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Download speeds of around 1,000Mbps enable customers to download feature-length movies in seconds, back-up their photos to the cloud, and join video calls without a stutter. In busy households, with multiple people streaming music and video, making video calls, downloading software updates, and juggling dozens of smart lightbulbs, thermostats, smart speakers and security cameras and doorbells… the huge bandwidth available with gigabit-capable internet means no device will see slowdowns.

It also future-proof customers for the next generation of technology, including 8K video quality streaming, playing blockbuster video games from the cloud with services like Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia, higher quality music streaming – like Apple Music’s Lossless format or Amazon Music HD, and more.

To celebrate the completion of its Gig1 roll-out to all 15.5 million customers, Virgin Media has dropped the price for the first time. The £198 discount will only be available until Sunday February 6, 2022.

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Now is a very good time to make the switch to Virgin Media with the broadband supplier offering mega deals on its speedy internet access. Thanks to its big Winter Sale event customers can currently get big discounts on a range of plans with prices starting from just £26.99 for fast 100Mbps downloads. If that doesn’t sound enough to keep pace with your family’s online needs then there are plenty of other options including 200Mbps access for £32.99 (saving £17) or blistering 500Mbps downloads for just £44.99 (saving £15).

All of these plans are for 18 months and include unlimited downloads plus the latest Wi-Fi hub from Virgin.

Here are all the deals from Virgin Media:

BEST ON A BUDGET • M100
NOW £26.99 – WAS £44

Virgin’s M100 plan is currently just £26.99 in the Winter Sale – that’s one of the lowest prices we’ve seen for this service. This includes fast 100Mbps downloads which is easily good enough to cope with streaming in 4K and downloading movies. This low price lasts for 18 months meaning there’s a saving of over £300 to be made over the term of the contract.

SEE THE M100 DEAL HERE

BEST FOR VALUE • M200
NOW £32.99 – WAS £50

M200 brings speeds in excess of 200Mbps into your living room which is ideal for most busy homes. With this connection, you can download a movie in under four minutes and make multiple zoom calls whilst your kids stream endless shows on Netflix. Virgin recommend this option to those with more than 10 connected devices such as phones, TVs, cameras and tablets in their homes. Again, this low price lasts for 18 months meaning there’s a saving of over £300 to be made over the term of the contract.

SEE THE M200 DEAL HERE

BEST FOR SPEED • M500
NOW £44.99 ( WAS £62)

Virgin does offer 1Gbps broadband to customers which is some of the fastest speeds available in the UK. However, at £62 per month, it’s a pretty expensive option. If that price is simply too expensive but you want blisteringly quick internet access then M500 is a very tempting option. Right now you can get these speeds for just £44.99 per month which save over £300 off the standard price over the 18-month term.

SEE THE M500 DEAL HERE

WHY CHOOSE VIRGIN?

Virgin Media offers some of the best speeds in the UK with millions of homes now connected to its ultra-fast fibre cables.

This means Virgin doesn’t rely on ageing copper technology which can slow things down to a snail’s pace.

In fact, the firm recently announced that its fastest Gig1 downloads are now available in over 15 million homes.

This ultimate connection allows users to download a full HD movie in under 40 seconds.

Virgin also offers numerous other plans incluinhg M100 (100Mbps) M200 (200Mbps) M350 (350Mbps) and M500 (500Mbps).

Last year, Virgin was giving the fastest UK provider gong by the team at Uswitch

WHAT VIRGIN SPEEDS DO YOU REALLY NEED?

Not sure what Virgin speeds are best for you? Here’s a quick guide to what your home needs.

We’re all using our broadband more and more but not everyone needs blisteringly quick speeds. If you simply browse the web, send a few emails and watch the odd box set on Netflix then a standard 50Mbps connection should cope just fine.

However, if you have a busy home then you will definitely want something faster and it’s not just about quicker downloads.

Your broadband is a bit like a motorway – the more traffic that runs through it the slower it gets. So, if you have a busy house it’s best to get the fastest speeds you can afford to avoid annoying buffering.

Here’s how long it takes to download a full HD movie with different speeds on offer from the UK’s ISPs.

