Something to declare: Mauritius rumours; historic Sussex; Bahn ban for smokers

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The Independent Online

Bargain of the week: Mauritius rumours

The island that emerged from the Indian Ocean less than 10 million years ago, and blossomed into a land of virgin forest and unique animal life, is getting increasingly cheaper to reach.

Since Man arrived in Mauritius (right) five centuries ago, the island has become one of the most multicultural and enticing places on earth. And it is about to become even more popular, with an extra 480 seats a week to fill from the UK.

Virgin Atlantic is set to expand into the Indian Ocean, with a new twice-weekly service starting on 29 October from Heathrow to Mauritius. The 12-hour flight, using an Airbus A340, competes directly with Air Mauritius and British Airways, and has triggered a significant fall in fares.

As an example, a return trip on AirMauritius for a week departing on 22 October costs £732 through; by 5 November, this has fallento £600.

Virgin's fares look good for a classy carrier: £715 return for a week, departing on 4 November. The corresponding fare on the same dates on BA is £746 – though as part of its latest World Offers promotion, BA is offering some dates for as little as £409 return.

Destination of the week: historic Sussex

Three months ago, Fishbourne Roman Palace outside Chichester in Sussex re-opened after a £3.5m makeover. The enhancements provide for much-improved viewing of the spectacular mosaics, and give the opportunity to handle Roman artefacts in the Collections Discovery Centre.

Next weekend, 8 and 9 September, Roman Gladiators will be in action at the site, which opens 10am-5pm, admission £6.80 (family ticket £17.40). Details from 01243 785859 or

On the last weekend of the month, the train operator Southern has a promotion that commemorates the Battle of Hastings, at least in the price. Two days of unlimited rail travel between Brighton and Dover, including Hastings, Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury West, costs £10.66 for each adult, £1 for children. The event is designed to promote the Marshlink Line from Hastings to Ashford, and special events will be taking place along this route. Tickets can be bought on the day at any staffed station in the area.

Warning of the week: Bahn ban for smokers

Rauchen verboten: starting today, that is the rule on the railways of Germany, as smoking is forbidden on all trains and stations, except for a few well-defined areas at stations. At the moment, up to 27 per cent of the seating on long-distance services is allocated for smokers. "In the Seventies it was about half of the seating," says Oliver Ueck of German Railways' UK office. A positive side-effect of the smoking ban, apart from promoting better health: the trains and stations will be cleaner. For smokers who have difficulty giving up, free nicotine chewing gum will be available on request from staff on board InterCity and ICE services. Across the border, Austrian Railways is introducing a similar ban from today.