Something To Declare: Cumbria 'Round Robin'; world's least-crowded National Park; airport charges
Saturday 18 June 2011
Bargain of the week: Cumbria 'Round Robin'
A standard Anytime single from Lancaster to Carlisle costs £26. For the same price you can buy a one-day Cumbria "Round Robin" ticket that covers rail travel in a loop around the Lake District.
You can start and end the circuit wherever you wish. One possible itinerary is to travel north from Lancaster through spectacular scenery and over Shap summit to Carlisle – where the Tullie House Museum unveils its new Roman Frontier Gallery next weekend.
Then the journey around the Cumbrian coast begins, providing fine views of both the sea and the fells; at Ravenglass, pause to take a ride on the preserved Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway; Round Robin passengers get a 10 per cent discount.
An excellent final stop is Carnforth, the station, above, featured in the classic film Brief Encounter. It boasts a fascinating small museum right on the platform.
No advance purchase is necessary, and railcard discounts apply, bringing the cost for a family of four to £44 with a Family & Friends card.
Destination of the week: The world's least-crowded National Park
Looking for somewhere the neighbours are unlikely to have visited? Try Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated town in the world's most thinly populated nation, Greenland. In September 2012, it is a port of call for a cruise that focuses on North East Greenland National Park, which receives an average of only 10 visitors a week.
The two-week trip is being organised by Hurtigruten (0844 448 7654; hurtigruten.co.uk). The itinerary also includes Arctic Norway, the walrus colony and bird sanctuary at Moffen (an islet located at 80 degrees north), and Iceland's hard-to-reach Snæfellsnes peninsula.
The cheapest cabin costs £4,535, not including international flights.
Warning of the week: Airport charges
To try to balance the books, UK airports are increasing the range and scope of fees for passengers. Chris Wyeth of Weymouth is vexed by Bournemouth airport's new charge of £2.50 for dropping off passengers at the terminal. "I have always patronised Bournemouth for European flights but will now consider Exeter, which is about the same distance from home."
The airport's managing director, Rob Goldsmith, says "This is a commercial decision brought about by the worldwide recession and the subsequent downturn in the aviation industry."
On the Bournemouth Echo website, someone calling himself "Victor Meldrew Lives!" says: "No chance of anyone paying this, everyone will just go to the end of the road and drop people there. A 100-yard walk upon arrival and departure to save £5, no-brainer."
In contrast, Southend airport – from which easyJet will fly next summer – promises "ample free car parking spaces are available near the passenger terminal."
At Belfast International, meanwhile, smokers who want to have a last cigarette airside must pay £1 to use the "dedicated external smoking facility" beside the Bar des Voyageurs.
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