In pictures: the world’s most colourful cities
Neon yellow, pastel pink and vivid orange; check out some of the most colourful cities in the world.
How to book hotels for less
If you're planning to book a hotel in the coming weeks, be sure to check out these 10 top tips to help you keep the costs to a minimum.
Is there a north/south holiday divide?
There’s a lot of rivalry between northerners and southerners about everything from politics and accents to sport, but does this geographical split extend to holidays?
In pictures: the world’s most colourful cities...1
How to book hotels for less2
Is there a north/south holiday divide?...3
It can be difficult to keep the kids entertained over the long summer holidays – not to mention expensive if you’re not careful. But there are plenty of very cheap and even free events happening all over the UK throughout July and August. Catherine Cooper rounds up some of the best. 1. Play in the park If the sun’s out, take a ball, kite or a frisbee and head for your nearest outdoor space. If you’re near South West London, outdoor toy manufacturer Wicked are running a “Swap Screen Time for Play Time” campaign this summer – hand in your phone or tablet at their head office and they’ll lend you a box of toys suitable for ages four and up, free of charge and for as long as you like (and give you your tech back afterwards, of course). 2. Get busy with JCB This summer the construction company has opened a 10-acre maize maze with three miles of paths at the National Forest Adventure Farm Park in the Midlands, where people can also try their hand at brick laying using real bricks and mortar – entry costs £9.67 for adults and children over two. Other JCB attractions include the JCB young drivers’ zone in County Antrim with 50 ride-on JCB vehicles for two to eight-year-olds (just £1 for all-day use) and the newly-opened Scoop attraction at the Ice Cream Farm in Cheshire where visitors can use adapted JCB mini excavators to dig up giant scoops of ice cream-coloured sand (free entry). 3. Step back in time at a museum Many museums are free to visit, and over the summer, many have special events running. In Scotland, the Highland Folk Museum (where some of TV series Outlander was filmed) offers free entry. It allows your family to step back to the 18th century and includes a fully kitted-out schoolhouse and an old-fashioned sweet shop selling sweets by the quarter (remember that?). In the Midlands, there’s free entry to three usually-paid-entry museums around Ironbridge, near Telford (Enquity, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and the Darby Houses) on Saturday August 22 with storytellers, artists and performers transforming the sites into a giant festival venue. Find more museum ideas here. 4. Go to a festival There are many free and cheap festivals with varied themes throughout the...Read More
Exploration and discovery are yours for the taking when you hire a car on holiday. But without a little planning, you can end up paying way over the odds. Protect yourself by getting to grips with the seven worst car hire rip-offs. Rip-off #1: Sky-high excess costs When you hire a car, insurance is included. But you may well find it comes with incredibly high excess charges – the amount you have to pay to cover the cost of an accident before the policy kicks in. This amount can be up to £2,000, in some cases – potentially leaving you well out of pocket if something goes wrong. One way to get around the charge is to buy an excess waiver policy, which reduces the charge to zero or a small sum. But don’t wait until you get to the desk! Buy your waiver at home before you travel and you could pay around a mere £3 a day, compared with up to £20 if you don’t plan ahead. Rip-off #2: The ‘full-empty’ fuel policy Being hit with a petrol bill before you’ve even got in the driving seat isn’t the best start to a holiday. But many car hire companies employ a so-called “full-empty policy”, which means you pay upfront for a tank of petrol and can return it empty. But there are two drawbacks to such a policy. First, you’re likely to be charged an inflated price for the petrol. And, second, you may not use all the fuel you’ve paid for if you’re on a short trip or don’t end up driving much. In some cases, you’ll be offered the right to a refund on unused fuel, but there’s still usually a service charge attached. Look for car hire firms that allow you simply to return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel it had when you picked it up. Rip-off #3: The ‘upgrade’ option When you arrive at the rental desk to pick up your pre-booked car, you may be told the company has run out of vehicles in the category you chose and be offered an upgrade – at a price. Don’t fall for it. You should either be offered a higher-category car for no extra charge or a lesser one with the appropriate refund. Make sure this is the case before you sign...Read More