasons.

    With seven miles of golden sands and frequently warmer than average temperatures, the vibrant, cosmopolitan town of Bournemouth has it all. As well as a vast array of shops, restaurants, cliff-top hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, the UKs premier destination boasts historic gardens, an award-winning seafront and a buzzing nightlife.

    Bournemouths excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

    Surrounded by rolling countryside, Bournemouth also enjoys 2,000 acres of parks and gardens located in the centre of the resort. The Lower, Central and Upper Gardens are Grade II listed and date back to the Victorian era.

    Meanwhile, Bournemouth seafront features four Blue Flag beaches, two iconic piers and almost 2,000 beach huts, as well as the resorts distinctive land trains and cliff lifts. The Fishermans Walk Cliff Lift has

    A busy 2016 ahead for Bournemouth visitors

  • world-renowned Red Arrows stole the show as usual performing on all four days, 2015 also saw the welcome return of the Matadors Display Team and Patrouille Reva. The keenly awaited Vulcan XH558 gave two star turns in her spectacular final farewell to mixed emotions from South Coast fans on both Saturday and Sunday.

    Bournemouths excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

    Bournemouths excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

    To top off the season, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea

    Festival takes place in October, showcasing cultural delights from the world of music, film, dance, arts and performance. Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival is a fantastic fusion of dance, music, poetry, cinema, theatre, art, literature, family and outdoor events taking place at venues, both familiar and unusual across the UKs leading resort.

    Arts Bournemouth works all year round with local artists, arts and educational organisations and national arts agencies to bring together the annual festival. Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival is jointly funded by the Arts Council and Bournemouth Borough Council.

    While in Bournemouth, holidaymakers and residents alike have a wide range of attractions on their doorstep.

    Now a well established world-class venue, the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) hosts pop concerts, conferences and exhibitions throughout the year, while the Pavilion Theatre hosts West End shows, dance performances and pantomimes.

    There is also plenty to keep outdoorsy types amused from paddle-boarding and sea kayaking at the UKs first Coastal Activity Park to more leisurely pursuits on the areas scenic golf courses and lush bowling greens.

    A sublime mix of evocative Victorian history alongside modern living, Bournemouth is a bustling yet picturesque destination with a wealth of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes and budgets.

    With a record-breaking 1300 boats in the bay on Saturday alone and total numbers topping 3/4 million, the award-winning Bournemouth Air Festival, supported by Kier, enjoyed its eighth year (20-23 August) in spite of weather extremes welcoming new displays from the MiG 15 and Hawk T2 Role Demo Team as well as an emotional farewell from festival favourite, the Vulcan against a backdrop of a flotilla of Royal Navy ships.

    Two glorious days on Friday and Saturday and unexpectedly clear skies on Sunday attracted wide eyed visitors to the UKs largest free festival, to enjoy displays from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Chinook, Tutor, Black Cats, Twister Duo, Tigers Parachute Display Team, Eurofighter Typhoon, B-17 Flying Fortress, Blades Aerobatic Display Team and Sea Vixen. While the

    Wheels Festival: rally car demo straight

  • Staycation Beach

    Seven miles of award-winning beaches! Nestled beneath a magnificent cliff line, the bay enjoys its own micro-climate, some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK and stunning views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks. Whatever you want from a day at the beach, youll find it all here.

    Cycling

    Whether its ambling along taking in the beautiful scenery, a sunset cycle along the promenade or an off-road inland adventure Bournemouth is a brilliant place for fun on two wheels. Do you love rough and exhilarating downhill rides? Or speed-racing on roads with the pals? Or simply enjoying flat and safe cycling with the family and maybe teach your youngest how to ride? Bournemouth has all the options for every age and ability. From scenic flats to strenuous hill rides, Bournemouth and the surrounding areas are a magnet for cyclists. There are also several bike hire options if you havent got your own, making life easy. Bike hire and cycling is great for groups and can easily be catered for if organised in advance.

    Walking

    If youre after an activity that is suitable for the whole family, full of inspiration that benefits both mind and body, then these walks in and around Bournemouth in Dorset are ideal. And whats more, they dont cost a penny.

    Attractions

    Bournemouth has an amazing collection of activities and

    attractions for all ages. Dorset has plenty of history, heritage and culture, including historic castles, fantastic art collections, stately homes and museums displaying everything from classic

    motors to terracotta warriors. Learn even more about Dorsets history and visit one of the many churches, chapels or castles around the local area.

    Shopping

    In the event that you might need a break from lazing on the beach or splashing in the sea, then why not release your inner shopaholic and explore Bournemouths fabulous selection of shopping? Independent boutiques, designer brands and your high street favourites all come together in a celebrated assortment for the consummate consumer. For shipshape shops, bold brands and quirky curiosities come to Bournemouth and shop til you drop!

    Exploring Beyond Bournemouth

    Explore beyond Bournemouth and discover beautiful countryside and picturesque villages steeped in history and just waiting to be discovered. Whether you venture north, east or west of Bournemouth, youll be sure to find something to delight you.

    For more information visit: www.bournemouth.co.uk

    .

    Festival and Event Dates for 2016:

    Bournemouth Bay Run - 3rd April

    Thundercat Racing - 23rd-24th April

    Wheels Festival - 3rd-5th June

    Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival 17th-25th June

    Bourne Free - 8th-10th July

    Pier to Pier Swim - 10th July

    Bournemouth Beach Soccer 28th-31st July

    Air Festival 18th-21st August

    Bournemouth Marathon - 1st-2nd October

    How to get there

    Bournemouths excellent transport links, including an airport and trains direct from London Waterloo, make it the perfect base for exploring the history, heritage and picture-perfect scenery of Dorset.

    Where to stay

    Bournemouth has a vast array of accommodation from 4 star hotels to cosy B / Bs, Holiday Parks and camping to self catering accommodation, Bournemouth has it all. For more information visit: www.bournemouth.co.uk

    What to do and Where to Go

    Gardens

    Bournemouth offers 2,000 acres of glorious gardens and parks just waiting to be explored all year round.

  • Conveniently Close

    Costa del Sol, with breath taking views of the mountainous countryside, here you can find many authentic restaurants to choose from, serving the finest cuts of meat.

    If you are keen to immerse yourself in some culture during your stay, why not visit the Marbella old town, where you can wander the cobbled streets on a balmy summer evening and enjoy a drink at the famous Plaza de Naranjos a beautiful setting, filled with colourful orange trees. The labyrinth of tiny streets and alleys that surround Orange Square will reveal further tiny shops selling all forms of trinkets, fashion and souvenirs alongside the old traditional town houses, courtyards and churches.

    The city of Malaga is 40 minutes away from Marbella and often overlooked as merely the airport gateway to the Costa del Sol. But Malaga has serious art credentials, the Picasso (the artist was born here), Carmen Thyssen and Contemporary Art (CAC)

    museums are world-class, and quirky stuff such as CAC director Fernando Frances's SoHo. This once uninspiring neighbourhood turned into a stage for street art a new cool, and now Malagas artistic credentials has risen a notch or two with the opening of the Pompidou Centre. It's an immense glass cube on the sleek dockside, and billed as a cultural laboratory. It will share collections with Paris (modern greats such as Kahlo, Bacon, Ernst, Magritte), combined with one-offs including a Dadaist cinema exhibition. Then take a stroll around the Muelle Uno the recently built dock in the Malaga port which boasts a wide selection of excellent restaurants and boutiques.

    A beautiful town nestled on the Costa del Sol, Marbella is a top destination for holiday makers and homeowners from all over the world. Since the 1970s, Marbella has become famous as a playground for the rich and famous. Yet underneath the glamorous facade, there is much more to discover. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca, Marbella has a diverse cosmopolitan atmosphere- with expat communities of several different nationalities. The area exudes charm, tradition and elegance with sandy beaches, excellent climate, a multitude of leisure facilities, including some of the best golf courses in Europe; Michelin star restaurants, world-class nightlife and International luxury shopping brands, all attract visitors year round.

    Food is as integral to Spain as its rich history with each region home to its own unique flavours and cuisine, Andalucia is no exception. In Marbella and the surrounding areas the Andalusian cuisine which is twofold, coastal and rural, is represented with every turn you make.

    There is something for everyone, as traditional tapas bars, authentic fish restaurants, gourmet delis, Michelin star restaurants and of course the chirinquitos all offer their delights. The village of Benahavis, a few minutes drive from the coast, is known as the dining room of the

    Marbella more than just Glitz and Glamour

    Plaza de Naranjos in Marbella old town

  • Conveniently Close

    The Costa del Sol is also known as the Costa del Golf, for a very good reason. There are over 90 golf courses on the Costa del Sol, sixty of which are situated within close proximity of Marbella, and a number of courses have been ranked in the top ten golf courses in Europe. The highly rated Valderrama course can be found near Sotogrande, which is a huge attraction for its close proximity to the famed polo grounds which can be found in the small port town of Sotogrande.

    Famed for its cosmopolitan elegance, Marbella also offers stunning scenery, surrounded by the impressive Sierra Blanca mountain range, including La Concha. A day spent climbing La Concha, a challenging hike, is rewarded by panoramic views from the summit. Only minutes

    from the coast the white villages such as Mijas, Caseres and Benhavis are nestled in the hills, venture out for the day to get a feeling of the Andalucian life.

    Horseback riding is also a popular activity amongst visitors and most reputable guides will take you on a lengthy horse lengthy horse trek through both mountains and beach. For those who are visiting with family, the Costa del Sol offers a great choice of indoor and outdoor activities; the beaches offer all types water sports from aqua parks on the sea to jet ski; theme parks such as the Bioparc zoo, Sea World, Selwo Safari park, aqua parks and Amazonia tree top climbing are all easily accessible.

    Protected by the impressive Sierra Blanca mountain range, the winters are mild and the summer months reach 32-35 degrees, it is no surprise that Marbella is also a desirable location for a holiday home investment. Living in this sun soaked Mediterranean haven, is considered by most as living their dream and with a thriving expat scene and a steadily recovering property market, all of these factors contribute to Marbella being one of the top travel destinations in Europe.

    Along the coast in the opposite direction from Marbella is the elegant Puerto Banus with its reputation as being one of the key destinations for the jet set lifestyle, due to the rows of super yachts that can be found lining the marina, surrounded by the first line of international restaurants and upmarket bars, such as Pangea and the Cavalli club. You will also find all of the luxury international brands in Puerto Banus, as well as some top end local boutiques. On a Saturday morning, the bullring, which sits just above the port, is the ideal place to go to pick up a bargain. With vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to Moroccan style furniture and leather goods, it is well worth a visit during the quieter, low season months.

