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How to save when you’re forced to travel tropical beaches.

St Pancras International is not just a railway station, it is a permanent home for the high-speed terminus to Ashford thanks to Southeastern, the Continent thanks to Eurostar, and with its accompanying five star Renaissance Hotel, it may well be the grandest railway station in the world.

Dressed in towering and exuberant Victorian red-brick and coloured stone, this dazzling piece of Gothic architecture looks reminiscent of a Cathedral with its clock tower and spiralling turrets.

Its sprawling interior is a hub for transport both overground and underground, but it is also a hub for humanity: around 48 million travellers and visitors per year set off or stay put to enjoy the retail, dining and cultural opportunities.

Originally built as the Midland railway in 1863 it housed Sir William Barlow’s train shed which looked awesome with high arches made of iron and glass and was one of the great engineering feats of the Victorian age. By 1873 the accompanying hotel Midland Grand Hotel was completed.

Once earmarked for demolition, it was restored instead and in 2007 it became the frontage to a vast gateway for High Speed 1 (HS1), the speedy rail service between Britain and mainland Europe and together with Southeastern provides the UK’s first high speed (140 miles per hour) domestic train service from Ashford in Kent to London in just 28 minutes.

As a departure or arrival point, it would be hard to find one more pleasing. Or to experience one with so much sociability. Fortnum & Mason, Hamleys, Gant, Thomas Pink, John Lewis and Benugo are amongst the many retailers and eateries that have a home at St Pancras.

“St Pancras is a station for our times,” said Will Gordon, Marketing Manager at HS1. “This station has become a retail, social and cultural destination in its own right.”

With constant investment, St Pancras has elevated the everyday travel experience into something extraordinary with well-known high-street names and boutique independent retailers. On its upper concourse, The Grand Terrace, is Europe’s longest champagne bar. Downstairs at The Arcade are thirty three familiar outlets including Accessorize, Cath Kidston, Fat Face, Dune and John Lewis and 24 food outlets from Patisserie Valerie to Searcys. By the main entrance there is an authentic Farmer’s market.

The accompanying hotel, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel adds its own style of glamour with its spa and a clutch of diverse restaurants. It’s a surprisingly serene space.

Had St Pancras actually been knocked down, it’s hard to imagine that anything better than this gorgeous, vibrant landmark on King’s Cross’ Euston Road, could possibly have given this part of London a better boost.

Or indeed the commuters from Ashford a better way into London.

Visit the Beautiful Island of Hamilton, Australia.

Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday archipelago enjoys tropical climate and is right off the Great Barrier Reef – perhaps the world’s greatest natural wonder.

It’s not unusual to find entire seaside towns or destinations with natural beauty that have either evolved into or have been created by design as adult playgrounds.

To say this is true of Hamilton Island would perhaps be an unfairly bland statement for three unique reasons: its status as part of the Whitsunday archipelago, its tropical climate and its position right off Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef – perhaps the world’s greatest natural wonder.

Hamilton Island is one of 74 Whitsunday Islands whose evolution into an inhabited island started some 8000 years when the Ngaro Aborginal tribe called it home. It was then discovered by Captain Cook in 1770 while he was charting Australia’s coastline – he reputedly named the island after Lady Hamilton. The island was bought in 2003 by world renowned winemaker Robert Oatley who developed one third of it with hotels, restaurants and bars leaving the rest of the landscape in its pristine natural state.

The entrepreneur is also an acclaimed yachtsman and so he created the Hamilton Island Yacht Club which he founded in 2009 and it became a challenger for the America’s cup in 2014.

Hamilton Island is the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with its own commercial jet airport. You can get there with a commercial jet, private jet or a helicopter, itself an exciting experience, and from the airport it’s a buggy ride to your accommodation.

Indeed, buggies are the mode of transport around the island. The most luxurious accommodation is qualia – a Latin word meaning “a collection of deeper sensory experiences” – located on a peninsula on the island’s northern tip. The complex has 60 architect-designed pavilions within a forest of gum and palm trees. Many of them have infinity pools with stunning views spanning over the Whitsunday Islands.

There are less expensive accommodation options too such as Palm Bungalows, Reef View Hotel or Private Holiday Homes.

And though there are plenty of gorgeous spots to sunbathe, there are also compelling reasons to explore. After-all, the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach are easy to reach and a myriad of trails will bring you up close with the fauna and flora of the island.

There are plenty of sports on offer too including golf, tennis and a small wildlife park that the kids tend to love, especially if you sprinkle in a trip to the bowling alley, go-kart track and mini-golf.

There are several shops and restaurants in the marina where bird life is vibrant and friendly, in particular the wild cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets who come to inspect diners during the day.

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