The Great Malvern Food Festival is set to return this month

The Great Malvern Food Festival returns to Priory Park on 9-10 July

Friday 1 July 2022

Calling all foodies! Prepare to be inspired as The Great Malvern Food Festival is set to return. More than 40 market stalls and street vendors will be offering a wide selection of locally sourced produce when the festival returns to the town for its 11th year.

The free, two-day festival will run from 10am to 6pm on Saturday 9 July and 10am to 5pm on Sunday 10 July in Priory Park, which is renowned for its stunning backdrop of the Malvern Hills.

The event also includes a live Cookery Demonstration Theatre which is being hosted in the open-air bandstand, along with food and drink showcases, and plenty of family activities. Top local chefs will be on hand to offer tips and advice on how to create fabulous dishes at home using locally sourced produce from stallholders.

The festival has been organised by Boffy Events in partnership with Malvern Hills District Council. It is kindly supported by Windsor Court, retirement village and care home in Great Malvern.

Cllr Daniel Walton, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Tourism at Malvern Hills District Council, said: "It is great to see the return of the Great Malvern Food Festival in Priory Park. We encourage residents and visitors to support our local food producers and pay a visit for a unique food and drink experience.”



Steve Boffy, from Boffy Events said: “We are really looking forward to this year's Great Malvern food Festival. We have a great selection of traders including many new artisan makers as well as the firm favourites. Each year we receive so much great feedback about the range and quality of the stalls and promise this year will not disappoint. We are also proud of the great provenance of the products, most being sourced locally or within the region, something that is always well received and supported by the people of Malvern”

Visit www.visitthemalverns.org/foodfest for more information.


Saddle up for a trip to the Lone Star State with Virgin Atlantic and Bon Voyage

Thursday 5 May 2022

This month (25 May, 2022) sees the launch of Virgin Atlantic's brand new, four-times-a-week transatlantic service to Austin, Texas: capital of the Lone Star State. The non-stop flights from London Heathrow will put UK travellers within easy reach of the region's Wild West heritage and culture - not to mention the urban appeal of famously counterculture Austin itself.  

Located in scenic Texas Hill Country on the banks of the Colorado River, Austin is known for its creative edge and a sense of character that's way outside the mainstream. It's a place where hippies, hipsters and tech entrepreneurs mix with artists, musicians, and outdoor enthusiasts in a progressive, eclectic community that, in turn, makes this metropolis so marvellous to visit.  

Days spent in this cosmopolitan city might include paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake; sipping craft beer at a local brewery; or checking out the collections at one of Austin's many museums. A vibrant foodie scene encourages visitors to graze at food trucks, brunch spots, restaurants, or lively and colourful Fareground Food Hall.

Come the evening, attention turns to musical performances (Austin bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World); or for a remarkable brush with nature, hit the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to see over a million Mexican free-tailed bats streaming from their daytime roosts to forage in the countryside.  

Bon Voyage, the North America travel specialist, recommends combining an Austin city break with a roll call of the state's other highlights on a circular Texas fly-drive. Its 19-night Deep in the Heart of Texas: Go Big Or Go Home itinerary takes in edgy Austin, cowboy country, frontier history and the Space Age via such big-hitters as Space Center Houston (which acted as Mission Control for 1969's moon landings), the Alamo, Amarillo and starkly beautiful Big Bend National Park.

Other memorable discoveries might include Palo Duro Canyon (which was of huge importance to indigenous Comanche tribes), Route 66 and the 62,000-year-old Odessa Meteor Crater, while a stay in Fort Worth provides a chance to burn off all that Texas barbecue with a bit of boot-scooting Texas two-step.   

This fully tailor-made holiday costs from £2,995 per person and includes flights, quality accommodation (room-only basis) and car hire. For more information and to book, call 0800 316 0194 or visit www.bon-voyage.co.uk


Inspired by the lunar eclipse? Then Go West for a sky-scanning road trip in the USA

Monday 25 April 2022

All eyes should be turning skyward on Monday May 16, when a lunar eclipse will thrill stargazers as it brightens up the night (including in the UK, from where the phenomenon will be partially visible).

