Deals of the week: Eurostar offers, boats to Ireland, late package deals

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The Independent Travel

Eurostar must be getting desperate. It has already cut summer return fares from London to Brussels to £60, and to Paris for £70. Now travellers within the GNER region are able to travel to either city for barely more than the basic price. Start in Peterborough or Grantham, book a week in advance, and the journey to the Belgian or French capital costs £71 return. From Leeds or York, the fare is £81; from Durham or Newcastle £86; from Edinburgh or Glasgow £91; and from anywhere north of Stirling, £98. You can even break the journey overnight in London. Book on 08457 225 225.

A train

Eurostar must be getting desperate. It has already cut summer return fares from London to Brussels to £60, and to Paris for £70. Now travellers within the GNER region are able to travel to either city for barely more than the basic price. Start in Peterborough or Grantham, book a week in advance, and the journey to the Belgian or French capital costs £71 return. From Leeds or York, the fare is £81; from Durham or Newcastle £86; from Edinburgh or Glasgow £91; and from anywhere north of Stirling, £98. You can even break the journey overnight in London. Book on 08457 225 225.

A boat

Ferry companies are stepping up the competition on routes to Ireland, seeking to retrieve some of the business lost to cheap airlines. For the next two weeks, two people plus a car can sail from Pembroke to Rosslare on an Irish Ferries five-day return for £124-£144, booked through www.irishferries.com; you pay £5 more for buying over the phone on 08705 17 17 17. P&O Irish Sea (0870 24 24 777, www.poirishsea.com) is selling cheap trips from Mostyn to Dublin; a three-day return for two people plus a car costs £99.

A plane

GB Airways, which flies from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to southern European destinations on behalf of British Airways, has cut its summer prices for many Club Europe flights by around one-third to a flat fare of £494 return. The price applies to Faro, Malaga, Gibraltar and six other destinations. You must book by the end of May, on www.ba.com, and fly by October. Bookings made by phone to 0845 77 333 77 cost an extra fiver.

A package

Take a holiday this month or next to get a bargain. The big tour operators have as many holidays to sell in May and June as in July and August. The only way they can shift them is to cut prices. Except over the Jubilee holiday weekend (1-4 June), prices are typically below £200 for a one-week package to the Med. The soccer World Cup, which starts in Korea and Japan on 31 May and continues throughout June, may dampen demand by keeping fans rooted to the sofa. Try www.latedeals.com, run by Thomson (08000 27 87 37), or Airtours (0800 028 8001).

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