SPEED 50Mbps – DOWNLOAD TIME = 11 minutes

SPEED 100Mbps – DOWNLOAD TIME = 6 minutes

SPEED 200Mbps – DOWNLOAD TIME = 3 minutes

SPEED 350Mbps – DOWNLOAD TIME = 2 minutes

SPEED 500Mbps – DOWNLOAD TIME = 1 minute 20 seconds

SPEED 1Gbps – DOWNLOAD TIME = 40 seconds



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Struggling with sluggish download speeds? Virgin Media has published a blog post with some handy tips to help boost your speeds. “If you’re not in the office, you might not have the benefit of calling the IT team when you get stuck – unless someone you live with doubles up as an all-round tech whiz,” the blog post reads, before sharing some tips to help improve video streaming, upload speeds, and manage dual concurrent Wi-Fi networks in your home to improve connectivity to your devices.

Of course, there’s only so much heavy lifting these tricks can do. If you’re on an older, slower broadband bundle and you’re trying to stream blockbusters in 4K Ultra HD picture quality …that’s not going to work. Netflix recommends a minimum of 25Mbps to watch in this crisp picture format – and that’s if it’s the only thing you’re doing. If you’re living in a busy household, with other people who are streaming music, downloading software updates, backing up their photos to the cloud, making video calls, or playing video games online at the same time, you’ll need much, much more bandwidth to ensure everyone has a stutter-free experience.

The good news is that Virgin Media finished upgrading its 15.5 million customers to gigabit-capable connections. With download speeds over 1,000Mbps, gigabit-capable fibre is some of the fastest broadband available in the UK right now. If you’re out-of-contract, you might be missing out on newly-upgraded speeds (you’re also about to be clobbered by a record-breaking price increase to your bills unless you sign-up to a new contract with Virgin Media…)

If you’re happy with your current speeds, but are still struggling to stream video at home, hopefully, these tips from Virgin Media will help get everything working again.

First off, Virgin Media cautions run a speed test to check whether the issue resides with the streaming service you’re trying to use, or your speeds have gone awry. “If the broadband speed is much slower than normal, there may be an issue with your broadband router, your broadband or phone line, or the internet service provider’s network,” Virgin Media cautions. If your speeds are lower than what you’d expect? Contact technical support.

If the bandwidth is struggling (perhaps you’re downloading a mammoth operating system update or video game in the other room), you could always reduce the streaming video quality. Most streaming services offer this option, allowing you to select a specific resolution, or choose from high (1080p – full HD), medium or low (480p – standard definition).

If you want to watch in the best quality available, you could always pause the video and allow it to buffer. You’ll be able to see how much has buffered by looking at the video player’s seek bar. Likewise, downloading the video could be a good option too. For example, you can do this on All 4 and BBC iPlayer. You’ll have to wait a while for the download as the file will most likely be large, but once it’s finished downloading, you’ll be able to play the video without interruption (and on the go).

Every device connected to your broadband will reduce the available bandwidth, so switch off everything that’s not in use so there’s enough capacity for the video. Shut down or pause apps or services running in the background – this is particularly relevant if you’re streaming on a computer.

If none of these work, there is always the tried-and-tested method of turning your device off and on again! Restart the software first, and if that doesn’t help, reboot the streaming device. Still struggling? Using your antivirus, check for any malware or viruses that may impact the performance of your device or potentially slow your broadband speed.

It’s also possible that the speed coming into your house is performing as expected, but there are some obstructions that prevent that bandwidth reach any devices connected to Wi-Fi. To get the best performance from your Virgin Media-branded router, the internet supplier cautions customers to make sure to their Hub is upright, out in the open (but out of direct sunlight if possible). An easy way to work out if you’re making the most of the signal is to check whether the lights on your Virgin Media Hub are facing into the room (and your devices). That way your Hub’s strongest WiFi signal goes outwards – not into the floor.

Objects can block and slow Wi-Fi. And so can wireless signals from other household devices, like baby monitors and cordless phones. If you use any of these in your home, Virgin Media says you should to “aim for one metre of clearance” between them and your Wi-Fi router.

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Virgin Media has also shared some really useful tips about concurrent Wi-Fi signals. In the simplest forms – when you’re online, your Wi-Fi connection uses radio waves to pass information to and from your computer and wireless devices like tablets and smartphones. Most broadband providers use the same radio band, which is 2.4GHz. With so many people using the same band at the same time, there’s lots of congestion, making information travel slower.

It’s also affected by other things, including baby monitors, cordless phones and microwaves, because they use the same band to function. That’s why these devices can cause interference with that all-important Wi-Fi signal.

