How to get to Sandy Park Stadium, Exeter for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

If you are planning on heading to Sandy Park Stadium, Exeter to catch Italy, Namibia, Tonga, Georgia or Romania battle it out for the World Cup Trophy, you may find our travel information useful!

The Fixtures to be held at Sandy park will be;

29th September – Tonga v Namibia7th October – Namibia v Georgia11th October – Italy v Romania

The UK is expecting a surge of international supporters throughout the World Cup, so we detailed the various ways to travel to the stadium from Bristol Airport.

Bristol Airport Address:

Bristol Airport, Bristol, BS48 3DY

Distance to Sandy Park Stadium:

65 miles, 1 hour 10 mins

By Car:

Driving direct is probably the easiest option if this is available to you. You can hire a car at Bristol Airport with prices starting at just £27!

1) Sat-Nav Postcode: EX2 7NN2) Leave the airport and follow signs for the M5 (South)3) Continue on M5 and exit at Junction 304) Follow signs for the A3052 / West Point Arena (Park and Ride) 5) Shuttle Bus will take you to the Stadium Car park so will require a 2 minute walk to the stadium.

Taxi

An average price for a return journey comes in at £235. We think you’d be better off hiring your own car!!

By Coach

If you choose a National Express Coach, the journey will take around 3 ½ hours, and a return journey will cost from £18.40 depending on the times you choose to travel!

The Coach will take you to Exeter Bus and Coach Station, from which you can catch the Service 52 A, B or C (Exeter to Sidmouth) bus which takes approx. 30mins, or jump in a taxi direct in just half the time.

By Train

1) Grab a Taxi or Bus to Bristol Temple Meads Station2) You’ll need the Cross Country service Towards Plymouth3) Exit the Train at Exeter St Davids4) From this station, you’ll need the First Great Western service towards Exmouth5) Depart the train at Digby and Sowton. Your train journey cost is approx. £45 for an open return (return within one month)6) Sandy Park is a 10 minute walk from here.

Hotels

Thinking of extending your stay, or simply getting a bit of rest in before you head home? With plenty of local hotels to choose from, comparing prices couldn’t be easier when using our guide here. Pick from a wide selection of hotels, including those on the Airport itself.


Three new routes from Bristol Airport

BMI launches three new routes from Bristol: Paris, Düsseldorf and Nantes. The new flights to Paris and Düsseldorf will start from 27 April 2015, and the flights to Nantes will start on 4 July 2015.

Flights to Paris will be available 6 days a week, whilst the Düsseldorf flight will operate six times a week from Sun to Fri.

The route from Bristol to Paris will be a double-daily weekday service to the French capital’s key airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle. This new route also means business passengers will be able to complete a same day return trip to the French capital. Residents and businesses from surrounding areas benefit from direct flights to Europe’s large cities such as Paris, with the convenience of boarding a flight locally instead of having to use London airports.


easyJet to introduce new routes from Gatwick, Bristol and Southend

If you are a fan of low-cost carrier easyJet you will be pleased to know that the airline is adding numerous new routes to its schedules.

Last month they announced a new service between London Southend and Tenerife, starting on December 13th. The service will run twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and 11,000 passengers are expected to escape the British winter and head for the sun in the Canaries.

At the beginning of the month passengers in the south-west of England were delighted to hear of two new routes operating from Bristol. As from December, flights to Marrakech and Reykjavik will be on offer and are expected to attract some 55,000 passengers.

Last week the carrier gave details of various new routes added to their schedule from summer 2014. Those living in the south-east have four new services from London Gatwick to Jersey, Paris, Brittany (Brest) and Newcastle. Gatwick is easyJet’s largest base.

From next summer flights will operate from Belfast International Airport to Bordeaux and Jersey. easyJet is the largest airline operating out of the Northern Irish airport.

Residents of Scotland have not been forgotten, with Edinburgh and Glasgow airports unveiling new routes for summer 2014. Flights from the Scottish capital to Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete and Bodrum in the Aegean region of Turkey will prove popular with sunseekers. Those living in the west of Scotland will be able to choose from two new routes from Glasgow airport to Split on the Mediterranean coast of Croatia and the Greek island of Kos.


