© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Air France benefits from Thales

THALES, the French electronic company, has used the introduction of the first Air France A380 to highlight the significant role it is playing regarding the aircraft both at the front end and for the passengers.  Its technology can be found throughout the aircraft’s avionics system, covering navigation, flight controls, electrical power and utilities such as braking and door management systems.  Within the cabin, the company provides state-of-the-art lighting and the in-flight entertainment.  This includes 100 on-demand movies, 300 audio CDs, 26 games, live camera, flight information map, in-seat chat and a customised menu option for children.  Every seat has a USB socket, enabling passengers to download flight schedules, destinations guides and games for children. www.thalesgroup.com

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America forecasts rebound in international travel

US DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE says that international travel to the United States will regain its footing by 2010 following its first forecasted year of decline (2009) since 2003.  Reflective of the current global economic environment, visitors to the US are set to decline by 8% this year followed by a 3% increase in 2010 and 5% through 2013.  In 2009 22 of the top 25 arrival markets will post declines.  The largest is from Taiwan (-17%), Ireland (-14%), Sweden (-13%), Mexico (-12%), and Netherlands (-10%).  These declines come after the United States hosted a record 58m international visitors in 2008.  The UK is projected to post a 12% decline in 2009.  Germany, France and Italy are the next largest arrivals markets within the region with declines of 8%, 1% and 6% respectively. www.tinet.ita.doc.gov

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British exchange rates

THE BRITISH POST OFFICE (PO), a major supplier of overseas currency to the consumer, says that currently sterling stretches furthest in Thailand, which tops its conversion list, followed by Bali and Malaysia.  According to the PO cost barometer the pound will not go far in Europe or the bottom-ranked destination, Australia.  However, demand for Indonesian foreign currency shot up by 54% during the summer, good news for both business people and tourists.  Thailand and Malaysia also offered good deals.  The foreign currency exchange rate in Mexico will get 12% more pesos for the pound than at the beginning of 2009.  The PO points out (naturally) that changing money at the airport or in overseas ATMs means wasting hard-earned cash through costly commission and withdrawal fees. www.postoffice.co.uk/travel_money

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easyJet to Israel

EASYJET today (Monday 2 November) introduces a six days per week service between Luton and Tel Aviv in direct competition with El Al, who also fly from the north London airport.  It is the longest route ever operated from the UK by a budget airline with a flight time of around five hours, right on the limit with regard to crew hours.  A 55-minute turnaround is planned as against the 30-minute norm for the airline but Ben Gurion regulars still think that it will prove tight.  easyJet will use the old refurbished Terminal 1 (T1) at Ben Gurion, rather than the splendid, and now five years old, Terminal 3 (T3).  However, T1 does have domestic services to Eilat.  It is linked to T3 by a free shuttle. www.easyjet.com

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Lufthansa winter flights

LUFTHANSA’S winter programme has been introduced offering 191 destinations in 78 countries including a spectacular 40% increase in capacity on routes to Nigeria.  Although the carrier has reduced the number of flights for the winter, in view of weaker demand, it has already confirmed the re-introduction of a seasonal service between Inverness, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, and Düsseldorf next summer and a new service from Munich to Tashkent from 28 March 2010.  The three times a week service to the Uzbek capital will be operated by the Swiss carrier, PrivatAir using a Boeing 737-800, seating 24 passengers in Business Class and 84 in Economy Class providing the first direct connection from Lufthansa's Munich hub to Central Asia.  The airline has also announced an operating profit of E226 for the first nine months of 2009. www.lufthansa.com

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Twin Otter nears certification

VIKING SERIES 400 TWIN OTTER certification work has entered the final phase towards the goal of achieving Transport Canada and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification, expected in the next 90 days.  While this work continues, production is well advanced with seven aircraft in various stages of final assembly at Viking’s Calgary, Alberta facility.  In Victoria, major sub-assembly components are in work for the next set of six aircraft, in line with the projected build rate of 12 aircraft scheduled for 2010.  Vityaz Avia Corporation of Moscow is the newest Twin Otter Series 400 customer, purchasing two of the commuter configured aircraft.  The first flight of the Series 400 technical demonstrator took place on 1 October 2008 and the order book now stands at around 40. www.vikingair.com

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Welsh air success

HIGHLAND AIRWAYS twice daily air link between Cardiff and Anglesey is to be extended for a further four years.  Called a PSO (public service obligation) route it is subsidised by the Welsh Assembly Government.  Currently flown by a Jetstream 31 it is required to be put out to tender with the incumbent operator a clear favourite to retain the operation although a larger (29 minimum seats against 18) will be mandatory.  Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “Demand for this service has far exceeded our expectations and clearly demonstrates that it provides a valuable new way of linking up Wales.”  In the first two years of operation over 28,900 passengers used the service with many flights fully booked.  In a survey around one-third of the passengers questioned had experienced difficulties in booking seats due to the lack of capacity. www.highlandairways.co.uk

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HAPPY TALK: Job application

Cindy was a very experienced front line agent at Heathrow but was getting upset that after a number of years friends working for actual airlines were getting many perks , whilst she, employed by a handling agency, gained none.

