Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

From 10 September, guests can follow in the footsteps of their favourite characters, while living like a true Laird and Lady in an authentic 18th century Scottish castle. Using the Castle as their residential base, 'outlanders' can visit the places which inspired the best-selling novels, as well as filming locations for the TV series.

Working with Private Concierge Scotland, the team at Dundas Castle will create a bespoke package to suit individual needs, helping guests to create their perfect Outlander themed adventure, with dinners, excursions and entertainment.

Over a two day itinerary, the package includes visits to see many of the Outlander locations across Scotland, with travel options of bus, car or even luxury helicopter tours. Taking in impressive sites such as Doune Castle – which acts as Castle Leoch in the TV series; Glencorse Old Kirk, where Jamie and Claire tie the knot; and Linlithgow Palace which is used as Wentworth Prison; fans will gain a fascinating insight into where the series is filmed, as well as an appreciation of the breathtaking Scottish landscape described in the books.

To add to the feel of the stay, the package can also incorporate grand dinners in the Castle's medieval stag chamber, whisky tastings, traditional ceilidhs, clan battles, Scottish pipers and a dramatic 'Beating of the Retreat' to act as a grand finale to the experience.

Just a 15 minute drive from Edinburgh Airport, Dundas Castle is a piece of Scottish baronial splendour with 17 bedrooms, a 600 year old keep and extensive luxury and comfort.

The Castle, still the home of owner, Sir Jack Stewart Clark and his wife, Lady Lydia, is available on an exclusive use basis and is the ideal location for a special weekend of romance, history and discovery. Guests are given complete private use of the Castle and immediate grounds, allowing for a real home from home feel.

Staff at The Manor House Museum, known in medieval times at Bromwic Hall, off Hall Green Road, West Bromwich are getting ready to welcome historical interpretation group Buckingham’s Retinue as part of national Heritage Open Days on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a peep into the late medieval period, we now call ‘The Wars of the Roses’, with a medieval encampment.

There’ll be lots of activities for visitors to see and do well as get involved with, including joining in with music and dance of the period and learning at first-hand about medieval weapons, pastimes, and medicine.

Mark Hewitt, a member of the Buckingham’s Retinue, said: “Visitors can learn about arms and armour and have the opportunity to experience them ‘hands-on’.

“Younger visitors can join in the soldiers’ drilling and see a medieval knight as he is ‘armed up’ by his servants before going into battle, and a display with swords and pole axes as well as learn about early guns and canon.”

Those who prefer a more genteel life can enjoy music and dancing, try their hand at playing some medieval games, learn about food and find out what  people who lived at the Manor House 600 years ago may have worn.

There’s also the opportunity to visit a medieval surgeon who, aided by an array of herbs and surgical instruments will talk about medical practices of the time, the medieval view of the world that supported them and explain how these may (or may not) relate to modern scientific views.

Inside the Manor House, free guided tours will be on offer so visitors can learn more about the fabulous 13th century building and enjoy a talk by local historian Ian Bott.

Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to travel way back into the past and learn what life was like long ago as well as having a great free day out with loads to see, do and get involved with.”

The events at the Manor House Museum in Hall Green Road are free and run both days from 11am-3pm.

Honeymooners looking for an exotic escape without a tiring long-haul flight need look no further than adults-only couples hideaway DDG Retreat in romantic Andalucia.

Perched on a hilltop high above the picture-perfect pueblo blanco of Casares and enjoying spectacular 360 degree views, this grown-up getaway offers the ultimate romantic backdrop for a holiday to remember.

Brand new for this season are two stunning canvas super-suites where just-weds can enjoy their privacy in stunning natural surroundings with panoramic views; choose to sleep under the stars in an alfresco bed, watch unforgettable sunsets from their own hot tub or plunge pool, indulge in a sumptuous spa treatment in a woodland cabanah and simply enjoy some relaxing 'we' time together.

