The plaque commemorating the Pilgrim Fathers voyage to America on Pieterskerk in Leiden.

400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers voyages aboard the Mayflower

Wednesday 13 May 2020

This year would have seen many events, exhibitions and commemorations taking place in the Dutch city of Leiden and Delfshaven, Rotterdam to mark the 400th anniversary.  

This Saturday (16 May) a live broadcast will take place from Leiden showing the many historic sites associated with the Pilgrims along with visits to exhibitions and associated museums currently closed to the public.  

During the 4 hour (3-7pm BST) broadcast there will be interviews with curators and historians. Links to view are available on Facebook and Youtube.

These links and other information can be found at: https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/travel-inspiration/400-years-since-the-mayflowers-voyage.htm   

 


Executive Vice President Karine Hagen announced Viking's new TV channel.

Viking Launches New Experience Channel Viking.TV

Saturday 4 April

Viking announces the official launch of Viking.TV (https://viking.tv/), a new digital platform designed to provide enriching cultural content and livestreaming video experiences from around the world. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President Karine Hagen in a video for current and past Viking guests, posted on the homepage of Viking.TV.

“Right now, we are all staying at home instead of travelling together, but that does not have to mean that the only thing we can do is watch the news,” said Karine.

“My father, Torstein Hagen, and I felt that if we cannot for the time being bring our guests to the world, let's bring the world to our guests. Viking.TV is a way for us to continue exploring the world in comfort—from the comfort of our homes. And as soon as actual travel is less complicated again, we are ready to welcome you onboard.”

Viking.TV was conceived as a way to build community, stay connected and share positive experiences at a time when people are staying home, rather than travelling. In addition to housing a library of enriching content that Viking guests would have enjoyed onboard their respective cruise itineraries, Viking.TV will also feature live content from a variety of experts, cultural partners and notable individuals.

Each day at 7pm UK time in the “Conversations with Karine and Friends” section of Viking.TV, there will be a livestream conversation, demonstration or virtual tour where viewers can participate by submitting questions in real time. All content sessions will be archived for anyone who cannot view at the original time of broadcast. The schedule of daily participants will be announced every Sunday, and viewers can expect the following themes each day:

Museum Mondays – Viking is a longtime sponsor of Oslo's Munch Museum and hosts “Munch Moments” onboard its ocean ships every afternoon, showcasing a curated collection of Norway's most famous artist, Edvard Munch. On Viking.TV, Museum Mondays will take the place of the onboard event, and viewers can expect streamed sessions with the museum's director and various curators, providing virtual privileged access to exhibitions, experts and restoration facilities. Additional museums may also participate in the future.

Resident Historian Tuesdays – As part of Viking's onboard cultural enrichment program and commitment to destination-focused learning, Viking's Resident Historian faculty provides guests with lectures and roundtable discussions on significant milestones in world history. Each Tuesday, a Resident Historian will host an iconic lecture followed by a livestreamed Q&A session.

Wednesdays with Music – One of the most important cultural aspects of any destination is its music. On Wednesdays, Viking.TV will bring some of the world's most interesting artists, composers and conductors of the musical world.

Guest Speaker Thursdays – Viking is proud to welcome onboard as guest lecturers many experts in the fields of science, the arts and exploration. Every Thursday, Viking.TV viewers can enjoy meaningful conversations with a variety of academics and individuals who have led extraordinary lives. Upcoming hosts include veteran British broadcaster journalist Anne Diamond; world-renowned Norwegian explorer Liv Arnesen; and Xander Parish, principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg.

Fridays at Home at Highclere Castle – Together with her husband Geordie, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon manages affairs at Highclere Castle, widely recognised as the filming location of Downton Abbey. Through her friendship with Karine, Viking has enjoyed a long relationship with Highclere Castle, to which many Viking guests each year enjoy Privileged Access. Every Friday, visitors to Viking.TV can get a glimpse of life “At Home at Highclere,” as Lady Carnarvon broadcasts tours and conversations.

