Omega offers seven night escorted holiday to Devon and Cornwall from Norwich

Omega Holidays, a specialist tour operator for individuals and groups, has announced a new seven-nights escorted holiday by air from Norwich Airport to the countryside of southwest England to cover Devon, Cornwall and the Eden Project.

Departing on Sunday July 26, 2015, the escorted tour will offer tourists and travellers looking to explore the Southwest countryside with interesting historical facts and stories about the place and exploration of the quaint towns and landscapes of the two regions of Devon and Cornwall. Included in the tour is the Eden Project, said to be one of the largest greenhouses in the world and Cornwall’s most notable landmark. Eden’s giant biomes maintain miniature eco-systems that enable a varied range of plants to flourish.

The holiday includes return flights, seven night’s three-star hotel accommodation that includes three course dinner and full English breakfast, transfers and admission to the Eden Project, and full day excursions to Torquay and Dartmoor National Park. The holiday is priced from £599 per person.

Dino Toouli, Head of Sales at Omega Holidays, said ‘Having successfully operated an evening excursion to view the Northern Lights earlier this year, and a new programme of holidays to the Black Forest region of Germany and Austria this summer, we are delighted to add this fully escorted holiday to the popular regions of Devon and Cornwall from Norwich International.’

Richard Pace, Norwich Airport Operations Director & General Manager added, ‘The south west is a very popular summer destination and we are happy that Omega Holidays have taken the opportunity to include this region to the summer flights from Norwich this summer, we are sure this will prove to be a popular option for local holidaymakers.’

Omega Holidays will also offer a flight only option on the service from £99.00 return.

 

Bristol Airport launches campaign in Devon and Cornwall

Bristol Airport has launched a marketing campaign across Devon and Cornwall on September 2, to raise the region’s awareness of more than 100 destinations served.

The campaign, which highlights the range of routes available to passengers across the South West, comes after the significant growth in market share in the two counties, as Bristol is increasingly seen as the airport of choice in the region. Citing CAA Passenger Survey 2012 data, Bristol Airport said that its market share has risen since 2008, when it accounted for around one fifth of the market for air travel in Devon and Cornwall.

According to data from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, nearly a third (33 percent), of air journeys made by residents of Cornwall have an origin or destination at Bristol Airport, with the number even higher at 35 percent for Devon. In total, nearly one million passengers from Devon and Cornwall used Bristol Airport last year.

As part of the campaign, Bristol Airport will organise print, radio and outdoor advertising across the region. In addition, the team will also visit travel agents in both counties during the course of the week. The campaign focuses on the range of destinations available from Bristol, offering a convenient alternative to the long trip to airports in London.

Shaun Browne, aviation director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘Air connectivity is vital to people across the South West, both for business and leisure purposes. Without flights to destinations across the UK and Europe parts of our region would be cut off from the many benefits that travel brings.

‘We have seen major structural changes across the regional airport market in the UK since the economic downturn, with the South West particularly hard hit by airfield closures. Our message to people in Devon and Cornwall is that Bristol Airport can fill the gap, with a great range of routes and services which mean that you do not have to go to London when you want a foreign holiday or need to do business overseas.

‘Access from the south via the M5 is good, and links to the rail network are better than ever with our Flyer bus operating between the Airport and Bristol Temple Meads station every ten minutes at peak times.

‘Serving the wider region is an important part of our vision, both through a comprehensive outbound route network or as a gateway to overseas visitors exploring the fantastic attractions the South West has to offer.’

Optimism over Exeter Airport sale

Exeter Airport in Devon, UK, has been sold to Patriot Aerospace, a division of Rigby Group Plc.

The value of the deal, which will see ownership of the airport transfer from multi-national infrastructure group, Balfour Beatty, has not been disclosed, but the airport’s managing director, Matt Roach, speaking on behalf of the 305 workers employed by the airport, said that the sale was a ‘really positive development.’

The Rigby Group, headed by its chairman, Sir Peter Rigby, already has aviation interests with British International Helicopters, a helicopter operator with 25 aircraft and 100 employees, based in Newquay, Cornwall, UK, and a part ownership of Coventry Airport in the West Midlands.

Belfour Beatty had owned its 60 percent stake in Exeter Airport since its purchase from Devon County Council for £60 million in 2007. Galaxy, a fund comprising French and Italian investors and the European Commission, owns the remaining stake in the airport.

Matt Roach said, ‘There’s been a lot of speculation recently and this shows the airport has a viable future. We have a new owner that believes in the success of the airport, and for the staff that’s really positive. The Rigby Group have a passion for aviation so it’s a really good partnership to build on the existing strengths of the airport and further develop it in the future.’

