Something to declare: The Somme; island escapes; Brazil
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 11 April 2009
Destination of the week: The Somme
The most unusual of the new air routes launched this summer connects Leeds/Bradford with the town of Albert, in the Picardy region of France. This was the location for some of the bloodiest fighting during the Battle of the Somme in the First World War. The town itself was destroyed almost entirely in the 1916 battle, but is surrounded by picturesque Picardy countryside and is close to the region's historic capital, Amiens.
Albert is the hub for visits to the monuments of the battlefields – and the Thiepval Memorial to the tens of thousands of soldiers whose remains were never found. Flights are operated by Jet2 (0871 226 1737; jet2.com) from 15 May until the end of June, with fares available as low as £99 return.
Bargain of the week: island escapes
Two alluring islands, two different offers. For the UK break, the train operator First Great Western has teamed up with the Scilly-based company Tresco Estate to offer "rail/helicopter/ accommodation" rates that are well below the combined prices of the individual components. You travel by train from London Paddington, Reading, Bath, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter or Plymouth to Penzance. The heliport is a short way from the station, and you fly direct to the heliport on the island of Tresco. Accommodation is at the New Inn (01720 422 844), the Island Hotel (01720 422883), or a beachfront self-catering house at the Flying Boat Club (01720 422 849) in Tresco. Rates for a four-night break for two start at £453 per person from Paddington. These deals are available until the end of May. For more details see tresco.co.uk or call the property of your choice. First Great Western also has travel-only deals to the Scillies: £249 return from London, including helicopter transfers, or £150 return if you are content to take the ferry from Penzance.
If you prefer to be 40, rather than 50, degrees north of the equator, then consider the offer available for the next three weeks from the Hotel Audax in Menorca (00 34 902 356 935; artiemhotels.com). The deal is a standard double room for €74, breakfast included, with dinner an extra €10 per person; minimum stay three nights, valid until 3 May.
Warning of the week: Brazil
There are many reasons to be cheerful in Brazil, as our latest 48 Hours in Rio film (viewable at independent. co.uk/rio) testifies. However, pack plenty of caution.
"Levels of violence and crime are high," warns the Foreign Office. "Dress down, avoid wearing jewellery, and only carry small sums of money. Conceal mobile phones and cameras. You should be ready to hand over your valuables if threatened; do not attempt to resist attackers as they will often use their weapons."
Crime in Copacabana is particularly high. Credit card fraud is common; try to keep sight of your card at all times. Keep a spare credit card for emergencies.
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