Half-term deals with scrolls and rolls
YET ANOTHER REASON to visit New York this autumn (aside from the fabulous shopping, still fantastic value despite the slight drop in the sterling exchange rate), is a new exhibition of six Dead Sea scrolls at the city’s excellent Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue. Running until January 4, the exhibition also features a number of other early texts and some artefacts, including a jar and linen wrapper that protected the scrolls, the earliest phylacteries, dishes and vessels, from the Qumran site, where the scrolls were found (www.thejewishmuseum.org; 00212.423.3200).
For all those craving some sunshine, Longwood Holidays have some tempting offers in Eilat in early November, including a week at the five-star Royal Beach from £825 (b&b); a week at the Magic Palace (HB) from £569; and a week at the Neptune (HB) from £655. All prices are per person based on two sharing, including direct flights and transfers (020 8418 2522; www.longwoodholidays.co.uk).
Gourmet kosher sandwiches made by Adafina, the cool kosher deli on Abbey Road, in St John’s Wood, NorthWest London, are now available at Caffè Nero outlets in Heathrow’s Terminals 1, 4 and 5. The range, which includes such delights as smoked salmon with dill and cream cheese or herbed cheese, rocket and sundried tomato, in mezonot bagel; tuna salad or chicken mayonnaise and sweetcorn, on granary bread and egg mayo on mezonot roll, means you need never again pack your own snacks for the airport (www.adafina.co.uk).
Sir Paul McCartney chose Tel Aviv’s deluxe Dan Hotel during his threenight stay in the city for his pre-Rosh Hashanah concert. The former Beatle stayed in the Royal Suite where a grand piano was specially installed in the vast living room, along with a huge cake decorated to look like his latest CD, Memory Almost Full, a hand-embroidered monogrammed bathrobe, and a private butler. Anyone wanting to stay in the same room — previously occupied by President Bill Clinton, Madonna, Richard Gere and Sharon Stone, though not all at once — will have to stretch their plastic to at least $2,530 (£1,436) per night. A regular double room there, however, starts from $320 (£181), including breakfast (www.danhotels.com 00972 3 520 2552).
If you are looking for an October half-term break for your kids, PGL has a few places left for its residential activity breaks for children from October 25, with big savings on published prices. These include a week at Boreatton Park, Shropshire, from £209 (all age groups, from seven to 16); a week at Tregoyd, South Wales for seven-to10-year-olds, now £209; and a week at Winmarleigh Hall, Lancashire, for age groups seven-to-10 and 13-to-16 at £209. There are also four-night breaks from October 27 at three centres, including Marchants Hill, Surrey and Osmington Bay, Dorset, for all ages, at £159. Prices include full-board residential accommodation and a wide choice of activities (08700 507 507; www.pgl.co.uk)
The Manor House Hotel, Wiltshire, one of the region’s most exclusive country house hotels, is offering special rates from £180 per double room, per night, including breakfast, with dinner available for an additional £52 per person. Facilities at the Manor House, set within 365 acres of landscaped woodland, parkland and gardens, include a golf course, two restaurants catered by a Michelin-rated chef, laser clay pigeon shooting, giant scalextric, plus a selection of DVDs and board games for loan (www.exclusivehotels.co.uk).
Rail enthusiasts can enjoy a journey on the Bluebell Railway as part of a two-night break at Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield, Sussex. The break costs £270 per person (based on two sharing) and includes breakfast and dinner both days in the Elizabethan hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. The special deal, available until November 14, also includes entrance to the nearby Capability Brown-designed Sheffield Park. Book through Pride of Britain Hotels (0800-089 3929; www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
For those who prefer to head across the Channel, city breaks specialist Cities Direct is offering two-nightsfor-the-price-of-one deals on European city breaks at selected hotels between November and February. These include a two-night break in Budapest at the four-star Art’Hotel, a well-located modern property on the banks of the Danube from £149 per person. There are also two-night breaks at the four-star Duodo Palace Hotel, Venice, close to St Marks Square and the Fenice Theatre, from £169 per person. Both packages are based on double occupancy and include return flights and breakfasts. (01242 536900; www.citiesdirect.co.uk).
And if you are still hoping to get to Eilat for half-term, Expert Travel have some availability left on seven-night breaks, from October 19 to 26. These include one week at the Royal Beach (b&b) £939; and at the all-inclusive Lagoona from £749; at the Dan Panorama (HB) from £639. All prices are per person, based on two sharing, and include direct flights and transfers (020 8922 1234).
Manhattan: culture at the city’s Jewish Museum, as well as fabulous shopping
Tel Aviv: follow in the footsteps of Sir Paul McCartney at the Dan Hotel