The ultra-cool Royal and Maharaja tents take glamping to a new level of luxury and come complete with marble floors, air conditioning, individually-designed and well-appointed interiors, expansive terraces and an attention to detail that has earned DDG Retreat an enviable reputation since it first opened its doors six years ago. The latest luxe additions to this four-hectare woodland estate have been inspired by owners Alex and Olga's extensive travels around the world - whilst for those who prefer more traditional bricks and mortar, Casa Pino, an original artisan casita, is the perfect choice.

Each suite comes with its own generous outdoor space for exclusive use by its occupants. And there are also shared facilities which include a stunning infinity pool; a gym, hammam and sauna; and a tennis court – but with only three casitas dotted around the spacious grounds, the ambience is one of peace and tranquillity. Most choose not to venture far – but for those who prefer to explore the area, DDG Retreat is set in a beautiful protected national park and the sights of authentic Andalucia are on your doorstep.

Tailor-made packages are available according to budget and requirements and special excursions can also be arranged. With no minimum stay conditions, this stunning bolt-hole – named as one of the most romantic on the planet - provides an ideal option not only for longer-stay honeymoons, but for couples seeking a shorter mini-moon.

Opening of Malaga's first grand dame hotel heralds the Spanish city's €100M cultural revival. An ancient Andalucían city that gave birth to Pablo Picasso, but is often overlooked as the gateway to the Costa del Sol, Malaga is transforming itself into a flourishing cultural hub. The recent reopening of the Gran Hotel Miramar following a €65 million renovation is the latest chapter in the city's renaissance as a hotspot of cultural excellence, cementing its place on the wishlists of art lovers and the cognoscenti from across the world.

Once a place to see and be seen for Spanish royalty, European high society and Hollywood stars alike, the iconic five-star Gran Hotel Miramar reopened earlier this year following a painstaking two-year overhaul, putting Malaga firmly back on the global luxury travel map. The assiduous renovation has returned this majestic edifice to its former glory, preserving or revitalising many of its original features, including intricate Moorish carved wood arches, a beautiful first floor gallery, Andalusian tiling, hand-painted frescoes and ornate stucco ceilings.

With a central beachfront location in the cultural hub of La Caleta, the hotel is within easy reach of the many cultural institutions that are popping up around the city including an outpost of France's famous Centre Pompidou and a Malaga branch of the St Petersburg State Russian Museum.

While its magnificent Moorish fortress walls and Roman theatre have long been symbols of the ancient city's place in cultural history, Malaga has in recent years welcomed the opening of prominent museums showcasing the works of world-class painters and sculptors, backed by an ambitious EUR100 million plan by the city council to reinvigorate the city's cultural heritage. Museums such as the famous Picasso Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum and the Centre for Contemporary Art are amongst those not to be missed.

Outside the galleries and museums, another traditional expression of art is represented in the city's religious buildings. Through the centuries the churches and cathedrals have been richly endowed with paintings, icons, statues and religious objects that are fine examples of Spain's cultural soul, and incorporate some of the greatest treasures of centuries gone by. Highlights include works by Baroque Spanish painter Francisco Zurbaran, best known for his still life and paintings of clergy members such as nuns and monks to religious carvings by Pedro de Mena who is considered to be the most famous representative of the Granada strand of the Baroque school of sculpture in Spain.

Wigan-based Shearings Holidays, the UK's largest escorted tour operator, has announced a 15 months agreement with the Wigan Warriors to become an official main club sponsor and travel partner.

As part of the partnership, Shearings will work with the Wigan Warriors on a range of initiatives that help celebrate the history of the club and the community, whilst also recognising the loyalty and passion of the Wigan fans.

As part of the deal the Shearings logo will appear on the reverse of the Wigan jersey for the 2018 season, in-addition to club marketing collateral. Shearings will also have exclusive official rights to organise any supporters' tours.

