Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort Opens For Its First Full Season

Wellness Orientated Beach Front Thermae Resort  

Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort OpensToday Greece’s largest and most spectacular Thermae Resort, Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort throws open its doors for its first full season. Officially opening in May 2016, and recently winning gold at the Ethos Greek Hospitality Awards 2017 as the ‘Best New Greek Resort’, ‘Best Greek Thermal Spa Resort’ and ‘Best Greek Hotel Marina’; this luxury family wellness resort is changing the way we holiday.

With the remarkable distinction of being located directly on the seaside, perched on the south-west coast of Kassandra, Halkidiki, Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort effortlessly combines the clear blue skies, golden sands and the welcoming waters of the Aegean, with a destination that sets a new standard in healthy travel.

Healing waters include a large thalassotherapy pool fed in directly from the sea and four separate thermal pools. These are filled with unique thermal waters of the region and a thermal well-life suite with steam baths, a Finnish sauna, tepidarium, herbal sauna, cold plunge walking path & two experience showers.  Each and every detail has been thoughtfully conceived – “The Queen of Detox”, as called by The Times, Amanda Hamilton, has created a selection of delicious juices and healthy signature meals and for those seeking cutting edge workouts – tailored fitness retreats with renowned specialists will focus on holistic wellness that is suited to every guest’s goals.

One of the world’s top thermal spa resorts, Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Aegean, and rests on a long stretch of sandy beach.  Secluded within a sheltered bay, along a pristine and perfect coastline, civilized pleasure coexists with authentic Greek hospitality – from seashore design pools, wellness and thermal spa, numerous restaurants, top branded shops and a beautiful and private marina. This new marina offers the very highest level of service housing 81 boats, up to 40 meters long in length. All boats are offered an individual and high quality mooring including launching ramp, 24-hour security and manning across 50,000 square meters of the marina, allowing yacht owners to experience the highlights of this new resort in full comfort.

The resort also houses 300 elegant, spacious rooms, 236 of which face Toroneos Gulf, and including 48 with private pools, furnished in lavish contemporary style and with the latest technology. These include their Double Rooms offer stunning views over the lush hotel gardens, the Junior Suites with their own private pools, larger Family Suites and Deluxe Duplex Suites complete with private pools with the finest sea views.  Furthermore, there is a fully operational and appropriately equipped convention centre with maximum capacity up to 450 people, ideal for prestigious events catered with sophistication.

For fine dining there are four restaurants on offer presenting exceptional  cuisine including all day dining in the sun dappled Kritamo Restaurant, a spectacular Seafood restaurant Torneo which serves freshly caught seafood direct from sea to table and an array of Mediterranean options. There are also four bars including a lovely wine bar and a spa health bar serving a wide range of fresh juices.

An unmissable destination for all ages – Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort Kids’ Planet features a football academy, astronomy, pirate ship building, kids’ radio station, pool games, pirates battle and a mini disco.

In celebration of their first full season Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort will be extending their opening dates from 31st March to the 31st October 2017.


New in the Vaucluse Provence 2017

The sun is out this weekend and when it shines it makes me think of France. this country has always been a favourite of mine and I recently got notification of some amazing places to visit Vaucluse Provence. so if you are traveling that direction consider these.

The wine is flowing at Châteauneuf du Pape: 2017 is the 700th anniversary of the castle of the Popes at Châteauneuf du Pape as they started its construction in 1317.  This was their summer residence.  It is also the 700th anniversary of the Enclave of the Popes in Valréas.  They say that it was because of his love of wine that Pope John XXII bought Valréas which stayed the property of the church until the French Revolution.  Events will take place all through the year reaching a peak on 4th – 6th August for the Châteauneuf-du-Pape celebrations and 19th – 20th August for Valréas. 

650th anniversary of The Synagogue of Carpentras: Carpentras is home to the oldest synagogue in France and celebrates its 650 year anniversary in 2017. It was built in 1367 and has been the subject of an extensive three year renovation programme. To celebrate the anniversary, there will be concerts, exhibitions, conferences, and so forth – including displaying some of the ancient Jewish texts from the library such as the Hebrew Bible that dates from 1550. This would be a grand time to visit the area and follow the route of Jewish history including Avignon and Cavaillon.


Marquis de Sade: Spring 2017 will see the doors opening of the newly restored Château of the de Sade family in Saumane.  It is one of many residences that the family owned throughout this part of the world and the labyrinth of corridors and passages shows the imagination of the young Marquis.  It has a medieval soul, a Renaissance charm and shows the fantasies of the eighteenth century.  The Marquis lived here from the age of five to the age of ten with his illustrious uncle who was a famous intellectual and scientist.

New accommodation options in the Vaucluse:  La Maison de Crillon, Crillon le Brave – only opening in June 2016, this little jewel of luxurious comfort overlooks the gorgeous Ventoux countryside. Just eleven rooms decorated with objets d’arts and fine furnishings in a modern building of stone, wood and glass. 

Domaine de Palerme, Ile-sur-la-Sorgue – This chambres d’hôtes, which also opened in June 2016, is in an eighteenth century farmhouse where Albert Camus stayed in the Fifties.  There are five enormous rooms with original tiled floors and blown glass windows.  The setting is magnificent – a garden of over 6000 square metres with masses of luxurious vegetation.  

Villa du Haut Vallon, Gordes – A very elegant chambres d’hotes, the Villa du Haut Vallon is situated just fifteen minutes from the village of Gordes in impeccably manicured gardens.  The interior is a perfect harmony of old and new with three vast suites that feature the original beams, doors and stairs.  The owner collects vintage luxury cars so one may take a trip around the Luberon in style.  

