Picnic butlers, China upgrades, and indigenous Australia: Travel agenda

Where to go and what to know

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The Independent Travel

1. Go Gotham

A new five-star hotel, billing itself as "Europe's sexiest", has opened in Manchester. Set in a former bank, Hotel Gotham has 60 rooms and "inner sanctum suites", and a private members' club on the top floor, while the 1920s-inspired decor plays to the building's heritage.


2. NZ bargain

Planning a trip to New Zealand? Next Thursday might be a good time to book, when Air New Zealand will sell 100 return Heathrow-Auckland flights for £75 each. On 16 April, 50 tickets will be available at STA Travel in London Victoria, 40 over the phone, and 10 through social media. The catch is that travel is for specific dates in May and June, with some availability in October. Limits on the number of tickets you can book also apply.


3. Basket case

Forest Holidays and VisitScotland have introduced a "picnic butler", who takes visitors to hidden picnic spots with a hamper of local specialities such as smoked salmon, oat cakes and tablet. From £75 for guests at Forest Holidays' cabins in Argyll and Perthshire.


4. China upgrade

The Dragon Trip, an established backpacker circuit of China, now has a premium version, with en-suite rooms replacing dorms and a flight instead of a 25-hour train journey. The two-week trip from Hong Kong to Beijing costs US$2,200 (£1,466), without international flights.


5. World view

The One World Observatory in Manhattan is set to open on 29 May and tickets are now on sale. The observatory, which is on levels 100, 101, and 102 of the new One World Trade Center, provide panoramic views of New York City. Tickets $32.


6. First steps

"Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation" is the name of a new major exhibition which runs from 23 April until 2 August at the British Museum. Drawing on objects from the collection and loans from Australia, the display highlights the culture of the Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, which dates back more than 60,000 years. Entry £10 (free for children under 16)


7. Fare deal

South West Trains has extended its Fan Fare offer, of a fixed £15 for a day return (£7 for children) until next Friday. You can travel between London and Bournemouth, Salisbury and – with a supplement for the ferry – anywhere on the Isle of Wight.


8. Rhodes work

British Airways is to launch its first flights to Rhodes from Gatwick on 29 April. The airline will compete with easyJet, which flies from Gatwick and Liverpool, as well as with Ryanair, which operates services from Stansted and East Midlands.