    Many thanks to Julie Bett, MD of Fab Property Spain SL. for her contribution. Fab Property are experts in the Costa Del Sol property sector :

    Tel: 0034 952042028 Email: [email protected] Web: http://fabps.com

    An evening in Puerto Banus

  • Top Floor Apartment New Golden Mile 460,000 This huge 3 bed 3 bath corner duplex apartment in Park Beach is just 100m from Villacana which has restaurants, beach bars, mini market and one of the best pony riding schools on this coast. It would make a perfect holiday home or permanent residence. It is also within a minutes walk to one of the best beaches, Heaven Beach.

    Detached Villa Nueva Andaluca 2,750,000 Situated in the prestigious area of Nueva Andaluca in a totally private gated community of just 12 Villas, this property has been built to the highest of standards throughout with superb attention to detail. Just minutes from three of the finest Golf Courses, Los Naranjos, Las Brisas and Aloha Golf and less than a 10 minute drive to Marbella and Puerto Banus, this Villa would offer the discerning owner luxury living at an exceptional level.

  • Detached Villa The Golden Mile 5,000,000 Stunning Villa, totally redesigned and refurbished in 2013 to very High Standards. Located at Santa Margarita inside the exclusive Marbella Club Hotel grounds behind the MC Caf on the Golden Mile. Commanding a rental income of 2000+ per night, this property is an ideal rental investment, as well as a luxury family residence enjoying a wealth of five star amenities close to the beach in Marbella's most prestigious and sought-after address.

    Detached Villa Benahavs 795,000 This beautiful Villa nestled in a commanding position, offering breath taking panoramic views from all of its rooms, would make an idyllic family home. Within a 5 minute walk to the pretty white village of Benahavis, the current owners have cleverly mixed rustic with modern decor and the Villa oozes charm and sophistication throughout.

    THE MARBELLA PROPERTY EXPERTS

    With over 20 years of experience at Fab Property we have gained expert knowledge in Real Estate in many areas of the Costa del Sol. Working with developers and other agencies enables us to find your perfect home or investment property, from Benalmadena to Sotogrande.

    Our multi-lingual team focus on your requirements and needs, matching with the best property is our priority. In a highly competitive market you need an agency which consistently achieves results and exceeds clients customer service expectations. We understand the need for reassurance when purchasing a property anywhere at any time, and even more so in a foreign country.

    Fab Property Spain SL

    Elviria, Marbella Tel: 0034 952042028 Email : [email protected] Web: www.fabps.com

  • Special Feature

    Adagio Plus to the 2016 programme - offering "more challenging walking opportunities". From what I gather, it is a way of combining the occasional morning on the hoof with some afternoon sightseeing - which doesn't seem to be too taxing. Just as long as they don't get carried away....

    It is quite remarkable how well one can now eat in Croatia, and for that matter in other parts of former Yugoslavia. Those of us old enough to remember when it was not "former" will know all too well how limited in scope

    and style its cuisine used to be. Nowadays, in restaurants throughout Istria, you can discuss with the waiter the merits of the various olive oils on offer before going on to discuss the wine list.

    I'm pleased to see that the ancient town of Rovinj features in this holiday. I think it is a gem. It still shows evidence (specifically carvings of the winged lion of St. Mark) of its link with the Venetian empire, but before the Venetians, there was Illyria, the Roman and the Byzantine eras.

    What with a trip to Colorado, and a short break over Christmas, still to come, I shouldn't yet be thinking about next year's holidays. But I have been tempted to look ahead to next spring and early summer, because of a few of the new holidays offered by one of my favourite travel brands - Adagio.

    You'll recall I have waxed lyrical about these holidays in the past, mainly because I was there at Adagio's birth, and think the concept of gentler holidays for folk who used to take very active holidays is an excellent one.

    It comes to all of us as the years take their toll - the stiffening of the joints, the thickening of the waist and the realisation that, though the spirit is more than willing to tackle the roughest of rambling trails, the flesh is weaker.

    The ideal solution is to take holidays with folk with whom we can share our memories, knowing that those memories are likely to be mutual. And also knowing that the holidays will enable us to take a little gentle exercise - if only to prove that we can still do it.

    In this context, I was a little concerned to see they've introduced something called

    Slow Down You Move Too Fast Ardent globetrotter, John Carter,

    former presenter of TVs Wish You Were Here programme is inspired by Paul Simons sentiment of taking life a little easier by ambling rather than rambling.

  • Special Features Switzerland is featured, too. One holiday to Zermatt and the Matterhorn features the cable cars and alpine railways of the region, which are used to carry you to fine walking country. Another deal, based on Lake Lucerne, has you using the paddle steamers, cable cars, ferries and cog wheel railways to access the widest of walking choices.

    But, as I said at the start, the walking has to be regarded as the cherry on the cake with these holidays, aimed as they are at people who have chosen to take holidays, and life, at a slower pace.

    AND HOT NEWS whilst writing this piece is that Adagio has teamed up with Cruise & Maritime to offer a fabulous selection of river cruises including the Blue Danube, Romance of The Rhine and Highlights of The Rhine and Moselle.

    Price from 1,375 per person for Romance of The Rhine a 7 night aboard Bellejour embracing Hollands bulb fields; Cologne and a visit to Siebergbirge; Koblenz; Heidelberg; Kehl and Strasbourg and Breisach, the gateway to the Black Forest. Departs 30 April 2016.

    To contact Adagio go to:

    www.adagio.co.uk

    or why not call them on:

    01707 386700

    Put add here

    I can think of no nicer prospect than a morning stroll in Rovinj, taking in that history and admiring the town's old buildings, with the prospect of a "slow food" lunch to come. A mouth-watering holiday this - why, there's even a hint of truffle hunting in Motovun.