Don’t drink and fly, say Somerset police

Somerset police have asked travellers not to turn up at their local airport drunk, or with the intention of getting drunk while waiting for their flight. The warning, which applies to Bristol Airport, but could easily be extrapolated to any hub in the country, is designed to deter a “small minority” from causing trouble at the Lulsgate site.

The ‘Know Your Limit’ campaign may appear to be a response to an escalating problem, but the Somerset Constabulary was quick to point out that there have been no significant alcohol-related incidents at Bristol Airport in 2011. The purpose of the scheme, then, is prevention, rather than cure.

Bristol Airport is the largest airport in southwestern England, serving the counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and of course, Somerset. The hub handled almost 6m people last year, many of which were heading to popular resorts in Europe, such as Alicante, Ibiza, and Prague. The popularity of Bristol’s routes with stag and hen parties means that large groups of people may be passing through the airport, and, more often than not, visiting the airport’s food and drink outlets.

While there is nothing immediately wrong with consuming alcohol at an airport, and many nervous or bored travellers will eventually make their way to a bar or coffee house, flyers who choose to drink beer or wine should be aware of their personal ‘limit’.

PC Andy Bibbings, of the Somerset Constabulary, said that anti-social behaviour that “negatively effects the enjoyment of other passengers” or “causes anyone to feel threatened or unsafe” would not be tolerated. “The reality is that the culprit may end up in a cell”, the police officer explained.

The Know Your Limit campaign will run in tandem with a customer information scheme, “Drink Awareness for Passengers”. The latter project will be supported by leaflets and ‘table-top spinners’, located around the airport.


Bristol adds drop-off fee, promises new routes

Bristol Airport has become the latest hub to implement a £1 charge for the use of drop-off zones. The levy, which mirrors similar schemes at Newcastle, East Midlands, and Belfast airports, is designed to combat congestion at the Somerset hub, by encouraging motorists to travel on local trains, trams, and buses.

Drop-off fees are very unpopular. The introduction of the £1 levy at Newcastle Airport caused outrage amongst local motorists. Words such as, “chaotic”, “disgraceful”, and “disgusting”, were used liberally by critics in reference to the parking fee, but the scheme continues to gain in popularity at other UK hubs.

The relative apathy with which subsequent ‘pay-per-stay’ car parks have been greeted suggests that holidaymakers have accepted the spread of the £1 tax as inevitable, or that the media has grown tired of reporting on the issue. The addition of the levy at Bristol, for example, has been very sparsely reported, and without a single word of protest from local motorists.

Bristol’s new ‘express’ drop-off area, located a few metres to the southeast of the main terminal building, costs £1 for a stay of up to twenty minutes, and £4 for visits lasting up to half an hour. The new zone replaces a free parking area, which has been moved to the other side of the airport, and now resides within the long-stay parking zone.

A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said that the drop-off fee represents a “decrease in cost”, compared to the previous parking tariff. However, taxi drivers, arguably the group that is hit the hardest by parking charges, will almost invariably lose money, as Bristol has refused to offer any lenience beyond a simple discount.

In related news, Bristol Airport chiefs are “confident” that new destinations will soon be available from the Lulsgate hub. The announcement, made on Bristol’s official website, appeared a few days after the airport’s representatives returned from Routes Europe 2011, an annual ‘match-making’ conference, which aims to connect airports with airlines.

Shawn Browne, aviation director at Bristol, said that the Somerset hub is “fast becoming a destination that other airports want to see on their departure boards”. Mr. Browne noted that airlines were “impressed by the strength of the southwest market”. The new routes, if any, will be revealed in mid-to-late 2011.


Fly to Boa Vista, Cape Verde, in winter 2011

From November 2011, Thomson Airways will connect Bristol Airport with the island of Boa Vista. The destination, which is a member of the independent Cape Verde Islands, is situated off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania in West Africa. Bristol Airport says that Boa Vista is “untouched” by world tourism, making it ideal for travellers who have grown weary of Benidorm, Alicante, and similar ‘sun and sea’ resorts.

