10 of the best cycling trail holidays in the UK | Travel

The Viking Coastal Trail, Kent

Stretching for 51km around the Isle of Thanet, the Viking Trail can be split into shorter, family-friendly day rides, while the entire route makes a great two-day trip, combining long stretches of coast and vibrant seaside towns including Margate and Ramsgate with quiet inland villages, 7th-century Minster Abbey and the spectacular chalk stacks at Botany Bay, this is a varied ride. Start in Margate and stop for a dip in Minnis Bay, before turning inland and spending the night at the Corner House in Minster. On day two, the Kent coast rolls out from Ramsgate around the easternmost tip, until you arrive back in Margate.
Doubles from £110 B&B; cornerhouserestaurants.co.uk;explorekent.org

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, south Wales

The Mon & Brec Canal, Wales
Photograph: The Blue Loft Picture Library/Alamy

Flat, tranquil and gloriously pretty, the towpath of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal offers a glimpse of the region’s industrial history alongside plenty of natural wildlife: kingfishers and red kites are often spotted above the water. The stretch from Llangynidr to Brecon is ideal for a day ride (28km) with a night in Brecon before returning the following day. There are some lovely canalside pubs en route, including the Royal Oak at Pencelli and the Star Inn at Talybont-on-Usk. Stay at the Grange Guest House, a chic B&B in the heart of Brecon.
Doubles from £75 B&B; thegrange-brecon.co.uk; breconbeacons.org

Tarka Trail, Devon

Young cyclists on the Tarka Trail National Cycle Route 27 at Braunton, North Devon, UKYoung cyclists on the Tarka Trail National Cycle Route 27 at Braunton, North Devon, UK Image Ref BRHYX8 (RM) Contributor Nick Turner Credit line Nick Turner / Alamy Stock Photo Location Braunton, North Devon, UK Date taken 31 May 2010
Photograph: Nick Turner/Alamy

Stretching for 180km, the Tarka Trail is a great long-distance route, but the section between Braunton and Meeth (49km) is ideal for a relaxed weekend as this whole part of the trail is traffic-free. The route begins with a lovely waterside ride around the mouth of the Taw River into Barnstaple and then runs through rolling Devonshire countryside on peaceful bridleways. To shorten the route a little, stop for the night at Great Torrington, where Smytham Manor offers glamping pods and lodges in a bucolic country park that lies directly on the Tarka Trail.
Pods from £35 per night; smytham.co.uk; tarkatrail.org.uk

Clay Trails, St Austell, Cornwall

Clay Trails, St Austell, Cornwall
Photograph: David Hastilow/Alamy

An ideal choice for younger families and beginner cyclists, or those who want to combine shorter rides with other activities, the Clay Trails take their name from the region’s history as a clay-mining area. The routes range from challenging hill rides with lovely views of St Austell Bay to gentle, flat trails that can easily be completed in under an hour. Three of the eight routes are circular, with routes through woods and heathland, as well as a 7km trail to the Eden Project. The Cornwall is an excellent family option just outside St Austell, with self-catering lodges alongside classic hotel rooms and a full-service spa.
Doubles from £103.50 B&B; thecornwall.com; claytrails.co.uk

Family Cycle Trail, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Family Cycle Trail, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
Photograph: Stephen Dorey/Alamy

A great family activity, this 15km loop through the forest is accessible for all ages and levels of cyclists, with a combination of former railway tracks, bridleways and paths that connect some of the forest’s highlights, including the Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst and the Mallards Pike Lake. The Forest of Dean Cycle Centre at Cannop makes an excellent start/finish point, with bikes to hire, maps and refreshments. Stay at the Speech House, a classic coaching inn in the nearby village of Coleford.
Doubles from £76 B&B; thespeechhouse.co.uk; visitdeanwye.co.uk

Burford East Circular, Cotswolds

Burford East Circular, Cotswolds
Photograph: Nick Turner/Alamy

This beautiful 52km trail through the Windrush Valley is a great way to see some of the east Cotswolds’ biggest sights, without needing to take the car. Beginning and ending in picturesque Burford, the trail links Blenheim Palace, Minster Lovell Hall and Eynsham Park, along with unspoilt hamlets and villages, with classic Cotstwold-stone houses. The village of Charlbury is an ideal halfway point. Soothe saddle-weary limbs with a hearty dinner and cosy night at the charming Bull Inn, before completing the circuit the following day.
Doubles from £102 B&B; cotswolds.com

