Something To Declare: Glastonbury; Leaning Tower of Pisa; Caribbean island-hopping; Alentejo deluxe
Saturday 23 April 2011
Destination of the week: Glastonbury
Two months from this weekend, the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts begins, bringing artists such as BB King, Paul Simon and U2 to central Somerset. But this historic town is worth visiting for many more reasons. At its heart are the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey (01458 831631; glastonburyabbey.com), which for a time was the second wealthiest and most powerful abbey in England, after Westminster Abbey. On 6 August, Status Quo will play in the grounds.
The town itself rates as the most "alternative" in Britain, attracting coach trips from across the region. And Glastonbury Tor, topped by a ruined church and offering dramatic views across the Somerset Levels, is an easy 20-minute climb from the town centre.
Warning of the week: The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Italy's famed monument extends its opening hours this week, but prospective visitors should note the barrage of official warnings. "Visiting the tower requires a considerable amount of physical effort," and anyone with a heart condition is warned against tackling a spiral staircase that has 300 "slippery" steps.
"Access to the tower summit is not easy, as it includes narrow or exposed passageways. Individuals who easily feel dizzy are advised not to reach this floor." Under-eights are never allowed; under-13s must be "held by hand all the time"; and under-19s are permitted "only if accompanied by responsible adults". You cannot carry "any bags and/or containers of any kind and shape", though cameras are allowed.
Finally, on the lawn beneath the tower, "It is always forbidden to play football".
Bargain of the week: Caribbean island-hopping
Trinidad to Kingston, Jamaica, for around £70 return; Barbados to Georgetown, Guyana, for as little as £36 return. Those are two of the bargains available on the Caribbean's first low-cost airline, REDjet, which is due to start flying on 8 May.
Initially only these four cities are available, but there are plans to expand the network across the Caribbean. Book at flyredjet.com – though be aware that the airline is still awaiting definitive permission to begin operations.
Tip of the week: Alentejo deluxe
Fed up with the crowds at Britain's holiday airports? Sunvil (020-8568 4499; sunvil.co.uk) could have the answer. Each Sunday morning from 22 May to 9 October, a stylish small jet belonging to BMI will depart from Heathrow Terminal 1, landing at the brand-new airport at Beja, in Portugal's Alentejo region. The 49-seat jet will offer full catering, and a 20kg baggage allowance is standard. With the Portuguese economy in such poor shape, some great deals are available, such as a week at a smart four-star hotel in the city of Evora for under £500.
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