Freedom of North Ireland, sail to Corsica, fly to Sweden, luxury in Paris

A train

The bad news is that the price of the best rail deal in the UK has rocketed by one-third this month, with the blame put on "vandalism and robberies". The good news is that it has gone up only from £3 to £4. On any Sunday, this buys unlimited travel on Northern Ireland Railways. Buy the ticket before 3pm on the day, and you can travel the length and breadth of the region: from Belfast to Bangor, Newry, Larne, Londonderry and Portrush – a network of over 160 miles. For details and schedules, call 028-9089 9411 or visit

A boat

Fifty-two years ago this week, the very first charter flight took off from Gatwick, destination Corsica. "It really was absolutely no frills," says Vladimir Raitz, the man who organised the original air package holiday. Strangely, no low-cost airline has yet launched services to the French island from the UK. But no-frills flights to Nice are now available from six UK airports: Bristol, East Midlands, Gatwick, Liverpool, Luton and Stansted. And the ferry operator SNCM has cut its passenger fares to Corsica. On a two-for-one promotion, a couple travelling together on the high-speed link between Nice and Ajaccio would pay a total of €102 for the return trip, about £31 each. Book on, if you can negotiate your way through the English translation, such as: "The paying passenger must be obligatorily adult."

A plane

Rural Sweden beckons, thanks to a new with-frills link between Gatwick and Linkoping. The town is 120 miles south-west of Stockholm, just south of the Gota Canal and close to Lake Vattern. Between now and the end of May, you can fly there for £92.60 return on CityAirline (0870 330 8800, The same fare applies to Gothenburg, an en-route stop for the new flight.

A meal

Lunch in Paris at a two-Michelin-starred restaurant? All yours for £299, for four courses at Les Ambassadeurs in Le Crillon, including a half-bottle of sparkling wine. Oh, and Kirker Holidays (020-7231 3333, will throw in a first-class return from London Waterloo, plus transfers to the restaurant.