Ryanair expands Bristol Summer ’24 routes, adds extra flights for Euros Quarter Final

Ryanair, the European budget airline, has announced the launch of new Summer ’24 routes from Bristol Airport, along with additional flights for the highly anticipated Euros 2024 Quarter Final between England and Switzerland in Dusseldorf.

The first flight of Ryanair’s new Summer ’24 route from Bristol to Fuerteventura took off to the skies on July 1, marking the beginning of a four-times-weekly service. On Thursday (July 4), the new Bristol to Prague route will also launch, initially operating four times per week and increasing to six flights per week in October. These routes are part of Ryanair’s expanded Summer ’24 schedule, offering customers more travel options at budget fares.

Ryanair’s Head of Comms, Jade Kirwan, said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to see the first flights our new Fuerteventura and Prague routes from Bristol take-off this week, with our exciting Bristol to Fuerteventura route starting from this morning (1st July) and our Bristol to Prague route following suit from Thursday (4 Jul). Both routes will operate 4 times per week, with our Prague route increasing to 6 flights per week in October, offering our customers even more choice at the lowest fares when booking their Summer getaways.

‘This summer Ryanair will operate 36 routes to/from Bristol Airport, including these new Fuerteventura and Prague routes, all available to book now at ryanair.com.’

In response to demand from English fans, Ryanair has also added extra flights from Stansted to Cologne and Dortmund ahead of the Euros 2024 Quarter Final between England and Switzerland in Dusseldorf this Saturday (6th July).

‘It’s been an epic summer of football so far and to celebrate England’s Quarter Final success, Ryanair has added extra flights from Stansted to Cologne and Dortmund so that more fans can make it to the iconic Dusseldorf Arena to see England take on Switzerland this Saturday’,

Kirwan said.

All new and additional flights are now available for booking on ryanair.com.

London and Paris launch new campaign to end US vacation procrastination

London and Paris have come together for the first time in tourism history in a bid to end US millennial vacation procrastination, according to a release by London and Partners.

The move comes as a new research found that US millennials are putting off activities compared to any other generation. From getting up in the morning to checking something off their bucket list, American 18-34 year olds are hitting the ‘snooze’ button on their life more than their Generation X and baby boomer counterparts, it said. The most common things that millennials put off include getting up when the alarm goes off as well as calling parents.

More significantly, more millennials are reportedly putting off taking a vacation from work (43 percent) and doing something on their bucket list (55 percent) than any other generation. For 35 years+, 36 percent put off taking a vacation from work and 49 percent put off pursuing things on their bucket list respectively, it said.

Following the findings of the research, London and Paris have come together to encourage people to travel, as only 1 in 10 millennial Americans (eight percent) having visited both cities, while over seven out of 10 (72 percent) have expressed a desire to visit both destinations as part of one vacation. Visit London, Paris Tourist Office and Eurostar are now promoting a campaign which urges US travellers to make #oneepictrip now to discover over 177 Michelin restaurants, 325 museums and galleries, 371 theatres and over 490 nightclubs across the two European capitals, separated by a short rail journey of just over two hours.

Laura Citron, chief executive of Visit London said: ‘Vacation procrastination seems to be a very real problem, with more people than ever putting off taking a break to check experiences off their bucket lists. We want to change that.

‘We know that once people experience London and Paris, they fall in love and want to visit again and again to discover more. Just over 2 hours apart, whether it’s enjoying an Instagrammable afternoon tea at Sketch in central London or hovering over Paris in Ballon Generali; riding down the Champs Elysees in a sidecar with Retro Tour Paris, or zipping up the Thames in a speedboat rib, visitors can flit easily between the two European capitals and uncover all they have to offer.

‘These are destinations that have inspired some of the most prolific minds in the world, from Shakespeare to Monet and that passion and vitality can be felt by all that make the journey.’

Pierre Schapira, Chairman of Paris Tourist Office said: ‘Let’s keep things simple: 2 incredible cities, 2 different cultures, a little more than 2 hours apart by Eurostar. If you’re someone who wants to get the most out of life, why pass up the opportunity to experience London and Paris in one go? With so many experiences on offer, you’ll need a whole lifetime. So, don’t wait! Start checking off those bucket list must-dos now.’