Sir Peter Rigby said, ‘We believe in the importance of regional airports and of their value to the local and regional communities and of their important contribution and place in the local economies. We are intent on developing our aviation business within the Rigby Group and we have made a significant acquisition here, and recently with the acquisition of British International Helicopters in the course of the last month or so.

‘We now intend to consolidate both of these opportunities with a view to being a leading group in the sectors of regional airports and helicopter operations. Approximately 450 jobs are now sustained in our aerospace activities.’

British low-cost regional airline, Flybe employs 900 people at the airport and is its major carrier. Flybe’s managing director Andrew Strong, said, ‘Flybe welcomes the sale of Exeter airport to the Rigby Group Plc and looks forward to working with the new owners to develop services from Exeter and improve the passenger experience at the airport. Given the recent fare increases at Bristol Airport, Exeter should be able to capitalise on its position as the premier airport in the South West and the next few years at the airport look set to be an exciting period.’

 

South West Coast Path in need of walker’s donations

Owing to erosion caused by months of almost continuous wet weather, the South West Coast Path Association is asking for donations from walkers to help it fund repairs.

The path runs around England’s southwest tip between Minehead in Somerset and Poole in Dorset, including all of Devon and Cornwall’s coastline, making it the longest of the UK’s National Trails and one of the most popular with walkers and tourists. However, continuous heavy rain has caused landslips and erosion that has led to the closure of several sections of the path for safety reasons.

A statement on the South West Coast Path website says, ‘The prolonged record breaking rainfall has made the cliffs along which much of the Coast Path runs far more unstable than normal. Over the past month we’ve had an unprecedented number of cliff falls, landslips and flood damage that have meant that we’ve had to divert many sections of the path.’

The organisation intends to realign the paths once the coastline in the affected areas has stabilised, and hopefully in time for the busy Easter holiday period, but the cost of carrying out the unprecedented level of repairs is outside anything that has been budgeted for. It has, therefore, resorted to asking walkers to undertake sponsored walks on the path to help it to raise the necessary funds.

The Association is tying in the fund raising with its Great South West Walk, which has been organised to celebrate its 40th anniversary this coming spring. The event is scheduled for April and May and will involve relay type walks of between 3 and 18 miles around the entire path that it is hoped will attract at least 50 walkers per day. With walkers encouraged to raise £50 per walk through sponsorship, it is hoped that the event will make a worthwhile contribution to the estimated £250,000 repair bill.

Full details of the event can be found at http://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/40th-anniversary.

3 British staycations which tick all the right boxes

If you’re already planning your summer holiday for next year, you might be interested to learn that many Brits are choosing a staycation i.e. a holiday in Britain. As holiday budget are tighter and the economy struggles, many parts of the UK will experience a boost to their summer season. Whether you’re looking to explore and soak in history, play on the beach or rejuvenate in tranquil surroundings, Britain has it all and here we look at 5 types of holiday in Britain that tick all the right boxes:

1. Beach Holidays

A holiday at the seaside is the quintessential British holiday. For generations, a beach holiday has been a favourite with us Brits, after all, what’s there not to like. The beaches in England are some of the safest beaches in the World with RNLI coastguards making sure everyone is safe and sound. Wales, Devon and Cornwall provide the most popular beach holidays with resorts such as Newquay (Cornwall), Tenby (Wales) and Woolacombe (Devon) catering for every holidaymaker with a wide selection of hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites available. Caravan holidays in Devon are one of the most popular type of holidays for families with caravan parks offering cheap prices, great amenities and loads to do. Camping in Devon is also a firm favourite for those holidaying on a budget – popular with younger groups, couples, families and of course surfers looking to surf the fantastic surf spots of Woolacombe and Croyde.

2. Glamping Holidays

First off, if you haven’t been glamping (glamorous camping) you won’t be the only ones. Only recently have these holidays become popular and the ‘glamping’ word become what it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about. Spend a weekend in a bow-topped caravan in the middle of an apple orchard in Somerset; a few days in a yurt in the Lake District overlooking Britain’s tallest peak; or you can spend your holiday in a luxury Iron Age roundhouse – complete with thatched roof on the picturesque Bodrifty Farm. Glamping holidays are perfect for those that love the great outdoors and something a little different.

3. Canal Boat Holidays

Canal boating holidays have become more and more popular over the years, especially with families. It’s hard to imagine anything more traditionally British than meandering through countryside canals on a narrowboat, breathing in the country air. This is a holiday for those who like relaxation, nature and exploration whilst spending quality time with loved ones. A week living on a hired narrowboat from a company like Anglo Welsh and working the locks is great fun for young and old and using the canal boat as your base, go off and explore local towns, shops and restaurants at your own pace.

Hirst creation causes controversy in seaside town

An artwork by Damian Hirst has caused controversy while being erected on the pier of the Devon seaside town of Ilfracombe in the UK.

