Hook of Holland, one of the grandest stations in Europe, is to be re-born as a stop on the Rotterdam Metro. Hoek van Holland Haven, as the station is officially known, opened in 1893. At the time, the Thomas Cook journal, Cook’s Excursionist, reported excitedly: “The Great Eastern Railway Company’s new route to the Continent from Harwich, via the Hook of Holland, is now open.
In what is sometimes perceived as the golden age of flying in the mid-twentieth century, air travel was an event, where - depending on the airline - planes had piano bars, inflight sommeliers, and waiters in white suits who dished out caviar. Now, airlines are ditching free food all together and nightmarish diagrams of cabins where passengers are packed in like sardines don’t bode well for the future of air travel.
Valencia may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about a foodie break, but the city – and indeed the whole Valencia region – is one of the top gourmet destinations in Spain with gastronomic events throughout the year. Ryanair started a new route from Glasgow last weekend, and a Monarch flight from Birmingham begins on June 22nd. Although Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, the main monuments and shops are walkable in a 20-minute radius around the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (1).
It is extremely welcoming for LGBT travellers too with French Polynesia allowing same-sex weddings. Clients we’ve sent there who know the Maldives always say it’s a cut above, so whilst the journey is gruelling, it’s totally worth it. Typically, you’re met at Bora Bora airport by a hotel team who lavish you with a lei and whisk you to your overwater bungalow.
As spring has arrived, there’s more reason - and light - to spend an increasing amount of your time outside. But with the change in season comes April showers (which aren’t exactly confined to April in the UK). So you’ll need a great waterproof to keep the weather at bay and stop it from spoiling your fun. The weight, style, waterproof rating and other extra features your jacket will need depends on whether you’ll be doing heavy duty mountain biking or more leisurely walks around parks.
There are still plenty of Spaniards who would pay good money to spit on the grave of General Francisco Franco, more than 40 years after his death. There are others who would happily part with the €9 admission fee to come and lay flowers on the plain stone that bears his name – but not his rank – inside the Basilica of the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen. Neither form of tribute is now permitted in the church, where Spain’s former military leader lies surrounded by the bones of followers and enemies alike.
The lure of a good floating hotel never fades. The grandiose liner is also an exhibition space, with a long-running exhibition of Princess Diana’s clothes. Huge, luxury boats may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think Paris, but this catamaran-style hotel has been making waves since its June opening.
Sir Richard Branson has invoked the memory of his 1980s battle with British Airways in the “Dirty Tricks” scandal, in a lament about the erasure of the Virgin America brand. Last year Alaska Airlines paid $2.6bn (over £2bn) for Virgin America. When the deal was sealed in December, the chief executive of the Alaska Air Group, Brad Tilden, said: “Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are different airlines, but we believe different works – and we're confident fliers will agree.
“It is stunning that such a keen isolationist Brexiteer is willing to hand control and profits to another country,” said one of the Transport Secretary’s constituents on learning of his decision to hand the South Western rail franchise to an Anglo-Hong Kong consortium, First MTR. “If the Hong Kong government can run our railway, why not the British state?,” said Catherine — an Epsom resident and rail passenger who asked for her last name to be withheld. Chris Grayling’s other constituents in Epsom and Ewell will be watching closely to see if the new South Western rail franchise delivers the promised improvements.
As one of the world’s biggest airlines tries to wriggle its way out of a row about passengers’ clothing, there are calls for the strict dress code for airline travellers with free tickets to be eased. Shannon Watts, a passenger flying on United from Denver airport on Sunday, noticed that some young travellers at a nearby gate were being told to change. The airline tweeted in response: “United shall have the right to refuse passengers who are not properly clothed via our Contract of Carriage”.
The recent announcements that passengers will have to check laptops and tablets into the hold of the plane on flights into the US and UK has been met with mixed reactions. The regulations state that passengers may no longer use electronic devices bigger than smartphones on-board a plane, and 19 airlines that fly from countries in the Middle East and North Africa to the UK and US have been affected. Royal Jordanian Airlines, for example, are an airline known for their fun, lighthearted tone on social media.
Turkey is having its moment in the spotlight this month, but for all the wrong reasons. President Erdogan has placed his relations with the EU 'under review' as a result of Germany and the Netherlands refusing to allow referendum rallies in their countries. “Fethiye hasn't been this shaken since the 1957 earthquake,” says tour guide Tolga Kanik, as we stroll along the promenade beside the Aegean Sea.