Boa Vista is a paradise island, warmer and dryer than the Canary Islands, but just as picturesque. Towards the coast, gently sloping dunes end in white beaches. Rusty shipwrecks, some submerged beneath the sea, create an unusual panorama for first-time visitors. Boa Vista’s Rabil Airport and the popular Riu Karamboa Hotel are equally unique, resembling giant sandcastles. Bristol Airport’s aviation director, Shaun Browne, referred to Boa Vista as an “exciting new destination” for holidaymakers in need of a break from Britain’s overcast skies.

The route from Bristol will be operated by Thomson Airways until April 2012. The carrier already offers 40 destinations from Bristol Airport, including trans-Atlantic flights to Sanford in Florida and Cancún, Mexico. Planes will depart from Bristol every Tuesday for the duration of the winter season. Flights to Boa Vista from Glasgow and East Midlands airports will also begin later this year, courtesy of Thomson.

Package deals for holidays at the Royal Decameron, Riu Touareg, and Riu Karamboa hotels are being sold by Thomson, beginning at £704 per person for a seven-night stay. The hotels, located on Boa Vista’s beaches, generally offer three to four-star accommodation, with a variety of bars and restaurants available on site.


Bristol installs ‘twisted’ wind turbine

Terms like ‘carbon footprint,’ ‘global warming,’ and ‘renewable energy’ are rarely out of the headlines in this enlightened century. The idea that an industry can be both productive and environmentally friendly is a favourite daydream of engineers and businessmen, but few companies have the money or the desire to install a few solar panels on the cafeteria roof.

However, Bristol Airport has made an effort to catch up with the country’s eco-warriors, by installing a new wind turbine on the front lawn. The turbine, standing 20m tall, has a unique helical, or ‘twisted,’ design, which produces less noise and fewer vibrations than conventional windmills, such as those at Thanet, off the coast of Kent. The structure, says Bristol Airport, is part of an ongoing pilot project.

The Southwest Regional Development Agency contributed £39,000 to the purchase of the turbine, while specialist manufacturer, Aeolus Power, was responsible for designing and installing the contraption, dubbed the Quiet Revolution qr5. Christine Griffiths, a partner of Aeolus, said that the qr5 was “ideal for Bristol Airport,” as the turbine was designed to function in built-up areas.

Bosses at the southwest airport hope to generate enough electricity to make 203,000 cups of tea (0.03kw per cup) during the turbine’s first year, a remarkable number of beverages for a lone windmill. Whether the hub has actually spent thousands of pounds on powering a giant kettle is debatable.

Alan Davies, planning officer at Bristol, referred to the turbine as a “high profile statement of our ambition to reduce our reliance on carbon.” The structure is ostensibly part of plans to expand and upgrade the airport to support 12.5m passengers by 2030, more than double Bristol Airport’s total traffic in 2010.


Green light for Bristol’s ‘first hotel’

A sustainable (and rather unusual) hotel is to be built at Bristol Airport, according to news website Hotel Designs. The building, alleged to be the hub’s first dedicated hotel, is being developed by London-based firm EPR Architects, the scribblers behind the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, Hampshire, and ITV’s Granada Studios in Manchester.

The structure, once complete, will stand within a short walk of the airport’s main terminal, providing travellers with unrivalled access to the UK’s ninth largest hub. The hotel’s day-to-day operation will be handled by Pederson Hotels, a company that owns similar accommodation in Sheffield and Reading.

Arranged into two ‘wings’, the hotel is H-shaped and has its own dedicated parking zone to the west of the building. The as-yet-unnamed structure will be built from materials which prevent the loss of heat and energy to the cold outside the walls. Current plans will allow a maximum of 251 guests on 3 or 4 floors.

“The hotel has been designed to have a strong horizontal emphasis with colour used to articulate the form,” explains Hotel Designs. In layman’s terms, the building has colourful stripes. The architects hope that the stripy exterior will distinguish it from the ‘office block’ style of many new budget hotels.