She was sure she'd have no trouble finding a new position and wired every station manager.  Two weeks later she was dismayed and bewildered that she had not received even one request for an interview.  Finally she received a message from a prospective employer.

It read: "Your resume was not attached as stated.  I do, however, want to thank you for the vegetable lasagne recipe."

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Amanda Stainer of Farnborough International Ltd

Amanda Stainer has been Exhibitions & Events Director for UK-based exhibitions organiser Farnborough International Ltd (FIL) since 2005 when it was spun off from the then SBAC, now ADS (Advancing UK Aerospace, Defence and Security Industries).  Stainer joined the aerospace industry from the The CBI and Barker Brown and brought with her a wealth of experience in the international exhibitions sector.

“Marketing is an essential part of any business strategy and exhibitions hold their own place within that mix.  There is no doubt that if the audience captured by an exhibition is right, it can be one of the best routes to market and increased sales opportunities.  Exhibition space sales for Farnborough 2010 – which takes place 19-25 July 2010 – although still in the fairly early stages of booking, look very positive with representation set to be almost as strong as ever and most of the major players from the industry planning a presence at the show.  This demonstrates that not everybody’s knee-jerk reaction to recession is to reduce their company promotions budgets.  What speaks with even more volume however is the take up for FIL’s new project, the Bahrain International Airshow 2010 (BIAS).

Exhibiting is one method of putting your company’s offering across.  Another is networking.  There are many schools of thought on networking as a method of increasing sales however there is one fundamental point, which I think most people would probably agree on – the higher the level of person you meet when networking, the better.  That said it is not always easy to gain access to the top people in order to make your pitch.  Even if a market is buoyant and business is there to be done, you still need a way in, in order to be able to capitalise on this.

So what has FIL done? The Middle Eastern aerospace market is one of the more promising in terms of riding out with the global recession and, as widely reported across Middle Eastern press, Bahrain in particular actually looks set to benefit as the world recovers from its economic crisis.  FIL recognised the need for a real networking event, on a highly exclusive scale in the Middle East and this is why we set about teaming up with CAA for the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2008 to organise the first-ever Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS).

Unlike other international airshows, which are large-scale events with exhibition halls and chalets, BIAS will host just 40 participating companies, each housed in a highly luxurious chalet, purchased as part of turnkey packages.  In addition to a five-star hospitality chalet to entertain clients and display products, the benefits of taking part will include tailor-made, highly exclusive opportunities for participating companies to meet with top-level civil and military delegations, buyers and suppliers who have been invited to the show in a VIP capacity.  Also on offer will be the chance for customer demonstration flights.

The take up for the first-ever BIAS has been phenomenal.  Chalets are now almost completely sold out demonstrating the perception of how valuable ‘made-to-measure’ networking opportunities are to business.

Looking forward to the realisation of what we are sure will be a quality event in January 2010, FIL has also been looking closely at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) and developing new ways to increase the scope for high-level networking at this long-established event and has already begun work on a themed programme of conferences and seminars to appeal to all sectors of the industry.  The programme is being designed to help facilitate meeting opportunities as well as greater engagement for exhibiting companies with government ministers.

I said that exhibiting is a valuable route to market if the audience is right and that networking with the right people at the right level can be one of the best ways to get a message across and boost sales.  As an exhibitions and events organiser, FIL sees it as our responsibility to help capture this audience and to deliver these precise conditions to our customers.  Knowing what your customers need and finding ways to deliver this with added value has always been a winning formula and one Farnborough International Ltd intends to stick with.”


