Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Travel Agenda: Golden Age, Winter gardens, Beach break, Sock it to 'em, Problems in Prague, Gale Force, Middle Earth, 25

Where to go and what to know

Golden Age

A date for your 2013 diary: at 1pm on 23 January, Christie's in South Kensington, London, will host its "Ski Sale". The annual auction will sell off 160 lots of vintage travel posters – designed for resorts of the early 20th century to attract snow tourists to their slopes – along with antique Louis Vuitton travelling trunks and luggage (christies.com).

Winter gardens

Kew Gardens is offering free entry during the 12 days of Christmas from 22 Dec to 4 Jan (excluding 24/25 Dec). Book tickets online from Monday to take a tree tour above the wintry wonderland, see Santa in his grotto or listen to carols in the Orangery (kew.org).

Beach break

Watch crashing Atlantic waves from the beach at Angoulins near La Rochelle, then retreat to the warmth of Côté Océan, a newly opened hotel from the same team as Paris's Le Citizen hotel. A table d'hôte is served in the main house, where there's also a deli and suspended log burner (cote-ocean.com).

Sock it to 'em

VRt travel socks is a new range that adds a splash of colour to the traditional flight sock, aimed at preventing DVT. £29.99 (VRlegwear.com).

Problems in Prague

"Keep an eye on your belongings when visiting Prague's Christmas markets," warns the FO. "Pickpocketing and other street crime can occur."

Gale Force

Two 1940s landmark hotels in South Beach have been restored as one. Gale South Beach & Regent Hotel now sports staff in Forties uniforms, an Italian eatery and cocktail bar (galehotel.com).

Middle Earth

Take in the settings for The Hobbit, released in the UK this weekend, on a trip to New Zealand. Austravel has a nine-day self-drive tour that covers Auckland, Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupo and the self-proclaimed "Middle of Middle-earth" capital, Wellington. Car rental and hotels cost £686pp based on two travelling. Flights extra (austravel.com).


The UK release date, in January, of Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln. To tie in with the film, the state of Virginia has a movie trail that visits key sites linked to the president (virginia.org/Lincoln).