This month, Eurostar is running three new direct services from London St Pancras to Lyon, Avignon and Marseilles with no need to change. We take a peek at what these Gaellic gems offer the holidaymaker…
By my estimation, if I stood in a certain position and stretched out my arms diagonally, I could simultaneously touch the dark wood concierge’s desk that sits to the left of the doorway of this Georgian town house and the white, dark wood-topped curvy reception desk a little way in on the right side of the small lobby.
By my estimation, if I stood in a certain position and stretched out my arms diagonally, I could simultaneously touch the dark wood concierge's desk that sits to the left of the doorway of this Georgian town house and the white, dark wood-topped curvy reception desk a little way in on the right side of the small lobby.
Doing so, of course, would have seemed unseemly in a place as formal and ele
The car was taken off my hands by Alastair the doorman, the door was opened with a theatrical flourish by the concierge, and my bag was liberated almost immediately by yet another attendant. By the time I got to the small but bright reception area, I was smiling.
There are 600 acres of land surrounding this remote but very stately home in St Laois. Parked by its lake are bikes and golf buggies but the best way to look around is by pony and trap. The driver, Lionel, points out the estate’s parish church, various follies, such as the viewing tower built to create jobs during the potato famine, the grottos and hidden gardens.
I had just turned into the side street from Dublin’s famous Grafton Street to the Westbury when I saw it. I instantly recognised the life size statue of Dublin-bred Phil Lynott. I was still humming “The Boys are Back in town” when I got to the reception desk on the first floor. “A fan of Thin Lizzy are you?” asked Eddie, the concierge in a charming Irish lilt.
There was no snooze button when the howler monkeys began their early morning howl. It was an unrelenting crack-of-dawn wake-up call. But in any case the light was already filtering in through the screens and mosquito netting that are the cabana walls. That’s how it goes in the jungle.
The cabanas are simple, with a ceiling fan, surprisingly comfy beds and an ensuite shower.
One of the most spectacular natural light shows is about to take place in our skies this year thanks to the Solar Maximum. This is the term for the period of greatest solar activity in the 11-year solar cycle of the Sun.It results in the most dynamic Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) display in a decade. But it won't last long.
To see the best of it head, north towards the Arctic.
All eyes are on Brazil this year when the beautiful game is played in 14 of its cities. Thousands of England's fans will be following their team around this diverse country. The beaches are legendary, the samba intoxicating and its cities are vast and chaotic. Yet there is also adventure to be had. There's the Amazon with its 1,100 tributaries which holds one-fifth of the world fresh water.
When you are alone in a strange town, spending a few nights there can seem a little, lonely. So on a recent budget trip to Worcester, I shied away from the faceless chain hotels, opting instead for a bed and breakfast.
I found one in the village of Ladywood, a few minutes drive from town and noisy local pubs. At the every least, I reasoned, I would be in pleasant surroundings.
The Iadera gleams with newness. From the glass lifts, to the radiant white bathtubs, to the burnished sheen on the croissants, everything is polished. For guests at the luxury spa, it’s all about renewal too, settling into fluffy white robes, cleansing in the clear blue sea of the private beach, getting the grime scrubbed off, your tired muscles pummelled and eye bags smoothed away.