Saturday snippets: 25 January 2014

By | Category: Travel news
The Scottish culture minister, Fiona Hyslop, at the Forth Bridge announcement

The Scottish culture minister, Fiona Hyslop, at the Forth Bridge announcement

The Forth Bridge has become the UK government’s latest nomination for UNESCO World Heritage site status. The railway bridge, which connects Edinburgh with Fife, will be considered over an 18-month period, with a decision due in 2015. The 124 year old bridge was the first steel constructed bridge in the UK and seems to be known the world over. Its fame was helped by the Alfred Hitchcock 1935 version of John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps which has the hero hiding from police as he jumps the train carrying him across.

A blaze in Laerdalsyri in Norway has destroyed more than thirty buildings in this village renowned for its traditional wooden buildings. A popular destination for visitors to the area from both Norway and overseas, the government is of the view that replica buildings might be constructed to replace those lost.

After five years at the helm of Britain’s national tourism organisation, Sandie Dawe has announced her intention to leave VisitBritain this summer to pursue other opportunities including non-executive roles.

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich is to become London’s newest theatre. From 29 January, a fortnight of special performances will feature comedians such as Ross Noble and Alan Davies.  Containing 85 seats the “theatre” will be in the lower hold of the 19th century clipper.

The Cutty Sark theatre!

The Cutty Sark theatre!

Just as well there are no bales of wool and tea chests down there still although maybe perching on those would add to the Cutty Sark feel!

From Monday, Tate St Ives will close for almost four months to allow building work which will create an extension containing new galleries. It will reopen on 17 May in time for its 21st birthday. In the meantime there is a temporary visitor centre.

As one shuts another re-opens. Oxford’s Museum of Natural History will re-open on 15 February following a £2m roof restoration. The museum will celebrate with a one off “dawn till dusk” event, lasting from 07:00  to 17:00 on that day.

The effect of the storms is still being felt. The popular railway line that takes holidaymakers and travellers to Pwllheli in north-west Wales is unlikely to re-open before May this year. But you should be able to use the line as far north as Barmouth from mid-February.

The contentious issue of how holidays and air tickets is priced during school holiday periods has surfaced again. Usually the answer is the issue of supply and demand; more holidays are taken during school holidays so they are fewer available and prices rise. An MP – Richard Graham – asked the government if there had been an assessment about the possibility of collusion in setting prices.  No, said the government. If there was evidence it should be sent to the Office of Fair Trading or the Civil Aviation Authority who acted as regulators. You might have thought that the government would examine this once every parliament just so that it could reassure us. Or if the government won’t do it may be one of the select committees. But then, there is no select committee on tourism.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

Burns’ night is on us again and as well as all the dinners that are taking place throughout the whole of the UK and wherever Scots gather, Stirling and Edinburgh Castles will be celebrating Robert Burns this weekend with a programme of events exploring his life and works. Burns visited Stirling Castle in 1787 and was so affected by the history of the place that when he returned to his lodgings he scratched the now-famous Stirling Lines into a window pane in his room with a diamond-tipped pen. The lines lament the demise of the Stewart Dynasty and the ruinous state of the castle at the time, which is said to have aroused Burns’s Jacobitism.  They form part of the Year of Homecoming 2014’s programme of events celebrating Scotland’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage

In three weeks’ time, Valentine’s Day will be upon us. Press releases have poured in promoting romantic destinations but are they being wasted? says that Brits shun romance in favour of football when it comes to booking holidays during February. The online search site reviewed travel search patterns for departures from the UK to worldwide destinations between 8th and 21st February 2013. Interest in more traditional romantic locations did increase; Paris for example took second place. However Madrid took first place and Lyon was third. Perhaps, as the company points out, this was due to the fact Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur football teams were both playing matches, in these cities, during these dates.



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