Hotel Le Petit Palais d’Aglae****, Gordes – This hotel also opened in June 2016 but is like no other!  It is like entering another world …an Italian Renaissance extravaganza where the normal codes of decoration have been totally ignored. There is also an exceptional restaurant L’Euphrosyne where the menu reflects the style of the property – happy, light, colourful, fizzy!

Avignon 2017:  7th April – 27th August 2017 sees the Raoul Dufy Exhibition in Avignon at the Angladon Museum collecting 60 of the great artist’s works in the recently added new space. 

New Openings:  Just opening – March 2017 will see the inauguration of an exceptional building dedicated to wine.  The Dubrule family have invested in an architectural marvel with their new wine cellar in Curcuron in the Luberon, designed by Jean–Michel Wilmotte using glorious materials such as dried stone, wood, glass etc.  They wanted to emulate some of the beautiful wineries of Spain and Aquitaine and this has certainly been achieved.  Not only will there be tastings of wines from all over the world chosen by Alain Graillot, but also a library of books dedicated to the Luberon and a collection of glasses on display.

September 2017 will see the opening to the public of the hydro-electric station at Bollène.  The majestic façade is classed as an historic monument and was known at the time as the French Suez.  It is a working industrial site where you can learn about hydro-electricity, the Rhône River and so on.  Guided visits take an hour and a half – Monday to Saturday inclusive.


They say a fiver doesn’t take you far these days!  Well ferry company Stena Line disagrees!

Their brand new Fiver Fever fare will take you across the Irish Sea, to Scotland or England, for a fun adventure that won’t break the bank – but be quick as you only have three days to bag a bargain!


Leading ferry company Stena Line clearly has that ‘Friday feeling’! With the launch of their Fiver Fever fare giving customers the chance to purchase a special £5 single foot passenger ticket to Liverpool or Cairnryan.

This extraordinary offer is available to purchase from March 17th until March 19th and is valid for travel up to December 15th 2017 on the Belfast – Liverpool and Belfast – Cairnryan routes.  This means BIG savings for upcoming Easter, mid-term and summer breaks.


Copyright Frank Lose

Orla Noonan, Travel Commercial Manager at Stena Line, said: “We are excited to launch our first ever Fiver Fever which gives our customers the opportunity to take a family holiday that won’t break the bank. Our £5 fares are only available to book from 17th to 19th March, so don’t miss out. Be quick to book as we expect this offer to prove very popular and for our sailings to fill up fast!


“On top of that, our low fare means there will be plenty left in the kitty to spend on having fun at your destination – so what are you waiting for?  Book now!

“Our Fiver Fever fare allows passengers to visit another country and enjoy all of these wonderful benefits once onboard, including excellent service, comfortable seating, speciality coffee house, free WiFi, free movies, great value dining options, kids play areas, discounted shopping, and so much more.”

Get online today to book your Fiver Fever crossing with Stena Line by visiting www.stenaline.co.uk/fiverfever.

*Terms and conditions apply. See the Stena Line website for full details.


As the days get longer and temperatures begin to rise, thoughts are turning to summer holidays. Voyages-sncf.com are embracing that summer feeling and today announce that tickets to two summer hot spots went on sale yesterday the 15 March 2017. If you have never done it, the drive down France to beautiful Bordeaux can be a bit of a pain. It’s hard on the kids and it can be frustrating for the driver and co-pilot. But there is a far better option and that is to let the train take the strain.


The coastline of Brittany and the vineyards of Bordeaux will both be reached in a fraction of the current journey times this summer thanks to the opening of the highly anticipated new high-speed rail services TGV Armorique and TGV Océane later this year.


Although the services themselves won’t start running until 2 July 2017, tickets for travel on between Paris and Brittany and Bordeaux went on sale via Voyages-sncf.com on 15th March 2017.


Demand is expected to be high so anyone thinking of travelling to these popular holiday regions this summer should book early to secure the best fares.


Services begin operation on 2nd July 2017 when the NEW TGV Océane will reduce journey times from Paris to Bordeaux by up to 1 hour and 15 minutes with a frequency of over 33 return journeys a day. Travellers will cover the 581km from the centre of Paris to the centre of Bordeaux in 2 hours and 4 minutes. It is anticipated that 2.4 million passengers a year will travel on the line.


At the same time, tickets for the NEW TGV Armorique service will go on sale. This new route will link Paris to Rennes in 1 hour 25 minutes, a saving of 40 minutes on the current journey times, and with over 29 return journeys per day it is sure to attract a lot of passengers with estimated numbers around 1.5million passengers every year.


These two new high-speed routes will open the regions of Brittany and the south-west of France to rail travellers.


Additional destinations including Toulouse – with six return journeys per day in a time of 4 hours 9 minutes – Poitiers,

Angoûleme and La Rochelle will benefit from TGV Océane services, while TGV Armorique will also serve Brest and Quimper in Brittany, with reductions in journey times to both destinations of up to 45 minutes.


Running on both these new routes are newly designed TGV trains, travelling at speeds of up to 320 km per hour, in super modern style.


New on board features include increased leg room, seating which can swivel to face the direction of travel, on board WiFi, large tables with plugs and USB ports and moveable personal lights. With prices starting at around £31 each way this is sure to be a hit.


So if you are considering beautiful Bordeaux SNCF have come up with their 6 top things to do when your there.