The Settle Circular, Yorkshire Dales

The Settle Circular, Yorkshire
Photograph: Jon Sparks/Alamy

This picturesque 28km trail begins and ends in Settle, taking in the southwestern edge of the Yorkshire Dales national park, with contrasting views of Ribblesdale, the Forest of Bowland and the hills of the Western Dales. All the hard work is at the beginning, with a steady climb up to Swarth Moor, before an easy downhill stretch to the village of Clapham. Here, the New Inn makes a cosy place to stay, with slap-up breakfasts to fuel the second half of the ride through the village of Eldroth and over Penny Bridge into Settle.
Doubles from £110 B&B; newinnclapham.com; cyclethedales.org.uk

Cromer Loop, Norfolk

Cromer Loop, Norfolk
Photograph: Keiron Tovell

This 38km route offers a lovely combination of a coastal start and finish, with time gliding along Norfolk’s quiet country lanes, discovering historic churches and quaint, unspoilt villages. The ride also takes in the country estates of Mannington – renowned for its beautiful gardens – and Wolterton; the Saracen’s Head at Wolterton is a great place to break the journey, with chic rooms and an upmarket restaurant. On the second day, drift slowly back to Cromer for a dip in the sea and a crab sandwich as a post-ride reward.
Doubles from £110 B&B; saracenshead-norfolk.co.uk; norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk

Red Squirrel Trail, Isle of Wight

Red Squirrel Trail, Isle of Wight

Named after one of the island’s most iconic wildlife species, this 51km trail is ideal for families, with most of the route traffic-free and pleasingly flat. Beginning in East Cowes, the route follows the old railway line to Newport, runs alongside the River Medina and then joins a second railway line down to Sandown and Shanklin on the east coast. Stay the night at the Clifton, a friendly small hotel perched on Shanklin’s picturesque clifftop with wonderful sea views, before the next day’s ride through Godshill and Wroxall and back to Cowes.
Doubles from £99 B&B; thecliftonshanklin.co.uk, redsquirreltrail.org.uk

The Four Abbeys Route, Scottish Borders

The Four Abbeys Route, Scottish Borders
Photograph: Iain Masterton/Alamy

A challenging ride with a couple of taxing ascents, this 90km route links four of Scotland’s most beautiful abbeys: Melrose – famous as the burial site of Robert the Bruce’s heart – Kelso, Dryburgh and the spectacular 12th-century Jedburgh, still complete, apart from its roof. There are two quite long and tough ascents, with the Eldon Hills rising up around the trail, and the Teviot and Tweed rivers glittering in the distance. Plan the route to allow a night’s stop in Kelso, where the Queen’s Head Inn offers a comfortable place to stay and classic pub food.
Doubles from £100 B&B; queensheadhotelkelso.com.

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Tipping advice on European holidays – ‘more modest’ than other destinations | Travel News | Travel

Cody Candee, CEO and founder of Bounce, said: “Whilst tipping isn’t mandatory, it is typically polite.

“However, in some countries such as Japan, tipping is seen as unnecessary and can even be seen as an insult!

“It can be polite to tip taxi drivers, bus drivers and tour guides, but again this isn’t a requirement.

“Generally speaking these industries don’t offer significantly high wages and so tips are a great way to demonstrate that extra appreciation.

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‘Really cool, day or night’: readers’ top modern European architecture | Europe holidays

Winning tip: Tickle Knut Hamsun’s spine in Norway

The Hamsun Centre in Hamarøy, northern Norway (a couple of hours by boat from Bodø), is dedicated to Norway’s most famous novelist, Knut Hamsun (1859-1952), hailed by many as the father of modern Norwegian literature. Designed by the American architect Steven Holl, the striking building, which dominates the landscape for miles, offers references to the man and his work, including “hair” on its head (the roof), a metallic “spine” running through the building and a beckoning hand (a yellow balcony jutting out from the dark facade).
M Peyre

Music of the pods in Rome

The lead shells of The Auditorium
Photograph: Christine Webb /Alamy

Sala Santa Cecilia looks like a giant silver beetle or, possibly, a computer mouse. It’s one of three metallic-roofed “pods”, each with specific acoustic features, which are part of the vast complex making up Parco della Musica Auditorium. Designed by Renzo Piano, and finished in 2002, it stands on the site of the 1960 Olympic Park on the outskirts of Rome. Though the pods are definitely modernist, the 2,700-capacity outdoor theatre is a clear nod to ancient Rome, as is the use of Travertine marble throughout. We enjoyed the timeless experience of listening to music in the balmy Italian evening air.

