Enterprise Launches Exotic Car Collection at Heathrow Airport to Bring High Performance Cars to Renters


Hire_a_Ferrari_California_-_Enterprise_Exotic_Cars_UKEnterprise Rent-A-Car, part of the world’s largest car hire company, Enterprise Holdings, has launched its new Exotic Car Collection at Heathrow Airport to give consumers access to some of the world’s most desirable vehicles. The launch follows a trial period, which has seen enquiries for some categories of its prestige vehicles and supercars increase sevenfold.


Customers can now rent these high-end vehicles from a specialist Enterprise branch at Heathrow Airport. Some of the world’s most exclusive luxury, prestige and sports cars are available, including ones from Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari, Range Rover and Bentley. A second Exotic Car Collection branch in central London is also set to open in the coming months.


The opening of the first Exotic Car Collection branch in the UK is part of a global expansion for the Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise. In the last six months, Enterprise has also opened six new Exotic Car Collection branches in the US and its first in Canada. In the coming weeks the company will also open an Exotic Car Collection branch in Switzerland.


Exotics HeathrowThe service was born from Enterprise’s experience in the insurance sector, providing replacement luxury cars to owners whose own luxury vehicles are being repaired. Now Enterprise is also specifically targeting rental to individuals who want to travel in style, as well as people who want to enjoy an exciting, novel and exclusive driving experience with an eye-catching rental car.


Customers include high net worth individuals from home and abroad looking to rent a luxurious Bentley or Rolls-Royce for day trips and weekends because it is more spacious and comfortable than their existing sports cars.  Company executives and big names from film and TV are also frequent renters of performance and luxury vehicles.


Enterprise’s Exotic Car Collection teams have received specialist training both in handling the vehicles and in providing advice to customers. As with all Enterprise employees, excellent customer service comes first, and with these cars it is delivered with a ‘white glove’ experience.

Khaled Shahbo, managing director UK & Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car said, “The massive increase in demand for high-end rental vehicles coincides with the UK’s increasing role as a destination for those with affluent lifestyles, in London and elsewhere. It seems that sharing-economy thinking is even driving growth for rental as a very real option for luxury motoring.

“Our Exotic Car Collection has been a big hit in the United States and we are seeing a similar demand in London for prestige and supercar rental. People no longer want to dream of driving a beautifully engineered high-end car: they want the opportunity to do it.

“Many Exotic Car customers travel to London as visitors, so it was vital that we located at Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport.


“Exotic Car Collection customers have a first-class driving experience, taking control of a wonderful car that makes travelling a real pleasure. Our Exotic Car customers come to us when only a high-end car will do for their rental needs.”

The address of the new branch is:

Heathrow Airport

Northern Perimeter Road



Email: exoticcarcollection@ehi.com

World’s Most Breathtaking Accommodation

I have been extremely fortunate to travel to many countries around the world and there are a number places that have left me breathless the first time I set eyes on them.

For example standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and looking down into the abyss, gazing across Sydney harbour towards the opera house. Flying into Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong between the skyscrapers (now closed). But the one I am going to tell you about really tops all of them.

When visiting a Zoo, it’s nice to see that the animals are being cared for and kept in the most appropriate surroundings, the one things that Zoo’s find hard to do is give close up access and this is for obvious reasons, but La Fleche Zoo is doing things in a very different way, a way that gives you the most close up access of any Zoo I know in the World.

La Fleche Zoo is a beautiful place and it’s an experience going there just as a Zoo but if you are lucky enough to have booked a Safari Lodge then there is a whole new world hidden and waiting very close to you.

As you wind your way around the pathways in the Zoo and if you are lucky enough, you will see a set of tall gates marked “lodges”. You can’t see through them but there is mysteriousness about them, something akin to the entrance to Jurassic park but not as tall.

La Fleche Zoo

There are wires running across the top of the tall wooden fence that surrounds these enclosures and the only other feature that you can see from the outside is a blue-tooth blue keypad.

My guide keyed in a secret code and the large wooden gates shuddered and creaked into action with a gentle indication of movement and then….!

Well imagine how Charlie felt when he opened the doors into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, that’s how I felt as those gates opened wide to allow me into a world not seen before in a Zoo. I was walking into a totally secure garden and lodge that was home to humans and a polar bear! For this was no ordinary B&B it was La Fleche Zoo’s latest addition to their safari lodges.


artic-lodge4The Arctic Lodge was designed and themed specifically for the animal that would be with you for the whole night! Wolves, White tigers, Polar bears and Grizzly bears are all there waiting to get up close and personal.(depending on the lodge you choose)


Now if you are beginning to think I have lost my marbles and I have been on the sauce too long, the people at La Fleche Zoo are not completely nuts and there are some spectacular security measures in place to prevent you from being the next al fresco meal for your sleepover buddy.