  1. A special itinerary of wine bars, with vaulted, bare-brick cellars

To give you the strength to visit the whole city centre, depart on a tour of the wine bars. Le Toscane (place Camille Jullian), for a little hint of Italy in Bordeaux, Aux 4 coins du vins (Place St Pierre), where you can use a smart card to taste 40 wines, L’Oenolimit (place Fernand Lafargue), decorated using recycled materials with even an old billiards table, perfect for drinks with friends, and Le Petit Bois (18 Rue du Chai des Farines, Porte Cailhau), for its original décor and generous open sandwiches.

More wine bars here


  1. A trip through Bordeaux’s unmissable sites

Start your journey with Tour Pey Berland, a tower located on the square of the same name, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have the strength, you can even climb the 233 steps to reach the summit of the tower, more than 50 metres above ground, to admire a panoramic view of the city of Bordeaux.


Continue your stroll with, not far from the tower, la Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, to discover the Saint-Seurin Basilica and its accompanying paleo-roman site…

Before rejoining the waterfront at La Garonne, take a little detour to the famous Bordeaux Opera House, more commonly known as Le Grand Théâtre. Also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with architecture typical of Bordeaux – inherited from the Age of Enlightenment – this monument has witnessed 200 years of different uses, and has rediscovered its traditional style since its renovation in 1991.

Then take a walk along La Garonne on the Quai des Chartrons, to reach the famous Pont Chaban Delmas… 433 metres long and containing as much steel as the Eiffel Tower, this jewel of modern architecture in Bordeaux is clearly unmissable.

  1. Go green in Bordeaux’s public gardens or at the Parc Bordelais

Classed as “A remarkable garden of France”, Bordeaux’s public gardens are magnificent. This French green oasis is situated just a few steps from the city centre. Ideal for all the family (swings, play areas, old-style carrousel, etc.), it is also perfect for a romantic stroll!

We also love the little animal park in the Parc Bordelais – goats, ducks, a few exotic pigs, and more – as well as the wide paths and tracks for cycling and roller skating… and there’s also the large central lake, to laze around by on sunny days!

  1. Brunch at Darwin’s Magasin Général

We love the setting of these decommissioned barracks and their industrial look, offering numerous activities: a skatepark, graffiti, beehives, co-working, etc. In the restaurant, the décor is created using recycled materials and the food is organic and delicious, at a reasonable price.

Tip: Try brunch on a Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

And if you still have an appetite after a delicious lunch at Darwin’s Magasin Général, why not try one of Bordeaux’s special Canelé pastries?

  1. Have fun on the Miroir d’eau, emblematic of Bordeaux

Located in Place de la Bordeaux, just a few steps away from the waterfront, the Miroir d’eau is to Bordeaux what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. An unmissable sight in the town, it is the largest water mirror in the world – it looks like a paddling pool with a giant atomiser! A site that children will particularly adore…

  1. Visit Bordeaux’s Cité du Vin

With architecture that is both contemporary and bold, the Cité du Vin, located on the banks of the Garonne at the entrance to the marina, is the world’s first centre where you can discover the end-to-end wine production process.

It offers a journey through time and space, to discover the various dimensions of wine, including culture, civilisation and patrimony, thanks to scientific, artistic, cultural and festive events, workshops, games, temporary exhibitions, and more. It’s all about the experience!





The 4-star Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh has announced a £1.4 million investment in fourteen brand new lakeside lodges, which are due to open on March 31, 2017.

The Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel Lodges were designed to a high specification by Elliott York Partnership. They are one-of-a-kind lodges situated on the banks of Lough Erne with stunning panoramic views. Limavady based company, FastHouse Ltd and Jonathan Kavanagh Construction Ltd were engaged to complete this project within 4 months.

Jacqueline Wright and Leigh Watson, Directors of the Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel are joined by Lee York of Elliott York Partnership and Tanya Cathcart of Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism.

Leigh Watson, Director of Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel, said:

“A great deal of planning and meticulous design work has gone into the creation of these impressive lodges and we are delighted to announce that they will be ready for bookings from the end of this month.

“We spent a lot of time with our Design Team to ensure the lodges merge perfectly within their breath-taking setting on Lough Erne and make the most of the scenic views. I can say now, that the contemporary design and interior of the lodges has surpassed all of our expectations and we can’t wait to welcome our first guests.

“The lodges offer the perfect escape for couples looking for a romantic break yet are versatile enough to appeal to families and groups who want to spend their time in a unique setting. Each lodge consists of an open plan lounge and modern kitchen area with two ensuite bedrooms. The contemporary decking area will allow guests to appreciate the panoramic views.

“Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges are situated 1km from Enniskillen town, making them the perfect base from which to explore all that County Fermanagh has to offer. Please contact our Reservations Team soon to book your stay in one of our unique Lakeside Lodges,” added Leigh.

Prices start from £550 per week, for more information or to book a stay go to www.killyhevlin.com or call +44(0) 28 6632 3481.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/Killyhevlin and on twitter @killyhevlin


The 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open set to be biggest ever!

STRAFFAN, IRELAND – MAY 22: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy following his 3 shot victory during the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club on May 22, 2016 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)


The 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation is set to be the biggest in the tournament’s history, with an increased prize fund of US$7million to be matched by an enhanced fan experience outside of the ropes.


Four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy will defend the title in front of his home fans at Portstewart Golf Club from July 6-9, adding another level of excitement to the island of Ireland’s national championship.

STRAFFAN, IRELAND – MAY 22: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 9th hole during the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club on May 22, 2016 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

The announcement last November which confirmed the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open as one of the eight prestigious Rolex Series events also means it will benefit from increased investment across the board, enhancing the overall fan experience as well as the digital, broadcast and social media offering.


