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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

Travel

Eric Cantona launches football-themed travel company with ‘3 day pilgrimages’ to stadiums

The company aims to reconnect fans with the ‘passion and soul’ of the game

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Looking FC

Eric Cantona is giving the prawn sandwich brigade a run for its money with the launch of his very own football-themed travel company.

The Manchester United legend has gone from dropkicking fans to taking them on holiday with Looking FC, a travel company that offers ‘pilgrimages’ to the world’s biggest football clubs and stadiums.

The package holidays last for three days and four nights, and include world-famous football destinations like Manchester, Liverpool, Buenos Aires, Paris, Milan and Madrid.

@lookingfc.official / Instagram

The holidays include match tickets for massive fixtures like Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield, Real Madrid v FC Barcelona’s El Clásico at Madrid’s Bernabeu, and a PSG v Marseille Le Classique at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Also included will be ‘football chant workshops’, walking tours and tactics briefings.

The inspiration for the venture was to reconnect fans with the ‘passion’ of the game, as well as educate them on the history and the culture of clubs and stadiums.

Cantona said of Looking FC: “I would like to believe some people still believe in passion and in the soul of the game… And some people are still interested in the history and communities around these iconic clubs – the people, the cities and the stadiums.

Looking FC

“Yet today you find some people are ‘fans’ of a club who don’t even know its real history – why the club was created and by what kind of people.

“I think it’s important and that’s why we are doing these trips.

“These Looking FC trips are a way to allow people to experience the euphoria of the games but also the passion, the history and the community around the clubs.”

Looking FC is a partnership with travel start-up Dharma, and prices start from £1,242 per person. For more information, head over to the Looking FC website.

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Travel

Fifteen countries have banned all travel from the UK

Australia, New Zealand and Japan are all on the list

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Bernard Spragg & Florian Weiss / Wikimedia Commons

As Omicron Covid cases continue to rise, fifteen countries have quietly banned British tourists from crossing their borders.

While the UK has introduced its own strict travel restrictions in a bid to prevent the spread of the new variant, these countries have effectively banned all British tourists from visiting their destinations. 

Here are the countries which have banned UK travel according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office:

@lucidtech / Wikimedia Commons

Australia

Despite only just reopening its borders after a two year-long closure, Australia has announced that people can only enter if they are exempt or have been granted an individual exemption.

These exemptions are Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Benin

The West African country of Benin has limited all its border crossings to ‘extreme necessity’, meaning that entry and exit must be authorised in liaison with bordering countries.

As it stands, British tourists are not permitted to cross the border.

Bhutan 

Bhutan, which borders China, India, and Tibet, has closed its borders to all foreign nationals, British citizens included.

The Royal Government of Bhutan has not yet specified when the country will re-open to foreign visitors.

Keith Roper / Flickr

China

The Chinese authorities have banned all flights from the UK, though entries from a number of other countries is still possible. 

This measure will be subject to future review but, according to the government website, no date has yet been given.

Falkland Islands

While the Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory, current visitor restrictions mean all tourists – British included – are not permitted to visit, including via cruise vessels.

Friends of residents are permitted to visit if sponsored by an Island resident who is present in the Falkland Islands at the time of arrival, though these visitors will be subject to the same quarantine requirements as all other visitors.

Indonesia 

While commercial flights are continuing to operate to and from Indonesia, tourist visas for British Nationals are currently unavailable. 

Israel

Non-Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter Israel, unless they have a special entry permit from a dedicated ‘Exceptions Committee’.

Officials announced on Sunday that the UK and Denmark has been added to its ‘red list’ of countries that Israelis are forbidden to visit. 

Pixabay

Japan 

On November 30th, Japanese officials announced that all foreign nationals – British tourists included – who do not have existing resident status are not permitted to enter Japan for any purpose, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The travel ban was originally put in place for one month, though this is subject to review.

Laos

The government of the Lao PDR has suspended the visa on arrival service at all international entry points.

There are also no visas being issued to people travelling from a country with existing cases of Covid, including the UK.

Malaysia 

Entry to Malaysia for British nationals is currently prohibited.

However, some exemptions do apply, including: British nationals with permanent resident status, resident pass, My Second Home Programme (MM2H) pass, expatriates of all categories, including professional visit passes as well as dependants pass, spouse to Malaysian nationals (spouse visa) and students and temporary employment passes.

Myanmar

New tourist visa applications have been suspended for those wanting to visit Myanmar, located in South East Asia.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) also advises against all but essential travel to Myanmar, based on recent political events.

Ministry of Justice of New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand, which has operated some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, has closed all its borders to international arrivals, including the UK.

Travel to New Zealand while the border is closed is still possible, but only if you are considered to have a critical purpose to travel.

Suriname

Suriname, found in South America, has closed all its borders amid Covid-19 concerns.

According to the Foreign Office, all international borders will remain closed for the foreseeable furture.

Taiwan

Taiwanese authorities have announced a temporary ban on foreign nationals entering Taiwan, though there are some exemptions.

These include: ARC/APRC/Gold Card holders, foreign spouses of Taiwan passport holders and their children under the age of twenty, international students and foreign professors and researchers.

Vietnam

Vietnam has suspended visa waivers, issuing of visas and the entry into Vietnam for all foreign nationals, Brits included, apart from a few exceptions for citizens. 

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Travel

Lindt has a ‘Willy Wonka-style’ chocolate museum and tour with world’s biggest chocolate fountain

This looks amazing!

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Lindt & Sprüngli

Lindt has opened a ‘Willy Wonka-style’ chocolate museum and you don’t need a golden ticket to get in! 

Dedicated to the history and production of one of Switzerland’s most delicious exports, which dates back to 1845, this place gives Willy Wonka a run for his money. 

The museum contains the world’s highest free-standing chocolate fountain standing a whopping 9.3 metres high, circulating 1,000 litres of liquid delicious chocolate.

Lindt & Sprüngli

The huge exhibition space spans 1,500 square metres and gives you an insight into each aspect of the chocolate world through each different and specially designed room. 

The Chocolate History room will show guests the 5,000 year-long history of chocolate, and the Swiss Pioneers room explains how Switzerland became the home of chocolate.

There’s also a real-life factory that will demonstrate exactly how modern production actually works – plus you’ll get to taste springs of white, dark and milk chocolate in the Unlimited Chocolate Tasting room.

Lindt & Sprüngli

Then there’s the wackiest room of all, the ‘Innovation Lab’, where you can get any of your wildest chocolatiest questions answered. 

The Chocolate Factory – sorry, Lindt Home of Chocolate – is open in Zurich, and is well worth a trip to Switzerland for.

Get ‘golden tickets’ and find out more info here.   

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