In 2014 it will be 300 years since the beginning of the Georgian era; a period that completely transformed Bath’s society, architecture and history. With so much history to explore, the city will be celebrating this influential period throughout the year. Here are our top tips on discovering Bath’s Georgian connections…
Walk in Georgian footsteps
A brand new walking tour will begin in the spring to celebrate Bath’s Georgian life and history. Starting from the official Visitor Information Centre next to Bath Abbey, the walk will include fascinating facts about life in Georgian Bath, its buildings and history, as well as notable Georgian attractions such as the Pump Room and No. 1 Royal Crescent.
Bath has always been a fashionable destination to shop and was the place to be seen in the 18th Century for Georgian fashionistas who flocked to the city to keep up with the latest styles. Today, Bath is still a popular shopping city thanks to its unusually high number of independent stores and boutiques. A special exhibition at the Fashion Museum – Georgians: 18th century dress for polite society (25 January 2014 – 1 January 2015) – will present a selection of the finest fashions worn by those attending assemblies and other glittering occasions of 18th century life. The exhibition will feature over 30 original 18th century outfits and ensembles from the museum’s world-class collection as well as 18th century-inspired fashions by five top fashion designers: Anna Sui, Meadham Kirchhoff, Vivienne Westwood, Stephen Jones, and Alexander McQueen.
Bath’s pioneering discoveries
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy tells the fascinating story of Bath residents, William Herschel and his sister, Caroline. William accomplished huge achievements in astronomy, most famously for discovering the planet of Uranus, as did Caroline, who is known as a pioneer female astronomer for her work in discovering nine comets. The museum is located at the home of William and Caroline on 19 King Street in central Bath. The house and the garden offer visitors the chance to see a carefully restored, typical Georgian house, as well as the location where the Herschels made their great discoveries.
Taking the waters
During the 18th Century, people came to Bath in huge numbers to ‘take the waters’. It was believed that the natural thermal water could help to cure diseases and so people would visit Bath to bathe and drink the water. Today’s bathers head to the Thermae Bath Spa. This modern spa complex combines historic spa buildings with contemporary design and the Spa features an impressive roof-top pool where bathers can soak up wonderful views of Bath’s surrounding cityscape in the only natural thermal springs in the UK.
Bath’s importance in art scene
Bath was a centre for portrait painting in the late 18th century and many of the best portrait painters at the time came to Bath, most notably Thomas Gainsborough, who worked here for many years. His magnificent portrait of Captain William Wade is featured at the Victoria Art Gallery. The Holburne Museum also holds works by Thomas Gainsborough as well as other notable Georgian painters.
Bath has a staggering 5,000 listed buildings and offers the most impressive Georgian architecture in the country with iconic sights such as the Royal Crescent and Circus which have been recognised by UNESCO, awarding Bath with its prestigious World Heritage Status.
Food glorious Bath food!
The Bath Bun was invented by Dr Oliver whose patients loved them so much that their waistlines expanded at an alarming rate so they were quickly replaced with the savoury Bath Oliver biscuit. The buns were originally a brioche or rich egg and butter dough topped with crushed caraway seed comfits. Today’s Bath bun is made from a sweet yeast dough and often has a sugar lump in the centre. The Bun is still served in Bath today and can be enjoyed in the Pump Room or in one of the traditional tea rooms near Bath Abbey.
Jane Austen’s Bath
Bath’s most famous resident, Jane Austen, lived in Bath for six years and based two of her novels in the city. The Jane Austen Centre tells the story of this ever-popular writer, while a free walking tour available on www.visitbath.co.uk takes you to the locations used in Jane’s novels and places she lived and visited. The annual Jane Austen Festival (12 – 20 September 2014) is a fantastic celebration of Austen’s work and Regency times and offers a packed programme of theatrical events, walking tours, talks and more.