With a spectacular increase in prize-fund, up more than 60% from 2016, along with greater Race to Dubai points on offer, some of world golf’s biggest names will arrive on the Country Derry/Londonderry coast with the aim of dethroning McIlroy and joining the esteemed list of Irish Open Champions.

STRAFFAN, IRELAND – MAY 22: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club on May 22, 2016 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Tickets for the 18th grandstand at Portstewart – which will enjoy an action-packed view of the 17th tee as well as the final green – have already sold out for Sunday, July 9, but tournament organisers have responded by adding 300 extra seats to increase capacity.


Those limited tickets, as well as general admission tickets, are on sale now at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.  A percentage of all ticket sales will be donated to the Rory Foundation which supports children’s charities around the world and is hosting the tournament for the third year running.


The two previous Northern Irish editions of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open were both sell-outs – first in 2012 at Royal Portrush and then in 2015 at Royal County Down.


For those who cannot see the action up close, the stunning Northern Irish coastline will be broadcast around the globe to more than 450 million the homes, enjoying an increased eight hours of live coverage on Thursday and Friday, up from six in previous years, and six hours at the weekend, up from four.


Simon Alliss, the European Tour’s Championship Director for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, said: “This event has always been one of the highlights of the European Tour season and one of the biggest events on the Irish sporting calendar, but this year fans will be treated to a real festival of golf.  As part of the Rolex Series, we have increased our investment in the overall fan experience and we are planning a host of announcements between now and the beginning of July, with some very exciting musical acts in the pipeline for our show stage.  That, along with other enhancements in the tented village area – featuring interactive golf activities for all the family – and new on-course bar areas will give our fans a golf day out on a whole new scale.  Tickets are already selling quickly and, with so many player and fan enhancement announcements to come, we fully expect the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to be another sell-out.”


Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen said: “As the tourism industry gears up to host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the third Irish Open in the space of five years in Northern Ireland, we eagerly anticipate a week of outstanding golf, increased visitors and a sell-out event in Portstewart.  This world class championship has gone from strength to strength since 2012 under the superb professional management of the European Tour and the personal commitment and energy of the Rory Foundation.

Tourism NI, along with our partners in the Department for the Economy, Causeway Coast and Glens Council, PSNI, Translink and many others will be working hard over the next months to ensure we deliver a memorable tournament for locals, visitors and players and that we spread the economic benefits across the region this year and for years to come.”


Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation, said: “This is the third year we have hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and we are delighted to see it back in Northern Ireland.  The tournament enables us to build on our platform for positive change reaching into the community and developing innovate initiatives to help children in most need.  A percentage of all ticket sales will go directly to the Rory Foundation enabling us to continue in our mission of helping children live better lives and we are looking forward to a sell-out event.


Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com, begin at £20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing £40 and day tickets for the weekend costing £45. An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just £100 (a saving of £90 over the course of the five days).

Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 16 and 21, while children up to 16 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

To get a full seated view of all of the drama at the 18th green, grandstand tickets cost £11.50 for Thursday and Friday, £16.50 for Saturday and £21.50 for Sunday.

Official Hospitality packages are also available on the ticketing page, or alternatively contact the European Tour’s dedicated Hospitality Sales Team, who will be happy to answer any queries and discuss the various hospitality options, on enquiries@europeantourhospitality.com or +44 (0) 1344 840681. 


Our Guest writer Adam Jacot de Boinod has been on his travels and this time he took some time out to visit Paris. Only an hour and a half away from Belfast  Derry or Dublin its a firm favourite for many from the Emerald Isle.

Adam continues:

As soon as I arrive in Paris I always pop straight out for a short walk beside the riverbanks of the Seine. Paris is such a fun city to experience by foot. Taxis, it’s true, are reasonably priced and come with all the renown ‘hauteur’ (disdain) of the driver. The ‘Metro’ underground certainly has all the character of the city’s underbelly and cycling is now well catered for in the central expanses. But to stroll beside the Seine has a pace of its own. I was staying nearby at the stylish Le Saint Hotel in the Saint-Germain district. It’s blissfully silent and very well-kept. Real ‘townhouse chic’! I visited the beautiful Sainte Chapelle on the Île de la Cité. It looks amazing as the sun streams through the stained-glass windows. Behind it and the stern of the island, is the Place Dauphine, unknown to tourists, and a perfect triangular spot for my picnic of crispy bread and pungent cheese. A real find!


My first night was spent at the hotel’s ‘Kult restaurant’ which has a refreshingly short and confident menu and it was just great to enjoy its snug atmosphere after all the travelling. It was here that I learnt about how the French combine their cheeses with Sainte-Maure de Touraine for goat’s cheese, St. Nectaire as the semisoft, washed rind cheese and the Camembert au Calvados as the utterly delicious softer variety


Staying in this Saint-Germain ‘arrondissement’ (district) has long been a favourite of mine. It has its own distinctive, luxuriant vibe with clothes, scent, chocolate and cake boutiques. The doors and gateways are often harmoniously colourful with jade green celadon a favourite. So on I went past Frederic Malle’s first scent salon, a veritable boudoir complete with smelling vacuums, then into a Maison Pradier cafe, offering freshly made eclairs.


I visited many of Paris’s lesser known museums and they are relatively unknown to tourists: the painter Delacroix’s house in Saint Germain is very intimate, whilst the Jacquemart-Andre on Boulevard Haussmann exemplifies the glory of French interior decoration in the 19th century. The Marmottan on Rue Louis Boilly, alongside the Bois de Boulogne has many special Impressionist works including Monet’s “Sunrise: An Impression” from which the movement derived its name.


