Wednesday, April 01, 2015
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Merlin Annual Pass

There are 52 weekends in the year and with half term breaks, plus the entire summer holidays, there is so much time to have family fun. Now’s your chance to plan and create great memories without breaking the budget.

Visit now 

A Merlin Annual Pass unlocks 31 Worlds of fun across the UK for an entire 12 months, and with Merlin Worlds in London and across the country, there is something for everyone and the value is amazing.

Merlin Worlds include, Alton Towers Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, THORPE PARK Resort and SEA LIFE centres around the country.

You can also visit a number of London Worlds, which include, Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeons, the London Eye and the London Aquarium!

Click here to buy your pass now.

11 reasons why Colorado is quintessentially cool

The launch of’s in-depth guide to authentic Colorado highlights 11 reasons why this state is a quintessentially cool travel destination.

The new travel guide, written by, the leading online site for authentic travel experiences in partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office, incorporates expert tips and podcasts from local Coloradans to allow tourists to discover the state ‘like a local’ and to connect more deeply with its people, food, culture and landscapes.

Trudi Pearce, Head of Destination Partnerships at says “The guide highlights that Colorado is not just a destination for adrenaline-seekers, but is instead somewhere where wholesome, reinvigorating holidays come naturally.

“We hope it will become a leading resource to help tourists find the best places to explore Colorado’s mountains, rivers and dunes, to walk, kayak, and go horseback riding, to discover more about its fascinating Native American history and to find the most delicious locally produced food, wine and beer”.

The guide, available here – - brings to life the stories of inspirational Coloradans enjoying life to the full and keen to share it with travellers. The travel guide has hundreds of reasons Colorado is a quintessentially cool holiday destination, here is’s pick of the best:

1. Coloradans – Super-fit, super-friendly and not super-obsessed with living the American dream. Just living. And hearing the stories and sharing the passion of the state’s inhabitants, high on life in an incredible landscape, is addictive.

2. Zapata Ranch - Situated on the edge of the prairies, dunes and rocky peaks of the other-worldly Great Sand Dunes National Park. Ride on the dunes, even as a beginner, and contrary to popular stereotypes most of the wranglers working this 1000 acre ranch are female, super-educated and environmentally aware.

3. Ute Indian Mountain Tribal Park – Take a hike with a Ute Indian Guide into this remote and otherwise un-navigable park, and discover ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings with Native American artefacts more beautiful than many found in museums. And all trip fees support local American Indian culture and economies.

4. Aspen Meadows Resort – Home to an annual, world-renowned Ideas Festival at The Aspen Institute, where world-changing American thinkers have come together to discuss ideas since the 1940s. Its access into the mountains via cycle and hiking paths make a true retreat for body and mind.

5. Soaring Treetops Adventures – Not just a standard tree-top zipline, this course through the San Juan Mountains in Durango is only accessible by train and has a unique, low impact system which protects the trees, allowing for eco-friendly, high-adrenaline adventures through forests and over rivers.

6. Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa in Ridgway – Named after the silent and wise wife of Ute Indian leader Chief Ouray, Chipeta is a tranquil escape in the Cimmaron Range of the San Juan Mountains. Run on solar technology and with a spiritual heart it offers a place to recharge, relax and connect with Colorado.

7. Float and boat with Rondo – Swap the well-known white water rafting rapids for a more leisurely float downstream in a traditional wooden ‘dory’. Along the Colorado River from beautiful De Beque Canyon, hear stories from expert oarsman, Rondo Beucheler of Palisade River Trips, before ending in Colorado wine country. A taste of real, local life.

8. Orvis Hot Springs – Considered a sacred place by the Tabagueche Indians who once soaked here, these hot springs have retained an intimate, sleepy feel a world away from the commercialisation found at many other sites.

9. Devil’s Thumb Ranch – The full cowboy experience, but with some luxury creature comforts. Spend the day riding out through the Arapaho National Forest by day, before relaxing in a geothermically-heated pool at night. After a dinner of locally sourced Wagyu Beef and Colorado Beer.

