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News & Advice

Travel agenda

From Ben Fogle's shore excursions to a new Hemingway hotel in Madrid, and discounted family rail travel in the UK

1. Shore thing

Celebrity Cruises has recruited broadcaster Ben Fogle to design a series of shore excursions for the company's ships. Half-day options include taking a Sicilian gastronomic tour in Catania (£195), going Norwegian salmon snorkelling (£390) or embarking on a mini Croatian triathlon (£234).


2. In the know

My Plus One launches on 4 March. The website connects travellers with like-minded locals in five European cities – Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris: £15 for a short meeting and £35 for a longer stint with an in-the-know resident. Register your details on the website to find out more.


3. Art house

Rotterdam hosts its Art Week from 5-9 February. Unique to the Dutch city's event is the chance to spend the night in an artist's home or studio. In return for €60 per guest or €100 for two, hosts will create a special place to sleep and serve breakfast the next morning.


4. Ernest escape

Meliá Hotels has launched a new Madrid property in the former home of Ernest Hemingway. Built in 1956 and opened by the Swedish royal family, it became the Scandinavian country's enclave in Madrid, before the peripatetic writer moved in. Today, the Innside Suecia contains 127 minimalist rooms, a Dado Deli, rooftop pool and bar.


5. Ebook out

The Independent Traveller has produced an ebook compilation of 48 Hours... city guides. Discover the perfect way to spend two days in 20 dazzlingly different European capital cities, with great accommodation, restaurant and cultural tips for all budgets. The ebook is priced £2.99.

independent.co.uk/ ebooks

6. Wild wizard

This month, animal actors from the Harry Potter films will return to the Warner Bros Studio Tour near Watford. From 14-24 February the attraction will feature some of the 250 creatures that appeared in the movies, including the cat that played Mrs Norris and the snowy owl that played Harry Potter's pet, Hedwig.


7. Terminal tango

From 2 April, Delta switches three of its key routes from Heathrow – serving New York JFK, Boston and Seattle – from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3. The move will improve connections with partner airline Virgin Atlantic's services.


8. Family travel

This month, a £10 discount is being offered on the normal £30 cost of a Family & Friends Railcard. The card confers a 33-per-cent reduction on most adult train fares and a 60 per cent on fares for children who travel with them. To take advantage of the discount, use code HALFTERM10 when booking online by 24 February.