Archive for category London

Flybe launches new domestic flights from London City

Flybe is to launch new domestic and international flights from London City Airport in October. 

Flights are on sale now to Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Exeter and Inverness with departures launching on 27th October. The airline is also planning to offer off-peak leisure flights to selected ski, regional French and Northern Spanish destinations.

Flybe will base three aircraft at regional airports and two at London City, where it expects to carry around 500,000 passengers a year.

Flybe’s chief executive officer Saad Hammad said: “Today’s announcement is a significant landmark in the re-birth of Flybe. We are delighted to re-enter the London market at London’s most convenient airport following a rigorous profitability analysis utilising our strict route assessment model.

“Dedicating five growth aircraft initially to these new routes is a major statement of intent and we look forward to building a successful and growing presence there over the coming years.

“Flybe is today already connecting over seven million passengers a year across the UK and Europe. With a major London connection, we reaffirm our place as the UK’s largest regional airline.”

Initially there will be four daily flights to and from Edinburgh and Dublin, three flights a day to and from Belfast and Exeter, and twice daily flights to and from Inverness.

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Top events for 2014

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre timeline picture by Flickr user Dysanovic

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre timeline picture by Flickr user Dysanovic

We’re speeding through January now, so let’s have a quick look at some of the main events in the UK for 2014!

1. This year will be the 450th birthday of England’s greatest poet and playwright, Shakespeare. Celebrations have already kicked off this month at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Candlelit plays, operas and concerts will be performed in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. On Shakespeare’s actual birthday, 23rd April, during ‘Shakespeare Week’ The Globe will stage its first performance of Hamlet to start a two-year world tour.

2. 5th July will see Stage 1 of the Tour de France Grand Départ get underway in Leeds, Yorkshire. It will continue on through some of the most stunning countryside in the Yorkshire Dales through to the spa town of Harrogate. Stage 2 starts in the medieval city of York, finishing in my home town, Sheffield! Stage 3 sets off from Cambridge, cycling through the Essex countryside to London, leading to a spectacular finish at The Mall. An exciting sporting event, and great to use the route to explore different areas of the country.

3. Scotland gears up for a summer of sport with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, and the golf championship, the Ryder Cup, at Gleneagles in September.

4. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Henley Royal Regatta. For five days from 1st July, teams from across the world will compete in this traditional rowing event across the River Thames. A great event to sit on the riverbank with a picnic in the sunshine.

5. Another anniversary this year, too; the centenary of Wales‘ greatest poet and writer, Dylan Thomas. The actual centenary is 27th October, but year-round events, exhibitions and festivals will celebrate Thomas and showcase Wales as an extraordinary land of artistic excellence.

 

Keep up to date with upcoming events around the UK featured on this blog, or search particular dates and places at the tourist board, VisitBritain.

 

 

 

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2013 round up

Happy New Year from all of us at Holiday Cottages! Before we start on the news and reviews for 2014, here’s a some highlights of what we covered on the blog in 2013:

We started the year with a report that we Brits are creatures of habit with our holiday choices, often returning to a previous destination and holiday cottage when we’ve had one good holiday there before. Last year was the Year of Natural Scotland, and was launched with an advert featuring Shetland ponies wearing onesies!

In February we found that 50% of Londoners prefer holidays in the sunshine, with many also stating that their holidays in the UK were some of the happiest they have had. We also gave you a run down of some of our most splendid cottages with pools, which are all still available now and could be great for a summer holiday vibe in winter!

Flybe announced flights from Manchester to Scotland in March, making for a quick and relatively cost effective way of taking a short break in Scotland. The Easter holidays were blighted by bad weather sweeping across the country. It didn’t affect Cheshire, though, as I shared my photography adventure in Tatton Park over the Easter weekend.

Our friends at Helpful Holidays swept the board at the Which? Travel magazine member survey in April. Meanwhile, in May, Blackpool was named the most popular British seaside resort at the TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

In June, research by VisitBritain found that more overseas visitors to the UK prefer visiting open green spaces such as parks and gardens than they do museums and galleries.

July started with the news that a change in the law in 2015, which means schools will decide their own term dates, will very likely drive up the prices of holidays year round. There was a rise in visits to UK attractions, helping to bolster domestic tourism.

We gave our top tips for festivals and activities over the August Bank Holiday; we also reported on the large number of UK piers under threat of coming under a state of disrepair if funding isn’t found.