Grayson Perry’s secret gingerbread cottage, Essex

A House for Essex by Grayson Perry
Photograph: Tony Watson/Alamy

The tiny village of Wrabness in north Essex hosts Grayson Perry’s A House for Essex. Five years in the making, it was designed as a shrine to the fictional character Julie Cope. This folly is the gingerbread house out of the Hansel and Gretel fairytale. The building, clad in colourful relief tiles with a bright gold roof, has been compared to a Scandinavian stave church or a Russian chapel. Set in a tranquil landscape with views over green fields to the Stour estuary, it is a must if you ever find yourself in “England’s most misunderstood country”.
Alison Barker

Cocktails with Le Corbusier, Marseille

Roof Terrace of the Modernist & Brutalist Cite Radieuse or Unite d’Habitation, Marseille
Photograph: Chris Hellier/Alamy

Take a tour of common areas and a typical apartment at Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, France. Snap ’grammable details like the modernist stained glass in the lobby or the bold doors, handles and light fittings in the corridors. Soak up the sun on the azure tiles and crisp concrete of the rooftop, then admire the ingenious pan cupboard in the flat’s original kitchen cabinets. End up in the bar, where you can sit, sip a slow apéro and watch the sunset. Tip: chat to the concierge on the desk at the entrance or the server behind the bar for more local knowledge.
Judith Moore

Slide down a giant’s leg, Valencia

Gulliver playground in Valencia
Photograph: agefotostock/Alamy

I recommend Gulliver (from Jonathan Swift’s novel) at Gulliver Park, Valencia, Spain. It is a great modern structure for kids to enjoy. It is in fact a playground based on Giant Gulliver. He is lying on the ground and the different parts of him form stairs and slides for the children to play on! Entrance is free but do check the opening hours as they can vary. The park is in the east part of the Túria Gardens, close to the City of Arts and Sciences, another fine modern structure in Valencia.
Sue O’Brien

Straddle continents in the Dardanelles

1915 Canakkale Bridge at dawn with lights
Photograph: Ahmet Pektas/Getty Images

Cross from Asia to Europe in just 13 minutes: that’s how long it will take you to traverse the brand-new 1915 Çanakkale Bridge, straddling the Dardanelles strait, 40 miles north-east of the ancient city of Troy, across to the Gallipoli peninsula on the north side, a little way west of Istanbul. The bridge, which boasts the longest suspension span in the world, is a beautiful structure in its own right – like a sleek 21st-century version of San Francisco’s Golden Gate. The main attraction here, though, has to be the incredible views along the Dardanelles towards the Sea of Marmara to one side and the open Mediterranean to the other.
Jayne Pearson

A close encounter in Graz

Kunsthaus Graz Dusk.
Photograph: Alamy

I staggered off the night train from Venice recently in Graz, Austria, and decided to go for an early-morning walk around the old town. When I came across a huge alien spaceship-type construction, I had to pinch myself then drink some strong coffee. The Kunsthaus is a surreal structure, a modern art gallery built in 2003, and it looks even more stunning at night when 1,000 solar lights come on – it looks like it’s getting ready for takeoff.


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A whale basks by the Danube, Budapest

Balna building, Budapest
Photograph: Alamy

The Bálna (“whale”) in Budapest, Hungary, is a large-scale, glass-fronted building on the bank of the Danube near the Great Market Hall. It is a mixed-use building, with shops, cafes, bars and a great art gallery focusing primarily on contemporary art. It has a fantastic terrace with great views on the city, but the architecture itself is also very interesting: designed by Dutch architect Kas Oosterhuis, it is a mixture of historic brick warehouses and a striking hi-tech metal-glass structure. Visiting is completely free; for more info see balnabudapest.hu.
Magdolna Decker

Gorgeous distortion, Prague

Prague Dancing House
Photograph: Alamy

The Dancing House in Prague, sometimes nicknamed “Fred and Ginger”, is a really cool structure. It was built in the early 1990s – I think that qualifies as modern in architecture! It’s so unusual because it sticks out from the gothic/baroque architecture that Prague is known for. It’s right on the river in the New Town district. When I saw it for the first time, it really gave the impression that it was falling into itself, sort of like when a fantasy/sci-fi movie visualises a black hole orwormhole, where everything becomes distorted and hard structures appear liquid. Really cool, day or night.
Jordan Gale