Wigan Warriors Executive Director, Kris Radlinski, said: “Everybody knows of Shearings and to partner with a great Wigan company that has such a large and local workforce who all support the Warriors is a great coup for the Club.

“Having met with Richard Calvert, Chief Executive at Shearings, several times it is clear that this is going to be a really positive partnership for everyone involved. He understands the history of our great Club and the role that the Club plays within the local community. We have many ideas that will celebrate our glorious history and look forward to sharing them with the Shearings workforce and our loyal fans very soon.

Richard Calvert said: “I'm absolutely delighted for Shearings Holidays to be named as the Official Travel Partner of Wigan Warriors. Shearings Leisure Group is a national company with a team of over 2600 employees located across all of the UK, but is immensely proud of its Wigan roots and to be headquartered in Wigan.

“We work hard in the community and also pride ourselves on offering great value for money and service to our 1.1m loyal customers. Wigan Warriors is a worldwide brand, an amazing club which is synonymous with success. They are a partner with whom we share the common values of honesty, pride and ambition. Our exciting partnership will involve many facets, including player, fan and staff based initiatives all across the UK and I can't wait for it to get underway.”

As the official travel partner, Shearings will be selling exclusive packages to the Wigan Warriors ground breaking tour of New South Wales tour in February 2018. Wigan fans, who wish to travel to Australia to see the team play, can choose from 3 bespoke travel packages starting from £1,997. All packages include tickets to the first Super League Game against Hull and both games at the ANZ stadium (Wigan V South Sydney Rabbitohs and Hull FC V St George-Illawarra Dragons).

WOW air is encouraging travellers on a budget to catch a glimpse of the enchanting Northern Lights, with 20% off flights to Iceland from any of its destinations this winter.

Iceland's location just below the Arctic Circle makes it the perfect destination to experience the natural light displays of the Aurora Borealis. Just a 3 hour flight away, travellers can choose to view the elsuvie spectacle from a number of vantage points, be it from jeeps, from the seas, from the warmth of hot springs, or even from the air. Tours with leading operator Reykjvik Excursions can be booked directly via WOW air's website.

The WOWBOREALIS promo code is valid for return trips from any WOW air destination to Keflavik taking place between 10 September 2017 and 10 March 2018. This is valid for bookings made between 31 August and 4 September 2017.

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced that the world's longest and highest zip line will officially open on the UAE's highest peak, Jebel Jais, in December.

With the exact length of the zip line remaining a closely-guarded secret until the multi-million dollar adventure tourism product's opening, the zip line will propel the UAE's most northern emirate into the major leagues of global adventure tourism and cement Jebel Jais as the region's leading active adventure tourism destination.

RAKTDA has partnered with Toro Verde, the world's leading zip line operator, to develop its latest active adventure tourism product, which is due to break the current Guinness world record zip line of 2,200 metres held by 'The Monster' in Puerto Rico, a site also developed and operated by Toro Verde. The Ras Al Khaimah zip line will also be a case study for eco-tourism, using solar energy and locally-sourced natural materials, ensuring visitors enjoy the natural experience in the emirate's mountain landscape.

Speaking at a press conference to launch Ras Al Khaimah's flagship tourism product, Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, which develops the emirate's tourism infrastructure, regulates its hospitality sector and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, revealed the currently unnamed zip line will be longer than 28 soccer fields in length.

“Building on the success of last year's launch of the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata adventure product, the new zip line represents Ras Al Khaimah's most significant tourism product opening since Al Marjan Island, our coral-shaped leisure tourism archipelago. This key product launch will further enhance Ras Al Khaimah's unique mountain-beach-desert offering as the emirate moves towards its goal of attracting one million visitors next year, under the guidance and vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah,” Mattar said.

With RAKTDA aiming to secure Guinness World Records status for the world's longest and highest zip line, Toro Verde UAE, a subsidiary of the Puerto Rico based Magno Genesis Holding Group, has been appointed to construct and operate the attraction.

