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Traveling to Britain this winter? Grab a BritRail Low Season Pass and save 20% on regular rates. A three-day consecutive pass (you indicate the three days of travel) is just $159. Or for $239, travel in first class. The BritRail pass services all of the national rail networks of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales). With trains traveling up to 160 miles per hour, and running every 15 minutes on the main lines, this pass can get you throughout the three countries quickly, maximizing what you visit during your stay. Passes are also available for four, eight, 15, and 22 days, as well as one month time periods. Flexible passes are also available at an additional cost. Travel now through February 29, 2012.
THE VALUE: Save 20% on a BritRail Pass and travel through three countries on a comprehensive network of train lines.
THE CATCH: The weather is not ideal in January and February.
THE DETAILS: To purchase your ticket, visit www.raileurope.com.
Ogling the recent viral video of a flock of starlings swooping and swirling about in a mesmerizing phenomenon known as murmuration (watch the stunning footage, shot by two tourists in Ireland, here) had me in a state of awe. So, I simply had to set out to uncover one of the best places for viewing the startling starling phenomenon firsthand (turns out that Somerset, England, is a hot-spot for just that). What’s more, watching the video brought to mind two recent closer-to-home experiences of a similar ilk that unfold in the most unexpected of places, with two U.S. cities that are quite simply for the birds (well, in one case, for the bats!). For culture vultures that swoop in on these urban locales for the regular city-pleasing sights, bites, and cultural might, there’s one unexpected surprise: The opportunity to engage in entirely unique bird- and bat-watching tours. From a bat bridge in Austin to stellar big bird-viewing in the Big Apple, these wildlife encounters comprise surprising and offbeat ecotourism experiences to spice up the standard city tour. Read more
Save big on flights to London when you book them last minute through American Airlines. Starting from $266, you can fly one-way to the capital of England and travel any time between now and March 2012. Once in London, discover the mix of historic charm and cutting-edge modernity that makes it one of the most acclaimed cities in the world. From the edgy art and music scenes to the world-class cuisine and nightlife, you’ll find no shortage of excitement during your stay. Also visit some of London’s most famous historical sites, including Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, and Big Ben.
Sample One-Way Round-Trip Fares to London:
• Hartford, CT: $266
• Boston: $291
• Baltimore: $291
• Washington, D.C.: $295
• Raleigh/Durham: $305
• Dallas: $315
• Chicago: $316
• Los Angeles: $331
• Albuquerque: $341
• Atlanta: $355
THE VALUE: Save up to 35% on similar flights during the same travel period.
THE CATCH: Hurry – you have to act fast to snag these last-minute deals!
THE DETAILS: Visit American Airlines to book this deal.
WE’VE GOT MORE: See our London Travel Guide for more trip-planning information.
A proper picnic demands plenty of planning: Before taking a single bite you have to prepare food, pack the basket, and find a dry patch of grass to sit on. Let someone else handle the muss and fuss at London’s The Lanesborough, which is offering “Butler Picnics” in nearby Hyde Park for the second year in a row. For the elegant affair, a butler accompanies guests to the park and serves morsels from the kitchen of Apsley’s, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant (think Cornish poached lobster with Beluga mayo, Taittinger Rose Champagne, and house-made artisan chocolates). Naturally, paper plates won’t suffice; picnickers dine with crystal glasses, Royal Worcester china plates, and linen napkins. Butler Picnics cost about $409 per person and are available from May to August. www.lanesborough.com
If you’re looking for the royal treatment in the luxe Cotswold countryside, simply slip in to the newly opened Ellenborough Park Hotel in Cheltenham Spa. This picturesque town has been an English health and holiday resort since the discovery of mineral springs in the early 18th century.
Today the five-star resort, which officially opened its doors May 1st, is located on 90 acres of idyllic pristine green land. The old English manor house is surrounded by quintessential farms filled with sheep grazing in the hilly countryside.
Dressing like the Queen of England isn’t necessarily advised – unless, of course, you’re sporting a traditional kilt. Starting this year, guests on Orient-Express’ The Royal Scotsman (one of our Top 10 Train Trips in Europe) may do just that. Kinloch Anderson, Her Royal Majesty’s kilt purveyor of choice, will let guests on the luxury train trip purchase handmade, wool skirts in their family tartan or the train’s own signature pattern, a mulberry, navy, and plum design. The service, starting at $310, sends travelers to a pre-departure fitting at Kinloch Anderson’s showroom, where kilts, argyle cut jackets, and tartan trousers await. The attire takes eight to 10 weeks to arrive, but guests may still don the traditional Scottish garb during the trip’s formal dinner, as Kinloch Anderson wares are available to borrow en-route.