10. Rocky Mountain National Park – The backbone of Colorado, the Rockies do, in fact, rock. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy lead talks and walks along the Big Thompson River, up to hidden waterfalls and lakes, past moose, elk and a host of other wildlife.

11. Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, nr Aspen – A thriving ranch which has swapped cows and livestock for the arts. Typical of Aspen’s creative, sharing ethos, local and international artists run prestigious programmes, or simply turn up to wander round the open galleries and eat their locally-sourced cafe fare.

Find more cool things to do in Colorado with’s indepth guide at

Manhattan Grill West India Quay

Set on the ground floor of the Marriott overlooking the promenade and water and adjacent to West India Quay on the DLR, this is a hotel which matches some of the towering office blocks to be found in the area. A slender, but tall design the Marriott's Manhattan Grill challenges the plethora of eating establishments found along the quayside.

There is plenty of elbow room here with large comfortable leather chairs and a good amount of space between tables which vary in size. There is a small banquette area.

The colours are muted and there is plenty of window space devoted to the promenade. There are some classic Mid West rock songs but the music is turned well down and is unobtrusive. The toilets are a bit of a hike out through the lobby and behind the next door bar, but this is far from unusual in many hotels. One end is devoted to an open kitchen space and it is a great pleasure to see your steak prepared here. Did I mention steak? The Grill specialises in steaks and there are two different approaches - 28 days dry aged or 28 days wet aged. The former features Aberdeen Angus and the latter is Creekstone Kansas USDA Black Angus.However this might be getting ahead of yourself as there are some fine starters such as Crabcake (£12), Asparagus (£9) and porkbelly (£10) as well as a clam Chowder and King Prawns(£12). Of these we can report that the Asparagus which comes with a poached duck egg and hollandaise sauce is superbly crisp, which often isn't the case in some of the establishments we have ventured with this dish. King Prawns are of course a favourite all over the world, and wherever you come from you will find that these are delicately prepared in a chilli garlic butter, though for the more adventurous there is a small bottle of Tabasco on the side. Wipes are provided should you not wish to take the walk to the bathrooms to clean your hands after the prawns.

There are some other main courses on the menu, such as the namesake Manhattan Burger (£13.50) which comes with bacon, cheddar and fries. One of our party was very satisfied with this offering which is quite filling and features one of the juiciest burgers you will come across.  Other options include Cod, Baby back ribs, Chicken, Linguine and salmon with prices ranging from £8 to £23.

Anyway back to those steaks. Each of the wet or dry options comes in 3 sizes and there are also a choice of toppings and sauces. All are broiled at 650c. The wet aged is the gold standard of USDA beef and comes as a fillet, ribeye (bone in) or New York strip. USDA Certified prime beef comes from the great American plains and is grain fed for 150 days for unique marbling, subtle texture and unsurpassed flavour. Prices range from £27-£34 for sizes 6oz to 16oz. We tried the New York Strip (well done) and was far more than expected in that the flavour and texture were in harmony. This melts in the mouth and is soft and springy with some gentle sauces to complement it. We also had a stab at the Aberdeen Angus which is dry aged and comes as a fillet, T-bone or ribeye and ranges from 8-20oz £24-32. This was a firm but tender roundel which was just the right size, bearing in mind the generous portions to be found at this establishment. It doesn't need too much pressure from the knife.

Sides are around the £4.50 mark and you must try the creamed spinach which is a real treat as well as the seared mushrooms. There are good salads as well as chips, fries and mash.

There are just six dessert options on the menu and most of these come in at £6. They are pretty much what you would expect from cheescake to Quay lime pie. We tried this pie and also the sundae (both £6) and the latter will definitely fill you out if you are not already.

The kids menu is not just an afterthought. This is carefully thought through and should appeal even to the most fussy of eaters. Starters include mushroom soup and a popular dish of grilled cheese and fries sandwhich. There is even a 4oz mini steak on the main course menu so that they don't feel left out. Other options are chicken strips, fish and chips as well as spaghetti.