All Virgin Media-branded Hubs also have a different and less busy band, which is 5GHz. The 5GHz band has a shorter range than the 2.4GHz band, but is great for activities like streaming HD movies. Hubs 3,4 and 5 have a single SSID (the technical name for the name of your wireless network) which covers both bands, but if you have a Super Hub, Super Hub 2 or Super Hub 2ac, you should make sure your devices are able to connect to the best band for them. If you’ve got a fairly recent device, you’d be better served with 5GHz, which doesn’t travel quite as well and can be stumped with brick walls… but offers much faster wireless speeds.



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Virgin Media is running an incredible promotion right now, which includes a free 4K TV worth over £350 to customers who sign-up to a broadband, TV and phone deal before midnight tonight. The 43-inch LG-designed telly is available on four Virgin Media plans, which start from £62 a month. For that price, you’ll unlock access to Virgin Media’s brilliant and speedy fibre broadband, the Virgin TV 360 box which lets you pause, rewind and record TV, plus access to BT Sport – so you’ll be able to watch all of the Champions League and Europa League matches, not to mention Premier League football too. If this sounds like something you’d like, you’ll need to act fast as the offer ends after today (Thursday January 20, 2022).

The free LG 4K TV is offered with a trio of plans that offer access to Virgin Media TV, the M100 fibre broadband plan and unlimited weekend calls. The cheapest plan costs £62 a month and includes access to Sky Cinema, while the £72 a month plan will let you watch Sky Sports channels. If you want the best of both worlds, you can pay £79 a month to get access to both Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.

All of these packages also include access to Virgin Media’s M100 fibre broadband (which offers average download speeds of 108Mbps), unlimited weekend calls from your landline and will let you choose from around 200 TV channels in total to watch on your Virgin TV 360 box.

Alternatively, if you want the full works then you can go for the Ultimate Volt bundle. This package is thanks to last year’s merger between Virgin Media and O2 and includes access to over 230 TV channels (including Sky Sports and Sky Cinema), an unlimited O2 mobile SIM, unlimited landline calls and access to Virgin Media’s Gig1 fibre broadband.

Gigabit broadband is the next generation of internet services in the UK, and Virgin’s Gig1 plan offers whopping average download speeds of 1130Mbps. At that rate, you’ll be able to download an HD quality movie in around 30 seconds. Wow, that’s quick!

This plan is usually priced at £99 per month, but is available right now for £89 a month. All of the aforementioned deals run for 18 months and require a £35 set-up fee. If you’ve already get a 4K TV you like then you can alternatively get £200 credit that can be used towards your bill.

But both the bill credit and free TV deal will no longer be available after the end of today. So, don’t delay and add to your basket if you’re tempted.



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Fancy a TV for free? Well, for the next few days that’s exactly what Virgin Media is offering with customers a 43 inch LG 4K Smart telly when they sign up for select broadband and TV bundles. The free TV offer, which launched today (Monday, January 17 2022), is available when customers sign up to either the Bigger Bundle and Sports package, which is priced at £72 a month, or the Ultimate Volt Bundle – which usually is priced at £99 per month but has been reduced to £89 a month. The former bundle gives access to over 195 channels, including Sky Sports, as well as the M100 fibre broadband (which offers 108Mbps average download speed) while Ultimate Volt lets subscribers watch over 230 channels, get an unlimited O2 SIM for their mobile and includes the super-fast Gig1 fibre broadband (which offers 1130Mbps average download speeds).

This is some of the fastest broadband you can get in the country, and with these speeds you’ll be able to download an HD quality movie in around 30 seconds. Wow!

Both of these Virgin Media contracts run for 18 months, require a £35 set-up fee while Bigger Bundle and Sports offers unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers, with Ultimate Volt offering unlimited anytime calls to UK landlines and mobiles.

If this all sounds like something you’d be interested in, then you better act quickly to sign up. The Virgin Media free TV deal is only available until Thursday January 20 2022, so you just have a short window of opportunity to take advantage of the offer.

If you’ve already got a 4K TV you’re happy with, then you can instead get £200 bill credit to use. This voucher is also only available until January 20.

Besides these two incredible deals, Virgin Media is also offering a huge saving on three other plans as part of its ongoing Winter Sale.

You can save £306 on either the M100 or M200 fibre broadband plans – which brings the monthly price down from £44 to £26.99 per month for the former, or from £50 to £32.99 for the latter.

