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Gulf Air doesn’t have a reputation as a thoroughbred airline. For instance, respected UK-based air transport rating agency Skytrax has declared it’s a ‘three-star’ operation, behind British Airways, which has four stars.

However, two travel experts from The Points Guy UK are extremely impressed with the carrier when they put its business class and economy cabin head-to-head.

They film their experiences in each cabin on a Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow to Bahrain, with the ‘spectacular’ business class a riot of dessert trolleys and chic styling – and the economy cabin boasting a seat the reviewer declares might be the comfiest he’s ever sat on in cattle class.

Nicky Kelvin, Head of The Points Guy UK, puts Gulf Air's Dreamliner business class to the test

Nicky Kelvin, Head of The Points Guy UK, puts Gulf Air’s Dreamliner business class to the test

Nicky describes the 'Falcon Gold' cabin as 'spectacular, absolutely gorgeous'

Nicky describes the ‘Falcon Gold’ cabin as ‘spectacular, absolutely gorgeous’

Turning left for the video is Nicky Kelvin, Head of The Points Guy UK.

His jaw drops immediately as he boards.

He describes the ‘Falcon Gold’ cabin as ‘spectacular, absolutely gorgeous’, with a ‘spacious, fresh and private’ feel.

He says the seat, which cost £1,535, is ‘big and comfy with a really nice colour scheme as well’.

Nicky continues: ‘The cabin overall is very chic, modern and calming.’

He also loves the iPhone-style device that controls the entertainment screen and the service, which he describes as ‘exceptional’.

Nicky is presented with a dessert trolley on his way to Bahrain

Nicky is presented with a dessert trolley on his way to Bahrain

Nicky's main course - 'soft and tender' chicken with a 'gorgeous' sauce and 'fluffy rice'

The Gulf Air business class afternoon tea

On the left is Nicky’s main course – ‘soft and tender’ chicken with a ‘gorgeous’ sauce and ‘fluffy rice’. On the right, his afternoon tea

The afternoon tea is wheeled over on a trolley about an hour and a half after the main course

The afternoon tea is wheeled over on a trolley about an hour and a half after the main course

He says: ‘The crew come across as friendly, experienced and passionate. I do not want for anything.’

The food and beverage offering, meanwhile, is ‘fantastic’.

Nicky tucks into ‘soft and tender’ chicken with a ‘gorgeous’ sauce and ‘fluffy rice’.

Then the dessert trolley turns up and it’s time for a ‘smooth and sweet’ blueberry cheesecake with a ‘buttery biscuit base’.

But the feast doesn’t end there. An hour and a half later, a full afternoon tea turns up – ‘a tasty and luxurious touch’.

It isn’t perfect, though.

Nicky puts the lie-flat seat through its paces. He describes it as 'big and comfy'

Nicky puts the lie-flat seat through its paces. He describes it as ‘big and comfy’

In business, an iPhone-style device controls the entertainment screen

In business, an iPhone-style device controls the entertainment screen

Nicky says: ‘Whilst the bed is comfortable, a thicker mattress and more plush bedding would make for a better sleeping set up.’ The blanket is a bit ‘polyester-y’ for his liking.

He also says that the check-in process is a ‘little slow and confused’, though this might be because he is flying out of Terminal 2, which isn’t Gulf Air’s Heathrow ‘home’ – Terminal 4.

TPG UK’s Liam Spencer draws the short straw for this test – but at least his £375 economy berth is an empty row of three seats.

TPG UK's Liam Spencer draws the short straw for this test - he's in economy

TPG UK’s Liam Spencer draws the short straw for this test – he’s in economy

Liam's main course is braised beef, pictured, which he describes as 'fairly bland and flavourless'

Liam’s main course is braised beef, pictured, which he describes as ‘fairly bland and flavourless’

The dessert (on the right) is a highlight of Liam's economy culinary tour

The dessert (on the right) is a highlight of Liam’s economy culinary tour

The ups?

Liam says: ‘The best service I’ve ever experienced in economy. The crew consistently go the extra mile to make sure I have everything I need. They are friendly, personable and make me feel like a valued passenger, rather than a customer.

‘The seat is very comfortable – possibly the comfiest I’ve ever sat on in economy – with soft fabric and plenty of recline. And the cabin feels extremely fresh, clean and spacious. A particular highlight of Dreamliners is their button-controlled [dimmable] windows, which add a luxury feel to the experience.’

Another win is a ‘pretty cosy fluffy blanket’.

One of the plus points at the back of the plane for Liam is the service - 'the best I've ever experienced in economy'

One of the plus points at the back of the plane for Liam is the service – ‘the best I’ve ever experienced in economy’

Liam's economy berth is 'an empty row of three seats'

Liam’s economy berth is ‘an empty row of three seats’

TPG UK's flight, pictured, departs from Terminal 2 at Heathrow

TPG UK’s flight, pictured, departs from Terminal 2 at Heathrow

On the downside, ‘the main course isn’t particularly exciting – a braised beef curry that is fairly bland and flavourless’.

But he trumpets – ‘it is a near-perfect economy flight’.

For more information on travel tips and tricks, sign up to The Points Guy UK. Click here to see the full-length Gulf Air review footage. 

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A winter’s day in a remote graveyard in Suffolk. On the north side of the church — the dark side, the cold side — we find a dense grove of old yew trees, and a hidden grave.

Matthew retrieves something from the earth: an old bone. ‘A rabbit?’ I suggest. He shakes his head. It’s a human finger bone.

