Thursday, 03 January 2013
20 holiday hot spots for 2013
Wendy Gomersall reveals her highlights for the coming holiday year. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get planning
By Wendy Gomersall
The 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride And Prejudice will be celebrated this year at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, with exhibitions and events such as a summer ball, readings and lectures. Rooms at St Mary’s Hall, a converted church B&B in nearby Alton, cost from £90 per double room per night.
This year marks 125 years since Jack the Ripper prowled the streets of East London. Join a Jack The Ripper Walk around his haunts and learn all about the sinister serial killer. Meanwhile, The London Dungeon – with Ripper exhibit – opens in new premises in the vaults of County Hall on the South Bank, in March. For hotel rooms, go to www.expedia.co.uk
020-7624 3978, www.jacktheripperwalk.com
0871-423 2240, www.the-dungeons.co.uk
Stonehenge’s new visitor centre is scheduled to open later this year, so hopefully, we’ll finally get a better idea of what all those big stones really mean. The archaeological gallery will feature objects on loan from local museums and there will also be three Neolithic houses that demonstrate how we used to live. Double rooms at The Pear Tree at Purton cost from £119 per night.
If it’s good enough for William and Catherine… Anglesey is wonderful for family breaks, with beaches and coastal walks, Beaumaris Castle, redsquirrel spotting, boat trips and Plas Newydd, a National Trust property. Stay at Plas Rhianfa, Beaumaris, a refurbished, French chateau-style mansion with beautiful rooms and a great restaurant. An overnight stay costs from £135 per person; dinner and B&B costs from £160 per person.
Beat the crowds expected to descend on Wales in 2014 to 20 celebrate 100 years since the birth of poet and writer Dylan Thomas, and visit now. After years of lying empty, Browns Hotel in Laugharne – Dylan Thomas’s favourite pub – has reopened as a boutique hotel. A fivenight stay costs from £225 per person, including breakfast.
6 PUERTO RICO
With new flight connections shortening the journey from the UK, Puerto Rico – the ‘Galapagos of the Caribbean’, home to 100-plus endangered species – is for those looking for luxury in a less well-known destination. ITC offers the island’s two best hotels; the romantic St Regis Bahia Beach Resort, from £2,195 per person for a seven-night holiday, including flights. Or, a beach villa at the W Retreat & Spa on Vieques Island, costs from £1,825 per person.
Most people visit Alaska by cruise ship, but Icelandair’s new twice-weekly flights to Anchorage from the UK (London and regional) via Reykjavik, make it easier and cheaper to get there. So this month, Discover The World is launching a range of land-based holidays – selfdrive, wildlife, rail journeys and cruises, as well as tailor-made holidays. DTW’s seven-night Introduction To Alaska (Self-Drive) tour costs from £1,573 per person, including flights and car hire.
Myanmar, as it is also called, continues to open up as relations with Western countries thaw. Burma has wonderful sightseeing, with welcoming people, glittering temples and craft villages. In July this year, Orient-Express is launching Orcaella, a luxurious, 25-cabin river cruiser, named after the dolphins in the Ayeyarwady River. A seven-night cruise from Yangon to Bagan costs from £3,270 per person, including domestic flights, transfers and meals. International flights can be arranged at extra cost.
0845-077 2222, www.orcaella.net
The Tour de France cycle event – the 100th race – will begin on Corsica on 29 June. Book yourself into the Hotel Les Bergeries near Palombaggia, one of the French island’s best beaches, and you’re only 10km south of Porto Vecchio, where stage one begins. The hotel has 14 rooms, all with private terrace or balcony. Double rooms cost from £135 per night. The minimum stay in high season is seven nights.
Lisbon is set to become the city break for 2013 with the February release of Night Train To Lisbon, the movie version of Pascal Mercier’s novel, starring Jeremy Irons, which was filmed in Portugal’s capital. British Airways has a two-night break with breakfast (including BA flights from Heathrow) at the four-star Turim Europa, from £181 per person, between 1 February and 23 March.
0844-493 0783, www.ba.com/lisbon
It’s said that Cuba will change, not necessarily for the better, once Fidel Castro is officially no more – so try to get there first. Encompass runs small, group-escorted tours of two to eight guests: A Cuban Snapshot is a seven-night tour that starts and finishes in Old Havana, with three nights in colonial Trinidad, and two in Vinales, from £660 per person. Virgin Atlantic flies direct from Gatwick to Havana, from £667.
