Saturday snippets: 11th of August 2018

By | Category: Travel news

from a previous balloon festival in Bristol

Thursday evening saw the opening of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Yesterday, because of the weather, none of the 130 balloons at the fiesta were unable to ascend for much of the day, But the opening on Thursday evening did see 25 of the balloons glowed in time to an especially commissioned soundtrack, ‘Bristol’s Glowing’ did go ahead. The fiesta lasts until Sunday evening.

I have sympathy for Mr Daniel Moore of Exmouth in Devon who received a letter from the education people in the county fining him £60 for taking his child out of school in term time for a holiday in Mallorca. In the letter he received there were seven grammatical or spelling errors.  Looking at the errors it seems that whoever typed it either hit the key adjacent to the one they wanted or their brains were one step ahead of the letters they wanted to type.  Blaming it on a new It system is fatuous. If this is the standard of checking then maybe missing five days of school as Mr Moore’s son did would not matter a great deal!

Jetcost, a travel price comparison site, has published the results of a survey which suggests that 18-34 year olds in Britain are prioritising travelling over everything else. All participants said they were in full-time employment and that they rented a property so you might think that getting on the property ladder might be their first choice but no, travel was more important. Relevant respondents were asked why travelling was their current priority, with the most popular answers emerging to be ‘to make lasting memories and wanting to travel when young.  Finally, those taking part in the study were asked whether they would consider travelling if they were over the age of 35 and just over two-thirds said that they wouldn’t. I bet that changes when they get to be 36!

According to TUI which released its third-quarter figures this week, Summer 2018 bookings are up 4% with 86% all sold.  As to where we are travelling, TUI being the largest main stream tour operator provides a good indication of the most popular destinations. It says that Spain remains the top destination and that “Turkey has caught up strongly and continues to record strong growth in bookings, along with North Africa and Greece.” Destinations such as Cyprus, Croatia or Bulgaria also report good growth in bookings. It also says that British bookers are booking for shorter holiday duration. Does this mean that we are having a UK holiday and a short overseas one; (Like Thomas Cook, TUI doesn’t sell UK holidays to the UK market;) that we are not taking as much time for holidays or that we are making the package holiday just one component of our holiday year?

Arundells – one of the attractions of Salisbury

Salisbury – as readers will know – has been in the news for seemingly most of the year. That has resulted in a drop of visitors so the  Ministerial Recovery Group will give £7.5 million of government funding to support businesses, boost tourism, and meet unexpected costs as a result of the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury. How this will be allocated is yet to be announced but a substantial chunk must be in line to attract us to visit the city and its attractions both within the city and nearby. It is now up to Wiltshire County Council and, presumably, Visit Wiltshire, to decide how the money should be spent. Watch out for offers over the coming months.

Whilst most readers will be familiar with the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival, starting today and running until August 27th is the Edinburgh International Book Festival. What readers may not know is that the city is also the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. In the next sixteen days around 1000 writers and thinkers from across the world with gather together for what the organisers say is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world.

Almost two thirds of the 6.5 million of us heading off on holidays abroad are worried about not having enough spending money, according to new research from the bank, First Direct. That is more than are worried about food poisoning or their home being burgled. 58% expect to return home feeling guilty about how much they have spent. When it comes to pre-planning 30% of us admit we don’t search out the best foreign currency deals. Most likely to leave buying foreign currency to the last minute are millennials, with 64% getting their money at the airport and 32% of us say that we  don’t take any foreign currency  just relying on using ourdebit, credit or pre-loaded cards.

Tower of London

The Tower of London is the most visited paid attraction in England

Visit England’s Annual Attractions Survey shows historic properties experienced significant growth in visitor numbers last year.  Of the 1,400 English attractions surveyed the research found that historic properties such as mills, monuments, boats and burial grounds saw the largest increase in visitor numbers, up 8% on 2016. Visits to farm attractions  saw a 5% on the previous year and historic houses and palaces along with visitor and heritage centres and places of worship were up 4% in 2017. The British Museum was the most visited ‘free’ attraction in England in 2017 for the 10th consecutive year with nearly six million visitors, and the Tate Modern came a close second with more than five and a half million. The Tower of London topped the list as the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction for the ninth year running with 2.8 million visitors and Chester Zoo came in second place with 1.9 million.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport, currently the fastest growing airport in the UK, issued its draft Masterplan for public consultation this week, saying it showed overwhelming public support for the development plans and desire to see an East Coast Mainline station at the airport site delivered.  Over 90% of respondents expressed strong support for the objectives set out in the Masterplan including rail connectivity, with the airport receiving over 1,600 responses to the open consultation.  With the delivery of an East Coast Mainline connected station at the site, the passenger number growth would be more than doubled to 11.8 million by 2050, with a station becoming operational as early as 2024 – just 6 years’ time. You can read the summary report at

Finally, the low-cost airline, Primera launches direct flights from Stansted to Washington Dulles on the 22nd of August. Although Dulles is the large international airport for the American capital, it isn’t directly connected to the metro so visitors have to use a bus to the Silver Line metro station at Wiehle-Reston East  from which they can get downtown.


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