Lonely Planet Writer

From the Lonely Planet magazine: insider news and tip-offs

Lonely Planet’s UK-based Travel Editor Tom Hall shares his latest insider news and tip-offs. This month: vintage guidebooks, new rail routes in England, big airlines getting in bed together, parking at airports and the airport that's become a park.


Centenary of publication of 1910 Baedeker Great Britain
It was all so different in 1910, when wealthy Edwardian travellers gadded about the country with the newly-minted Baedeker guide to Great Britain. To mark the centenary of this classic travel book a New York Times writer toured the Highlands using the guide. He found that some hotels in the guide were still open for business and that – heaven forfend – travel writing had got more frivolous. This book, published just before the First World War was not updated for 27 years, meaning Baedeker must have received a lot of complaints about incorrect prices.


Grand Central new rail route: London – Bradford
Small rail companies like Wrexham & Shropshire continue to find their niche, offering direct services to destinations the big operators don’t serve. Grand Central already serves North Yorkshire and the Durham coast (they mean Sunderland and Hartlepool) and are adding three services a day to the West Riding of Yorkshire, terminating at Bradford. These trains, which should be in operation by publication, terminate at Bradford Interchange, meaning attractions as diverse as Brontë-mad Howarth, the excellent National Media Museum and one of Britain’s shortest motorways (the two-mile long M606) can now be reached much more easily from London.

United Continental

United/Continental merger
What’s the world’s largest airline? Delta, Air France and Ryanair can lay claim to being the biggest depending on which measure you use. The recently announced merger between United and Continental will create the largest airline pretty much whichever way you look at it. Unitenental, as it will not be known, will boast a fleet of over 700 aircraft. As part of the merger the name United will be used but the Continental logo will survive. If you want to bore your friends Wikipedia has a long discussion on definitions of the World’s Largest Airline.

Berlin Tempelhof Airport reopens as a giant city park
What happens when old airports die? If they’re the much loved (if Nazi built) behemoth that was Berlin’s Tempelhof they get recreated as a giant city park. The enormous curving terminal building, described by Norman Foster as ‘the mother of all airports’ closed in 2008 as part of the plan to have all Berlin’s air traffic coming in to one airport, Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt International. Tempelhof is best known for its role in the Berlin Airlift and so is a much-loved icon in the German capital. Now you can rollerblade, cycle or just picnic gazing at the imposing terminal. Check it out on Google Maps.

Airport car parking – good deal or bad?
A survey by Which? Car has slammed parking pricing at airports as ranging from ‘sublimely low to ridiculously high’. In my experience it tends to veer towards the latter and, unless you shop smart, cann end up costing more than a short-haul flight. Smart travellers leaving their car at the airport should book their parking ahead, even if only by a few hours, and also look into the overnight stay plus seven nights parking offered by many hotels.