4 AUGUST 2014

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Article from BTNews 4 AUGUST 2014

ON TOUR: Stay at home short holidays

Some 60% of  Business Travel News  readers are UK-based and so we feel justified in this week’s ON TOUR which takes in UK destinations.  It also might help BTN readers from abroad who are thinking of taking a holiday in this ‘Sceptred Isle’.

For those readers with families and the school holidays upon us you may not have planned what to do.  We have picked out nine possibilities.  Regarding accommodation go to the local web site for best value or a major group.  BTN would also suggest joining the  National Trust  and with its courtesy entry to a huge number of properties from stately homes to modest buildings with interesting history.  The handbook alone is worth the fee. 

This report notes some hotels but for accommodation only, Travelodge is great value and kids stay free.  There are some real bargain stays in August and the beds are very comfortable.  Accor’s Mercure brand is promoting its UK portfolio with some keen prices including Banbury’s historic Whatley Hall in the heart of the delightful Cotswold’s and the equally historic Shakespeare Hotel in Stratford. 

BOURNEMOUTH has always been popular with its fine beaches and plenty of entertainment.  This summer’s programme at the Bournemouth Pavilion offers the touring versions of Stomp and Cats.  The Air Festival 28/31 August includes not one but two World War II Lancaster bombers.  Nearby is the New Forest National Park, miles and miles of unspoilt landscapes.  Poole boasts the world's second largest natural harbour, and Millionaire’s Row Sandbanks.  Corfe Castle has a most majestic ruin and more up to date is the Army Tank Museum at Bovington.  www.bournemouth.co.uk

BRIGHTON was the holiday resort of the Prince Regent.  The Royal Pavilion is his legacy.  No proper sand beach but more than makes up for that inconvenience with some fine swimming pools and plenty of visitor attractions.  Trains go direct from North London.  Shoppers can explore The Lanes.  Brighton and adjacent Hove played a full part in World War I, and is commemorating 100 years since it started with a series of exhibitions and events.  www.visitbrighton.com

BUXTON calls itself Britain’s leading spa.  It is an enchanting town adjoining the Peak District National Park, with the Frank Matcham Opera House sitting close by the delightful 23-acre Pavilion Gardens.  The Buxton Music Festival is in July.  Nearby is Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Devonshires.  Recommend is the East Lodge Hotel and Restaurant, close to the little village of Rowsey, where the rivers Derwent and Wye meet.  www.visitbuxton.co.uk

CARDIFF is a bustling city.  Stay at the Hilton which overlooks the fascinating castle, or perhaps the upscale St David’s on the man-made Cardiff Bay.  West Side Story is due at the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre in August.  Nearby is Techniquest, the hands-on science and discovery centre.  Outside Cardiff St Fagans National History Museum is a half day, which can be completed with a visit to the Big Pit colliery and going underground with facilities to educate and entertain all ages.  www.visitcardiff.com

EDINBURGH is a popular holiday venue, but unless you are really keen it is best to keep away from the highly acclaimed Festival (8-31 August) when the place gets really busy.  easyJet from Luton, East Coast from Kings Cross and Virgin from Euston.  No shortage of hotels.  Take the hop-on hop-off bus tour and learn about Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse Palace, the various museums, The Royal Mile, The Scott Memorial and the former Royal Yacht Britannia.   www.visitscotland.com

INVERNESS has a lot to offer and is 90 minutes from Luton (or Gatwick).  Loch Ness is a short cruise down the Caledonian Canal.  Also local is the Culloden battlefield (Scots v Scots).  You can make the Queen Mother’s former property at the Castle of Mey in a day and take in some magnificent mountain scenery.  A visit needs to be made to the Glen Ord Distillery founded in 1838.  The Royal Highland Hotel is what you would expect of a former grand railway property thoughtfully brought up to date.  www.visitscotland.com

PORTSMOUTH is an easy drive from London down the M3 and the home of the Royal Navy.  The Dockyard has a lot to offer including Victory, Mary Rose and Warrior, the first steam warship.  Take a trip to the top of the Spinnaker Tower, find out more about the historic landings at the D-Day Museum, go back to Tudor times at Southsea Castle.  www.visitportsmouth.co.uk

Last week BTN offered  York  and back in June  Newquay and Cornwall  both in some detail.

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