Beware of Cowboy Parking Companies at Manchester Airport

Cowboy Airport Parking Companies Targeted in Manchester

Manchester is known to be a hotspot for rogue airport car parking companies. UK based company Airport Parking has made significant efforts to target these cowboy dealers. They are working together with both Trading Standards and Manchester Council in an effort to collect data and take these companies out of business.

There has been a huge crackdown around Manchester Airport on the rogue “meet and greet” parking firms that operated there. This is a joint effort between Manchester Council, the Trading Standards Agency and Airport Parking, a UK based online company helping travelers find affordable parking. The efforts are also supported by Greater Manchester Police.

Last month, the M.E.N. investigation was published, which listed the issues around cowboy firms. This prompted hundreds of travelers to complain. A dedicated website was launched and companies like Airport Parking urged their visitors to reveal whether they had any issues.

It is believed that, since the summer of 2015, there are three times more rogue operators in the area, an estimated 50 now being around. Most of those are believed to be operated by low level gangs. A number of things have been revealed through the investigation:

  • A number of crime gangs operate multiple rogue car parks.
  • Some cars have been parked in residential streets, in fields, and on pub car parks.
  • Some vehicles have been stolen.
  • Many vehicles had extra mileage on them after being returned.
  • One vehicle was used as a tow vehicles for cars that were abandoned in fields.

The result of these rogue traders is that an average of one family per day miss their flight, because their vehicle isn’t picked up. Additionally, just under one call is made to the police every day about a vehicle being missing. Additionally, many vehicles are abandoned on the forecourts of the terminals, which breaches many safety rules.

A representative from Airport Parking said: “We are very happy to be working together with Manchester Airport, Trading Standards, Manchester Council, and the police to combat this rogue trading. It ruins many people’s holidays and also causes problems for residents. So far, over 100 complaints have been received and they are all being investigated. Meanwhile, we have checked our books to make sure all parking providers we list continue to be properly licensed and registered, so that people know they can book with us with confidence.”

Manchester Council and Trading Standards have revealed a plan to tackle the issue, which includes:

  • Intelligence gathering.
  • Determining where cars are being parked.
  • Asking customers to report their experiences to Trading Standards.
  • Installing CCTV in residential areas to enforce speed limits.
  • Revoking pub licenses if they allow cars to be parked there by rogue firms.
  • Increase patrols in known hotspots.
  • Adding new permit only signage.
  • Working together with legitimate car parking owners.
  • Towing cars that appear abandoned.
  • Communicating with the DVLA to find owners of vehicles.

Airport Parking, meanwhile, has released advice to those wanting to use car parks. The representative says: “We must encourage everybody to only use accredited services such as the ones we signpost to. They must check they are ParkMark accredited, which they can check with the British Parking Association. Furthermore, if something does go wrong, they must report it straight away to the police, but, if possible, also to the airport, Manchester Council, and Trading Standards. By working together, we hope to finally be able to resolve this problem.”

Manchester Airport is one of the most expensive airports in the world for car parking, ranking 10th in the world. Because of these inflated prices, it is an attractive location for rogue traders to operate.

Play at Poirot on a Murder Mystery Weekend

Do you like detective novels? Do you enjoy exercising your analytical mind, following the plot and looking for clues? Do you thrive on the feeling of satisfaction when you come to the last page and find out that you got it right? If the answer to all this is ‘yes’, then you shouldn’t miss the chance of testing your talents for sleuthing on a Murder Mystery Weekend.

 
How it came all about
2016 marks the 35th anniversary of an entertainment which was invented by Joy Swift in 1981. You might have thought that the lady in question is a crime novelist herself. But no, not really. Born in Liverpool, she trained as a graphic designer, then worked as a journalist and finally as PR for a chain of small hotels. In 1980, as she herself said, she had the idea for an Agatha Christie type mystery, but of the interactive variety, where actors play the victims and guests are the detectives. She thought of it as ‘a bit of a laugh’ and planned for only one weekend. But, as they say…the rest is history.
The idea took off like wildfire and is now in its 35th year. Joy has formed her own company and is staging murder mysteries all over the world, in cozy hotels and even on cruises. She writes the plots and has by now concocted more than her original inspiration, Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

I can fully sympathize with being inspired by the ‘queen of crime writers’. I was lucky enough to have stayed in her favorite room in Istanbul’s Pera Palace hotel where she wrote part of Murder on the Orient Express. I haven’t written a crime novel yet, but ideas for a few short stories were born in that very room.

