Something To Declare: save on the trains; high prices in Malta; Quebec City


Bargain of the week: form a foursome to save on the trains

Bargain of the week: form a foursome to save on the trains

Britain's train operating companies are constantly cutting fares to stimulate extra journeys while trying to prevent regular travellers taking advantage of the deal. A solution that many of them have come up with is the four-for-two promotion, commonly called "GroupSave", whereby a party of four adults can travel for the same fare as a couple.

Midland Mainline (08457 125 678; www.midlandmainline.com) was a pioneer of the pricing policy, and is allowing three or four people to travel together between any two Midland Mainline-served stations for a total price of just £12 each return. You have to book at least a week ahead. The greatest value is on a Leeds-London ticket, on which the standard Saver return fare is £66.20.

In Scotland, the main inter-city link between Edinburgh and Glasgow has a walk-up offer, with a day-trip available for under £4 return. This deal is not available on Sunday 5 September, and ends on 25 September.

In the South East, the main operators have joined forces for a summer-only promotion that ends a month from today. Until then, you can travel from Oxford to Cambridge and back for the day for £16.20 per person; from Warwick to Brighton (below) for £18.50; or from Exeter to London Waterloo for £22.05.

The four-for-two promotions on the Gatwick and Heathrow Expresses to and from central London are excellent value - available indefinitely with no restrictions on time of travel. More information: National Rail Enquiries (08457 48 49 50).

Warning of the week: prices in Malta higher than you might think

An error resulted in the Sterling conversions quoted in last week's 48 Hours in Malta being significantly understated. Several readers wrote in to point out the mistake. Dr Thomas Lundberg says: "I found it to be poor value-for-money when compared with other Mediterranean destinations. On the other hand, the history and culture are very interesting." More happily, Eurolines reports that its buses are now scheduled to run non-stop between Calais and Paris. And there's a €23 (£15) one-way fare from Paris to London that has an advance purchase requirement of only two days, through www.eurolines.fr.

Destination of the week: Quebec City

The capital of the province of Quebec is the biggest Canadian city never to have had a direct flight from Britain. Canadian Affair (08700 753 000; www.canadian-affair.com) is to start non-stop flights from Gatwick next summer. Departures are on Wednesdays. The planes are Boeing 757s, offering 35-inch seat pitch.

Fares for travel in June are available at the impressively low price of £248 return.

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