Deals of the Week: Training to the south of France, Rhine ferries, Brussels by plane
Fares for the French Motorail service from Calais to Avignon and Nice have been cut for travel outbound on Fridays from 11 April to 16 May (including Easter), and inbound on Saturdays until 24 May. The normal weekend supplement of £120 has been suspended, meaning that for a car and two people you pay £484 return to Avignon or £578 return to Nice; the Channel crossing costs extra. Book by calling 08702 415 415 or visit
Fares for the French Motorail service from Calais to Avignon and Nice have been cut for travel outbound on Fridays from 11 April to 16 May (including Easter), and inbound on Saturdays until 24 May. The normal weekend supplement of £120 has been suspended, meaning that for a car and two people you pay £484 return to Avignon or £578 return to Nice; the Channel crossing costs extra. Book by calling 08702 415 415 or visit www.raileurope.co.uk.
If you want to spend longer than a weekend in Germany, sample the KD Line network of Rhine ferries that begins in Düsseldorf and extends upstream to Mainz, with branches along the Main to Frankfurt and along the Mosel to Cochem.
Cyclists, rail travellers and families can all get a cheap trip on the Rhine. On Tuesdays KD Line (00 49 221 208 8318; www.K-D.com) is kind to cyclists, who get two-for-one travel and bikes go free; on Wednesday, up to three children travel free with each adult; and any day of the week, people with a valid German Rail ticket get 20 per cent off regular fares. The main summer schedule begins on 27 April and runs to 6 October; sailings start earlier (on 29 March) and end later (27 October), but operate a reduced service in those periods.
Another route to Brussels: last year, the Belgian airline Virgin Express (0800 891 199; www.virgin-express.com) was unceremoniously kicked out of Heathrow airport. Its slots to Brussels – which originally belonged to the now-defunct Sabena – were sold by the Belgians to British Airways. But now Virgin Express has teamed up with the independent airline VLM to offer an allocation of seats on its flights from London City airport to Brussels. This is due to begin at the end of March. Trial bookings made for early April found return fares of €90 (£60) widely available, as long as you avoid peak-time flights.
Book by this Friday to obtain a 10 per cent discount on one of the long-distance walks offered this summer by the YHA (0870 770 6113; www.yha.org.uk). These range from a three-day yomp across Exmoor to a fortnight on Alfred Wainwright's coast-to-coast path from Cumbria to North Yorkshire, taking
in Swaledale – this takes a fortnight to cover 190 miles. Accommodation is in youth hostels. The longest walk costs £750 before the discount, so £675 after it.
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