Pera Palace Hotel

Pera Palace Hotel

Of course, the ambience of the emblematic hotel helped too and that’s why I fully understand that the current Murder Mystery Weekends are staged in some of the most beautiful and historical hotels in the UK which themselves exude an air of mystery and tradition.

 
Venues and schedules
31 weekends are planned throughout the year with no less than 126 plots. The first is scheduled for 5-7 February and the last 2-4 December, so you have plenty of dates to choose from.
The venues are equally varied. They range from the Edwardian Horwood House in Buckinghamshire to the 17th century Wotton House in Surrey and the Oxford Thames Four Pillars Hotel with several others in between.

Paul Wilkinson Photography Ltd.

Paul Wilkinson Photography Ltd.

Not only will you have the fun of solving a murder mystery but you will also be able to visit and enjoy some of the most beautiful parts of the UK.
For full details incl. prices and how to book, please consult: http://www.principal-hayley.com/weddings-events/murder-weekends-2/

 

How the drama unfolds
Expect a rather ‘bloody’ weekend because there will be no shortage of murder.
On Friday, the day of your arrival, you will enjoy a dinner during the course of which no less than three murders will be committed.
On Saturday, an incident room will be set up where guests have the opportunity to interrogate suspects and inspect evidence as the items of proof come to light. In the end, some 60 pieces will have been accumulated to challenge the detecting gifts of the guests.
As the Investigation continues, there will be another murder during the day. To eliminate a crucial witness, maybe? Who knows, because that’s not the end of it.
The evening gets under way with a themed party and, lo and behold, the final murder.
Sunday finally sees the denouement and the award of a price to the one or more guests who were not mislead by red herrings but identified the culprit.
These prices are free accommodation, meals and other nice things.
Intrigued? Well, consult your diary, dust off your brain cells, polish your magnifying glass and go and help justice being done.
In case you are worried: none of the guests will be ‘murdered’. It’s all played by actors. You are only called upon to have a great time whilst solving a mystery.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have received no payment or free accommodation. It is written out of personal interest for the subject.

Relax in a Luxury Cave Retreat/UK

If you know where to look, you’ll find that the UK is full of weird and wonderful hotels. It isn’t so much the location where they are which makes a stay worthwhile, but rather the features of the dwelling themselves. Take your pick by looking at this selection. My personal favorite is the Witchery by the Castle which will certainly appeal to baby boomers who like to travel in style and comfort.

 
The Rockhouse Retreat
Doing some more research on the subject, I recently came upon the Rockhouse Retreat which makes a great addition to the list.
Located near the historical little town of Bewdley

on the shore of the river Severn, this heaven of peace is an authentic retreat caved out of Triassic sandstone.

Rockhouse entrance

Rockhouse entrance

The cave served as a dwelling for some 700 years but fell into neglect. Until, in 1999, along came Angelo Mastropietro , who was hiking in the nearby Wyre Forest and sought refuge during a rain storm.
It seems, that inspiration struck and in yearlong painstaking labor of love he, his workers and designers, toiled to convert the cave into a luxury retreat.
Most eye catching is the design, but modern day cave dwellers will find all the luxuries and amenities they desire. Underfloor heating, ingle nook fireplaces, coffee machines and, wonderfully, a rain forest shower will make you feel as cozy and comfortable as can be and allow you to get away from it all for a little while.

Rockhouse bedroom

Rockhouse bedroom

Rockhouse living room

Rockhouse living room

Rain forest shower

Rain forest shower

Birmingham Is only 27km away should you feel the need for a night out on the town. 40km of biking and hiking trails cross nearby Wyre Forest for those who love to be in touch with nature.
For further information and booking, please visit their website.
This retreat doesn’t come cheap, so I’m saving up the pennies to maybe one day try it out myself.

All images provided by rockhouse.com.

