Something to declare: Terminal 5/Caledonian Canal/Shropshire
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 19 April 2008
Warning of the week: mail muddle at Terminal 5
A colleague flew from British Airways' new home this week and ended up posting the most expensive letters of his life.
"I had urgent mail and was told there was a postbox in Arrivals. But there I was told to go to WH Smith in Departures. They told me there was a postbox "airside", through security. But there an assistant said, "there was a box but it's been taken out because the hole for posting letters was the wrong size". Everyone else said there wasn't a box in the whole of Terminal 5.
"I hired a taxi. I asked the driver to find the nearest box for me to use, then bring me back. He told me he had to have a specific address and he wasn't allowed to go back to the airport. I asked him to take me to Purple Parking, where I had parked my car. When we passed the Holiday Inn I asked him to drop me. The fare was £13.50. The hotel promised to post the letters and I took a taxi (for £15) back to the airport."
Bargain of the week: cruising the Caledonian Canal
Given the weakness of sterling, everything in "Something to Declare" this week is about Britain – still the leading destination for UK travellers. When the sun shines, Scotland's Great Glen is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. And the best way to experience it is aboard a converted Dutch barge, Fingal of Caledonia (01397 772 167; www.fingal-cruising.co.uk). Each week she sails the Caledonian Canal between Inverness and Fort William, including the length of Loch Ness. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities for walking, mountain- biking and kayaking. Depart from Fort William on 26 April and you can get a fully-inclusive week for £446.
Destination of the week: Shropshire
Nine days from now, a new train operator opens a direct link between London Marylebone, Shropshire and North Wales. Wrexham & Shropshire (0845 260 5233; www.wrexhamandshropshire.co.uk) will run five trains each weekday from London via Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury (pictured above) to Wrexham. London to Shrewsbury costs £24, and the company says that it will offer the full range of fares as "tickets2txt" – an SMS message sent to your mobile phone. "Almost any phone can receive an e-ticket," says the company.
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