Spring breaks: Something to declare

Brgain trips, Eurostar, Scilly
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The Independent Travel

Bargain of the week: Milan or Rome, in style

The Italian airline Alitalia (0870 544 8259, www.alitalia.co.uk) has offered Saturday away-days on and off for a few years, but has just improved the product by including access to the business-class lounge at Heathrow on your way out. For £130 you get nine and a quarter hours in Rome; £128 buys 10 and a half hours in Milan (though this is to Malpensa airport, not Linate).

You must book a day in advance. Clearly, these deals would be of interest to anyone planning a one-way trip to Italy's two biggest cities.

Warning of the week: Eurostar to shut down at Easter

On Easter Saturday and Sunday, no trains will link London Waterloo with Belgium and France, because of engineering work. "The busy days are Good Friday and Easter Monday," says a Eurostar spokesman. "On these days we will be operating a normal service." Ashford International station is closing sporadically due to the construction of the new high-speed line; the next scheduled dates are 25 and 26 May.

On a brighter note, bookings open today for the new service direct from London Waterloo to Avignon, which starts on 20 July and runs through the school summer holidays to 7 September, but is available only on Saturdays. The trip will take around seven hours, for a return fare of £115; book through 08705 186 186 or www. eurostar.co.uk.

Destination of the week: Scilly

On Saturday, summer begins in England's southernmost region. Peak season sailings resume between Penzance and St Mary's in the Scilly Isles, aboard Scillonian III.

A day trip from Penzance costs £35 for adults (half price for under-16s). Alternatively, you can fly one way (to/from Land's End) and sail the other way for £60 return. Flights are also available from Newquay, Exeter and Bristol. Book through Isles of Scilly Travel (0845 710 5555, www.ios-travel.co.uk).

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