A metal net of geometric shapes, Pristina

National Lublic library in Prishtina – Kosovo
Photograph: Leonid Andronov/Getty Images

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” certainly applies to the National Library of Kosovo, in Pristina. On its inauguration in 1982, the head of the Communist party asked why the scaffolding hadn’t been removed. However, I found the distinctive cube and dome features, relics from the Byzantine and Ottoman tradition, intriguing. It looked as though a metal net of geometric shapes had been thrown over the exterior, while 99 cupolas of varying sizes added beauty and flooded the reading rooms with natural light. Inside, we found the entrance walls adorned with copper börek-shaped coils and silver filigree panels studded with precious stones.
Helen Jackson

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NZ cycling holidays: Top tips for biking in Blenheim

Lee rides the WIther Hills. Photo / Sarah Bennett

Not for sale

Sarah Bennett has high hopes as she rides around her hometown


Growing up in Blenheim, the only bike I owned was one of those hand-me-down, cobbled together jobs with one gear and a bad attitude. But when my older sister bought a sexy new 10-speed to commute to her job at the lingerie factory, I sensed there could be more to biking than just getting to school, marching practice or the Saturday night roller disco.

Too true, it turns out. My own obsession with the mode has been happily matched by a nationwide boom in biking that even Marlborough is getting in on. The region’s official visitor guide promises “an abundance of acclaimed mountain and road trails”, then lists 28 rides from Molesworth to D’Urville Island.

Most of these, however, are challenging rides in hard-to-reach places. Key to connecting them is the Whale Trail, the 210km Picton to Kaikōura cycleway under construction. Various sections are already rideable, with work progressing on vital links such as the Wairau River Bridge clip-on, and from there to Picton (build scheduled to start late this year).

Dr John Forrest, winery owner and project champion, says the Whale Trail will be the backbone of Marlborough’s cycling network. “It has the potential to be one of New Zealand’s most successful trails, not only as a blue-ribbon tourist attraction but as a connector for our coastal communities,” he says.


Blenheim appears as flat as a pancake on the lower Wairau Plains. In fact, it slopes gently upwards as it meets the Wither Hills. The Taylor River cuts a path around and through town, where it joins the Ōpaoa River winds to Cloudy Bay.

Blenheim’s handful of town attractions can all be reached by bike. Several bike shops offer hire.

Other attractions are a longer bike ride or car ride away; the wineries, Wairau Lagoons and other seaside sights. Significant trails such as the Queen Charlotte and Nydia tracks are closer to Picton, which is a whole different story altogether.

Riding along the Taylor River. Photo / Sarah Bennett
Riding along the Taylor River. Photo / Sarah Bennett


While the rides listed in the Marlborough Visitor Guide aren’t well described or mapped in print or online, there’s enough info to get a handle on what and where.

It’s worth seeking out the free, glossy maps for Blenheim, the Wairau Plains (i.e. wineries), and Wither Hills Farm Park, which detail walking and cycling trails. The Wairau Plains one helpfully features a series of on-road cycle routes making the most of flat and mostly quiet rural roads.


Winding 5km from town to the Wither Hills, the Taylor River Trail traverses a heroic riverside reserve complete with friendly locals, romping dogs, riotous California poppies and sundry public improvements. Funnily enough, I never saw this potential back in the day. It was all a bit scrappy and spooky, and frequented by underage smokers, drinkers and canoodlers. Or so I have heard.

The partially paved, flat trail follows both sides of the river. A series of bridges enable loops of varying lengths, or you can follow it all the way to the Taylor Dam Reserve, a leafy spot for a picnic.

Pollard Park: always glorious in Autumn. Photo / MarlboroughNZ
Pollard Park: always glorious in Autumn. Photo / MarlboroughNZ

A side track leads to Wither Hills Farm Park, Blenheim’s beloved recreation reserve threaded with super-scenic biking and walking trails. Its highpoints afford stupendous views across the Wairau Valley and Cook Strait.

The essential ride is the Stockyard and Rifle Range combo, two connecting, gently undulating trails tracing the foothills. Singletrack fans should detour into the ever-improving Wither Hills Mountain Bike Park, my happy place. All the Wither Hills trails are glorious in the late afternoon light.

 Sarah rides the Wither Hills. Photo / Lee Slater
Sarah rides the Wither Hills. Photo / Lee Slater


Biking is a great way to get around a dozen or so of Marlborough’s wineries clustered around Renwick. With bucolic scenery, vineyard gardens and cellar-door restaurants, it’s a pleasant outing, even if tasting isn’t your thing.

