Ask Joan - a classy weekend in London, 75th birthday in Ireland

Marylebone Hotel or One Aldwych in London, Dungarvan or Brooklodge or Hodson Bay for Dad/s birthday

London is a very busy city and I would suggest you avoid June, July and August.

My husband and I would like to take a trip to London this year. We are a retired couple so can take this holiday anytime. Ideally, we would plan to spend three-four nights in a four star hotel and be based reasonably close to the main tourist sites. As we live in the west we would plan to use Ireland West airport so maybe you could advise us regarding the airport destination we should choose. We have a decent budget for this trip. CH, Mayo

Ireland West Knock airport has connections to three London airports, Luton, and Stansted with Ryanair and Gatwick with Aer Lingus. Both Stansted and Gatwick have good rail connections into London, so either airport would work.

The four-star Marylebone Hotel is Irish owned and five minutes from the busy Oxford Street. It is a lovely hotel and a good location. Prices would be from £235 per night, including taxes but not breakfast,, (0044) 2074866600.

If you are planning on a theatre or ballet show the five-star One Aldwych Hotel a great location, on the corner of the Strand and Covent Garden. It has a year round four nights for the price of three special offer which would be from £1,125 for four nights,, (0044) 2073001000.


London is a very busy city and I would suggest you avoid June, July and August. Things to consider doing are going to a show, visiting some of the famous museums. The V & A has Botticelli Reimagined exhibition until July 3,, and taking a tour by bus and by river. See and londontown for more ideas.

Our father is turning 75 this year and to celebrate my five sisters and I would like to plan a long weekend in Ireland for the August bank holiday weekend. There are 24 people altogether. We would like a location close to a beach or other similar amenity which is a couple of hours drive from Dublin, Kildare and Louth. We are open to both hotels and self-catering accommodation or a combination of both and would like the option of good restaurants nearby. AC, Dublin.

Waterford is a good place to consider for your trip and the town of Dungarvan is a lively place. It is on the coast with beaches nearby. There are a few nice places to eat in, including the Tannery Restaurant, and the Cliff House at Ardmore

The Park Hotel is ideal for families and is a comfortable three star hotel. Rooms at the bank holiday weekend will be from €160 per night or two nights B&B and one dinner and picnic will be from €165pps,

Brooklodge and Macreddin Village in Co Wicklow, is a mix of hotel and self-catering accommodation. The food is excellent, especially in the Strawberry Tree, where everything is organic. The estate has its own pub, cafe and an Italian restaurant. It is in the mountains and a short drive from Brittas Bay. There is also a swimming pool, spa and golf. Rooms from €180 per night, B&B. (0402) 36444.

The centre of Ireland would be close for all the family and the Hodson Bay Resort caters well for families. In the area you have the lovely Wineport Lodge restaurant, Athlone also has a good variety of restaurants, Rooms at the Hodson Bay are from €180 per night and family two-night breaks with dinner one evening are from €506 for four,