Our Top Offers for 2020! We hope you had a great Christmas and 2020 is starting off well! January is the peak time to book your next holiday. It's the month when the airlines have their biggest seat sales, hotels release superb
We've spent the last few weeks researching what's hot for next year and these 20 destinations are the best of the best! There are some destinations largely overlooked by most of us and some familiar ones offering new reasons to return. We hope you'll enjoy reading!
If David Attenborough's series Seven Worlds, One Planet inspired you to see more of our natural world in 2020, Borneo should be your first port of call. Home to fascinating creatures, including the marvellous orangutans to the elusive pygmy elephants – this Asian island offers a whole host of opportunities to get up close to wildlife.
2. SRI LANKA
Sri Lankan locals are celebrating life and encouraging travellers to return to their beautiful island. With free one-month visas a current enticement, it’s even easier to explore its shores, temples, caves, beaches, tea plantations, wildlife reserves and stunning hotels.
Picture this…breath-taking glacial landscapes as far as the eye can see, penguins swimming & fishing, pods of humpback whales, Elephant seals playing and flocks of birds flying over head. This is just some of the incredible wildlife you could see on a cruise in Antarctica.
Japan's popularity has risen dramatically with world-class events such as the Rugby world cup in November this year and the upcoming Tokyo Olympics next summer. For those who have had this fascinating destination on their bucket list, now is the perfect time to visit Japan's high-tech cities, beautiful countryside, numerous shrines & temples and not forgetting a trip on the super speedy bullet trains!
5. THE PHILIPPINES
Home to 7,000 tropical islands, a handful of futuristic mega-cities and some of the friendliest, most cheerful locals in all of Asia, welcome to The Philippines! The country's pristine beaches, heritage towns and monuments, mountains, rainforests, countless islands and sensational diving spots are among the country's most popular attractions.
6. THE NETHERLANDS
In the year that marks 75 years of freedom since the end of WWII, the Netherlands is ready to celebrate in 2020 with festivities and special events across the country. April and May are the months to visit, as you can take in King's Day, Liberation Day and the Eurovision Song Contest, which The Netherlands are hosting.
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is clocking in on the Lonely Planet's Hot-list for 2020 and there are so many reasons to visit this captivating destination. Highly regarded for its natural beauty, forest conservation & towering Himalayan mountains, there's also impressive ancient culture & heritage and incredible biodiversity. Bhutan covers 72% forest area of the country which is one of the large biodiversity places in the world, it is also the first carbon-negative country in the world!
8. COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is ideal as a first time visit to Central America and is also perfectly suited to families, due to a stunning mix of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, vivid green forests and abundance of exotic wildlife! Think sloths, toucans, 4 different species of monkeys, big cats, tree frogs, vultures and much more. Other elements that make this country so remarkable is its diverse natural landscape – from mangrove swamps to volcanoes, lush rainforests to gorgeous beaches.
A holiday to Scotland is perfect for some close-to-home soft adventure or a complete rest & relaxation break. Whether you're thinking about a family break with lots of fun for the kids, a luxury stay in a stunning castle or a country retreat on a farm, Scotland offers an option for suit all. The Scottish Highlands are home to castles, locks, mountains and lakes. The coastline offers miles of pristine beaches often flanked by gorgeous forestry & there are 7 lively cities with award-winning attractions, dining and hotels.
10. NORTH MACEDONIA
It is an ancient land, but as of February 2019 North Macedonia was granted this new name, giving travellers seeking a cool passport stamp a novel reason to visit. Adventurers are flocking here already to hike North Macedonia's mountain range and string of peaks in the 3 national parks. Monasteries perch atop hills overlooking the water and glittering Lake Ohrid and its historic town are complete marvels.
Petite, pleasant and packed with culture, adventure and legendary wildlife, the newly named Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of Southern Africa’s most underrated (and least visited) destinations. With easy reach from Joburg it makes for a perfect multi-centre trip and visitors will have the chance to get up close to local wildlife at the Mkaya Reserve including white rhinos, elephants, giraffes and bird species, stay in one of the countries eco-lodges and experience one of the many festival and celebrations.