I ate that night at Georgette on the Rue d’Assas. It’s right by the Jardin du Luxembourg and has ample ambience with all the characters amongst the local clientele, consisting of birthday groups and romantic couples. It’s a friendly welcoming place with simple décor and delicious, honest food. Great for watching the Parisians at play.


The next morning I took a trip up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Haussmann, the renown town planner, paid great attention to straight lines leading upto public monuments at focal points. I followed the brilliant straight line that starts from the centre of the Louvre, goes past the Roue de Paris, which is the tricolour Ferris wheel, and through the Tuileries Gardens onto the wonderful expanse of the Place de la Concorde with its romantically cobbled paving stones and green and gold lanterns, on past the truly triumphant Arc de Triomphe, the circus of all roundabouts, to the modern arch lying in the financial district that is La Défense. Some sixteen miles or so!


I visited the Louis Vuitton Foundation, an art exhibition space in the Bois de Boulogne, the city’s central wooded park. Having given up on getting in, I looked online to discover that if you go via the children’s theme park you can join a much shorter queue (thank you Trip Advisor!). In I got and what a joyous structure the Foundation is with a broad fountain of cascading waves in front and strong coloured roofs above.


My final wonderful meal was at Le Lobby in the Peninsula Hotel on Avenue Kléber (off the Arc de Triomphe). It’s confident, stylish, classy, lavish and splendid. The dining experience is set in a hall bedecked with chandeliers and the frescoed ceiling reigns over the luxuriant tropical plants. Definitely somewhere for that very special occasion or for those seeking a very luxurious experience. Here I enjoyed ‘le poireau cuit en papillote’, a hollowed leek filled with ginger-scented king crab, wakame and sesame seeds, alongside an amazingly presented salad of lettuce, shaved vegetables including daikon radish, with mango and mango dressing. All followed by a beef fillet with agria potatoes, cadoret oyster and gravy. For dessert, I indulged in ‘l’emotion chocolat’, a grand crus chocolate and macadamia nuts with Macaé ice-cream. On the hour, I popped upstairs to the roof terrace to watch the Eiffel Tower glitter and dazzle as it does for several minutes hourly at night.



For more information on Paris please visit www parisinfo.com

Adam travelled with Classic Collection Holidays (0800 294 9323; classic-collection.co.uk) which offers 3 nights at Le Saint Hotel, Paris from £770 per person in May. Price based on 2 adults sharing a classic room on a bed & breakfast basis, and includes return flights from London Gatwick (other UK departure airports available) to Paris and private transfers.



We all have to live on a budget and for many; wonderful holidays in the sun are not possible.

But fear not, you can have just as much fun at home as away. So this week I turn to the National trust for some local information on great days out.

The National Trust is an independent conservation charity funded through memberships, donations, legacies and commercial operations.
With the help of their members, supporters and volunteers they look after some of the country’s most beautiful places, including historic houses and collections, countryside and coastline.

So by becoming a member you can help protect Northern Ireland’s natural and built heritage while enjoying access to extraordinary places, experiences and activities.

So here is a round country sample of some of the things the National Trust has to offer.


Ardress House

Ardress House

This 17th-century farmhouse, elegantly remodelled in Georgian times, offers fun and relaxation for all the family. The cobbled farmyard with a dairy, smithy and threshing barn is the perfect spot to feed the resident chickens, while the nearby apple orchards are great for exploring. Children will enjoy visiting the small farmyard animals, having a go on the ride-on tractors and dressing-up.

The Argory

The Argory

Surrounded by a wooded riverside estate, the interior of this Irish gentry house still evokes the eclectic tastes and interests of the MacGeough Bond family. The rose garden, with its unusual sundial, pleasure gardens and walks along the River Blackwater are ideal for exploring. There’s also fun for kids on the indoor bug trail and the zipline in the children’s play area.



Family visitors in the garden at Ardress House, County Armagh.

This 17th-century plantation house, home of the Lenox-Conyngham family, is brought to life on guided tours. Discover the celebrated costume collection in the old laundry and kids ‘dressing up’ in the Costume Closet. Explore the walled garden and way marked trails, with views of Slieve Gallion and the Sperrins, and enjoy the natural play area.


Wellbrook Beetling Mill

The Wellbrook Beetling Mill in County Tyrone.

Step back in time and discover how yarn
was spun at Northern Ireland’s last working water-powered linen beetling mill. Hands-on demonstrations reveal the importance of the linen industry in 19th-century Ireland. The glen is ideal for relaxing walks and perfect for a picnic by the Ballinderry River.







The Columbian Printing Press at Gray’s Printing Press



Gray’s Printing Press

The indelible story of printing is told behind this Georgian shop front in Strabane, once reputed as Ireland’s printing capital.


Divis and the Black Mountain

Sitting in the heart of the Belfast Hills,
this 2,000-acre mosaic of upland heath
and blanket bog is a great place for a wild countryside experience. There are four walking trails to explore, affording panoramic views across Belfast and a wealth of ora, fauna and archaeological remains to discover.

Cregagh Glen and Lisnabreeny

For views across Belfast and beyond, follow the tumbling stream through the wooded glen and rolling farmland to a rath on the summit of the Castlereagh Hills. Discover the Second World War memorial commemorating US servicemen who died in Northern Ireland and enjoy the natural play area.


Ruins of the mansion at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Country Londonderry.

The sheltered gardens, Mussenden Temple and striking mansion ruins bear testament to the eccentricity of the Earl Bishop who once made this 18th-century demesne his home. With views over long white beaches and the mountains of Donegal it is a wonderful place for a refreshing walk or fun in the children’s adventure play area. Nearby at Hezlett House, life in a rural 17th-century cottage is told through the people who once lived there.








