what's the best way to...

See Tower Bridge when it's opening up? Call a new telephone service (0171-378 7700). The recorded message is updated daily to give details of bridge-lifts for that week.

Get around in Newcastle without paying? Travel to Newcastle with National Express (0990 808080), and Newcastle-upon-Tyne PTE will let you use local Metro services free of charge. The offer lasts until 27 October.

Get a fly-drive to Australia? Rainbow Holidays (01904 628080) is offering an 11-day trip to Melbourne on Emirates. For pounds 999 per person, the price includes flights, airport tax, eight nights' yellow flag accommodation, eight days' Thrifty car rental and car insurance. The offer, based on two sharing, runs from 21 September until 30 November.

Relive Midnight Express? Check in to the new Four Seasons Istanbul when it opens next month. The hotel has been converted from a prison, though one used for dissidents rather than drug offenders. Call 0800 526648 for bookings.

Plan autumn days out? Call the Civic Trust on 0891 800603 (a premium- rate number) to find out about some 1,500 properties that will be throwing open their doors to the public on 14 and 15 September. Highlights this year include Cheltenham Ladies' College, Aintree racecourse and Bisham Abbey, where the England soccer team trains.

Have a helpful holiday? Call the company of that name on 01647 433593. Based in Devon, it rents out holiday cottages and larger properties in the South-west, such as Tone Dale House near Wellington. The high season rent is pounds 1,496, but this covers up to 18 people which works out at pounds 12 per person per day.

Avoid high temperatures in the United States? Stay in one of the eight US cities that have never exceeded 100F (37C). According to the Miami Herald, these include Anchorage, Honolulu, Seattle - and Miami.

Explore Lisbon and the Algarve? Read the Portugal special in the travel pages of the Independent on Saturday.

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