The Lodges at La Fleche are simply stunning. The Artic Lodge is outrageously opulent. Sheepskin covered kitchen stools; designer furnishings, to die for beds, opulent wall hangings, 7 star kitchens, you name it they have it. But the best part of these lodges is the amazing view, it’s a one of a kind. I was there a few weeks ago and I can tell you that already 2017 is nearly fully booked, and its because this place is so fantastic. These lodges are so sought after the Zoo could build another 5 and still need more.

What’s so special?

arcticMany people dream of seeing animals when on holiday, some go on safaris, others camp out under the stars, just to get a glimpse of their favourite species and some people just ignore the animals and go for pure luxury. At La Fleche Zoo safari lodges, you get the opportunity to combine 7 star accommodation, Michelin chef prepared food and some some amazing animals all in one package.


Quite a few museums do sleepovers so it’s not that extraordinary, but sleeping with the exhibits in a Zoo?  That is amazing and that is what you can do in La Fleche!

The inside of the lodges vary but most have a large living area with massive picture windows, en-suite bathrooms, children’s bedrooms with picture windows and three bunk beds and a parent’s bedroom.

The lodges are themed to a particular animal and part of the world, for example the lodge that I visited was called Artic Lodge. Expertly and lavishly furnished with sheep skins, top class kitchen and living facilities and all the latest modern conveniences.  The most important feature is the large windows that look straight into the animal enclosures. You do not get the view the public get, yours is so much better and completely private just for you.

In the Arctic Lodge your windows are not only above the ground but also under water and as such, you will be able to lie in bed and look out through your underwater window into the polar bears pool and all night long too.

I know it’s hard to understand but the photo I took should explain all. The picture windows in your room are solid plate glass and they have to be, because they look out on the animal enclosures, providing you with a unique experience where you are literally living with the animals. And it prevents them becoming bedfellows during the night.

Fur covered stools let you sit and gaze at the wildlife, literally inches from your window. This provides you with a totally unique experience and clearly one to better any video game or phone app.

These unique lodges are worlds apart from anything I have ever seen before and it is literally a breath-taking experience.

When you arrive in the Lodge everything is taken care of, for example your dinner is provided and stored in the fridge, breakfast is delivered during the night. But this is no ordinary food service; this is Michelin star food from the local Michelin starred restaurant!

So if you want an experience of a lifetime, where you can eat and sleep with a polar bear, then I suggest you get booking. Places are practically all booked up for 2017 but if you book now you will have lots of time to save up for your trip.

One night in the Arctic Lodge will set you back an extremely reasonable €869-00 approx. for more info visit http://www.safari-lodge.fr/

malagasy1 slide23Just recently opened are lodges nestled just meters from the ground amidst a lush and luxuriant nature, admire the panoramic view of the island of Madagascar and its lemurs.  Suspended from your terrace, you will be able to enjoy the atmosphere of the Malagasy high plateaus and let yourself be lulled by the sound of water and the song of the lemurs.

The lodges offer high quality amenities: a breathtaking view of Nosy Komba from your suite, or your “cozy”. Enjoy a Kingsize size bed and a bathroom with unique charm.
There is little doubt the children will marvel at the acrobatics of mischievous lemurs and enjoy being able to sleep near them.

The lodges are warm and inviting and furnished in the shimmering colours of Madagascar, promising you a superb atmosphere, to share with family or friends. Fine dining, comes from the Michelin starred Chef Sarthe of Le Moulin des Quatre Seasons interestingly he also prepares a hearty breakfast.





 Aferry.co.uk dogThere’s a first time for ferry travel for everyone even the favourite family pet!  Although the Pet Travel Scheme is now well established and easier than ever to use, many people have still not thought about taking their pet away with them on that short break or family holiday.  43% of British households have a pet.  Even with their own passport they are not allowed to travel alone; so we must not forget to take them with us and give them a vacation too.

Many more people are remembering that they can travel with their trusty dog or cat.   Aferry.co.uk celebrated the end of 2015 with record number of pet owners sailing the seas with their beloved four-legged friends.  Over 15,000 pets travelled in 2015 with Aferry.co.uk, a record. There was also a record number of people booking via the Aferry app, showing how committed Aferry is to expanding their booking platforms to book all members of the family on all types of devices at all times.

To make things even easier Aferry has a Complete Guide to Taking Your Pet Abroad on their website as well as NEW for 2016 – in a short video.  All you need to do is find out that the country you intend to visit will accept animals and then you’ll need an EU Pet Passport. The passport shows that your pet has been microchipped, had a rabies vaccine and a satisfactory blood test showing the vaccine worked.