“Jebel Jais' dramatic and beautiful landscape offers an iconic backdrop for what will be a bucket list experience for people all around the world. The mountains also provide a strong and very challenging base for construction and through our experience and the expertise of our team, we are already making good progress,” said Jorge Jorge, CEO of Toro Verde Ras Al Khaimah.

“Opening within the heart of the UAE's highest and most iconic natural mountain range, the Jebel Jais zip line experience will consist of two lines, allowing friends and family to take part in the flight together. On arrival at the Welcome Centre, which features a lounge, restaurant, lockers, equipment storage and offices, participants will be given a pre-briefing and then escorted to the launch platform and fitted with a special suit and equipment for this adventure,” commented Ricardo Lizano, COO of Toro Verde Ras Al Khaimah.

The zip line will be open to all ages, providing participants meet required minimum weight of 35kg and maximum weight of 150kg, and a minimum height of 120cm.

Who among us hasn't looked up to the skies on a clear night in wonder? Contemplating the universe while observing the heavens is only a natural reaction. But what if you could see the stars shine brighter than you ever thought possible?

In the Canary Islands, you can enjoy the cleanest, clearest skies in Europe for stargazing. In fact, two of the widest range observatories on the planet are located in Tenerife. Thanks to the region's low level of light pollution, this desirable characteristic extends to La Gomera, widely regarded as the most authentic and visual of the Canary Islands.

An Evening with the Stars

As soon as you arrive, La Gomera welcomes you with the best viewpoints around. Then, as the sun sets over the horizon, the night begins its hypnotising dance, dazzling onlookers with stellar displays.

Planets, constellations, galaxies and shooting stars sparkle for any traveller who keeps their eyes to the sky. With a little attention, you can learn to see them easily.

Where to start?

To experience this star-studded spectacle in all its glory, you should start by downloading virtual observatory apps. Popular options include Star Walk 2, Sky Map or SkyView, all of which provide detailed information by facing your smartphone at whatever you want to learn about.

César Manrique Viewpoint

Once you've downloaded your app, kick off your stargazing journey in La Gomera at the César Manrique viewpoint on the road to Valle Gran Rey.

This viewpoint is perfect for observing one of the most recognisable groups of stars in the galaxy, the Orion constellation. In February and March, the mythological giant beams across the winter sky. You can even notice the contrast in colours at the edges of the stars: the reddish Betelgeuse in the shoulder of the giant and the blue Rigel in his foot.

From here, it's easy to see Orion's Belt, the iconic asterism formed by three massive stars. Hanging below Orion's belt, three more small stars form part of the Great Orion Nebula, the most brilliant nebulae visible to the naked eye.

In the framework of the International Year on Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is launching a consumer-oriented campaign aimed at raising awareness of the value and contribution that sustainable tourism can make towards development. The 'Travel.Enjoy.Respect' campaign wants to engage tourists in making the sector a catalyst for positive change.

The main message of the campaign is summarized by the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai: “Whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to: respect nature, respect culture, and respect your host. You can be the change you want to see in the world. You can be an ambassador for a better future. TRAVEL, ENJOY AND RESPECT.”

The campaign, which will run in various languages and outlets around the world, includes a manual of 'Tips for a Responsible Traveller', developed by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics in line with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The manual provides travellers with a set of recommendations to help them make responsible choices when travelling and have a positive impact on the destinations they visit.

“Today more than ever, ensuring that tourism is an enriching experience for visitors and hosts alike demands strong, sustainable tourism policies and practices and the engagement of national, as well as local, governments and administrations, private sector companies, local communities and tourists themselves,” added Mr. Rifai.

The message will reach consumers through campaign supporters including among others CNN International, the Government of Andorra, the Madrid City Council, Iberia, the Spanish National Railways System (Renfe), Minube, PR MEDIACO, Cleverdis and Air Mauritius.

