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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

In the Crawleys' footsteps Downton Abbey enthusiasts can now take an exhaustive tour of the television drama's filming locations, and many other supposed Downton-related sites, with a package on offer from British travel firm Zicasso. Downton Abbey: The Season 3 Tour begins with a night in London at a hotel "representative of the Downton Abbey era" and continues with two full days in the capital, which include a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum and afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel. Day four is spent visiting Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire ("see the real Upstairs, Downstairs of a stately home in action!") and day five involves a trip to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and ancestral home of Winston Churchill. The Downton Abbey connection only becomes tangible on day six, with a Downton Abbey Country Film Locations Tour, and culminates in a visit on day seven to Highclere Castle (above), the location of the titular estate. Prices start from US$3,250 per person, including four-star hotel accommodation (which can be upgraded to five star), a private driver and guide and Heathrow Airport transfers. Tour dates are flexible but Highclere is open from July 14 to September 12, Sunday to Thursday only. For bookings, visit www.zicasso.com/luxury-tours.

 

Pointing the way Local adventure-travel specialist Whistling Arrow has just released details of several interesting new trips, including mountain trekking and climbing in western China/eastern Tibet; island hopping in northern Palawan (above), in the Philippines; and an adventurous trek around Mount Rinjani, on the Indonesian island of Lombok. Tours are scheduled for between eight and 17 days and cost from US$2,200 to US$3,900, including accommodation and pretty much everything else except flights. Go to www.whistlingarrow.com for details on all the tours.

 

   

Free and easy If you find your smartphone or tablet getting cluttered with useless travel apps, Triposo (above), which is comprehensive, free and keeps everything within a single app, may be the answer. Launched by a former Google engineer in 2011 and now reliably mature, with version 2.2.2 just released, it provides guides to hundreds of destinations worldwide, using information taken from a variety of open sources including Wikitravel, Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. Simple to use and clearly presented, each destination guide can be downloaded from the basic Triposo app and stored for as long as you need it. There are no annoying "lite" versions or advertising, and the content is often encyclopaedic (such as the lengthy food section in the Japan guide). What-to-do information can be updated to suit your travel dates and itinerary with a synching function. Guides seem to average about 120MB for countries and 15MB for cities. Whether you use an iPad, an iPhone or Android, find out more at www.triposo.com.

 

Deal of the week A four-night package to Fiji is on offer at Farrington American Express Travel, starting from HK$6,890 per person, twin share. At this price you'll only be looking forward to the Novotel Nadi, but you can get a superior lagoon-view room at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa (right) from HK$8,990. Other available properties include the Sheraton Fiji Resort (from HK$9,590) and the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa (from HK$9,890). These prices, which will be available until the end of June - but with a HK$200 to HK$400 increase from April 1 (except if you're staying at the Shangri-La) - include economy-class flights with Fiji's national carrier, Air Pacific, which will soon be rebranded as Fiji Airways. The only dates to avoid are March 28 and 30, when a surcharge of just over HK$2,000 will be in place, perhaps due to Easter. For information and reservations, go to www.amextravel.com.hk or call 3121 3121.

 

 

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