Saturday snippets: St Andrew’s Day 2013

By | Category: Travel news

a model of the kelpies when theywere in Edinburgh

On this, St Andrew’s Day, CD-Traveller begins by highlighting two Scottish stories. During the week, Falkirk’s 100 foot tall, Kelpie structures were completed. Not open to the public until 2014, these kelpies will be the largest pieces of public art. The £5 million Helix project, of which the kelpies are just a part, is expected to attract close to 400,000 of us each year on top of those that use the canal to holiday.

As the Borders railway project continues to link Tweedbank, (a location near to Sir Walter Scott’s home) Galashiels and other places to Edinburgh, residents in Hawick have echoed a wish to be linked to the railway line. Some suggest continuing the line down to Carlisle this giving visitors another rail opportunity to reach the Scottish capital from England. Travelling through some of the more scenic countryside of any of our countries, that would seem to make more sense than just providing what many see as a 30 mile commuter line.

Elsewhere, Cardiff Castle’s outer western moat was re-flooded for the first time in more than 30 years last Monday. With the re-flooding of the moat, the park will see something from its original character returned, as well as creating a new freshwater habitat. During the time it has been dry over 6,000 items have been reclaimed which, eventually, will be available for visitors to see.

A Roman mosaic – which is about five foot by eight foot- found at Stanwick Lakes, Northamptonshire, and not seen since it was unearthed is to go on permanent display at the nature reserve where it was unearthed.

Tourism Ireland has seen a 5% growth in the number of visitors crossing the Irish Sea to see either the north or the republic. The tourist board has rolled out its ‘GB Path to Growth’ plan this year targeting new audiences with what they see as offering strong potential for growth. They are concentrating on attracting a younger, fun-loving audience looking for an exciting time which they call ‘Social Energisers’; and an older audience wishing to explore new places and broaden their minds, called ‘Culturally Curious’.

The Spanish Tourist Board has launched SPN, a new quarterly iPad magazine, which showcases the very best of contemporary Spanish design, arts, culture, gastronomy, travel and music. Its free and available on the Apple Newsstand. , this cutting edge new app aims to bring young Spanish artists and designers to the forefront of the global arts scene. The Spanish Tourist Office in London wanted to highlight these talents and to demonstrate the cultural richness to be found in Spain’s cities and urban hubs away from the beach resorts. Each issue of SPN is themed around a season and issue 0, out today, has winter at its heart, a season not always associated with Spain. From taking a look at where the Go-go’s go in Ibiza’s low season, Spain’s blossoming cabaret culture and Valencia’s art collectives, to the hottest property from Madrid Fashion Week and interviews with Manolo Blahnik, Jane Joyd and the pastry chef with a difference, Christian Escribà.

Keeping to a Spanish theme, the long-awaited direct TGV service from Paris Gare de Lyon to Barcelona Sants went on sale two days ago for travel from 15 December 2013. You’ll be able to travel directly and with no changes from Paris to Barcelona in about six-and-a-half hours or to Girona in just under six. When combining this with Eurostar from London St. Pancras, it will become possible to leave London at 09.31 and to arrive 10 hours 9 minutes later in Barcelona at 20.40. The total journey time has been reduced by nearly 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Elan Valley in mid Wales wants to become the first International Dark Sky Park in Wales. With around 18,000 hectares of land across Mid Wales and the Cambrian Mountains, the Elan Valley has some of the lowest levels of light pollution in the whole of the UK so should be able to attract those interested in what is known as “space tourism.” International Dark Sky Parks are areas where the night sky is protected and lighting controls are in place to prevent light pollution. Currently, the only International Dark Sky Designation in Wales is the Brecon Beacons, which was awarded this status last February.

From parliament, Sir Paul Berresford asked if there were plans to use fingerprinting as part of the passport process but was firmly told no by the government and Cheryl Gillan asked about the use of mobiles and wifi on trains. No, she wasn’t asking for controls on the noise created by mobile users who always seem to need to speak at the top of their voices. The government answered that there should be improved connectivity services by mid- 2014. I bet most of us cannot wait!

one of the few inconic sites claimed to have been visited by over 50's

According to one on-line company, those of us aged over 50 “have seen less than half of the top iconic sights in the world.” That this coincides with the company’s view on places to see before you die and an interactive game they are launching at least allows people to ponder that just because they are so well-known doesn’t still mean we want to visit them. Besides that it is only a survey amongst people who have used their online site and so hardly representative of the over 50’s.

The Shropshire Star newspaper has announced the winners of its tourism awards in the county in which 10,000 of its readers contributed their votes but their role was limited to best food outlets. Attingham Park won as the best large tourist attraction and Hawkstone Park Follies won for the smaller tourist attraction. The RAF Cosford Air Show won for the best tourism event.

Back to Scotland where the overnight events in Glasgow have marred festivities for St Andrew’s Day. Nonetheless, CD-Traveller wishes everyone a happy St Andrew’s Day, a speedy recovery to those taken to hospital and sympathy to those who have lost friends and relatives.

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