The M100 fibre broadband package offers average download speeds of 108Mbps, while M200 boasts 213Mbps average download speeds.

Alternatively, the Virgin Media Bigger Bundle deal – which bundles in M100 fibre broadband, unlimited weekend calls, and access to over 190 TV channels – has also had a price cut.

This Virgin Media broadband, TV and calls package usually costs £57 per month, but has now been reduced to £45 a month.

All of the Virgin Media TV packages include access to the TV 360 box, which allows you to pause, rewind and record shows, store up to 500 hours of TV and are 4K ready.

While all of the aforementioned TV bundles will also give you access to BT Sport – so you can watch Premier League, Champions League and Europa League football as well as also watch other exclusive live sports events such as the MotoGP, UFC, cricket, rugby union, Ligue 1, Serie A and more.



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Customers of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) including Sky, Virgin Media and BT are being urged to check their bills without delay. That’s due to millions facing a shock price hike in the coming weeks and months as their current contracts come to an end.

According to the team at comparethemarket.com, some 10 million broadband customers took out new deals during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help cope with the demands of spending more time at home.

In fact, a survey of more than 2,000 broadband customers found that 41 percent of households have switched broadband providers in the last two years.

Many of these users will have got money-saving discounts which are often used to lure new customers over to an ISP.

However, once these initial offers come to an end, a standard price will then be applied which will often be far more expensive than the original deal.

As a good example, Virgin Media is currently offering speedy 100Mbps broadband for just £26.99 per month but at the end of the 18-month deal this jumps to a whopping £44 per month – that’s a rise of almost £20.

With most homes signing up to two year or 18-month plans many could be facing some serious bill sock if they don’t renegotiate their contract or switch to a new supplier.

New rules introduced by Ofcom mean ISPs now have to inform you that your current deal is ending with a message sent via email or text. If you receive one of these alerts then it’s vital to check how much you’ll pay once things come to end. If you’re not happy with the new price then take a look at what is available elsewhere and consider changing providers.

Calling your current ISP is also a good idea as they will almost certainly offer a cheaper deal to keep you.

Speaking about the issue, Mubina Pirmohamed, head of digital at comparethemarket.com, said: “In the last two years we have seen a surge in households changing broadband provider. Working from home tested people’s broadband reliability, with many deciding to switch in a bid to find a better provider.

“Those who switched are now nearing the end of their initial contract periods and may face significant price-hikes if they choose to stick with their current provider. Shopping around online and switching to a better deal can help people to improve broadband speed and save money.

“At a time when bills are going up across the board – from energy to supermarket trips – it is important to see if you can get better value for money by switching broadband provider.”



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The telecoms firm has just announced its lowest ever price for broadband with customers able to get the web beamed into their living rooms for as little as £14 per month. That’s £10 less each month than BT’s best deal. That’s a saving of £240 over the course of a two-year contract.

The only thing that customers should be aware of is that Three Mobile doesn’t offer a standard fixed line connection into homes. Instead, internet access is beamed into properties using its 4G and 5G mobile network. This does have one advantage as it means there’s no tricky installation or waiting around for an engineer to visit as users are simply sent a router which, once plugged in, gets things up and running in minutes. It works in exactly the same way as the SIM card in your smartphone, which brings speedy internet to your handset.

Since there’s no cable running into your home, you can move Three Mobile’s Wi-Fi router around your house – bringing internet to the garden during the warm summer months, for example. You can even take it around to a friends’ house if they don’t have superfast internet.

Three Mobile even promises next-day delivery of the router so you can sign up today and be online tomorrow. In comparison, you’ll usually find yourself waiting between two weeks and one month to get set-up with Sky, BT or Vodafone fixed-line broadband for the first time.

Three Mobile’s staggering £14 a month speedy broadband offer includes slower 4G technology which should allow files to be downloaded at speeds of between 50Mbps and 100Mbps. For those wanting something faster, there’s also a 5G router which costs £21 a month.

That’s clearly more expensive but this new service does deliver speeds at over 100Mbps. In fact, 5G is fully capable of pushing things to over 300Mbps which would allow a full HD movie to be downloaded in just 3 minutes – that’s around four times faster than the current UK average home broadband speed.

If you don’t yet have full-fibre in your street, but can connect to 5G, this is a great way to access next-generation speeds.

It is worth checking to see if fast 5G is available in your area as this is a relatively new technology and is only in certain parts of the UK.

