THE CITY THAT’S FIT FOR PARTY LOVING PRINCE
and, after days of hiking, the outdoor pools, saunas and steam rooms are a welcome retreat.
We’d arrived in style with WestJet, voted TripAdvisor’s Best Airline in Canada for two years running, flying from Gatwick into Calgary.
A skyscraper city at the centre of the Canadian oil industry, it is steeped in Western culture and hosts the annual rodeo, the Calgary Stampede. It also shows off amazing musical history at Studio Bell at the National Music Centre, displaying instruments used by stars including The Rolling Stones and Elton John.
Packed with lakes, mountains and starlit musical magic, our action-adventure around Alberta sure was one heck of an expedition – and a feast for the senses and the soul. THAILAND: Splash out on seven nights’ B&B in Phuket, departing January 1 from Heathrow, for £1,229pp. Book at travelbag.co. uk or call 020 3944 2252. WORCESTERSHIRE: Bear’s Cottage, a cosy stone property in walking distance of Bretforton’s 600-year-old National Trust village pub, sleeps four. It’s now from £579, saving £142 when you arrive on December 29 for a week. Property reference 928315. You can book it at sykescottages.co.uk or by phoning 01244 356 666.
A seven-night, all-inclusive Tropical Delights cruise on board Marella Explorer departs from Bridgetown in Barbados and visits Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Grenada and Saint Lucia. The price includes flights from Birmingham or Gatwick on January 13, inside cabin accommodation, transfers, taxes and tips. From £1,485pp at tui.co. uk/cruise and 0871 230 2800. BLACKADDER portrayed the Prince Regent as a foppish, fun-loving idiot, but the future King George IV was also an astute and visionary gentleman.
He spotted potential in Brighton as a place to have fun and constructed his own “pleasure palace” there.
Two hundred years later, the city is still a charming destination – and the perfect place for a weekend away.
The North Laine district, inset, with its cobbled streets and bohemian shops and stalls is a joy to stroll around.
And a 20-minute trip on the British Airways i360 moving observation tower affords panoramic views as it glides 450ft above the city and coast.
Then there’s the pleasure palace itself – the wonderful Royal
Pavilion where you can relive the prince’s decadence.
Toss in the quirky museums, a Sea
Life aquarium and traditional
Palace Pier, below, and you have plenty to cater for all tastes.
We stayed in the five-star boutique Claremont guesthouse in a stylish Victorian villa. It takes particular pride in its curated art collection and is a pleasant
20-minute stroll from the central amenities.
Try taking the seafront promenade there and the bar-packed Western
Road/Church Road on the way back.
As for eating out,
Brighton and Hove (they became one in 1997) is home to a huge number of establishments that a weekend just can’t do justice to.
We particularly enjoyed English’s of Brighton where we lapped up oysters, sea bass and Hindleap sparkling wine from the nearby Bluebell vineyard. Another favourite was Terre à Terre, a vegetarian bistro where we sampled super-tasty tapas.
On our second night we joined a wonderful walking dinner tour: starter at The Grand hotel, mains in The Restaurant at Drakes and cheese and biscuits at Hotel du Vin (see walkingdinner.com/city/ brighton, £55pp). Drakes is in Kemptown where blue plaques abound celebrating famous residents – not least the late, great actor Sir Laurence Olivier. But it was the Prince Regent who popularised the resort – and he certainly knew how to have a good time.
■A VROOM WITH A VIEW: See the sights in the sidecar of a Harley-Davidson ■PEAKY BLINDERS: Alberta offers incredible mountain scenery and, below, picture-perfect towns such as Banff