Category Archives: Europe

24 Free places To visit In Britain

1. Many British museums and galleries offer free entry. Try former brewery The Tetley for modern art in Leeds, northern England or, for something tangier, Colman’s Mustard Museum in Norwich, eastern England. There’s also the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern in London, Tate Liverpool in  Liverpool (unsurprisingly) and hundreds more.  For more info

2. Similarly, few of Britain’s famous churches levy visitors. Consider the Romanesque splendour of Durham Cathedral in northeastern England, or, in December, King’s College Chapel’s famous Christmas Eve carol service in Cambridge, an hour above London via train. Start queuing before 9am to guarantee entry.  More on the web and

3. While paid-for boat trips out into southwestern Wales’ Cardigan Bay give visitors the best chance of watching dolphins, climbing to the overlooking village of Mwnt makes an ace budget alternative.

4. Tickets to many BBC shows in London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Belfast and other cities aren’t priced; check for the latest availability or to find a lot of other interesting info!

5. Peckish? Entry to August’s Clitheroe Food Festival in northwestern England is gratis, as are its demos and near-limitless sampling nibbles. Cancelled for 2021 but may be will be back?!

6. There’s no charge for staring at the Cerne Abbas Giant, a huge chalk sculpture in Dorset, southern England, and one of Britain’s finest man-made landmarks. Nor at Hadrian’s Wall, which spans the length of far northern England. More info here and

7. A true Northern Irish landmark, the 125ft-high Scrabo Tower has wondrous views over Strangford Lough, just south-east of Belfast. No disbursement is needed to climb up.

8. Or there are complimentary natural wonders. Up in Scotland, Ben Nevis is the UK’s highest mountain, but can be climbed in four hours. Ninety minutes’ drive west of Cardiff, Wales’s Rhossili Bay is a regular in charts of the world’s best beaches. and

9. Look out for Common Blues and rare Marsh Fritillaries for no cost at Dunsdon Nature Reserve in south-western England: the marshy meadows attract hosts of butterflies, particularly in May and June.

10. One of the Northern Irish capital’s grandest buildings, Belfast City Hall offers free, one-hour tours (Monday-Friday, 11am, 2pm & 3pm; Saturdays 2pm & 3pm) on a first-come, first-served basis.

11. A fun, modern form of treasure-hunting, geocaching necessitates only a GPS device (i.e. your phone) and some common sense. Themed trails can act as an introduction to scenic British spots – for example, the Brecon Beacons Collection in eastern Wales. Visit their website for more info

12. When a major auction house – Christie’s in London, say, or Birmingham’s Fellows – has a big sale, why not go and view the lots, posing as a would-be buyer? No dues are required to do so. or

13. While some Banksy works sell for millions, others by the mysterious graffiti artist remain open to all. Follow a Banksy Walking Tour around Bristol to spy some of the best-remaining pieces, beginning with The Grim Reaper on a harbourside houseboat.

14. Alternatively, head to Crosby Beach, near Liverpool, to see the Another Place installation: 100 ghostly, life-size iron figures by sculptor Antony Gormley, sprawling almost one kilometre out to sea.

15. Free guided walks, taking in the iconic Royal Crescent, are available in Bath, southwestern England. Further north, choose between culture and architecture by downloading the no-cost Manchester Walking Tours app to your iPhone.,

16. Every August, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival incorporates thousands of freebie arts shows – drama, comedy, cabaret, spoken word and so on. Wander the city’s cobbled Royal Mile to collect flyer invitations.

17. Other than the expenditure of hiring a two-wheeler, Britain’s bicycle routes are free to enjoy. An hour from London, the Crab & Winkle Way is a leafy, seven-mile former railway line linking cathedral city Canterbury with the oyster-fishing hub of Whitstable.

18. How about a free festival? There’s London’s famous Notting Hill Carnival on the August Bank Holiday weekend, or the Cardiff Summer Festival, a blur of street theatre, music and funfair rides.,

19. City farms will delight small children, with pattable horses, mucky pigs and cuddly little lambs. There’s one within Birmingham’s Sheldon Country Park and also Rice Lane in Liverpool; entry to both is on the house.,

20. While Stonehenge charges visitors, Northern Ireland’s equivalent does not. The seven Beaghmore Stone Circles, a 90-minute drive west from Belfast, are wild and atmospheric; one, known as Dragon’s Teeth, boasts some 800 separate slabs.

21. One of Britain’s classic royal spectacles, Changing of the Guard ceremonies outside London’s Buckingham Palace don’t cost a penny to view.