With Aferry.co.uk, five times winner of the WTA Leading Ferry Website, not only do you find the best deal for you …but also for your pet.  Choose Aferry.co.uk for your ferry bookings worldwide.

AFerry.co.uk is The Travel Gateway’s leading online ferry brand, which features real-time comparison technology for ferries, generating over 55 million unique visitors per year and over 3,000 bookings per day. Founded in 1997, AFerry.co.uk has been an industry leader for nearly two decades and has strong relationships with ferry companies from across the globe.

Not only can AFerry.co.uk service all your UK ferry needs, but this handy site covers European, Asian and American routes too – over 1,800 routes around the world from over 140 ferry companies. With apps for iPhone and Android, and a website optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop devices you can compare and book ferries from wherever you are with ease.


Two Northern Ireland greats, Dame Mary Peters and well-known chef Jenny Bristow have teamed up with Tourism Northern Ireland to get the Year of Food and Drink 2016 off to a tasty start. January is Breakfast Month and chef, Jenny Bristow shared her delicious take on a healthy Ulster Fry with Dame Mary, which included local produce like Denny’s Jumbo pork sausages, Fermanagh Black Bacon, Ballyeamon eggs, Neill’s Soda Bread, Hughes stuffed mushrooms and Ditty’s potato bread. Don’t forget that Friday 29th January is Ulster FRYday so join the fun on social media by posting a photo of your Ulster Fry using the hashtag #UlsterFRYday and you could be in with a chance of winning an overnight break and breakfast for two in the 5* Culloden Hotel - for more information visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/ulsterfryday. For more information on Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink go to www.discovernorthernireland.com/yearoffoodanddrink2016 and to find out more about Jenny’s recipe go to www.jennybristow.com.

Two Northern Ireland greats, Dame Mary Peters and well-known chef Jenny Bristow have teamed up with Tourism Northern Ireland to get the Year of Food and Drink 2016 off to a tasty start.

And don’t forget Ulster FRYday on January 29! 

Tourism Northern Ireland is kicking off the Year of Food and Drink 2016 how everyone in NI should start their day, with breakfast. January 2016 is Breakfast Month and according to Tourism NI, Northern Ireland is simply brimming with great places, including hotels, B&Bs, cafes and restaurants, that all serve delicious, locally produced food that will satisfy your taste buds and set you up for a fun day trip or relaxing short break to one of NI’s great tourist attractions or destinations.

Rachel Quigg, Communications & Destination PR Officer at Tourism Northern Ireland explains why everyone should tuck in to Breakfast Month:


“Northern Ireland’s dedicated farmers, talented food producers and creative artisans have been using our unique fields, rivers and lakes to make world-class food, for centuries.  And breakfast, hailed as the most important meal of the day, features some of NI’s finest produce including Abernethy Butter which is churned by hand in Dromara, Annaghmore Mushrooms, Kennedy bacon, White’s Oats – I could go on!”

Breakfast lovers take note as January 29 is Ulster FRYday and Tourism NI wants everyone in Northern Ireland to send in photos of themselves enjoying breakfast.


Rachel continued:  “We want to end Breakfast Month on a high with a delicious celebration of Northern Ireland favourite, the Ulster Fry with Ulster FRYday.  We will be asking absolutely everyone, businesses as well as individuals, to post photos online of their breakfast using hashtag #ulsterFRYday, in order to win a great prize.  So tell your friends, work colleagues, schoolmates and family to take a snap of their breakfast and share it on social media to join in the fun.”

Tourism Northern Ireland has listed some of the key events happening around Northern Ireland for Breakfast Month as well as some local delicious products to try.


Tasty Events!

Farmhouse Breakfast Week, January 24 – 30 2016. The Farmhouse Breakfast Week campaign raises awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and demonstrates the wealth of wonderful breakfast produce available around the country.

Ulster FRYday, January 29 2016. This day is a celebration of the much-loved Ulster Fry!  Everyone has their own take on the Ulster Fry – some people love beans whilst others must have mushrooms, fried egg versus scrambled egg – so this is a chance for individuals and business owners to upload pictures of how they enjoy their Ulster Fry.  So whether you cooked it yourself or you have been served it at a hotel, B&B, restaurant or café, take a snap and share it online using the hashtag #ulsterFRYday and include @DiscoverNI.

Breakfast at Hastings Hotels – Hastings are offering gourmet all day breakfasts at each of their 6 hotels throughout January.  Guests can already avail of a choice of tasty breakfast options but Hastings Hotels is taking this one step further and for one month only people will be able to enjoy breakfast all day long. Two Gourmet All Day Breakfast Specials have been introduced and are available for only £10 every day from 12pm. Made using only the very best of local produce, enjoy the Armagh Apple Potato Cake with a Gracehill Black Pudding Sausage, Moyallon Dry Cured Streaky Bacon, Clements Poached Egg and Homemade Ketchup or a Mini Northern Irish Soda Bread with Poached Egg, Glenarm Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce. 