Morocco is having a shining moment, with time-honoured attractions complemented by sustainable-yet-stylish lodging, restaurants serving up seasonal produce and coastal wellness retreats mixing up yoga and surfing. All this in addition to the well loved souks and lively culture of places such as Marrakech & Fez and not to mention having the Atlas Mountains and the desert on the doorstep. There is plenty to explore in Morocco and it's only 3.5 hours from London.
13. THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
The British Virgin Islands suffered terribly in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the destination experienced a 90 per cent loss in tourism as a direct result of the damage. But over the past two years, following extensive hotel renovations and reopening’s, these remarkably cheery islands – awash with pearlescent bays and neon-bright shoals of fish – are finally bouncing back! Known locally as Natures Little Secrets and arguably the best sailing destination in the Caribbean, we urge to discover the magic for yourself!
Momentum is once again gathering for fascinating Lebanon and its crumbling crusader castles and intricate mosaic-paved streets, which had become tourist-free in recent years. These ancient places are now ushering in culture-curious travellers once more. Earlier in 2019, the British Foreign Office changed its travel advice, deeming it safe for travellers to return. So it's great news for Lebanon which offers wonderful Middle Eastern cuisine and delicious Lebanese wine, alongside a buzzing atmosphere in Beirut, ancient Roman ruins and beautiful white sand beaches.
15. NOVA SCOTIA
When it’s summertime, the place to be is outdoors! Gingerbread-like houses, picture-book lighthouses and lapping waves on sandy, wild-rose strewn shores will have you exclaiming ‘oh how cute!’ and ‘what a quaint place!’ at every bend in the road. While Cape Breton Island has endless hiking trails throughout its breath-taking national park, other more hidden hikes can be found scattered about the province. The capital Halifax, is brimming with museums, galleries & historic sites and there are over 150 historic lighthouses to spot during your stay!
Rwanda's tourism scene is most famous for the opportunity to come face-to-face with the world's most magnificent creatures on a spectacular Mountain Gorilla Trek. Add to this, hiking, biking, & camping near beautiful lakes, enjoying the local cuisine in places like the capital city of Kigali, you can see why the World Economic Forum recently named Rwanda as the safest country in Africa. RwandAir are also set to operate direct flights from JFK to Kigali next year, so 2020 is the best year yet to travel to Rwanda.
Traveling to Uzbekistan means not just crossing borders but stepping back in time to a land whose remarkable history as the meeting point of East and West oozes out of its splendid architecture, multi-layered culture, and show-stopping sites. With its previously onerous visa restrictions having been significantly relaxed recently, there's never been a better time to travel to Uzbekistan than 2020.
Hands down, one of our favourite Caribbean islands! And it's great to see that all eyes will be on this Caribbean gem when the James Bond film ‘No Time to Die‘ hits the big screen in April 2020. Confirmed as the first location in the latest installment, Jamaica is where Ian Fleming created the James Bond character all those years ago. Did you know, you can even rent Fleming's villa?! With adventure for every traveller and hotel's, resorts and so much fun on this large, jamming island, we highly recommend a visit!
If Uruguay isn’t already on your South American bucket list, 2020 is the perfect year to add it. With 660km of Río de la Plata and Atlantic shoreline, a burgeoning wine industry, bubbling hot springs and endless rolling rangelands where South America’s grandeur feels seductively tangible, Uruguay has something for everyone. It has a dynamic coastline, extended carnival season and UNESCO cultural heritage status make it a prime Latin American hot spot!
20. GALWAY, IRELAND
Next year, Ireland’s effervescent west-coast city will throw its arms open wide to the world as it becomes the 2020 European Capital of Culture! With a glut of traditional pubs spilling out lively fiddle music, this bohemian city has spent 2019 testing new community heritage and arts projects, such as pop-up culture cafés and funambulism (tightrope-walking) workshops! Must-see spots are the Latin Quarter, Eyre Square, Galway Cathedral, Kirwan's Lane & the picturesque Dunguaire Castle.