Are you watching the royal wedding, not to see Kate’s gown, but in the hope of catching a glimpse of London scenery? British Airways’ spring and summer sale lets you see the city without spending a royal amount. This deal features airfare from a number of cities nationwide starting as low as $267 (one-way) and a free London Sightseeing pass, which gives free admission to over 55 attractions, including Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Windsor Castle! Best of all, this sale is valid for travel May 3 through August 31, which is the magical time of year when London is likely to be sunny and warm, and not gray and rainy. Book by May 5 to get this deal!
Sample Fares to London (O/W):
• Philadelphia: $267
• New York City: $304
• Boston: $304
• Chicago: $341
• Miami: $341
• Houston: $341
• Denver: $366
• Los Angeles: $366
THE VALUE: Tickets to London in May on other airlines are over $800, so this sale saves you over $200 on airfare alone. Plus, the London Sightseeing pass is valued at around $70, saving you even more!
THE CATCH: Taxes and fees are not included, and prices are one-way, based on round-trip purchase.
THE DETAILS: Click here to book with British Airways.
Travel as a vehicle for spiritual transformation is hardly a new notion – seekers have practiced the act of pilgrimage for as long as they’ve looked up to the skies and attempted communion with a higher power. Even in today’s short-attention-span society, setting out to honor the divine or ponder the mysterious is a time-honored tradition that refuses to wane with the changing tides of our technologically driven lives. This list of 10 sacred places (and the accompanying slideshow) showcases points of perceived power and peace around the globe, where the physical appears to meld seamlessly with the metaphysical whether due to awe-inspiring natural settings, reported ties to great gods or holy humans, or long-standing consecration as sites of worship and ritual.
Our list isn’t meant to be comprehensive. Sacred places mean many things to different people – zipping along an open highway, sailing a calm sea, or even hibernating inside on a cold winter’s morning can all bring about their own sort of peace. Where do you go to retreat from the world?
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.
The fifth and final party of a 2008 cruise ship cocaine smuggling scheme, Claudie Anglin, was sentenced to over ten years in prison by a British judge on August 10, 2010.
On October 19, 2008, four men were arrested while disembarking the P&O Arcadia in Southampton, England, after completing at 23-day Caribbean and transatlantic sailing. The men, searched by customs officials, were found with a total of 44 pounds of cocaine strapped to their bodies – one of the largest documented cases of drug smuggling via cruise ship. The four smugglers, Calvin Hylton, 41; Briony Dyce, 25; Natalie Quinn, 26; and Camille Dupee, 19 each received prison sentences of 12 years back in January of 2009.
Anglin, who was not a passenger aboard the Arcadia but was allegedly waiting at the cruise terminal for the other four members, appeared before the same court, admitting to his role in the scheme. Why this group of criminals chose a 23-day sailing on P&O Cruises, a line primarily known for catering to an older audience, remains a mystery. One would think that a younger, wilder cruise would be the more inconspicuous route. In fact, the authorities were tipped off by the ship’s security guard who found the group completely out of place amongst a sea of veteran travelers.
Book your own cruise without all the drama using our Travel Search price comparison tool.
When London’s intrusive (but necessary) security cameras and crammed Tube become too much for you, consider taking a scenic two-hour train ride to Halesworth, followed by a 20-minute taxi ride down winding roads and past ruby poppy fields to the seaside village of Southwold. Flanked by the North Sea, this endearing, 1,200-resident quintessential outpost in East Anglia is a vacation hot spot for upper crust Londoners and well-known for its Adnams brewery, quaint shops, colorful beach huts, lighthouse, and 623-foot pier.
Last month, I had the privilege of spending a weekend in Southwold. The town is like one of those life-sized ceramic villages displayed at Christmastime, dotted with cafés and tea rooms, bakeries, boutique clothing stores, bookshops, and bountiful fruit vendors with produce ripe for the taking. And the charm? Well, in this seafaring community it runs deep – all the way down to its residents. Mothers toting baby carriages, husbands escorting their wives through the shopping promenade, and customers waiting patiently in a line that spills out the local butcher’s door are common sights in Southwold and reminiscent of a bygone epoch.
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