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UK Hotel Review: The Kenilworth

altFor seasoned travellers, there are few things as satisfying as finding a hotel to which you want to return time and time again. The Kenilworth is one of these rare gems - a compact den that offers everything you'd need for either a sophisticated business trip or a romantic weekend away. 

The boutique hotel is essentially comprised of eleven luxurious rooms, located either in the main building or outside, and an incredible cocktail bar. We stayed in one of the standard rooms outside, (£89 for one night, including a continental breakfast for two), which was both chic and extremely comfortable. One minor quibble would be that the walk-in shower makes it very easy to soak the entire bathroom, but as the deluxe rooms offer a two person bath instead this problem is easily avoidable.

Regardless of why you're staying at the Kenilworth, a visit to the bar is almost mandatory. Boasting a large and diverse selection of spirits, carefully chosen by the exceedingly knowledgeable manager Rob, the Kenilworth's sultry bar is sure to delight anyone with an interest in mixology. The menu features a range of creative and delicious cocktails, of which we particularly enjoyed the Dark and Bubbly, a delightful variation on a traditional Dark and Stormy. Extenstive off-piste research proved that the friendly staff were equally capable of making any drink that took our fancy, with a level of professionalism that would be notable in London, let alone tiny Kenilworth. Those who would like to conduct a similarly thorough investigation of the bar should avail themselves of the hotel's Cocktail Room Package, which allows two people to enjoy unlimited cocktails, a night's stay and breakfast for a reduced rate. We would, however, recommend dining at one of the town's many good restaurants beforehand!

For more information visit www.thekenilworth.co.uk

UK holiday review: Sandy Balls in the New Forest

altLocated on the south coast of England just above the Isle of Wight, the New Forest is a serene and fascinating landscape over which wild horses roam. It not only contains fantastic opportunities for walks and sporting activities, but also picturesque towns and villages that are just waiting to be explored.

Located close to the town of Fordingbridge in the north west of the forest, Sandy Balls is a family-friendly holiday camp that provides a range of accommodation options. In particular, campers and caravanners are well catered for, as the restort provides rentable tents and caravans as well as pitches for people's own equipment. Their most luxurious option, however, is a variety of timber lodges, which come with bedrooms, kitchen, communal television area and bathroom. We stayed in one of these 6-berth lodges for three nights, at a cost of £329.  

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How To... commute by bicycle in London

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Whether you're unhappy with the increase in public transport fares, wish your commute was quicker or want to get into shape following an indulgent Christmas, cycling to work may be the solution for you. Furthermore, if you live or work in London it's never been easier to commute by bike. 

The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme is a great way to try commuting by bike, as well as a convenient solution for those who don't want to invest in a bicycle or lack storage space. Dubbed 'Boris Bikes' after the floppy-haired London mayor who presided over their launch, the scheme's bicycles are available for anyone to use and are docked in stations all over central London. You should easily find bikes anywhere from Shepherd's Bush to Canary Wharf - see the Transport for London (TfL) map to pinpoint your nearest docking station. 

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Increasing American commuters opting to share transport

More and more American commuters are sharing lifts as they adjust to economic hardship, according to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau. New York, a popular destination for relocating individuals, experienced one of the greatest leaps in public and shared transport use.

As reported by Re:locate magazine, a combination of inflation and political maneuvering has pushed up the price of petroleum in recent weeks. While removals companies have the resources to manage periodic cost increases, individual consumers and commuters struggle. 

It appears that increased fuel costs and a more general process of belt-tightening have driven many American commuters to forgo solo trips in favour of shared or public transport.

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Rising rail fares push up cost of commuting

trainRising train fares mean that the average worker in the UK now spends 8% of their salary on getting to work, research has shown.

The data from the Hay Group shows that commuters in London spend the largest proportion of their salary on
travel overall, with the average standing at 17% for operative level workers. Manchester and Birmingham (both 14%) were not far behind, followed by Bristol and Leeds (13%).

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Shopping à l'anglaise: M&S makes long-awaited return to Paris

ShopQuality cars, whisky, pop music... the list of famous British exports is undoubtedly a varied one. It might surprise you, however, to learn the name of the latest company to make a splash abroad.