Though we may all aspire to reach for the stars, it's not always easy to see these celestial bodies in light-polluted skies - but your constellation-spotting chances increase the further you go from artificial lights, which is why International Dark Sky Reserves have become such important resources. And with no fewer than ten International Dark Sky Parks (more than anywhere else in the world) plus a further 13 Dark Sky Places scattered within its borders, where better than the US state of Utah to cast your eyes to the heavens?

Most road trips though this part of the West are all about dramatic scenery, but this all-new package from Bon Voyage celebrates the state's celestial charms too. Starting in Salt Lake City, the itinerary takes in Antelope Island for its awesome wildlife and Dark Sky Park before heading on to Huntsville, which is home to HALO: the Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory. It's the perfect spot for joining a 'starwalk' to get to grips with sparkly planets, shining stars and deep sky objects as seen through the facility's state-of-the-art telescopes.

The journey continues to Heber Valley and the incredible Canyonlands, whose daytime attractions of geothermal springs and natural rock arches are complemented by magnificent skies once the sun goes down. There are numerous spots with Dark Sky status scattered throughout this region, where the naked eye is all you'll need to appreciate their glories. Gain further insight in Moab on an organised Sky Ranger tour, or join other stargazers in the wide, open spaces of Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

A real highlight awaits towards the end of the journey in Zion National Park, where it's even possible to camp out for a night among the red-rock canyons before continuing to Las Vegas for the flight back to the UK (or extend with a city break to enjoy the night sky lit up with neon). This 12-night holiday costs from £2,195pp and includes flights, car hire and accommodation on room-only basis. For more information and to book, call Bon Voyage on 0800 316 0194 or visit www.bon-voyage.co.uk


King Willem-Alexander (left) opened Floriade Expo 2022 at Almere in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

King Willem-Alexander opens Floriade Expo 2022 in the Netherlands

Wednesday 13 April 2022

King Willem-Alexander opened the World Horticultural Exhibition Floriade Expo 2022 in Almere on Wednesday, the Dutch exhibition being held just once every ten years. It will remain open until 9 October while the Dutch horticultural sector shows, together with national and international participants, green solutions about how to make our cities more fun, more liveable and more sustainable. 

Helped by children from Flevoland, the king officially opened the Expo by planting the last cress into a living plan of the site. The opening stage was the square near the Flores tower, which is decorated with a unique arboretum artwork and forms the eyecatcher of the Floriade park. Essential is the commitment of youth to make and maintain our cities greener. Young talent is required to create a greener future. Floriade makes it their goal to let young people be a part of/play a part in the Expo.

Floriade has a varied art and culture programme showing the emotional aspect of the green innovations. During the official opening there was a lot of attention for culture. Singer Marzièh Reyhani from Almere sang ‘Lovely Day’, the official song specially written for the advertising campaign of Floriade. Ulrike Quade Company performed the closing act as a preview of the daily show on the Main Stage of the Expo.


Inspirational Masterchef winner Irini Tzortzoglou prepares a Cretian dish

Simpson Travel offer culinary weeks in Crete with a MasterChef winner

Monday 28 March 2022

Specialist Mediterranean villa and hotel operator Simpson Travel (www.simpsontravel.com;  020 8003 6557) still has places for gourmet lovers, to join a choice of two dedicated Culinary Weeks in Crete this summer, hosted by the inspirational MasterChef winner of 2019, Irini Tzortzoglou.

A relaxing week in the sun will be complemented by a series of culinary demonstrations in the hotel gardens while staying at Arosmari Village Hotel, Simpson's magnificent boutique property nestled at the foot of the White Mountains in western Crete.

Cretan by birth, Irini is passionate about Greek cuisine and the wonderful fresh, local ingredients to be found on the island. With Irini as your guide participants will also visit a highly acclaimed vineyard, a traditional dairy and one of the finest restaurants in Rethymno to discover the very best of all things Cretan.

Simpson Travel’s Culinary weeks at Arosmari take place on 19th- 26th July and 26th July – 2 August 2022.  Prices from £1,928 per person including flights, car hire, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, all demonstrations, workshops, tastings, local excursions and a farewell dinner.  


