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Hot or cold festive season — steamy Durban or snowy London?

Some like it hot, some like it cold — the festive season, that is. And now, thanks to British Airways’ new direct Durban to London route, you can experience the best of both worlds, without the extra travel time of an airport connection.  

Don't miss these 8 festive season activities in South Africa or the UK (and a chance to win R3,000 off your next international return flight with British Airways): 

LONDON  |  Wintertime wonderland

1. Ice skate at a pop-up rink 

Trade your summertime flip flops for ice skates at London’s temporary wintertime arenas. They pop up all over the city outside iconic landmarks such as the Natural History Museum, the Tower of London, Canary Wharf, Hampton House (Henry VIII’s residence) or — for an 18th-century experience — the courtyard rink at Somerset House. 

2. Admire decadent lights + decor

The British capital knows how to do pomp and circumstance like few places on earth: they take Christmas decor to a new level. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, and Oxford and Regent streets are the place to see lights, lights, and more lights — we’re talking millions of bulbs! 

Meanwhile, carol alongside the locals in Trafalgar Square, home to a massive bedazzled Christmas tree (a historic annual gift from neighbours in Norway). Or if you’re into a more high-end experience, visit Claridge’s hotel: each year they collaborate with a different high-fashion designer (the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry or Chanel, for instance) to decorate their lobby’s tree. 

3. See a show 

London is known for its theatre, opera and entertainment district, for good reason. The festive season can be a marvellous time to see traditional classics such as The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, Shakespeare’s Macbeth at The Globe, or a choral service at St. Paul’s cathedral. 

For something more modern, browse listings in the West End and beyond (upcoming 2019 musicals and include The Lion King, Hamilton, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). 

4. Sip mulled wine at a Christmas market 

While continental Europe is still the best place to experience a "true" Weihnachtsmarkt, London does its best to deliver its own take on these charming markets  — with seasonal treats, handmade crafts and artisanal food stalls. 

There are plenty of festive markets to browse all over the city and beyond: Southbank Centre’s Winter Market, Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland and Kingston Christmas Market, to name a few.

DURBAN  |  Beachy bliss

1. Savour the smell of sunblock and spices 

Bring on the festive season cheer in Durban — it’s hard not to feel happy with sunshine and family-filled days at the beach, followed by soft-serve ice cream and strolls along the Golden Mile. Check out impressive sand castles as you tour the promenade. 

Further from the beach, family reunions bring meal after meal of savoury curries and homemade samoosas — so it’s lucky then (for the waistline), that this city hits the water and waves with vigour. You’ll find almost every form of water sport imaginable (it’s an ideal place to learn to surf), as well as plenty of activities land side (skateboarding, yoga and Segway tours). 

2. Visit Santa at Africa’s oldest surviving botanic gardens

Each December, the Durban Botanic Gardens are transformed into a wonderland of lights with fun family activities (face painting and cupcake decorating) to fundraise for worthwhile local charities. 

There’s live music daily, food vendors and plenty of Instagram-worthy photo stops — be sure to stop by the North Pole Mailbox with your little ones to post their wish lists to Father Christmas and his hardworking elves. 

3. Get your adrenaline pumping

Originally built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Moses Mabhida Stadium has been repurposed as a venue for adrenalin-inducing activities. 

Take the Sky Car up its grand arch for panoramic views of the city (or climb 500 steps to the top with a safety harness), or plunge through the air on the world’s tallest bungee swing, the Big Rush Big Swing

4. Venture into the wild 

Shopped out and tired of all the seasonal tunes? Take a road trip into one of Ezemvelo KZN’s national parks or nature reserves. Here, the only sound you’ll find is that of crickets and (if you’re lucky) a big cat’s roar in the distance. 

Immerse yourself in the province's rich biodiversity, from the heights of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, through the tropical savannahs of Zululand where the Big Five roam through the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, and on to the brilliant coral reefs of the Indian Ocean, which fringe the lakes and wetlands of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site.

. . . .

Fly Durban to London direct with Sure Travel

British Airways also flies twice daily from Johannesburg to Heathrow, and daily to Cape Town year-round. During the South African summer season, flights increase to an additional four weekly flights from Johannesburg to Heathrow, a double daily from Cape Town to Heathrow, plus three weekly flights to London Gatwick. 

Kiss jetlag goodbye when you fly British Airways’ new direct route from Durban to London — the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner’s design allows for bigger windows and more moisture in the cabin air, all of which contribute to customer well-being. 

Contact your nearest Sure Travel Agency to enquire or book, or call +27 (0)861 47 48 49.

. . . .


Planning a trip abroad? We’re giving away a R3,000 voucher to use towards your next international return flight booking with British Airways, valid for 12 months! 

Here’s how to enter: 

1. Read our blog: "Hot or cold festive season — steamy Durban or snowy London?". 

2. Tell us about a memorable festive season experience (and whether or not it took place in a hot or cold climate). 

3. If you're entering on Facebook, put your answer in the comment section of the competition post and share the competition post on your own Facebook page – and tag a friend for an extra entry. If you're entering on Instagram, put your answer in the comment section of the competition post and tag a friend for an extra entry. 

That's it! Contest ends 30 December at 23h59. Winner will be announced 31 December 2018 on social media. 

. . . .

Competition terms and conditions

The promoters of this promotion are British Airways and Sure Travel.

1. Employees or agencies of the Promoters, affiliated companies or family members, or anyone else connected with the Prize Draw may not enter the Prize Draw. 

2. Entrants into the Prize Draw shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions. 

3. The closing date for entries into the Prize Draw is 23h59 on 30 December 2018. Entries received outside this time period will not be considered. 

4. One winner will be chosen from the entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. The judges’ decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into. 

5. The promoters accept no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize. 

6. By submitting your entry, you agree to receive Facebook communication from the Promoters and the winner will be contacted via Facebook. 

7. If the winner does not respond to the promoters by 1 January 2019, then the winner's prize will be forfeited. If a winner rejects their prize or the entry is invalid or in breach of these Terms and Conditions, the winner's prize will be forfeited and the promoters shall be entitled to select another winner. 

8. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes. The prize is subject to British Airways’ Terms & Conditions for international travel bookings and may be subject to an expiration date after 12 months.  

9. The Promoters retain the right to substitute the prize with another prize of similar value in the event the original prize offered is not available. 

10. The winner may be required to take part in promotional activity related to the Prize Draw and the winner shall participate in such activity on the Promoters reasonable request. The winner consents to the use by the Promoters, both before and after the closing date of the Prize Draw for an unlimited time, of the winner's name for publicity purposes, in any medium, on the internet, including any websites hosted by the Promoters and its related companies and in advertising, marketing or promotional material without additional compensation or prior notice and, in entering the Prize Draw, all entrants consent to the same. 

11. The Promoters accept no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Prize Draw or accepting the prize. 

12. Sure Travel’s standard terms and conditions apply. View full Ts and Cs here.

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