A restaurant and bar installed adjacent to the main reception area will delight hungry guests, while three meeting rooms will allow business types to discuss the latest pie chart over a hot projector. The hotel will be fronted by a "landscaped area” complete with a path that leads to the terminal doors.

The development will help officials at Bristol Airport achieve their collective dream of 10 million passengers a year by 2020, a goal that is supported by a controversial £150m expansion due to get underway in the coming months.


The Land of the Pharaohs, from Bristol

Earlier this month, staff at Bristol Airport swapped their uniforms for something a little more extravagant, as the hub celebrated a new Thomson Airways route to Luxor, Egypt, with a pharaoh-themed fancy dress party.

Luxor, the site of the Ancient Egyptian city, Thebes, is one of the most popular tourist resorts in North Africa. The city sits on the banks of the Nile, and claims the ruins of the Karnak temple, and the nearby Valley of the Kings as landmarks.

Explorers can also book a felucca (a small yacht) ride on the Nile. The Greek historian, Herodotus, once said that Egypt was given to the world by the famous river, emphasising its importance in founding the ‘Land of the Pharaohs.’ Man-eating crocodiles, weighing 225kg, were also gifted to Egypt by the Nile.

With an average July temperature of 41 degrees Celsius, Luxor is an ideal destination for both sun seekers and would-be historians alike.

Airport bosses say that Thomson has helped boost winter capacity at the North Somerset hub by an impressive 55% over 2009, by adding the Luxor route, introducing a flight from Bristol to Gran Canaria at the beginning of November, and making the decision to base a second aircraft at the airport.

Bristol claims that seven new Thomson routes will go on sale during the winter of 2010/11, but it is unknown whether the airline’s latest additions are included in that figure. Flights to Larnaca in Cyprus, Heraklion in Greece, and Reus in Spain, are at least some of the routes to be introduced during the colder months.

Thomson is operating the flight to Luxor alongside its sister company, First Choice. Tickets for the route are being sold at £199 for a return trip, all taxes included. The price is for a single adult returning after a seven or fourteen day stay in Egypt. Naturally, First Choice is offering package deals for Luxor, with a week at the four-star hotel, the Iberotel Luxor, costing £374 per person.


Man arrested with ‘arsenal’ of weapons

While smuggling is a staple of Hollywood blockbusters, from the global transport of heavy weapons in Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage, to cocaine trafficking in Martin Scorsese’s, Goodfellas, the reality of smuggling is rarely flattering, with the culprits often portrayed as idiots in the media.

For example: a would-be cocaine smuggler was arrested at Newcastle Airport earlier this year, after locking himself in his own car, a feat that most would consider impossible, given that he had the keys on his person.

With airport security at its most paranoid in recent memory, pending a possible review in the coming months, smugglers are being captured at a prodigious rate, carrying such bizarre items as seahorses, boa constrictors, rare eggs, and even three alligators – possibly the last thing you would want to hide in your underpants.

Yet, audacious and ridiculous smuggling schemes happen every day, with one of the most recent occurring at Bristol Airport earlier this year. Liam Dimond, a 20-year-old male from Patchway, Bristol, was reportedly caught trying to bring an “arsenal” of weapons through his local airport, according to newspaper, the Evening Post.

Liam had been travelling back from a holiday in Bulgaria with his parents when customs officers discovered the haul.

The items, which were all melee weapons, barring a few throwing stars and a stun gun, included knuckle-dusters and flick knives, some of which were disguised as mundane items, such as cigarette lighters. The culprit claimed that the weapons, numbering ten in all, were “collection items” destined for his bedroom wall, rather than functional arms.

Owen Strickland, Dimond’s solicitor, said that the defendant had an “interest” in the handheld weapons after “seeing them in films.”

Dimond pleaded guilty to the offence earlier this month, but the case has since been referred to Bristol Crown Court, after a local magistrate ruled that the sheer size of the arsenal, coupled with Dimond’s previous convictions, meant that any sentence would need to be meted out by a judge with greater powers.