Royal Mint visitor centre; Four Seasons jet; and a new footbridge in Reutte
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Wales The UK’s Royal Mint is to open its doors to the public for the first time in its 1,000-year history. The state-owned company produces currencies for 60 countries at a secure Ministry of Defence-protected site at Llantrisant, near Cardiff (having completed a move from London in 1975). It now plans to build a £7.7m visitor centre, due for completion next year, which will show visitors how currencies are made and let them strike their own coins. royalmint.com
Canada Whistle-stop group trips by private jet have been growing in popularity – with Abercrombie & Kent, Bill Peach Journeys, National Geographic and Smithsonian Journeys all offering round-the-world and other long-haul itineraries. Since 2012, Four Seasons, the Toronto-based hotel management group, has also offered such trips but it is now upping the ante by leasing its own fully-branded jet, something it claims is an industry first. The “Four Seasons Jet” will be a Boeing 757, retrofitted with leather flatbed seats, and will carry 52 passengers (a typical 757 carries about 250). It will enter service in February 2015 on a 24-day round-the-world trip from Los Angeles to London, calling at nine Four Seasons properties en route, and costing from $119,000 per person. fourseasons.com
Austria The small town of Reutte in the Tyrol is to build the world’s longest suspension footbridge. The €1.8m bridge, due to open this year, will be 403m long and will stretch across a forested valley, 110m above the ground. It will connect two romantic ruined castles, Ehrenberg and Fort Claudia. highline179.com
England Flybe, the Exeter-based airline, has announced it is to launch services from London City Airport. From October, it will operate 16 return flights per day to destinations including Edinburgh, Inverness and Dublin, as well as seasonal leisure services such as flights to ski destinations. Saad Hammad, chief executive, called the move a “significant landmark in the rebirth of Flybe” (the company last year sold its slots at Gatwick to easyJet). The five-year deal is also an important step in City Airport’s ambitious growth plans – it aims to achieve 120,000 flights per year by 2023, up from 70,000 today. flybe.com; londoncityairport.com