UK tourists get chance to see live show Kynren, tickets go on sale

Tourists and holidaymakers looking to explore England and its history next summer may treat themselves with the theatrical extravaganza – the open-air historical theatre event ‘Kynren – an epic tale of England’ – set to take place in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, starting July 2016.

According to a report by The Guardian, tickets are now on sale for the live action night show which will open on July 2, 2016. Tickets, which cost £25-£55 for adults and £19-£41 for children, are available for booking at kynren.co.uk. There will be 14 performances next summer.

Produced in collaboration with the team behind the live historical extravaganzas at French theme park Puy du Fou, the GBP31m show will be delivered by a cast of more than 1,000 members of the local community. It will be performed along a bend of the river Wear with Auckland Castle as its backdrop, on a stage measuring over 7.5 acres.

Kynren – which signifies the Anglo-Saxon word for generation – will take up to 8,000 spectators on a journey through 2,000 years of British history, from the Roman and Viking invasions through to the Industrial Revolution and the Second World War. More than half of Kynren’s cast is women – many of whom have been trained in stage sword fighting and archery. The lives of Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria will also be represented.

Kynren, which will be as much educational as it aims to be entertaining, is expected to attract thousands of locals and tourists. The Puy du Fou theme park, on which the show is based, opened in 1978 in the Vendee region of western France. Since then, its open-air theatrical performances have been seen by over 10 million people and the park welcomes two million visitors annually.

UK urged to focus on development of tourism experience

Following an increase in visitor numbers to the UK in the last year, both the UK’s government and tourism associations are calling increased focus on supporting the development of engaging and competitive tourism experiences.

The move comes as Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), which comprise 57 members and over 2,200 tourist sites, announced its members’ visitor figures for 2014.

More than 123 million visitors reportedly passed through the doors of top UK museums, galleries and other attractions in 2014, a 6.5 percent increase on the 2013 visitor numbers. The Commonwealth Games saw Scottish attractions register the greatest increase of almost a 10 percent increase, followed by London with an increase of 7.11 percent.

The British Museum remained the most popular visitor attraction overall for the eighth straight year with 6.7 million visitors, followed by the National Gallery, which saw a 6.4 percent increase to 6.4 million visitors.

Bernard Donoghue, Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, has urged politicians to recognise the importance of tourism in their election manifestos. Donoghue said: ‘As we approach the general election we want to remind all political parties that no party mentioned tourism in their last general election manifesto, however these figures clearly demonstrate the popularity of our best loved attractions and the importance of tourism to the UK – it’s the fifth biggest industry and the third largest employer, generating £127bn per year.

‘I look forward to seeing all political parties spell out their strong support and ambitions for tourism, heritage, and arts and culture in their forthcoming manifestos.’

Meantime, the UK government’s Triennial Review of tourism bodies VisitEngland and VisitBritain also recommended a new focus for VisitEngland on supporting the development of competitive and attractive tourism experiences. The Review, which was put before Parliament by Helen Grant MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and Tourism), also called for the formal separation of VisitEngland, to create a truly independent body for England.

VistEngland’s chief executive, James Berresford, welcomed the new direction: ‘England has amazing tourism assets but they must be made available and presented in a way that meets people’s aspirations and to a standard that is comparable with other leading overseas tourism markets. This is essential to make sure people choose our country over others.

‘Our concentration of support for developing new tourism experiences will be a catalyst for the next generation of world class leisure and business tourism offerings.’


Opportunities to explore Britain’s fascinating Church heritage this September

The UK’s Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity protecting historic churches, is inviting visitors to explore Britain’s rich church heritage as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days from September 12 to September 15.

Over the four days, the Trust will give visitors the chance to revel in the architectural wonder and fascinating history of a variety of Medieval, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian churches. Included in CCT’s tour are St Edmund’s Church, Rochdale, regarded as ‘Britain’s greatest Masonic secret’ and St James’ Church in Cameley, Somerset, described as ‘Rip Van Winkle’s church’.

One of the best examples of ecclesiastical architecture, St Edmund’s Church has been compared to the Medieval Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland – the setting for Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. While St James’ was described by poet, John Betjeman, as ‘Rip Van Winkle’s Church,’ as it has been in a virtually untouched sleep for centuries and is home to a series of 12th to 17th century wall paintings described as decorative, figurative, imitative and didactic.