18th Century Life
Bath’s legacy to the Georgians can be explored at many of the city’s attractions such as the Fashion Museum, Jane Austen Centre, Herschel Museum of Astronomy and No. 1 Royal Crescent. No. 1 Royal Crescent recently re-opened following a £5 million restoration project which has seen the main building reunited with its service wing. The house creates a wonderfully vital picture of life in Georgian Bath with each room an exquisite example of Georgian interior design with authentic furniture, paintings, textiles and carpets. There are also many buildings such as the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms that are beautifully restored to their original Georgian splendour.
And come and see why Sherborne shortlisted for High Street of the Year
This Christmas visitors to Sherborne, a historic market town on the Dorset/Somerset border, may notice something different in the air. 2013 has been a remarkable year with Sherborne starring as the setting for not one but two Hollywood films set to be blockbuster hits in 2014: A-lister stars Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen appear in “Far from the Madding Crowd” with scenes filmed around Sherborne’s 8th century abbey while Benedict Cumberbatch appears as the code-breaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”, with scenes set in the 460 year old Sherborne School.
The town is no stranger to fame and fortune as it was once the capital of Wessex and in the late sixteenth century attracted the attention of Sir Walter Raleigh who initially acquired the now ruined 12th century Old Castle but then decided to commission Sherborne Lodge in 1594 which later became the New Castle.
For the first time visitor the castles are a great place to start and next to the grounds of the New Castle, designed by Capability Brown, Sherborne boasts one of the West Country’s biggest Christmas decoration shops set in the 18th century walled kitchen gardens of the castle.
Sherborne at Christmas becomes a popular attraction, with its wealth of independent shops and Christmas festivities and the main street lined with twinkling Christmas trees. With celebrities like Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Orlando Bloom and Robbie Williams spotted in the town who knows who will be taking advantage of a freshly made coffee or eating one of the delicious Dorset delicacies to be found in the many welcoming independent coffee shops around town. Try the Sherborne Stodger: it’s as filling as it sounds!
Sherborne’s annual Christmas Tree Festival delights as local groups and organisations create a colourful collection of decorated trees in the Cheap Street Church -a fabulous way to celebrate the festive season. From tinsel and twinkling stars to bold red garlands and jolly snowmen, this collection of gaily decorated trees is inspirational and the display opens daily from 7 – 15 December.
In December Sherborne has its own dedicated Festive Shopping Day on Sunday, 8 December when the town puts on a whole host of different musical, fun and entertaining activities. The main shopping area of Cheap Street is closed to traffic enabling street performers, choirs, bands, orchestras, carollers and ‘Victorian’ chestnut roasters to provide entertainment and the magnificent Abbey has special drop in services throughout the day.
This Christmas the Abbey will host a number of festive concerts and services including the Advent Carol Service on Sunday 1 December, the Christingle Service on Sunday 8 December, The Abbey Carol Service on Sunday 22 December and on Christmas Eve the Blessing of the Crib and Lighting of the Christmas Tree. A Sherborne Christmas Concert takes place there on 9th December and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will perform a Celebration Carol Concert on 19th December. Plus for some true West Country celebrations, catch the Artslink Christmas Concert featuring the Sherborne Carollers and Stanchester Quire singing a programme of West Country carols and songs at the Digby Hall on Thursday 12 December.
And if you are still puzzled as to why Sherborne rings so many bells – The Abbey actually has the heaviest ring of eight bells in the world – then take a look at some of the famous names who were once pupils at its renowned boy’s public school: author John le Carre, actor Jeremy Irons, Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
Love Sherborne so much now, you may want to stay longer? The award winning Eastbury Hotel & Restaurant in Long Street is within easy walking distance of the town centre and has 23 en-suite bedrooms and an attractive dining area that looks onto a charming walled garden where you can enjoy a hassle free Christmas Lunch. There’s also a comfortable lounge where you can relax and enjoy morning or afternoon tea and they are great champions of local food and produce.