We recently sent Richmond resident & travel journalist – Sarah Tucker to the gorgeous Hotel Palacio Estoril. Sarah is joining us in our store for a glass of bubbles & to tell us more about her fabulous stay.
Please join us on Wednesday 4th December anytime between 1-3pm
For bubbles & limited goodies!
The Hotel Palácio Estoril is one of the Grande old Dames of European splendour and has been welcoming guests since 1930. Located in the heart of Estoril, just 20 minutes from the centre of Lisbon, the Palacio is a true five star hotel set in beautiful gardens with outstanding views over the bay. Grandeur is still very evident today, even though the hotel has been completely renovated offering fantastic facilities including a modern spa & wellness center – plus the famous Estoril Golf Course just a short drive away.
Health & Wellbeing are a huge focus at the hotel and The Hotel Palacio is the ideal spot for a long weekend with your loved one or a group of friends to indulge in a variety of wellbeing packages including a 3 night Beauty Booster, 4 day Detox or how about a 7 night Healthy Ageing programme or there's a great 3 night Golf & Spa break combining the best of both worlds.
We look forward to seeing you on the 4th where we'll have lots more info on the hotel.
5 night Spa Break includes: Superior Double room, Unlimited access to the spa & gym. Gentle Touch Full Body Massage (60 min) Master Therapist Experience (90 min) Thai Classic Full Body Massage (60 min) Body Scrub (30 min) Yoga group class.
Price includes the above, plus B&B, flights & transfers from £1099 pp
3 night Golf & Spa Break includes: Superior Double room, Unlimited access to the spa & gym. Includes Two Rounds of Golf at the Championship Estoril Golf Club. One Banyan Tree Spa Deep Tissue massage (60min) One Sothys Facial Anti-aging Youth Intensive Treatment.
Price includes the above, plus B&B, flights & transfers from £825 pp
Canada really does produce an unfathomable amount of Maple syrup – an average of 10 million gallons a year to be precise! Honestly though, this was not my sole reason for wanting to visit this picturesque part of the world. Canada has long been on my bucket list as I love the outdoors and any kind of adventure. So when an invitation came my way to spend a few days in Vancouver and then out to Kelowna – a waterfront town packed with wineries & known as “Napa North” – I jumped at the chance!
We work closely with Prestige Holidays when planning itineraries to all parts of Canada & Alaska. Over the years we have got to know the team really well and they completely understand what our clients are looking for – be it fun family adventure, spotting all kinds of wildlife, to the more indulgent experience journeying through The Rockies on board the iconic Rocky Mountaineer.
My trip got off to a great start, with seats in Club Class on BA! This is such a perk of the job and a really lovely treat! Then a mere 10 hours later, I touched down in Vancouver, reached my hotel – The Sheraton Wall Centre – and we were at a sports bar sipping a cool G&T all within 90 mins of landing. The following morning was a chance to scope downtown Vancouver and get my bearings. The Sheraton Wall Centre is in a great location, offers comfortable rooms and is affordable too. I also got the chance to see the 2 Fairmont hotel's down at Canada Place which is right on the waterfront and both hotels are very luxurious. They make the ideal stop either before or after an Alaskan cruise as the terminal is quite literally across the road.
Visiting Vancouver in autumn – or Fall, should I say(!) – shows off the city skyscrapers, the magnificent North Shore Mountains, the bountiful, bright red maple trees & 100-foot tall Douglas Firs, all with a brilliant blue-sky backdrop. It's heaven for budding photographers! So, after becoming accustomed with the city for a few hours, we ventured the short 25 min drive to Stanley Park, which boasts over 1000 acres on the western peninsula and is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Here, visitors can hire bikes and cycle the 9km Seawall path, explore the many look-out points, the totem poles at Brockton Point & marvel at the centries-old red cedar trees. We took the winding route through Stanley Park and out over Lions Gate Bridge towards Capilano Park, home to the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, the tree-top tour and the newly built Cliffwalk. The park is great for all visitors, there's lots of interesting facts to learn from the guides and walking across the bridge is not for the faint-hearted. It's quite easy to spend 2-3 hours here and we even saw bald eagles flying overhead!