22. Just up the Norfolk coast is Britain’s best seal hotspot. Take a long-lens camera to Blakeney Point’s saltmarshes in December and you’ll get to see hundreds of cute grey seal pups.

23. During September weekends in Scotland, Doors Open Days scheme enables complimentary access to a variety of heritage sites, buildings, farms and more. Last year’s highlights included Glasgow Cathedral and creative offices at Dundee’s waterfront District 10 development.

24. Sure, some of Wales’ 400 castles impose an entry tariff; but not the little-known Dryslwyn – despite the fabulous Towy Valley views from its regal hilltop perch.

How to spend a wonderful sommertime in the Lake Geneva Region ?

«Encounters in Vaud»

Marie-France Meylan Krause – Director of the Roman sites and museum of Avenches
A 2,000 year-old town, as dynamic and fascinating as ever? That’s Avenches, of course. Let yourself get carried away by the passion of Marie-France Meylan Krause, the director of the Roman sites and museum of Avenches and discover this Roman town, whose ancient walls still vibrate to the sounds of major festivals taking place there: Opera Festival ( , Rock Oz’Arènes ( and Avenches Tattoo ( . A unique experience.
49th Montreux Jazz Festival
Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival from 3rd to 18th July, has become one of the leading cultural events of the planet. For two weeks, the Montreux Jazz Festival offers an exceptional venue to musicians, a moment suspended in an intimate setting where history continues to be written each year.
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This athletics meeting, which is a member of the Diamond League and was listed as number 1 worldwide in 2012, has acquired international prestige over the years. Some 250 elite athletes from more than 70 countries are expected to participate. The event is held at the Pontaise Olympic Stadium in Lausanne on the 9th of July.
More info… (
Paléo Festival
The Paléo Festival Nyon from 21st to 26th July, has become a must-attend music event in Europe. Each year, more than 200 concerts and shows are performed for the 230,000 spectators gathered on the 84 hectares of festival grounds. Each edition features unforgettable shows and architectural and artistic installations.
More info… (
3rd Land of Children Festival
This event is especially dedicated to children, but not only! Families and groups of friends enjoy it too: laughter and fun guaranteed! Shows, entertainment, workshops and many other surprises to be discovered during the 9 festival days from 25th July to 2nd August held in Château d’Oex, Rougemont and Rossinière.
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Belfast Zoo takes delivery of critically endangered dragon

Belfast Zoo takes delivery of critically endangered dragon

~ Finale of advertising campaign to showcase Northern Ireland to millions of Game of Thrones® fans worldwide ~
Dragon in Belfast Zoo
(Toronto, ON – 09 June 2015) – Following months of negotiations, Belfast Zoological Gardens (BZG) is delighted to welcome the arrival of a critically endangered dragon at Belfast Zoo.
Considered all but extinct, the animal is housed in a specially designed enclosure, and where possible, his prey will be sourced from outside the zoo’s own collection.
The infant male currently has a wing-span of 10ft, but when fully grown his skull alone will measure up to 23ft.
Belfast Zoo Manager Mark Challis said: “We’re thrilled to have such an exceptionally rare creature here at Belfast Zoo. This dragon is an important addition not only for us, but for Northern Ireland as a whole. Despite their fearsome reputation and fabled ability to burn entire cities to ashes, we’d like to reassure the residents of Belfast that our keepers have received expert training, and we’re looking forward to seeing him thrive in his new environment.”

The animatronic dragon, which is operated by two controllers, marks the culmination of a campaign by Tourism Ireland in partnership with HBO® to promote Northern Ireland as the home of Game of Thrones®, and capitalize on the rise of screen tourism.
On Tuesday 9th June, visitors to the zoo can expect to see ‘dragon feeding time’, and watch the chief vet give him a checkup. Other events in the series have captured the imagination of Game of Thrones® fans, with some tracking down the stunts within hours of them going live. Video clips have attracted millions of views online.

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Born to rule – explore the castles and palaces where royal British children spent their childhoods

Sandringham Estate holds many memories for the Royal Family. It is a favourite retreat of The Queen, and the late Princess Diana was born in a cottage located in the estate’s extensive grounds. Prince Charles had many childhood adventures at Sandringham House, the much-loved royal retreat, which is a beautiful place to visit. It’s only a short trip from King’s Lynn station, itself around a two-hour train journey from London.

