Plus ‘midnight sun’ holidays in Scandinavia, direct flights to the Philippines, and eco-friendly snow deals in Banya, Bulgaria
The London Surf Film festival in Hammersmith, which runs from 31 October to 3 November, celebrates all things wave-related with film, music and expert Q&A sessions. There’s also the chance to make your own hand-plane with the people behind Otter Surfboards, a Cornish company helping to raise the appeal of bodyboarding.
Fancy seven nights at a five-star hotel in Funchal, Madeira, including flights, for just £419pp? Or big discounts on a night in a posh London hotel or a beach holiday to Antigua? Sign up to Guardian Escapes, our new members’ club, for up to 70% off luxury hotels: it’s free and all you need to do is enter your email address at guardianescapes.com.
Mexican food fans and Masterchef viewers will know Thomasina “Tommi” Miers as the excitable posh one who won the show in 2005 and subsequently set up the Wahaca restaurant chain to champion Mexican “market eating”. Her latest venture is an eight-night food tour of the country, including a late-night taco crawl in Mexico City and eating grasshoppers at Oaxaca’s Abastos market. The Real Food Adventure Mexico departs on 6 December, from £615pp, flights extra.
• 0844 4998487, intrepidtravel.com
The tiny Bulgarian village of Banya, close to better-known Bansko, is great for learners and improvers. It is built on a dormant volcano, so what it lacks in nightlife it makes up for in natural spas for après-ski soaks. Packages with Snomads, in a 10-person eco-friendly chalet, cost from £199, flights extra.
• 07988 243262 snomads.co.uk
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is launching direct flights from Heathrow to Manila on 4 November, the first non-stop flight since 1998, when Philippine airlines were banned from EU airspace due to safety concerns. PAL has now implemented international standards. Foreign Office advice is still to avoid ferry travel in the Philippines, after two large ferries capsized this year.
• From £593 return, philippineairlines.com
Winter northern lights trips to Scandinavia are hugely popular, but they may soon be rivalled by “midnight sun” summer holidays. Bookings for midnight sun packages in the Arctic Circle were up 50% this year on 2012, according to Simply Sweden. Director Chris Graham says: “More and more people are drawn to the bizarre experience of wearing sunglasses at midnight.”
Family accommodation and style don’t always go together, but new holiday rental company Kid & Coe (kidandcoe.com) plans to fix that. Its 100 houses (so far) in the US, UK, Italy and India are aimed at design-loving parents. All have magazine-ready looks, practical equipment, and a guide to family-friendly activities written by local parents.
Tour de Yorkshire
Hotels along the Tour de France Grand Départ route have been quick to launch pre-tour cycling packages after this week’s route announcement. Stage 1 takes in the extensive Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire, and its Swinton Park hotel (01765 680900, swintonpark.com) has a two-night stay from £190pp full-board, including bike hire and route maps. Stay on the day (5 July) and you can pay extra for a private roadside viewing spot. A lower-budget option on the estate is the Bivouac (01765 535020, thebivouac.co.uk), with rustic cabins and yurts, and bunks from £44. The stage ends in Harrogate (where Mark Cavendish will be aiming for a sprint win), and here the swish Rudding Park (01423 871350, ruddingpark.co.uk) has a two-day break with guided rides, massages, tour films and training, from £407pp.
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