What’s hot: August 2016

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot in the travel world right now

HOT

Croydon
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Everyone knows that the National Trust offers walking tours through the English countryside, coast, parkland and gardens. But now you can amble through the south London Borough of Croydon – aka the birthplace of supermodel Kate Moss – on a new National Trust tour called Edge City: Croydon.
Joseph Watson, London creative director for the National Trust, explained the decision to celebrate the town – whose famous residents have included Tracey Emin, Ronnie Corbett and Kate Moss, thus: “It’s such an interesting place, which has been described as a mini-Manhattan and Alphaville. Many Croydonians have so much pride in their home, but it is also known as a ‘crap town’ and frequently features in lists of the worst places to live. We wanted to explore why Croydon has that reputation and understand its history. There was a huge post-war construction boom and a grand ambition to create London’s third city, but it didn’t really come off.’

Dinosaurs taking over LA
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LA bound this summer? Head to the Natural History Museum to catch new exhibition Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs which has relocated from its former home in New York. Expect to encounter full size models of the pterosaur – the first back boned animal to fly – along with a collection of fossils that show these airborne reptiles could have had a wingspan of up to 10m, and an interactive pterosaur flying experience. www.hm.org


Pining for Prince
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Staying in America, JAT readers still pining for Prince should seek out Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington DC where they can check out the legendary artist’s famous yellow guitar. The guitar – which was designed by Prince and custom made by the Minneapolis firm Knut Koupee Enterprises in 1989 during the singer’s Diamonds and Pearls era – features his distinctive personal symbol on the top and the side of the fingerboard. The yellow guitar is on display until the 5 September. americanhistory.si.edu

Celebrity airbnb
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San Francisco-based room/house letting website, Airbnb, has announced plans for its annual festival – the Airbnb Open. This year’s three day event will take place from the 17-19 November at various locations, including local restaurants and four historic theatres, in downtown Los Angeles.
The festival will welcome guests and hosts that use the service, as well as celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher and Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. Last year the open drew 5,000 Airbnb hosts from 110 countries.

Cambridge calling
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Looking for somewhere new to live and work in the UK? Consider Cambridge. Jobs website, Glassdoor, has just released its ranking of the top 20 towns and cities to work in and Cambridge came out first. Glassdoor compiled the list using three factors: how easy is it to get a job, job satisfaction and the cost of living. Milton Keynes and Nottingham claimed second and third place respectively with Reading in seventh place – partly because of its easy commute to the capital. Outside of England, Aberdeen was ranked in 12th place.

A club right up your (adopted) street
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Living abroad can be isolating especially when you first arrive at your new posting. Fortunately help is at hand thanks to Furva – a new website for active expats around the globe. With Furva, you can find local sport activity partners or clubs, or if already established abroad, start your own local club anywhere.. So whether you run, cycle, walk, play football or like throwing a frisbee around, chances are you won’t be the only one.Bottom line? Whether you’re abroad for a short stay, a long haul, or permanently, you’ll find friends on Furva.  So what are you waiting for:  go Furva. It’s free! www.furva.com

Sleeping in a slammer
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Anyone interested in spending a night in the slammer? Check into the new Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch. The property, a former Old Street Magistrates’ court and police station, boasts a rich history as the very place where Ronnie and Reggie Kray were once detained.
The Grade II listed building served as the Old Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station from 1903 until 1996. Even after it closed its doors, it remained a much sought after filming location, featuring in everything from Spooks to Luther.
Located on Old Street, the hotel boasts 86 guest rooms and 42 suites including the Shoreditch Sky Terrace Suites – two jaw-dropping one-bedroom residences spread out across 60 square metres of living space, each with their private bar and mini cinema lounge. Elsewhere the former Courtroom number 1 now hosts the main casual fine dining restaurant whilst courtroom number 2 has been transformed into an ultra-exclusive members’ bar.

Never being lost for words
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Craving that skinny double-shot cappuccino with extra froth in a foreign country but can’t remember the local lingo?, Lonely Planet’s latest title – Just Point (£7.99) – provides the answer in a language any barista will understand. With this visual dictionary -containing 40 full-colour cards with more than 500 entertaining icons on everything from food and drink, transport, accommodation, fashion and sightseeing -in your day bag, you’ll be able to communicate all essential messages and maybe a few non­-essential ones, too!


NOT

Brexit blow
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Getting ready to head off on your annual family summer holiday to Spain/ France/ Italy/ Greece/ insert favourite European hotspot? It’s likely to cost you an extra £200 following the slump in the value of the pound since the EU referendum on 23 June. Britain’s currency is also down against the dollar. Translation? Expect more expensive holidays in America. “A lot of people will now be reflecting that the supposed fear stories are now reality,” commented Wimbledon conservative MP Stephen Hammond. The one ray of light? Those who have booked package holidays need not panic as all inclusive deals are not expected to be affected by Brexit currency fluctuations.

Journey’s end for holiday brochures
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The final page has turned on holiday brochures for TUI – the country’s biggest tour operator – has announced that it will shelve its holiday brochures, first launched in 1953 with a Skytours edition, by the year 2020. Boss Nick Longman says that the future is a “digital experience at every customer touch point” including shops fitted out with interactive maps and wall screens.
JAT says: sad news for armchair travellers who have visited far more countries from the comforts of their home, than they have ever been able to book.

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