    France, Portugal and the Azores are also in this latest programme, along with holidays to Estonia and Latvia as well as the island of Jersey.

    A winning mixture of comfortable hotels, leisurely (and, of course, optional) walking, the pleasant company of like-minded folk, and some first class food and wine should make the 2016 Adagio programme as popular as those that have gone before.

  • Conveniently Close

    Europes most westerly and sunniest capital. It's a compact and intimate city, ideal for a short city break or a longer romantic stay, with a lively caf culture and a nightlife. It has world-class restaurants, excelling in seafood, its reputation for style and long pedigree in art and culture.

    Another real bonus is that is officially Western Europe's least expensive capital.

    Portugals first city remains high on every discerning weekend-breakers hit-list. In this guide to their capital, your Getaway team have discovered the major attractions in Lisbon and also offer their insiders tips on the essential things to do in the city that many visitors (and many non-resident guides) miss. Explore our guide to Lisbons best museums and attractions, restaurants and cafs, and clubs, bars and live music along with the best shopping and some great hotels and immerse yourself in their city.

    Bafflingly, Lisbon didnt take off as a tourist destination until after its World Expo in 1998. Hard to understand, as its Europe's second oldest capital after Athens predating Rome and London by hundreds of years.

    Its glorious past can be felt in every street, just turn a corner and youre face to face with a relic of its role as a big-hitting maritime power. This is a history reflected in its name Lisbon comes from Allis Ubbo, Phoenician for safe harbour.

    Recharge the batteries with a short break in Lisbon Home to some half a million residents, Portugals capital is built over a number of hills that provides stunning city vistas. The city is split into neighbourhoods called bairros. While some are more lively than others, each has its own charm, from the oldest Alfama, to Cais do Sodr, fast emerging as the hippest. Despite the citys history and its network of charming time-warp, vintage yellow trams Lisbon has a distinctly modern edge.

    Street art is huge in the capital. Look up from time to time and youll see the work of famous scrawlers adorning abandoned buildings, including famous Brazilian twins Os Gmeos. And theres

    Museums and attractions

    much more to modern Lisbon, from its updated take on traditional dining establishments (like the newly revamped Mercado de Ribeira) to its exciting cultural spaces and its white-hot nightlife and clubbing scene. Its a city ripe for discovery.

    Central Lisbon is relatively compact, and traffic can be awful, so its best to explore on

  • Conveniently Close Its easy to while away a whole afternoon in some of the citys most charming and colourful bairros. The Chiado is one of the chicest, and the perfect place for a caf crawl. Try some of the black stuff at the legendary Caf A Brasiliera or Pastelaria Bnard.

    To get a real taste for the city take a whistle stop tour of the capital, hop on the No.28 tram, to see some of the citys most picturesque streets.

    For those that need a bit of retail therapy and are looking for something special make a beeline to the following districts

    Firstly there is Principe Real This has become the most interesting shopping locations, this is a single long road called Rua Dom Pedro V which then becomes Rua da Escola Politcnica. Here you will find galleries, independent boutiques and design shops for the city's hippest crowds, as well as the beautiful shopping gallery located in a real 1800 palace calledEmbaixada.

    Then there is Avenida Da Liberdade for those wanting to flexi the plastic!! this is like the local Champs-Elyses, an elegant tree-lined boulevard that's home to the major luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci.

    But if you are looking for a break from the sights and sounds of the city why not take the opportunity to get down to the beach or should we say beaches!!

    It's the only European capital facing the sea, just minutes from the sand, and with a

    foot. Getan idea of its layout from the top of the Aqueduto das guas Livres the citys majestic aqueduct, erected in the 18th century under King John V. Go in the morning or late afternoon to escape the crowds and get an unrivalled view of Monsanto forest and the citys sprawl.

    A trip to the capital should take in the Torre de Belm, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of Portugals most famous monuments. The Gothic tower was built to guard the entrance to the harbour and has some fine examples of Portuguese stonework dating from the 1500s.

    Convento do Carmo had its roof destroyed in the infamous 1755 earthquake, and its open-air nave is a unique sight. Unlucky Igreja da So Domingos was a victim of the quake and several other catastrophes besides its flame-licked interior (following a fire in 1959) gives it a cave-like feel. For more history, the Museu Calouste Gulbenkians world-class collection of Islamic and Oriental art is not to be missed and its Centro de Arte Moderna opposite is well worth a trip for its impressive haul of Portuguese works from the last century.

    More of contemporary Lisbon is to be found wandering around the striking concrete shell of MUDE. The Museu de Design e da Moda, to give it its full name, brings together over 2,000 pieces of haute couture and innovative design in the minimalist interior of a gutted bank building.

    beautiful coastline nearby, so close the locals not only go at the weekend but also for just an hour or two to catch those raze!

    If you head west out of the city you will find the resort towns of Cascais and Estoril, reached by train from Cais do Sodr in the centre of Lisbon. You also have the option of going south down to the Caparica coast, but no matter where you decide on you'll always find plenty of sand.

    One thing to remember is that you will find the Atlantic cooler than that of the Mediterranean, with water temperatures at around 15 to 20C degrees so longs swims are normally left for the hot summer days.

    In closing Lisbon is exceptional short break or a longer stay destination we would thoroughly recommend.

  • Family Holidays

    Europes most westerly capital has world-class restaurants, excelling in seafood, its

    Europe If you hate the idea of a long haul flight, spending hours on an aircraft trying to entertain and placate unhappy youngsters whilst trying to ignore the withering looks from fellow passengers who are trying to enjoy a snooze, read, or watch a movie in comfort, then look no further than a short and convenient hop into Europe.

