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Travel

Take a look inside UK safari lodges where you spend the night with elephants and cheetahs

‘Guests will be able to get closer than ever before to our wildlife and make friends with their animal neighbours’

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West Midland Safari Park

If you’ve ever wanted to spend the night next to elephants and cheetahs then now’s your chance.

A collection of brand new luxury safari lodges have opened in the UK, and families can now book a holiday there.

West Midland Safari Park’s lodges offer the only overnight stay with elephants in the whole country, with the option to spend the night next to the cheetahs as well.

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

The lodges were originally scheduled to open last summer but the pandemic delayed this – bookings did initially open last year before being forced to pause due to the massive demand.

There are eight suites available, with six located in the elephant park and two next to the cheetahs, with fantastic close up views from your bedroom.

Each lodge can accommodate five guests, and feature open-plan living rooms with outdoor seating and balconies, as well as a king-size bedroom on the lower floor and room for three people to sleep on the upper floor, with the option to add a cot.

From your suite you’ll be able to watch elephants like the young male Sutton, his aunt Latabe and mum, Five, while two of the lodges overlook the cheetah area, where cheetahs like Asrael and Bappe – recently brought over from France – live.

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

Chris Kelly, Managing Director at West Midland Safari Park, said: “It’s been a long journey, but we are absolutely delighted to have finally opened our doors and welcome guests to our Safari Lodges experience.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, in delivering beautiful accommodation to offer guests the opportunity to stay onsite for the first time, but also in upgrading stimulating and enriching environments for the wonderful animals we have in our care.

“Our lodges are going to offer a special and unforgettable Safari-stay right here in the Midlands. Guests will be able to get closer than ever before to our wildlife and make friends with their animal neighbours.

“Being located on our reserves, guests will also have the chance to spot some of our other species and experience all the great attractions we have to offer, making it the perfect retreat for all the family.”

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

Chefs based on-site will prepare your breakfast and dinner and deliver it to your room, so you can eat while taking in the fantastic views.

For the price of the lodge, you’ll also get admission to the park and wristbands for the rides at the theme park, with prices starting from £147 per night for children and from £171 per night for adults.

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

While availability for the rest of 2021 is now limited due to huge demand, there are still lots of options available for next year.

You can check out the West Midland Safari Park website here for more info.

Travel

Up to 24 countries could be added to the green list this week, according to travel expert

Good news for those wanting a last minute get-away this year…

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Unsplash / @chan.lee

As many as twenty-four countries could be removed from the red list and put onto the green list, a travel expert has predicted this week.

Paul Charles, a former radio and TV presenter turned travel PR specialist, shared his prediction today as to which countries will be removed from the red list and replaced onto the green list.

As it stands, the government’s traffic light system organises countries into three categories – green, amber, and red – to determine what safety measures are needed in order to travel to those places. For example, countries on the red list are deemed as too unsafe and impose full travel bans. 

@james737 / Unsplash

Those on the amber list, however, require travellers to take a Covid test before travelling, and prove that it tested negative. On their return, people also have to take Covid tests on days two and eight – and quarantine for ten days.

Countries on the green list, alternatively, are deemed as safe enough for travellers to not need to take any Covid tests or self-isolate upon both their arrival and their departure. 

And this week, a massive number of red list countries are predicted to be upgraded to the green list travel status, according to Charles. He tweeted: “There have been no new Covid Variants of Concern since 11th May.

“Our analysis shows 24 countries should come off the UK red list immediately including Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia.”

Other countries expected to make the move are Paraguay, Rwanda, Colombia, Malawi, Chile, and Indonesia. 

Charles also said that Turkey should be taken off the red list, explaining: “It has some of the best Covid safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates.”

The government’s traffic light system is set be scrapped all together next month and will be replaced with a system based off vaccinations. For more information, visit the Gov.uk website.