Travellers can also visit the partly ruined Holy Trinity Church in Wentworth, South Yorkshire, which began life as a church in the 15th century, but was converted to a mausoleum in 1877. Its 16th and 17th century features trace back to the influential Wentworth family, including the Earl of Strafford and Charles Watson-Wentworth.

The Church of Saint Thomas a Becket, Capel, Kent, a redundant Anglican church where Thomas a Becket is said to have preached, will host a music and arts festival displaying Medieval wall paintings, including Cain and Abel and Christ’s Entry to Jerusalem.

St. Oswald’s Church, Kirk Sandall, South Yorkshire, will organise craft activities for children and an exhibition on local history for parents. The Norman church features 13th century arcades, striking stained glass and exquisitely carved screens.

Another heritage site open for visitors this year is the picturesque Saint George’s Church, Esher, Surrey, built around 1540, which has elaborate 18th century carvings, a three-deck pulpit and a pew designed by the Blenheim Palace architect, John Vanbrugh. The Church will also house the North Downs Botanical Artists Exhibition during the Heritage Open Days.

Archivist, Stuart Sizer, will host a guided walk around the intricate church site of St. Mary’s, Barnetby, Lincolnshire, while at St John’s Church, Lincolnshire, visitors can view a demonstration of the age-old practice of Collyweston slating.

The Churches Conservation Trust has saved over 340 beautiful buildings, which attract almost two million visitors a year. The CCT collection includes unique examples of architecture, archaeology and art from 1,000 years of English history.

Plans for £2 billion movie theme park caught in spider’s web

The development of a major UK-based theme park has been halted by the discovery of a colony of rare spiders on the site.

The proposed development on the outskirts of London is backed by US-based filmmaking giant, Paramount, and at 842 acres the rival to Disneyland Paris would be the third biggest theme park in the world once it is completed. However, tiny arachnid, sitticus distinguendus, or the distinguished jumping spider, has shown that it has little respect for the movie company’s ambitious £2 billion plans by claiming squatters’ rights once it was discovered during an environmental audit of the brownfield site.

The park, located on the Swansombe Peninsular in Kent, was scheduled to be open to the public by 2019 and create 27,000 jobs in the process, but the rare spiders, which are only found at one other UK location in Essex, will need to be found a new home that meets their specialised requirements before development work starts.

London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), the theme park’s management company, is unfazed by the development however, and despite the spiders’ legal status not affording them any official protection, the developer has promised to do right by them. Currently the creatures are only listed as a UK Biodiversity Plan priority species by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and they would need to be included in the Wildlife and Countryside Act to achieve full protection in law.

The proposal is that the distinguished jumping spider colony will be moved to a site that offers similar high-alkali conditions to their current home, and LRHC will recommence its development, which will include Europe’s largest indoor water park and state-of-the-art rides.

New Visit England promotion co-funded by UK tourism operators

A new promotion by Visit England, the authority responsible for the development of English tourism, is to be co-funded by operators in the UK tourism industry.

Popular plasticine animation characters Wallace and Gromit will be fronting the government-backed campaign, which is to be known as ‘Great Adventure.’ It has a budget of £4 million, £2 million of which is in direct funding from the government. In addition, the campaign will be backed by a number of high street operators and travel agents who will be launching a range of holiday packages in the UK and offering £2 million in ‘in-kind’ support. The organisations involved will be announced soon.

From May 12, a television advert will be aired featuring Wallace and Gromit setting off to explore the UK’s finest destinations. The promotion has a duration of two months, and during that time the advert will also be run in cinema’s and on a range of other mass media formats. Meanwhile, activity by the tourism operators will continue until September. In addition to Visit England, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish tourist boards are also backing the promotion.

Nick Park, a director at Aardman Animations Ltd and the creator of Wallace and Gromit, commented, ‘Leisure time has always been very important to Wallace and Gromit, so it’s great to see them making this holiday choice.’

This latest campaign is the second phase of the ‘Holidays at Home are Great’ promotion that began last year. Commenting on the first phase, Hugh Robertson, the UK’s tourism minister, said, ‘The first instalment of the Holidays at Home campaign was a great success, generating growth of £300 million.’