Both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born at Buckingham Palace and it is still where notices of Royal births and deaths are attached to the railings for members of the public to read, despite news likely to appear via social media first! The announcements of the births of both the new princess and older brother Prince George were made there, presented on an easel just inside the gates that thousands of visitors flocked to see. The Palace, located in the heart of London, is open to the public for several weeks in the summer.

Glamis Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother and the birthplace of her second daughter, Princess Margaret. Built in the late 1300s, and just a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh, the castle still belongs to the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, yet is also open to the public. There are regular scheduled tours, several exhibition rooms and beautiful gardens to visit.

Windsor has a vibrant royal history, especially where young royals are concerned! Y Bwthyn Bach, also known as The Little House, is a miniature cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge. The Little House was presented to Queen Elizabeth (then Princess) on her sixth birthday and the Queen’s children and grandchildren have played in the house over the decades, although it isn’t open to the public. However, located to the south of Windsor town centre, Windsor Great Park is a well-loved and popular recreational retreat for many families, and has views of Windsor Castle (which you can visit). Windsor is also home to LEGOLAND, where you can see a miniature version of Buckingham Palace, home to The Queen!,,

The first Tudor King of England, King Henry VII (born Harri Tudor), was born in Pembroke Castle, in south-west Wales in 1457. The castle is a historical landmark and was restored to its original glory in the mid-1900s. A must-see when visiting Wales, its exhibitions and guided tours offer a fascinating insight into Britain’s history. Be sure to enjoy a cup of coffee on your visit; the castle’s café is rumoured to have the best coffee in Pembrokeshire!

Edinburgh Castle, perched high on the hill over the Scottish capital, was the birthplace of King James VI in June 1566. As well as an interesting tour of this Royal Palace where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only child, James, visitors will experience The Honours of Scotland, which are the nation’s crown jewels.

Switzerland: News from Lake Geneva Region… Spring 2015 edition

Lake Geneva Region Spring 2015 News

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 14, 2015. This spring in the Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland, celebrate the revival of the legendary Narcissus Festival in Montreux, luxuriate in a reborn century-old five-star hotel in Lausanne, and participate in the 100th anniversary of the International Olympic Committee at the Olympic Museum. These are among the highlights of the season.

Montreux Narcissus Festival

Every spring, fields of wild narcissus bloom and transform the meadows above Montreux and Vevey into what locals call Neige de Mai, the “May snow.” Between 1897 and 1957, the white blossoms were celebrated with the yearly Narcissus Festival, which culminated in a procession of floral floats that signified the end of the traditional high season in Montreux. From May 2 to June 7, that tradition will be revived when the Fête des Narcisses is held once again in the Montreux Riviera after a 58 year pause. The highlight will be on May 30, when a floral float parade moves through the streets of Montreux, evoking the festival’s golden years. There will be marked mountain trails through the blooming fields, set against a dramatic backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Alps. The history of the festival, which began in the Belle Époque, will be honored by exhibitions in Montreux, La Tour-de-Peilz and Vevey. A folkloric market in Vevey will offer traditional wares associated with the festival, and the finale will be a gala evening and the election of the “Narcissus Queen” in Montreux.

The Hotel Royal Savoy Reopens in Lausanne

Lausanne is a city renowned for its five-star palace hotels and this summer, it will welcome the glorious reopening of one of its grand dames. After a dramatic refurbishment, the legendary Hotel Royal Savoy in the heart of the city will reopen as a five-star property. When it debuted in 1906, the palatial Art Nouveau hotel quickly became a favorite of royals from around the world. Located midway between the Lausanne train station and the shores of Lake Geneva, the hotel has undergone a more than $100 million renovation. The grand façade has been maintained but inside there are dramatic modern interiors, thanks to the award-winning Maria Vafiadis of MKV Design in London. The Royal Savoy will have 196 rooms, including 37 suites and junior suites, and one dedicated suite on a private floor. Ninety five of the rooms will be housed in the hotel’s new wing. The Royal Savoy will also unveil a new spa and fitness center that includes an indoor/outdoor pool. The hotel will have multiple dining choices, from a 120 seat main restaurant to a terrace accommodating up to 100 guests and a 60 seat lobby lounge. The spectacular new Sky Terrace on the roof will have 60 seats and a dramatic 360° panoramic view over the city of Lausanne, Lake Geneva and the Alps. The Royal Savoy, which is one of three properties of the Burgenstock Selection and is owned by Qatar-based Katara Hospitality, will reopen in the summer of 2015.