YOU CAN FIND ALL OF THREE’S DEALS HERE



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With icing-sugar sand, crystal-clear water and jungle-wrapped mountains, it’s hard to believe how different the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) looked just four years ago. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma – the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, with wind gusts reaching 215mph – ripped through this chain of lush islands, leaving them scorched and bare.

Just two weeks later, Maria followed – another Category 5 hurricane.

When the winds died down, more than 80 per cent of buildings on the BVIs’ main island of Tortola were found to have been destroyed or seriously damaged, and its vital tourist industry was decimated.

Paradise restored: The tiny yachting hot-spot Saba Rock, above, was rebuilt after being flattened by Hurricane Irma

Paradise restored: The tiny yachting hot-spot Saba Rock, above, was rebuilt after being flattened by Hurricane Irma

The immediate aftermath that agriculturalist Vernon Daniel describes is apocalyptic, but it also explains how the BVIs soon bounced back from such devastation. He says: ‘Salt from the ocean came in with the wind and burnt everything. All the trees were like bonsais, cut to half their size. But a lot of the soil was saturated with salt and that helped with the absorption of rain, so it was actually all green again within three months, completely naturally.’

A massive clean-up operation was launched to tackle the £2.7 billion of damage, with extensive rebuilding and the establishment of new farms to ensure the self-reliance of this British Overseas Territory just to the east of Puerto Rico.

Hotels were finally poised to reopen in 2020, and then Covid struck…

Now, the much needed and long-awaited tourists are back and finding an even warmer welcome. Regular visitors will see big changes across the islands – even though they appear just as green as before, carpeted in cactus-studded rainforest and exotic flowers, the beaches seem to sparkle more than ever.

‘When a hurricane comes through, the beaches change and are refreshed,’ says Keith Dawson of the BVI Tourist Board. ‘Everything gets a clean-up. There weren’t as many boats around so fish are in abundance and people are farming more in their gardens. It’s a very hopeful time.’

The British Virgin Islands are a tranquil alternative to tourist-heavy Antigua, an hour’s flight away. Pictured is the Antiguan capital of Saint John's

The British Virgin Islands are a tranquil alternative to tourist-heavy Antigua, an hour’s flight away. Pictured is the Antiguan capital of Saint John’s

With calm currents, reliable trade winds and countless deserted coves, the BVIs have long attracted keen sailors and celebrities who hop between the 60 islands, islets and cays.

But the new and refurbished hotels also make the islands a dream getaway for those who prefer to stay on dry land – and a tranquil alternative to tourist-heavy Antigua, an hour’s flight away.

Visit between December and April and you will steer clear of the Caribbean’s hurricane season, though stricter new building regulations should mean the islands remain better protected in future.

An idyllic beach on Virgin Gorda where the blue waters of the Caribbean stretch out as far as the eye can see

An idyllic beach on Virgin Gorda where the blue waters of the Caribbean stretch out as far as the eye can see 

Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda has almost been entirely rebuilt. Pictured is one of the luxury rooms

Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda has almost been entirely rebuilt. Pictured is one of the luxury rooms

Guests at Rosewood Little Dix Bay should look out for hawksbill turtles

Guests at Rosewood Little Dix Bay should look out for hawksbill turtles

On Virgin Gorda, the second-largest island, Rosewood Little Dix Bay was already one of the region’s most prestigious properties. Founded by American philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller in the 1950s and frequented by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, a four-year closure has seen it almost entirely rebuilt, with a blissful hilltop spa, treehouse suites and beachfront cottages along half a mile of white sand. 

Guests can dabble in free non-motorised watersports or just lie back and spot the hawksbill turtles emerging for air just yards from the water’s edge (rosewoodhotels.com).

The island is also home to The Baths, where huge granite boulders scattered by ancient volcanic activity have formed enchanting sheltered sea pools and rocky underwater tunnels. 

Some tiny coves can be reached only by clambering over the boulders with rope ladders for a real desert-island feel.

Virgin Gorda is home to The Baths, pictured, where huge granite boulders have formed enchanting sheltered sea pools and rocky underwater tunnels

Virgin Gorda is home to The Baths, pictured, where huge granite boulders have formed enchanting sheltered sea pools and rocky underwater tunnels

The BVIs have long attracted keen sailors and celebrities who hop between the 60 islands, islets and cays

The BVIs have long attracted keen sailors and celebrities who hop between the 60 islands, islets and cays

New businesses are flourishing too, such as two-room floating Ocean Spa built out of timber salvaged from Irma’s wreckage and now anchored in postcard-perfect White Bay (theoceanspabvi.com). For one-stop souvenir shopping in Road Town, Tortola’s capital, the charming gift shop and gallery Nutmeg sells the creations of local artists and craftspeople who lost everything in the hurricanes (nutmegandcobvi.com).