Start at Vines Village on Rapaura Rd where Explore Marlborough offers bike hire, maps, and guided tours. The Vines is also home to a garden cafe, several cool shops, and the Gin Room, home of the Roots brand.

Our wine-tour hit-list invariably features No. 1 Family Estate, Framingham, Forrest and Wairau River.

A vast sea of vines from Brancott Estate. Photo / MarlboroughNZ
A vast sea of vines from Brancott Estate. Photo / MarlboroughNZ


Set alongside a picturesque club airfield, Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum is essential viewing for its collection of WWI and WWII aircraft displayed amid remarkable dioramas that flesh out their dramatic histories.

Held next in April 2023, Omaka’s biennial Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow is thrilling. To go higher, consider a joy flight in a Yak 3, Avron Anson or Boeing Stearman biplane. A few years ago my partner Lee lucked in to an hour-long flight in a Nanchang, a 1960s Chinese training plane. It certainly had him peaking!

Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow. Photo / Geoff Soper, MarlboroughNZ
Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow. Photo / Geoff Soper, MarlboroughNZ


Just 3km from Blenheim via a cycleway (part of the Whale Trail), the Grovetown Hotel is a friendly watering hole with a notable beer list, authentic Japanese food, and courtyard garden bar. Highly recommended day or night.

Boomtown’s boosters suggest Marlborough cuisine is all wine and seafood. Not so. The ultimate indulgence is Makana’s Macadamia Butter Toffee Crunch. Buy it from Makana’s factory near the wineries.


The Sunday Farmers’ Market at the atmospheric A&P Showgrounds. Our go-to goodies are Pinoli Pinenuts, Traditional Country Preserves’ Maharajah chutney, Eden Orchard cherry juice and Cranky Goat cheese. We follow up with Feast Merchants’ brisket sandwich, washed down with Ritual espresso. There’s ample bike parking in the stock stalls.


Blenheim gets hot, so biking is best avoided in the midday summer sun. Cooler alternatives include lolling on Pollard Park’s lush grass, having a beer at 5-Tapped, swimming at White’s Bay, or an alfresco lunch with stone-cold bubbles at Wairau River Wines.

Sarah rides the Wither Hills. Photo / Lee Slater
Sarah rides the Wither Hills. Photo / Lee Slater


Marlborough claims to be a “pedaller’s paradise with thrilling adventure, low-key rides, and everything in-between”. Though the reality feels a bit hard and disconnected, the Whale Trail will bring the sea change the region needs.

Blenheim looks ready to ride the wave, with loads of people riding bikes and better trails being developed year-on-year. When it gets the no-brainer off-road routes through to Picton and Renwick wineries, it can genuinely blow its own trumpet.


Destination Marlborough marlboroughnz.com

For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz

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Cruise holidays: Cruising with Jane McDonald star shares ultimate packing tips | Cruise | Travel

With these base colours, black and white or brown and cream, cruise goers can pack their favourites alongside it.

Jane’s next tip: “You need pants, lots of pants – black, neutral, never get white pants to go under white clothes.

“It doesn’t work, all you can see is white pants, you don’t want white pants.”

Instead, she suggested that under white garments, neutral knickers are the way to go.

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Simon Calder travel show: Travel expert shares how to save money on holidays | Travel News | Travel

The travel expert added: “Travel with minimum luggage. Also ignore those constant invitations to pay for a seat in advance, there’s one for you onboard, you just don’t know which it is yet.”

Although many airlines have cut their cabin baggage allowance, Britons might still be able to fit everything in a small bag.

If it’s a short weekend break, avoiding booking hold luggage could save Britons money for a meal out on holiday.

For a longer holiday, package holiday companies sometimes include a hold luggage allowance in the overall price.

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Planning a road trip with your EV over the holidays? Here are some tips

If you own an electric vehicle (EV), commuting within your city is something you probably have figured out how to tackle. Most big cities have plenty of EV charging stations so you won’t quite be stranded. 

However, if you are planning to take your car out of town for a road trip that would need some planning in advance. Given that fuel prices rise every other day, the EV is probably your “most affordable” option for a road trip. 

EV charging infrastructure is still being developed in the country, thus, once you leave your city, finding a charging station is not going to be easy. So how do you start the process?