Service is knowledgable about the steaks and how they are prepared but also unobtrusive.

So far we haven't mentioned drink. There is an extensive wine list. With 7 fizz/champagne and seven each in the whites under refreshing, fruity or full bodied options, but it is the reds which have a whole page to themself. Pride of place goes to a 1999 Rothschild at £499 (which we didn'y try out). There are several other fine wines to try out and even the more modest offerings are of quality. we opted for the Rose which was truly excellent.

Manhattan Grill works closely with the Rothschild Estates across the world to offer guests a wide selection of wine from new and old world vineyards. Their professional wine preserving system allows them to offer glasses of fine wines to guests ensuring guests never have to pass up an opportunity to try a number of wines during their visit. - See more at:

So ideal for city types, but also well worth travelling to seek out and luxuriate.

Delticom: Winter tyres: Myth and reality

Nothing lasts as well, or as stubbornly as a prejudice. This also applies to getting the right winter tyres for your car. “Too noisy”, “too slow”, “increase fuel consumption”. Winter tyre moaners can be really creative in finding excuses why they shouldn’t move over to “winter specialists”. But what is actually the truth behind the most common winter tyre prejudices? Here’s a check list of 5 typical statements.

“Only use them in ice and snow”

Are winter tyres only of benefit on snowy or icy roads? Anyone who believes that is way off the mark. Due to their special rubber blend, cold weather tyres or winter tyres perform better than summer tyres in terms of grip even at temperatures of seven degrees Celsius and less. More grip means more safety and it also reduces braking distance.

“You don’t need them in the city”

It is common knowledge that the picturesque British winter of country landscapes covered in white powder like snow is not exactly the norm. This is why winter and cold weather tyres have an advantage over summer models, and not just when there is a good covering of snow. “Even if you’re only driving around town, you shouldn’t go without winter tyres. Just one day of snow fall can really reduce your mobility, particularly when you have to rely on your car”, explains Philip von Grolman from

“Winter tyres are really loud and increase fuel consumption”

Another widespread prejudice is that driving comfort suffers with winter tyres. Modern winter tyres are comfortable, and generally no louder than comparable summer tyres. Nor is there any loss of ride comfort compared to summer tyres. Motorists do not have to worry about increased fuel consumption; extra costs related to fuel consumption caused by tyres are a thing of the past.

“Winter tyres lead to high additional costs”

A widespread mistaken belief: some motorists calculate that changing from summer to winter tyres according to the seasons means having two sets of tyres, and so twice the costs. They’re forgetting one thing: The wear and tear of every kilometre you drive is spread over both sets of tyres, so that they wear down more slowly, and have to be changed less frequently. This is a clear advantage for the driver.

“Winter tyres are slow”

This one can also be put to bed very quickly. There is a wide variety of winter tyre models in many different designs which should also appeal to sporty drivers. You can tell the relevant maximum driving speed allowed by the index on the side of the tyre. “T” stands for a top speed of 190 kilometres per hour, “H” for 210 km/h, “V” for “240 km/h. However, it is strongly recommended that you adjust your speed according to the weather conditions. Motorists can get an overview of what models are suitable for their own car in online stores such as in just a few clicks of a mouse.

Buying tyres online is becoming more and more popular

New tyres in the click of a mouse: The automotive area was swept along by the online shopping boom a long time age. One quarter of all motorists surveyed have already bought tyres on the Internet, according to Delticom’s 2014 Report. More than 5,000 motorists in five European countries, including Great Britain, were surveyed as part of the study. British consumers in particular can see themselves buying their tyres online more and more in future on websites such as

Tyres are available at the online stores and, and Delticom online stores in other countries.

Online store for spare parts:

Other online stores in the UK:

For garages and dealers:

Motorcycle tyres:

Tyre test site:

For more information on the company, please visit: