Open Jaw: 'Colchester has huge charm'

Where readers write back

Firstsite museum in Colchester

Colchester can boast one of Britain's best parks, its earliest and most complete Roman city walls, the largest surviving Roman gate and our only Roman Circus. Pevsner described Colchester as the most impressive town in England for the continuity of its architectural interest. Firstsite continues that tradition.

Simon Taylor

I agree that the town planners did us no favours with the ring road, but if you are prepared to walk and look, there is huge charm in the town centre with 2,000 years of history, and a fascinating collection stretching back to the Romans in the castle. As well as Constable country, out of town we have the stunning Beth Chatto Gardens and Colchester zoo. Worth a weekend of anyone's time.

Melissa Shales

Swap BA frequent flyer points for a survival course

I will never forget watching a Horizon programme that featured an interview with a woman who survived the Manchester runway fire in 1985. She described people waiting patiently in their seats as the plane filled with smoke and flames, while others were getting bags out of overhead lockers.

Another accident covered in the programme was the Estonia ferry disaster in 1994. One of the few survivors described how people sat at their tables in the bar, steadying drinks as the ship healed to 45 degrees in a few seconds. The survivor sprang for the exit and escaped as the ship capsized.

People don't die through panic: they die through inertia and by queuing while others are doing stupid things like collecting bags. I won't be hanging about if things go wrong.

"Arbuthnot Worsthorn"

What surprises me is that airlines get customers for this. I get the idea of fear-of- flying courses that are run for anxious passengers, but to pay more than £100 to have the safety briefing explained to you seems a triumph of marketing over common sense.

A safety manager for a leading European airline

The safest seat is one that faces backwards, with its back against a bulkhead, which is at the back of the aircraft and next to a proper door. Why? In a rearward-facing seat against a bulkhead, your head and back will be supported. During a crash the plane's tail end also often breaks, getting left behind the main wreckage. This makes it easier to scramble clear. But remember: modern airliners are very, very safe, and their turbofan engines are incredibly reliable.

Mark Swanepoel

Tenerife: rugged good looks

I've lived in Tenerife for many years, and people still don't believe it until they see it, so seared on the British public's mind is the ugly image of mass tourism. In fact, you only skimmed the surface with Nicholas Roe's article. As I am sure you know, Tenerife has mystical laurel forests, rich regional wines and traditional village fiestas where all are welcomed. Happily, the companies you mention are doing a lot to change opinions.

"islandmomma"

easyJet 'free' flights

If time of arrival is based on seatbelt-off times, I can see pilots killing the seatbelt lights as they whizz into an airport with seconds to spare. Also, the target audience is very restricted (only business travellers), as is the duration and timing of the offer. Traditionally, this period is a low season – so it just seems to be a sales ploy to fill otherwise empty seats.

"JaitcH"

Dagenham to Havana

In Simon Calder's look at Cuba's changing automotive landscape, the line-up of cars photographed in 1958 in front of President Batista's palace are not all from Detroit. Amazingly, among the Yankee behemoths is a diminutive Ford Prefect, a British export built in Dagenham. If it's still running today, that would really be a story.

Alan Bunting

Seduced by the island of Samos

My friends and I were seduced by an article in your travel section about the Aegean island of Samos a few years ago: how it was unspoilt, like the Greece of old and not tainted by mass tourism. We have just returned and can confirm that it's a really pretty island with a life of its own.

The people were delightful, the food magnificent and to cap it all off, we stayed at the Armonia Bay Hotel, which is in a magnificent position with views of the bay below and Turkey in the distance. It's great when something turns out as you hope. We want to go back to Samos next year and are keeping our fingers crossed that Ryanair and easyJet don't announce direct flights in the meantime.

Eddie Gosney

Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
life
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Recruitment Genius: Processing Partner

    £15000 - £19200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Processing Partner is require...

    Recruitment Genius: PPC Manager - SW London

    £34000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist travel agent ba...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower