Heston Blumenthal is to host a food and skiing festival at the foot of Mont Blanc in February 2014. Blumenthal, chef and owner of the three-Michelin starred Fat Duck at Bray, Berkshire, is a keen skier and a fan of Courmayeur, an Italian resort known for its restaurants, where the event will take place.

Joining him will be the two-Michelin starred chefs Marcus Wareing and Sat Bains, who will cook for guests in local restaurants. It runs from February 2 to February 5 and costs £3,000 per person.


Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is to start services on Monday between Copenhagen and Humberside airport, a former RAF base 12 miles west of Grimsby in Lincolnshire. The flights will be a big boost for the airport, which has only one other year-round scheduled international flight route, as well as to travellers in the area, who will be able to connect with SAS’s destinations in Scandinavia and Asia.

Meanwhile, BMI Regional has announced it will begin flying between Newcastle and Brussels on March 3 next year, establishing the only flight link between the cities. BMI Regional is a former subsidiary of BMI, but became independent in June last year. Parent BMI was bought by International Airlines Group, British Airways’ parent, with many of its routes subsumed into the BA network.;


Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has still to make its first space flight but it is already facing competition from budget alternatives. A new company last week announced plans to take thrill-seekers to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere for $75,000-$175,000 less than a ride in Branson’s SpaceShipTwo.

Rather than use a rocket-powered ship, Tuscon-based World View Enterprises plans to use a helium balloon to lift up to eight passengers to a height of 100,000ft (19 miles) where they will get a clear view of the curvature of the earth. World View Enterprises, which says commercial flights won’t start until 2016 at the earliest, is not alone in turning to balloons as space tourism vehicles.

Spain-based Zero2Infinity last month completed a test flight of its “microbloon”, a smaller version of a craft that it hopes will carry tourists by 2015, at a cost of €110,000. The test balloon successfully reached 88,600ft.;


After two years of construction, a $130m indoor aquarium has opened beside the CN Tower in Toronto. Highlights of Ripley’s Aquarium Canada, the country’s largest, include a glass tunnel beneath a tank full of sawfish, sea turtles and moray eels, and an exhibit allowing children to pet whitespotted bamboo sharks.

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