Winterfell B&B, The Cuan, Strangford Village, Co Down.  The Cuan is offering an authentic Winterfell breakfast of hot bread, butter and honey, blackberry preserves, bacon, eggs, cheese and a pot of mint tea. Enjoy Dinner, B&B from only £84.95.

The Big Breakfast at the Elk, The Elk, Toome, Co. Antrim, January 30, 8am – 12pm.  As part of NI Year of Food and Drink 2016, The Elk are holding a Big Breakfast where people can come along and enjoy a delicious freshly prepared and locally sourced breakfast and in return they will be asked to give a small donation to Chest Heart and Stroke NI.


Where to eat breakfast?

If you are thinking of taking a short break or heading out for breakfast with friends and family somewhere in Northern Ireland during Breakfast Month then take a look as this menu which features some excellent places where you can tuck into a hearty breakfast in beautiful surroundings.

If you are heading to Co. Antrim home of the stunning Causeway Coast, visit Ballygally Castle, Ballygally, Beechmount Farm B&B, Muckamore or pop into The French Rooms in Bushmills who all serve delicious breakfasts.

When in Co. Armagh, which is known for its historic cathedrals, try the Armagh City Hotel, Orchard House B&B or the Moody Boar for some memorable food to help kick start your day.

Co. Down is renowned for stunning mountainous views and is home to a host of tasty places for breakfast including the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle, Seaview Guesthouse in Rostrevor and Quails at the Gallery in Banbridge.

If you are heading to Co. Fermanagh for a weekend break then you are sure to experience a delicious breakfast in the Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Dromard House, Lisbellaw or the Crowes Nest Enniskillen.

Before exploring some of the many attractions available in Co. Derry~Londonderry such as the Peace Bridge or the historic City Walls, enjoy a hearty breakfast in the Everglades Hotel, Number 8 Guesthouse, City of Derry Hotel or Lost and Found Brew Bar, Coleraine.

Visitors to Co. Tyrone will find a wide range of tourist attractions to visit such as the Ulster American Folk Park and the Sperrin Mountains. You will also find lots of places to enjoy breakfast such as Corick Country House in Clogher, The Laurels B&B Lodge, Omagh and An Creagan Restaurant, Omagh.

Don’t forget to celebrate Ulster FRYday on January 29, for your chance to win an overnight stay at the spectacular 5* Culloden Hotel and Spa for two, including a sumptuous breakfast.  To enter simply share a photo of your Ulster Fry and upload it on social media using the hashtag #ulsterFRYday. For more information go to www.discovernorthernireland.com/ulsterfryday.


For more information on things to do in Northern Ireland visit www.discovernorthernireland.com or your local tourist information centre.


JANUARY can feel like a long month after the excitement of the festive season and New Year celebrations.  So to brighten up your January, and as a fun and delicious way of catching up with loved ones, why not head out for an afternoon tea?

There is a huge range of places all over Northern Ireland offering afternoon tea and almost every hotel, restaurant and venue has their own signature take on it featuring exquisite little treats washed down with NI’s favourite drink, tea.

Ruth Burns, PR and Marketing Destination Manager at Tourism NI explains why enjoying an afternoon tea is the perfect way to while away a day.

“We’re lucky here in Northern Ireland to have a huge selection of hotels and restaurants where you can beat the January blues with a fun day out sampling a range of delicious treats and given that 2016 is the Year of Food and Drink we are encouraging everyone to explore what’s available.  We are a nation who love our tea plus a catch-up with friends and family and if you add sumptuous sandwiches, cream filled buns and a lovely venue, the combination is irresistible” said Ruth. To help get you started,

Tourism Northern Ireland has highlighted a range of places where you can sit back, relax and enjoy an afternoon tea:


The Merchant Hotel's Great RoomThe 5* Merchant Hotel offers the ultimate luxury afternoon tea experience with finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and scones with clotted cream all adorned on a silver tea stand. This is complimented with tea, coffee or if you’re feeling particularly decadent – champagne.

Afternoon tea at 4* Ten Square Hotel is served up in the surroundings of the Grill Restaurant, with a chilled glass or Prosecco, selection of teas and coffee, mini savouries, side salad, cakes and mini desserts to finish.

Relax and unwind in the opulent Titanic Belfast where you can soak up the stunning surroundings, including a replica staircase of the RMS Titanic, as you listen to the smooth sounds of the musicians playing jazz.

Co. Antrim

The Galgorm Resort & SpaSpoil your nearest and dearest with a traditional Afternoon Tea for Two at 4* Ballygally Castle.  Choose from finger sandwiches, savouries, pastries, cakes and lots of speciality teas and coffees before taking a walk along Ballygally Beach opposite the hotel.