Where Bratwurst meets Panto. Bristol’s Christmas Market

Fusion is all the rage and now you can have a unique Christmas experience by heading to lovely Bristol enjoying German and English Christmas traditions all rolled in one.


The German part of the Christmas market in Broadmead is already open, with 38 colorful chalets. Wet your appetite with the mingled scents of spicy Gluehwein and crisp Bratwurst.

Bratwurst Credit: kenBSsix

Bratwurst
Credit: kenBSsix

See your kids’ eyes sparkle looking at a giant advent calendar and a massive Christmas pyramid whilst you browse for a last minute special Christmas gift in the form of wooden toys or amber jewelry. And you don’t even have to travel to Germany for authenticity.

Gluehwein

Gluehwein

German Christmas decorations

German Christmas decorations

From 4th to 23 December, the Local Christmas Market, right next door, opens for visitors under the theme of Made in Bristol. What Stollen and Bratwurst is to the Germans, mince pie and Christmas crackers are to the British and here you can sample the best of both in the 20 colorful chalets run by local traders, artists and craftsmen.
Add to this local cheeses, chocolates and hand crafted items like recycled glassware and organic soy candles and you might want to spend more than just a few hours to take it all in.

 

Credit: RobCousins

Credit: RobCousins

Cheeses

Cheeses

No English Christmas without Panto and this year, from 5th December to 3rd January, the Hippodrome is staging Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Then go and work all the calories off by skating under the stars on the huge ice ring which is located next to the giant bauble of At-Bristol 3D Planetarium.

 

Ice skating ring

Ice skating ring

There are even more attractions waiting for you like going back in time to Dickens in the time machine Clifton on board the SS Great Britain with a 50ff lit Christmas Tree nearby. Remember the sea farer tradition of Bristol on board the vessel. John Cabot and William Weston were the first Europeans since the Vikings to explore North America in 1497 and 1499 respectively and they sailed out of Bristol.
Why not spend the night in The Bristol Hotel in Prince Street Harbourside? You get all the luxuries you need and are right in the middle of things, a short walk across Pero’s bridge takes you to the German Christmas market.
So, wrap up, pack your skates and head for Bristol in the south of England.

Halloween at Pirates’ Quest/Newquay

My fascination with destinations in the southern part of the UK continues and my next discovery is Newquay on Cornwall’s North Atlantic coast. A seaside town, port and holiday resort in the summer, there is a particular highlight at Halloween. Naturally, many seaports are connected to tales and legends about pirates and Newquay is no exception.
My last ‘pirate experience’ was only a few days ago on the wonderful small island of Tabarca on Spain’s Costa Blanca.

pirate

Now, I can have another one at Halloween in Newquay, at Pirate’s Quest to be exact.
This is an adventure enterprise where you can go back in time for 300 years and meet the likes of Captn Calico Jack, enter Captn Morgan’s Tavern, travel through the Lost Land of Lyonesse and listen to the tales about the mermaid of Zennor. Little pirates can also go on treasure hunts whilst the adults can enjoy a frisson through the life performances of actors, on screens and though interactive plays.
Whilst this amusement is open and available all year around, Halloween sees a special celebration with even scarier events and visitors encouraged to turn up in period costume.
Zombie pirates will surround you on the evening of 30th October at the special Scare Event as well as smoke, noise and everything else that will have you scream in delight. Only kids over 14 years old are allowed in and everybody under 18 has to be accompanied by an adult.
The usual daily events and performances are a bit more toned down of course, it’s only Halloween once a year!
If you feel the need to calm you frayed nerves after the excitements of Pirate Quest, no better place in Newquay to go than a visit to the serene and beautiful Trenance Gardens, only a few steps away. Walk over bridges, ride a horse, row a boat on the lake or simply sit and watch nature. Trenence Gardens are part of a leisure complex which also includes a spa and 25m swimming pool as well as the zoo.
Excitement and adventure of a different kind are also available in Newquay for committed surfers, as it is the surfer capital of the UK. Newquay sports no less than 9 beaches, with Fistral Beach being the most popular one for surfers.

Tolcarne Beach

Tolcarne Beach

The more I look, the more I see my planned trip in October to Cornwall and Devon expand!