Archive for category Transport

Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire

Near Grassington, Yorkshire. Picture by Flickr user Andrew Bowden

Near Grassington, Yorkshire. Picture by Flickr user Andrew Bowden. CC Licence.

This weekend sees the creation of a little bit of history. For the first time, the biggest cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, commences its Grand Depart from Yorkshire!

Stage one starts on Saturday (5th July) with the cyclists travelling from Leeds through to Harrogate. The riders will start from Leeds then be officially waved off by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they pass through the Harewood Estate.  Stage two is the following day and travels from York to Sheffield. It is estimated that there will be around two million spectators per day and financial benefits to the region in excess of £100 million.

Expect all manner of events, decorations and celebrations throughout the weekend as Yorkshire goes Tour de France crazy! It will be a wonderful weekend to visit the county to see it and its people at their absolute best. The weather forecast currently doesn’t look too bad, with cloud and sunny spells predicted on Saturday.

Expect to see lots of art on the hillsides of the route, with grass cut into patterns and shapes, Yorkshire dialect signage to welcome visitors, plus large-scale line drawings made by the tracks of bikes cycled into the grass. There will be street art, houses painted with polka dots like the famous jersey, and roads painted with the phrase “Ey up t’Tour!” Also, there is expected to be World Record set with the longest bunting on Earth stretching just over 10 kilometres from Mytholmroyd (once home to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath) to the summit of Blackstone Edge.

“Christian Prudhomme [the Tour director] has always said the Tour has the power to make social change. Because it’s not just about the bike. This will showcase Yorkshire to the world, showing it to be a confident, dynamic, outgoing place, representing all the things that are positive about the world this day and age.” Said Gary Verity, Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourism board responsible for the successful bid to host the Grand Depart.

He added: “Yorkshire has cool places, green places in every sense, dynamic people, rich heritage, great food and drink, cutting edge industries in all sectors, great communications, fantastic transport links. With luck it will also help to redress a bit the balance between the south and the north.”

You can plan your journey, or where to settle using the official site and if you want to combine it with some accommodation to make a weekend of it to explore the area and soak up the atmosphere go to our Yorkshire section of the website.

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Flybe’s hop-on hop-off service connecting UK

Making it easier to fly to various points across the country, Flybe is to launch a new hop-on or hop-off service between Aberdeen and Jersey in October.

Designed to be used as a ‘shuttle bus service in the sky’, Flyshuttle, will fly between Aberdeen and Jersey, stopping off en route in Leeds and Southampton to pick up or drop off passengers. For those that stop on, the total journey time will be just over four hours.

A spokesperson for the airline said the new service would make the route more viable, and will be reinstating Flybe’s links between Leeds and Southampton. It is also creating a new link between Aberdeen and the cruise port, opening up the cruise market to more customers.

“Rather than offering lots of different routes with low load factors, we are offering one hop-on, hop-off service, similar to the way domestic airlines operate in the US,” said the spokesman.

Paul Simmons, Flybe’s chief commercial officer said: “FlyShuttle is a convenient and affordable concept for the regional marketplace that gives customers extra choice and additional connectivity for everyday air travel.

“Today’s announcement is another significant landmark in the re-birth of Flybe. Designed to be used as a ‘shuttle bus service in the sky’ all the way between Jersey in the south and Aberdeen in the north, we are again showing that we are ‘the fastest way from A to Flybe’, faster than road or rail – and certainly more affordable.

“By enhancing the number of routes, connections and frequencies we already operate,FlyShuttle is the perfect progression. It’s a product that sets us apart and we are genuinely excited to be shaping the future of regional air travel.”

The service could also mean it will be possible to go for a holiday cottage break in Yorkshire, Scotland, the South coast of England and across to Jersey in much quicker and more convenient time than other forms of transport.

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Doncaster Sheffield flights to Belfast and Isle of Man

Doncaster Sheffield airport is launching two new routes to Belfast City and the Isle of Man this April.

LinksAir will base an aircraft at the Robin Hood Airport, with twice-daily flights to Belfast on weekdays and a single Sunday return from 7th April. Isle of Man flights will start on 14th April, operating on Monday, Friday and Sunday.

Airport managing director Steve Gill said: “This is fantastic news for the airport and for Yorkshire passengers.

“These two new routes are a great addition to our offering. Belfast will be a fantastic business route with people being able to set off in the morning and be in Belfast city centre for the start of the business day.

“Our new three-time weekly service to the popular Isle of Man is Yorkshire’s only link to the island, famous for its world famous TT motorcycle race event and its rugged coastline and sandy beaches. It is also a convenient link for the financial services sector.”

Easily reached from the airport, why not try one of these highly commended tourist award 1,2 and 3-bedroom apartments. Located on the beautiful Antrim coast overlooking Ballygally Beach, they are an ideal centre for touring the Glens of Antrim and the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. There are restaurants and pubs within walking distance.

The apartments have been furnished and equipped to the highest standards with full central heating for winter visits. Children are welcome, and it’s a great place for fishing and bird watching. With 2-night breaks from £195 and 3-night breaks from £220, it’s an ideal place for a short break nipping over from Yorkshire.