Also Read: EV battery explosion leaves 1 dead, 3 injured in Andhra Pradesh

First, know your battery range

It is VERY important to know the range of your car, and this can be found in the owner’s manual and/or on the manufacturer’s website. This will tell you how far your EV can go on a single charge. With this information, you can figure out how many stops you will have to make while in transit so that you are not stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

Second, Google Map it

Once you know the range of your car, you need to pull up Google Maps. You can also use Apple Maps, but in our experience in India, Google Maps does a better job and has more information. 

On Google Maps you need to put in your current location and your destination and map it. This will tell you how long the whole drive is going to take. For example, we mapped our way to Dehradun from Delhi. The map said it would take us 4 hours and 49 minutes (if we left at 1:43 am). 

Once you hit ‘Navigate’, pull up the navigation bar and you will get options like – ‘Add a report’, ‘Share trip progress’, ‘Search along route’, etc. 

Also Read: India to get world’s longest electric vehicle highway by end of 2022

Third, search along the route

Normally, you would have searched for fuel pumps, restaurants, washrooms, etc., on the way. You still need to search for restaurants and washrooms, but instead of “petrol pumps near me” or “petrol pumps”, type in “EV charging stations near me” or “EV charging stations”. 

When we searched for the EV charging stations between Delhi and Dehradun, the map showed us a bunch of charging stations in Delhi but as you scroll through the route, you’d see that there are no charging stations after a point. And none on the way either, till you get to Dehradun. 

Of course, this will differ from route to route. But in most cases, you will not get too many charging options once you exit a big city. This is what you need to keep in mind and plan your drive accordingly. 

If you cannot find a charging station/point on the way, you might have to stop at a restaurant or a hotel where you can charge your EV. 

The charging time is what you need to factor into your overall travel time and it might also mean that you do an overnight stop somewhere on the route. 

You can call up hotels in advance to confirm if they have electricity and the required voltage sockets to charge your EV. 

Of course, this takes you back to the information we asked you to look up first – the range of your car. 

Additional tip: Search for EV charging stations near food stops so you can optimise your time. You can also call up restaurants in advance. 

Fourth, buy an earthing kit

Most restaurants and hotels where you might have to charge your EV might not have proper earthing. To avoid damage to your EV, you need an earthing kit that will protect your vehicle from electricity spikes. 

As you set out, keep a tab on the indicator that tells you how many kilometres are left before the battery runs out. Tune your driving pattern accordingly. 

If you accelerate hard, your battery will drain faster; a steady pace will give you better range. 

Uphill will drain more battery and you will need to make more stops on the way. 

Keep these factors in mind. Finally, make a list of workshops on the way 

Google Maps will help you here. This is not just for charging, but also for any repairs you might need. 

Happy driving!

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I’m a student and people can’t believe how much I pack into a tiny bag for my holidays

A STUDENT has left viewers stunned after showing how she packs everything for her holidays into a tiny backpack.

TikTok user Kate Hux shared the video on her social media account.

Kate measured the backpack to check it would fit the airline's size chart


Kate measured the backpack to check it would fit the airline’s size chart
Viewers were astonished at how much Kate managed to fit inside the backpack


Viewers were astonished at how much Kate managed to fit inside the backpack

She added the caption “when it says £4.99, I’m making sure it stays £4.99!”, referencing Ryanair’s cheap £4.99 flights.

In the viral clip, she can be seen packing all of the travel essentials into a small beige backpack, in a bid to avoid paying for extra luggage.

Kate begins by measuring the backpack to make sure there won’t be any surprise charges at the airport.

Once happy that the bag fits the airline’s luggage size chart, she begins to lay out all the items needed on her bed.

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Kate packs bulkier items like shoes and a spare handbag at the base of the bag, before adding swimwear, shoes, jewellery and toiletries.

Rolling clothes up to maximise available space in the backpack, Kate adds a hairbrush and electrical items before zipping up the backpack.

One viewer commented: “Girl, I take more than that to work.”

Another put: “Me and my spare 15 pairs of pants could never.”

A third said: “At first i was like ‘no way she’s gonna do it’, and then you proceeded to prove me wrong.”

A travel packing expert has revealed the magic ratio for holidays – and the maximum number of shoes to take.

And an Emirates cabin crew member recently revealed her top five tips for packing a suitcase.

Travel experts have been revealing their top tips for packing luggage


Travel experts have been revealing their top tips for packing luggageCredit: Getty

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Handy money-saving tips for booking cheaper holidays at home and abroad

There are a host of holiday bargains to be had as sunseekers rush to getaway after months of travel restrictions, but costs won’t remain low for too long. But with the cost of living crisis becoming more apparent, concerns over the price of a trip are arising.

