Something to declare: Copenhagen; German trains at Easter; London to Manchester; 'code-shares'
Saturday 09 April 2011
Destination of the week: Copenhagen
The Danish capital gets into its spring and summer stride with the re-opening this week of the Tivoli Gardens (00 45 33 151 001; tivoli.dk; 11am-10pm daily, later on Fridays and Saturdays). This city-centre amusement park has some impressive rides, notably the world's tallest chairoplane: the Star Flyer, right. If you can keep your eyes open, this swing carousel provides spectacular views of the city. The admission fee of DKK75 (£9) does not cover the park's rides, but a multi-ride ticket, price DKK195 (£22) entitles you to as unlimited turns.
The lowest air fares to Copenhagen are on routes from London; easyJet competes with Norwegian from Gatwick, and offers cheap flights from Stansted. For travel in June, fares of £65 return are easily available.
Warning of the week: German trains at Easter
Large-scale engineering work over public-holiday weekends has long been seen as a British habit, but the Germans are at it this Easter. The new April edition of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable warns: "During the Easter holiday period (April 22-25) engineering work will be carried out at a number of locations around the country, resulting in changes to long-distance services".
The most significant disruption will take place in the Frankfurt area, especially services from the city's Hauptbahnhof.
For many journeys it will be necessary to take a local train to Frankfurt airport and change there. Some trips will take an hour longer than normal.
Bargain of the week: London to Manchester
Need to travel at short notice from London to Manchester? On Thursday we researched options for a one-way trip the following morning, during the rush hour.
Remarkably, the cheapest direct train fare was for first class, an advance ticket on Virgin Trains £59 (second class was 50p more).
By air, British Airways had the best deals: £62 one-way from Gatwick, rising to £132 from Heathrow – even though it is 30 miles nearer Manchester, above. Either service would allow you to reach Manchester city centre by 9am.
Cheapest, predictably, was the bus: National Express and Megabus offered a fare of £16.50, though these were for services that did not arrive until early afternoon; National Express's overnight service was on sale at £23.
Tip of the week: Beware 'code-shares'
This week BA boasted that the key Latin American destinations of Havana, above, and San José had got "a step closer thanks to British Airways/Iberia merger". In fact, all that has happened is that existing Iberia flights from Madrid to the capitals of Cuba and Costa Rica will now also bear BA flight numbers. These "code-share" services constitute a poor alternative to the non-stop flights that BA used to operate from Gatwick to both Havana and San José. Virgin Atlantic now flies Gatwick-Havana, but Thomson's charter flights to Costa Rica will end this month.
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