Saturday, 25 June 2016

Autumnal travel bargains

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job as a teacher.  However, when I see the prices of flights outside school holidays, I can't help but wish I was free to fly whenever my little heart desires.

There are many bargains to be had this autumn and, with the summer crowds having dispersed, October and November are the perfect months for exploring what Europe has to offer.

So, if you're lucky enough to be free of the school holiday restraints, you should grab your credit card and get booking...

What about Basel?  A wonderfully cosmopolitan city with borders in Switzerland, France and Germany, flights are £12 return from London in November.  Snow, crisp mountain views and a European flavour to savour, no matter how you voted in the referendum!

On the Baltic coast of Poland, Gdansk comes in at £16 return in October from Leeds, London or Manchester.

Maybe you'd like to visit Verona for only £16 from Stansted?  Follow in Romeo and Juliet's footsteps and enjoy the city of love.

And, for only £17 from London, Madrid with its plazas and tapas is a perfect week's getaway.  With some of the world's best art galleries, the Spanish capital is a delight.

Spend just £18 and you can enjoy a week of wine, flying from Stansted to the vibrant city of Bordeaux, with its southwestern French climate and mild autumnal afternoons.

These are a few suggestions worth considering but your choice of destinations is phenomenal.  Have a search for flights and, I promise you, you'll be jetting off in no time at all.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen for £25

This October half-term, why not take the family to Copenhagen?  With flights at just £25 return, a quick jaunt across the North Sea will transport you all to a vibrant and trendy city with much to offer all generations.

Flights can be found from Luton with Ryanair or Easyjet, and mixing and matching the two airlines will give you flexibility.  For example, the Ryanair flight is best-timed for your outward journey and Easyjet's evening flight home allow an extra day's sightseeing at no extra cost.

This trip can be done with only one night's accommodation cost.  So, for a mere £200, a family of four have a delightful Danish package this autumn.  

What's to do once you get there though...

The National Museum in Copenhagen is a real gem.  Viking history comes to life and the adventures through the layers of Norse culture unravel in front of the children's eyes.  Entry is free for under 18s.

Founded in 1843,  Tivoli Gardens is where fun comes alive in the middle of the city.  This amusement park offers thrills and spills for the young (and young-at-heart) yet there is an oasis of calm in the manicured plants and pathways which meander through the lush foliage.  

The Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery) is another gem in this amazing city.  Free for under 18s, the artwork displayed in this architectural masterpiece is second to none.  

And, of course, what trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a visit to see The Little Mermaid and her pensive stare out to sea?  Based on local boy Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, this bronze sculpture is a dream for selfie lovers!  

Another great thing to do in Copenhagen is to see the views of the city, and across to Sweden, from The Tower at Christiansborg Palace.  An elevator rise to the top is free and allows you a bird's eye view of the capital.

Pomp and heritage come for free with the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace.  This event occurs daily at 12pm and the children will enjoy watching the 'Den Kongelige Livgarde' marching through the streets of Copenhagen. 

Seriously consider Copenhagen for a quick getaway this October half-term.  It won't leave you disappointed.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

October half-term break for £30

Milan is a city everyone should visit once in their lifetime and, with flights for October half-term coming in at £31 return, it's within realistic financial grasp.  Shiny Milano glimmers in the weak winter's sunshine and the marbled Duomo di Milano glows. seemingly smugly, from Piazza del Duomo. 

Whilst the interior of the cathedral offers a trove of treasures, the real highlight is the roof of the building.  Tourists can either take the effortless option of the elevator up to the towering terrace with its gargoyles and flying butresses or, like our family did, clamber up the 165 steps to the top.  The price is reduced if you embark on the challenge of walking up and, with children under six years old going free, this is a memorable adventure.  To see the children charging along the crest of a 14th century cathedral alongside the 135 spires and 3200 statues, and peering over the edge down towards the tiny specks of people below is a hair-raising experience.

Additionally, for the mums (and fashion-conscious dads), the window-shopping in Milan is incomparable.  The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is an epic centre of sartorial excellence, with its 19th century glass and iron architecture and its magnificent atruim.  Brands represented in this heaven for shoppers include Mario Prada's first ever shop (opened in 1913) and Gucci's flagship store.

Less than an hour from Milan (by train) is beautiful Bergamo with its medieval walls encapsulating thousands of years of history.  High up above città bassa (lower town), città alta (upper town) presides over the region and, if the walk proves too much for tired little legs, the modern funicular provides a fun alternative to an uphill hike.  Bergamo is one of those fabulous Italian towns where you can spend all day getting lost in the labyrinthine streets and waste  countless hours dipping into churches to view the stunning frescoes and beautiful altars.

So, for £30 each, what's to lose?  Autumn sun, Italian fashion and classical architecture are all waiting to be enjoyed.