Aquatis Hotel

The Aquatis Hotel is new three-star property that opened at the end of March and anchors the new Aquatis Swiss Aquarium and Water Museum, which will open in 2016. The hotel has 143 rooms, two restaurants with terraces that provide seating for more than 700 people, conference rooms for more than 600 participants as well as a spa and fitness center. The Aquatis is situated close to Lausanne and has striking views of the Alps, Lake Geneva and the rooftops of Lausanne.

100th Anniversary of IOC in Lausanne

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894 in Paris but in 1915, it moved its headquarters to the waterfront of Lausanne, the capital of the canton of Vaud. From March 25 to June 28, 2015, a number of events are being organised by the IOC to celebrate its centennial ties to the “Olympic Capital.” There will be an exhibition at the Olympic Museum’s gallery and on the weekend of June 27-28, there will be a joint celebration with the city of Lausanne that will include a public road race.

Montreux Riviera Honors its Celebrities

The famous creative residents of the Montreux Riviera are legion, from Freddie Mercury and Charlie Chaplin to Ernest Hemingway and Lord Byron. To mark the presence of the musicians, writers and actors who took up residence in the region, Montreux-Vevey Tourism has launched a new mobile app called “Sur les traces de nos hôtes célèbres” (“On the Tracks of our Famous Guests”). Using location settings, the route can be followed on foot or on an electric bike, which can be rented. There is also an audio accompaniment available in English.

Issue: # Month/Year
Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland
Located in the French-speaking part of Western Switzerland, the Lake Geneva Region is an enduring, picture-postcard destination of classic mountain beauty, refined cuisine and legendary hotels. The region is seemingly timeless, with lakeside promenades, steamships and five-star Belle Époque-era hotels. The Lake Geneva Region is home to the Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival and the annual winter Festival de Ballons in Château-d’Oex, the world capital of ballooning. For more information, visit

Wild Atlantic Way with Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland. Spring 2015 News


The Wild Atlantic Way; the Longest Coastal Route in the World

Experience it with Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland


March 17, 2015. County Wicklow, Ireland – The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal touring route in the world, embracing Ireland’s wild West Coast landscape, ancient monuments and historical sites. It’s a stunning route that twists and turns for 1,600 miles along an undulating coastline from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork. The Wild Atlantic Way is not just a driving route, it’s an invitation to adventure.

With countless ways to explore it by sea kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and even surfing, Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland makes it all accessible, thanks to their smartly planned multi-sport scheduled trips that take adventurous travelers to these authentic, off the beaten path areas along the route. Rates for a seven-day trip along the Wild Atlantic Way start at just $1,340 per person.

Utilizing custom-designed Land Rovers that take no more than 13 passengers, Vagabond trips explore an area in depth with daily adventures. One day it might be sea kayaking in sheltered waters off the coast of Cork, while another day its horseback riding along a beach in Kerry. Nightly stays are in coastal villages and towns, in locally owned guesthouses and small hotels.

One of Vagabond’s classic Wild Atlantic Way journeys is their World Tour of Ireland. Focused on the southwest and counties Kerry and Cork, this seven-day trip includes sea kayaking off the Beara Peninsula, horseback riding on the Dingle Peninsula, and mountain biking in Killarney National Park. The price is $1,340, based on double occupancy, including accommodations and breakfasts.

The Wild Atlantic Way may be Ireland’s best-kept secret and with the dollar at its strongest in 11 years, this is the perfect year to discover it.

Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland

Since 2002, Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland has been leading travelers on small group tours around Ireland. Vagabond was founded by Rob & Amy Rankin after traveling extensively through Southern Africa. Impressed by the classic African travel modes of safari and overland tours, they decided to bring the concept to Ireland. They established Driftwood Irish Journeys of Discovery in 2011 as a division of Vagabond to offer trips for more leisurely travelers. For more information, visit

GREAT ways to save on Britain! Spring 2015 News

GREAT ways to save on Britain

Your cash travels further with these value-for-money options

Toronto (February 24, 2015) – Pack your bags for the trip to Britain you’ve always wanted. With excellent value-for-money options, you really can make your cash go further and indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of British cities, explore the glorious countryside and tour the castles and stately homes you’ve only seen on film and television.

Here are top ways Canadian visitors can see as much of Britain for as little as possible:

Buy before you go: Many offerings are available on for travellers to buy in Canadian dollars before they leave Canada. Visiting London? Save on the Visitor Oyster Card. This pay-as-you-go smartcard can be used on all public transport in London. A tube journey costs $4.47 (£2.30) with Oyster or $9.32 (£4.80) with cash giving users a 50% discount. The card also provides exclusive discounts and offers at top restaurants and shops. Also save on The London Pass, which provides visitors access to 60-plus attractions including Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. Visiting just three top attractions in a day can save you $38.83 (£20). It also saves time as it grants priority entry, moving you to the front of the line.

