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Feature Liz Coggins travels to the cultural heart of Germany

If you love the arts and music then Weimar in the cultural heart of Germany should definitely be on your holiday agenda.

Firmly established on the central German cultural map for hundreds of years, Weimar in the state of Thüringen is home to 16 UNESCO world heritage sites and is easily accessible from the UK with twice weekly flights by Germania airlines to nearby Erfurt.


I took the flight from Gatwick travelling down to London on East Coast Trains very speedy and comfortable route then with a friend by car to my airport hotel.


I chose from the Holiday Extras airport hotel and was so glad I did staying at the Courtyard by Marriott. It’s so near the terminal you…

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Feature Opulent Indulgence

Liz Coggins escapes to the ultimate country house hotel

My mode of transport seemed totally inappropriate as I drove through the golden gates of Wynyard Hall. I really felt I should have been in an open top vintage Sunbeam sports car or a chauffeur driven Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

There was something ethereal as I journeyed down the long, winding lanes of the 150 acres of parkland that makeup the estate – perhaps it was the mist rising amidst the trees and over the lake – or just that I’d seen too many episodes of Downton Abbey and recently re-read Brideshead Revisited.

Eventually the 19th century hall was within my…

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Travel Brussels

Mark Fletcher discovers, what the Belgian capital lacks in world famous postcard shots it makes up for in the rich tapestry of its indulgent cuisine and patchwork mix of old and new. Oh and chocolate and beer too!

"Brussels always seems to be repairing itself" my fellow traveller pronounces, as we stride across the bustling grey streets of Europe’s de facto capital.

True enough, Brussels has a history of revitalisation, and there is an air of perpetual self improvement about a city that’s more melting pot than a chocolate fondue set – which there’s plenty of on display in the windows of the myriad tourist traps around Grand-Place, the impossibly wonderful centre piece of the city’s charm.

Brussels is a city of old and new, rich and poor, the sublime and the ridiculous. Just look above the clustered…

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Travel The Three Acres

Despite nearly burning the place down, Sophie Haydock is well looked after at this Calderdale Inn

It’s a good sign that when you accidentally set the menu on fire in a well-to-do establishment, the staff react in a calm and reassuring way. This is what happened at the Three Acres inn and restaurant; while reading the menu at the bar, I absent-mindedly held the highly-flammable document over a low-lying candle – and inevitably, the thing went up in smoke. Luckily for me, I wasn’t forcefully ejected by the management – the woman behind the bar saw the funny side. Instead, we finished our drinks (Leeds Pale and Black Sheep), chosen from a wide selection of…

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News Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa becomes York’s first 5 star hotel

York hotel is the only AA five star rated hotel in Yorkshire

Staff at the Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa are delighted that the establishment has become York’s first five star hotel, and the only AA five star rated hotel in Yorkshire.

In awarding the five stars, a spokesperson for the AA commented: “The Grand has achieved one of the highest accolades awarded by the AA. 5 black stars are a symbol of excellence achieved through dedication, high levels of investment and a passion to be the best. We are delighted that York has its first 5 star hotel.”

The five stars are an internationally recognised mark of prestige, and the…

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Travel Ilkley

Ali Schofield discovers a unique hotel and restaurant pairing at the Crescent Inn

This month has seen the likes of Jeremy Paxman, Simon Armitage, Janet Street-Porter and Simon Callow appear at the Ilkley Literature Festival. If any of them were to need a place to stay - or if readers fancy making a night of it - I can recommend The Crescent Inn, where my partner and I snuck off to on a recent Friday night for a lazy weekend stay.

We were initially drawn to the hotel’s interesting logistics. Built in 1861 and refurbished earlier this year, the inn hosts 11 boutique rooms, a pub at the front and a…

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Travel The Butterfly House and Rutland Hotel, Sheffield

Ali Schofield finds meerkats, greenery and more wet rooms than she can manage on a weekend in Sheffield

I think I’m in love. His dark, pool-deep eyes look into mine as I stroke my hand through his wiry hair. Meerkats are probably not the best of pets, though and this one looks pretty happy to continue being shown round the visitors at Sheffield’s Butterfly House. My partner and I have come to see the new prarie dog residents – similar to meerkats but, as they bask in the sun in their expansive enclosure, seemingly a bit more chilled out – along with other residents including pigs, goats, rabbits, skunks, birds of prey and of course, butterflies.

It’s a…

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Competition WIN A Weekend at a Leeds Hotel

Novotel celebrates Leeds' past and future in its £300k refurbishment. Read on for your chance to bag a two night stay with breakfasts and dinner

Novotel Leeds Centre has re-opened its doors following a £300k transformation, to reveal a sleek and contemporary new look, that takes inspiration from the city’s rich and diverse heritage. Key changes to the hotel include a fresh new reception, lobby area and bar, revitalised meeting facilities and a brand new state of the art InBalance fitness centre.

Novotel hotels are renowned for delivering a high standard of service to their business and leisure travellers and Novotel Leeds is no exception. Under the leadership of General Manager, Mathieu Batut, the city centre hotel has been tastefully refurbished creating a relaxing…

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Travel Kitesurfing in Spain

We try an action holiday on the Costa de la Luz

While I love lying on a beach for a week as much as the next person, this year I embarked on a holiday with a bit more excitement, and when I say a bit, I mean a lot. I tried my hand at kitesurfing in Tarifa, Spain.

Located in the Costa de la Luz, Tarifa lies at the narrowest point of the Straits of Gibraltar which makes for perfect conditions for sports that rely on the wind. While Tarifa used to be best known for its windsurfing, it is kitesurfing that has become increasingly popular here over the last few…

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Travel Rockliffe Hall Darlington Hotel Review

We combine gastronomy, golf and a long soak in a spa at Darlington's destination hotel

It would be reductive to suggest that the restaurant at Rockliffe Hall is worth the hour and a half drive from Leeds alone. It undoubtedly is, of course. Kenny Atkinson at The Orangery is the archetypal destination restaurant, run by the Michelin-star winning chef, whose beef salad starter won the viewers’ vote on the BBC’s Great British Menu. But for a real understanding of what makes Rockliffe Hall in Darlington so special, you really should experience its acclaimed golf course, relaxing spa and thermal bathing suite and the lavish bedrooms, complete with bath-side TVs.

My partner and I arrive at…

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