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Eurostar confirms new direct route between Amsterdam and London

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Eurostar confirmed that its London-Amsterdam service will operate fully direct both to and from the Netherlands from the 26th October.

Tickets for the direct return journey go on sale from 1st September from £40 each way, with a journey time of just over four hours (4h 9m) from Amsterdam and three and a half hours (3h 29m) from Rotterdam to London. With bookings open up to six months in advance of travel, passengers can plan ahead for travel over the Christmas period and up to February 2021.

In light of the continuing uncertainty and recently introduced quarantine measures, Eurostar is offering passengers more flexibility with all fares now exchangeable with no fee up to 14 days before departure. 

These flexible fares, which apply to all bookings made from 1st July until 31st December, are valid for any dates of travel available at the time of purchase. The increased flexibility comes in addition to options for those with existing bookings who may want to change their travel plans.

Both on board and in stations, Eurostar has introduced new hygiene measures to provide customers with a comfortable and safe experience. A new seat map ensures travellers are seated at a safe distance apart respecting social distancing guidelines.

Trains are deep cleaned before every journey, and cleaning teams are on board to regularly disinfect high contact areas. All travellers must wear a mask on board and in stations, in line with government regulations.

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5 Magnificent Places in Europe for a Winter Holiday

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The winter season is on its way, where city breaks allow you to explore somewhere new or to a familiar retreat. Winter is a season for romantic holidays, winter markets and exploring. Here are our five picks for a memorable winter break.

1. Bansko, Bulgaria

(Photo: Bansko)

The most popular place for relaxing and winter activities in Bulgaria is Bansko. It is closely located to the capital, Sofia. There are many hotels or bungalows where you can stay while having a great time at the slope. Bulgaria’s magnificent nature, places and views attract thousands of tourists from around the world. This European country offers a budget holiday with great atmosphere, service and accommodation conditions. The Bulgarian mountains are perfect for your winter break. Numerous events and entertainments are organised every year such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating.

2. Rochejean, France

(Photo: Rochejean)

Rochejean is a small village in eastern France, part of the Bourgogne- Franche- Comte region with only 686 inhabitants. It doesn’t attract many tourists which makes it perfect getaway for a laid-back and secluded break where you can appreciate its beauty and find inner peace. Rochejean is situated near the Jura mountains boasting its Lake region with plenty of breath-taking scenery and tall waterfalls. The region also offers winter sports. The prices vary depending on the accommodation and start from 30 euro per night. There are many activities or attractions around such as exploring nearby cities, visiting the local monasteries and living with the locals.

3. Titisee- Neustadt, Germany

(Photo: Titisee- Neustadt)

Titisee- Neustadt is part of the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district in souther Germany. The place is famous for the spa, hydrotherapeutic and curative practices. It is also a winter sports centre, allowing both tourists and locals to enjoy the magnificent mountains and views. Interesting landmarks that you can see are the Old town Neustadt, Langenordnach valley or the Titisee lake. In terms of prices, there is are plenty of budget accomdations to be found. The price range for high quality hotels can start from 70 euros per night.

4. Gruyères, Switzerland

(Photo: Gruyeres)

Gruyeres is a small medieval town in Switzerland offering not only space for ski activities but is also home of many agricultural inventions such as milk production, cattle- breeding or the famous Gruyeres cheese. The town’s cultural heritages help in keeping its value and authenticity. For that reason many travellers are opt to see the 13th century Castle or the Tibet Museum, explaining the Tibetan Buddhist art. There are many activities that can make your experience unforgettable. Visitors can go on a helicopter for sightseeing, skijoring, paragliding or even horse riding. For those who want to try local food and drinks, there are restaurants that offer the typical fondue, röstis, soup de chalet and many other local dishes.

5. Hallstatt, Austria

(Photo: Hallstatt)

Hallstatt is a small town located on the southwestern shore of Hallstätter See in Upper Austria right under the Eastern Alps. It is famous for salt production and its historical connection to the Celtic tribes, making Hallstatt fascinating destination full of history and hidden gems. The town is perfect for winter sports practices and sightseeing. Locals offer visitors various attractions such as organised tours around the Salt Mine, boat excursions around the magnificent fjord-lake or a hiking adventure to the Alps’ best viewing platform. Hallstatt is brimming with hotels and places to stay overnight at reasonable prices.

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5 Spots in England for a staycation break

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With more people looking to travel domestically this year it is a great opportunity to discover new hidden gems for a fun and relaxing staycation. Here is our five top rural picks in England for your next adventure.

1. Romney, Hythe and Dymchirch Railway

(Photo: Romney town) Greatstone Beach – Romney Marsh

These 3 small towns in Southeast England are perfect for a city escape or just for a day trip. They are very closely connected by the big Railway passing through. Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch boasts fantastic beaches. It’s a great place to visit if you are looking for an alternative to the usual hotspots of Brighton or Bournemouth. If you are looking for a beach holiday in England, take the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, explore the local history, meet the locals and visit the three beaches.

2. Herne Bay and Reculver

(Photo: Lee Thornberry) Reculver Towers on the Coast overlooking Hearne Bay on the Kent coast at Sunrise on a Summer morning.

The magnificent Herne Bay and Reculver, South England, is situated close to Canterbury and has a rich history and beautiful spots for relaxing or adventure. To begin with head to Herne Bay, with it’s tiny houses and magnificent gardens. It also has a stunning beach where you can practice kayaking, boat riding or yachts which can be hired from the local Hampton Pier Yacht Club. Reculver is a 5-10 minutes drive from Herne Bay where visitors can enjoy amazing views from the Roman Reculver Towers which date back to the 12th century. If you take a walk along the coast you can find fossilised shark teeth or explore the marine and wildlife, climb the cliffs and swim in the ocean.