And for theatre buffs, the ticketing service for London’s renowned theatre saves you up to 60% on your tickets on a selection of the biggest musicals, comedies, dramas, classics and family-friendly West End favourites. Dinner and a show packages are also available saving you more on a complete night out in London. Can’t make up your mind before you get there? Visit TKTS, the official London Theatre ticket booth located in Leicester Square, for daily discounts. You can also save considerably by purchasing standing stalls tickets such as those at The Globe Theatre from $9.71 (£5) and for the English National Opera from $19.41 (£10).

World-class museums and galleries: You don’t need to spend a penny to soak up some of the best of British culture. Entrance is free to many major museums, not just in London at the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery and Tate Modern (celebrating its 15th anniversary this year), but step beyond the capital to save in other fabulous cities. If you are in Edinburgh for the festivals in August, don’t miss the Free Fringe. It offers hundreds of free events and is a fantastic opportunity to watch innovative performances from music to comedy to poetry recitals ( Discover more about Scotland’s natural history and its ancient cultures at the National Museum of Scotland, which recently underwent a multi-million pound redevelopment. (

Countryside charms: The National Trust Touring Pass allows unlimited access to over 300 stately homes, gardens and castles for $46.60 (£24) (for seven days) and children under 5 go free. Enjoy the ease of unlimited rail travel throughout England, Scotland and Wales with the BritRail GB Flexi pass. Days do not have to be consecutive so you are free to change your travel plans as you please, and no need to stand in line for tickets. Enjoy huge savings compared to buying individual tickets for each journey. BritRail passes must be purchased before you leave Canada, as they are not available in Britain. This year marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John and his barons. Destinations across England will celebrate the anniversary of this iconic charter for outlining the ideas of freedom, democracy and rule of law with six new tourist trails,

On the trail of GREAT food: Britain offers a delicious array of food and drink, from Michelin-starred restaurants to modestly priced gastropubs. Explore the countryside along outstanding food trails in popular regions such as Yorkshire and Cornwall, as well as Wales and Scotland to meet local producers, sample seasonal produce and experience the freshest ingredients. Scotland is celebrating a year of food and drink, and you don’t have to pay top money to get some of the tastiest offerings. The buzz in Glasgow is along Sauchiehall, a great place to head to for some excellent food at terrific prices. Cocktail & Burger is a cool basement bar and restaurant, offering $9.71 (£5) lunch deals (, while further down the street, if you want to upgrade to a steak, head to the Butchershop Bar & Grill ( In Edinburgh, you can find fresh, seasonal, local, sustainable and homemade dishes for less than $19.41 (£10) at Bia Bistrot, ( Also with a strong focus on local and British ingredients is The Dogs gastropub in the city centre you’ll find lunchtime feasts of haggis and Cumberland sausage hash with whisky sauce and beef burger with black pudding for less than $13.59 (£7) ( The 100% vegetarian, fair trade and organic, Milgi in Cardiff is a unique venue that is a restaurant, a bar, a café, a gallery, a music venue – and aims to offer customers good prices; try the vegetarian Sunday lunch for under 17.47(£9), join in ‘art club and curry’ nights for $12.62 (£6.50), while every third Sunday of the month Milgi holds a $1.94 (£1) market for some bargain shopping (

Northern cultural renaissance: Whether you’re a football fan or a history buff, Manchester’s free museums are a must including the National Football Museum, the Manchester Museum, the Imperial War Museum North and the People’s Museum – where interactive exhibits relate a 200-year tale of British democracy ( Beatles fans will want to visit locations that inspired John, Paul, George and Ringo…and can do so for free! Soak up the electric atmosphere in The Cavern – the venue where it all began for The Beatles – during the day or Monday to Wednesday evenings when there is free admission, and head to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields for those must-do photo opportunities ( There are plenty of other Beatles-specific visitor attractions such as the Beatles Story or the National Trust joint tour of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes – these are both ticketed (, And Liverpool will be central on May 25 to the 175th anniversary of the Cunard Line when the Three Queens (Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria) meet there to salute the city,

About us
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain and for developing the UK’s visitor economy.
Canadians made 744,000 visits to Britain in 2013 and spent $966 million CAD (£531 million) – making Britain the fourth most popular outbound destination overall for Canadians and the second most popular long-haul destination.
Visitors traveling to Britain can find out more information fromvisitbritain.complus purchase money and time saving local transport, sightseeing, attraction, theatre and tour tickets
Follow us on Twitter@VisitBritain,Pinterest(Love GREAT Britain), Instagram:lovegreatbritainand Facebook:LoveGREATbritain

Cathy Stapells
PR & Communications Manager – Canada

Encounters in Vaud. Spring 2015 News

Tim Vodoz, driver of a snow groomer in Villars-sur-Ollon / Les Diablerets.

