Cruise the Strip in Las Vegas or hit the beach in Barbados. Soak up the sun in Durban or discover China’s ‘Hawaii of the East’ (pictured). They’re just some of the destinations with new links from London Heathrow – read on for details.
From 31 March 2019
America’s playground, the world’s largest theme park, Sin City … Las Vegas, Nevada, needs no introduction from us. But while the slots and tables are still the big draw, these days Vegas is marketed as a family-friendly resort too.
It has thrill rides, glitzy shows and OTT hotels in spades, and it would be remiss to skip the legendary casino buffets completely. Even if there are plenty of world-class dining options to tempt you away.
‘The Meadows’ — as absolutely nobody calls this desert city, despite its Spanish name — offers a great jumping-off point for the Grand Canyon, Arizona, Utah and California, so there’s infinite scope for a red-rock road trip. Just don’t go all Thelma and Louise on us, now …
Virgin Atlantic flights to Las Vegas from Heathrow Terminal 3, on the latest Boeing 787-9 aircraft, start on 31 March next year and are on sale now.
The new service comes in addition to the existing British Airways flights from Heathrow to Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.
From 12 July 2018
The ‘Hawaii of the East’ is named for its tropical climate and miles of pristine beaches. The temperature never drops below 21°C and nearby are coral reefs and an island monkey sanctuary, reached by an oversea ropeway.
Sanya is the southernmost city on Hainan Island and was once a strategic military location. These days it’s cruise liners which throng the harbour, carrying tourists in search of sunshine, water sports and endangered Chinese white dolphins at Dadonghai Beach.
The surrounding rainforests offer hiking and mountaineering, zip-lining and abseiling, as well as expeditions to scenic waterfalls and caves.
It has recently been announced that UK, US and many other citizens can now visit Hainan Island visa-free for up to 30 days.
China Southern flights to Sanya operate from Heathrow Terminal 4 on Thursdays and Sundays, starting 12 July.
The history of this megacity on the Yangtze can be traced back 3,500 years to the Bronze Age. So while modern Wuhan is a major business and transport centre with 10 million inhabitants, it’s still easy for visitors to find evidence of times past.
The Yellow Crane Tower, the city’s most famous landmark, has been destroyed 12 times by wars and fires. The provincial museum is packed with ancient treasures from swords to jade pottery to ancient musical instruments.
And while 10 million people live in Wuhan, there are green spaces aplenty. If you’re in town during March, Cherry Blossom Avenue lives up to its name, while there are plenty of parks and picnic spots whatever the season.
China Southern flies direct to Wuhan from Heathrow Terminal 4 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
From 29th October
Wide golden beaches washed by the Indian Ocean. A sub-tropical city with art deco architecture and colonial heritage. Durban, South Africa’s gateway to the sun, sits in the region known as Zululand, between beach resorts and big game reserves.
The beach known as Golden Mile is the city’s most popular attraction and has a well-developed seafront with hotels, skateparks, restaurants and various fishing and picnic hotspots.
Other attractions capitalise on the area’s rich marine life, traditional arts scene, rich history and lush botany. There’s also a knee-high replica of Durban called Mini Town, and one of the 2010 World Cup’s most iconic stadiums.
Further afield lie the former Zulu battlefields of the 19th Century, the Drakensberg Mountains, and a string of nature reserves and game parks.
British Airways flies non-stop to Durban from Heathrow Terminal 5, starting on 29th October.
From 28th October
Wandering the Medina in Marrakech, it isn’t hard to imagine yourself in another age. The Red City’s souks, food stalls, hammams and ancient architecture create an atmosphere that’s pure Arabian Nights.
That feeling hasn’t been spoiled by tourism, either. Yes, there are modern luxury hotels, banks, motor scooters and high-fashion stores, but Marrakech remains the melting pot it has been for centuries, a place where continents rub shoulders.
In the central Djemaa el-Fna (‘Square of the Dead’) you could encounter snake charmers, musicians, storytellers, healers and a variety of other street performers. Also central are the ruins of El Badii Palace, a 1500s royal residence influenced by the Alhámbra. You wouldn’t know it to look, but it was once sumptuously decorated with Sudanese gold and Italian marble.
The Atlas Mountains form an impressive backdrop to the red sandstone cityscape, and a camel safari into the high country features on many a traveller’s itinerary. It’s an opportunity to eat traditional food round the campfire, sleep under the stars and learn about the lives of Berber nomads.
British Airways flies direct to Marrakech from Heathrow Terminal 5, from 28th October until 30 March 2019.
More flight news
- Virgin Atlantic brings back flights to Barbados (Bridgetown) from Terminal 3, from 11th December until 19th February 2019.
- Also from Virgin Atlantic, a second daily flight to Boston launches 31st March 2019.
- Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, now operates a 7-day non-stop service to Astana, with seamless onward connections to Almaty.
- British Airways flight BA235 will move to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport (SVO) from its current destination, Moscow Domodedovo (DME), on 28th October. The return leg, flight BA234, will depart from Sheremetyevo. Other flights to/from DME are unaffected.
- American Airlines adds another daily service to Dallas from 28th October.
- British Airways adds extra flights to Miami, Johannesburg, Washington DC and Santiago, also from 28th October.