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News & Advice

Travel Agenda

Punting, Daffodil Day, Bangkok beds, Ecuador by train, Triptease, Pack Mate, Inntravel, and sports calendars

In bloom

Tomorrow, Hartland Abbey in North Devon celebrates the onset of spring with Daffodil Day (11am to 4pm). Visitors may not be able to wander lonely as a cloud, but they will be able to admire blankets of the flowers about which Wordsworth once rhapsodised. A new circular walk through the gardens explores corners that are normally closed to the public (adults £4; children free; hartlandabbey.co.uk).

Bangkok beds

Check into Bangkok's newest digs, the Hua Chang Heritage Hotel, the design of which was inspired by "new Thai colonial style". Nineteenth-century Thai furniture sits next to Starck Ghost chairs. There's a tropical garden with a pool, as well as a restaurant and tea lounge. Doubles from 5,500 baht/£124 ( huachangheritagehotel.com).

Cruise control

Ecuador's railways have been revived with $280m (£187m) of investment. A new luxury train journey, launching in June, will be the icing on the cake. The Tren Crucero, hauled by a restored steam locomotive, will travel from the capital, Quito, through the Andes to Guayaquil on the coast over four days ( trenecuador.com).

Picture this

Triptease.com is a new, image-led travel review site. Upload photos, add short text for cities, meals, hotels; also has free iPad app.

The big squeeze

Roll a week's clothes into hand luggage with Pack Mate. Stuff it with clothes, seal and roll to push out air via special valves (from £4.99; packmate.co.uk).

Perfect package

Inntravel marks 150 years since the first package holiday from Thomas Cook in 1863. Inntravel's 12-night tour traces the route from Leukerbad to Lucerne from £1,740pp ( inntravel.co.uk).

Sporting chance

Brand USA, the nation's tourism marketing body, has launched an online sports calendar with ESPN. Visitors interested in baseball, basketball and American football can search the site to discover which sporting events are taking place during their stay ( bit.ly/USgames).


The number of propulsion devices required to punt on the moat at Leeds Castle in Kent; £4 for adults, £2 for children ( leeds-castle.com).