"We're on our way", one of the crews set off down The Mall on their way to Brighton

Veterans wow huge crowds on historic route to Brighton 

Sunday, 4 November

Pioneering vehicles make their annual pilgrimage from capital to coast on the world’s longest running motoring event 

As an unseasonably mild London was still covered by darkness, nearly 400 pioneering veteran cars, their intrepid drivers and plucky passengers gathered in Hyde Park today (Sunday 4th November) waiting for daybreak to signal the start of the remarkable Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox.  

It’s now more than 120 years since the original Emancipation Run, which was held in 1896 to celebrate the recently passed Locomotives on Highways Act. This raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 to 14 mph and abolished the need for a man to walk ahead waving a red flag.  

Symbolising that new found freedom, the annual Run always commences with the symbolic tearing of the red flag – a ritual pre-dawn feat this year performed by supermodel and car enthusiast Yasmin Le Bon representing The Movember Foundation and Red Bull'sF1 team boss Christian Horner who was joined at the finish by his Spice Girl wife Geri and young family.

Then, at 06:59am sunrise, the first of the pre-1905 horseless carriages was flagged away from the start with the earliest of the Victorian vehicles leading the way as they phutted and hissed their way through Wellington Arch, down Constitution Hill, past Buckingham Palace and Admiralty Arch and Whitehall into Parliament Square. Here, for the first time in its 122-year history the 60-mile route split into two, thus alleviating traffic congestion in South London.

Half of the plucky participants travelled over Westminster Bridge and then followed the traditional A23 route via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham Common; the other half left via Millbank, over Lambeth Bridge then journeyed via Vauxhall, Clapham Common and Tooting.

The two routes merged on the A236 just north of Croydon with the entire magical cavalcade reunited as it headed to the spectator-friendly halfway point in Crawley High Street, the South Downs and eventually the Madeira Drive seafront in Brighton. In total, 117 different marques ranging from Achilles (built in Frome, Somerset) to Yale (from Toledo in Ohio, US) were represented on this year’s Run – some, like Chevrolet, Renault and Mercedes, still well-known today, but the vast majority lost to history.

Many cars and crews sported moustaches in support of Movember, the event’s official Charity Partner. In total, nearly ninety per cent of the starters made it to Brighton before the 4.30pm deadline to claim a coveted finishers’ medal – just 44 of the starters failing to reach the sea front.

The first car home was the 1901 Oldsmobile of Andres Melkus from Austria arriving on Madeira Drive. Next across the line was Tom Loder driving a 1900 Stephens.

You will enjoy some of the world's top hotels on this Freddie Mercury Experience holiday

The Zanzibar Collection's Freddie Mercury Experience Will Rock You

Following the recent release of the film Bohemian Rhapsody, featuring Queen's legendary front man Freddie Mercury played by actor Rami Malek, comes news of a fabulous luxury holiday with a rock music theme.

This is the real life, not just fantasy. With The Zanzibar Collection's Freddie Mercury Experience, you can escape from reality to the beautiful African island that gave birth to a music legend. Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, and this special trip combines the best of the Spice Island with highlights of the Queen singer's life and a luxurious holiday getaway.

You'll feel like a champion on the six-day Freddie Mercury Experience as you settle into your room at the sumptuous Baraza Resort & Spa (www.baraza-zanzibar.com), situated on a beautiful beach and the only hotel in Africa to be voted number 25 in the world. The next day, you'll be taken to nearby Breezes Beach Club & Spa (www.breezes-zanzibar.com) for a day of watersports and lounging around the spa and pool – a real treat, whether you're with somebody you love or your best friend.

Don't stop now, you're having such a good time! You'll be taken on a tour of UNESCO-listed Stone Town to find out about this historical city's fascinating past, plus a peek at the places important to Mercury, including where he was born and the streets he played on as a child. Later, you'll enjoy sunset cocktails with ocean views.