The hotel has some sparkling party celebrations laid on for Christmas guests with exclusive rates for guests wishing to stay over. www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk
Further information from: www.sherbornedorset.co.uk
Officially the best Christmas Market in England
A host of new traders and gift ideas
20% off for locals – get your Discovery Card now
Win a visit to see Santa in Lapland
Don’t miss the opening night celebrations
The wait is nearly over and Bath Christmas Market opens to Christmas shoppers next Thursday 28th November. Running until 15th December this year, Bath Christmas Market is the south west’s biggest and most beautiful Christmas shopping event. More than 150 traditionally decorated stalls transform the quaint, picturesque streets and squares in Bath’s centre into a sparkling, bustling hive of festivity. With unique gifts for all, festive food, carols and street entertainment, the event has a really warm, traditional, British atmosphere.
The market is well-loved and known by many in the city and its surrounding areas – but don’t think that if you have visited before you have ‘done’ the market – there are many, many reasons to come back this year…
The best Christmas Market in England – its official!
In 2012, VisitEngland came to Bath Christmas Market and awarded the event accreditation as a quality assured visitor attraction – the only Christmas Market to have gained the quality marque! So if you are thinking where you might do your Christmas shopping, remember that the best Christmas Market in the country is right on your doorstep!
New Traders and gift ideas
If you have been before you may think you know all the traders have to offer, but this year you might be surprised. The organisers, Bath Tourism Plus have undertaken a complete reshuffle and with more than a third of the 150 stalls brand new to the event this year and with returning traders being asked to refresh their product lines, there are plenty of new gift ideas for you this year.
There’s something new at Bath Street…
Don’t miss Bath Street, by the Victorian Carousel and Thermae Bath Spa, where you’ll find lots of new stalls hosting tiny, emerging local microbusinesses selling their products commercially for the first time. Set in a pretty icicle-laden, snowy setting, you’ll find table top crafters selling anything from unique handmade jewellery to gingerbread houses – but make sure you visit every time you come to the market, because these stalls will be changing throughout the 18 days so there will always be something new to see.
Santa Competition – Join the Selfie Craze!
All visitors to the market this year are being treated to the chance to win a truly amazing prize. Organisers of Bath Christmas Market, Bath Tourism Plus, are very excited to be working with Canterbury Travel in offering visitors to this year’s market the chance to win a family trip to meet Santa in Lapland prior to the big day!
The fantastic prize, provided by Canterbury Travel – who have been offering visits to Lapland for more than 30 years – is an ‘Enchanting Lapland Package’ day tour for a family of four and includes return flights from Bristol to Finnish Lapland (which is officially the home of Santa Claus!), a sleigh transfer from the airport grounds in Lapland to a countryside location, husky and reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobiling, tobogganing, a Snow Castle visit and a private family meeting with Santa. The children receive a complementary gift from Santa too.
Entry to the competition is easy – simply upload a picture of yourself or your family enjoying a day at Bath Christmas Market to the event’s Facebook page. Details and instructions will be available at the market and online at www.bathatchristmas.co.uk
Opening Night Lantern Procession
Bath Christmas Market, together with the Holburne Museum, will be celebrating light at the darkest time of the year with their annual lantern procession on the Market’s opening evening – 28th November.
Join in or watch the dazzling spectacle of hundreds of hand-made withy and tissue lanterns being carried through the streets of Bath to the sound of a world music beat. Artists, school children and community groups have created stunning lanterns inspired by the seasonal theme of ‘Feast’. The procession will set off from the Holburne Museum at 5pm and trace a path down Great Pulteney Street and through The Bath Christmas Market.
To sum up, Bath Christmas Market is the one festive event in the area not to be missed. Imagine warming your hands around a steaming cup of mulled wine, and browsing hundreds of unique, local and handmade goods, while the smell of roasting nuts, and the sound of carols surround you – all in the shadow of Bath’s stunning Abbey, and next to the famous Roman Baths… couple that with the chance of meeting Santa himself, and you have the perfect start to Christmas.
For more information about Bath Christmas Market, to download the event programme and to discover everything else Bath offers visitors this Christmas season, from ice skating to pantomime and from big brands to individual boutiques, see www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk.