Even old favourites have had a complete makeover. The tiny yachting hot-spot island resort Saba Rock clings to a one-acre rocky outcrop and was flattened by Irma. It finally reopened in October 2020 with seven stylish rooms and two suites, two bars and an open-air restaurant that has already welcomed Sir Richard Branson from his home on neighbouring Necker Island (sabarock.com).

Elsewhere, eco-wellness retreat The Aerial has thrown open its doors for the first time on unspoilt private Buck Island. Teetering on a cliff in Sir Francis Drake Channel, it overlooks 14 surrounding islands including Dead Chest Island, said to be the spot where notorious pirate Blackbeard marooned 15 of his mutinous crew with just a bottle of rum each.

Visitors to The Aerial fare considerably better, with a maximum of 28 guests free to explore 48 acres of forested hiking trails, a private beach, an infinity pool and a recording studio. There are also yoga sessions, healthy, communal meals and guided group sessions in everything from meditation to financial management. Those yearning for all-out luxury can even hire the island in its entirety for the ultimate getaway at £30,500 per night with a minimum three-night stay (aerialbvi.com).

Eco-wellness retreat The Aerial has thrown open its doors for the first time on unspoilt private Buck Island (pictured)

Eco-wellness retreat The Aerial has thrown open its doors for the first time on unspoilt private Buck Island (pictured)

A maximum of 28 guests at The Aerial are free to explore 48 acres of forested hiking trails and a private beach, pictured

A maximum of 28 guests at The Aerial are free to explore 48 acres of forested hiking trails and a private beach, pictured

Guests at The Aerial are invited to enjoy 'healthy, communal meals' at the retreat, which overlooks 14 surrounding islands

Guests at The Aerial are invited to enjoy ‘healthy, communal meals’ at the retreat, which overlooks 14 surrounding islands

A wellness session at The Aerial. The retreat offers guided group sessions in everything from meditation to financial management

A wellness session at The Aerial. The retreat offers guided group sessions in everything from meditation to financial management

Those yearning for all-out luxury can even hire Buck Island and The Aerial in its entirety at £30,500 per night. Pictured is one of the retreat's guest-rooms

Those yearning for all-out luxury can even hire Buck Island and The Aerial in its entirety at £30,500 per night. Pictured is one of the retreat’s guest-rooms

Most tourists tend to stay on Tortola, though. Home to both Road Town and the main airport, it is the busiest and liveliest island with good restaurants and a thriving sailing scene. 

Yet it still feels blissfully underdeveloped, with no chain stores, very little crime and a population of only 23,000.

Cheaper accommodation options include Maria’s By The Sea in the heart of Road Town (rooms from £96, mariasbythesea.com) and Sebastian’s By The Beach (beachfront rooms £115 a night, sebastiansbvi.com).

For souvenir shopping in Road Town (pictured), the charming gift shop Nutmeg sells the creations of local craftspeople who lost everything in the hurricanes

For souvenir shopping in Road Town (pictured), the charming gift shop Nutmeg sells the creations of local craftspeople who lost everything in the hurricanes 

Leave Road Town, pictured, behind and head into the mountains for the best views of Tortola’s glittering curvy coastline

Leave Road Town, pictured, behind and head into the mountains for the best views of Tortola’s glittering curvy coastline

Iconic 1960s beach club Long Bay Beach Resort sustained serious damage when the hurricanes hit, yet the thick coral and limestone walls from the former 18th Century beachfront rum distillery survived.

Now a brand-new, delightfully laid-back boutique resort has emerged in its place, with 20 whitewashed suites opening directly on to the beach, a thatched cocktail bar and an open-air restaurant, with plans for a spa and hillside rooms to follow (longbay.com).

Just next door is favourite local lunch spot Tropical Fusion, where plates are piled high with stewed lobster, barbecued ribs, macaroni pie and fried plantain in a no-frills dining room steps from the sea. 