07981-027052; email@example.com or www.encompasstours.com
0844-209 7770, www.virgin-atlantic.com
12 NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand is Middle-earth again for Peter Jackson’s three new films based on Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Discover The World’s 13-night Return To Middle-earth self-drive tour takes you to key areas, including Hobbiton, Tongariro National Park and Queenstown, so you can see the stunning landscapes for yourself.
From £1,477 per person, excluding flights; return Heathrow to Auckland flights with Qantas, from £1,182: www.qantas.com
Thanks to the forthcoming FIFA World Cup football and the Olympics, Brazil is already in the news. Abercrombie & Kent’s 13-day Classic Brazil trip, from £4,775 per person, takes in all the best bits, from Rio de Janeiro and the falls at Iguaçu, to the colonial history and spectacular coastline of Bahia. The price includes accommodation, private guiding and flights.
0845-485 1512, www.abercrombiekent.co.uk
Owing to all sorts of scientific reasons, this winter is a brilliant time to see the Northern Lights. Taber Holidays has a new, three-night Northern Lights Weekend in Muonio, from £1,360 per person, including flights and accommodation. Departing every Thursday from 3 January to 14 April, it is based away from the artificial light pollution of big towns, to allow viewing of these amazing displays. The trip also includes snowmobile, husky, reindeer and snowshoe activities.
Glorious Tasmania is at last being recognised as a destination in its own right. Cox & Kings offers 10-night Tasmania: The Forgotten Coast, from £4,025 per person, which includes accommodation and excursions in Freycinet and Cradle Mountain national parks.
0845-154 8941, www.coxandkings.co.uk
Malaysia Airlines flies from Heathrow to Melbourne from £809: 0871-423 9090, www.malaysiaairlines.com then fly from Melbourne to Hobart with Virgin Australia from £60 each way: www.virginaustralia.com
Until now, Laos has been largely untouched by mass tourism. Two must-dos for visitors are Luang Prabang, a beautiful city with 30 or so temples, and a river cruise on the unexplored Upper Mekong. Discover Indochina offers a number of group departures that also take in Cambodia and Vietnam, and can tailor-make a trip for you. For example, the Mekong, Cambodia & Laos 10-night trip costs from £2,499 per person.
0844-880 0985, www.discoverindochina.co.uk
Back on holidaymakers’ wish lists, those who travel on Inside Japan Tours’ new seven-night luxury trip, Spirit Of Honshu, stay in first-class hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto, and a de luxe ryokan (traditional guest house) on the rural Izu Peninsula. Costing from £2,600 per person, there are four departures in 2013, including a blossom-viewing trip departing on 8 April. The tour also includes a special Geisha event in Kyoto.
0117-370 9751, www.insidejapantours.com
Why not follow Kate and William again… this time to Borneo? The brand-new Gaya Island Resort, Sabah, offers light adventure in blissful surroundings – rainforest walks, snorkelling, proboscis-monkey spotting and orang-utan viewing – plus a de luxe spa with yoga and meditation, swimming pool and excellent food. Cleveland Collection offers an eight-night stay from £1,465 per person, including return flights and breakfast.
020-7843 3531, www.clevelandcollection.co.uk
19 SRI LANKA
British Airways launches a new flight route to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, in March, and a new highway has halved travel time for road journeys to southern beaches and Yala National Park, making it easier to see more of this wonderful island. Western & Oriental’s 13-night Taste Of Sri Lanka Tour, including Yala safari and the beach near Galle, costs from £1,115 per person.
020-7666 1234, www.wandotravel.com
Tamil Nadu is one of India’s hottest-tipped states this year. It has stunning beaches, the World Heritage site of Mahabalipuram, a wonderful carved stone temple complex, and Pondicherry – the former French colony that’s the focus for the new film adaptation of Life Of Pi. The region is also hosting its first book festival in December. Western & Oriental’s 15-day Temples Of Tamil Nadu holiday, from £1,995 per person, includes accommodation, breakfast, all flights and private transfers, as well as a full sightseeing programme.
020-7666 1234, www.westernoriental.com
Daily tip from the lady archive
“PEOPLE cannot help being influenced by their surroundings and their environment; therefore how all important it is that both of these should be healthy and cheery, for health and happiness both go hand-in-hand.”The Lady. The Blessing of Old Health, 18th November 1920
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