Some Winter Holiday Ideas

As the nights draw in, thoughts for many of us turn to trips away.

Everyone has a different idea of their perfect Winter getaway, so we’ve highlighted some ideas for a variety of holiday types.

We have short break ideas for those who can’t face the prospect of flying long haul – or even at all.  There are also some interesting walking trips for the active and beaches for those who need to flop.

For those who wish to imbibe some exotic cultures we have something for you too and finally some destinations that work well for a group of friends… large or small.

What type of holiday is for you?

New Cultures…..

Sri Lanka – Ed has just returned from a research trip to Sri Lanka, visiting the major cultural sites and unearthing some unique cultural from both contemporary and ancient Sri Lanka.  The trip highlighted the importance of a good guide (and tour company) who will enable you to get the most out of your time, steer you away from the inevitable crowds during the peak season and avoid the tourist traps.   In the 9 years since the civil war ended the country has been booming, both in tourism and in it’s infrastructure. There are now a host of charming and very comfortable boutique hotels in Colombo, Galle, The Tea Country, Cultural Triangle and Kandy. Sri Lanka makes for a great winter escape; with a wonderful mix of ancient, contemporary and colonial culture, stunning scenery and heritage sights.  Now is a very exciting time to visit this beautiful country.

Laos and Cambodia –  Laos and Cambodia are two countries that differ hugely in their scenery and culture, making for a fascinating combination.  The relaxed and slow pace of Luang Prabang, Laos’ ancient capital city, will captivate you. The night market, explorations along the Mekong river and overnight boat trips are enchanting.  With your energy levels recharged, it’s time to hit Siem Reap in Cambodia and the wonder that is Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious monument. We would highly recommend heading off the beaten track with our expert guides to explore those ancient temples that are less visited, hidden amongst the surrounding forest.  For the intrepid explorers we can arrange a private safari-style camp alongside the temples, giving you exclusive access to these magical historical sites in the early morning.

Small Groups…

Oman – Autumn and Spring really are the perfect times of year to visit this stunning part of the world and it lends itself ideally to small group tours. Whether it be a group of friends, families or both this gives you the opportunity to enjoy Oman at a much more affordable price without compromising on quality and experience. We work with fantastic guides and your accommodation will still be the same luxurious standard as if you were going it alone. Highlights include Muscat, Nizwa, the Jabal Akhdar mountains, deserts of the Wahiba Sands, coastline of Sur and Ras al Jinz (popular turtle nesting grounds) and finally the extraordinary Southern region of Dhofar (home to the Empty Quarter).  So go on, call around your friends and see who’s keen!

South Africa – The Western Cape in South Africa is ever popular with the British over the Winter months.  Thankfully there has been plenty of rain recently, easing the terrible water shortages that plagued Cape Town earlier this year, though vigilance and restraint will still be required.   South Africa lends itself well to travelling in a small group of friends or family. If you want to travel long distances overland, then a small group makes having a driver guide very affordable.  Cape Town is a must, with so much to see. Enjoying the amazing restaurants of the Winelands with friends will also be a highlight. With your driver, take the scenic route through spectacular mountain passes into the Klein Karoo and down to the Garden Route.  Finish with a safari either in the Eastern Cape or up in the Kruger National Park; there are many camps that can be taken for exclusive use, which really adds to the magic. If you’re interested in visiting the Zulu Battlefields, it’s now easier than ever thanks to the new direct BA flights to Durban.

Fly and Flop

The Seychelles – Your picture perfect palm-fringed white sand beach is fairly easy to find in the Indian Ocean, however how about one that is backed by vast boulders and lush jungle?  Rosie recently travelled to The Seychelles for her Honeymoon and was blown away by the verdant scenery, some even describe the islands as being akin to Jurassic park they are so lush! British Airways have re-launched their direct flight from London to Mahe, making it even easier to reach.  Combine that with some fantastic special offers at the most luxurious private island resorts such as Six Senses Zil Pasyon and Four Seasons Desroches we think you have your perfect tropical beachside idyll!

Caribbean – The Caribbean is perhaps the original “fly and flop” destination for the British –  and for good reason. With direct flights to Barbados, The Bahamas, Antigua, St Lucia and Jamaica there are luxury hotels so stunning you won’t want to leave their welcoming confines, making for a true stress free “fly and flop” holiday.  For a more authentic Caribbean experience we might advise taking a connecting flight on to one of the smaller islands away from the masses. Islands like Bequia in the Grenadines, Harbour Island in The Bahamas, the BVI, or the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla, retain an air of laid-back Caribbean charm.  If you’re a cricket fan, ask us for info about the Test matches being held in Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua.

 Short Breaks….

United Kingdom – Perhaps you’d prefer to avoid the rigmarole of air travel for your quick dose of relaxation and indulgence?  If so, how about a short break here on our fine British shores. We are lucky enough to have an ever-growing selection of fantastic boutique hotels that really know the art of hospitality.  You can choose from stunning destinations such as the Cotswolds, the iconic Cornish coast or perhaps take a train across the border to Scotland and have a few days exploring the city of Edinburgh and beyond to the Highlands – imagine yourselves in a fine Scottish castle huddled by the open fire.

Europe – It’s often forgotten that the Winter months are an excellent time for European city breaks.  With low season prices and much fewer crowds, you’ll have the museums to yourself and the restaurants will be full of locals. Wrap up in homage to Dr Zhivago in St Petersburg, Salzburg, Vienna or the Baltic Capitals.  Florence and Venice are also beautiful in Winter and so much quieter. For warmer climes, Seville and Marrakech can be pleasant.

Walking Holidays….

Tanzania – If you are a keen walker or trekker, then why not add a little more adventure with a walking holiday in Tanzania. There is the iconic Mt Kilimanjaro climb for the serious trekkers, but also some great walking in the National Parks.  If you want the thrill of tracking game on foot, the remote Southern area of the Tarangire National Park has an excellent walking camp. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area has some superb 1 and 2 day walks, up and around the rim of the famous crater.  The highlight will be walking with the migration in the Serengeti. We work with a superb walking operator in this area and can tailor a walking itinerary to suit all levels.

Nepal and Bhutan – The Himalayan nations of Nepal and Bhutan are always a wonder to behold and during the cooler Winter months, they are much quieter and prices are lower than in the busy periods of our Spring and Autumn. The evenings and early mornings will be fresh, however when the sun has risen so does the temperature, making for idyllic trekking temperatures.  The famous Six Senses group (a huge favourite of ours) have recently opened a collection of five beautiful lodges in Bhutan. All are located in different valleys that can be connected either by road or partly by foot making it a very unique and special journey; with of course a wonderful Six Senses spa waiting for you at the end of a hard days trekking to melt away those aches and pains!

Make this Autumn and Winter your time for discovery. We’re here to help you put together your dream itinerary. To find out more, please get in touch.