Whisky tours, winter walks and the route to Rouen: Travel agenda

Where to go and what to know

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The Independent Travel

1. Make tracks

Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks takes place from 20 December to 4 January, with hundreds of free, guided walks across the country. Options include a Pre-Christmas Constitutional in Whitby and a Seven Parks Walk in London. You can also download walks from the Ramblers Routes library.

ramblers.org.uk

2. Wee dram

Wine travel specialist Arblaster & Clarke is branching out with a new whisky tour in 2015. Taste your way around the Scottish Highlands, experiencing the whisky producing areas of Speyside and the Isle of Skye and taking part in a blending masterclass. The four-night tour departs 16 September from £2,335pp.

winetours.co.uk

3. Route to Rouen

Set sail from Portsmouth on 29 December for a new year river cruise. A special sailing aboard Brittany Ferries' flagship, Pont Aven, will travel up the Seine to the historic city of Rouen, where she moors for 28 hours – allowing plenty of time to explore. The arrival back in Hampshire is at 3pm on 1 January. The price is from £159pp.

mistralholidays.co.uk

4. Dream team

Virgin Atlantic has revealed three more routes on which its ageing Airbus A340 fleet will be replaced by the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Starting on 25 October next year, routes from Heathrow to Dubai, Shanghai and Johannesburg will be operated by the new aircraft.

virginatlantic.com

5. Zim Zam plan

Zimbabwe and Zambia have launched a new "Univisa," valid for both countries for up to 30 days, which will significantly cut the cost of red tape. UK passport holders can obtain it on arrival at Livingstone, Lusaka and Harare airports, and at the border posts of Victoria Falls and Kazungula.

bit.ly/ZamZim

6. Pack your skis

British Airways is launching two new short-haul routes from Gatwick aimed at skiers. Flights to Friedrichshafen in southern Germany begin tomorrow, followed by Grenoble (a two-hour drive to the French Alps) on 20 December. Both services will operate until the end of the ski season in April 2015.

ba.com

7. Fiennes time

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to open the weekend-long Adventure Travel Show on 17 January at London's Olympia. Fiennes will also be available for a meet-and-greet session from 9.15am, followed by a talk in the main Adventure Auditorium at 10am. Tickets to the show cost £8 in advance, or £10 on the door.

adventureshow.com

8. Surf 'n' stretch

Soul and Surf will run a one-off retreat from 23-30 March in Banda Aceh on Sumatra, Indonesia. There are 16 places on the one-week retreat, which includes sessions with a "surf guide" and yoga lessons. From £430pp excluding flights.

soulandsurf.com

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