According to recent research, almost 20 per cent of UK travellers are seeking money-saving tips on their next trip, so Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) are sharing their ultimate travel hacks guide to help navigate booking a break in 2022.

Based on data from ARC, average ticket prices (ATPs), airfares hit their lowest levels in December 2020 and January 2021, though as confidence in travel grew. However with a steady increase in demand, particularly over the summer, ticket prices have started to normalise to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, ATPs for international flights have steadily increased over the year, however prices are still on average 15 per cent lower compared to 2019. Knowing what day to book, how far in advance, and what day to travel is key to saving on costs.

Optimal Booking Window

  • For domestic flights, Britons have started to book their trips further out in advance. Share of flights booked nine and more weeks in advance increased from an average of 20 per cent in 2019 to an average of 25 per cent in 2021.
  • For international flights, the share of flights booked nine and more weeks in advance increased from an average of 40 per cent in 2019 to an average of 45 per cent in 2020 and 50 per cent in 2021.

Ideal day of the week to book

  • Book a domestic flight on a Sunday rather than a Friday and it’s possible to save around 20 per cent.
  • For international flights, the same rules apply but the saving is a little less at 15 per cent.

Ideal day of the week to travel

  • Travellers typically think that Tuesday is the best day of the week to fly domestically, but the ideal day is actually Friday with savings of around 20 per cent.
  • Again, flying internationally on a Friday will help to save about 10 per cent.

Best month to travel

Being flexible when it comes to flying is a great way to save on flights, so when holiday booking it can be worth looking at flights first before deciding on the month.

  • If flying in the UK then the best month to go away is in November where it’s possible to save up to 45 per cent on costs.
  • If escaping to somewhere a little more exotic, the ideal month to travel is September with a saving of up to 40 per cent.

Handy money-savings tips for booking cheaper holidays at home and abroad
Handy money-savings tips for booking cheaper holidays at home and abroad

Go premium

Travelling in luxury is now cheaper ever, with a steady decline in costs during the last few years with premium tickets costing 380 per cent more that standard in 2019, but this dropped to 250 per cent more in 2021.

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Can I cycle 200 miles around Puglia in six days? I can on an e-bike | Italy holidays

It was only as I wiped a hunk of bread around my plate that it dawned on me that the lunch we’d just eaten was entirely vegan. A plate of beans slowly stewed in a ceramic pot with onions, herbs, tomato and a whack of peperoncino (chilli) came with a slice of focaccia rustica (crusty pie filled with wild greens) and the world’s tastiest salad: fresh leaves, celery, carrots and tomatoes made toothsome with fennel flowers, capers, more fresh chillies, chives, gherkin and fruity olive oil.


But far from being some hip, plant-based city joint, the Caroppi cafe in the Puglian village of Specchia Gallone is an old-school bakery, run by the sort of large, welcoming family that might feature in your dream version of Italy’s south. Talkative Donato Caroppi showed us around – letting us peek at a sourdough “mother” more than 20 years old – then explained that in this region with too little rainfall for pasture, a mainly vegan diet was the norm for centuries.

Sea views from Santa Cesarea Terme, in Puglia’s south-east
Sea views from Santa Cesarea Terme, in Puglia’s south-east. Photograph: Ragemax/Alamy

We were on day two of a week’s e-bike tour of Salento, the southern tip of Puglia, and enjoying the way cycling took us deep into the folds of this ancient land, yet still allowed us to cover plenty of ground – and work up an appetite for meals like that.

And as well as getting a warm glow from exercise and sunshine, we could tell ourselves that our holiday was helping preserve the character of this area – because we were travelling with Salento Bici Tour, run by Carlo Cascione and Giulia Tenuzzo, who are as unabashed a pair of right-on lefties as you could wish to meet.

Both in their late 30s, they returned to Puglia after studying and working in Italy’s more prosperous north, and started the business to combine their twin passions – cycling and social enterprises, particularly ones involved in slow food – using tourist euros from one to bring extra income to the other. And being a pair of eco-minded foodies, my husband and I were very happy to mix organic wineries, sustainable farms and artisanal cheesemakers into our tour of coasts and historic hinterland.

As we’re older and less fit than Carlo and Giulia, we opted to use e-bikes – so we could ride 30-40 miles each day and still have energy to enjoy villages, lakes, castles, beaches. What a splendid invention the e-bike is: you’re still cycling, but have an invisible giant on hand to give you a push whenever you’re struggling.