    Europe delivers endless possibilities for luxury family holidays, with lots of exclusive

    five star hotels and resorts now offering top class kids facilities and childcare.

    There are huge choices of hotels that have onsite crche facilities, so travelling with a baby is easier than ever.

    Mark Warner and Neilson holidays have long been offering the ultimate family holiday experience, with free , kids clubs and lots of fun activities included, from windsurf school to tennis academy. They also both have crche at an extra charge, where UK qualified nannies will

    Family holidays for the more discerning traveller

    Having children doesnt mean that you have to abandon the type of luxury you may have become accustomed to before becoming parents. You can combine the luxury you deserve with the knowledge and reassurance that the children are also catered for. More and more luxury hotels are now family friendly allowing you to luxuriate in comfort whilst the children are safe having fun and adventure.

    So where are these gems hiding?

    look after your little ones. Not generally known as luxury holiday providers, they do each have a five star option, the Mark Warner Levante beach in Rhodes and the Neilson Andriake in Turkey, are both set in stunning beachfront locations with exceptional facilities and service.

    Two more luxurious hotels that welcome families and have top class childcare and facilities, along with exclusive service and luxury, are the Sani beach in Greece and the Forte Village in Sardinia. Both have excellent

  • Family Holidays Including private butlers who will tend to your every need.

    Sainte Foy is the French Alps best kept secret (until now) with some of the best off piste skiing in Europe, combined with exclusive luxury chalet accommodations and exceptional childcare options for all ages. This is a small boutique style resort that will appeal to skiers who love uncrowded slopes, no queues and lots of powder.

    Caribbean For those who can cope with longer flights with children, how about the Caribbean. A popular winter sun holiday destination, with warm tropical weather all year round, the Caribbean has some excellent family holiday options. There are direct flights from UK airports into a number of Caribbean islands with flight times around nine hours. reputations for offering

    World class facilities and a five star service for the most discerning of families and the Sani Beach was voted the second best family hotel in Europe in this years Tripadvisor Travellers choice awards.

    If you love to hit the slopes each winter then you will love Club Meds Valmorel resort which has arguably the most luxurious family friendly ski resort in the World. There is a crche for babies from 4 months of age and kids clubs for older children. The exclusive Lodge is the five star area of the resort with 25 spacious family suites and enhanced levels of service

    The best family hotels are undoubtedly Beaches Resorts. Part of the luxury Sandals group, these resorts offer the ultimate in family all inclusive luxury. With two resorts in Jamaica and one in Turks and Caicos, all set on pristine white sand beaches caressed by crystal clear waters. Everything is included in the price, so enjoy gourmet dining and premium drinks, as well as a whole host of kids activities and kids clubs and crche taking new born babies. Each resort has Sesame Street themed kids activities and exciting water parks. While your little ones are being looked after and having fun, you can enjoy the full service spa, drinks at the pool bar or any of the free activities such as scuba diving, tennis or golf. Its worth noting that in the recent Tripadvisor Travellers choice

    Kids love the Sesame Street theme at Beaches Turks & Caicos

  • Family Holidays

    Club Med Albion Villas is one of the islands premier resorts with all the fantastic facilities and all inclusive experience you would expect from Club Med along with a choice of two, three and four bedroom luxurious villas, set within lush tropical gardens right next to the beautiful beach and a short walk to the well run kids clubs. Enjoy exceptional levels of service including your own butler and personal chef.

    Beachcomber hotels have a range of luxury resorts in island and have kids clubs in all stunning locations around

    awards, Beaches Negril was voted the number one Family resort in the Caribbean. Turks & Caicos also scooped up the Worlds best island award and also the Worlds best beach, at Grace Bay. Beaches Resorts also won the award for the Worlds leading Family All Inclusive company at the recent World Travel Awards.

    There are a few other really luxurious hotels that have great facilities for kids. One that deserves a mention is Carlisle Bay in Antigua where you can enjoy luxury and style with a laid back feel. In Mexico, the Cub Med Cancuns Five Trident luxury space has luxurious suites, increased levels of service in a more intimate, private area away from the main resort but within reach of the facilities and kids clubs of the main Club Med resort.

    Indian

    Mauritius is one of the best destinations in the World to combine unrivalled luxury hotels with family facilities. There is a wide range of luxury resorts who have added kids clubs and family facilities and accommodation recently. Mauritius is a true paradise island with warm tropical weather, stunning scenery and beaches to die for. Its also a great long haul destination with direct flights from the UK and the option to make a stopover in Dubai.

    the of them. The flagship resort is World famous Royal Palm hotel which is a leading hotel of the World and has 69 intimate suites set on an idyllic beach. The hotel is renowned for its luxury and service, where staff outnumber the guests three to one.

    Beachcomber also boast a private island resort in the Seychelles. After a ten minute speedboat ride from the airport you are transported to a tropical paradise where the hotel is the only one on the island and where luxurious villas sit on white sand beaches.

    The sumptuous private villas at Club Med's Albion Villas Resort

    Stay on Sainte Anne private island in the Seychelles

    Ocean

  • Family Holidays Far East Last but not least for long haul destinations is the Far East.

    Thailand is just one of the destinations that has become a firm favourite in recent years with British tourists and with a warm tropical climate, stunning beaches and the famous Thai hospitality its not hard to see why. Families travelling to Thailand, looking for the most family friendly hotels should head to Phuket. This beautiful island has amazing beaches, lots to see and do and the best family luxury hotel choice in Thailand.