Wellness Weekends – Saturdays and Sundays on Viking.TV are dedicated to wellbeing during uncertain times and will feature staff from the LivNordic spas onboard Viking's ocean ships, as well as other selected hosts, largely focusing on yoga and meditation.

The first “Fridays at Home at Highclere Castle” livestream officially launched on 3 April and the next session will take place next Friday 10 April at 7pm. “Karine and I are as much sisters as we are friends, and our dogs are all related too!” said Lady Carnarvon.

“The Viking and Highclere families are tightly linked through friendship and dogs, and I am delighted to open our castle doors and lives to the extended Viking family to give a little virtual insight into our history and lives, while we are all trying to deal with this temporary new normal. I hope you'll join me on Fridays as we go behind-the-scenes, with stories about royal visits, entertaining and heritage.”

In addition to the daily content sessions, visitors to Viking.TV can access Viking-produced destination insights, which are hosted by Karine and showcase history, art and culture from around the world. Viking.TV also features reading lists, filmography and music playlists by popular itinerary, so visitors can read, watch or listen their way around the world from right at home.

Those who are looking to get creative in their home kitchen – and journey around the world through global cuisine – will enjoy “The Kitchen Table,” a digital cookbook on Viking.TV that features recipes browsable by country and the ability for visitors to submit their own favourite recipes. And for guests who were especially looking forward to seeing their Viking family of onboard crew during their voyage, Viking.TV includes a forum where guests and crew can exchange greetings – reinforcing the tight community bonds that form as part of the travel experience.

On 11 March 2020, Viking became the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension in operations in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Viking.TV stays true to the brand tagline of “Exploring the World in Comfort” – albeit for the time being, that exploration can now happen from the comfort of one's own home, rather than from the comfort of Viking ships.   

To make a booking or for more information about Viking call 0800 319 66 60 or go to www.vikingcruises.co.uk              


Original Travel pays thanks to the NHS with an 'At Your Service' holiday launch

Saturday 30 March 2020

Original Travel is collating a pot of prizes redeemable only by NHS staff and has kickstarted the initiative by offering a luxury holiday worth up to £10,000. Entries will open on 7 April, World Health Day. 

The tour operator, which offers tailor-made travel has asked fellow great British brands to contribute prizes of their own to its 'At Your Service' concept, as a way of giving thanks to those saving lives. British Luxury Jewellery brand, Monica Vinader, is the first to come on board by offering a piece of its jewellery. 

Tom Barber, Founder and Director of Original Travel says: "Like the rest of the world, Original Travel might be currently grounded, but the trials and tribulations faced by the travel and other industries pale into insignificance compared to the - literally life and death - struggles facing the NHS. 

"As a proud British brand with frankly some time on its hands, we have been thinking what we can do to help our country. Just as the retail sector has looked to what it could offer to alleviate the crisis, 'At Your Service' plays to our own strengths and expertise, whilst rewarding those most in need and we have no doubt that our friends and partners in other sectors of luxury industry will feel the same."

At Your Service will be a free to enter raffle hosted on www.originaltravel.co.uk/nhs-thank-you and will open on 7 April. To enter, NHS staff will need to upload a scan of their NHS pass. New prizes will be continuously added. 


The Belgian city of Leuven will open for business with a series of beer tours, tastings and brewery visits in April.

Flanders prepares for its popular gastronomy and beer weekends

Sunday 23 February 2020

Leuven Beer Weekends – April 2020 – De Hoorn Brewery Leuven

Over the course of three weekends, Leuven will open for business with a series of beer tours, tastings and brewery visits. The city is renowned for its reputation for excellent beer and will feature several innovative and artisan beers from Belgium, Its venue is the historic De Hoorn brewery, the site of the original Stella Artois brewery.

4-5 April – Leuven Beer Innovation festival – A platform for innovative craft breweries

17-18 April – Food and Hops - With beer tours, tastings and brewery visits.

26-26 April – Zythos Beer Festival – Zythos is the largest beer festival of Flanders and is a must see for every beer fan. It is the best way to get acquainted with various beers because even the smallest breweries attend and showcase their craft beers. Over a hundred breweries producing over 500 different types of beer.