If that rocks you, you're in for a treat the next day when you go on a Queen-themed tour of the island. You'll see some of Zanzibar's exotic wildlife from the comfort of your shuttle as you listen to Queen's greatest hits. Then you'll visit a market to gather the ingredients to prepare one of Mercury's favourite meals.

Feeling under pressure? A relaxing day off with a 30-minute massage and a local cooking class should get you ready to ride your Baraza bicycle where you like on the island. Or just be cool and relax. 

The following day is something guaranteed to blow your mind. After a mangrove visit, spice tour and dinner at the exclusive Palms private resort (www.palms-zanzibar.com), you'll go onto the beach for a bonfire, complete with Queen music.  

After a final day of snorkelling and sunbathing, we think you'll agree that the whole trip has been a kind of magic.

This special trip is available to book from October 2018 onwards. The six-day Freddie Mercury Experience with The Zanzibar Collection costs from €2,400, based on two people sharing, and includes:

• 5 nights at the five-star Baraza Resort & Spa

• All-inclusive stay, with most meals at Baraza Resort, plus dinners at Breezes Beach Club and The Palms and cocktails at Africa House.

• Complimentary return airport transfers

• Tanzanian visas

• Tours of Stone Town, the island and mangroves.

• Air-conditioned shuttles for the tours

• One 30-minute massage


The Zanzibar Collection www.thezanzibarcollection.com + 254 702 466 115

Copenhagen will be the top destination for travellers in 2019

Lonely Planet names Copenhagen the world’s top city for 2019

Tuesday, 23 October

Copenhagen has been named the world’s top city for travellers in 2019 by world-leading travel authority Lonely Planet. The city receives the accolade in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019, the highly anticipated annual collection of the best travel destinations, trends, journeys and experiences to have in the year ahead.

“Denmark’s capital of cool is unstoppable” raves Lonely Planet in its description of its number one city. Already world-renowned as a centre for Scandinavian design and architecture, the city’s booming food scene, amazing sustainable credentials and new shoulder season activities are mentioned as some of Copenhagen’s defining qualities. Copenhagen is in the middle of a hotel boom and over the next four years, some 8,500 hotel rooms will be added to the existing 21,000 rooms while the anticipated mid-2019 completion of the Cityringen metro line means even easier cross-town adventures. Unmissable experiences in the city recommended by Lonely Planet’s experts include:

*    Savouring the region’s terroir and ingenuity at one of Copenhagen’s lauded New-Nordic restaurants such as Noma and Kadeau or more moderately priced Høst and Mes.

*    Catching the train to Louisiana Art Museum for its world-class collection of Danish and international modern art, modernist architecture, sculpture garden and dreamy setting.

* Indulging your inner child with an evening at Tivoli Gardens, which now offers a new Winter season throughout the month of February.

Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of editors, researchers, locals and influencers, and are then decided upon and ranked by a panel of judges. The outcome is an eclectic list of destinations with unique, compelling and topical reasons to visit in the year ahead – as well as underlying travel trends to look for.

Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s Editorial Director, said, “This is a city well versed in the cutting edge. Cobbled streets boast groundbreaking menus and trend-setting design. Centuries-old palaces, churches and warehouses share streets and waterways with bold contemporary architecture, while the city’s former Meatpacking District hums with galleries, locavore eateries and on-point indie bars. Copenhagen is the epitome of Scandi cool and deserves to be recognised on the global stage.”  

Dennis Englund, VisitDenmark’s Director in the UK & US, said, “This accolade highlights the city’s fundamental traits and iconic characteristics and proves that Copenhagen is one of Europe’s hottest destinations. The city is renowned for its constant innovation in culture, design, architecture and gastronomy and as the epitome for Danish culture, the same characteristics apply to the rest of Denmark where exciting new hotels, restaurants and attractions are set to open in 2019."

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel book is now in its 14th edition and the landing page , features tips and videos on visiting Copenhagen and the other top 10 cities, countries and regions. More information on Copenhagen can be found here.

