Sep 26, 2016

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Beyond Oktoberfest: Bavaria’s best beer halls and breweries...

Beyond Oktoberfest: Bavaria’s best beer halls and breweries

With Oktoberfest in full swing, there’s no better time to head over to Germany for a rowdy snapshot into Bavarian life. But don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance to book tickets to the famous beer festival this year; you can don your lederhosen and delve into some of the region’s more authentic watering holes. David Hewitt rounds up some of Bavaria’s best beer tours, beer halls and brewhouses – prost!   The white sausage equator Wolfgang Steppes pauses, sets his glass down, twiddles his moustache and looks me in the eye. “Never, ever, venture north of the white sausage equator,” he finally says. As travel tips go, they probably don’t come any stranger than this. And yet, for most Bavarians, this is sage advice indeed. For them, nowhere north of the River Main do they know how to make their favourite meaty snack. And, more importantly, this arbitrary line divides Germany into two zones: one with the best beer in the world, the other with inferior offerings. In their defence, when it comes to beer, the Bavarians know what they’re talking about. In 1516, Duke Wilhelm IV issued the Beer Purity Law (the Reinheitsgebot), ruling that beer could only be made from four natural ingredients: water, hops, malt and yeast. While other laws may have come and gone, this remains the benchmark right across Germany and producers still proudly advertise their adherence to the legislation. Now, 500 years on, Bavaria is raising a glass to celebrate the law credited with making their beers the toast of the world. Compare cheap hotels in Germany   Born and bred Bavarian For Wolfgang, a portly, jolly, born-and-bred Bavarian who, for more than 20 years now, has proudly preserved the tradition of crafting wooden barrels by hand, there’s only one place to join the natives in marking this momentous year, and that’s the historic heart of Munich. A short stroll from the main marieplatz lie two of Munich’s oldest brewhouses: rivals, but nevertheless united in shunning modernity and, horror of horrors, flavoured beers. Most famous of all is the huge Hoftbrauhaus (Platzl 9, Munich 80331; +49 89 290136100). Dating to 1589, it’s everything you could want from a German drinking den. Open the massive doors and you’re greeted with raucous crowds sitting at long tables, a lederhosen-clad band...

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Sep 15, 2016

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Autumn food and drink festivals in the UK and beyond...

Autumn food and drink festivals in the UK and beyond

Some of the UK and Western Europe’s best food festivals take place in autumn, from Northern Ireland’s Potato Festival to Pilsner Fest in the Czech Republic, writes Tamara Hinson. We’ve rounded up 14 food-themed events that are guaranteed to get your stomach rumbling – and the great news is that all these festivals are easily accessible for us Brits! Potato Festival, Bushmills, Northern Ireland October 1 | Free entry | discovernorthernireland.com Celebrate the mighty spud – and try the tastiest varieties – at this brilliant food festival in Northern Ireland. There’ll be potato-themed cookery demonstrations by some of the world’s top chefs, exhibits by local growers and some seriously spud-tastic children’s activities, including face-painting. And speaking of face-painting – while the kids may have been a boring old tiger or lion before, how many of them can boast that they’ve been transformed into a potato? Exactly. Compare cheap hotels in Northern Ireland   Melton Mowbray Food Festival, Leicestershire, UK October 1 and 2 | From £5, children under 16 free | goleicestershire.com What better location for a food festival than the home of one of the nation’s favourite delicacies? Head to the fantastic Melton Mowbray Food Festival and not only can you try a lots of pies and locally-made cheeses, you’ll also be able to enjoy other speciality cuisine from all over the world. A troupe of Morris dancers will provide the entertainment while younger visitors can hone their cookery skills in a separate children’s area. Compare cheap hotels in England   Fete de la Crevette, Honfleur, Normandy, France October 8 and 9 | Free entry | normandie-tourisme.fr Crevette means “shrimp” or “prawn” in French, and there’s an abundance of the things at Fete de la Crevette, which is a celebration of the delicacy. Visitors will learn how to cook and peel them, discover how they’re caught and find out how to identify the different varieties by taste alone. There’s a pirate-themed play village for children and maritime-themed craft sessions, too, as well as the opportunity to learn about the important role that prawns (known locally as “little greys”) have played throughout Honfleur’s history. Compare cheap hotels in France   Taste of London, UK November 17 to 20 | From £12 per person | london.tastefestivals.com Taste of London is a celebration of the capital’s best restaurants and chefs – if you’ve never managed to secure a table at a restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef, this might be the perfect opportunity to sample...