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“Ghost Peloton” to celebrate Grand Depart

Fifty cyclists lit with LEDs will take part in a “ghost peloton” in Leeds as part of a festival to celebrate and welcome in the Tour de France Grand Depart.

The £2m Yorkshire Festival will include 47 different bicycle-themed projects, including installations, performances, photography exhibitions and screenings.

The festival will run from 27th March to 6th July, with the Tour’s Grand Depart taking place in Leeds on 5th July before spending two days racing through places like Harrogate, York and Sheffield.

Yorkshire Festival executive producer Henrietta Duckworth said: “The race is not just about those two days of epic exertion by men in lycra.

“This is an opportunity to engage people with a programme of work that will capture the imagination, trigger some excitable and enjoyable activities and give people a chance to get involved in the Grand Depart in the 100 days leading up to the actual race.”

Highlights of the festival include:

  • Two new sculptures by Thomas Houseago, one for Leeds city centre and the other for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
  • Large-scale grass-based land art installations will be created along the route of the second day of the Tour de France.
  • A “tour de cinema” will include film screenings in 35 town halls and 10 outdoor locations.
  • A songwriting relay will create folk songs and take them from town to town by bicycle.
  • Maxine Peake will make her stage scriptwriting debut at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with a play about cyclist Beryl Burton.
  • The White Cloth Gallery in Leeds will host an exhibition of photographs of the Tour from the 1960s to the present day.
  • Belgian theatre company Theater Tol will perform an aerial show about Italian cyclists Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi in Dewsbury.

After the Tour’s opening two stages in Yorkshire, the third stage will go from Cambridge to London before the race moves to France.

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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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Edinburgh trams to airport by May 2014

Edinburgh Airport’s much delayed tram service to the city centre is to be up and running by May 2014. The news has been welcomed by the airport as the date is two months ahead of its most recent forecast for completion.

“This is fantastic news. Trams will offer those arriving in Edinburgh an efficient, consistent and modern way to access the capital,” said airport chief executive Gordon Dewar.

“Not only that, but when the links with our national rail network at Haymarket, Edinburgh Park and importantly Gogar are complete, it will provide real integration and slash journey times across Scotland.”

Test trams will run from the airport to Edinburgh Park Station on 6th October, and testing from the airport to York Place will begin on 9th December. There will be more than 150 tram journeys per day, five days a week over the testing period.

The city council has said that the roadworks that have blighted Edinburgh’s streets for six years will be clear by 19th October.

Ticket prices within the city centre have been revealed to match those of the local bus services and Ridacards will be valid throughout the entire route. Passengers travelling from Ingliston or the airport to Gogarburn will be charged £2.50 adult and £1.50 child fare. A return to the airport from any other stop will be £7.50 adult, £4 child fare.

The tram project has cost £776 million and is well over budget and years behind its original schedule.

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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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Met Office issues amber warning over Easter weekend

The bitterly cold winds, ice and snow that has been battering the UK for the last few days is unlikely to let up over the Easter bank holiday weekend, according to weather reports.

The Met Office has issued an alert level 3 amber warning across the majority of England. It warns that there is 100% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions until Friday, and 90% probability over the rest of the Easter weekend.

Motorists in Cumbria have been advised by police not to travel unless absolutely necessary. The warning comes after search and rescue teams deployed special vehicles to help more than 70 stranded drivers. They were forced to stay in Millom High School, Copeland, overnight, as snowdrifts made many roads impassable.

The South West is on a lower Met Office yellow warning; however, it is suffering from its own weather problems with 11 Environment Agency flood warnings issued in the region after heavy downpours.

Chris Hogan, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, warned that the freezing weather will feel even colder due to the bitter winds, with no sign of warmer weather just yet. He added: “London will mark the border of rain and snow, with everywhere north looking at a covering of snow and around 6cm in the Midlands, Wales, north England and southern Scotland.

So far this month, the average March temperature in central England is at 3.8C, compared to a relatively balmy 8.3C last year.

If you are due to go away this weekend, take cake on the roads and check with appropriate agencies and local news reports for advice on travelling conditions.

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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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VisitBritain consultation over inbound travel

Each year the UK typically welcomes 31 million visitors from across the world. Last year alone, these visitors went on to spend a total of £18 billion. Riding on the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, VisitBritain has launched a consultation on inbound tourism with the aim of encouraging 40 million visitors by 2020 – a 3% increment year on year.

The strategy for growth includes working with the travel trade to ensure that Britain is appropriately packaged and sold to potential visitors. It also wants to ensure that visitors will find it easy to travel here by addressing the current aviation capacity and visas.

Reaching 40 million visitors would deliver an extra £8.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings at today’s prices, claims VisitBritain, adding that it would also support over 200,000 additional jobs.

Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said: “This summer has shown what the country can do when we are united in a common cause. The test now is whether we can maintain this to create wealth and jobs through a major tourism drive.

“This consultation with the industry, the public agencies and multiple Government departments that care about tourism and impact on its success has been designed to identify shared priorities and potential partnerships.”

The consultation runs until 9th November, responses can be made at britainstrategyconsultation@visitbritain.org

 

 

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