The unmistakable Manhatten skyline of New York

Why not try taking a family-sized bite of the Big Apple this May half term

Tuesday 15 March 2022

New York may famously be known as the city that never sleeps, but that doesn't mean its allure is in any way limited to grown-up fun. With a long list of attractions and experiences whose appeal spans generations, this is also the perfect destination for family adventures. From sky-high views atop landmark buildings to zooming up the Hudson River on a jet-powered speedboat, New York offers city break thrills that everyone will enjoy.

North America specialist Bon Voyage suggests staying right in the thick of things on Times Square, from where convenient subway connections make easy work of exploring the city. On a 6-night half-term holiday (departing 28 May, 2022), choose an action-packed itinerary that includes biking across Brooklyn Bridge, a walking tour of Central Park, the buzz of a Broadway show and a Statue of Liberty drive-by on The Beast: a powerboat that reaches speeds of 45mph.

Staying centrally at the AC Hotel Times Square, the tailor-made holiday costs from £1,593 per adult and from £1,446 per child (under 12 years of age), including flights, accommodation (room-only) and activities as described. For more information and to book, call Bon Voyage on 0800 316 0194 or visit www.bon-voyage.co.uk


Wednesday 9 March 2022

Suffolk-based companies Fred. Olsen Ltd, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Fred. Olsen Travel have jointly funded a lorry to send aid donated by team members to support Ukrainian refugees. Between them, the team filled 61 boxes to help those in need, containing women's, men's and children's clothing, medication for adults and children, toiletries, nappies, blankets, batteries and power packs, thermal flasks and more than 70 soft toys.

The donations were collected from Fred. Olsen House, in White House Road, Ipswich, yesterday by Ruslan Postupalenko, who is providing lorries to transport the goods from his Felixstowe-based company RPER Ltd. Ruslan, aged 23 and who was born in Ukraine, is working alongside fellow Suffolk firms A2B-Online Ltd, who have donated trailers to carry the donations, and OLMAR Ltd whose drivers are donating their time to transport the goods safely. The three Fred. Olsen companies will be jointly funding the cost of the fuel for one of Ruslan's lorries to travel to Ukraine.

One of Canada's huge Grizzly bears keeps watch.

Canada rolls back travel restrictions giving a big boost to post-pandemic holidays

Monday, 21 February 2022

Good news for those keen to get back and experience Canada's great outdoors: the North American nation has adjusted its public health measures in a step towards phasing out travel restrictions brought in for the pandemic.

The long-awaited announcement means that fully vaccinated travellers can cross the border with greater ease from 28 February, with those selected for random testing no longer needing to quarantine while awaiting results (though pre-departure Fit to Fly tests will remain a requirement for now).

In anticipation of pent-up demand in the wake of two years of being off-limits, North American specialist Bon Voyage has created an all-new Canada itinerary that takes in the best of British Columbia's cities, coast and wilderness.

Starting with an urban escape in cosmopolitan Vancouver (with plenty of time to explore Stanley Park or the food stalls of Granville Island's market), the journey continues by ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Victoria, BC's charming provincial capital. As well as being the gateway to stunning Vancouver Island, it's also a handy jumping-off point for whale-watching excursions to seek the pods of orca that inhabit these coastal waters.

There's more wildlife to be encountered at Clayoquot Sound, further north on Vancouver Island, where black bears forage the low-tide shoreline to feast on crabs and kelp. Keep eyes peeled too for otters, bald eagles, blue herons and harbour porpoises, then stroll along Long Beach to pick up shells and pieces of driftwood as souvenirs.

A real highlight awaits back on the mainland with a stay at Sonora Resort: a Relais & Chateaux Wilderness Resort that's only accessible by sea plane or boat. Set right on a pristine waterfront and surrounded by emerald-green forest, it's a fantastically high-end retreat for fully immersing in nature's marvels.

By day, it's all about searching for grizzly bears on boat-trip excursions, while evenings can be spent, cocktail in hand, gazing up at the star-filled sky. It's a truly fantastic experience to savour before heading back to Vancouver.

The nine-night, tailor-made Whales, Bears & Vancouver Island itinerary costs from £3,135pp and includes flights, car hire, accommodation, ferry transfers and a whale-watching excursion by Zodiac. For more information and to book, call 0800 316 0194 or visit www.bon-voyage.co.uk