Long Bay Beach Resort sustained serious damage when the hurricanes hit. Now a brand-new, delightfully laid-back boutique resort (pictured above) has emerged in its place

Long Bay Beach Resort sustained serious damage when the hurricanes hit. Now a brand-new, delightfully laid-back boutique resort (pictured above) has emerged in its place

One of the 20 whitewashed suites at the refurbished Long Bay Beach Resort, which was originally famed as a 1960s beach club

One of the 20 whitewashed suites at the refurbished Long Bay Beach Resort, which was originally famed as a 1960s beach club

Long Bay Beach Resort boasts a thatched cocktail bar and an open-air restaurant (pictured above)

Long Bay Beach Resort boasts a thatched cocktail bar and an open-air restaurant (pictured above) 

This is also the best place to try the BVIs’ national dish of fish and fungi – red snapper with okra and cornmeal – which was originally made from slavery rations in the 17th Century (tropicalfusionbvi.com).

First settled by the Dutch, Tortola was captured by the British in 1672 at the start of the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Though the two countries signed a treaty promising to return all land gained during the war, Tortola remained under British rule, settled by plantation owners growing cotton and sugar who relied on slave labour.

Today, the island’s turbulent story is told by a handful of historical buildings clustered around the capital, and along the coast are the ruins of St Philip’s Anglican Church in Kingstown, one of the earliest churches built in the Caribbean for liberated slaves.

Jost Van Dyke, pictured, was named after a Dutch pirate and is a must-visit for dolphin-watching and barefoot beach bars

Jost Van Dyke, pictured, was named after a Dutch pirate and is a must-visit for dolphin-watching and barefoot beach bars

Leave Road Town behind and head into the mountains for the best views of Tortola’s glittering curvy coastline. Marine biologist Mervin Hastings leads groups through the leafy depths of Shark Bay National Park, pointing out medicinal plants, orchids, dragon fruit cacti and even the right sort of termite that will keep you alive should you become stranded in the jungle.

Scramble up the boulder on the ridge to reach a yawning cave full of nesting bats and concealing a sheer drop into the Atlantic Ocean where you might spot migrating humpback whales.

Even the most determined landlubber should try to get out on the water to really see the BVIs at their best. Unlike Barbados and Saint Lucia, island-hopping is a way of life here. It’s easy to jump on a water taxi or ferry for lunch on one island, drinks and snorkelling on a second and dinner on yet another. To choose your own schedule, charter a crewed boat from The Moorings and then head off to wherever takes your fancy (moorings.co.uk).

Norman Island, pictured, is said to have been the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

Norman Island, pictured, is said to have been the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

Pictured is the legendary Soggy Dollar bar - which can be reached only by swimming - in 2019. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

Pictured is the legendary Soggy Dollar bar – which can be reached only by swimming – in 2019. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons 

Although the Soggy Dollar bar (pictured) was almost completely destroyed by Irma, the bar has been rebuilt and is just as lively as before

Although the Soggy Dollar bar (pictured) was almost completely destroyed by Irma, the bar has been rebuilt and is just as lively as before

TRAVEL FACTS 

Siobhan Grogan was a guest of bvitourism.com. British Airways (britishairways.com) flies to the British Virgin Islands via Antigua from Gatwick from £659 return. Rooms at Long Bay start at £330 per night. Ocean View Cottage Rooms at Rosewood Little Dix Bay start at £900 per night.

Sleepy Anegada is known to serve the best lobster in the Caribbean; Norman Island is said to have been the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island; and mile-long Salt Island has a 19th Century steamer wreck for diving, as well as a salt lake from which Queen Elizabeth is given a pound of salt each year as annual rent.

There are picnic spots and secluded beaches aplenty on the way, but be sure to drop anchor by idyllic Jost Van Dyke, where Main Street is a palm-lined sandy beach track. Just four miles by three and with only 300 residents, the island was named after a Dutch pirate and is a must-visit for dolphin-watching and barefoot beach bars.

Its legendary Soggy Dollar bar can be reached only by swimming, so earned its name from the waterlogged banknotes that staff pin up behind the bar to dry. Although it was almost completely destroyed by Irma, and its adjoining bedrooms no longer exist, the bar itself has been rebuilt and is just as lively as before (soggydollar.com).

When you arrive, dry off in a hammock, then order a Painkiller cocktail – a mix of dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juice topped with fresh grated nutmeg that originated here in the 1970s but is now copied everywhere.

