Entries Tagged as 'P&O Ferries'

Beer Passion in Antwerp


It seems that summer is well and truly upon us, and after complaining about British weather throughout the cruel winter, now is the time to enjoy a bit of sun – somewhere else.

At the end of June, Antwerp will be hosting its thirteenth annual Beer Passion weekend. Belgium is famed for its beer, be it a cool and light ale enjoyed in the sun or a darker heady brew, the staunchest of allies in trying times. At Beer Passion you’ll be able to sample them all – over 200 beers from 40 Belgian breweries. Each variety of Belgian beer will be represented, from Trappist and Abbey ales to strong blond beers, red beers, brown beers, wheat beers and many more.

Beer Passion runs for three days from June 29th to July 1st. Entry is free but a courtesy €3 Beer Sommelier tasting glass (20 cl) should be bought at the reception tent for use during the festival, and they make great souvenirs too. You also need to purchase tokens (€2 apiece) at the reception tent which can be redeemed for beer and food.

Antwerp’s Beer Passion festival is being held at Groenplaats, an historic town square bordered with cafes and restaurants. If you need help finding it, it commands an excellent view of Antwerp’s Cathedral of our Lady, so just head towards the steeple.

The spirit of this festival is an enjoyment of beer in all its diversity. You’ll get the chance to meet the brewers to learn about what you’re drinking, and it is custom for them to bring along new beers to try out on the crowd. If you intend to try every beer there, then we salute you, but a sustained drinking of 66 and half pints per day is likely to kill you, or at the very least get you thrown out of your hotel. You will, however, be able to buy a few crates of beer to enjoy back home.

It’s likely that accommodation will fill up fast so try to book early. There are plenty of hotels for you stay in in Antwerp, and if you want to be first in line at the festival then there’s a Hilton on Groenplaats Square.

Antwerp is a little over an hours journey from the Belgian port city Zeebrugge, you can take an overnight P&O Ferry from Hull to get to Beer Passion 2012.

Try P&O Ferries’ Car Park Shopper and Cruise à la Carte


P&O Ferries are always trying to make your on-board experience as hassle-free as possible. Cruise passengers from Dover to Calais can now try out two offers that add great value to your trip while costing only a fraction of your ticket price.

Many of you will be using P&O Ferries to hop across the channel and stock up on alcoholic beverages, either for a special occasion or to buy in bulk for the months ahead. The Car Park Shopper service now lets you take advantage of the wallet-friendly prices while letting you remain onboard for the duration of the round trip.

From as little as £12, you can book the Car Park Shopper and load up on beer, wines and spirits as well as cosmetics and toys. P&O staff will be on hand to take care of the heavy lifting and packing, during which you can enjoy a meal or a cup of tea before heading back to Dover.

Speaking of meals: Next time you go on a cruise trip to Calais, why not spend a few quid extra and enjoy a three-course meal in Langan’s Brasserie? The famous West End restaurant has worked with P&O Ferries to recreate their splendid atmosphere, service and food on board P&O’s ships.

By booking the Cruise à la Carte, you secure yourself a place in the P&O Club Lounge, where you’ll be welcomed with a glass of champagne and can indulge in complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks. On the return journey to Dover, you will be served a delicious three-course meal in Langan’s Brasserie – what better way to end a relaxing trip?

To view the details of these offers, both of which are available on cruises from Dover to Calais, go here.

P&O Ferries: Discover Leiden


If you’re looking for somewhere to go this summer and are not after sweltering beaches, may we advise that you consider the Dutch city Leiden?

Leiden is a well-kept secret, since it’s surrounded by the larger cities of the Netherlands like Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. This city has a rich history and is situated at a crossroads in Holland, so you’ll be able to get to all the other tourist hotspots in the country.

There’s plenty to see in Leiden. The city was founded in the 16th century and became a centre for the European wool trade. It saw a major decline but diversified its industries attracting artists, scientists and engineers who gave the city a major boost in culture and affluence in the late 19th century.

There’s a curious mix of old and new in Leiden. It is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, with a fifth of its population forming the student body. This gives Leiden a vibrant nightlife which contrasts with the city’s aged setting.