Destinations and companies from around the world are invited to join the campaign and celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development with a commitment from the sector to 'Travel.Enjoy.Respect'.

Heated indoor pools, sunny outdoor pools, kid-friendly restaurant menus, free in-room WIFI and a water sports center are among the facilities that will keep children occupied and happy at the collection of luxury Corinthia Hotels around the world.

“Family travel is a growing part of our business and we strive to keep all members of the family happy during their stay,” says Matthew Dixon, Commercial Director of the Corinthia Hotels.

Corinthia Hotels located in prime locations around the world including; London, Budapest, Malta, Lisbon, Prague and St. Petersburg offer family facilities, services and special family-specific packages.

Corinthia Hotel London

The hotel’s two main restaurants – The Northall and Massimo (and the in-room menu) – have introduced kids’ menus that include goodies such as eggs and toast, macaroni cheese, burgers, chocolate brownies, milkshakes, and strawberry and marshmallow sundae.

Children can use up their energy in the hotel pool inside ESPA Life at Corinthia at certain hours (as long as they are accompanied by an adult). A Family Friendly Package is valid until December 2017 for two adults and two children up to age 16 that includes a second bedroom connected or nearby, a buffet breakfast, chilled Laurent-Perrier champagne on arrival (for the parents!), a games console in the children’s room, children’s amenities on arrival, access to the Technogym facilities for parents, babysitting services, and complimentary WIFI throughout the hotel.

For lovers of adventure, the Region of Valencia is primed for outdoor pursuits. Hike scenic routes on approved footpaths or tour the countryside on two wheels. Get close to the coast or fly high in the sky in hot air balloons. Whether by land, air or sea, the destination offers thrilling activities for all fitness levels. Get started with these suggestions…

Lace up your hiking boots.

Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the Region of Valencia. Over 5,000km of certified trails wind their way from popular spots to the most scenic locations.

History buffs can experience the Region of Valencia's rich culture by following the markers of historical paths, such as the Way of the Cid (Camino del Cid), the Saint James' Way of the Levant (Camino de Santiago de Levante) or the Route of Monasteries (Ruta dels Monestirs).

You can also take your pick from short range (SR) and local trails (LT) to long range (LR) trails that allow you to carry out hikes of over a day. No matter the choice, each trail allows you to discover the natural beauty of the region by the beat of your own two feet.

Take a tour on two wheels.

Thanks to its diverse terrain, the Region of Valencia offers near endless possibilities for cyclists with thousands of miles of mountain trails, country paths, historical greenways and bicycle roads.

If your passion is mountain biking, the rugged terrain surrounding Alicante has all the dirt, mud, slopes and sinuous paths you could want. As you tour the most beautiful locations, be sure to stop at BTT Centres throughout the region. Each centre offers a minimum of 100km of circuits, perfectly mapped out and signposted. Bicycle and equipment hire, information points and support services are also available.

Beyond the mountain trails, you can enjoy cycling in all its forms. Ride through traditional Spanish villages or bustling cities at your heart's desire. A great place to start is the Via Augusta, a road dating back to the Roman Empire.

Get close to the coast.

To all watersports enthusiasts, the Region of Valencia presents 450km of pristine coastline. You can easily find calm, warm water with excellent access to sandy beaches, rocky coves and wide bays, which provide great conditions for surfing, diving and sailing. In fact, the region's marinas are among the best in Europe, as demonstrated by their capacity to host prestigious sporting events such as the America's Cup in Valencia and the departure of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante.

The region's coastal towns and resorts have many accommodation options, while specialist schools and tour companies are ready to help you have a great time surfing, sailing, canoeing, and a whole host of other activities you've always wanted to try.

For a one-of-a-kind learning experience, check out the Las Antípodas sailing school in the calm inlet of Peñon de Ifac. It offers classes and hires out catamarans, windsurfing boards, sea kayaks and wakeboards. In summer, you can kayak either in the morning or at night if there is a full moon. On weekends, in spring and autumn, they organise catamaran crossings between Xàbia and Altea.