Onwards for a lunch stop and what better place to try tonnes of new and delicious Canadian treats, than joining a foodie tour on Granville Island. Here, we met Jesse, whose passion for all kinds of food was brimming to the fullest and he made the 2 hour tour a real highlight. We skipped the queues and sampled delicacies including organic breads, local charcuterie, British Columbia cheeses, melt-in-your-mouth donuts and the epic maple-syrup-dipped almonds! All washed down with a pint from Granville Brewery! It was a really fun afternoon and I would highly recommend Vancouver Foodie Tours!
The next day we flew an hour east to the pretty town of Kelowna. I was initially a little hesitant about what I would discover here and would it match up to being in the fantastic city of Vancouver? Well, it took precisely 3 minutes of clocking the surrounding landscape of snow-capped mountains, unspoilt views as far as the eye could see and learning that we were being whisked off to the largest winery in BC, to rest my fears and I settled right in to my new home for the next 3 days!
First stop on our tour of Kelowna's finest wineries, was Mission Hill Estate and wow what an experience! Picture this…the sky was a piercing blue, the rows upon rows of vines swept down to a sparkling lake and the center of the winery was reminiscent of a small Italian town complete with soaring bell tower. We met Brum, a charismatic guy who brought the wines to life and we tasted their award winning sparkling wine, the Reisling and the most delicious Pinot Noir – it may have had something to do with the quantities consumed in a short space of time, but I felt compelled to purchase a couple of bottles – happy days!
From Mission Hill being the largest and probably most glamorous winery in BC, next stop was to a small, family-owned winery called Quails' Gate. Again benefiting from sweeping views over the lake, hawks buzzing over-head and that gorgeous blue sky, meant that we saw this winery in all its finery (sorry…bad pun!) Here, the stand-out highlights were the crisp Chardonnay and the renowned British Columbia Ice Wine! Much like a dessert wine, Canadian Ice Wine can only be produced when the temperatures plunge below -8oc and the grapes naturally freeze on the vine. The resulting juice is lusciously sweet, but also beautifully balanced with the vibrant natural acidity that BC wines have become known for.
You can probably tell, this was a pretty smashing day!
The following day was spent driving alongside breath-taking lakes & rivers, some more than 100 miles long! We drove long stretches on those typical wide-open Canadian roads, flanked with tall fir trees either side and mountains in the distance, on route to our next destination. There are more than 50 enormous lakes in the Okanagan region and we were heading for a small hotel, beautifully perched on the banks of Little Shuswap Lake. Here we learnt lots about the native Indian culture, we experienced the famous salmon run – desperately hoping to spot a black bear at the same time – and we had the most sensational 4 course meal with locally sourced ingredients and paired with fine wines for nearby wineries – obviously I had become completely au fait with BC wines by this point! The Quaaout Resort & Spa is a place that quietens the senses and calms the mind. Spending time by the lake in the summer months, enjoying kayaking, swimming and hiking is equally complemented by time in the autumn or winter with biking, snow-shoeing or even joining a native Indian on a hunting expedition!
My final stop on this fantastic tour of BC was out past Kamloops (the town known mostly for its overnight stop on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer) and so as well as passing many more stunning lakes and mountain back-drops, I was on route to a town called Sun Peaks. I checked into The Sun Peaks Grand Hotel and was very impressed with the rooms & suites – especially the Mountain View Suite, with living area, kitchen and over-sized bedroom all with an outstanding view of the mountain range. I quickly learnt that Sun Peaks Resort is just as glorious in the summer as it is in the winter, with activities such as hiking, biking, bear spotting, segway tours, horse riding and kayaking available in the summer months and then 130+ runs for skiing, plus dog sledging, horse drawn sleigh rides, tubing, ice fishing and much more in the winter! What is not to love about this place?! Being here in the shoulder season, allowed us to see a number of the hotels that are usually completely full in both seasons and it was great to see the town still very much open for business with the 900 year-round residents.