Nestled in the heart of Lagan Valley Regional Park, this is a place to stroll, sit and play in. There are riverside, meadow and woodland walks, rich in wildlife, to explore. Wander along the Giant’s Ring trail and for fantastic views trace the stream along the banks of the River Lagan on the Terrace Hill trail.

Family having a picnic at Minnowburn, Co Down, Northern Ireland.




A view of boats in Cushendun Harbour.

Nestled at the mouth of the River Dun (Brown River) at the foot of Glendun, Cushendun is a charming historic village steeped in character and folklore. Admire the white Cornish-style houses designed by Clough Williams-Ellis, explore the grounds of historic Glenmona House and enjoy the circular walking trail.


Portmuck and Skernaghan Point

Once the site of smuggling and home to an ancient monastery, the Islandmagee peninsula’s coastline is steeped in history. An Area of Special Scientific Interest, it has some of Northern Ireland’s largest colonies of cliff nesting seabirds and offers views of the famous Antrim coast.


White Park Bay

Embraced by ancient dunes, Neolithic settlements and passage tombs, this arc of white sand nestles between two headlands on the North Antrim coast. Home to a range of rich habitats and a myriad of wildlife, its secluded location makes it ideal for quiet relaxation and peaceful walks.


Portstewart Strand

View across the dunes and beach at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

Sweeping along the edge of the north coast, this 2-mile stretch of golden sand covers uninterrupted views of the coastline. It’s an ideal place for lazy picnics, surfing and long walks into the wildlife-rich sand dunes. You can also enjoy bird watching from the bird hide on the Bann Estuary, a sanctuary for waders, wildfowl and nesting birds.

One of the nest examples of Neo-classical architecture in Ireland, Castle Coole has an elegant and restrained exterior, while the
interior is brimming with opulence, luxury and colour. Guided tours also reveal life below the stairs in the servants’ rooms and quarters. The surrounding rolling parkland, interspersed with mature oaks, woodlands and paths, is perfect for refreshing walks and fun in the outdoor play area.


Home to islands, ancient woodland and historical ruins, this 2,000-acre demesne sits in a tranquil landscape on the peaceful southern shores of Upper Lough Erne. One of Ireland’s most important conservation areas, it has many rare species and is great for relaxing walks, cycling and boat trips, or overnight camping.

Florence Court

Florence Court

On a guided tour of this welcoming Georgian mansion hear stories about the Cole family, and their staff, who lived there for over 250 years. Outdoors take a gentle walk or long cycle along 10 miles of trails in the forest park. Discover the mother of all Irish yew trees, the ice house, water- powered sawmill, blacksmith’s forge and the kitchen garden which is being restored to its 1930s character.


Patterson’s Spade Mill

Travel back in time and witness history literally forged in steel at the last working water-driven spade mill in daily use in the British Isles.
Dig up the history and culture of the humble spade and visit a bygone life fashioning steel into spades during the industrial era.

Belmont Tower

For more than 100 years this prominent Gothic-style late-Victorian building buzzed to the sound of children playing and learning in its former life as Belmont Primary School. Today this inspirational space has been restored and adapted to o er classes, conference facilities and tasty treats in the coffee shop.


The Top 2


Visitor walking over the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim.

Connected to the cli s by a rope bridge across the Atlantic Ocean, this rocky island is the ultimate cli top experience. The bridge was traditionally erected by salmon shermen and if you are bold enough to make the crossing you will

be rewarded with unique geology and wildlife. On a clear day enjoy views across the seas of Moyle to Rathlin Island and the Scottish islands.






Giant’s Causeway

Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim.

The famous basalt columns at our iconic World Heritage Site, left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago, are home to a wealth of local history and legend.

Follow in the footsteps of giants along the windswept walking trails to discover ora and fauna of international importance as well as fantastic bird watching. Indoors, the interactive exhibition in the Visitor Centre unlocks the secrets of the landscape.


So for a great day or two out and about in Northern Ireland consider the National Trust as a wonderful resource of amazing places to visit.

See https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk



For an up to date list of events in Northern Ireland click here 



Conceived, as a saucy seaside stopover the Hotel in Brighton the Pelirocco has become the by-word for those seeking a great getaway laced with a real touch of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Brighton is a melting pot of hedonism, seaside culture, the pier, the pavilion, the lanes and of course gay bars and it’s been famous for all those things for years. Located only 40 miles from London is a relatively short drive in distance but a long way in time and culture. And right at the centre of all of this is the famous Hotel Pelirocco.

Mick Habeshaw Robinson and Jane Slater founded the hotel in 2000.
It grew from a discontent with hotel experiences on offer at the time.
Stuck between the ostentatious option of the Grand and the faded chintz of the Brighton B&B the Hotel Pelirocco sought to satisfy the middle ground with an outrageous alternative hotel and it was the forerunner of themed hotels around United Kingdom.

Attracting high-profile sponsorship from Sony PlayStation through to Asian Dub foundation, this unique hotel embraced collaboration, working with a range of artists designers and sponsors Stoli vodka Kraken rum Jamie Reid as well as playing homage to icons from both British and International subculture, Betty Paige, Diana Daws, Yoyo Kusama and Lee Scratch Perry.

Renowned for its friendly and relaxed customer service, guests and visitors are welcomed back again and again by familiar faces that have been with the Pelirocco team for years.

The Pelirocco has designed all of its rooms to be unique and each year a new one is created, I hear a Japanese love room is nearing completion very soon.


