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In December, we ran this introductory article on Plum Guide home and villa rentals.

If the idea of a home or villa rental holiday is beginning to grow on you for 2021, Plum Guide is offering a discount on new bookings.

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If you spend £400 or more by 28th February, you can save 10% with promo code PLUMTRAVEL10.

The Plum Guide website is here.

This rather funky Buckminster Fuller ‘geodosic dome home’ in Devon is included. It’s a giant pop-up portable home with a 4 metre home cinema and a hot tub. Click here for more details.

Comments (34)

  • bafan says:

    I’m in West London and studiously avoided LTN because it looked like a logistical nightmare. Once the new transport links are up and running I’ll give it a go. I’ve been nearly everywhere on the BA short haul network and they have a a lot of interesting Eastern / Southern European routes on Wizz out of there.

    • John says:

      If you find travelling to LTN now a “logistical nightmare” then it will still be a logistical nightmare when the bus is replaced by the light rail rapid transit.

      There are no new transport links.

      There is already an hourly non-stop service from St Pancras to Luton Airport Parkway (then on to Nottingham). From May this will be replaced by half-hourly services which continue to Corby instead, which will be on electric trains.

      You will still have to get yourself to St Pancras if you wish to use the upgraded frequency EMR service, so if that is a nightmare it will continue to be. In August you needed to attract the attention of staff at the EMR gateline if you were paying by contactless, hopefully the barriers will be upgraded properly soon if not yet done.

      During the day there are already 6 thameslinks stoppers per hour and from west London there should be an option to get West Hampstead, Farringdon or Blackfriars to connect to this. There would be no point trekking upstairs at St Pancras to shave 15 minutes off the remaining travel time.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        And when you do get there LTN is a hell hole of an airport…

        • ChrisW says:

          The main airside retail and f&b area of LTN is now quite nice after all the refurbishment works. The gate areas and check-in areas are still pretty grim.

      • bafan says:

        Thank you for the tips. They really do have some interesting destinations so I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet at some point…unless BA start service to Moldova and such places…

        • Lady London says:

          When I’m car-free, by far the best way to get to LTN from London is by bus. That drops you right outside the terminal.

          That avoids the ridiculous pfaffing decanting from train to bus at Luton Parkway station. Knowing they’d literally fallen short Luton Council originally made the bus a free bus but in recent years they now charge a chunk for it.

          Taking the bus also avoids issues with rail track maintenance which recur particularly at weekends.

          I always leave LTN by bus as well. Read the rules, think about potential landing delay and time your bus booking accordingly.

          Lots have been suspended though so keep a watch for return of service volumes.

          I hate buses normally but there are some airports where they really make sense.

          • Nick says:

            @LL The major rail disruption was for the Thameslink upgrade works, which is now over. As it’s 4-track northbound from London they can do any maintenance works on just half of it at a time, which means the service doesn’t get heavily disrupted any more.

          • Dom says:

            I’ve screenshot this for when I’m confident about booking! I also don’t like buses, but the one nice thing about buses is that I like to just get on and sit down…train sounds like a faff.

          • Andrew says:

            If you buy a ticket to “Luton airport” as opposed to “Luton airport parkway” the bus is free!

      • Doug M says:

        This is really petty but I hate St Pancras as a station. Sure it’s very nice architecture and has great food options, but the domestic trains leave from an underground after-thought at the back of the building. Selfish I know, but I used to arrive on the 73 bus, get off at the last Pentonville Road stop, walk in the Thameslink station and be on the platform in under a minute. Now it’s two stops further on the bus, cross Euston Road (takes forever if unlucky with lights) then zig zag through the hoi polloi in the station, and finally descend to the bowels of the earth for the platform. Not a fan.

        • Lady London says:

          There is a side entrance on the Euston side right next to the ticket gates that lead down to the Thameslink platforms.

          On the other side the side entrance roughly same position I’ve been reaching by getting off the bus at the corner of Euston Rd and Kings Cross and walking across the quadrangle to the side entrance.

          Fighting my way indoors from the Euston Road entrance of St Pancras all the way to Eurostar or Thameslink is something I’ve given up as souldestroying and stressful. Nor do I follow the signs to St Pancras from the Underground at King’s Cross – they lead you all around Wheels Mothers with uneve surfaces and jostling crowds. I exit Kings Cross to the surface and walk the 200 yards to side entrance of St P. Worth doing even in the rain as it’s flat, short and perfect surface if dragging luggage.

          • Chas says:

            +1. I live on the Thameslink line, and this is exactly how I get home if I’ve been working or socialising near St P for the day. Agree it’s a PIA having to zig zag through the hoards the length of the station – it needs to be a VERY rainy day for me to consider doing that.

        • Lady London says:

          @Andrew the ticket costs more because it will then include the bus. But it does mean you wont have to decant out of the train and down the stairs at Parkway Station and then have to waste more time and fumble around to pay the significant extra non-optional bus fare to get to the actual airport.