Marks and Spencer - that prime example of Britishness - this week opened a flagship store in Paris. Residents - both French and ex-pat - flocked to the Champs Elysée on Thursday, hoping to be among the first to stock up on pork pies, shortbread and clothing.

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What women really want... from room service

RoomServiceA new study has revealed what women really want from hotel room service: healthier options, better delivery, and service from female staff. 

Maiden-voyage.com, a business travel network for professional women, conducted a survey amongst professional women around the world, seeking to discover what women really want from room service. Of the 100 women interviewed, 53% stated that they felt hotel room service was generally tailored towards men, with menus of high carb, meaty dishes discouraging women from staying in to dine.

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Glamping – the latest in camping

North American TipiDo you fancy getting back to nature but are faint-hearted when it comes to putting up tents or blowing up your airbed? Glamping could be the holiday or weekend answer for you.

‘Glamping’ is a term created to describe glamorous camping. It incorporates a range of outdoor accommodation that you probably never knew existed. The choice is plentiful: safari-style tents, Native American tipis, Mongolian yurts, shepherd’s huts, and railway carriages, not to mention tree-houses.

The difference beween glamping and camping? A touch of luxury.

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Camping: the 'new' British holiday phenomenon

Camping - the Great British HolidayMost British people can tell you about their childhood camping holidays. However, with the advent of cheap air flights, Brits gave up their tents and headed overseas in search of sun and sea.

These days, the tide is turning again. With many facing economic and environmental pressures, camping is back in vogue. And it’s true to say that it offers lots of advantages, so it’s worth a try.

Camping allows you to explore parts of Britain far off the busy tourist trails. You could try the wild Brecon Beacons, in Wales, the unique Scilly Isles, off the coast of Cornwall, or the beauty of the Lake District or Scottish Highlands.

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Déjà-vu for air passengers as Icelandic volcano causes disruption

volcanoAir passengers fear for the worst after the Grimsvötn volcano erupted over the weekend and sent a plume of ash 12 miles into the Icelandic air. With the memories of last year’s chaos still fresh in their minds, thousands of passengers are facing delays and cancellations.

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58% of British expats move abroad to further career, survey reveals

Travelling overseas, moving overseasA new survey* commissioned by Lloyds TSB International has revealed that nearly three in five British expats (58%) choose to leave the UK in search of a better career or salary. A third (29%) of those who are motivated by career and salary are aged 45 to 55, and, once they have relocated, over half of this group (52%) do not plan to return home.

Many expats choose to put down roots and stay permanently in their new country of residence, but 56% of expat respondents have no plans to return home to the UK permanently. There is a clear correlation between expectations for the future and age of expats; the younger the respondent, the more likely they are to return to Britain. Only 20% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they would not return home, versus 80% of expats aged 65 and over.

Of the countries surveyed, France, South Africa and the US attract the longest-staying expats. Far fewer expats choose to stay long term (ten years or more) in the UAE and Hong Kong, where the majority are working males aged between 25 and 54.

It seems that, once expats have moved abroad, the ties that bind them to the UK do not break easily, with over three quarters (76%) of respondents recognising the importance of maintaining ties with the UK. Most expats visit the UK for holidays, with family visits outstripping business trips by nearly six to one (74% versus 13%).

Surprisingly, with so many expats citing their original reason for moving abroad as being career and salary orientated, earnings do not influence the decision to move back home. On the contrary, the most likely reasons given were family pressure (26%) and poor health (25%) – evidence of an emotional connection with the UK.

Lloyds TSB International's managing director, Jakob Pfaudler, said, “As an expat myself, I can understand the value of keeping in touch with your home country. Research shows that moving countries carries with it a huge emotional investment, and it takes on average one to two years before an expat establishes a social network and starts to feel settled. Coupled with the fact that most move to advance their career, it is no great surprise, therefore, that, once they start to reap the benefits, they aren’t contemplating moving yet again; over two thirds of respondents with more than £500k in liquid assets are not planning a return to the UK.”

* The survey was conducted online by FreshMinds with 412 expats of British nationality living in France, HK, Spain, South Africa, UAE and USA.