September was a time for activities such as the Devon Open Studios, Frome Cheese and Agricultural Show, and pickling at Powderham.

In October, inbound tourism was on the up, and also Yorkshire was voted one of the top 10 places to visit in the world!

In November we recommended the North Devon Clovelly Herring Festival and reviewed the light fantastic Lumiere Festival, Durham. There was good news for Hull, as it was named the next UK City of Culture 2017.

Finally, in December, we found that we Brits are flavour of the month with Americans, as tourists from across the Pond have been increasing in number year on year. Christmas was also a great time for UK tourism as the number of overnight stays and short trips increased substantially over the festive period.

So, that’s it for 2013! Keep up to date with news and reviews in 2014 by following the blog, or you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

 

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London rail strike over bank holiday

Expect major travel disruption in London over the August bank holiday as London overground workers go on strike.

The two-day strike will take place from midnight on Sunday 25th August. The action is by rail union RMT London overground guards in protest over plans to scrap train guards. The Transport for London plans to introduce Driver Only Operation on the entire London overground network will put millions of passengers at risk, says the union.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that ridding the network of the guards will “give the green light to the thugs, thieves and drunks to turn this important and growing rail service into a criminals playground”.

“It will also turn London overground services into a no-go area for those with disabilities and others needing assistance as both trains and stations are de-staffed in the name of the TFL cuts drive”.

He added: “The failure of the TFL senior management, under Boris Johnson’s leadership, and the company to pull back from these proposals has forced RMT to announce this strike action.”

Current rules dictate that London overground trains are not allowed to run without the guards on board, so the 48 hour strike will likely lead to cancellations and delays across the network.

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In-flight entertainment with a twist

There will be in-flight entertainment with a twist if you catch a Virgin Atlantic Little Red flight in the next couple of months. The twist being that the entertainment will be live throughout the flight!

No getting away from it, it’ll be a truly captive audience as the airline treats its passengers to a line up of stand-up comedy and music on flights between London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Depending on your point of view, it will be a delightful or dreadful extra, as this month stand-up comics heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival test out their material at 30,000 feet. In September, music will dominate the line up with a series of acoustic gigs paying homage to the “rich music scenes” in Scotland and Manchester.

Virgin president Sir Richard Branson said: “We launched Virgin Atlantic Little Red to shake up domestic flying in the UK and this latest activity highlights why our customer service is second to none.

“In true Virgin Atlantic spirit we’re doing something a little different and providing our passengers with a line-up of gigs to ensure we offer a truly unforgettable flying experience on Little Red.”

Acts will be announced through the Virgin Atlantic Facebook and Twitter channels, but the exact flights they’ll be performing on will remain a secret until the day.

 

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Blackpool named most popular seaside resort

Blackpool picture by Flickr user Ingy The Wingy

Blackpool picture by Flickr user Ingy The Wingy

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! And the most popular British seaside resort we like to spend our time on has been named as Blackpool!

The resort beat off stiff competition from other favoured destinations, such as Brighton, Croyde in Devon, and Southwold in Suffolk, in the latest TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

On the world scale, London was voted third most popular city, beaten by Paris and New York and followed by Rome, Barcelona and Venice.

Within the UK, the capital was the leading destination, closely followed by Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast and Blackpool.

For more holiday cottages within the UK, go to our main site, or for villas abroad, try our sister site Villaseek.

 

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2012 Round up

Happy new year from all at Holiday Cottages! 2012 was an eventful and special year, with a successful Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; it all came up roses for Britain. Before we start on news in 2013, here’s a round up of the main stories we covered on this blog last year.

January started positively for holiday cottage owners, as research showed that an increased number of people were planning self-catering holidays. The future of rail travel got a boost as new high speed lines got the go ahead from the government, and quicker and easier searches were made possible by thetrainline.com and Google Maps. However, train companies did not fare very well in a customer satisfaction survey.

February started with a cold snap and the government warned that parents could be fined if they were found to be taking their children on holiday during term time.

In April we posted about some brilliantholiday properties and also gave you a list of top things to do over Easter, many of which are also applicable at other times of the year!

The Olympic torch relay began in May, as a precursor to London 2012. We also ran two great competitions, tickets to Oakwood Theme Park and to Chessington World of Adventures.