The 4* Galgorm Resort & Spa also offers afternoon tea in the beautiful River Room & Conservatory. Dive into the delicious treats available which include freshly brewed tea, sandwiches, miniature savouries, freshly baked scones and miniature desserts.

Co. Armagh

Ballydougan Restaurant & Coffee LoungeTreat your mum or best friend to an afternoon at the Ballydougan Restaurant & Coffee Lounge. Relax in the beautiful surroundings of Bloomvale House where you can enjoy locally produced and freshly prepared food.  Why not make a day of it and join in one of the Pottery Classes or bring home a piece of Ballydougan from the gift shop.

At The Charlemont, you can treat yourself to a sumptuous afternoon tea made with pastries, scones, savouries and lots of sweet bites to tantalise your taste buds. All ingredients are locally sourced and the menu is designed around each season’s produce.

If you want a walk after an afternoon of indulgence there are many superb walks and trails nearby like the Slieve Gullion Forest Park or Lough Neagh Discovery Centre.

Co. Down

The 4* Old Inn, Crawfordsburn is the perfect place for a cosy afternoon where you can curl up on a comfortable seat by a roaring fire and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea of Earl Grey tea, dainty sandwiches, homemade shortbread and chocolate dipped strawberries. For a real treat, add a glass of Prosecco or sweet sherry.

At the 4* Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Newcastle you can enjoy steaming cups of tea, and pretty plates piled high with dainty sandwiches and sweet treats. The popular seaside location is perfect for unwinding as you take in the stunning views where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

Plus, it is only a short drive to the beautiful Tollymore or Castlewellan Forest Park where you can enjoy a walk or for something really invigorating breathe in the sea air along Cranfield Beach near Kilkeel.

Co. Fermanagh

Lough Erne Resort, FermanaghEnjoy afternoon tea at The 5* Lough Erne Resort & Spa, Enniskillen where you can chat with friends and family in the comfort of The Garden Hall by the log fire with views over Castle Hume Lough.  If you are looking for something really indulgent then sample the Chocolate Afternoon Tea or the Pink Afternoon Tea which includes a glass of Billecart – Salmon Rose Champagne.

At the 4* Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen you can choose from Classic Afternoon Tea or Cream Tea Delight and you can add a little sparkle to your day with a glass of champagne.

Round off your day with a visit to the National Trust properties of Florencecourt House or Castle Coole just outside Enniskillen.  Florencecourt is one of Ulster’s most important 18th century houses whilst Castle Coole is one of Ireland’s greatest neo-classical houses.

Co. Tyrone

The delicious afternoon tea at the 3* Silverbirch Hotel begins with an Amuse Bouche and is followed by a selection of finger sandwiches, lovely cakes and scones served with fresh cream and local jam accompanied by a selection of fresh leaf teas.

Enjoy scrumptious afternoon tea in Lady Ada’s Tea Room at The Argory, Dungannon.  The Argory was built in the 1820’s and is the former home of the MacGeough – Bond family renowned for its wonderful views over the gardens and 320 acre wooded estate which borders the River Blackwater.

Visit the nearby Linen Green in Dungannon where you can enjoy an afternoon browsing through a range of unique shops bursting with items to suit every taste and style.

Co. Londonderry

Hastings-EvergladesThe 4* Everglades in Derry~Londonderry offers plates of dainty sandwiches, fluffy scones, buttery cakes and pastries. There is no better way to spend a relaxing afternoon with a handful of your best friends.  Derry City is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland so take time to explore the city walls, take a stroll through the Craft Village, enjoy a tour of the historic Guildhall or meander across the Peace Bridge.

At the 4* Beech Hill Country House Hotel you can enjoy a variety of cakes, pastries and sandwiches made freshly every morning.

For more information on things to do in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com  or visit your local visitor information centre.


P&O Ferries is cutting prices for all football fans planning to travel to the continent for the biggest sporting event of 2016 by £50.

P&O Ferries, which has been providing services across the Irish Sea for 40 years, has made the outstanding offer to celebrate the first ever occasion on which both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have qualified for a major football tournament.

Neal Mernock, P&O Ferries’ Sector Director on the Irish Sea said: “We are the only ferry company in Europe which has routes across both the Irish Sea and the English Chanel. The offer which we are launching today gives football fans the opportunity to travel on our route from Larne to Cairnryan in Scotland and then down to France via Dover and Calais.

“There is no more enjoyable and relaxing way to travel than by ferry and once you arrive on the continent you have the freedom to explore France in your car. On behalf of everyone at P&O Ferries, I would like to wish both the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland teams the best of luck and I’m sure that the supporters who follow them will have a memorable summer holiday regardless.”