3. Samphire Hoe and Dover

One of the most popular places in Kent welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year. Samphire Hoe is located between Dover and Folkstone boasting its famous White cliffs, the endless Atlantic Ocean and the coast looking to France. Samphire Hoe has already received 14 Green Flag and 6 South and South East in Bloom Awards, two distinctions awarded to the most outstanding green areas for their high environmental quality and contribution to local communities. You can experience a walk on the paths, discover the wildlife and enjoy the spectacular views over the cliffs and the English Channel.

4. Caves Farm Barns, Ely, Cambridgeshire

(Photo: Caves Farm Barns)

This is a great place to unwind for your next staycation break. You can spend the day exploring by walking, cycling and swimming. There is also plenty of green spaces where you can spend the day relaxing with family and friends. The accommodations are spacious with all of the necessary amenities you would expect and is a home away from home. There is also an indoor swimming pool if you want to take a dip. The farm is also close to a few historical towns like Cambridge, Ely or Bury St Edmunds which you can explore.

5. Cheddar, Somerset

(Photo: Cheddar) Cheddar Caves and Gorge

Beautiful village located 9 miles from Wales, comprising the hamlets Nyland and Bradley Cross. It is famous for the Cheddar Gorge considered to be the largest in the United Kingdom, including several caves at the northern side of the village. An interesting fact is that it gives the name of the Cheddar Cheese because during 12th century the locals started producing it. The village is not often visited by many tourists which makes it the perfect spot to unwind. Its worth having a walk around the caves, learning the history or visiting the local landmarks like Cheddar Market Cross dating back from the 15th century.

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5 European Cities to See on a Budget

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The future of the travel industry may be uncertain at the moment, but many are expecting a post-COVID boom in the years to come. If you’re someone who likes to get ahead of your planning, here are some economically friendly options that don’t compromise on experience, perfect for when it’s safe to travel again.

1. Naples, Italy.

Naples with a backdrop of Mount Vesuvius.

Naples is often overlooked by tourists in favour of its northern alternatives, yet it can boast the same culture, food, and weather as the other cities and with its own unique selling points (and a significantly lower price tag) too. For starters, Naples is widely regarded as the pizza capital of Italy. The first pizza restaurant – the Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba – opened in Naples in 1738, and is still serving their traditional dishes. If that isn’t reason enough on its own, Naples is also unique for being located in the shadow of an active volcano. Just by taking a short train to Pompeii you can visit the archeological site of the ancient town destroyed by its eruption in 79 AD. There’s also the option to go wine-tasting on Mount Vesuvius’s slopes. Definitely worthy of adding to the bucket-list!

2. Warsaw, Poland.

Mermaid of Warsaw Statue in Old Town.

Its skyline dominated by a Stalinist landmark, Warsaw is the best budget travel destination for history nerds and culture-lovers alike. The Polish capital had a very significant role in the Second World War, so it’s no surprise that it’s now full of enough museums to satiate even the most zealous historian. Make sure to visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum to learn about the city’s resistance to Nazi invasion, and the emotionally harrowing POLIN Museum, which pays tribute Poland’s Jewish community. If you visit in the summer months, Łazienki Park is a beautiful place to picnic. Dining out is very affordable too, especially in traditional Polish restaurants, so immerse yourself in the culture and try some pierogi from its original source.

3. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Astronomical Clock, installed in 1410.

Although Prague is more expensive than other cities in the Czech Republic, it’s still comparatively cheaper than its Western alternatives. It’s famous for having (among other things) possibly the cheapest beer in the world. But aside from cheap drinking, Prague can also be very romantic. One of the most sophisticated (but affordable) restaurants is Café Louvre, which was frequented by Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein during their lifetimes. There’s plenty of quirky photo opportunities too, like the Dancing House and the Astronomical Clock. If you want to escape a rainy day then you can duck into Prague’s National Gallery and peruse works by Klimt, Schiele, and many others free of charge.

4. Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg Cathedral in Münsterplatz.

Freiburg is a medieval university town that has been described as Europe’s ‘secret gem’. The Black Forest, known for the folklore of the Brothers Grimm, surrounds it on all sides, making it a fantastic base for hiking and walking holidays. Schauinisland is the third highest mountain in the Black Forest and very accessible from Freiburg – there’s even the option of a cable-car to the peak. The town itself is full of Gothic architecture, and climbing the narrow steps of the 800-year-old cathedral is a great way to earn some breathtaking views. Freiburg is also a great option for a winter break; the Black Forest is especially magical in the snow, and the town is unbeaten when it comes to traditional Christmas markets, hosting some of the best every December.

5. Budapest, Hungary

The Hungarian Parliament Building, completed 1904.

Budapest is often cited as one of the cheapest capital cities in Europe, and it is certainly true that if your goal is to see lots of things on a tight budget, this is the place to do so. The city is separated into the ‘Buda’ section on the west side of the river (where the famous Castle District and the Fishermen’s Bastion is) and ‘Pest’ section on the east side. Pest is where you’ll find ruin bars: dilapidated pre-war buildings transformed into grungy and unique drinking spots. For something less bohemian, visit the Hungarian Parliament Building, both a stunning feat of Baroque architecture and a leftover relic from the affluent days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Days out can’t be cheaper than the free walking tours available nearby, just make sure to tip the experienced guides with a donation as a thanks.

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