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Sep 15, 2016

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How to do the Maldives on a budget

How to do the Maldives on a budget

The Maldives is the epitome of luxury travel, but don’t count it out if you’re on a less-than-lavish budget. With a bit of know-how, these Indian Ocean islands are more affordable than you might think, writes Katie McGonagle. Mention ‘the Maldives’ and most people’s minds go straight to images of over-water villas perched on wooden stilts above a clear, turquoise sea. Bonus cliché points if there’s an untouched stretch of soft white sand in the background, a few...

Sep 14, 2016

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The best of the UK’s great outdoors...

The best of the UK’s great outdoors

From vast national parks and glorious lochs to the stunning coastal regions that skirt its isles, the United Kingdom is blessed with an incredible landscape. These areas are ripe for exploring, and while it would be almost impossible to cover off all of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s outdoor adventures, we’ve rounded up a snapshot of our favourites. England England’s many national parks make it an excellent country for hiking all year round. The Lake District and the Peak District might be...

Sep 12, 2016

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Luxury for less in Thailand

Luxury for less in Thailand

With its white sands, turquoise seas and fascinating culture, it’s little wonder that tourists from all over the world flock to Thailand year after year. What many of them might not realise, however, is that you don’t have to share a backpacker dorm on Khao San Road to avoid breaking the bank – head to the Land of Smiles in low season (May to October), and five-star luxury is on offer for a fraction of peak season prices. Not...

Sep 9, 2016

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Booking now vs booking late: The great holiday dilemma...

Booking now vs booking late: The great holiday dilemma

As the last traces of summer fade into autumn, many Brits will be heading back to work after a well-earned holiday. Chances are the last thing on your mind is next year’s big break, but looking to book early could see you save in the long run. It all boils down to the great holiday dilemma: will I save by booking early or are their better deals available at the last minute? Here we place both arguments head-to-head...

Sep 8, 2016

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10 of the best autumn city breaks

10 of the best autumn city breaks

As the post-summer blues kick in, autumn presents the perfect opportunity to get over it by getting your holiday fix with a quick city break. With that in mind we’ve rounded up ten cracking cities, both across the pond and closer to home, that really come into their own as temperatures cool and the leaves start to turn. 1. Paris Paris is a classic city break destination, and after a hot and sleepy August, the city comes alive again...

Sep 7, 2016

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Cheap breaks for couples without kids...

Cheap breaks for couples without kids

The summer holidays are over and once again people without children can rejoice – now that the nation’s kids are back at school, prices in the travel industry are dropping back to their normal, cheaper levels, so if you’re after a late summer escape, now is the time to get looking. Whether you’re after a bit of late summer sun or a quick city break, we’ve rounded up some bargains to suit any couple’s budget. Prague, Czech Republic: 4 nights for £231pp The deal: Flying from London...

Sep 5, 2016

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Seven simple tips to get the best deal on your flights...

Seven simple tips to get the best deal on your flights

With easyJet due to release its March-June 2017 flight tickets in early October and Ryanair expected to do the same shortly too, we look at the best way to secure those elusive cheap flights before the prices start to creep up. With extra charges and admin fees it can be hard these days to find good deals, but follow our seven simple money-saving tips and you should be able to avoid paying over the odds. 1. Timing is key Flights go on sale...

Sep 5, 2016

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11 of the world’s weirdest museums

11 of the world’s weirdest museums

If dusty cabinets filled with medieval artefacts and moth-eared manuscripts bore you to death, don’t despair! From a German museum dedicated to curry-flavoured sausages to Britain’s very own tribute to the humble lawnmower, Tamara Hinson outlines some of the more unusual places to explore while on your travels. Currywurst Museum, Berlin, Germany If you’re in Berlin and find you can’t get enough of Germany’s famous curried sausages, this German museum might just sate your appetite. It’s a truly interactive affair, with spice-sniffing stations, currywurst-making sessions and...