London From May next year it will be possible to travel from the British capital to the Mediterranean without changing trains, thanks to a new direct Eurostar service to Marseille. Currently passengers have to switch to TGV services at Lille or Paris, with the fastest journeys taking just under seven hours. Timings for the new direct train have yet to be announced but Eurostar last week confirmed that tickets would go on sale by the end of this year.
Kashmir Hari Parbat Fort, an early 19th-century castle that stands on a hill overlooking Srinagar and Dal Lake, has reopened to the public after decades of military use, part of a drive to draw tourists back to the region. The first fortifications were constructed in 1590 but the majority of the fort was built in 1808 under the reign of Shuja Shah Durrani.
Although it dominates the skyline of Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, the fort has been out of reach for a generation of residents after its closure in 1990. Visitor numbers will initially be limited to 100 per day and there are plans for a son et lumière show on the walls. Specialist tour operator Wild Frontiers is including visits to the fort on all its Kashmir itineraries.
Oxfordshire Pop-up hotels have become a summer trend in the UK, with yurts and safari tents springing up across the country. The latest pop-up is a collaboration between Volkswagen and booking website Laterooms: six VW California SE camper vans, each sleeping up to four and bookable for £35 per night, will operate as a temporary hotel at different sites until the end of September.
The first, launching this weekend, is Temple Island on the Thames near Henley, Oxfordshire. Meanwhile, Slaley Hall in Northumberland has its own take on the concept. It is offering the chance to sleep outside in a bed set up in its Japanese gardens – for a brisk £1,150 per night.