What not to say to gay people in France, where to sit on a Swedish bus, and items not to be taken into a Mongolian yurt: Russian tourists now have an online briefing on cultural sensitivity abroad. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow has published some General Elements of Behaviour to help Russians avoid “undesirable incidents” abroad — as well as country-specific advice, which is particularly focused less-than-enlightened attitudes. In France, Russians are advised “not to address representatives of the LGBT community” with offensive words or gestures.
The current holder of the South Western rail franchise, Stagecoach, has demanded “detailed feedback” from the Department for Transport about why it lost out to Anglo-Hong Kong consortium First MTR to run the network from Britain’s busiest railway station, London Waterloo. The Stagecoach subsidiary, South West Trains, has doubled passenger numbers since privatisation. Stagecoach Group’s Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “We are proud to have operated the network under the South West Trains brand for more than 20 years and we are disappointed that we have been unsuccessful in our bid for the new franchise.
My first Bloody Mary is sparking a fire in my throat and the crawfish pie is cooling fast as I two-step round the floor with a French-speaking charmer sporting a well worn pair of boots and a fine cowboy hat. “Bienvenue au fais do do, chère,” he shouts, twirling me under his arm as the zydeco band plays on, a bluesy ensemble of accordion, drums, Cajun fiddle and frottoir (a washboard by a much more exotic name). It’s a mysterious, swampy land, a world away from New Orleans – and two-and-a-half hours in real time, obliging us to leave the city before dawn to make it by opening time at the Cafe des Amis.
The airport which is the main target of the Government’s ban on electronic devices has a security flaw that renders rigorous checks futile, The Independent can reveal. After clearing six separate security hurdles at Istanbul airport, passengers bound for London Heathrow mingled in the gate area with newly arrived travellers who had faced no extra checks, The Independent has discovered. Starting at the weekend, the Department for Transport made it mandatory for airlines flying from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia to the UK to remove laptop computers, tablets and e-readers from passengers' cabin baggage.
Pilots have resting cabins where they can sleep on long-haul flights. Flight attendants and pilots need their rest as well — but you won't catch them snoozing in economy class. While flight attendants sleep on bunk beds in tiny crew rest areas, pilots get their own separate sleeping compartments, where they can spend up to half of their time on a long flight.
Last year, Debbie Taylor went on holiday to Dubai. A mother of three, she was holidaying without her children. In 2014, Kate Middleton was pilloried when she and William jetted off for a couple’s break in the Maldives, leaving the then seven-month-old Prince George at home with the nanny.
A nice afternoon tea never goes amiss but sometimes you need something a little more special than scones and finger sandwiches. For teas as individual as mother dearest, try this lot. Not only is Ballygally Castle a great base from which to explore some of the main filming locations of the popular series, but they’ve also come up with a themed afternoon tea.
The Crescent from New York to New Orleans, the Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland and the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles — these and many other great American trains could be about to reach the end of the line, by order of President Trump. Long-distance passenger trains in the US are operated by Amtrak. The White House document, entitled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again”, says the move “would allow Amtrak to focus on better managing its State-supported and Northeast Corridor train services”.
“The Lidl of long-haul flying” — that was how I summed up my most recent experience of flying Air France, on a trip from Paris to Havana and back. Over the years, I have flown to Cuba on all manner of planes and airlines: the Ilyushins of Aeroflot and Cubana, an Airbus A300 belonging to the now-defunct Venezuelan airline, Viasa, the dull old Boeing 767s of British charter firms and even a 757 belonging to Monarch that inconveniently flew over Cuba to San Jose in Costa Rica first. Many of these planes had to refuel in Newfoundland, adding hundreds of miles to the journey and several hours to the experience.
In a week when battery-powered electronic devices bigger than a mobile phone were banned from the cabins of dozens of UK- and US-bound planes, an American start-up plans to launch planes powered by stored electricity.
During the Thursday morning rush hour on London’s Jubilee Line, that pre-recorded invitation did not apply. The previous afternoon, a pathetic thug had driven a car at high speed into a group of schoolchildren and other pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. While the police inspected the crime scene of his murderous rampage, Westminster Tube station was closed.