Sun Peaks makes the perfect stop when flying into Calgary and driving between Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, before then heading onto Vancouver.
As you can probably tell, I loved every minute of my short, but action-packed trip to British Columbia and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a first time visit to Canada or to someone who has only been to West Coast Canada or has only been to the major cities. Combining the laid-back vibe of Vancouver with a real outdoors experience in the Okanagan Valley – with countless wineries to enjoy – makes for a must-do holiday and one for the bucket list!
If you'd like to know more about Vancouver, Kelowna or any other part of Canada or Alaska, then please do get in touch to start planning a holiday to this exciting part of the world!
Welcome to our September newsletter and what a busy few weeks it's been for us!
Earlier this month, we were delighted to receive an award at the Travel Weekly ASPIRE event, where we enjoyed a glittering dinner amongst 300 other luxury travel agents at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel! It's also been brochure launch season so we have some wonderfully, glossy, new brochures in stock – please do pop in to grab some for your 2020 travel inspiration.
On a more somber note and in light of the sad demise of Thomas Cook, we have worked tirelessly this week re-protecting the handful of clients who had flights booked with this operator and we wanted to reassure you that your holidays – booked by us – are fully ABTA and ATOL protected. We continue to offer a personal contact 24 hours a day and we tend to only work with like-minded suppliers who are often also independent and importantly, they treat all Thames Travel clients as VIP's.
October is set to be another busy month, as Claire is off to Canada for a week to enjoy all that Vancouver Island has to offer and Christian is off to The Grenadines – you can keep up to date with our travels by following us on Facebook & Instagram.
Click here to read more and to see all the latest offers
LOCAL INDEPENDENT TRAVEL AGENT PICKS UP COVETED NATIONAL AWARD
Earlier this month, local Richmond independent travel agent, Thames Travel picked up one of the UK travel industry’s most coveted awards at the Travel Weekly ASPIRE Awards in central London.
The award – ‘Best Use of Content’ – was presented to Christian and Claire Green of Thames Travel on Monday 9th September at a glittering dinner at the St Pancras Renaissance in London, with 300 of the industry’s most senior luxury travel executives in attendance.
The ASPIRE Awards are staged by Travel Weekly, one of the UKs leading travel magazines, and the event is dedicated to celebrating the best brands, representatives and agents in the high-end travel sector.
ASPIRE editor Hollie-Rae Brader said: “The luxury travel sector continues to grow with more businesses launching high-end products or focusing on affluent travellers. The ‘Best Use of Content’ Award was open to agents who drive impressive marketing and social media strategies. Entries had to highlight the agent’s focus on content and social media, giving examples of content, marketing materials and social media posts sent to clients to encourage them to book, with examples of how they have used digital and print channels to improved their business in the past 12 months.”
On presenting the award to Thames Travel, Ms Brader added: “This agency has taken a personal approach to digital content. I think we all know that ‘people buy from people’ and this agency heroes its team throughout all created content. Our judges liked this agency’s firm focus on the family sector, with campaigns focusing on mums in the local area.”
Claire Green of Thames Travel commented: “We are all thoroughly delighted to win this award recognising our commitment to creating great content for our luxury clients. Having a young family of our own, we understand the importance of getting that family holiday spot-on, and we enjoy sharing our own experiences that resonate with our growing family market. We work hard to offer an exceptional personal service to each of our clients and feel this has been paramount to our continued success.”
Thames Travel is an award-winning independent travel agency with more than 35 years’ experience in arranging holidays worldwide. They pride themselves on offering clients a high level of personal service and attention to detail and have a knowledgeable team who are able to offer suggestions and tips to ensure clients have the perfect holiday. They have long-established relationships with many of the UK’s leading tour operators, hotels and airlines and offer customers 100% financial protection.
Tanquil & unspoilt, fantastic gastronomy & home to some of the best beaches in the world, but do you know what other exciting fact we discovered whilst researching this quaint Balearic island…Gin is a big deal on the island and the perfect sundowner drink is called the “Pomada” made from locally distilled gin and mixed with cloudy lemonade – we're making one right now! Read on to find out our top recommendations of what to see and do around this beguiling island.