Much speculation arose regarding the impact the Olympics would have on the UK in June. Brits changed their holiday plans to fit around the Games, no one knew if the Tube would cope with the extra visitors (by and large it did), and British Airways even launched a campaign to get people to stay at home and support Team GB.

July saw record rainfall over the space of 24 hours. In August the number of ‘nightcations’ were found to be on the rise, and the Lake District got some Hollywood visitors.

Yorkshire was branded ‘not a destination’, by Visit England in September, something which has been proved otherwise after it was named best for holidays at the World Travel Awards the following month, and most recently been made the starting point for the Tour de France 2014.

A rise in demand for wi-fi in holiday cottages was revealed by a survey in December, and we gave you a list of some beautiful festive getaways, great for all year, not just for Christmas!

 

So, that was the year on this blog. What will 2013 bring? Bookmark us and find out! You can also keep track of us on our Facebook page.

For a rundown of travel news in and outside of the UK, see our sister site blog, Villaseek.

 

 

 

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Riding on the success of London 2012

London 2012 logo made by school children. Photo by Flickr user surreynews

London 2012 logo made by school children. Photo by Flickr user surreynews

 

Riding on the success of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, VisitBritain is to launch a new campaign to attract visitors to the UK.

Official figures show a drop in visitors to the UK during the Olympics compared to a normal year. However, according to BAA, this is the ‘Olympic effect’, as UK passengers chose to stay at home to watch the Games, and non-Olympic visitors decided to defer their journeys.

A new advert with the slogan ‘Memories are GREAT’ will be launched by VisitBritain. It will include footage of the opening ceremony, and a print version will run for several months in National Geographic and Time Out magazines. It is hoped that this promotion will extend the good press and image the UK has received worldwide throughout the Games.

In addition, VisitBritain has partnered with STA Travel to promote Britain to the youth market on university campuses. Together with British Airways, £5 million will be invested in the US, Japan, China, and the Middle East to encourage visitors to the UK for Christmas shopping and January sales. BA will also offer discounted flights to help push the campaign.

Laurence Bresh, director of marketing at VisitBritain said: “The main event may be over, but the hard work begins now.

“Britain’s image and reputation around the world is riding high, this next stage of our GREAT campaign aims to convert worldwide interest into increased bookings. We’ve captured the world’s imagination on TV screens over the last few weeks, and now is the time to inspire them to come to Britain.”

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Eurotunnel increases capacity over Olympics

Speed down the Eurotunnel, picture by Flickr user Bitman

Speed down the Eurotunnel, picture by Flickr user Bitman

 

Visitors to the London 2012 from across the Channel will be happy to hear that Eurotunnel has increased both the capacity and speed of its passenger trains to cope with the higher demand of visitors during the Games.

An extra half shuttle for passenger vehicle transport has been added, plus the speed of passenger trains has been increased from 140kph to 160kph which knocks an extra five minutes off the journey time. Additional service booths have also been put into service to cope with the extra capacity and keep the flow of traffic consistent.

In addition, the timetable for the Olympics coach transport provider, Eurolines, has been intensified to allow for more coaches to cross early in the morning so visitors can arrive in good time to watch morning events.

This is not just good news for passengers, but also for Eurotunnel, which has just revealed a 14% rise in revenues for the six months to June compared to the same period last year. Eurostar passenger numbers have also seen a 3% increase.

 

 

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Tube will fail to cope with extra passengers during Olympics

Travel around London during the Olympic Games looks set to be difficult as the Tube will fail to cope with the extra load of passengers.

The Metro newspaper reported that insiders have admitted that the Tube network will buckle under the extra workload during the Games, turning the capital into a ‘laughing stock’.

One senior London Underground employee said: “It is simply not going to be ready and there is nothing we can do about it. It will not be able to cope with the extra numbers. Trains will break down and lines will be shut. The attitude at London Underground seems to be: ‘Let’s just wait to see what happens – there’s little more we can do now’ .”

The network is expected to hold an extra million passengers each day during the Games in July and August. To add to this, London bus drivers are threatening to take industrial action over the period in a dispute over pay. The drivers, who work for 21 privately-run bus companies, are asking for bonuses for driving more crowded buses for the duration of the Games. 94% of members of Unite Union voted to strike, however the ballot turnout was only 38% which could indicate that the action does not hold much support.

Transport for London is urging commuters to leave work later or find alternative ways of getting home to ease the pressure on the Underground. A spokesman said: “We’re confident but not complacent.”