    Relax and unwind at Club Med Phuket's Zen pool

    Centara Grand Resort is set in a stunning location on the white sands of Karon beach

    Imagine a resort set in a tropical paradise, set on the shores of emerald lagoons in the midst of swaying palm trees with an endless white sand beach. Where your kids will have the experience of a lifetime, meet new friends in the kids club and even get up close to the resorts own elephant. That is what you will find at the five star Angsana resort. Why not book one of their stylish three bedroom presidential pool villas and enjoy the services of your own butler and chef.

    The Dusit Thani is in a similar location to the Angsana and also offers exceptional luxury and service with lots of facilities to keep the whole family happy. Families will love the three storey, two bedroom villas with rooftop infinity pools overlooking the ocean.

    Another great option is the Centara Grand Beach Resort right on the sands of Karon beach, where you will find a luxury hotel with great kids facilities, clubs and even a waterpark with slides and lazy rivers. Club Med also have a resort on the next beach along where you can enjoy the Club Med all inclusive experience with their usual high quality kids facilities and clubs.

    Travelling with babies and young children?

    Let us recommend www.travellingwithbabies.co.uk

    This great and informative site will provide you with all you need to know about travelling with children under three years old.

    Travelling with babies has lots of tips and advice on travelling with babies and toddlers for new parents. Join their community of likeminded parents on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/travellingwithbabies/

    Many thanks to Family Trips for expert assistance with this article. For your next family holiday have go to:

    Web: www.family-trips.co.uk

    Email: [email protected]

    Tel: 0844 811 8489

  • It is close on forty years since I first read "The Oregon Trail", a vivid account by Francis Parkman of how that northern route was opened up by the pioneers heading for the Pacific coast of the USA - the folk whose fortitude and courage and sheer dogged determination created a nation.

    It's true that Parkman concentrated on the early stages of the route and had personal experience of only a small part of it. But, being published in 1847, it has the merit of authenticity, giving first-hand accounts from the pioneers, the guides and trappers and hunters.

    Long before the legends and myths of "The Wild West" were spun. Long before Hollywood manufactured history, this account is the real thing.

    And the reason I dwell on it here is that, to appreciate fully states such as Oregon, you need to know about that past and be aware of how the Oregon of today was created.

    It is so easy to fly into Portland - as visitors from Britain

    John Carter, former presenter of televisions Wish You Were Here programme and avid globetrotter dips into the many delights of Oregon one of Americas most tantalising states.

    inevitably do - and travel around the state on its wide, well-engineered and well maintained roads without a thought to how those roads were originally carved through an alien landscape.

    Having said that, however, I must acknowledge that great swathes of Oregon remain pretty much as they were when those first pioneers from the east gazed upon them. There are mighty forests which serve to show how puny humans are. Mountains and lakes and landscapes to take your breath away. Given a dozen days - or less, which is often the case nowadays - what would I want to see in Oregon?

    The starting point would have to be Portland which is Oregon's largest city, though - to the surprise of most visitors - not its capital.

    That is Salem, some miles to the south along Interstate 5, beyond the Willamette Valley and, along with Newburg and Eugene, at the heart of the state's wine growing region.

    You should give Portland as much time as your schedule allows, for it has fine parks and museums, in particular the Oregon Historical Centre and the Portland Art Museum, as well as a fine selection of shops and restaurants.

    After that, my choice would be to travel south on the Interstate, then head west to the coast.

    Arguably, highway 101, which runs along America's Pacific Coast, is one of the most spectacular "corniche" roads in the world. It is certainly spectacular in Oregon, running in sight of the ocean for close on 400 miles, skirting wilderness areas and tracts of National Forest. Of its many excellent seaside resorts, I would certainly recommend Florence. To the south of the resort, mile after mile of wide, high sands form the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Other sights you shouldn't miss in the area include Haceta Head Lighthouse and the natural grotto of Sea Lion Caves. Head south along highway 101, past North Bend, Coos Bay, Cape Blanco and Nesika Beach, and you'll reach Brookings, virtually on the state's border with California. This is a good place to end a day's journey along the coast, and pause before heading inland.

    And it's at this point that you begin to appreciate what those early settlers had to contend with as they made their way west.

    You may be in a comfortable car or touring coach speeding along a well-maintained road, but you are passing through forest and wilderness areas to a region of lakes and rivers. My choice for an overnight stay would have to be Kiamath Falls, which is a hub for all kinds of water sports, fishing

    The Oregon Trail Special Feature

  • and hunting. The Favell Museum of Western Art and Indian Artefacts is a "must see" if you want to know more about the early history of this, the "Beaver State".

    After that, the whole of Oregon beckons. However, the region to the east of Kiamath Falls and Altamont, beyond the Fremont National Forest, is something of an "Empty Quarter". It is vast and imposing with lakes, rivers and mountains, but very few inhabitants. My choice would be, instead, to head north east on route 97, with the intention of overnighting at Bend.

    The road has been christened the Volcanic Legacy All American Highway, which is something of a mouthful, but reflects local pride in its natural beauties.

    Oregon's largest ski area, around Mount Bachelor, lies to the west of Bend in Deschutes National Forest. If you've time to do so when in Bend, go to the Lava Lands Visitor Centre which will give you an insight into the creation of a lava forest - formed as lava cooled around fallen trees. It is an unforgettable sight in the area now designated the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

    America As You Like It offer a 9 night fly drive to Oregon from 1097 per person including flights, car hire and 9 nights accommodation. Price based on 2 people sharing.