VisitEngland promotes nation’s beaches

The best of England’s beaches are the subject of the latest promotion by VisitEngland, the board responsible for boosting English tourism.

The opportunity for taking short breaks at some of England’s most scenic beach locations is the focus of the new, multi-channel marketing campaign, which is aimed primarily at domestic tourism. VisitEngland is currently in a run of six promotional campaigns to be launched by March, of which the current beach project is the third. Four themes will be promoted during the programme, which is funded in part by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, and they are countryside, coast, heritage and culture.

The varied attractions of the English coastline will be highlighted by the promotion, and a number of coastal regions have agreed to be partners to the project. These are, Cumbria on England’s northwest coast, Dorset on the south coast, Hull and East Yorkshire on the northeast coast, the Scilly Isles off the southwestern tip of the country, North Devon and Exmoor, with coastline on the Bristol Channel, and Suffolk in the east of the country.

Commenting on the promotion, VisitEngland’s chief executive, James Berresford, said, ‘This exciting campaign is one of several launching this year with the aim of growing tourism in England. The campaign aims to inspire UK residents to ‘escape’ the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to take a short break in one of England’s most beautiful coastal destinations. This is a great example of the industry working in partnership to stimulate tourism and grow jobs throughout the country.’

Radio stations Classic FM and Gold FM are involved in the campaign, along with The Guardian and Mail on Sunday newspapers.

February half-term: cut the costs of a family holiday

Everyone with a family knows how expensive it can be to take your kids on holiday, especially if you can only bring them away when school has broken up. That’s why we’ve put together some tips on how you can cut the costs of a family break this February half-term, so you can have a trip away together without breaking the bank.

1.       Enjoy a staycation

Many people instantly think of a holiday abroad with sun, sea and sand when they hear family getaways. But we want to prove that you don’t need to jet away to a sunny location to enjoy yourself – although, this is, of course, sometimes nice too!

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fantastic places in the UK to visit, from Wales and Scotland to Dorset and London. Whether you want a city break where your kids can soak up some culture or you are more interested in spending some time in the fresh, open air, you’ll find something that will pique your interest in Britain. So, why do you need to go anywhere else?

Just think of how much money you will save on aeroplane tickets, particularly if you have a number of children to pay for!

2.       Visit friends or family

These days, lots of people have friends and family all over the country – we know we certainly do! So a school holiday like February half-term is a good opportunity to make the most of these connections and visit your loved ones.

If the kids’ grandparents live in different areas of the country, we’re sure they’d love to spend time with your little ones. This could be a great chance for them to bond with one another – and also give you a break for a few days! But if you’re planning to visit friends, we would check that they’re OK to have your brood around for a week or so, as you don’t want to outstay your welcome.

3.       Stay in a home away from home

You don’t have to just stay with relatives or close mates to enjoy seeing the beautiful sights in the UK, as you can rent a cottage, farmhouse or barn and relax in a home away from home. These types of accommodation are particularly popular among families, as you can completely relax in a property of your own, with the kids’ toys strewn in the living room, the children being noisy early in the morning and appliances such as a TV and DVD player on hand.

With hotels and B&Bs, you are forced to pay for lunches and dinners out for the entire family every night. However, with self-catering accommodation, you can save a lot of money by whipping up something for dinner yourself. We think this is particularly useful if you have kids with fussy palates, and will mean you don’t have to budget so much for your trip during this busy school holiday period.

What’s more, if you have siblings with children too, you can pitch in for a large holiday cottage in Wales from Sykes Cottages or somewhere else in the UK, and split the costs of the accommodation and food between you all, which will save you quite a bit.

4.       Get active and creative

You might have grand plans of taking your youngsters to many museums, galleries and activity centres during the February half-term, but it is not cheap to do this, and with every extra child and day spent away, the costs can spiral out of control.

We’d recommend finding things to do that don’t cost a penny. Bring your bikes along and you can go for long rides through the countryside, which will enable children to enjoy being outside in the fresh air. But, this is February and if the weather takes a turn for the worse, it is a good idea to have a back-up plan. In this case, we’d whip out paint sets, crayons, reams of paper and any other crafty bits you can find. You and your kids can have hours of fun trying to make something – just be sure you are able to clean up all your mess afterwards!