The stunning waterfront in Copenhagen

Top 10 Cities in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019

1.    Copenhagen, Denmark 

2.    Shēnzhèn, China

3.    Novi Sad, Serbia

4.    Miami, Florida, USA

5.    Kathmandu, Nepal

6.    Mexico City, Mexico

7.    Dakar, Senegal

8.    Seattle, USA

9.    Zadar, Croatia

10.  Meknès, Morocco

Work began this week on planting seven milion bulbs at Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands

Gardeners begin to plant bulbs ahead of Keukenhof's 70th season

This week workers at the world famous Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands have began planting the first bulbs in next spring's feature flower mosaic. This time it's called 'Flower Power' although every year the gardens take on a different theme.

With the whole 32 acre garden dug up at the end of every open season – which next year for their 70th anniversary will be between 21 March and 19 May – it is then replanted with endless beds of vibrant tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. If fact more than seven million bulbs will be in place ready for the display next spring.

Another dazzling display in Keukenhof's 32 acre springtime garden

Whitby Harbour is a stunning Yorkshire location

'Bring a Friend for Free' offer on
HF Holidays' Autumn breaks

Monday, 1 October 2018

Leading walking and activity holiday provider, HF Holidays, has launched a brand new ‘Bring a friend for FREE’ offer on selected Autumn UK Walking Breaks. With availability on guided walking breaks to picturesque destinations such as Whitby, the Isle of Wight and the Shropshire Hills, there has never been a better time to book a countryside walking break with your friends.

Act fast as the offer only runs until Sunday 7th October 2018 and all breaks are subject to availability.

Guided Walking Holiday to WhitbyBring a Friend for FREE!

Brimming with coastal charm, Whitby welcomes you with its handsome harbour and medieval streets. Step out on this guided break and experience the windswept headlands and smugglers’ haunts of the Yorkshire coast as well as the magical North York Moors where the sweetly scented heather creates a carpet of colour. Stay at HF Holidays’ Larpool Hall country house, a magnificent location overlooking the harbour.

Price: Three nights departing 2nd November from £325pp. Price includes full board accommodation and the use of HF Holidays’ experienced walking leaders. 

Guided Walking Holiday to the Isle of Wight - Bring a Friend for FREE!

Enjoy dramatic chalk cliffs, sandy beaches, picture-postcard villages and more from this wonderful island gem. The Isle of Wight is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland and offers all of the peace and relaxation you could ask for from a refreshing autumn walking break.  Stay at HF Holidays’ 4 star Freshwater Bay House and make the most of the fantastic facilities available.

Price: Four nights departing 29th October from £425pp. Price includes full board accommodation and the use of HF Holidays’ experienced walking leaders.

Guided Walking break to the Shropshire HillsBring a Friend for FREE!

There is so much to discover on this walking break, with forts, castles and medieval market towns to explore amongst the Shropshire countryside, it is little wonder Church Stretton has been dubbed ‘Little Switzerland’. Make the most of the region’s autumn scenery on this relaxing autumnal break and stay at HF Holidays’ Longmynd House, a charming country house with wonderful walks right from its’ doorstep.

Price: Four nights departing 26th November from £425pp. Price includes full board accommodation and the use of HF Holidays’ experienced walking leaders. 

** Places are limited on these holidays so book now to avoid disappointment. For more information on HF Holidays, please visit www.hfholidays.co.uk or call 020 8732 1250.

Beaulieu gets ready for Christmas

Preparations underway for first Christmas at Beaulieu

Monday, 17 September

Preparations are underway for the new magical illuminated Christmas trail at Beaulieu as the medieval grounds of the abbey and Palace House are transformed from 23 November to 30 December at the New Forest attraction.

Specially designed for all the family to enjoy, Christmas at Beaulieu features a mile-long illuminated path with festive installations along the way. Created with Beaulieu's unique historic past as its inspiration, visitors can expect to be immersed in the sights and sounds of Christmas.