In another momentous development for its global route network, and coming just weeks after announcing the resumption of direct US ties from Hungary’s capital city, Budapest Airport has confirmed the return of American Airlines. Strengthening the gateway’s transatlantic connections from next summer, the oneworld member will operate a daily seasonal service to Philadelphia utilising its fleet of 209-seat 767-300s.

“It’s a remarkable time in the history of Budapest Airport – alongside New York (JFK) and Chicago O’Hare – Philadelphia is the third new route to the US we are launching next summer,” states Jost Lammers, CEO, Budapest Airport. “After a six year absence, it’s my absolute pleasure to bid a very warm welcome return to American Airlines. It’s a great triumph that the carrier will once again be operating with us and a huge acknowledgement of Budapest’s dynamic progression as one of Central Europe’s fastest expanding airports. In addition this announcement can be attributed to the close cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Budapest Airport jointly promoting Hungary in recent years around the world, emphasising the attractiveness of Hungary for business and leisure travellers alike.” added Lammers enthusiastically.

American’s new link will see the airport-pairing served for the first time and, with more than 30 straightforward connections on the carrier’s extensive route network now made possible. Passengers will benefit from links to major cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, as well as popular destinations including Cleveland and Jacksonville.

As a result of the carrier’s 7,185-kilometre sector to the largest city in the Pennsylvanian state, Budapest will offer close to 6,000 weekly two-way seats direct to the US throughout S18. “With 300,000 US tourists expected to visit our country this year, American Airlines’ new route will help serve this high demand and enhance inbound traffic to Hungary. I have no doubt our new link will be a huge success in all segments of travellers,” explained Lammers.

Seychelles has over the years become a popular honeymoon destination for newlyweds looking for the ultimate escape to spend their first days as husband and wife.

One hotel in the Indian Ocean archipelago, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, is now offering couples on their way to becoming a trio, another kind of experience.

Pregnant guests staying at resort located at Baie Lazare in the south of the main island, Mahé, can now enjoy a ‘babymoon experience.’

A babymoon is a romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born or by new parents having just welcomed their little bundle of joy.

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is offering the babymoon experience specifically for parents-to-be. This new experience, which the resort said is not chargeable started on Monday, August 7.

This was prompted by the desire to ensure that pregnant guests are made as comfortable as possible during their stay.

Guests indicating their pregnancy while making their reservations will be automatically enrolled into the babymoon experience in luxurious treehouse style villa depending on its availability.

A special kit of pregnancy must-haves from pool float, mobile phone for direct access to the Cravings Hotline to order their favorite snack or essential comfort item wherever they may be in the resort are just two of what the “babymooners” can expect.

The resort’s General Manager, Adrian Messerli said: “We often welcome couples who travel to our resort when pregnant, so our new babymoon is a way to ensure they have the most romantic experience together whilst also ensuring comfort and complete relaxation.”

“All of the elements of the babymoon have been designed with the needs of pregnancy in mind, to ensure that the guests can focus fully on enjoying their final romantic trip together before the new arrival,” he added.

Expectant couples can also choose additional experiences including pregnancy yoga, massage or in-villa-dining at additional cost.

The historic city of Sarajevo is set to join Qatar Airways’ expanding global network as the award-winning airline announces the famous Balkan city will now launch in October as part of Qatar Airways’ expedited expansion plans.

The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is now becoming the latest must-see destination for leisure travellers, combining its rich history with a modern atmosphere to offer a unique cultural mix. Visitors can experience stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains from one of Sarajevo’s many viewing platforms, and visit Baščaršija, an Ottoman bazaar in the heart of the city boasting many remarkable historical and cultural sights.