The old industrial aspects of the city (e.g. the canal network) make a great way to tour through the city. When Leiden returned to wealth in the 19th century, many large and lavish buildings were constructed, making Leiden a picaresque city ideal for afternoon jaunts. It is a relatively small place easily traversed by foot or on bike.

The two main walking tours you can take are:

Muurgedichten – The Leiden is decorated with wall poems, and you can take a paid tour, have a bit of a poetry lesson, print out a map and see for yourself. Alternatively, you can just amble through Leiden with your eyes peeled.

Hofjeswandeling – A tour of the city courtyards, this will expose you to some of the finer architecture Leiden has to offer as well as some of the history and local lore.

This tour will take you through the Wan der Werff Park, named after the mayor who was accused of hiding food reserves when the town was under siege by the Spanish. To show the sincerity of his denials, he offered to cut off his arm and offered serve it to the public.

We would also recommend you visit the Burcht of Leiden, which is one of the best preserved Motte Castles in the Netherlands. It sits high upon an artificial hill and commands the best view of the city, with foundations dating back to the 9th century.

There are three National Museums in Leiden covering Natural History, Antiquities and Ethnology. The National Museum of Ethnology hosts one of the world’s largest collections of ‘the artefacts of man’ compiled and researched with the help of Leiden University.

Shopping and eating out is a varied experience in Leiden – it retains the ‘melting pot’ aspect of its early years with the local populace cooking up all forms of cuisine. Prices range from absolute luxury to those suitable for the city’s student population.

Shopping areas are but a 15 minute walk from the central station. You can make your way to De Slegte, a 3-floor bookstore found on the Breestraat. This shop has a large selection of second-hand books at great value.

Tourists out for a bit of exploration should stop off at Verswinkel for freshly made bread rolls made right in front of you – they’re among the very best in Europe. They’re represented at Leiden’s open markets held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You’ll also be able to get there late on a Thursday, when most of the shops in the city remain open until 9pm.

Leiden is located near the centre of Holland so P&O Ferry’s can take you Rotterdam and you’re just a short trip from the wonders of Leiden.

Image credit: carolune

Frequent P&O Ferries travellers can save money with season tickets


Do you travel across the channel regularly? Do you enjoy the comfort and efficiency of P&O Ferries’ service?

Then a season ticket for either the Dover – Calais or the Hull – Rotterdam/Zeebrugge route might be just the, er, ticket.

Only three return tickets over a specified period of time will qualify you for a season ticket fare of only £35 per trip. If you think you’ll be travelling back and forth between Dover and Calais more than 12 times, you could end up paying as little as £29 per trip.

To check the terms and conditions of this great offer, call the P&O Ferries season ticket service on 08716 646 747.

International Festival of Fairground Entertainment


This May the streets of the Namur in Belgium will erupt into a carnival of merrymaking as the International Festival of Fairground Entertainment or ‘Namur in May’ returns.

Over 300 acts from across the world will roam the streets performing their art for the wonderment, laughter and entertainment of the carnival crowd. Namur in May will be held over the Ascension weekend 16th-20th May this year.

Namur is a relatively central city in Belgium; it stands at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers. It’s a mostly French speaking town with aspects of grand architecture and a wealth of culture and history for you to enjoy as well as making the most of the fairground festival.

Tickets have been on sale since the start of May and though this is a city wide event and so unlikely to sell out you may want to pre-purchase for safety’s sake. The town centre in Namur will be closed off to cars so be warned when getting about, you may wish to book a hotel in the city rather than drive and park each day.

This festival has been running since 1996 and draws a host of creative and awe-inspiring acts. This would be great fun for the family or a unique romantic getaway, Namur is definitely a city for hand-in-hand walks.

Each day of the festival ends with a Fairground Cabaret, half of the events at the festival are free and there’s a spirit of gaiety as the street performers try to outdo each other. The aim of the festival is to celebrate the wittiest and merriest performers, with clowns tightrope walkers acrobats and carousels you’re guaranteed a good time in Namur this May.