Spend an unmissable evening experience walking through the Tunnel of Light, a canopy festooned with over 100,000 twinkling pea-lights as the tree-tops glisten and the gardens and buildings shimmer with seasonal sparkle.


The ancestral Montagu home of Palace House will be aglow with beams of light which dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics. From the roof of Beaulieu's veteran bus, you may catch a glimpse of Father Christmas and his elves who will be greeting visitors.

Along the Icicle Walk, larger-than-life gleaming shards will guide visitors towards the Meadow of Light where thousands of fibre optic lights sway in unison. There are hidden surprises too – watch out for frosty snowflakes, shimmering stars and gigantic baubles where least expected.

A fabulous finale is waiting at the end of the trail – mesmerising voices of giant Singing Trees can be heard in the distance. Rising high into the night sky, visitors will finish the breathtaking trail with a cheerful Christmas blast of colour and light.

Visitors can complete their stroll under the stars with spiced cider*, mulled wine* or hot chocolate* while the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Toast marshmallows* at one of the fire pits, ride the vintage Carousel* or Ferris Wheel* and enjoy other traditional fare before picking up a Christmas gift or two at Beaulieu's shop*.

What: Christmas at Beaulieu, the magical, after-dark illuminated trail
When: From 23 November -30 December 2018
Why Visit: Discover a new Christmas light trail set within the beautiful landscape of Beaulieu, New Forest created for all the family to enjoy
Admission:  Advanced from: Adult £14.50, Child £8.00, Family £40.00 Under 5's & carers free 
Website: beaulieu.co.uk/christmas

Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire SO42 7ZN

The Golden Coach which takes King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima from the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague to the Ridderzaal, the seat of the Dutch Parliament. Pictures by Alan Wooding

Holidaymakers in Holland can enjoy Prince's Day in The Hague

For anyone taking a holiday this month in The Netherlands, one of the most enjoyable festivals is set to take place on 18 September. It's called Prinsjesdag or Prince's Day and it is held every year on the third Tuesday of September.

It's an important day in Dutch politics because His Majesty King Willem-Alexander reads a speech from the throne to outline the Government policy for the year ahead and the crowds get to see it on large stratigically placed screens. However it is more than a political and economic event, as it has great ceremonial significance. 

Prior to the speech, a Royal procession moves from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in The Hague with the King being accompanied by Queen Maxima. The Royal couple wave to the vast crowds from a golden coach, the procession also having a military escort including dozens of standard bearers and hundreds of mounted cavalry.

Dutch Royalty to visit Britain

If you don't get to see the their Majesties, The King and Queen of the Netherlands in their native Holland, then they have accepted an invitation from The Queen to pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom on 23 and 24 October. The Royal couple will stay at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen has hosted two previous State Visits from the Netherlands during her long reign: the last State Visit from the Netherlands was by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands in November 1982.

And back in April 1972, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard paid a State Visit to the United Kingdom. Meanwhile The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh paid a State Visit to Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard (King Willem-Alexander's parents) of the Netherlands in March 1958.

A self-portrait by The Netherlands' greatest artist, Rembrandt van Rijn.

Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of the famous Dutch Master

There is a special exhibition taking place at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh revealing how the taste for Rembrandt’s work in Britain has evolved over the past 400 years.

From around 1630 it grew into a mania that gripped collectors and art lovers across the country, reaching a fever pitch in the late-18th century. It also reveals the profound impact of Rembrandt’s art on the British imagination, by exploring the wide range of native artists whose work has been inspired by the Dutch master right up to the present day.

The Edinburgh exhibition runs until 14 October while Rembrandt’s works are also on display in museums across Holland, most famously in the Mauritshuis (The Hague) and Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam).