Recognised as one of the best cities in the UK to spend Christmas, Edinburgh sparkles in the winter with six weeks of festive celebration. Bursting into life with fireworks, lights, funfairs – and Santa himself! – Edinburgh’s Christmas draws thousands every year. Central to the city’s celebrations are theEuropean Christmas Market, big wheel and ice rink, all set against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Highlights this year include the incredibly popular Hot Dub Time Machine and the breathtaking new Star Flyer ride. Festivities begin on 24 November, with a spectacular Light Night ceremony, and run until 5 January 2014.
To make the most of the city at this time of year, stay a night or two at one of the many hotels, B&Bs or apartments in the centre. There are some great deals currently available for early bird bookings, including The Point Hotel, which overlooks the Castle, where guests will receive 10% off the best available rate when booking two nights or more.
In the heart of the action, Princes Street Suites is also offering up to 10% off standard rates for its stylish one, two and three bedroom apartments.
The Belfast Continental Christmas Market guarantees to add some world-famous Irish ‘craic’ to the festivities. Every December, the City Hall gardens are transformed into a bustling Continental village offering a wide range of traditional handmade arts, crafts and culinary specialities, along with music and entertainment to get visitors into the Christmas spirit. The market is set against the city’s iconic architecture, with its Gothic buildings and cobbled streets, and runs from 16 November–22 December.
Enjoy some real Irish hospitality and stay a few nights at one of the nearby hotels and guesthouses. For a city break on a budget, the Ramada Encore Belfast is offering room only in the centre from just £39 per night for two people or £59 per night for bed and breakfast.
In the Midlands, Birmingham has a number of big events set for this Christmas. The Frankfurt Market and Craft Fair is the largest authentic German market in the country, featuring more than 180 individual stalls. Now in its 12th year, the event is set in the city’s Victoria Square between 14 November and 22 December. Visitors can enjoy perusing the array of handcrafted jewellery, wooden toys, candles and dolls, while a live band strikes-up every lunchtime and evening to complete the festive atmosphere.
The Ramada Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield is currently offering 20% off their best available rate when booking two nights or 30% off a three night stay.
On the south coast, the Victorian Festival of Christmas in Portsmouth takes visitors back in time for a traditional market experience from the days of Oliver Twist. The historic dockyards provide the perfect setting for the Dickensian-style events, which include Victorian dancing and appearances from some of history’s most colourful characters. Running from 29 November to 2 December, the Festival also comprises the largest Christmas market on the south coast, full of unique gifts and festive foods.
Visitors can extend their day trip to the coast with an overnight break at the Langstone Hotel on Hayling Island, which overlooks the harbour. The hotel offers a stay and dine package, which includes accommodation, dinner in their AA Rosette restaurant and a full English breakfast, for just £159 per night.
All deals are subject to availability.
Cultural Heart Of Germany: New Flight Connection London – Erfurt In Time For Christmas Market SeasonDecember 4, 2013 on 11:34 am | In Germany, London, Shopping, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Timing could not be better: On 29 November, Germania will launch a new flight connection from London Gatwick to Erfurt in Thuringia. Luck has it that the city’s Christmas market opens on 26 November which means there is no excuse now not to pencil in a festive break in the Cultural Heart of Germany. In particular, since numerous Christmas traditions originated in the region and a multitude of atmospheric Christmas markets can be explored in one go.
Christmas markets in Erfurt & Weimar
Thuringia’s most famous market takes place in Erfurt (26 Nov to 22 Dec 2013) where the magnificent Cathedral Square provides a unique atmosphere and the perfect setting for over 200 stalls selling regional crafts and culinary delights. Visitors can marvel at a large wooden pyramid, the market’s huge candlelit Christmas tree and the almost life-sized wooden figures of the nativity scene. Only 15 minutes by train from Erfurt, Weimar, the beautiful city of Classicism, hosts an enchanting market in the town centre. It is open from 1st December until 5th January, providing a perfect winter holiday add-on well after Christmas.