    • ChrisW says:

      I recommend Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia that Wizz fly to direct from LTN – very pretty and relaxing!

    • Alastair says:

      This express service is a distraction since it simply replaces the existing trains with a branded ‘line’. The real game-changer will be the light-rail shuttle from the station to the terminal in place of the annoying shuttle bus; when this opens, LTN will be far more accessible and convenient than STN and at least level with LGW North. And while the terminal experience at LTN is ghastly, it’s no worse than STN and LGW(N).

      Wizz does have some really interesting and useful destinations. Overall, if you’re booking a non-BA trip then Wizz/LTN is a decent option.

      • Lady London says:

        My ranking would be:

        LGW – efficient and quite acceptable now.
        LTN – has improved and quite pleasant provided it’s not crowded. 90% of the time I’ve used it it’s crowded.
        STN – never. Consider not using it even if you would otherwise have to swim to your destination.

        • Matarredonda says:

          Stansted has become a ghastly airport when once it was a relaxing place to fly from and living in Colchester very convenient.
          Whole place has been Ryanairisd. Hate it with a passion.

        • Chas says:

          I used to use STN loads probably a decade ago, and never found it to be too bad. I used it 18 months ago for the first time in a very long time, and couldn’t believe how dire it was. I love your swimming remark!

          • kitten says:

            @Callum probably thinks I’m exaggerating about the swimming. He’s right of course. Anyone who’s absolutely at the front line of Covid, as he is, has the right to think faced with life and death jokes and exaggerations just aren’t funny. I just try to state things in a clear way but I apologise if sometimes that’s too much.

            Hopefully science and good hygiene measures will help spread progress on this but some of us are carrying a lot and I hope there is a sustainable drop in hospitalizations soon that will at least give some relief.

        • memesweeper says:

          STN — yes, terrible terrible terrible, but if you’re on an Easy domestic and pay for fasttrack security it is just about tolerable. Fasttrack at STN is like normal track everywhere else, by the way. Normal track in the AM is like Mecca at Hajj (or was, pre-covid…)

        • Fenny says:

          My holiday to Greece in May, rebooked from May last year, has moved from LGW to STN. Not looking forward to trying to get there and hoping it will be cancelled again so I can rebook next year and flights will be back at LGW, or even MAN.

  • lumma says:

    Virgin Voyages sounds a bit close to Virgin Voyager, especially with the photo of the class 222 just above.

    Do the cruises have stinky toilets?

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Hahaha I was thinking the same! Nothing can beat the vomit comits with there stinky toilets though…

      Was also half expecting a bit of sas similar to the “Brand New, Old Heathrow Express Trains”

    • Nick says:

      That picture is of a Meridian train, not a Voyager!

      And is this not just the same fast train that used to exist but was removed temporarily due to construction works? So not ‘new’ at all, just a resumption?

      • RussellH says:

        The Meridian (class 222) is a member of the Bombardier Voyager “family”. Voyagers are class 220, Super-Voyagers are 221. All a bit like A319/A320/A321.

        Meridians do arguably have a pleasanter interior.

  • Mike says:

    Luton DART scheduled for 2022 now according to https://dart.llal.org.uk

  • L Allen says:

    The Plum Guide website is terrible. You can’t see where the properties are. For example, I looked at Croatia. The first display of properties isn’t scrollable so you see one cut off and you don’t know how many there are. You’d be completely forgiven for thinking that the website was broken. You scroll further down the page and you get a scrollable list of properties, hurray! Except, you don’t know where in Croatia they are. You have to click into each one individually to see where they are and try to open each one in a new window so you can compare locations. Designed by someone with absolutely no UX skills.

    • memesweeper says:

      The map view is actually pretty good. Get the locations, refresh as you scroll, your preferences and dates remembered.

  • Andy S says:

    The new Luton Airport express train service will use ex Greater Anglia electric Class 360 units and not Meridian Units.

    These units will move to East Midlands Railway (EMR) to operate services on the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras to Corby from May 2021.

    They will have their 3+2 seating replaced with 2+2 and be modified to operate at 110 mph (180 km/h). They will be based at Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot.

    Beginning in June 2020, all were cycled through Siemens at Kings Heath Depot, Northampton to be modified for 110 mph (180 km/h) operation. The first was transferred to EMR’s Cricklewood Depot in November 2020.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_360

  • ADS says:

    Hard to get excited about the new “express” service, when some of the existing trains only take 22 minutes, and plenty of the existing stopping services only take 30 minutes.

    Also, watch out for the pricing of Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) … considering they currently charge £2.40 for a 5 minute bus journey (£3.80 return) … I fear even more price gouging for the rail link.

  • Lord Doncaster says:

    Luton? Eugh… Doncaster offers a far more pleasant airport experience. In my dreams I imagine BA operating a DSA-LHR shuttle.

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