Namur is a rather central province in Belgium, if you take a P&O Ferry to the port city Zeebrugge you can get to Namur via train from Brussels or take a roadtrip down to the festival.

Image credit: doegox

P&O Ferries: National Mills Day


Every year on the second Saturday of May, the Netherlands opens up around 600 of its windmills for the public as part of National Mills Day.

In 2012, Nation Mills Day will be hosted on the weekend of the 12th May.

It’s normally safe to gamble on great weather during mid-May, and with the flat terrain that Holland is famed for we recommend taking your tour by bike. Last year, National Cycling Day was combined with National Mills Day as a bid to get more people on two wheels, and it went down a storm.

A family cycling holiday across open stretched country this summer could be a wonderful way to bond, relax and get some exercise at the same time. Plotting your course will be a breeze thanks to the National Mills Day maps which will be given out to participants.

Windmills in the Netherlands have a long history, dating back to the 18th century. They helped build Holland’s infrastructure, and many innovations in mill technology happened there first before spreading across Europe.

There are currently around 1150 functioning windmills in Holland, and the ones open for free entry this May will fly blue pennants to signal to passers-by.

Windmills have been developed for various industrial purposes; they don’t all just grind corn. You’ll be able to find out about the workings of watermills, how saw milling works as well as the mechanisms of mills designed for land drainage.

From Hull to Rotterdam you can catch a P&O ferry, an overnight trip will land you just a short drive away from the nearest mill. If you want to rent a bike out there then you could even start cycling from the port city.

Image credit: JASON ANFINSEN

P&O Ferries minicruises to the Keukenhof gardens


Fancy a trip to the famed Keukenhof bulbfields? Then you’re in luck – P&O Ferries are offering minicruises to this famous Dutch flower show until the 20th May.

On 32 hectares, visitors to the Keukenhof gardens will be able to admire blower beds, garden designs, and a huge array of colours and fragrances. Check out our blog post about this lovely attraction here.

On the P&O Ferries minicruise, you’ll have the chance to dine in the West End Langan’s Brasserie and the on-board Four Seasons buffet restaurant, and enjoy a film in the swimming cinema or have a go in the casino.

During the day shore, you’ll be picked up on a coach and driven to the Keukenhof gardens, where you can spend the day wandering among picturesque scenery and taking in the fantastic visuals, before boarding the ferry for your return journey to Hull.

The Keukenhof minicruise offer is vaild until 20th May. For more details and booking as well as a travel itinerary, go here.

Image credit: penwin

P&O Ferries: Lille’s International Soup Festival


If there is one dish that unites all corners of the globe, it has to be soup. La Louche d’Or – or the Golden Ladle – festival, which is being held on the streets of Wazemmes, Lille, on May 1st 2012, follows that spirit and invites the world to come and join in.

This festival has been running since 1984, and it now draws a large crowd of around 80,000 – rest assured, they’re not all in line for soup.

The Golden Ladle Soup festival isn’t just about the food, it’s a street party with local bands and artists travelling from across the globe. Audience participation is a must: not only can you go and whip up your own favourite soup recipes for the crowd, but you can also perform as well.

There’s a general party atmosphere, as the festival lasts for the entire day and well in to the night. The variety of dishes available will really broaden your palate and expert soup chefs will happily trade tips and give you some help if you show an interest in how (just an example) to make a hearty, German-style lentil and sausage soup.

Lille is in the North of France, so your journey from Calais will be a brief one. It’s filled with things to see, like the Palais de Beaux Arts, whose collection of masterpieces was first instigated by Napoleon. It boasts to be the second best art collection in France, and it contains statues, paintings and prints dating back to the Middle Ages as well as displays from Renaissance masters.

It is also a city of great character: from quaint narrow cobble streets to mammoth heralds like the Place du Generale de Gaulle, Lille is a city built for exploration. Once you’ve had your fill of soup, you can amble through the market squares or luxuriate at one of the sun-drenched cafes or bars.

Lille is just a short drive from Calais, all the soup you can imagine is just across the channel and P&O Ferries have a frequent which will get you to La Louche d’Or

Image credit: crd!

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