Something to declare: BHX to DXB in style; a walk through North Wales; free culture in San Francisco; Bank Holiday railway shutdown

Bargain of the week: BHX to DXB in style

You can get a cut-price upgrade to Indian Ocean and other destinations worldwide – but only from Birmingham airport (BHX), and you'll downgrade to economy at Dubai (DXB).

Emirates dispatches two wide-bodied Boeing 777s each day from Birmingham to Dubai. Judging from its latest promotion, it is very keen to fill the business-class cabin (for which the standard fare is just under £2,000 return). Its Emirates Tours (020-7590 1485; offshoot is offering cut-price packages mixing Birmingham-Dubai flights in business (in both directions) with onward connections in economy. A week at The Residence in Mauritius is £2,129 per person for stays up to the end of September, while the One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives (above) is £2,809.

Destination of the week: A walk through North Wales

The North Wales Pilgrim's Way, a long-distance footpath linking St Winefride's Well at Holywell with Bardsey Island, is now open for business. The website,, provides an excellent guide to the 110-mile trail – which is divided into short sections – and suggests places to stay. "Visit the past, where Iron Age people settled, where Romans trod, the holy shrines and wells of pilgrims, and the tracks of medieval travellers," says Ron Williams, who helped create the pilgrimage.

Tip of the week: Free culture in San Francisco

When you plan a trip to the Californian city, writes Sue Mills, aim for the start of the calendar month. Many of San Francisco's top museums and galleries offer free admission on a particular day in the first week of each month, which can save you more than $75 (£50) in total.

The first Tuesday (this year including 6 September, 4 October and 1 November) is your best bet. You save $15 (£9) on the Museum of Modern Art, $10 (£6) on both the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor, while visiting the Exploratorium science museum on the first Wednesday saves $14 (£8.50).

Warning of the week: Bank Holiday railway shutdown

Passengers with Virgin Trains and other operators face disruption on the West Coast Main Line on all three days of the holiday weekend. Next Saturday and Sunday, the line between Warrington and Wigan will close, causing delays between London and Glasgow. Travellers to and from Chester and North Wales will also be affected, because their Virgin Voyager diesel trains are being used on some diverted services. On Sunday and Monday, the line between London and Rugby will be disrupted. Bus replacement services will be running. Most engineering work is due to finish at lunchtime on Monday. See for details.

Services to and from Birmingham New Street will be subject to delays, affecting passengers with Virgin, Cross Country and London Midland – buses will run between Birmingham International and New Street.

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