Discover the behind scenes of the slopes you enjoy skiing down on ! Enter a wonderful world in the heart of the great open spaces of the Alps of the Lake Geneva Region in the company of Tim Vodoz, who has prepared the ski runs of Villars-Gryon for eleven years. The sixth part of the “Encounter in Vaud” series presents an extraordinary job full of passion and loneliness in breathtaking scenery, which will make you dream of getting away.
On February 27 and 28, the Leysin ski resort will be holding the very first edition of its new event called “Urban Ski”, a freestyle and music festival. On the programme: an international slackline/trickline competition, as well as a Rail Cash Contest in which the riders have to compete on a rail track to win up to CHF 500 in cash. After this great sports day, it is time to get the amplifiers vibrating with the reggae sounds of Omar Perry, the son of legendary Lee Scratch Perry! These events are open to all and free.
More info… (
Marchairuz Trophy
The Marchairuz Trophy was created in 1971 in the Jura of the Lake Geneva Region. It will take place as usual on the second Sunday of March, i.e. March 8. This very popular individual free-style cross-country competition is proposed over several distances. Two runs for adults over 15 or 30 km and two runs for children over 3 km or 7 km. The trophy is celebrating its 45^th edition this year! The ski club of Gimel is hoping to welcome many participants on this occasion.
More info… (
#MyVaud winter contest
Participate in the great photo contest organised by the Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office. Open to all, this contest offers you the chance to win a weekend in the winter destinations of the Lake Geneva Region. Participating is child’s play! Take pictures of you, your family or your friends during your winter sports outings and share them on the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr) by adding the hashtag #MyVaud. Don’t wait any longer and – good luck!
More info… (
Montagnette Trophy
Château-d’Oex and Pays-d’Enhaut invite to participate in the first Montagnette sled trophy on Sunday, March 8, 2015 on the La Braye sled track. Whether you are with children, family or friends, you are all awaited to tear down this 4 km track with a slope of 410 m! There are two types of categories to choose from: the OGNI category with unidentified gliding objects and the sled category. One thing’s for sure: you will feel the adrenaline flow during this descent!
More info… (!home-en/cify
Ski & Snow Fiesta
From March 27 to April 12, Villars, Gryon and Les Diablerets will be holding their low-priced spring festival called Ski & musique. Enjoy a 30% discount on ski equipment rentals, ski lessons and accommodation. If you stay in a hotel, even the ski pass is free! DJs and musicians, such as Keziah Jones who will be performing on March 28, will get the snow runs and the resorts vibrating during two activity-packed weeks and three weekends — at no charge!

More info… (!home-en/cify)
Go for Kids FREE up to 9 years
Family outings are even better when they cost less. Don’t miss this special family offer in the Alpine resorts of the Lake Geneva Region! All ski and chair lifts as well as accommodation in the parents’ room in the partner hotels are free for kids below 9 years of age. The “GoKids Family Club” is intended for families, offering them over 30 exclusive advantages

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St.Patrick’s Day recipes from Paul Rankin

St Patrick’s Day Recipes from Paul Rankin

For Immediate Release

(11 March 2014, Toronto, ON) — Wishing you a Happy St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland’s Celebrity Chef Paul Rankin shares his favorite Irish recipes to enjoy on March 17th. Please feel free to publish, share and post.

St Patrick’s Day is a great time to celebrate all that is wonderful about Irish produce and cooking. So what could be better than using the whole day to celebrate the culinary delights of the Emerald Isle? I have selected one of my favourite St Patrick’s inspired recipes for you to try at home. Make this St Patrick’s Day one to remember with this Irish Coffee Tart & Brown Bread Parfait.” Paul Rankin

Irish Coffee Tart

A dark and sumptuous tart with smooth chocolate as the background for the coffee and whiskey flavors. The ultimate touch is the Bailey’s Irish cream in the topping, but you could leave that out if preferred.