It’s the very best way to toast the fact that the British Virgin Islands are well and truly open for business again. 

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Usually priced at £39 a month, with a hefty £35 upfront set-up cost, the latest price sees your monthly bills plummet to £29.99 a month. Not only that, but Virgin Media is temporarily waiving the upfront fee too. So, you’ll save an extra £35 bills over the course of your contract …not to mention, you’ll only need to pay £29.99 when you sign-up to ensure you get all of the equipment sent to you and set-up. If you sign-up before January 12, Virgin Media will also offer a Fitbit Inspire 2 tracker to help keep tabs on your new year resolutions. If you don’t fancy a Fitbit, you can choose £75 bill credit too – enough to cover the first two months entirely!

If you want to unlock the best freebies available before the midnight deadline tonight, you’ll need to look at the Bigger Bundle. This arrives with the same M100 fibre broadband speeds and free weekend calls. The difference is the 190 channels that come bundled with the Virgin TV 360 box in this bundle, including BT Sport, BT Sport ESPN HD, Eurosport, Sky Sports News HD, MTV, National Geographic, Discovery HD, Sky History HD, Sky Documentaries HD, Sky Nature, Paramount Network HD, Sky Arts HD, Comedy Central, Sky Comedy HD, Sky Crime HD, Sky Showcase HD, and many more.

Outside of this deal, you could usually expect to pay £57 a month. But with this latest deal, you’ll only pay £45 a month. Just like the above deal, you won’t pay the £35 set-up fee either – another saving. You’ll also be able to choose between a Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch, worth £199 and packed with fitness features to track runs, yoga, swimming, and more, or £150 bill credit. If you choose the latter, you won’t need to reach for your wallet for the first three months of your new broadband and telly bundle.



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BBC Three is about to return to Freeview, Sky Q, Virgin TV and Freesat viewers nationwide next month. BBC bosses decided to remove BBC Three from broadcast back in 2016, with the channel branding only surviving with shows and documentaries broadcast via BBC iPlayer. Since then, the channel has enjoyed some runaway successes, including the critically-lauded Normal People (adapted by the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney), RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and mock-documentary comedy This Country, to name a few.

Since the decision to pull the channel from Electronic Program Guides, or EPGs, six years ago, shows that broadcast on BBC Three could only be downloaded to your Sky Q or Virgin TV 360 box by searching through the on-demand catalogue. The fact that BBC Three shows didn’t air on a terrestrial channel meant they wouldn’t work with features like Series Link, which sees your Sky Q or Sky Glass automatically record new entries in an ongoing series – so they’re always ready for you to watch when it’s convenient. Viewers would have to specifically search out new additions in ongoing series broadcast on BBC Three by navigating to separate BBC iPlayer apps on Sky or Virgin platforms, or searching for new episodes on a regular basis.

Shows went live on BBC iPlayer at set times as if they were broadcast. For example, new episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK went live at 7pm each week. However, viewers would not necessarily be watching at the same time as some downloaded the show, others started to stream immediately, and others watched later the same evening.

But that’s all about to change as BBC Three returns to the airwaves for the first time in six years. BBC Three will broadcast from 7pm every night of the week, and will be available to watch on Freeview, Sky, Virgin and Freesat, as well as on BBC iPlayer. The BBC hasn’t revealed the channel number for each platform yet, so stay tuned to find out how to jump into the channel when it returns on February 1, 2022.

BBC Three is primarily targeted at younger viewers – one of the reasons the Beeb believed that younger viewers would be happy to watch on-demand, rather than tuning in for set broadcast times. The channel has launched a number of blockbuster successes for the BBC over the years, including the critically-acclaimed 15 Storeys High from the late Sean Lock, the award-winning smash Fleabag from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, This Country, Little Britain, which launched the careers of David Walliams and Matt Lucas, cult comedy classic The Mighty Boost, People Just Do Nothing, Don’t Tell the Bride – which has recently resurfaced on Netflix, and Gavin and Stacey. The latter was later promoted to BBC One and set viewing records when it returned for a Christmas special back in 2019.

Speaking about the decision to return BBC Three to EPGs across the country, Fiona Campbell, Controller, BBC Three, said: “We know how popular sport is with younger audiences and it’s going to have a big part to play on BBC Three. AFCON is set to be an incredibly exciting tournament with some of the best players in the World on show and it’s brilliant news that we will be showing the climax of the competition on free to air television.”



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