Deals of the Week: West Coast main line, Hoverspeed Easter deals, Sevastopol
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 09 April 2003
Rail travellers hoping to take a train between London and the west of England, Wales and the north-west over Easter face an awkward journey.
Rail travellers hoping to take a train between London and the west of England, Wales and the north-west over Easter face an awkward journey. Paddington station is closing down completely from Good Friday to Easter Monday, and the West Coast main line is being dug up between Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes. Under these circumstances, the Chiltern line between London Marylebone and Birmingham will come into its own. The fastest journey time between the two cities is a little over two hours, and the saver return fare of £25.60 carries few restrictions. Unfortunately, the Birmingham end does not serve New Street station, the hub of the cross-country network, but you can walk there from Moor Street or Snow Hill. National rail enquiries: 08457 48 49 50.
You have two days to take advantage of the pre-Easter bargain from Hoverspeed (0870 240 8070, www.hoverspeed.com). Book today, sail from Dover to Calais tomorrow, return on Friday, and for a car and up to five occupants you will pay just £31 return.
If you miss this slot, you can still spend an overnight in France sometime between now and the end of May for £65 (not including accommodation). A £10 supplement applies for outward travel on Saturdays and Sundays. Again, you must book 24 hours in advance.
A charge of the tourist brigade is soon likely to invade the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. This Ukrainian town was central to the Crimean War, in which British involvement began 150 years ago next year; the battlegrounds of Inkerman and Balaklava are in the suburbs. Hitherto, the problem has been reaching the place: a long and expensive trip via either Moscow or Kiev to Simferopol, followed by a bus journey. But now an airline called Sevastopol Avia has started twice-weekly flights between Istanbul and Sevastopol. The two-hour flight costs $175 (£110) return; you can book through Inflot Tur (00 380 692 374 564). Cheap airline tickets from Britain to Istanbul are widely available.
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