    For more information contact 020 8742 8299, [email protected] or visit www.americaasyoulikeit.com

    From Bend I would head north east through more extensive forests, making for places like Baker City and La Grande, both of which are on Interstate 84. Bearing in mind my comments at the beginning of this article, you should make a note to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre in Baker City as well as its historic area.

    The route is taking us back to Portland. If time allows, you could visit the "Cowboys Now and Then" museum in Union, a small country town a few miles from La Grande, and also stop off at Pendleton, where the Umatilla Reservation and Tamastslikt Cultural Institute are located.

    There is so much to see in Oregon that a single visit couldn't do more than scratch the surface of this splendid state. It is not well known to visitors from Britain, but certainly well worth exploring.

  • Diversions

    Watching the skies!. There are usually some specials on the menu besides the famous Alien Burger. There is plenty of car parking and space for extra-terrestrials if needed! Details of Little A Le Inn can be found at their website at: http://www.littlealeinn.com

    Consulting the guides in the Ale Inn, you can find the trails that lead to the entrances to Area 51, although its not called this!

    You are looking for Edwards Air Force Base. If you venture on, you will notice guards with detection devices and cameras mounted among the cactus. Watch the cameras follow you! You will also see several signs that read, "Top Secret Military Facility, Keep Out, Use of Deadly Force Authorized". Ignore them at your own risk!

    Anyone who has been very close to one of the back gates, and judging by all the camera activity, is probably well documented with their images retained by the US government

    Red Rock Canyon Moving on to something less well-known by non-locals is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area. This is a much shorter drive and is less than 20 miles from Vegas. Red Rock offers a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horse riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor centre with exhibits and a book store. Watch this 1 minute tour.

    The area has often been selected as the backdrop for movies and commercials.

    Las Vegas is a relatively inexpensive destination in the U.S. and immediately conjures up visions of gambling, casinos and large hotels. But there is more to see in the surrounding area such as the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam, both well-known with advertised trips. But for something different, rent a car for a few days and venture outside the city to discover the more hidden treasures.

    You may have heard of Area 51. Does it really exist? Well, Yes it does and you can get very close to it. Its quite a long drive, but easily achievable in one day, with a number of stops. The workers who travel there from Vegas dont have to drive as they can get the Janet Airlines flights (which dont officially exist) they leave up to a 1000 of their cars at their secret car park at the airport.

    This drive takes you through remote desert, the dry lake where there have been UFO sightings, past where the famous Black Mailbox used to be until it was stolen, and through the Joshua Tree Forest. After a while, after driving along the Extra-terrestrial Highway, you will arrive at the famous Little A 'Le' Inn in the tiny town of Rachel. This has been host to many documentaries and movies, including "Independence Day". The owners and staff are very friendly and enjoy a chat. Its also a Diner so stop by for a meal and the staff will also fill you in on the best spots for

    Escape from Las Vegas

  • hit. Obviously not suitable for irrigation water, this geyser was left alone and a 10 to 12 foot calcium carbonate cone formed lays dry after a second bore hole was drilled back in the early 1960s by a geothermic energy company drilled a test well on the same site. This second geyser, known as Fly Geyser, has grown substantially in the last 50 years as minerals from the geothermal water pocket deposit on the desert surface. Because there are multiple geyser spouts, this geyser has not created a cone as large as the first, but has an ever growing alien looking mound. The geyser is covered with thermophilic algae, which flourishes in this moist, hot environment, resulting in the multiple hues of green and red that add to its out-of-this-world appearance.

    The geyser on Fly Ranch, is private property and trespassing is illegal. If you drive to the neighbouring town of Gerlach off state route 34 and go to Bruno's restaurant they can put you in contact with the owners who do day tours of this impressive sight.

    Dig This

    Last but not least, one of the newest attractions just off the ever-changing Las Vegas Strip isn't another resort or another casino. It's not another restaurant or deluxe shopping mall. No, the newest addition to the Strip is an adult playground of sorts. Dig This is a construction-based theme park where tourists, after a 30 minute training session can try their hand at driving some of the heaviest equipment around. Among the machinery on site include a pair of Caterpillar D5 track-type bulldozers and three Caterpillar 315CL hydraulic excavators. Guests can spend hours digging trenches up to 10 feet deep or building large earthen mounds. There are also skill tests, like moving 2,000-pound tyres or carefully plucking basketballs from their resting place on top of safety cones. To find out more got to : http://digthisvegas.com

    Along its 13-mile scenic drive one can see the impressive Wilson Cliffs, which are part of the 65-million-year-old Keystone Thrust. You will also see the fossilised sand dunes of the Calico Hills, beautiful desert wildflowers, ancient Native American pictographs, and diverse vegetation.

    The Conservation Area is also protected habitat for the Desert Tortoise. There is a habitat at the Visitor Centre that houses around ten.

    More details of Red Rock can be found at official site at http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=631

    Fly Geyser

    This alien looking geyser on the edge of Black Rock Desert is actually man made. Man made by accident, that is. There are actually two geysers on the property. The first was created nearly 100 years ago as part of an effort to make a part of the desert usable for farming. A well was drilled and geothermal boiling water (200 degrees) was

  • Further afield

    southern floodplains only fill up towards the end of July. Low Season from December to March is when it rains, making mobile camping safaris and self-drive sometimes difficult and uncomfortable. The wildlife dissipates in the wet season as there are many rain-filled pans with good grazing in areas that are not easily accessible during the dry season. It is however the most scenic time to visit as the vegetation and birdlife are at their peak. Wildlife can still be seen, though not in such great numbers as in the dry season.

