Travel news round-up: Britain's best urban beaches and escape to a Portuguese forest - Halong Junk Cruises

Travel news round-up: Britain’s best urban beaches and escape to a Portuguese forest

Eco cabins at Pedras Salgadas
Eco cabins at Pedras Salgadas nature park, Portugal


In pine and cedar woods in the Pedras Salgadas natural park in northern Portugal, these new self-catering eco-houses are perfect for outdoorsy families. There’s a boating lake, outdoor pool, mountain bikes, a restaurant and a spa that uses thermal spring water. Two futuristic treehouses have just opened, too.
• From €200 a night for a house sleeping six,

What’s new?

A Playground of Dance, by Spill
Spill: a Playground of Dance, part of bOing!

Festival fun
bOing! a new family festival at Kent University, Canterbury, will be packed with the arts. Watch outdoor acrobats, explore a staged undersea world in Bleu!, sing in a choir with world-renowned cellist Matthew Sharp, experience life as a creepy-crawly in interactive extravaganza Grass or brush up on your baking skills with the Queen of Hearts. Tickets up to £5; some workshops and performances are free.
30-31 August,

Travel money
Travellers can now withdraw euros from cashpoints at 70 London tube stations. The ATMs, which don’t charge commission, are a hassle-free way to collect currency on your way to the airport or station.
• Find euro ATMs at

Train service

Cafe at Bunk Taksim, Istanbul
Cafe at Bunk Taksim, Istanbul

Journey times between the Turkish capital, Ankara, and Istanbul were halved when a new high-speed train opened on 25 July. The trip now takes a manageable three-and-a-half hours. When in Istanbul, you could try super-stylish new hostel, Bunk in Taksim, which follows the first Bunk “poshtel” in Beyoglu.
• Train fares from about £20 one way. Dorm beds at Bunk cost from about £10 a night, doubles with shower from £55,

The UK’s best urban beaches

The Beach, Nottingham
The Beach, Nottingham

If you’re not jetting off on holiday this summer, don’t despair: the beach may be closer than you think. In Nottingham, the Old Market Square has been transformed into a beach resort with 250 tonnes of sand. There is a beach bar serving cocktails, live bands and outdoor theatre, a giant paddling pool with zorb-style balls and fairground rides (until 2 September,

London has several manmade beaches: Camden Beach at the Roundhouse features beach huts, a rooftop garden with a swimming pool, a pop-up fish restaurant and barbecue and a tiki bar and rum shack (until 23 August,; and the beach at Royal Victoria docks is hosting an eclectic range of events, with an outdoor opera festival, a scratch’n’sniff cinema and limbo dancing (until 21 September, The Southbank Centre’s beach is part of the Festival of Love, which is celebrating the Same Sex Couples Act (until 14 September,

At Bristol beach, there are sandcastle competitions, a “fun zone” for kids, and a mojito bar for the grown-ups (until 1 September, In Oxford, a beach has been created in the Castle Quarter with palm trees, deckchairs, volleyball nets, tapas and cocktails (until 15 September, The city beach in Leeds, at Millennium Square, has a traditional seaside funfair (until 31 August, At Cheshire Oaks shopping outlet in Manchester, the beach has a Brazilian vibe in a nod to the World Cup, with South American food and drink (until 31 August,

Cardiff Bay beach hosts a Caribbean beach party on Mondays, sporting events on Tuesdays and DJs and live bands for the rest of the week. Rides, crazy golf and an ice-cream parlour add to the fun (until 31 August, In Cwmbran, the beach at Gwent Square has free fitness classes on Wednesdays and kid’s entertainment – circus tricks, games workshops – on Saturdays (until 31 August, Who needs to go abroad?

Funny business

Virgin Atlantic is hosting a series of sky-high standup gigs on its Little Red flights between London and Edinburgh to celebrate the city’s Fringe festival. Russell Kane is kicking off the on-board performances, and Richard Herring, Tom Craine and Carl Donnelly will also join the mile-high comedy club. Bea1ts an inflight movie any day.

Animal magic

An elephant gets a pedicure at Whipsnade Zoo.
An elephant gets a pedicure at Whipsnade Zoo. Photograph: Tony Margiocchi/Barcroft Media

Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, has four new Meet the Animal experiences this summer. You can offer treats to sloth bears or leaves to giraffes, or even have a go at feeding the lions. Perhaps most fun of all, you can give an elephant a bath. It isn’t cheap, but the money helps fund the zoo’s conservation programmes.
From £45, suitable for children aged 10+,

Culture watch

Praça Martim Moniz, a square in a multicultural part of central Lisbon, is holding free outdoor film screenings every Wednesday until late September. The square is also a street-food hub, with stalls open every day from 10am-10pm, weekly live music and dance events, and a bazaar-like “fusion market” every weekend.


From a 300-year-old Highland inn to a literary tavern in Edinburgh, a new website brings together more than 100 Scottish pubs with interesting histories. Some of the “pubs with a story to tell” also offer accommodation, and the site has special offers and late deals on rooms each month.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at

Travel | The Guardian
Read more:| Vietnam travel | Vietnam tours | Halong bay cruise

Leave a Reply