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Travel

Eurostar launches direct return trains to Amsterdam from UK with £35 tickets

Weekend break?

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If you fancy a trip to Amsterdam but can’t be bothered with airport waiting times, then Eurostar has got you covered.

The high speed train service is launching a fully direct return train from the UK to Amsterdam this spring.

Eurostar has been running a train to ‘Dam from the UK since 2018, but while the journey to the Netherlands was direct, the return leg saw travellers stop in Brussels for passport control – sometimes adding an hour to journeys.



The bad news is you’ll have to travel to London to get the Eurostar, however, the good news is you will no longer have to wait in Brussels on the way back from April 30th 2020, the Mirror reports.

Initially there will be two services – although this will eventually increase to four – and the total journey time is expected to take around four hours.

Tickets for the direct route will go on sale from next Tuesday, February 11th, with fares starting from £35 each way – you can grab them via the Eurostar site here.



And it’s not just Amsterdam getting direct trains from the UK, Rotterdam will also get a new service free of the passport stop in Brussels – you’ll have to wait until May 18th for this, though.

So who are you off to ‘Dam with for a weekend away?

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Travel

Benidorm launches cheap seven-night package holiday scheme including food and drink for just £180

This looks great…

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Reuben Kim & Jordan Sanchez /Unsplash

You can stay for a week in Benidorm with food included for just £180 in the new scheme. 

The ban on travel throughout the lockdown has caused the popular holiday destination to suffer, enhanced by the 14-day quarantine after travelling. 

The new scheme in the resorts, starting on October 14th, gives tourists a choice of where to stay and where to eat in the seven-night deal.

The only thing you’ll have to arrange on your own is your flights out to Benidorm, but deals start at £200 a return ticket. 

Igor Starkov/Unsplash

The scheme has been launched by two trade associations, Abreca and Cobreca representing bars and restaurants plus Rosemberg Real Estate Agency and the Nicaragua Apartments.

They said in a statement: “This project is the result of the essential synergy between all the business sectors of the city and it will be a pioneer in Europe offering visitors to enjoy all the gastronomic offer of our city.

“The tourist will have a complete experience of Benidorm, being able to stay in apartments of Real Estate Rosemberg or Apartments Nicaragua and have breakfast, lunch and dinner in any bar, restaurant and cafeteria member of Abreca and Cobreca and adhered to this project.

Attila Surányi/Unsplash

Benidorm could also be launching the new ‘Benidorm Island’ scheme which hopes to create an effective ‘island’ on mainland Spain.

It will encourage Brits to the resort, offering testing and new safety features like a ‘safe’ coach that transfers holidaymakers directly to their holiday accommodation from the airport. 

In the day a ‘Hospitality Team’ would monitor the tourist’s health.

Currently Brits must self-isolate for two weeks after returning from Spain plus other countries on the list.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay confirmed the new measures that will include swabbing at the airport.

Raygar He/Unsplash

Mr Barclay explained: ““I am expecting Grant Shapps and Matt Hancock to say more about this in the coming days.

“If we look, for example, at some of the German states, which are using testing to then release earlier from some of the restrictions.”

The current two-week quarantine period could be reduced to four days with two mandatory tests. 

This week, a duo from Ashton-under-Lyne returned from Spain and refused to isolate and were both lumped with £1,000 fines

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People visiting Wales from Greater Manchester might have to self-isolate for two weeks on arrival

Just in…

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David Dixon/Geograph & WelshGovernment/Twitter

Visitors travelling into Wales from areas in the UK with high rates of coronavirus might have to self-isolate on arrival, according to the Welsh government.

Welsh authorities are deliberating the possibility of enforcing the restrictions currently used on international arrivals on arrivals from people across the UK, including from Greater Manchester.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said in a press conference on Monday: “We’re actively considering what we should do and I’ve discussed it this morning with the First Minister.

“We have quarantine regulations for international travel.

“So for some of the hotspot areas in the north of England, the North East and North West, and the West Midlands, if they were other countries or territories, we would have quarantine regulations for them to return to the UK.”

He added: “We’re having to consider how we use our power to protect lower-prevalence areas of Wales but at the same time, we don’t want to take a whole-nation approach.

“There’s no good reason to prevent someone from Devon, at this point in time, coming to visit a pre-booked holiday or trip to Pembrokeshire.

“So we are thinking about how we use something that is proportionate and deals with the reality of the threat that we face.”

The decision will be made later today, Gething added: “We’ll need to take some advice from our scientific and medical advisers, public health advisers, and we’ll then need to consider whether this is the right course of action.

“Because the measures we’ve introduced in Wales are about isolating areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus and protecting lower prevalence areas too.

“It’s consistent with the approach that all four UK nations have taken to international travel and quarantine restrictions, where we recognise that higher prevalence areas in other parts of the world represent a risk to coronavirus being reimported or having an opportunity to spread further within the UK.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford sent a letter to Boris Johnson asking for travel restrictions to apply to areas of England under local lockdown, however, Gething explains that it is ‘disappointing’ he has not replied.

Gething added: “Over the last month, we’ve seen a rapid increase in cases across Wales – the virus returned as people came home from holiday abroad and has been spread also as people socialised without social distancing crucially and most often in people’s home.

“The majority have had a mild illness so far. But an increase in cases is followed within two to three weeks by higher hospital admissions, higher critical care admissions and more deaths.”

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Travel

Luxury safari lodges where you can see elephants from your bed to open down the road from Manchester

Some exciting news to look forward to…

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West Midland Safari Park

These luxury safari lodges will give you an up-close and personal overnight wildlife experience like no other available in the UK next year.

There will be eight lodges, six of which will look over elephant habitats while two will look over views of majestic cheetahs.

The lodges are set to open on West Midland Safari Park, just two hours drive from Manchester, next year.

They will be decorated along with the safari theme, including thatched roofs and a strong neutral palette. The lodges will also have open-plan living with a dining area, bedrooms and a bathrom, complete with terraces to enjoy the views. 

West Midland Safari Park

Upstairs will see a bedroom which will offer spectacular views across the elephant habitats, and guests will be encouraged to make use of their outdoor terrace to enjoy their meals.

There will also be floor-to-ceiling windows so you can get up close and personal with the animals from the comfort of your sofa or bed.

Guests will be treated to extra perks like chefs to cook meals, free admission to the safari park and attractions plus exclusive views of the animals.

Park bosses are anticipating a new open date in February, after it was pushed back due to the pandemic.

West Midland Safari Park

The newly appointed Accommodation & Venues Director said: “This amazing project will grow into something spectacular over the next four to five years, but to start with we are focussing on the elephants and cheetahs.

“Not only will the new lodges offer guests the opportunity to stay onsite overnight for the first time, they also allow us to create upgraded, stimulating and enriching environments for the animals.

West Midland Safari Park

“Conservation is at the forefront of our minds when designing and building the lodges, so as part of this project, our net biodiversity gain will increase by 30%, creating more habitats such as woodlands and wildflower meadows, encouraging native wildlife.

“Revenue from the lodges will support improving the facilities for more of the Park’s amazing animals, as we work towards the next phases of development.”

You can find more info on the website here.

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