There are a host of unique rooms. The quadrophenia room, rock and roll room, Bowery Room, the Nookie Room and a Star Wars themed offering, in fact too many to list here.







The hotel however does not sit on their laurels, there is a constant demand and occupancy rates are well up in the 80% region as customers return again and again. In fact a couple brought their 15 yr. old daughter, as the Pelirocco was their honeymoon hotel.

But don’t think it’s just a hotel room as the Pelirocco offers so much more.

They bring on young musical talent, and hold comedy nights and jamming sessions nearly all the time, the bar has a 24-hour licence but mostly it shuts between 3 and 4 am. Breakfast is a welcomed wonderful affair and its fair to say they do get through quite a few full English breakfasts there too.

When you enter the hotel through the hall its looks a bit odd with the walls covered with memorabilia, records, posters, pictures and lots of other advertising artefacts literally all over the walls. But don’t be put off the hotel is spotlessly clean and a super place to stay.

Having stayed once, i’m hooked.

Check out  http://www.hotelpelirocco.co.uk





Nottingham is located 30 miles (48 km) south of Sheffield and about 3 hours from London. Nottingham is famous for a few things, Sherwood Forrest, Robin Hood and Raleigh bikes. It was granted a city charter in 189 and its population now equals that of Northern Ireland. So last weekend I decided to pop over there to see what this famous city has to offer. I drove from Larne across to Cairnryan on the speedy P&O route, which gets you from shore to shore in just two hours. A few hours later I was arriving into Nottingham.

Hart’s Hotel

I stayed at Harts Hotel in the city centre. Harts is  a contemporary 4 star boutique hotel with stunning views over Nottingham from its bedrooms and secluded gardens. Some people may see boutique hotels as minimalist but I can assure you that my experience of Harts was, this was a really stunning and well-equipped hotel. Beautifully furnished and it comes with an award winning restaurant.

Hart’s is a busy 80 seater restaurant which has for a number of years claimed the title of Nottingham’s most successful up-market eatery. Hart’s aims to provide a thoroughly professional blend of skilled service and modern British cooking in a stylish and comfortable interior. Having eaten in Hart’s I can advise it is a stunning place to eat where your taste buds will be taken on a journey of delight.
My room was beautifully quiet and housekeeping was immaculate. The views of Nottingham were stunning and if you are looking for a wonderful hotel to stay at do consider Harts http://www.hartsnottingham.co.uk/


Getting around Nottingham was really east as it boasts an award-winning public transport system, including the largest publicly owned bus network in England. It is also served by the modern Nottingham Express Transit tram system.
This city was also named ‘Home of English Sport’ as it has the National Ice Centre, Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre, and Trent Bridge international cricket ground, which are all based in or around the city.

So if you are sporty you will not be lost for choice.

 Nottingham Is Well Read Too

On 11 December 2015, Nottingham was named a Unesco City of Literature, joining Norwich, Melbourne, Prague and Barcelona as one of only a handful in the world.[15] The title reflects Nottingham’s literary heritage, with Lord Byron, DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe having links to the city.


Lots to do

My first evening was spent at a £1-00 comedy night at The Canalhouse, Nottingham. (www.thecanalhouse.co.uk).

This is no ordinary English pub. Originally it was a boathouse and if you walk inside you will see exactly what I mean, but ill let you discover the surprise. The Comedy night was £1-00 in and there were 7 comedians on stage, a great night was had and there were lots of laughs. Interesting to note that in this bar they serve Northern Irish measures so you are sure for a great value night. Also the main bar serves some wonderful real ale. Apart from the great venues super prices and amazingly cheap comedy nights there food is super too.


Robin Hood

The real Robin hood Ezekiel Bone

After my comedy evening it was back to Hart’s for some sleep and an early start, as I was to meet Nottingham’s real hero. Ezekial Bone, of Nottingham Tours. Just type Nottingham tours into Google and you will find him. This man is a legend in his own lifetime. He makes Professor Stephen Hawkin’s appear stupid, for his knowledge is amazing. There is nothing he does not know about Nottingham or its most famous son Robin Hood. In fact some say they are one and the same.

Ezekial, or if you know him well you may call him Ade, will take you on a bespoke walking tour of Nottingham, calling in at the Malt Cross, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, England’s oldest pub, which is built into caves beneath Nottingham Castle.

He will walk you down streets that will make your skin crawl or frighten the life out of you for this man is not only a tour guide, he is a “master story teller” and should be nominated as Nottingham’s Ambassador.

He promotes Nottingham with a passion rarely seen these days. His life is and has been dedicated to promoting this rich and diverse city. I know travel journalists bang on about doing tours of cities, but folks tour guides are generally local and they can tell you more about the history of their town in an hour than you will ever learn in a year of reading travel guides. After a wonderful tour of Nottingham Robin Hood and I arrived at ‘Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem’, England’s oldest pub for a swift pint of ale and some fine English fish and chips.

One highlight of the tour was when Ade had stopped in the lace district of the town, he was describing the history of the city in great detail, and from high up in a building, I heard a man shouting down at us. I thought he was going to tell off the guide, in fact so good was Ade’s historic account of the town, the gentleman aloft worked for the historical society and told him what a fabulous job he was doing and said he wished there were more people like him.

Now if that’s not an accolade nothing is!

Check out www.ezekialbone.com. And remember he is not limited to walking tours of Nottingham; he does a blood and guts tour, a lace tour, a magic lantern tour of Nottingham Theatre Royal, which has been acclaimed as ‘A wonderfully theatrical tour!’ by Gyles Brandreth. So please consider booking a tour with Ade you will not regret it.