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Airbus A380 joins Air France

AIR FRANCE has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380.  Capacity is 538:  La Première-First – 9 seats on the main deck; Affaires-Business – 80 seats on the upper deck; and Voyageur-Economy – 449 seats spread over the two decks.  Three of the 12 aircraft on order will be delivered to Air France between now and spring 2010, to be closely followed by a fourth.  The aircraft will be introduced on 23 November 2009, 380 seats auctioned off for the Air France Foundation for Children charity.  Air France A380 will be operated on daily flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle and New York JFK, followed by Paris – Johannesburg during winter 2009-2010. www.airfrance.com

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BAR UK and the Olympics

BAR UK (The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK) has written to all 156 National Olympic Committees outside of Europe alerting them to the substantial increase in travel costs and inviting them to express their concerns to their relevant British Embassy or High Commission.  BAR UK is particularly concerned about the impact on inbound tourism during the games and over the next 30 months plus leading up to the Olympiad.  New rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD) will mean a tax bill of at least £340 (or local equivalent) for a family of four from Australia for the outbound leg of their travel after November next year.  Early bargain-hunters will receive a nasty shock with APD rates (currently £40 per person on all economy long haul bookings) about to rise 50% on flights to the US, 87% to the Caribbean and 112% to Singapore and China. www.bar-uk.org

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Continental joins Star Alliance

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES has become the first major international airline to jump ship and move from one international grouping to another.  Continental has officially joined Star Alliance from SkyTeam, <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> combining with one time would be partner United, and becoming one of the top airlines in the network of 25 global carriers.  With Continental, Star will have a particular strength at New York, represented strongly at Kennedy, and now at the Continental’s Newark hub.  Continental, an award winner with its transatlantic services, is expected shortly to confirm that it has started to fit flat bed seats in BusinessFirst on transatlantic and transpacific routes. www.continental.com

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Hamburg airport and city hotels

REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP has made an impressive debut at Hamburg with the opening of the brand new Radisson Blu Hotel at the airport and a complete renovation of the Radisson Blu Hotel, with 556 rooms easily Hamburg’s largest accommodation unit.  This brings the total number of rooms for the Rezidor Hotel Group to 10,400 in the German market and 6,300 rooms across EMEA in the key airports.  The Hamburg airport hotel is ideally positioned directly opposite Terminals 1 and 2 and is connected to the arrivals and departures areas by a footbridge.  The city property towers 27 floors above the Planten un Blomen park in centre of the city and has an extensive conference area and large ballroom. www.radissonblu.com/hotel-hamburg

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Luton gains executive customs

OCEAN SKY, a major fixed base operator (FBO) at Luton Airport, has come to an arrangement with the UK Border and Immigration Agency for them to provide staff at its new dedicated executive terminal.  The agreement, which has just come into effect, will save clients significant processing time, allowing a much faster transit at what is probably Britain’s busiest business jet hub.  Ocean Sky also offers FBO services at Manchester and Prestwick airports. www.oceansky.com

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Venice for Hilton

HILTON WORLDWIDE, is to open a Garden Inn property next year in the Venice Mestre mainland area about four miles from the international airport.  It will offer 136 rooms, 24-hour business centre facilities, an outdoor swimming pool and fitness facilities – appealing to both business and leisure guests.  Hilton is already represented in Venice with the deluxe Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, a massive converted warehouse, architecturally distinctive, situated opposite St Marks on the Grand Canal. www.hilton.com/hilton-venice

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GRAHAM NEARN, who has passed away at the age of 76, will be forever associated with one of the most iconic and long standing of British sports cars, the Lotus 7, or as he would prefer, the Caterham Seven.  It had started life in 1957 as a very basic two-seater.  In the 1960s Graham’s Caterham Cars Ltd was a Lotus dealer that more or less specialised in the Seven.  By the beginning of the next decade Lotus had introduced the series 3 Seven but a change in the tax laws meant that the car did not fit into its future plans.  Graham offered to take over the model and Colin Lotus boss Colin Chapman agreed providing all reference to the then Stock Market quoted company was removed.  The resultant Caterham Seven is still in production, gradually developed over the years.  It is thought that around the world there have over 150 production clones of the Seven, easily the shape of the century as far as basic sports cars are concerned.

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Abu Dhabi adds hotel

FORMULA ONE came to Abu Dhabi yesterday (1 November) and with it two new InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) hotels, a Crowne Plaza and a Staybridge Suites, its first extended stay property in the Gulf.  The 428-room Crowne Plaza Yas Island is the second Crowne Plaza hotel in Abu Dhabi and adjoins the GP circuit.  It has six restaurants, full business facilities, a 25-metre part shaded pool, steam rooms, sauna and a squash court.  Close by Staybridge Suites offers guests the choice of 164 suites, all with fully equipped kitchens and access to a 24-hour convenience store.  The site of a $40bn development project, Yas Island will also feature besides the F1 circuit, a golf course, a movie theme park in association with Warner Bros, a motor sports theme park inspired by Ferrari and extensive retail, entertainment and hospitality projects. www.ihg.com

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Airport operator wanted?