Fine white sand, the sea an almost-unbelievable shade of turquoise and the prettiest scenery mean that Menorca's beaches are often compared to the Caribbean and yet they're so close to home! With over 200 coves or ‘calas' to explore here are our top choices for draw-dropping views to off the beaten track:
Cala Del Pilar, is a wild beach reached via a 30 min walk along a pretty headland and well worth the effort and pretty easy even with the kids in tow. Cala Mitjana, is a scenic cliff-side bay reached by boat or 20 min walking trail – more popular in the summer months so we'd advise to get there early! Or how about Cala Trebaluger, a quiet beach on the south coast, just a 20 min walk from the more popular Cala Mitjana.
GOOD FOOD, GOOD WINE, GOOD GIN:
A lush climate and fertile ground mean Menorca is dotted with vineyards that produce some great local wines. Why not book a whole holiday around tours of the many wine estates and festivals dedicated to the grape throughout the year? One of our favourites is the Festes de Gracia in Mahon where bottles of wine are thrown into the crowd from the town hall!
Alternatively, for those with a taste for the stronger stuff (like us!) a tour around the Xoriguer Gin Distillery is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon followed by a cool glass of pomada to take in the island's magnificent sunsets!
Gastronomy is taken to a whole new level in Menorca as being surrounded by the warm waters of the Mediterranean means that the island's seafood is exceptional. Look out for the local lobster stew caldereta de llagosta which is Menorca's most celebrated traditional dish. Sample delicious smelly cheeses at the many cheese factories, or try the popular tapas of sobrassada, cured pork sausage seasoned with paprika and served on toast.
A NATURE LOVER'S PARADISE:
Menorca has relatively little mass tourist development and proudly boasts being a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993. This has resulted in most of the island remaining a genuine oasis of unspoilt beauty and the island is committed to the protection of its natural landscape. Species such as secretive pine marten, peregrine falcons in the ravines of the Barrancs and turtles, thrive in five beautiful parks and numerous reserves across the island. Visitors can hike around the entire island using the Cami de Cavalls trail and also explore Menorca's original capital Ciutadella which features a particularly gorgeous Old Town with a wonderful mix of historical buildings, fantastic shops and buzzy cafes. We suggest visiting its gothic Santa Maria cathedral, built on the foundations of a 13th-century mosque. In addition to this, there are an impressive 1500 megalithic sites on the island proving a prardise for archaeologists, history buffs or anyone interested in ancient civilisations.
GET OUT ON THE WATER:
Menorca is rapidly developing as a centre for watersports. With strong prevailing winds, Fornells is one of the best resorts to enjoy windsurfing, sailing and kite surfing. Head to Binibeca to search for underwater shipwrecks while scuba diving. Alternatively, with its spectacular range of coves to choose from, there will always be a quiet spot perfect for snorkelling, kayaking or paddle-boarding for those seeking a calmer activity.
THE ULTIMATE SUNSET:
We highly recommend a visit to Cova d'en Xoroi which is a natural cave that houses a sophisticated lounge halfway down a cliff! As the sun dips into the Mediterranean, grab a cocktail and listen to the waves crashing on the rocks below. As dusk appears, torches are lit and the laid-back venue transitions into a lively night club.
WHERE TO STAY:
There are plenty of gorgeous hotels, villas and apartments in Menorca so it's an easy choice for a family holiday, a friends weekend away or a couples retreat. We will happily advise which accommodation is best for you, but here's a few to take a look at…
1. Hotel Torralbenc (pictured above) is a collection of white-washed farm buildings dating from the 19th and early 20th century, that have been renovated into luxury accommodation, respecting the rich heritage and archaeology of the area. The hotel boats stunning countryside views of the local vineyards and is more suited to grown-ups although children are welcome year round, but there are no specific kids facilities.
2. The Melia Cala Galdana is set in one of Menorca's most beautiful coves and enjoys spectacular views of the bay. There is a large swimming pool, a range of land-based sports activities and watersports, plus entertainment in the evening. More suited to families or those looking for a livley hotel in easy reach of a local town. For younger guests there is a kids pool, mini club and children's menus at dinner.