Gent Smaakt –  May 2020 Ghent Gent Smaakt is a five-day festival of culinary treats in the heart of Ghent. Many prominent Ghent-born chefs will serve delicious dishes and local producers will offer authentic products to showcase the city’s culinary offerings. www.gentsmaakt.be  

50 World’s Best Restaurants

Antwerp is host city – Early June 2020 – The annual gastronomic fiesta of events that is The World’s 50 Best Restaurants will be hosted in Flanders in 2020, culminating in the famous awards ceremony in Antwerp. A range of culinary collaborations, and full-on celebrations in Antwerp and the wider Flanders region will be taking place, some of which will be open to the public. https://www.theworlds50best.com/stories/News/the-worlds-50-best-restaurants-2-june-2020-antwerp-flanders.html   


Charlestown Harbour is a Cornish gem

Discover shipwrecks and sunken treasure in Cornwall's historic harbour

Thursday 16 January 2020

The historic harbour town of Charlestown is the perfect destination to discover Cornwall's rich and mysterious seafaring heritage. Originally a fishing village, the port played a vital role in the late 19th Century China clay industry, transporting the precious mineral from the nearby quarries around the world.

Today it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its Grade II listed granite quay and resident tall ships provide the perfect backdrop for period dramas and pirate tales ranging from BBC's Poldark and Treasure Island to Alice in Wonderland.

The town is also home to the fascinating Shipwreck Treasure Museum. Located just above the harbour, it houses one of Europe's largest collections of shipwreck treasures. The Shipwreck Treasure Museum offers a fascinating insight into the story of shipwrecks, telling the tales of their ill-fated final journeys and their amazing re-discoveries.

Children exploring the 'Cabinet of Curiosities' at the Shipwreck Museum in Charlestown.

The museum showcases over 8,000 finds recovered from the seabed, ranging from Ancient Egypt and Rome to surprising modern-day discoveries. It's also home to the world's only intact barrel of coins to ever be recovered from a shipwreck.

Curated over the last 40 years, the museum is a treasure trove of unusual and interesting items, unlike any other open to the public. Visitors can travel back through time to view artefacts from Henry VIII's famous war ship, The Mary Rose, and props from the blockbuster Titanic, including the 'Heart of the Ocean'.

For an in-depth museum experience guided tours with our resident historian are available and give visitors the chance to ask questions they may have whether they're concerning sinking, to seabed, to salvage. Groups are welcome at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum with advanced booking for groups of 10 or more.

Coaches are able to use the drop off and pick up area outside the Merchants of Charlestown, which houses the Shipwreck Treasure Museum, and drivers can make use of free entry to the museum. The town is also home to an array of eateries including cafes, restaurants and pubs; many with views overlooking the sea. Charlestown's also the perfect place to pick up local crafts, an antique or even some country lifestyle inspired clothing at Joules.


Eurostar celebrates its 25th birthday

Celebrating 25 Years of Eurostar

Wednesday 14 November is a very special birthday for Eurostar – it turned 25! Thanks to a revolutionary feat of engineering achieved by 13,000 workers, the undersea tunnel - the longest in the world - was opened in 1994. Since that date, the company has carried over 200 million passengers and counting.

To mark the special occasion, Eurostar has been getting all misty-eyed with nostalgia while looking back at your favourite moments of travelling – from meeting your future partners to taking your daughter on her first family trip.

To top it off, just in case you think you know everything about them, Eurostar have some fun facts that will blow your mind. Of course, a celebration wouldn’t be a celebration without a special cake – so we have compiled a list of the perfect pâtisseries for you to indulge in.

Paris is a city of pâtisserie obsessives, from perfectionist pastry chefs to opinionated locals, who love a precision-piped Mont Blanc or yuzu-spiked tarte au citron. The best addresses possess both style and substance, combining real artistic flair with impeccably sourced ingredients. Special occasions always call for something particularly delicious – though really, you don’t need any excuse to indulge yourself in Paris.