    Some of Botswanas most popular areas are the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans, Kgalakgadi Transfrontier Park and Tuli Game Reserve.

    Wildlife activities include game drives in open safari vehicles, bush walks, boat cruises and mokoro (dugout canoes) trips in the Okavango Delta.

    Visit the Botswana Tourism website http://www.botswanatourism.co.bw/

    Southern Africa is without doubt a treasure trove of diverse and exciting destinations but spending your hard-earned cash on a holiday requires making the right decisions about where, when and how to travel. Here are some hints to assist once you are fired up and ready to go but unsure about what to include when designing your dream itinerary in Southern Africa.

    BOTSWANA is one of Africas top wildlife and safari destinations and this is almost exclusively why people choose to travel here. It is generally an expensive destination with a tourism policy of low impact that requires fewer travellers to spend more. The cost of safari lodges and mobile safari camps is high but the rates are seasonal and specials are often available. It is also possible to opt for a self-drive camping safari but you need to be well prepared and have a great sense of adventure. Accommodation in the towns and cities is more varied and affordable, allowing you the opportunity to do day tours in neighbouring parks and wildlife concessions instead of staying in exclusive lodges or mobile safari camps.

    High Season in Botswana is between July and September when it is dry and an abundance of game is found at waterholes, along rivers and in the Okavango Delta where the

    Make Southern Africa your next destination

    NAMIBIA is another very popular destination, more affordable and with a greater variety of wonderful and original accommodation in exceptional wilderness areas. Namibias attraction is its vast and diverse wilderness landscapes, like visiting the moon. The Namib is a living desert where animals have adapted to survive harsh conditions in many fascinating ways. There are also interesting cultures like the Himba tribe that still practise ancient traditions, the Bushmen hunter gatherers who are the oldest living race on earth and the Herero who still wear Victorian attire from the German colonial period.

  • SOUTH AFRICA is scenically and culturally the most diverse destination in Southern Africa with a long coastline, the highest mountains south of Kilimanjaro and a large variety of different vegetation zones and landscapes. It is the most developed country in the region with good facilities, roads and infrastructure, but with fewer wilderness areas due to a larger population.

    South Africa is also the most affordable country in this region with accommodation to suit any requirements and budgets.

    There is lots to see and do, from wildlife safaris to beach holidays, nature reserves, cultural and historical excursions, sightseeing, adventure and leisure activities, good restaurants, markets and shopping.

    South Africa is an all season destination though High Season in Cape Town is between October and March when clear sunny skies are best for beach and outdoor attractions. If you prefer a quieter period with lower prices, March to May is a good time to visit Cape Town.

    Cape Towns High Season sets the trend as a tourist peak period in South Africa so many Safari Lodges and Game Reserves abide by this trend. However the best time for game viewing is between July and September when fewer water sources attract greater concentrations of game and prices are lower.

    Self-drive is a pleasure as the road network is excellent.

    Some of the more popular areas include Cape Town, Kruger National Park and its satellite private reserves, Garden Route, Wild Coast, Drakensberg Mountains, Blyde River Canyon, Kwazulu Natal Parks, endless beach resorts and a multitude of national, provincial and private parks and reserves.

    South Africa is known as a World in One Country.

    Travellers are often wary of South Africas high crime statistics but in reality, crime is very seldom directed at tourists and most visitors feel safe, rarely experiencing any criminal incidents.

    Etosha National Park is Namibias prime wildlife reserve and desert-adapted animals can also be seen in many parts of Northern Namibia.

    Desert and ocean cruise activities are very popular in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Many lodges offer nature drives and walks in the wilderness areas, and cultural excursions are on offer in many parts of the country.

    Namibia is a perfect self-drive destination where gravel roads are well maintained and extend throughout the country.

    High Season is between July and October when days are cooler to travel (though very cold at night) and wildlife can be seen in abundance at waterholes in Etosha National Park. Sunrise and sunset are special experiences in Namibias vast open wilderness, as is the night sky. Travelling in April and May is also good as the landscapes have some colour and the temperature is moderate.

    Some of the popular areas in Namibia include Sossusvlei, Namib Naukluft Park, Etosha National Park, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, Brandberg, Twyfelfontein, Damaraland, Grootberg, Marienfluss, Hartmann Mountains, Epupa Falls, Kunene River, Fish River Canyon, Aus, Luderitz, Kavango River and Caprivi.

    If you wish to combine Botswana and Namibia on one itinerary, it is advisable to have at least 3 weeks available as the distances are great.Alternatively you can choose to fly between regions.

  • Further afield

    the magnificent Falls head on in the Rainforest and participate in a host of adventure and leisure activities. A short walk across the bridge takes you into Livingstone in Zambia where the Falls can be seen from many different perspectives.

    Matopos and Gonarezhou National Parks are two more well-recommended and popular destinations to include on your itinerary.

    The High Season for wildlife safaris is between July and October, outside of which attractive specials are regularly offered. Water levels at Victoria Falls are highest between May and August making this the best time to view the Falls though during low water periods, there are more water-based activities on offer.

    ZAMBIA shares the awesome Victoria Falls with Zimbabwe but also has some of Africas top wildlife destinations in South and North Luangwa National Parks as well as Liuwa Plains, Kafue and Lower Zambezi National Parks. These parks are all pristine wilderness areas. Safari experiences dont come cheaply and road distances are long, making charter flights the more

    ZIMBABWE is best kno