SERVES 8 – 10


For the base:

125 g. unsalted butter, diced
25 g. soft golden brown sugar
45 g. sugar
125 g. plain flour
1 ½ Tbsp. cornflour
pinch of salt
175 g. toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

for the tart filling:

300 ml. double cream
100 ml. single cream
100 ml. Bushmill’s Irish whiskey
300 g. dark chocolate, finely chopped
100 g. milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. coffee extract ( or very strong coffee )
2 eggs

for the topping:

½ leaf or 1 tsp. powdered gelatine
250 ml. whipping cream
150 g. icing sugar
4 Tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream


Preheat the oven to 170’C. / 325’F.

Process the butter, sugars, flour, corn flour, salt, and half of the prepared hazelnuts to a crumbly texture and pat into the base of a 23 cm. springform tin in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160’C. / 310’F.

For the filling, bring the double and single creams to the boil together, remove from heat, and add the Bushmill’s and coffee extract. Cool slightly before stirring in the chopped chocolates. Stir and when they have melted, stir in the eggs. Pour the filling over the cooked base, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for approx. 20 minutes until just set, but still slightly wobbly at the centre. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the topping, soften the gelatine in 2 Tbsp. cold water for a few minutes, heat gently to dissolve, then set aside to cool slightly. Beat the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks, sift in the icing sugar, and mix in the gelatine and Bailey’s. Spread in an even layer over the chocolate filling and leave to set.

Serve in slices with a chocolate sauce and lightly whipped cream with the remaining hazelnuts scattered over and around the cake.

Brown Bread Parfait with Bushmills Prunes

SERVES 4 – 6



70 g. white chocolate, chopped
175 ml. Double cream
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ vanilla pod, split
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
175 g. Irwin’s stoneground brown soda bread, crusts removed, and broken up to pea size crumbs


200 ml. Water
50 ml. Orange juice
175 g. sugar
½ lemon1/2 orange
120 g. pitted prunes
4 – 6 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey


To make the parfait, melt the white chocolate. Place half the cream, the milk, and the
vanilla on to boil in a small pan.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. When the cream mix has come to the boil, slowly pour it on to the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking continuously. Return to a medium heat and cook out over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When it is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, and allow to cool slightly.

Add the custard to the melted chocolate, and fold in the bread crumbs. Place in the fridge to chill for about ½ hour.

Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it and the Bushmills together with the custard mix.

Pour into individual ramekins, ( approx. 100 ml. Size ) and place in the freezer, for at least 2 – 3 hours, or even over night. ( If it is too hard, take from freezer to fridge for about an hour or two before serving. )

Place the water, orange juice, sugar, orange, and lemon in a medium pan, and bring to the boil. Add the prunes, cover, and summer gently until soft, about 20 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the lemon half, and orange half, and add the Bushmills. Set to one side.

To serve, demold by dipping each ramekin into hot water for a couple seconds, just to loosen, and then run a sharp knife around the edge. Carefully tip out the parfait into the centre of each plate, and surround with the Bushmill laced prunes, and a little of the prune juice. Garnish with mint and icing sugar as desired.

Serve and enjoy!

Lake Geneva Region Spring News 2014

Lake Geneva Region Spring News 2014

March 12, 2014 Lausanne, Switzerland – Travel in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn, ride the cheese train into the mountains, dine in the dark in Lausanne and attend a jazz festival in the wine village of Cully. These are among the highlights this spring in the Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland.

A Fair Lady

Homage to Audrey Hepburn at Fondation Bolle in Morges

Hollywood film star Audrey Hepburn left her mark on the cinematic world in films such as Charade, Roman Holiday and My Fair Lady. She also left many memories in Tolochenaz, near Morges, where she spent the last 30 years of her life. The exhibition “Audrey Hepburn à la une et sur un plateau de tournage” will be held from March 22 to June 1, 2014 at Fondation Bolle in Morges. To mark the occasion, Morges Region Tourism is relaunching its On the Trail of Audrey Hepburn Package. It includes one night in a three- or four-star hotel, a special “In the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn” town map, admission to the new “Homage to Audrey Hepburn” exhibition at Fondation Bolle, coffee at the Maier Confectionary, a tea room frequented by Audrey Hepburn, and a box of “Audrey Hepburn” chocolates in a commemorative tin. The offer is good from April 1 to December 31, 2014. Rates start at $98 per night, based on double occupancy. For information on participating hotels and to book, contact Morges Tourism, or visit (Press may contact ConranPR for a list of participating hotels).