Double ceremony marks '100 Years Liberation' after the Great War

Wednesday, 22 August

In the spring of 1918, the troops on both sides of the front were stuck in stalemate. After a German attempt to break through with their Spring Offensive, the initiative returned to the Allies for good. Exactly 100 years later the municipalities of Houthulst and Zonnebeke and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, in cooperation with Belgian Defence, will organise a double ceremony ‘100 years liberation’. 

Houthulst will focus on the story of the soldiers, while in Passendaele, the civilians and the idea of peace will be central. On the same day, the Belgian Memorial Garden in the Passchendaele Memorial Park will be ceremoniously opened. A concert in the church of Passendaele will round off the day.

Museum Day for 100 years of Liberation

Traditionally, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 organises a museum weekend with WWI Living History in April. As a result of the double ceremony ‘100 years of liberation’ on 28 September, the museum weekend in 2018 will be held in September as a special date. 

The focus is on Living History on the one hand, which makes the  story of the troops during WWI accessible for young and old. Actors from Belgium and abroad will re-enact the weekend at the chateau grounds. Thematic craft activities , guided walks and visits accompanied by live music will dominate the events.

Journey’s End

Wounded in the Third Battle of Ypres in Passchendaele, R C Sherriff returned to England and used his experiences to write Journey's End, a moving play telling the story of British soldiers in their trench awaiting a German attack. This Tony Award-winning play first ran in 1928, starring Laurence Olivier. 

From 10 October - 12 November 2018, there will be a special performance Het Kruitmagazijn (Gunpowder Store) in Ypres. In a five-star review, the Daily Telegraph said: "This production is worth a trip to Belgium". The play is performed in English.

Belgium provides beer drinkers with one of the world's finest selections

Belgium prepares for its annual gastronomy and beer festivals

Thursday 9 August 2018

Throughout Belgium over the next three months, many of the country's major towns will not only be staging traditional beer festivals, but many will feature a host of gastronomic experiences. Besides the festivals, we also have a list of newly-opened hotels in which to stay on your visit to historic Flanders.

Bollekesfeest – 17-19 August 2018

The Bollekesfeest festival in Antwerp is an event founded with local heritage and traditions, with a contemporary look and feel. The spotlight is on culinary Antwerp and its regional products and a “Bolleke Koninck”, or a De Koninck beer. The name is derived from the rounded glass in which regular De Koninck beer is served. The overall atmosphere is fun, with local Antwerp musicians performing in the various squares. Visitors can also explore the city during the Bollekesfeest festival by joining themed walks, bike tours or taking a boat trip.

BXLBEERFEST – 25 – 26 August 2018

BXLBeerFest in Brussels brings a number of independent, artisanal brewers closer its audience. The selection of Brussels breweries will be supplemented by some of the best that Belgium and other countries have to offer, with 50 breweries from ten different nations presenting over 200 beers to the public. BXLBeerFest also pays attention to a culinary aspect, with food trucks and on-site restaurant.

Belgian Beer Weekend – 7-9 September 2018

The Grand-Place in Brussels will serve as a unique backdrop for the Belgian Beer Weekend, which has been dedicated entirely to Belgium’s national beverage. This will allow 60,000 beer lovers to enjoy fine Belgian beers in one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage squares in the world. Throughout the weekend, numerous small, mid-sized and large Belgian breweries will have a large selection of their finest beer on offer.

Kookeet – 29 September -1 October 2018

Each year, more than 100,000 food lovers visit this culinary festival in the Belgiam city of Bruges. For three days, 31 top chefs from Bruges, and one guest chef, serve gastronomic food at affordable prices. Visitors can compile their own menu by choosing from a wide range of different dishes. The 31 Bruges chefs who take part in Kookeet are all selected from the best restaurants in Bruges, including those with one or more Michelin stars, a Bib Gourmand mention or a high GaultMillau score.

SMAAKMEESTERS – 6-7 October 2018

Antwerp's city centre transforms into a huge food market where participating restaurants especially selected by the “Masters of Taste” offer special food and drink options.