Respectfully, we replace the fragment exactly where we found it, and return to the south side of the church. Behind us, the yew trees shiver.

Fact and fiction: St Peter’s in Great Livermere. Montague Rhodes James called the 'remote and sleepy' village home

Fact and fiction: St Peter’s in Great Livermere. Montague Rhodes James called the ‘remote and sleepy’ village home 

For we are in the churchyard of St Peter’s at Great Livermere, the village that England’s greatest ghost-story writer, Montague Rhodes James, called home, and where his father was rector. One of his spookiest stories, The Ash-Tree, features a house similar to the rectory here, where James spent his boyhood, and a terrifying witch, long dead, called Mothersole.

The name on the grave we have just discovered under the yews? Mothersole.

Matthew, a Suffolk local, explains that his county is rich in haunted country houses, often inhabited by the same families for generations, with an old church nearby, bells intoning through the mist.

It was just this landscape that inspired James, who passed a long, serene life (1862-1936) as a Cambridge don, poring over medieval manuscripts; and, late at night, composing his spine-chilling tales.

The BBC has adapted The Mezzotint, one of M. R. James’s classic ghost stories. Pictured from the left are the cast of the BBC adaptation, with Rory Kinnear (playing Edward Williams), Nikesh Patel (Nisbet), and Robert Bathurst (Garwood)

The BBC has adapted The Mezzotint, one of M. R. James’s classic ghost stories. Pictured from the left are the cast of the BBC adaptation, with Rory Kinnear (playing Edward Williams), Nikesh Patel (Nisbet), and Robert Bathurst (Garwood)

Rory Kinnear stars in the BBC adaptation of James’s spooky tale - A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint - which will air on Christmas Eve

Rory Kinnear stars in the BBC adaptation of James’s spooky tale – A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint – which will air on Christmas Eve

James once claimed that he saw a real ghost on the edge of the Brecklands woodland, at Oldbroom Plantation (pictured). Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

A photograph of James, who Christopher describes as 'England’s greatest ghost-story writer'

James once claimed that he saw a real ghost on the edge of the Brecklands woodland, at Oldbroom Plantation (pictured on the left). Picture courtesy of Creative Commons. On the right is a photograph of James, who Christopher describes as ‘England’s greatest ghost-story writer’

'We lunch at the little fishing port of Felixstowe Ferry (pictured), where the River Deben curves out into the North Sea, creating a treacherous sandbar across the mouth of the estuary,' writes Christopher

‘We lunch at the little fishing port of Felixstowe Ferry (pictured), where the River Deben curves out into the North Sea, creating a treacherous sandbar across the mouth of the estuary,’ writes Christopher  

They often featured academics like himself, investigating ancient texts or artefacts and disturbing something terrible. James — whose story The Mezzotint has been adapted by the BBC and will be shown on Christmas Eve — would then read his tales to friends in his rooms in King’s College, Cambridge, by candlelight.

A remote and sleepy village, Great Livermere is the first stop on our M. R. James winter pilgrimage. It stands on the edge of that mysterious stretch of country called the Brecklands, a barely inhabited grassland sparsely dotted with trees and thorn thickets. In his story A Vignette, James records the only time he saw a real ghost — ‘the eyes were large and open and fixed . . . a glamour of madness about it’ — on the edge of the woodland here called Oldbroom Plantation, which stands to this day.

From here it’s a rambling drive east across the county to the coast north of Felixstowe. James used to stay at the Bath Hotel here. We lunch at the little fishing port of Felixstowe Ferry, where the River Deben curves out into the North Sea, creating a treacherous sandbar across the mouth of the estuary. 

Christopher's final stop is in the town of Aldeburgh, pictured. He says that the area was 'much loved by James'

Christopher’s final stop is in the town of Aldeburgh, pictured. He says that the area was ‘much loved by James’ 

The centre of Aldeburgh. According to Christopher, James created the tale A Warning To The Curious during his time in the town

 The centre of Aldeburgh. According to Christopher, James created the tale A Warning To The Curious during his time in the town

Christopher stays at The Angel Hotel in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds (pictured)

Christopher stays at The Angel Hotel in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds (pictured)

Rooms at The Angel Hotel, pictured, start at £69 pp. Visit www.theangel.co.uk for more information

Rooms at The Angel Hotel, pictured, start at £69 pp. Visit www.theangel.co.uk for more information

Small boats bob about on the river, halyards clanking in the wind and gulls loitering ready to pounce.

This is the coastal landscape of one of James’s most terrifying tales, Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad, complete with golf course, just as he described it (he hated golf). 

Take a walk along this atmospherically desolate coast, or inland over Falkenham Marshes, and you can understand James’s fascination.

Finally, on to Aldeburgh, much loved by James. Even here, though, his haunted imagination created the tale A Warning To The Curious, featuring the sinister figure of one William Ager. 

He is said to live north of the town, in an isolated cottage on the heath.

Not all the great writers of the haunted and strange evoke specific locales, but when they do — Dickens’s Kentish marshes, Conan Doyle’s Dartmoor — the effect can be spine-tingling.

James’s Suffolk is just such a landscape, a perfect destination for exploring on a bleak winter’s day. 

And wherever there is an old country house, dark woodland, empty heathland or a remote medieval church, there, surely, the ghost of the genial old Cambridge don still wanders. 

In Aldeburgh, Christopher stayed at the White Lion Hotel, pictured, where rooms cost from £78 pp

In Aldeburgh, Christopher stayed at the White Lion Hotel, pictured, where rooms cost from £78 pp

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