Food & Wine

GoldenPass launches the “Cheese Train”

The “Cheese Train” takes passengers on a day trip into the mountains. Using vintage Belle Epoque carriages, the train offers local cheese samples en route to Château-d’Oex and the traditional Le Chalet restaurant for a demonstration of wood-fired fromage-making by a cheese-maker in traditional Vaud costume, followed by a fondue lunch. Then it’s on to the Museum of Vieux Pays-d’Enhaut, which exhibits popular mountain art and recreations of old interiors, traditional objects and an exhibition of some famous pieces of decoupage art before returning to Montreux at day’s end. The Cheese Train will run until April 27th 2014, from Friday to Sunday. Prices from $44. After that, there are still plenty of other scenic rail journeys in the region, including excursions to Rocher-de-Naye for a high altitude mountaintop lunch (and cheese of course) at Restaurant Plein Roc. Visit

Eyes Closed, Mouths Open – Lausanne’s New Dine-in-the-Dark restaurant

The Noir d’Ivoire restaurant in Lausanne’s trendy Flon area, a reclaimed warehouse district downtown, serves guests gourmet meals in complete and utter darkness. The restaurant opened in November 2013 by Chef Jérémie Baudeau and serves a prix fixe menu that gives guests a heightened sensual experience, using all their senses except sight. From $89 per person, reservations required.

Corks Popping – Wine Cellar Tastings and the Vinorama

On the weekend of June 7th and 8th, local vintners, as well as restaurant and hotel owners, welcome guests with wine tastings and local food at the annual Caves Ouvertes Vaudoise. A “wine passport” is $17 for the tastings and reduced train packages and local free transportation makes it easy for guests to attend. Year round, visitors can taste and purchase hundreds of Vaud wines at the Lavaux Vinorama, the regional wine center built into terraced vineyards of Lavaux (themselves a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is entirely dedicated to vines and wine.

Star Power: Michelin and GaultMillau

The 2014 edition of the Michelin Guide has awarded stars to 14 restaurants in the Lake Geneva Region, for a total of 19 stars. GaultMillau gave 103 restaurants in the region a total of 1,434 points and singled out Christophe Pacheco of the restaurant Le Berceau des Sens at Lausanne Hotel School as “Discovery of the Year” in French-speaking Switzerland. Thibaut Panas of the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, was awarded “Sommelier of the Year”.

Million Dollar Locations for Two Budget-Friendly Hotels

You don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy Swiss hospitality at these three-star hotels, one reborn and one brand new. In the heart of Swiss wine country, the Hôtel du Nord in Aigle is a three-star property that’s close to Aigle Castle and a quick train ride to the alpine resort of Leysin. There are 24 redecorated guest rooms and a new bar/lounge where guest can sample local Chablais wines. From $172 per night, including breakfast, based on double occupancy. The new Discovery Hotel is located in Crissier, just minutes from Lake Geneva and Lausanne. When it opens in April 2014, this three-star superior hotel will have 98 rooms, a fitness center, a restaurant with terrace and a roof terrace with panoramic views of the Lausanne area. All of this from $143 per night, including breakfast, based on double occupancy.

The Ultimate Swiss Watch (Man)

Lausanne’s Night Watchman Video

The Lake Geneva Region has launched a new video project, focusing on the people who embody the region and its traditions. The first video is about Renato Häusler, the “guet” (night watchman) of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne. Since 2002, Renato has carried out a Lausanne tradition that dates back over 600 years to 1405. From the walkway atop the 246 foot cathedral tower, Häusler calls out the hour between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. “C’est le guet, il a sonné dix…” (“It’s the watcher, it has rung ten…”). Click here to view the video.

The Hills are Alive – with Jazz and Dance

The Cully Jazz Festival

The legendary 48th annual Montreux Jazz Festival takes place July 4 – 19, 2014. Three months prior, another popular jazz fest takes place down the shoreline from Montreux in the lakeside wine village of Cully, at the foot of the Lavaux vineyards. From April 4 to 12, 2014, the sounds of jazz, blues and rock fill the streets during the 32nd Cully Jazz Festival. There will be some 70 performances, including concerts by drummer Julian Sartorius and the Zurich trio Rusconi, accompanied by experimental guitar master Fred Frith and the bass player Avishai Cohen. The music continues in local wine cellars and cafes in the village.

Béjart Ballet Lausanne

The Béjart Ballet has its season at the Beaulieu Lausanne in May and in December each year, presenting by the late master Maurice Béjart and new ballets created by Gil Roman, the current Artistic Director. This year’s performances, from May 21 to 25, will include 7 Danses Grecques by Maurice Béjart and Kyôdai by Gil Roman.

For more news and information, visit