Titanic Belfast – it didn’t rock my boat

It stands in the middle of a waste ground like a glittering Christmas bauble that is found months after the celebrations are over, lying in a dusty corner of the shed somewhere. It cost millions and it is now the biggest visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, surpassing the Giant’s Causeway. It’s Titanic Belfast, sitting pretty in the derelict urban space where industry once thrived. It shines, it sparkles, it grabs the eye. And yet, it looks weirdly out of place.

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HF Holidays – fine fellows celebrate a hundred years of outdoor holidays

Long before the words ethical or eco started creeping into the tourism industry’s boardrooms, there was one man who was quietly laying the foundations of fairness in travel. Thomas Arthur Leonard (or TA as he was known) founded HF Holidays in the UK a hundred years ago and it is still one of the leading providers of walking holidays in the UK and Europe. Although TA’s achievements have been relatively uncelebrated to date, the centenary of an organisation which still remains the only UK holiday provider that is a truly co-operative society, gives us a good opportunity to take stock of this pioneering philanthropist’s achievements.

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SailRail – a logistical love affair?

I have long been a fan of SailRail deals and wish there were a lot more of them. I have lost count of the amount of times I have travelled on the train and Ferry to Ireland, between London and Dublin, my two home towns, hopping on the 9.10 Virgin train at Euston and travelling direct to Holyhead, one of the most gorgeous routes which clings to the shores of North Wales, arriving at 12.50 in time to catch a variety of afternoon ferries. I am always in Dublin in time for tea and all for £44.50 single. A price that doesn’t go up during school holidays either. What’s not to love? For more information on how to book and what it costs, your absolute best and most up to date port of call is the inimitable Man in Seat 61.

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Climb every Mountain

I always secretly wanted to be Julie Andrews. Leading children merrily across Alpine pastures, with songs to fix every dilemma, and Christopher Plummer hanging on my every note. So, walking in the Alps in late May, (albeit French, not Austrian), with my husband and two sons, the snow-capped peaks glistening in the distance, and Edelweiss-covered meadows underfoot, I was, at last, given the chance to become a veritable Von Trapp.

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