Birthplace of Christmas traditions
Weimar is also the place where the first public Christmas tree was erected in 1816, and the fact that Christmas trees became such a prominent feature all over the world is also thanks to a certain lady from Thuringia: Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen who married King William IV in 1811, imported the Christmas tree to the UK and organised festive celebrations at the English court. Another Christmas tradition was born in the small town of Lauscha south of Erfurt: More than 160 years ago glass blowers began to produce glass decorations for their own Christmas trees in the shape of beads, fruits and cones. Glass baubles are now famous all over the world, and Lauscha’s Christmas market, taking place on two Advent weekends before Christmas, is a great opportunity to buy them in all shapes and colours.
Wartburg Castle historic Christmas market
A mere 30 minutes by train from Erfurt, UNESCO World Heritage site Wartburg Castle provides visitors with a very special Christmas market experience: On the first, second and third weekend in Advent, the castle’s impressive courtyard is turned into a historic Christmas market where medieval times come back to life with artists, craftsmen, knights and colourful market stalls. Visitors can also enjoy Christmas concerts in the castle’s banquet hall.
Erfurt Christmas market break
Fred. offers 3 nights at the Intercity Erfurt (twin share) for £439 including Germania flights from London Gatwick to Erfurt. Contact: Fred., 0808 250 7755
Thuringia Tourism special EUR 66 winter campaign
A number of three- and four-star hotels in historic towns throughout the region welcome visitors for EUR 66 per night for two in a double room including breakfast (travel period between 1 November and 31 March 2014). More information on www.visit-thuringia.com
Full list of Christmas markets in Thuringia and Tourist Information Thuringia hotline for travel enquiries: +49 (0)361 37420
Flight bookings & prices London – Erfurt: www.flygermania.de/en
The five-star Manor House Hotel in the picturesque Wiltshire village of Castle Combe is offering the perfect way to experience Bath’s famous Christmas market, with prices starting from £170 per person for a luxury one-night stay.
Running from November 28 until December 15 in the heart of Bath, the market features more than 150 traditional wooden chalets with everything needed to ensure the perfect Christmas celebration.
Visitors can choose from an array of unique handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and food items at the market – which became the first Christmas Market in the UK to be awarded a Visit England VAQAS award for being a ‘Quality Assured Visitor Attraction’ in 2012 – before returning to The Manor House to relax in five-star comfort.
Packages, which are based on two people sharing a room, include return transfers to the market, bed and breakfast and a sumptuous three-course dinner from the à la carte menu in the hotel’s Michelin-starred Bybrook restaurant.
And after a hard day of shopping and fine-dining, guests can unwind the following day by enjoying 18 holes of golf at its neighbouring Manor House Golf Club for an additional £30 per person.
Dating back to the 14th century and described as a “real gem of a hotel” in the AA report, The Manor House nestles in 365 acres of stunning countryside in Castle Combe, near Bath – one of the most picturesque villages in England – and its five-star facilities include a collection of 48 bedrooms and suites.
The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club is owned by the Exclusive Golf group alongside Mannings Heath Golf Club in Horsham, West Sussex, with both venues featuring in the latest ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in England’ standings.
Exclusive Golf was formed in 2010 and is a part of Exclusive Hotels, a prestigious group of individual, stylish hotels in the south of England, located in stunning surroundings and presenting a luxurious tranquillity in beautiful English locations.
For more details and to book The Manor House Hotel’s Bath Christmas Market package, phone 01249 782206, email email@example.com or go to http://www.manorhouse.co.uk/EXCLUSIVE_HOTELS/exclusive_offers/exclusive_offer.aspx?pr=1620
For further information on The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club, please visit www.manorhousegolf.co.uk.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, the primary season to shop is getting into full swing. Yet savvy shoppers looking to get the best value for their money this December would do well to head west to Philadelphia, which offers a wide variety of tax free shopping destinations for UK shoppers.
For that extra special gift, head to Philadephia’s Jeweler’s Row, America’s oldest diamond district. With more than 300 diamond and jewellery merchants, Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row offers shoppers a dizzying selection of sparkle and bling. Located just steps away from Philapdelphia’s Independence Hall, serious buyers and window shoppers can find custom-designed jewellery, hand-cut gems and one-of-a-kind estate pieces.