If Menorca sounds ideal to you, we look forward to helping you plan your next get away.
We hope you've had a great summer so far and if you've been keeping up with us on Facebook & Instagram you will have seen our posts about where some of you have been to in recent weeks, including Disney World Florida, California, Greece, Spain & Sicily, plus private villas in Corsica and Tuscany and not forgetting the exclusive bear lodge on Vancouver Island – Farewell Harbour Lodge – where grizzlies, black bears, Orcas, Humpbacks, bald eagles and more were spotted daily!
With so many incredible experiences to be had in wonderful destinations, where are you inspired to travel to next? We've handpicked some tempting ideas to help you on your way, whether it's for October, Christmas, Easter or ahead to Summer 2020. Maybe Japan is on your list, to see the popular Cherry Blossom or even the Tokyo Olympics? If the latter, we can help plan a fantastic itinerary – so once you've secured tickets for the games – do get in touch.
Well, that's all from me this month. Myself, Claire, Lizzie & Victoria look forward to hearing from you!
This 3 bed villa is sleek, chic and highly desirable. The above villa – Empaltada – is one of the very best properties in Pollenca, Mallorca. Not that there is a lot of competition, for one of the great attractions of Empaltada is privacy. Surrounded by almond orchards and spacious grounds, this is a real get-away-from-it-all spot for a family, a couple of a small party of friends. The villa has 3 en-suite bedrooms and there are no near neighbours to disturb the magical peace of an afternoon by the pool or a candle lit evening on the terrace, yet the nearest village is on a 5 min drive or a 20 min walk away.
This 3 bed villa is available on the 23rd August and the price includes, flights from LHR, car hire and is based on 7 nights.
Price from £1077 per person
Fiskardo, Greece comes alive at night, not to the beat of disco bars, but in a friendly, relaxed cosmopolitan way. The heat of the day subsides to a pleasant warmth and the yachts flying flags of many nations are all safely moored, whilst locals and visitors mingle on the quayside. At Villa Chloe – pictured above – once you’ve climbed the stone steps from the driveway to the raised semi-circular terrace and swimming pool there are no more stairs, so this is easy and spacious holiday living on one floor with no arguments about whose room is closest to the pool. 5 min drive to restaurants and 7 min drive to the beach.
This 3 bed villa is available on the 24th August and the price includes flights from LHR, car hire and is based on 7 nights.
Price from £1934 per person
Villa Aquarius (above) has been built to be a lovely family home. Situated on a quiet hillside in Markandonata, Greece, much care and attention has been placed in its design. The high wooden beamed ceilings in the main living room and dining area create a cool and spacious environment. The villa consists of four generously sized bedrooms and two bathrooms. The private swimming pool and a stone seating area surround a large outdoor fireplace, ideal for evening bbq's. The sunsets are magical. 5 mins walk to restaurants and 5 min drive to the beach.
This 4 Bed Villa is available on the 31st August and the price includes flights from LHR, car hire and is based on 7 nights.
Price from £1406 per person
Villa Arozza, above, stands behind a gateway leading into a paved courtyard with colourful flower beds shaded by an ancient olive tree. Kites, eagles and buzzards are a common sight, gliding over the unspoilt and protected forest. Built over three storeys, the lower ground floor self contained apartment, with its own side entrance, the other 4 bedrooms include a Master bedroom, a double and 2 twins. This 5 bed villa with private pool offers large families or groups of friends a truly majestic stay in Kefalonia, Restaurants are a 15 min walk and the beach is a 5min drive.
This 5 bed villa is available on the 31st August and the price includes flights from LHR, car hire and is based on 7 nights.
Price £1469 per person
The setting of Villa Kamini, near Fiskado in Kefalonia – pictured above – is amongst olives and almond trees, plus the vineyard in front is secluded but the piece de resistance is the view. Across natural oak forest to the wide bay beyond containing the awesome headland of Assos and Cape Atheras, where recent archaeological discoveries have uncovered strong historical evidence of links to the famous Odysseus. Built on one level, the two bedroom villa with private pool, has a master double with en suite bathroom, and the twin with separate shower and toilet. Restaurants are a 25 min walk and the beach is a 10 min drive.