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Travel

You can stay in a tropical boutique narrowboat with its own pink gin bar in Manchester

A Manc staycation never looked so good

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Last month, we thought we’d seen it all with the arrival of Manchester’s first ever luxury barge – but had we ever envisioned a green oasis narrowboat with its own gin bar?

The short answer is no, no we did not. 

But low and behold, the tropical and gin-fuelled narrowboat none of us knew we needed exists, and it’s ready for you and your mates to hire here in Manchester’s city centre.

Airbnb

Parked up in the picturesque waterways of Castlefield and just a stone’s throw away from Deansgate, the ‘Boutique Narrowboat’ is described on its Airbnb listing as an ‘adorable pet-friendly floating hideaway.’

The boat features quirky interior – we’re talking animal print walls, unique artwork and an abundance of greenery, kind of quirky – and a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for enjoying the city while remaining sequestered from the outside world.

But the best part of the boat is located inside – there, guests can find a pink honesty bar complete with a vast selection of gin, wines, beers and soft drinks. There’s even games and fancy dress to make for the most fun staycation of your lives.

Airbnb

As well as a fully functional bar and outdoor patio area, there is one bedroom with a small double bed, one bathroom with a fully functioning toilet and shower, a fireplace and a kitchen with amenities like a fridge. Breakfast items, wifi and parking also come included. 

The boat’s Airbnb page is inundated with glowing reviews, with one happy guest writing: “It’s the best place I have stayed in a long time. All the little touches make the place feel really cosy and special. The honesty bar is the best addition – sitting there with the back open was perfect!”

Another former boat dweller commented: “Absolutely gorgeous boat in a perfect location in the heart of the city. The boat was beyond our expectations and Sara the host was on hand with any queries we had throughout our stay. The outdoor section and bar area were really such lovely additions to the stay. Couldn’t rate or recommend it higher!”

Airbnb

The boat is priced at £91 per night (excluding cleaning and service fees), and sleeps strictly two guests.

As you’d expect, demand is incredibly high for a stay in Manchester’s coolest boat, so the next available dates are at the end of August and the end of the September.

To book your own staycation and for more information, visit the Airbnb listing here

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Travel

You can now stay in the original Spice Girls ‘SpiceBus’ on Airbnb

This bus will truly spice up your life…

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@spicegirls / Instagram & Airbnb

Calling all Spice Girls fans: You can now spend a night (or two) in the actual bus from the 1997 Spice World film.

The SpiceBus, which one graced Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), is now listed on Airbnb for Spice Girls fans far and wide to hire. 

The bus has since had an incredible makeover since its glory days in the ‘90s and now resides in the Isle of White, right on the doorstep of a stunning marina.

Airbnb

Though the owner of the bus did stress that, as a Spice Girls fan herself, she has kept it as authentic to the original design as possible. On the bus’ listing, she wrote: “The outside of the bus looks exactly as it did in the Spice World movie, with its iconic Union Jack-painted exterior. 

“I’m a huge fan of the band and have tried to include as many little touches as possible inspired by the girls and their music, to make the inside just as iconic as the outside!”

Guests will have full run of the double-decker bus, which can sleep up to three guests across two bedrooms and one living room. For those wanting to snack and keep their tipples cold, a mini fridge is included.

Airbnb

Towards the back of the bus, visitors will also find a spacious seating area with a table and three Union Jack cinema-style chairs for relaxing in front of the TV or listening to music (Spice Girls preferred) on the old school CD player.

Shops, restaurants and bars are within walking distance, and there are bathroom and kitchen facilities on site.

The bus has proven to be a huge hit with guests so far, with one happy Airbnb user writing: “The best Airbnb i have ever stayed in. The attention to detail, the facilities, the location and easy check in was all amazing. If you are a spice girls fan PLEASE book this!”

Airbnb

Another wrote: “This is the perfect place to stay with your bestie if you are spice or 90s obsessed. So many lovely little nostalgic touches. Was such a joy, would absolutely recommend.”

This will definitely be a trip to remember – for more details and to make your own reservation, visit the Airbnb listing here.

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