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Dynamic packaging: UK short breaks – 30 Nov 2006

Just because your client wants a break in the UK, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use your extensive knowledge of dynamic package providers to put together a great deal.

Here are five suggestions on how to make the most of a booking in the UK – with no need to worry about ATOLs.

Best for a theatre break

What: a trip to the capital to see the much talked-about musical Spamalot at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. Ex-Monty Python Eric Idle scored the show.

Why: theatre trips usually turn into weekends away and that involves a hotel and restaurant booking as well as transport to get to London. There should be a keen interest in Spamalot as it has had so much media coverage.

Who would it suit? just about everyone. Original Python fans have been flocking to see the show on Broadway but the manic production has attained cult status among a new younger audience.

Sample product:Keith Prowse has tickets for the show priced from £22 to £66 for bookings until March 31 2007. Superbreak offers Manchester to London rail tickets from £29 return and Lastminute.com offers a night at the trendy four-star Mandeville Hotel in Marylebone Village in the West End for £109 for a superior double. Toptable.com offers deals on hundreds of London restaurants including 50% off main courses at Opium in Dean Street Soho, making the average meal for two cost around £25 a head. This brings your package to £261 for two people for one night.

Best for a family holiday

Boating on the Norfolk BroadsWhat: a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads.

Why: kids adore a little bit of messing about on the river and with no flights to worry about, clients just pack up the car and drive. Hoseasons’ website has a massive variety of suitable family boats. The Barton Moon is a houseboat sleeping four to six people and has a microwave and toaster, TV and DVDs and shower. At the mooring area there is a shared garden with picnic table and barbecue.

Who would it suit: clients who are looking for a family holiday but are wary of all the security measures and hassles that go with flying.

Sample product: Hoseasons’ website offers the Barton Moon in the Norfolk Broads for a week in July from £477. Thrifty Car Rental offers a Hyundai Amica for seven nights in July for £126 (picking up in London). The brings your package total to £603.

Best for something different

What: Jack the Ripper and Thames Terror Cruise.

Why: because your clients couldn’t ask for a more fascinating evening in the capital. The coach departs from the Thistle Victoria Hotel, where it takes guests to the darker side of London including the Old Bailey, site of numerous public hangings; the Royal London Hospital, where the Elephant Man lived; and the Wallace plaque where William Wallace – of Braveheart fame – was tortured.

Approaching the East End, the coach arrives at the dimly lit alleys where Jack the Ripper stalked his victims. Guests follow the murder trail then embark on a cruise from the Tower of London to the Embankment Pier, where there’s an optional visit to the Sherlock Holmes Pub for a traditional fish and chip supper.

Who would it suit: anyone with a strong stomach and a head for horror stories.

Sample product:Keith Prowse offers the tour for £22 per person; Travelodge offers a double room in a central London hotel mid-December for £70 a night, meaning a night of terror in the capital can be had from as little as £92.

Best for a valentine break

Seaham Hall, Seaham, County DurhamWhat: a weekend away at luxury hotel and spa retreat Seaham Hall, in Seaham, County Durham.

Why: because it’s the perfect classy destination for a romantic liaison. The historic building has been lovingly restored and is all oak beams, and roll-top baths for two. Its Serenity Spa, connected to the hotel by an underground passageway, was voted most stylish spa by the Sunday Times, and oozes class. The Time To Spa twilight treatment for two includes a rasul mud bath – a traditional Arabian cleansing treatment.

Who would it suit: couples with a healthy budget to blow on declaring their love for each other.

Sample product: Seaham Hall offers two nights on February 10 and 11 for £590 for two people including bed and breakfast. GNER does a saver return ticket from London to Newcastle for £91.40 per person. That’s a total of £772.80.

Best for learning something new

What: learning to ballroom dance with celeb teachers at Warner’s Simply Ballroom breaks.

Why: ever since Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth hit our TV screens with Strictly Come Dancing, ballroom dancing has never been so popular. Professional dancers from the TV show travel to the hotel and put clients through their paces to the strains of a full orchestra. The TV show’s stage spin-off presenter Lionel Blair will be on hand to judge your clients’ skills too.

Who would it suit: five years ago this would have been strictly for the over 55s, but now it’s open to everyone, young and old.

Sample product: Warner Breaks offers a four-night Strictly Ballroom break at Holme Lacy House in Hereford for £654 for two on May 14. Price includes accommodation, breakfast, dinner, entertainment and leisure facilities and is based on two people sharing an Ambassador room. Car hire prices for this date are not available but easycar.co.uk offers competitive rates from as little as £16 a day.

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