Today’s announcement of the new four times-weekly service, set to begin on 31 October, is part of the airline’s expedited expansion into Eastern Europe, with the recent launch of four times-weekly service to Skopje as well as daily flights to Prague, Czech Republic and Kyiv, Ukraine set to begin later this month.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Launching flights to Sarajevo is a significant step toward increasing our presence in Eastern Europe, and will provide our passengers with a new and exciting route to and from this remarkable city. It is also tangible proof of our ongoing commitment to expand our global network. Adding Sarajevo to our global network will allow passengers in Bosnia-Herzegovina to connect to more than 150 destinations worldwide through our five-star hub, Hamad International Airport.”

The service between Doha and Sarajevo will be operated four times a week by an Airbus A320, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class. As well as enjoying the award-winning in-flight service on board the Skytrax Airline of the Year 2017, passengers flying on board will also have access to Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system offering the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more.

An exciting year for the airline continues with a total of 26 new destination launches set to take place through the rest of 2017 and into 2018, with new flights starting to Canberra, Australia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Francisco, U.S; and Santiago, Chile, to name a few.

Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 20th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 200 aircraft flying to business and leisure destinations across six continents.

Beautiful at any time of year, Mainau Island is one of the most popular destinations on Lake Constance. Known as the Flower Island, its 110 acres offer new experiences and surprises at every turn. Away from the hectic routine of daily life, visitors can slow down and enjoy the ever-changing floral displays and admire the majesty of the Arboretum, with its 150-year-old giant sequoias. Each season brings new delights: thousands of tulips give way to hundreds of rhododendrons, followed by scented roses, perennials and colourful dahlias. Lending a Mediterranean flair to the island in summer are the palms and citrus plants. Even more exotic is the tropical Butterfly House, a-flutter with 120 species of butterflies and moths, as well as the Palm House, with some 20 species of palms. Year-round, both provide a retreat on cooler or rainy days. The backdrop to all this? A handsome 18th-century Baroque palace and church, guarded by 50-ft-tall palm trees.

The Harbinger of Autumn

Mainau Island welcomes autumn with a dazzling annual display of 12,000 dahlias representing 270 varieties. In September, the lakeside garden overlooking shimmering Lake Constance is ablaze. But which dahlia is best? Pompom or ball? Cactus or decorative? Each year, visitors vote to see which will be crowned the Mainau Queen of Dahlias.

Robust, luxuriant and long-flowering, perennials are always a favourite. Mainau's herbaceous garden, sheltered by the vineyard walls, boasts 800 varieties and 16,000 plants. The sheer numbers guarantee inspiration in autumn and winter, let alone in spring and summer. Willows and beech hedges add structure; paths meander past lawns, benches and exuberant flowerbeds. Relax; linger; take stunning photos.

In autumn, spend time in the Arboretum, when leaves are changing colour. The heart of Mainau dates back 150 years. This was when Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden bought the island as a summer residence; he planted the first exotic trees here in 1864. Today, there are 250 tree and shrub species, from native deciduous and evergreens to exemplars from Asia, North Africa and America. Among the most impressive are the giant sequoias, tulip trees, Atlas and Lebanon cedars, plus a 145-year-old gingko tree, next to the church.

With minimal light pollution, big open skies and dazzling starry displays the Lake District National Park enjoys some of the best stargazing opportunities in the UK.

The logic is simple enough, the clearer and darker the night sky the better the opportunity for stargazing.

There are some great astronomical events taking place over the next few months timed perfectly for romantic or adventurous short breaks. Here at The Coppermines Lakes Cottages we have some great suggestions for stargazing holidays within the National Park, cosy cottages in idyllic locations far, far away from light pollution. Spend your days exploring the beauty of the local area and your nights admiring the heavens above. Holidays as a general rule of thumb give us the opportunity to simply switch off from the chaos of everyday life and simply relax. The good news is that stargazing is a leisurely activity which cannot be rushed. It can take up to 40 minutes for the human eye to adjust to the night sky so grab a comfy chair, blanket, hot flask and your favourite companions and settle in for the evening.