P&O Ferries discount applies from 8th June to 12th July 2016 and is applicable on the Larne–Cairnryan and Dover-Calais routes. It is valid for long breaks only (i.e. more than five days) and both the Irish Sea and English Channel journeys must be booked at the same time. Visit www.poferries.com/euro2016 or call 0800 130 0030 for more details.

P&O Ferries is a leading pan-European ferry operator, sailing on nine major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. The company operates 20 vessels which carry more than 10 million passengers, 1.6million cars and two million freight units every year.

Les Castels introduces new accommodation in 2016

image001Les Castels, the premier four and five star camping sites across France is pleased to introduce a couple of new innovations for 2016 at several of their 39 locations.

First of all the very first themed site in France, the Village Western, has joined the group.  This is a lovely site spread over twelve hectares in the Gironde.  The site has a real Western

image002flavour, you feel as though you are in the Wild West of America rather than France!  The horse-riding centre here is second to none and there are all sorts of different themed workshops to try such as gold digging and trapping.

Prices start at 350 Euros (254GBP00) for a teepee tent for five people.  There is a special 35% discount for a seven night stay if travelling in June – any seven night stay between 4th and 27th June. Also for Easter and the Spring and Summer Bank Holidays mobile homes for up to four people will be available at a special rate of just 210 Euros(152GBP00) instead of the usual 322 Euros. (234GBP00) http://www.camping-castels.co.uk/camping-le-village-western-id253-id_camping370.html

image003A new type of rental opportunity will be found next year at the Domaine des Ormes in Brittany – the Sweet Home.  The Sweet Home has a large open air terrace and inside is very well equipped with fridge, microwave, etc.  There are two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with bunk beds and room for a cot.  Sheets and towels are included in the rental.  Prices start at 390 Euros (283GBP00) for a week for four people.


image004Also new next year will be Le Coco Sweet at La Garangeoire in the Vendée.

The Coco Sweet sits somewhere between a mobile home and a tent ! It aims to be not just cosy and comfortable but also fun!

Prices start at 280 Euros (203GBP00) for a week and the site opens on 14th May 2016.


Le Coco Sweet and Sweet Home are great additions to the array of unusual accommodation you can choose from with Les Castels.  We have everything from yurts, gypsy caravans, treehouses, bungalows on stilts over water, dakkas…..There is something for all tastes for a never to be forgotten glamping vacation. 

Created in 1959 Les Castels is a collection of 39 four and five star camping sites across France and is the leading provider of glamping sites. Characterised by their outstanding sites near areas of cultural interest and outstanding natural beauty. Les Castels offers a wide choice of accommodation with everything from chalets and mobile homes to tree houses, gypsy caravans, houses on stilts and apartments

The facilities and entertainment varies from site to site, no two are alike, however one thing unifies the group as a whole is the Les Castels environmental approach. As outdoor accommodation specialists they are entirely committed to sustainable development. The accommodation is blended into the landscape as far as is possible, using light, mobile installations such as tents and caravans.

The sites are committed to supporting ongoing environmental conservation initiatives in France and two sites that have been awarded the European Ecolabel Award with 30 receiving the Green Key Award.

For more information please visit www.les-castels.com


Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (December 14-20).

Snowtube with Santa, Craigavon Golf & Ski Centre, Turmoyra Lane, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, December 16-22. Snowtubing with Santa is the perfect treat for kids aged 3 and above this Christmas. Children will spend 30 minutes Tubing and then meet Santa afterwards to receive a festive gift.

The Music Box, Belfast WaterfrontThe Music Box, Belfast Waterfront, Lanyon Place, Belfast,

December 17-19. A firm favourite for the festive season, this lavish and family friendly show is an entirely new production filled with a magical selection box of music gems past, present, traditional and contemporary. The Music Box wouldn’t be complete without some of our very finest local talent including guest choirs, ballet girls and boy trebles… all to get you in the festive mood!

Gabriele Tottenham, the inspiration behind the creation of Blaney Spa and Yoga Centre started practising yoga and massage in 1993. Her farm has been hosting visitors to its lakeland cottages for many years. It was a natural progression for Gabriele to bring together her experience of being a welcoming host alongside her expertise as a natural practitioner. Gabriele practises Ki Massage, Indian Head Massage and Traditional Thai Massage. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, trained under Marie Quail (YTTC). She really is a true Gaia, caring for the environment, its people and its creatures. Blaney Spa and Yoga Centre and Innish Beg cottages have a clear environmental and ethical policy. They are also certified members of The Greenbox, and as such, are a genuine eco-tourism destination. Blaney Spa and Yoga Centre "Healing from within". The door is open to all at Blaney, local or visitor.