A thriving commercial hub since colonial times, Philadelphia’s South Street has been reborn many times. Since the 1970s South Street has been an eclectic shopping and dining area, where specialty boutiques intermingle with chain stores and eateries of all kinds. With almost 110 hip boutiques and retail stores, there are lots of choices when shopping in Philadephia’s Old City area too. Many of the shops are concentrated along Market, Chestnut, 2nd and 3rd Streets.
Style mavens and trendsetters shop on Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Row, where individually owned boutiques and nationally known brands offer what’s new, now and next in clothing, jewelry, accessories, cosmetics and other must-have items. Known for its upscale shopping, Rittenhouse Row is also a hot destination for fine dining and glittering nighttime entertainment.
For those able to head out of the city’s centre, there’s even more retail variety on offer. Philadelphia Premium Outlets, located in the northwestern suburb of Limerick, offers over 150 brand name outlet stores from designer fashions and sportswear to home furnishings and specialty gifts, all at 25-66 percent off everyday prices.
The Court at King of Prussia, located about 45 minutes from Central Philadelphia, is part of one of the USA’s largest indoor shopping malls and has a huge array of shops that will suit all tastes and all budgets and is perfect for those who like to buy all their Christmas shopping in one place.
For more information on Philadelphia contact the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau at 0115 922 9255 or visit www.discoverPHL.com.
Philadelphia is conveniently located in Northeast USA, just 1 hour 20 minutes from New York City and 1 hour 45 minutes from Washington D.C. via Amtrak’s Acela Express Line.
From adventure rides around the city to interactive museums, parklands, internationally-renowned festivals and even the nation’s first zoo, Philadelphia provides all the necessary elements for a fun-filled holiday. Philadelphia has long been a hot spot for visitors seeking a metropolitan destination with a hometown feel, however the city also offers a vast array of attractions making it a must-visit destination for travellers who love exploring diverse new places.
The city is designed on an easy to explore, walkable grid system and with its friendly neighbourhoods you’re never far from cafes, restaurants and bars to relax in as you discover the delights Philadelphia has to offer. With no sales tax on clothing and shoes, Philadelphia is a bargain for shoppers and a great place to do some holiday shopping.
• Shopping Stateside shaves up to 50 per cent off London gift prices
• New York and Boston shops are cheaper than London as sterling strengthens
• Post Office® Christmas Shopping Guide finds 10 ‘must-have’ gifts that fit within the £390 duty free allowance: www.postoffice.co.uk/shoppingguide2013
As the pound edges up in value against the US dollar after a year in the doldrums, Christmas shoppers on a city break can save hundreds of pounds on a money-saving shopping spree if they swap London for New York or Boston.
The sixth annual Post Office Travel Money Christmas Shopping Guide, produced jointly with Virgin Holidays for the first time, reveals that US stores have pegged their prices at 2012 levels to undercut London and offer thrifty shoppers savings of up to 50 per cent.
From over 100 items surveyed by the Post Office in London and by Virgin Holidays in New York and Boston, the best bargains are on jeans and US designer label clothes1. Boston remains cheaper than New York because of lower sales tax and higher tax exemption rates. However, savings of over a third are commonplace in both cities and shoppers can shave 50 per cent off the London cost of a Polo Ralph Lauren gilet (£295 compared with £146.61).
In more good news for UK holiday-shoppers, sterling is now worth eight per cent more than at its 2013 low spot in July, which means that the same items will cost less in the USA than in the summer – over £10 less in the case of the Polo Ralph Lauren gilet.
The survey reveals that leading brands of jeans like 7 For All Mankind, Hollister, Levi’s and J Brand cost over 40 per cent less Stateside – with the top bargain on women’s J Brand jeans. At under £130, these are almost half the £250 London price tag.
Hip labels Abercrombie & Fitch and Rag & Bone are among several sought-after fashion names that offer substantial discounts in the USA. A&F’s Abercrombie Hot cologne costs over £20 less (36 per cent) than in London – £58 compared with under £37. And there are even bigger savings on Rag & Bone, whose ‘Elsa’ dress costs 42 per cent less in the USA – priced at around £181 in the US compared with £310 in a London department store.