LUBEK AIRPORT, 34 miles north east of Hamburg, has reverted in ownership to the City of Lubeck.  In 2005 90% of the shareholding was acquired by Infratil, a New Zealand investment company that now also owns Prestwick (Glasgow) and Manston airports in the United Kingdom.  A clause in the deal allowed Infratil to opt out if certain passenger throughput levels were not achieved.  Throughput was 612k in 2007; 544k in 2008, and 540k up to and including September of this year.  Lubeck will itself now operate the airport until a new investor can be found.  Ryanair is the main user of Lubeck, and also Wizz Air. www.fhl-web.de

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Boeing names second 787 assembly line

BOEING, in spite of seemingly endless 787 Dreamliner maiden flight setbacks, has finally chosen North Charleston, South Carolina, as the location of a second production line, ending months of lobbying and speculation.  Boeing Charleston already performs fabrication, assembly and systems installation for the 787 aft fuselage sections.  The nearby Global Aeronautica plant, which is 50% owned by Boeing, is responsible for joining and integrating 787 fuselage sections from other structural partners.  Regardless of delays the 787 order book is very strong with around 55 carriers committed to 840 aircraft. www.boeing.com/commercial

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Delta summer schedules

DELTA AIR LINES (DL) has released details of its summer 2010 schedule, including the launch of eight new international routes.  The new services, all effective from late May through early June next year, include daily services from New York JFK to Copenhagen and Stockholm, as well as three times a week to Abuja, capital of Nigeria.  The carrier will also launch a five times weekly non-stop 777-200ER flight between Detroit and Hong Kong, as well as services from Seattle to Beijing and Osaka.  Also new are DL flights from Atlanta to Accra (Ghana) and Detroit to Seoul, while the schedules also boost flights between Detroit and Shanghai, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and Seattle and Amsterdam. www.delta.com

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Hungarian airline problems

MALEV, the national flag carrier of Hungary, could be rescued from its latest financial crisis by the Budapest administration.  It was in February 2007 that the state airline was privatised, a 49% shareholding taken up by a Russian government controlled bank, the balance acquired by Hungarian investors.  It soon afterwards joined oneworld and appointed as CEO Lloyd Paxton, a 35 year old British Airways veteran, who had previously held the same position at Air Astana.  Paxton lasted a bare three months.  Malev no longer operates across the North Atlantic and concentrates on intra-European routes. www.malev.hu

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Novotel for Barcelona

BARCELONA will shortly have a brand new Novotel expected to open before Christmas.  Purpose-built, the 24-storey 264-room property (including 22 suites) is situated on the Avenida Diagonal in the business area of the city next to Plaza Glòries and the Jean Nouvel Tower.  Most impressive is a roof top swimming pool, keep fit area and bar.  The stunning views of the city have been protected with the area adjoining the property planned to become a large park area.  Both business and family clients are provided for. http://www.novotel.com

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Virgin goes for Rolls-Royce

ROLLS-ROYCE has won the contract to supply engines for Virgin Atlantic’s new fleet of ten Airbus A330 aircraft due for delivery from early 2011.  Rolls-Royce already supplies engines for the airline’s existing A340 fleet, and for its future 787 aircraft.  Internally the A330 is virtually the same as the A340 (but much shorter) and whilst Virgin will undoubtedly introduce innovations and updates once on board passengers will hardly be able to distinguish between the two types.  Cabin crew will be interchangeable. www.virgin-atlantic.com www.rolls-royce.com

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ON TOUR: The Peak District (Part 2)

The Peak District, often called the Derbyshire Peaks, is a huge area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire. Most of the region falls within the Peak District National Park. AERBT visited the region earlier in the year and was so impressed that an autumn return was pencilled in. This time we concentrated on the northern part and the area around the lovely spa town of Buxton. ON TOUR 17 August

We are experienced National Trust property visitors. As such we are aware that most houses and buildings are not open daily but have hours to suit local needs. Many are closed Monday and Tuesday but Lyme Park, Stockport, is different. The main house is only available Friday through Tuesday. Check opening times on the internet before visiting a National Trust property.

Lyme Park, Cheshire

Why choose Lyme Park to visit. Friends from Manchester rave about it. It actually is in the Borough of Stockport, which does not have an appealing ring.

Lyme Park lies within the Peak District National Park, covers 1,500 acres and is where the deer for the Royal herd in Windsor Great Park come from. It is 180 miles from London, 12 miles from Manchester and about the same from Buxton.