Barn Session at Orchard Acre Farm, Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh, December 18. Join the farm family and other local musicians for the last ‘wee’ session before Christmas. Whilst the majority of music played during the evening will be Irish traditional tunes; in the spirit of a traditional session they will be welcoming acoustic musicians, dancers, singers and storytellers.

Christmas BOUNCEMANIA, Score Football Centres, Hillmans Way, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, December 19-20. There will be over 30 inflatable’s spread over three halls for kids to bounce, slide and climb on to their hearts content – creating a wonderland of fun for them to enjoy. Santa will also arrive to meet and greet the kids and spread some Christmas cheer and treats.

Belfast Castle Christmas ToursBelfast Castle Christmas Tours, Belfast Castle Estate and Cave Hill, Belfast, various dates until December 23. Take a walk through time this festive season with one of Belfast Castle’s popular Christmas tours. Tickets cost £4 per person and include tea or coffee and mince pies.

Strabane Community Carol Service, Alley Theatre, Railway Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, December 17. Join in on this very heart-warming festive evening. Enjoy music from St Joseph’s Brass Band and the wonderful harmonies from Strabane Chamber Choir and soloist Roíse Ó Murchú with readings from local clerics. From 8pm to 10.30.

Santa Paws, Castle CooleSanta Paws, Castle Coole, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, December 19. Make sure that special member of the family is part of the fun at stunning Castle Coole this Christmas! Bring your pooch to Santa Paws to enjoy a canine Christmas treat. From 11am – 12.30pm.

Christmas Night at the Movies with EllunaChristmas Night at the Movies with Elluna, Ards Arts Centre, Town Hall, Conway Square, Co. Down, December 17. An enchanting candlelit evening of Christmas and Movie favourites performed and hosted by one of NI’s finest sopranos, Michelle Baird and her musicians, pianist Stephen Carlisle and violinist Michelle Haughian. Tickets £12 and includes mulled wine and mince pies.

Christmas at Gracehill House, Stranocum, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, until December 23. Visit Santa and his elves in his Grotto at Gracehill House and explore Santa’s mail room, pet shop and workshop. Children can bring their letter for Santa and post it in Gracehill House’s magical North Pole post-box. There will also be Christmas stalls and a winter wonderland!

Winterland Express, W5
Winterland Express, W5 at Odyssey, Queen’s Quay, Belfast,
until December 23. Take a trip on the Winterland Express, the magical miniature train ride. Travel through the enchanted forest into the icy cavern to emerge in the courtyard of Winterland Castle, where a few surprises await! The Winterland Express is free with admission to W5 and the ride lasts approximately 5 – 8 minutes.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking. For more details on these and other events click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/events, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland.


Little Cerys O’Neill (4), gets ready to donate a toy to the Cash for Kids festive ‘Mission Christmas’ toy campaign at the Stena Line Victoria Terminal 4 drop off point in Belfast. The leading ferry company has teamed up with the Cool FM campaign this year to help ensure that disadvantaged local children can enjoy a special Christmas.  Those who would like to get involved can drop an unwrapped, new gift off at Victoria Terminal 4 or for more information go to www.coolfm.co.uk/mission/

Little Cerys O’Neill (4), gets ready to donate a toy to the Cash for Kids festive ‘Mission Christmas’ toy campaign at the Stena Line Victoria Terminal 4 drop off point in Belfast.

LEADING ferry company Stena Line has teamed up with the Downtown Radio and Cool FM’s Cash for Kids festive ‘Mission Christmas’ gift campaign this year to help ensure that disadvantaged local children can enjoy a special Christmas.

1 in 3 children live in poverty in our area and around 7,000 applications have been made for gifts this year so the Mission Christmas campaign is asking people to buy an extra present that will be distributed to a deserving local child or young person. The gift should be new, unwrapped and suitable for children and young people aged 0-17 and those partaking in the campaign can drop off their gift at Victoria Terminal 4 in Belfast or on one of Stena Line’s Irish Sea North Ships.

Diane Poole OBE, Head of PR and Communications at Stena Line explains why the Mission Christmas appeal plays such an important role for local children:

“Christmas is such a joyful occasion for everyone especially children who excitedly await a visit from Santa Claus however the festive season is also a time to remember those less fortunate than ourselves who do not receive lots of presents and gifts from loved ones.

“Christmas can be an extremely hard time for disadvantaged children and at Stena Line we would like to spread as much Christmas cheer and goodwill as possible by helping local children.

“We are really pleased to get involved in the Mission Christmas appeal which helps so many families all over Northern Ireland and we encourage any customers who would like to get involved to feel free to leave gifts at our drop off point at Victoria Terminal 4 in Belfast or on one of our Irish Sea North ships,” added Diane.