While savings on the latest electronic gadgets are lower, most are priced at 18-26 per cent below London levels. The latest Apple iPad mini WiFi costs £204.17 in Boston and £209.21 in New York – 16-18 per cent less than the £249 London store price. The new Kindle Paperwhite WiFi eReader is the best buy gadget, priced at 24-26 per cent less in New York and Boston than in London (see Best Buys table).
Using the £390 duty free allowance in New York, Post Office Travel Money was able to compile a list of 10 ‘must-have’ gift items for family members saving a third on London prices. In addition to Hollister jeans and high fashion Abercrombie & Fitch and Marc Jacobs items, this included make-up, skincare, fragrance, electronic gadgets and toys, the latter chosen from the Toy Retailers’ Association ‘Top Toys’. The biggest savings were on Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream (45 per cent) and a child’s InnoTab 35 tablet (44 per cent).
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “With sterling’s recent recovery against the US dollar, there are great bargains to be struck in US shops but it’s still important to do your homework before parting with cash. We are always looking for ways to make life easier for our customers at Christmas and as shopping can prove quite stressful our new guide can not only help people get the best value but also give good advice. Shoppers planning transatlantic trips can compare prices in London, New York and Boston at our website – postoffice.co.uk/shoppingguide2013 – to find out which gifts carry the biggest savings and which might prove costly mistakes.”
While most of the items researched were cheaper in the USA, shoppers should beware buying British brands like Ted Baker and Burberry or they could pay well over the odds. For example, a Ted Baker ‘Evvie’ dress in New York was found to cost 38 per cent more than in London (£205.70 compared with £149.00 in London).
Similarly, while some fragrance, make-up and skincare brands like Benefit, Clinique and Elizabeth Arden are cheaper Stateside, shoppers can expect to pay as much as 28 per cent more if they buy French brands like Guerlain and Clarins in the States.
Andrew Brown said: “Make the most of the improving exchange rate by getting the best US dollar rate before leaving home. Take enough cash to cover both shopping and living costs and be aware that transactions of over £500 will attract a better rate in our branches or on the Post Office website. A good way to avoid exceeding the £390 duty free allowance is to carry this on our prepaid US dollar Travel Money Card, which can be used just like plastic.”
Commenting on the high demand for US city breaks, Virgin Holidays Head of Product & Commercial Angus Bond said: “Virgin Holidays is seeing an increase in enquiries from customers seeking great deals on money-saving shopping trips in New York or Boston. With deals starting at just £719² for three nights this December, and some great offers for 2014 planned for our January sale, it’s a great time to bag a bargain.”
Over 4,000 larger Post Office branches offer US dollars on demand while 70+ currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery.
Start this festive season in style and head to Cromer and Norfolk for some celebratory theatre. Cromer is synonymous with crabs and the traditional British beach holiday but this town is not just about the summer months.
“Cromer and our neighboring Norfolk towns have a great deal to offer visitors in the winter months. Below are a few of our favorite reasons for visiting but it’s advisable to book soon to avoid disappointment as these classic Christmas shows are very popular and often sell out.”
Comments Martin Torrens, marketing manager for thisiscromer.co.uk
The Cromer Christmas Show – 30th November – 29th December
A great mix of variety, song and dance created to spread Christmas cheer to all who watch it. Local Norfolk entertainer Olly Day and vocalist Eddie Bushell return for 2014, joined by Comedy Illusionist Martyn James in a show that promises all the magic of Christmas. The show runs from 30th November – 29th December at 2.00pm and 7.00pm almost every day and promises to deliver buckets of glitz, glamour, comedy and dance. Prices start from just £5.00 for children up to £19.50 for adults, for more details see www.thisiscromer.co.uk or call the box office on 01263 512495.