The massive estate was granted to Sir Thomas Danyers in 1346 as a thank you for saving the life of the Black Prince at Crecy and passed to the Leghs of Lyme by marriage in 1388. It remained in the possession of the Legh family until 1946 when it was given to the National Trust. The mile-long drive to Lyme Park House creates a real sense of anticipation, to which the building more than matches up.

The main structure dates from the latter part of the 16th century and has been modified over the years finishing up with elements of both Palladian and Baroque styles, a sort of Italianate palace. In the early part of the 20th century the house operated in the grand Edwardian style, effectively only lived in by the Legh family for three months of the year. Inside there are incredible Mortlake tapestries, an important collection of clocks, beautifully furnished quarters, along with a colourful family history. You saunter from impressive room to impressive room.

To the south of the house is a lake and formal gardens plus an orangery. It is a delightful amble. This is where Jane Austen’s Darcy and Elizabeth meet at 'Pemberley'.

You can dine in a restaurant with a set meal actually in the house. Venison from the park is always on the menu. A pleasant alternative is the café in what might be termed the commercial area by another lake.

A 15-minute stroll across parkland takes you to The Cage, an 18th century hunting tower, currently only open on the occasional weekend but about to be redeveloped. We are told that from the top you can see Liverpool Cathedral on a good day.


Buxton is for all intents and purposes the capital of the Peak District. It is a very pretty and thriving market town, best know for its spa, which dates from Roman times. Out of the very busy tourist season parking is easy. There is a railway station with regular services to Manchester and Stockport for connections to the west coast main line. A pedestrian precinct provides all manner of shopping.

Amongst the many outstanding buildings in Buxton is the magnificent 900-seat Opera House opened in 1904 and designed by the prolific theatre architect Frank Matcham, who went on later to build the London Palladium. The theatre is the centrepiece of the Buxton Festival usually held in the middle two weeks of July.

The Opera House sits in the very centre of the town adjacent to the 23-acre Pavilion Gardens, with its lakes, bandstand, and (during the summer) a miniature railway. It is surrounded by fashionable Georgian houses. Adjacent to the theatre is a well provided conservatory, itself leading to a locally provided informal resturant, and then to the town’s information bureau. The local indoor swimming pool, part of the Pavilion Gardens complex, is supplied by water from the spa.

The Dome

Now a centrepiece for the University of Derby, the Dome started out life as a stable, became the Devonshire Royal Hospital, and now is an educational establishment specialising in catering and travel. Fine dining can be obtained for as little as £10 for a three-course meal. Visitors are made welcome. The dome itself has a greater span than St Paul’s Cathedral and Rome’s Pantheon and St Peter’s and is used as both a learning and entertainment centre. The building also houses a very modern spa, served by hot waters from the Buxton springs. Once again it is open to the public but like all the University offerings is subject to the campus timetable.

Perhaps the most exciting development in Buxton is the redevelopment of The Crescent into a spa hotel for which approval has just been gained. Originally built in 1780, it was the first ‘resort’ hotel to be built in Britain and the heart of Buxton’s growth as a fashionable holiday venue. In recent times used as Council offices, permission has now been gained from Nestlé, owner of the mineral water rights, for a major investment which has just started and could be completed by the end of next year. With its position virtually opposite the Opera House, The Crescent Thermal Spa Hotel will be a real boost for the town.

On the edge of the town is Buxton Country Park and Poole’s Cavern. The park includes a 100 acre wood planted by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1820 to hide the eyesore caused by quarrying and lime burning. The park is dominated by Solomon’s Tower, essentially a folly built in 1834 by Solomon Mycock to provide work for the town’s unemployed and latterly restored in 1996. Both are examples of a social conscious nearly 200 years ago.

Poole’s Cavern is at least two million years old and known to the Romans. Mary Queen of Scots may have taken a look when she was initially a “guest” of Elizabeth. Today it offers a visitors’ centre and some 300m of spectacular show caves plus the largest stalactite and stalagmite viewing in Derbyshire. You can see some incredible calcite crystal formations.

East Lodge

Our lodgings for what was a two-day, one night, Buxton visit was the East Lodge Hotel and Resturant, on the A6, close by the little village of Rowsey. It is where the rivers Derwent and Wye meet. It has several nice looking pubs and a large factory outlet shopping mall.

Buxton is 15 miles across the Dales to the west and Matlock five miles due south. Chatsworth lies less than three miles away and Haddon Hall even nearer.

East Lodge has a Double AA Rosette and deservedly so. Conde’ Nast gave it the prestigious “most excellent service” award. The dining was superb and the breakfast outstanding. There are only 15 rooms and each is different.





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