Andrea Charles, Charity Manager at Cash for Kids, Cool FM said:

“Last year we distributed gifts to over 6000 children, which was fantastic, but the need is greater than ever and we aim to increase this by 20% this Christmas. We would encourage everyone to support those less fortunate than themselves by buying an extra gift this year and dropping it in to their nearest collection point.

“We always find ourselves with a particular shortage of gifts appropriate for children aged 0–3 or 9–17 and so we particularly need items for children within these brackets,” added Andrea.

Gift suggestions are listed below –

Board games/puzzles

Perfume/Aftershave sets

Footballs/Sports equipment


Clothing and accessories

Educational sets

Baby clothes, blankets, baby books

Card games

Sensory/light up toys

Craft sets

Toys are urgently needed for boys and girls aged 0 – 3 and 9 – 17 years old. Unfortunately donations of used toys cannot be accepted. For more information go to www.coolfm.co.uk/mission/

For more information on Stena Line go to www.stenaline.co.uk

Academy Restaurant one of Belfast’s best kept secrets.

What a Find !

I thought I knew most eating establishments in Belfast, so you can image I was delighted to discover a new one on me.
The Academy is situated within the York Street campus of the Ulster University and can be easily accessed through the main doors on York Street.

It is the training restaurant for the Ulster University students, who are studying the BSc Hons degrees in Culinary Arts Management and International Hospitality Management.

This fully functioning restaurant gives the students the chance to hone their skills on ordinary members of the public and in return you get a superb evening out and great value.


chive and potato basket, steamed turbot and salmon topped with dill and lime butter sauce

My six course-tasting menu cost me the princely sum of £17-95.

My wonderful dishes.

My starter was a beautiful warm chive and potato basket, steamed turbot and salmon topped with dill and lime butter sauce. This was expertly crafted and presented in a white serving plate; I shall let the picture speak for itself.

Next came the Beef Consommé garnished with savoy chicken and mushroom quenelles, this was again a superbly prepared dish and tasted delightful.



vodka and apple infused blueberry sorbet

Following the consommé came vodka and apple infused blueberry sorbet, perfect for cleansing the pallet. Frozen to perfection, this delightful frozen sorbet cleansed the pallet preparing it to receive the main course.

Seared lamb cutlets, wine vinegar and pomegranate jus, served with chive olive mash. It’s a long time since I have had such delicious lamb, beautifully prepared, cooked and without a doubt expertly rested before being served. The quality of food and service at the Academy is second to none, the surroundings are delightful and attention to detail is again sublime.


Seared lamb cutlets, delightful

When eating at the Academy it is so easy to forget that you are in a training environment and that it is young students who are doing all the work. And you do have to remind yourself you really are eating the finest food, served by some of the finest waiting staff in the country, most of whom have part time jobs in the best restaurants in Ireland.



Eating at the Academy reminds me of my days training as a chef many years ago in the College of Business Studies in Brunswick Street, Belfast. Then we did a similar restaurant service on a Thursday evening but the produce was not quite to the same standard.

IMG_3462After my main course, came dessert, chocolate and vanilla sponge, espresso mousse accompanied with forest berry compote. I can tell you it was to die for.

One of the most demanding jobs for waiting staff is serving at the table.

Its high pressure and you are all alone, from experience one of the most difficult jobs at a table is an Irish Coffee.
Get the cream to thin, not enough sugar, cold coffee and you’re sunk, quite literally

Amazing Food.


Jayde our expert server

Jayde our expert server  pulled it off with all the expertise and flair of a seasoned professional. She brought over a delightful serving table, two types of whiskey and made the perfect Irish Coffee.

Needless to say the remainder of the diners saw the flair with which mine was prepared and promptly started ordering for themselves.

Eating at the Academy you really do have to remind yourself (if you need to) that these are students because such is the level of service and quality of food you would think you were elsewhere. So if you want to support the next generation of Michelle Roux or Jamie Oliver’s then get down to The Academy on a Tuesday or Thursday evening.
The Academy restaurant is open to the public throughout the autumn and spring semesters. (They also cater for out of term functions – for more details contact 028 953 67327)

Serving Times Academy_Restaurant

The Academy serves lunch each day, Monday to Friday from 12.30pm.

Starters are priced at £3.00, main courses at £6.50 and desserts at £3.00.
Tea, coffee and petits fours are complimentary when ordering a full 3-course meal at £12.50
Dinner is served on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7.00pm
Dinner menus are set 6 course meals devised by each supervisory student in close liaison with the chef and are priced at £17.50.
Tuesday evening offers a ‘Gourmet Experience’ while Thursday evening has a ‘Culinary Journey’ theme.

A fully licensed and well stocked bar includes a wide selection of wines to complement your meal.

Contact The Academy Restaurant here