Salento Bici Tour also runs group trips, but we were on a self-guided tour, made easier with directions in a handlebar-mounted GPS. We were soon pedalling out of Lecce, the “Florence of the South”, towards the Adriatic. Quiet, mostly well-surfaced narrow lanes between olive farms made perfect cycling terrain.

On our last visit to Puglia, six or seven years earlier, the olive groves had been glorious, but the tragedy that has hit southern Europe was now obvious. This is a region of 60m olive trees (to 4 million people), and the xylella fastidiosa bacteria has infected most of them. All around were dead and dying branches, some trees cut almost to a stump in an attempt to see off the bug, some groves newly planted.

Cyclists were an unusual enough sight for grizzled farmer Pasquale to stop his car and ask what we were doing in his olive groves. He was amazed to find people all the way from London in his remote corner. I asked about the trees. He spread his hands: “We do what we can. I have 40,000 trees – all for the cemetery.” But with admirable resilience he had replanted 10,000.

Otranto cathedral, with its mosaic floor.
Otranto cathedral, with its mosaic floor. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

Each evening we would arrive in a spectacular coastal town – Otranto, with graphic mosaic floors in its Romanesque cathedral; or Leuca, with rows of art nouveau villas on Puglia’s tip. Gallipoli, on the Ionian coast, is less famous than its namesake in Turkey, but both come from Greek kalli polis, or beautiful city. Puglia’s version, on its own little island, lived up to the name as we cycled across its six-arch stone bridge at sunset, with buildings glowing pink, white and gold.

Each morning we’d slot the recharged batteries back into our bikes and pedal off, sometimes stopping for a seaside swim or picnic (wild Punta della Suina beach was idyllic, as was fjord-like Porto Badisco, said to be where Aeneas landed after escaping from Troy). But the most memorable stops were in sleepy inland spots chosen by Carlo. Near Otranto, by the Idro River, we sneaked through a metal fence into one of the area’s most evocative ancient places: a 1,000-year-old cripta (shallow cave) used by followers of Saint Basil fleeing persecution in the east in the ninth century. Their frescoes could still be made out on the stone walls.

The centre of ancient Nardò
The centre of ancient Nardò, near the Ionian coast

Several days included lunch with a slow food partner. I Contadini preserves Salento produce using only what is at hand – salt and sunshine. In season, its fields are aglow, with sliced tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, courgettes and onions drying in the sun. A jar of pasta sauce made from yellow tomatoes shone like fresh orange juice, and I felt almost drunk on the aroma from a 1kg bag of freshly dried tomatoes.

We nearly missed lunch at Celacanto, part of a sustainable social enterprise near the east coast, because despite the GPS we’d gone sailing past it up a long hill. On ordinary bikes I’d have balked at the idea of toiling up that hill a second time, but on my e-bike it was no problem. We freewheeled back down and feasted on roasted and preserved vegetables, pecorino cheese from a small partner farm and glasses of astringent reddish-pink rosé wine.

Puglia is not all about tradition, though. At Cantine Menhir near Specchia Gallone, we saw how the region’s future is, well, rosé. Until the late 20th century, Salento wineries were by the station, for transporting strong plonk in bulk to the north or to France for blending. Menhir, started in 2002, is one of a new breed, now selling more than a million bottles a year of labelled organic wine. Its Pietra rosé is made to modern tastes, pale and aromatic (like Adele’s favourite, Whispering Angel); other triumphs were a complex Physis white, made with classic grillo grapes, and a velvety deep red negroamaro.

We made one lunch ourselves – at a cooking lesson in Tenuta DonnAnna, Carlo’s parents’ guesthouse. At a table in the garden we made orecchiette pasta, instructed by a central casting nonna called Teresa, barely 4ft 6in, but with powerful arms for pummelling dough into stretchy silkiness.

The author learns cooking techniques from Teresa
The author learns cooking techniques from Teresa.

The following day was our last – a 32-mile hop back to Lecce – and I didn’t want it to end. We dawdled for the last few miles, relishing the silence, the lizards darting up drystone walls, the sun on our backs. We’d ridden almost 200 miles in six days but our batteries felt fully charged.

The trip was provided by Salento Bici Tour (UK tel 020-33 000794) whose one-week self-guided tours cost from €630pp, inc B&B, tastings, baggage transport and GPS guide. E-bike extra

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