Something to declare: England's south coast to the Ile de France; ferry Across Harwich Harbour; Partly closed in Amsterdam
Saturday 28 July 2007
Bargain of the week: from England's south coast to the Ile de France
Britain's most beautiful and historic airport is Shoreham in West Sussex, officially known as Brighton City airport (Brighton is about five miles east). From next Wednesday, 1 August, Skysouth (01273 463 673; www.skysouth.co.uk) will fly twice a day from Monday to Friday between Shoreham and Pontoise-Cormeilles airport, north-west of Paris. Now that all flights between Gatwick and the French capital have been axed, this is the only direct link to Paris from Sussex.
The flight on the nine-seater aircraft takes 70 minutes, for a one-way fare of £99. Why does that constitute a bargain, you may wonder? Because the closest equivalent, which is the Eurostar train from Ashford in Kent to Paris, offers no cheap one-way fares: the lowest single ticket costs £154.50.
Destination of the week: ferry Across Harwich Harbour
England's most unusual piece of public transport? Arguably the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry, which runs from the Essex port to its Suffolk counterpart, Felixstowe, across the mouth of the Rivers Stour and Orwell. The vessel (below), a converted Second World War landing craft, provides the only public ferry link between Essex and Suffolk. Every day until the end of September it sails at least four times a day, each way, weather permitting.
The voyage takes just 15 minutes. The alternative journey by road or rail – the latter involving two changes – requires more than an hour.
The vessel itself has room for just 12 passengers – plus bicycles. The ferry forms part of National Cycle Network Route 1, which connects the south coast of England with the far north of Scotland, The standard fare is £3.50, plus £2 for a bike. Call 07919 911 440 to check if the service is operating.
Warning of the week: Partly closed in Amsterdam
Holland's foremost art collection, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, closed its doors for refurbishment in 2003. The job was supposed to take five years, but the museum (00 31 20 674 7000; www.rijksmuseum.nl) is now not expected to re-open until 2010.
The Philips Wing, adjacent to the main building, contains some of the great works by Vermeer, Jan Steen and Rembrandt, including The Night Watch. It opens 9am-6pm daily, admission is €10 (£7).
Amsterdam is struggling to retain its title as the second-favourite city-break destination for British travellers after Paris, in the face of strong competition from Barcelona and Venice.
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