Thursford Christmas Spectacular – Now – 23rd December (availability for December Dates)
For the festive wow factor book now for the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, this show has an impressive budget and delivers a three-hour fast moving celebration of all things Christmas. An eclectic fusion of the seasonal and sacred, famous pop songs are sung alongside traditional carols. Thursford is the largest show of its kind in the country, with a skilled cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians. From solo singers, to a full four part coral number with amazing dancing and costumes. For more details and to book tickets see www.thursford.com or call 01328 878477
Cromer Christmas Lights Up Festival
Every year Cromer hosts a ‘Christmas Lights Up festival.’ Taking place during the first or second weekend in December, this year it will be 6th and 7th December. Highlights include; a Christmas market in the town square, decorated Christmas trees and of course switching on the Cromer Christmas lights. Last year appropriately, the display was made up of Crab and Lobster pots. Accommodation in Cromer is available from £35-£150 per night, in a choice of guest house, self-catering and hotel accommodation for more details see www.thisiscromer.co.uk
Virginia Court Hotel www.virginiacourt.co.uk have a special weekend break during Lights Up Festival offering two nights dinner bed and breakfast for £250 per couple sharing a room, saving over 25% off the usual winter weekend
rates, http://www.virginiacourt.co.uk/special-offers/cromer-festive-break-weekend-6th-8th-december / or a three night
Christmas break package
Cromer Chamber of Trade was established in 1945, created by a key group of local entrepreneurs keen to see the region continue to flourish for years to come. The Chamber is an association of nearly one hundred shops, accommodation providers and businesses across Cromer and the North Norfolk area.
From its world famous pier and two museums, wide open beaches, spectacular cliffs, to the nationally renowned pier show, cinema and glorious local walks, there is plenty to tempt locals and visitors to this diverse area. Key events for Cromer Chamber members include the town’s Folk Festival, Carnival, Lifeboat Day, Crab Festival and Firework displays.
The town dates back to medieval times, once known as Shipden it was then a modest settlement of fishermen and merchants. During the Victorian era the railways arrived and Cromer was born. Many well-to-do Victorian “summer timers” visited the area as a holiday retreat from nearby cities by the 1890s Cromer was fashionable and booming. Cromer’s reputation for crab fishing remains to this day with several flourishing fish shops and restaurants in the town.
As well as one of Norfolk’s most attractive seaside resorts, Cromer provides a key residential, administrative business and service centre for the growing population of North Norfolk. A recent regeneration programme has enhanced its old world charm whilst introducing new facilities.
The Cromer Chamber of Trade was created to provide its members with a voice to promote the wide range of local business and services available. It is an independent, not-for-profit business support and networking organisation that puts the needs and interests of its members and stakeholders at the heart of everything it does. The aim of Cromer Chamber of Trade is to promote, support and develop the wide range of businesses and services based in Cromer and North Norfolk area while also encouraging and supporting new businesses and industry into the region.
It’s a shopping staycation, just before the holidays. This year, the Chicago Marriott Naperville is offering a Holiday Outlet Outing Package, combining a night’s stay at the hotel with shopping at the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora. After a relaxing evening of complimentary cocktails, a dip in the indoor pool and a sound night’s sleep, imagine waking up to a fresh, farm-to-table breakfast, then planning a day of shopping, armed with vouchers, coupons and a Starbucks gift card. Rates for the Holiday Outlet Outing Package start at $169 per night and include a $50 Chicago Premium Outlets gift card, a voucher for a VIP coupon book to be used at any of the 120 stores, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and a hearty breakfast for two at the hotel’s very own Artisan Table.
“It’s a chance to ‘shop different,’” said Dan Gustafson, general manager of the Chicago Marriott Naperville. “Guests can turn their annual holiday shopping trip into a mini-vacation, enjoying all the amenities we have here at the hotel – the pool, the restaurant, luxury beds, the fitness center – and then head out to the stores with gift cards and coupons.”
Guests at the hotel will also be amazed at one of the finest Winter Wonderland displays in Chicagoland, baked and assembled by pastry chef Erica Tomei and her team. The massive display of a Christmas town includes buildings made of homemade gingerbread dough, royal icing and assorted holiday candies. Hotel guests will also receive complimentary chocolate peppermint cookies and apple cider upon check-in.
Next Page »