July 29, 2019
With attractions ranging from open-air cinema and an all-night film festival to events celebrating the spirit of the German novelist Theodor Fontane and Berlin’s urban partnership with Beijing, the German capital is a perfect choice for culture fans this Bank Holiday weekend. Stay in style at Rocco Forte’s five-star Hotel De Rome, just moments from Museum Island and a short stroll from the Brandenburg Gate, and enjoy three nights for the price of two from £899 pp (two sharing), saving £180 pp. Price includes flights (Heathrow), private transfers, accommodation with breakfast, Berlin Museum Card, Kirker Guide Notes and the services of the Kirker Concierge. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Enjoy a leisurely late summer jaunt along the Canal du Rhône against a backdrop of herb-scented hills and lavender fields. Travel with like-minded guests on this small group, exclusive six-night cruise with highlights including a walking tour of historic Arles and its Roman ruins, a visit to the pretty fishing village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (capital of the Camargue), a stop off in elegant Montpellier and oyster tasting in Etang de Thau. Péniche Provençale costs from £2,295 pp (two sharing), including Eurostar, transfers, full board, drinks, excursions, cruise director, local guides and reps. Departs 23 August. Call Jules Verne on 020 3553 3722 (www.vjv.com).
For a relaxing Bank Holiday haven, look no further than Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa near Leamington Spa. Its state-of-the-art Elan Spa features an outdoor vitality pool and glazed sauna, indoor hydro pool, gym and a range of holistic spa treatments. Champagne afternoon tea picnics can be taken in the rose garden and Head Chef Paul Evans’ delectable cuisine features many plant-based dishes using ingredients from the kitchen garden. The hotel’s Hazy Days and Lazy Stays offer is priced from £229 per room/£115 pp (two sharing) and includes a Champagne cocktail, two-course à la carte dinner and full English breakfast. Call Mallory Court on 01926 330 214 (www.mallory.co.uk).
With just one Bank Holiday weekend left this side of Christmas, who wants to waste it waiting at an airport? Minimise stress and your carbon footprint with a relaxing self-catering cottage stay in the famous Italianate Portmeirion Village on the beautiful North Wales Coast. Set out each day to enjoy steam journeys on the world-famous Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, where wonderful views… and a delicious afternoon tea…await. Arriving 23 August, three nights cost from £896 pp (two sharing), including accommodation, first class rail tickets with afternoon tea on both days, and return taxi transfers between Porthmadog & Portmeirion. Call AITO* member Ffestiniog Travel on 01766 512400 (www.ffestiniogtravel.com).
The chic, mountainous ‘almost island’ of Monte Argentario, linked by two sandbars to the mainland, is part of the Maremma coast, which is far less crowded than other parts of Tuscany and, while popular with Italians, is not really frequented by Brits yet. Rustic trattorias serve up local specialities such as wild boar pappardelle, the coastline is peppered with pretty coves and sand dunes, and sleepy fishing villages and 16th century forts are all around. Stay at luxe three-bedroomed Podere I Corbezzoli, a former 18th century farm worker’s dwelling, high up in the hills. Arriving 24 August, a week’s stay costs from £513 pp (£3,082 total), including maid service. Flights extra. Call CV Villas on 0207 261 5404 (www.cvvillas.com).
If you’ve ever been tempted to run away with the circus, you can scratch that itch in Sussex with a Bank Holiday special offer stay at Lady Jane (sleeps two), a newly-refurbished 1980s former showman’s living van. Set in the charming village of Bodiam, a short stroll from the local farm shop and pub, this quirky property has a veranda overlooking apple orchards and Bodiam Castle. A three-night stay arriving Friday 23 August now costs £181 pp (£361 total – was £441). Two dogs are welcome (£20 supplement each for the stay). Call holidaycottages.co.uk on 01237 459888 (www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
Experience a kaleidoscope of warming fiery colours with a trip to glimpse this natural phenomenon before it leaves Svalbard on 23 August. Take some time out amongst jagged mountain peaks and wilderness scattered with wild flowers, or enjoy the vast array of activities on offer – from hiking to birdwatching, and from fossil-hunting to kayaking, resting each evening at the cosy and homely Basecamp Hotel. Departing 22 August, this four-night trip to Norway costs from £1,247 pp (two sharing), including B&B, return flights and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
*AITO is The Specialist Travel Association: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays, excellent personal service and full financial protection. Visit www.aito.com for further information.