This 2 bed villa is available on the 31st August and the price includes flights from LHR, car hire and is based on 7 nights.
Price £1133 per person
This is just a snippet of what is still available, so we look forward to hearing from you if it's a last minute escape to the sun you're after, or if you're already planning ahead for summer 2020, do get in touch with (L-R) Lizzie, Christian, Claire or Victoria.
We think New Zealand has it all, with magnificent sights and and draw-dropping adventures at every turn. Over the years we have planned numerous itineraries to capture the best of what the North & South islands have to offer, but our clients are an inquisitive bunch and we are often asked “what's different and off the beaten track?” Or, “What special experiences can we have?”
So here's our top 10 hot spots to get you onto a path less trodden….
1. MOERAKI BOULDERS
These have taken years to form, perfectly spherical boulders best seen at low tide. You can find them between Dunedin and Oamaru. They originally started forming as ancient sea floor sediments around 60 million years ago and the largest boulders are estimated to have taken about 4 million years to get to their current size. Here's Lizzie getting the perfect pic!
2. BLUE LAKE
Part of the Nelson Lakes National Park conservation area in the north of the South Island, Blue Lake is fed by waters from nearby Lake Constance. The park is a popular hiking, fishing and walking destination. The lake is a two-day hike from the park boundary – or for an aerial view, there are scenic flights with Reid Helicopters!
3. MOUNT HETHVEN
In winter this area is very popular, with nine ski fields close by including the magnificent Mt Hutt ski range. At other times of the year, activities such as jet boating, hot air ballooning, scenic flights and mountain biking are also popular. The town offers an excellent choice of eating places and bars.
4. DOUBTFUL SOUND
In the shadow of Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound gets less attention due to its limited access. You can only get to this much longer sound by water. With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets – Doubtful Sound will take your breath away. Home to abundant wildlife you may encounter bottlenose dolphins and fur seals at play or catch a glimpse of a rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.
5. OMORAMA CLAY CLIFFS
The Clay Cliffs are a stark sight – tall pinnacles separated by narrow ravines. These otherworldly formations are made up of layers of gravel and silt, originally formed by the flow from ancient glaciers over a million years ago. They are located in the south of the South Island near Waitaki.
6. WELCOME FLAT HOT POOLS
Along the Copland Track, about a 7-hour walk away from the nearest car park, are some natural hot pools nestled in mountain scenery. It's a seriously long way, but so worth it! The views are stunning and the warm hot pools are actually very refreshing!
An easy drive south-east of Christchurch, is Banks Peninsula which is the South Island's most interesting volcanic feature. Originally an island formed by two volcanic cones, the peninsula has two dominant craters which form Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours.
8. WAITAKERE RANGES
Located just a 40-minute drive from Auckland the Waitakere Ranges have over 250 kilometres of walking tracks. The ranges are a wonderful place to explore on foot, surrounded by spectacular scenery. Favourite scenic spots like the Karekare Falls, are very accessible.
9. AORANGI FOREST PARK
Why not head to Aorangi Forest Park in the Wairarapa (east of Wellington on the North Island). This park features some of New Zealand's most striking landforms and spectacular views which can enjoyed after a short walk. These landforms include: the Putangirua Pinnacles, earth pillars formed by the erosive forces of rain and floods; high slabs of rock known as Kupe's Sail and the coastal Whatarangi Bluff
10. RERE FALLS & RERE RACKSLIDE
Although they are not very high at just 5 metres, the Rere Falls are very picturesque. About 20 metres in width, it is possible to walk behind the cascading water although as the rock face can be very slippery, care should be taken.
The rockslide is a 60-metre-long natural water slide. The rocks have been smoothed by the constantly running water of the Wharekopae River. Boogie boards, inflatable mattresses and inner tubes can be used to slide on and it's a wild ride – check with locals first if you are unsure about going down it.
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