Englands oldest Pub

Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem is ranked as one of the best pubs to visit in England. Built into the rocks that Nottingham Castle stands on it boasts a wealth of history and enchanting features.

Many people believe the pub is named ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’ because people made a trip to Jerusalem from there. In fact the word “trip” does not mean a journey in this case. An old meaning for ‘trip’ is a stop on a journey, like being tripped up, so the inn’s name means a stop or rest on the way to Jerusalem. So if in Nottingham why not follow in the pilgrims tradition and pop in on your way past the pub for a quick pint or a nibble? The pub is famous for its caves carved out of the soft sandstone rock against which the building is set and its landlord Karl. The larger ground level caverns are now used as the pub’s rear drinking rooms. There is also a network of caves beneath the building, originally used as a brewery. They appear to date from around the time of the construction of the castle (1068 AD).

The cursed galleon is a small wooden model of a ship in one the upstairs lounge. It is claimed that people who have cleaned it have all met a mysterious death. Landlords have refused to allow anyone to dust the ship over the years, allowing inches of thick grime to build up on it. The galleon is now encased in glass.

The pub also houses an antique chair; it is claimed that a woman who sits in the chair will increase her chances of becoming pregnant. So many people have sat on the chair in the hope of it bringing them pregnancy that is now is too weak to withstand the huge demand… It is now on display in the upstairs lounge.

Karl the landlord has been nominated as a tourism superstar in a Daily Mirror competition so please give him a few votes from the emerald isle, voting page is: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tourismsuperstar. Voting is live until the end of March.



They do a mean burger

If you are into burgers, I mean real burgers, the American type then head for Annies Burger Shack near the lace district. Born and raised in Rhode Island in New England Annie grew up down the road from where the first ever diners started.
She moved to Nottingham in 1994 and started Annie’s Burger Shack in 2009. All I can say is WOW, amazing, there are real American burgers just how you like the. Do not miss this famous and fabulous eating-house. Crammed every night of the week it’s a firm favourite with the locals and now I know why.
As Annie says “We are not about fast food, we are for the experience… so enjoy your surroundings, enjoy your time in the historical Lace Market, and its beautiful architecture which, funnily enough, reminds me of home”.





When traveling across to the mainland I have been a frequent user of the Belfast to Cairnryan route, and I have despite living relatively close to Larne, forgotten that P&O do actually provide the shortest fastest crossing to Scotland.

So last weekend I decided to remind myself how good the journey can be. And I was surprised what I found and it was all very good.

P&O Ferries operate the most frequent crossings between Northern Ireland and Scotland and with more sailings to choose from and lots to do on board. And it is easy to forget that travelling to Scotland has never been easier and quicker than with P&O Ferries!

There have been quite a few developments too, for example there has been new seating added and a very reliable Wi-Fi that actually works. There are also new food menus, improved kids play areas and so much more. So you’ll get where you want, when you want, on a newly improved P&O ferry.


Flexibility to travel

With up to seven P&O Ferries sailings a day, no baggage restrictions and a journey time of just two hours, the Larne to Cairnryan route makes getting to Scotland even more convenient, and before you know it you heading into Lough Ryan, and that’s it quick and simple. In total  its a two hour crossing.

WI_FI that works

Wi-fi at sea as for a long time been a bit of a hit and miss affair, and I do have experience of logging on and being connected, but just not being able to actually get anywhere on the web because the signal was so poor and finally I just gave up. P&O Ferries offers a free Wi-Fi service that really works well. A high quality and dependable Wi-Fi connection on-board ferry sailings between Larne and Cairnryan is available to all passengers free of charge. So on this route you and your kids can be connected and peace will reign. In fact it was so good I was able to update apps on my Ipad and browse at the same time, so take it from me that is good.



On Board experience

If you’re feeling peckish, the new on-board catering menu offers a variety of meals, to include a vegetarian option and a specially designed children’s menu full of tasty favourites, as well as a great range of light snacks to suit all times of travel. Customers can also upgrade to enjoy Club Lounge with a range of complimentary newspapers and magazines, refreshments and Wi-Fi. It costs £12 per person if booked in advance and £14 per person if booked on board.

I used this facility and if you want to have a little more peace and a quiet space with all those goodies, £12 is a very small price to pay for a peaceful lounge that adds a little more luxury to your crossing. Keypad entry system keeps the club lounge an upper class area for those who have paid for the privilege. And it’s a small price to pay for a bespoke executive lounge on this great crossing.

Great Staff

Its obvious the staff are aware that for some passengers it may be their first time sailing with P&O and they go out of their way to make you fell as welcome and as comfortable as possible. Smiles from all the staff, greeting every passenger they see and a warm welcome is just what you want and its just what you get.

On-board, there is a shop offering a wide range of souvenirs, books, toys and games and for those tempted there are perfumes to snap up at up to 40% off its high street prices. Or simply sit back and relax in the lounge with lots of seating areas. Or visit the cinema.

For young sailors there’s plenty to keep them happy with the newly decorated kids play area and game zone. The children’s entertainment room has a play area and a video screen playing all their favourite shows and the arcade room will keep the older ones happy.

Road networks that suits easy connections.

With the completion of the newly improved A8, the main road network linking Belfast and other major gateways to the Port of Larne, it makes it even easier for passengers sailing across the Irish Sea to Scotland. The new link to larne is fast and efficient and long gone are the long delays behind an articulated lorry on a single track road to Larne.

P&O’s great value fares start from £74 each way from Larne to Cairnryan for a car and driver.

For further information on all sailings and the latest P&O Ferries offers please visit POFerries.com or call 0800 130 0030.