Hirst’s bronze statue is a 65-foot high, 25-ton depiction of a pregnant woman, standing and holding a sword aloft. She is naked, and viewed from her left side she appears in standard human form. The right side view, however, has her skin peeled back to reveal her muscular and skeletal structures and the foetus.

The sculpture, named Verity, was hauled into the seaside town on a flatbed trailer. It was cast in more than forty pieces and is likely to take several days to assemble and install.

Ilfracombe’s local authority believes that the statue will boost tourism and raise the town’s profile, hence its acceptance of Hirst’s offer of a 20-year loan of the artwork. However, local residents that gathered to witness Verity’s arrival were predictably critical, with the Daily Mail carrying quotes from them that included, ‘it is a monstrosity,’ it is ‘demeaning to women,’ it is ‘eccentricity posturing as art’, ‘obscene and disgusting,’ and, ‘melt it down and get Anthony Gormley to create a suitable sculpture for Ilfracombe, where families spend their holidays.’

Damian Hirst is no stranger to controversy; with the 47-year old artist having created several works of art that have been the subject of debate over the years. Foremost among these were works that included animals preserved in formaldehyde, most famously a shark and a calf. Such notoriety has only served to make him more popular with his devotees and has helped to propel him on to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Head to Devon for Exeter Festival

Devon will be playing host to the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink once again from April 13th to 15th this year.

To be held at Northernhay Gardens and Exeter Castle Courtyard, the annual event is designed to showcase the quality and variety of produce in south-west England, allowing visitors to meet and buy from local growers and sellers.

High-profile chefs, led by master cook Michael Caines, will be showing off tips and tricks at the festival’s cookery theatre, with the likes of James Nathan, Mat Follas and Jackie Kearney to be in attendance.

After Dark Parties will take place on both the Friday and Saturday, offering live music performances, food stalls and real ale and cider to drink, while Little Cookies events will also be available to help children learn some basic culinary skills.

The festivities run from 10:00 to 18:00 BST on the Friday and Saturday, with Sunday’s events wrapping up an hour earlier.

Day tickets cost £7.50 for adults, £1 for those under 16 and are free for under-fives, while entry to the After Dark parties requires a separate payment of £7 at the door or £5 if booked in advance.

Gourmands can find all manner of last minute hotels in the area at LateRooms.com, including the Acorn Lodge in Torquay.

Further details on the event can be found at www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

Walking on Water and Surfing Inside

For those of us who merely gawp at the colourful dots gracefully zigzagging down titanic walls of water, watching the surfing experts of the world tear through rolls of turquoise tunnels before effortlessly gliding through the shallows of the tide onto the beige beach, leaving the roar of the crashing sea howling behind them.  A dangerous sport, which requires a momentous amount of skill, bravery, fitness and refined technique; consequently making surfing an activity most of which would not even dare to attempt.
However, Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks in North Devon has a state of the art sports complex due to open in May 2012, which will be home to the first inside surfing stimulator.  Guests can bypass the usual half hour gruelling treadmill workout and a frustrating fifteen minute spat on the cross trainer to experience what surfing would really be like. The machine provides a surfing board positioned on an artificial wave which generates a thin sheet of water flowing over a stationary curl of liquid. I daresay a degree of balance and patience would be required before one can begin to enjoy the activity, yet Woolacombe Bay assures that anyone from beginners to experienced surfers can practice the sport in a safe and controlled environment.
The exhilarating and unique stimulation will be supervised by an army of qualified instructors and professional surfers on hand to provide advice and encouragement. Westsuits, various boards and all other additional equipment is provided to ensure you have a very realistic, exciting and predictably wet experience. Condensing the thrill of riding a wave and maintaining a stabilised position on the rolling thrash of the current beneath you is sure to draw hoards of budding-surfers to the complex.
Woolacombe Bay is also breaking away from traditional fitness activities; a spinning class or water aerobics session will surely be eclipsed by the large handful of thrilling features also due to be launched in May. A new multi-levelled high ropes course, a looming rocky climbing wall, plunging bungee run and bouncing bungee trampoline are just a few of the in house jewels guest can explore.
The climax of all the newly unveiled sporting sensations is the distinctive ‘Wateralkerz’, the name alone triggering a mixture of textured questions from those who’d have thought walking on water was a concept that belonged in biblical times. However, guests can also experience what walking on water would really be like due to the genius creation of an inflatable, inimitable ‘Wateralkerz’ pool.
So, if you are tired of those tedious lengths in your local swimming pool or can’t muster enough energy to pull yourself repeatedly back and forth on the rower machine, Woolacombe Bay perhaps could be the answer.  Woolacombe Bay can dissolve the harsh cost of trekking it all the way over to the mecca of surfers in Australia, when all you really need to do is hop on the M5 for a taster of surfing, climbing and the miracle water walking.

 

Article by Emma Boyle