Saturday snippets: 5th September 2015

By | Category: Travel news

Lord-Montagu-bannerOver the bank holiday died one of the pioneers of heritage tourism – Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. Opening his house in the early 1950’s he showed that palatial mansions were not all doomed to be converted into flats or left to the National Trust and that they could-albeit with a lot of hard work – be visitor attractions. Not content with opening his home, he founded the National Motor Museum that enabled him to enjoy a passion for vintage cars. Regularly see competing in the London to Brighton run when he was not planning the next exhibit at the museum, he also was the first chairman of English Heritage.

If you want to consider preserving our heritage, then there are a couple of properties that have come up for sale that you might be interested in. The Winkle lighthouse on the Isle of Man will cost you £10,000 but there are some snags. There is no electricity, gas, water, kitchens or bathrooms so you have a blank piece of canvas if you fancy a bolt hole for a weekend break. But it is small at just ten metres tall and just about large enough to swing the proverbial cat. Perhaps you would prefer to open your own maritime museum instead? Viewing today is today. If you prefer something related to the air rather than the sea how about an ex RAF watch tower? This is at Winleigh Airfield in Devon and comes complete with 9.5 acres og land and some outbuildings that have seen better days. The estimated price is up to £50,000 and is the tower is scheduled so you will be limited in what you can do.

one of the cog railways that ia  a must for tourists

one of the cog railways that ia a must for tourists

Are Chinese tourists noisy? They seem to think so in Switzerland. At the alpine resort of Mount Rigi, they have launched a special train service just for Chinese visitors. Why? Because accusations have been made that the Chinese crowd the corridors while taking pictures from the train, there has been rudeness in packed carriages, and some even report seeing tourists spit on the floor. All this is according to the Swiss newspaper, Blick, and goes on to add that toilets are now cleaned more often, and signs have been put up “showing how to use them correctly.” Needless to say the Chinese take a rather dim view of this.

Ahead of the first Disney-owned Star Wars film this December, the company has now announced plans for ‘Star Wars’ theme parks to feature at their Walt Disney World, Orlando and Disneyland, Anaheim theme parks. Characters from the original Star Wars films, as well as new names from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens film will also feature in the 14-acre attractions which are set to be the biggest single themed expansion in Disney’s theme park history.

giant selfies sights on the Gold Coast?

giant selfies sights on the Gold Coast?

Regular readers will remember that some tourist resorts like Disneyland have banned selfie sticks. Tourism Australia is taking an alternative solution. They have launched an oversized selfie service called GIGA Selfie which involves a person standing at a pre-determined spot and activating the camera via a dedicated smartphone app. The camera will snap your photo like you would a selfie, but at the same time users can also download a short video clip that will see the camera zoom out and show the landscape of Australia behind you. The first place where you can find the service is on the Gold Coast this very weekend but there is a slight problem unless you speak Japanese which is the only language that the instructions are in. Japanese nationals appear to be the fans of selfies and are big visitors to the God Coast which, if I remember correctly, has a direct flight from the local airport to Japan. Is English next?

It seems that you don’t have to as far as Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef. At the Leipzig Panometer in Germany, artist Yadegar Asisi takes visitors on a journey through the stunning colours in the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. The biggest coral reef on Earth is situated off the north-east coast of Australia, stretching for around 2,300 kilometres. It can be seen in all its fragile beauty and an overwhelming richness of detail this autumn in Leipzig – as a 360° visual panorama on a 1:1 scale. The exhibition opens on the 3rd of October.

Ironbridge and the tollhouse

Ironbridge and the tollhouse

The free Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival will take place on Saturday, 19th September with heritage talks and walks, a quality craft and food market alongside the river Severn, live street entertainment and family activities from 12noon until 5pm. There will also be demonstrations and displays celebrating the remarkable heritage of the Gorge in the market square. New for 2015 is an on-site art competition to celebrate how the Iron Bridge has been represented by artists over the centuries. Artists must complete a piece during the five hours of the Festival, which depicts the Bridge and its surroundings in their own style. For information visit

A new passenger service between the Isle of Wight and the mainland has started. Scoot Ferries is linking Yarmouth on the island and Lymington. The service runs every hour and takes 25 minutes. Other routes to Portsmouth and Hamble are also planned as well as one between Cowes and East Cowes. It will operate between Lymington and Yarmouth at a rate of £9 each way for a standard ticket.

After New York managed to squire Taylor Swift to promote New York, Visit Florida has signed up the rapper, Pitbull as a state tourism ambassador. During Pitbull’s upcoming concerts worldwide, Visit Florida’s #LoveFL hashtag will be featured on video screens. Pitbull is a Miami native with Cuban roots and, as part of the partnership with Visit Florida, he will film the video for the single ‘Sexy Beaches’ in Florida. What Visit Florida is after is the 100 million followers he has on social media. Now if they all booked a holiday in Florida…

Underneath the Hotel Hassler Roma is a natural cave that has served as part of the fifteenth-century Monastery of the Spanish Steps, a World War II air raid shelter, and a 1950s pub before being fashioned into a wine cellar in the 1990s. This hotel in Rome has been receiving guests for over 100 years and whilst it might boast a Michelin starred chef, having a guided tour through the grotto and a bit of wine-tasting as well would definitely cap a stay there. After all, it’s more than the thousands of guests who have stayed there have had the opportunity to experience before.

aerial view of Lisbon

Brits are the largest group of cruise ship visitors to Lisbon

Lisbon might be a place that you would consider for a city break but increasingly it is becoming a cruise capital as well. Just in the first six months of 2015 it received 193,938 cruise passengers so 2015 should be a bumper year with about 500,000 people. So confident is the city of luring more cruise ships that it will open a new cruise terminal next year. Guess which nationality makes up the biggest number of visitors. Yes, we do.

In a roundup of airline news, British Airways has announced daily flights from Heathrow to San Jose in California. This new route will allow easier access to Silicon Valley. Norwegian Air has confirmed a four times weekly service between London Gatwick and Boston starting 13th May and Thomas Cook will also add direct flights to Boston and Los Angeles from Manchester airport in May. Air Europa will launch a new twice-weekly service from London to Asuncion via Madrid in December.



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