Modeste Beer Festival – 6-7 October 2018

The Modeste Beer Festival pays a tribute to Modeste Van den Bogaert. He joined the De Koninck Brewery just after the war and after his father’s untimely death, led the brewery for more than 50 years. Now into its fourth year, only a small selection of  Belgian brewers are invited to this festival  but the festival also includes cheese and beer pairing with the De Tricht cheese shop and various other activities during the festival. 

Jenever Festival – 14-15 October 2018

Belgium is well known for its production of beer of course but the low countries were well known for their production of jenever for many years. Free flowing jenever forms the theme of this East Flanders annual festival in Hasselt which is famous for its production of jenever which boasts a Jenever Museum and gin paired gastronomy.

The pool at the Radisson Blu in Bruges

New Flanders hotels round-up 

UPSTAIRS - A new urban hotel opens in Ostend

The Art-Deco grandeur of the former Royal Astor hotel in Ostend now provides the unique venue for this new hotel. "Upstairs" provides rooms with affordable prices as well as a  restaurant and bar downstairs!

Ibis Budget hotel is open - Ghent Dampoort

Ibis have introduced a Budget hotel in the Dampoort area of Ghent. With rooms being offered from just £53 per room per night, the hotel represents excellent value for money. Dampoort is situated just 700 metres from Ghent's historic city centre that can be reached in just 10 minutes by foot. The hotel offers cycles for rental and great value rooms. Ideal for a short break to Ghent on a budget.

Opening of the new Radisson Blu - Bruges

A new Radisson Blu in Bruges has opened. Located just a few minutes walk from Bruges' "Lake of Love", the Minnewater Lake, this 109 room hotel is conveniently situated close to the city's historical centre and just 200 metres from the railway station. Facilities also include a fitness room and is completely newly constructed. Rates start from around €125 per room, per night.

Antwerp's Radisson Blu re-opens

Designed originally by architect Michael Graves, the Radisson Blu Antwerp recently fully re-opened after an extensive refurbishment. The 256 rooms and suites have all been redesigned by architects Alex Kravetz and feature the latest mod-cons. The hotel's new Made in Antwerp restaurant now occupies the space previously dominated by the large lobby and is open to residents but also the general public. 

Hampton by Holiday Inn - Antwerp now open

Situated by the Flanders Meeting and Convention Center in Antwerp is the new Hampton by Holiday Inn. A brand new mid range hotel offering 145 rooms, it's position, right outside Antwerp Central station makes the hotel a conveniently situated choice.

De Gulde Schoen - Antwerp

Luxury suite hotel De Gulde Schoen is well  located in central Antwerp and its historic beginnings add to its very unique charm and style. Occupying premises once owned by the Cathedral of Our Lady in the 14th Century, it was formerly owned by Florentine merchant banker Jeronimo Frescobaldi. It changed hands to the city's richest linen merchant who made it his family home  and later became a cloister. The Gilded Restaurant features Asian, Mediterranean  fusion style food as well as bar offering drinks created by skillful mixologists.

Flemish master Van Eyck's Mystic Lamb is revealed in Ghent museum

Renovation work to Van Eyck's 'Mystic Lamb' masterpiece has revealed the lamb to have a different face! After intensive research the restoration team at the Museum of Fine Art in Ghent has removed the old layers of paint that masked the main figure of the Ghent Altarpiece for nearly five centuries. 

As a result,  the famous Mystic Lamb – previously portrayed with an impassive and softer expression, has revealed a stern looking lamb with a wider forehead and larger ears.

It is thought that it was overpainted and repaired in the 16th century to what was then thought to be a fresher appearance. In 1951, restoration of the area around the lamb's head exposed the original ears leaving the impression that the Lamb had four ears. The famous masterpiece is due to be restored in time for a major exhibition in 2020 but visitors to Ghent can view the work being uncovered behind a glass screen at the magnificent Museum of Fine Art in Ghent on a visit to the gallery.