March 3, 2020
With filming about to get underway on a BBC adaptation of ‘Around The World in 80 Days’, what better time to start planning your own adventure with the specialist tour operator that takes its name from the novel’s author? Jules Verne’s collection of Great Journeys takes travellers to all corners of the globe, including From Cairo to the Cape, an epic new 34-day itinerary through Africa, cruising the Nile in style (from Cairo to Aswan) before hopping aboard the luxurious Pride of Africa train to Cape Town. The price is from £17,495 pp (two sharing), including flights (Heathrow), VIP return transfers, cruise & hotel accommodation, most meals and expert local guides. Departs 13 September. Call Jules Verne on 020 3553 3722 (www.vjv.com).
Step in The Bard’s footsteps in Stratford-upon-Avon with a visit to the home of his birth, that of his mother and Holy Trinity Church, where a young Shakespeare was baptised and the great playwright was finally laid to rest in 1616. Stay directly opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatres and the River Avon, in the historic heart of the city, at The Arden Hotel, an elegant 45-bedroom boutique hotel. Offering award-winning dining at No. 44 Brasserie, luxurious accommodation and excellent service, it’s easy to see why this is the star of the city’s hotel scene. Priced from £119 per room (two sharing), including full English breakfast. Call The Arden Hotel on 01789 298 682 (www.theardenhotelstratford.com).
Home to F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda before opening as a hotel in 1929, the delightful Belle Rives continues to embody the jazz-filled days of the Roaring Twenties. Decorated throughout in Art Deco style and set right on the sea, this tranquil spot is just a ten-minute stroll from the centre of Juan-Les-Pins, one of the most attractive towns on the Côte d’Azur. Catch some rays, Gatsby-style, on the hotel’s elegant private pier and dine in the Michelin-starred restaurant, ‘La Passagère’. A three-night stay costs from £698 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick), private car transfers and accommodation with breakfast. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Located in her home village of Near Sawrey, just two miles from Lake Windemere in the beautiful Lake District, it’s little wonder that Beatrix Potter included Meadowcroft (sleeps eight) in The Tale of Ginger and Pickles. Although it’s no longer the village shop as depicted in this much-loved children’s book, this delightful cottage offers plenty of period charm as well as being close to Hill Top, the 17th century farmhouse that’s now preserved by The National Trust as a time capsule of her life. A seven-night stay costs from £105 pp (£837 total). Two dogs are welcome at a supplement of £20 each. Call holidaycottages.co.uk on 01237 459888 (www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
Take inspiration from two bestselling literary greats and get to know England better, exploring the beautiful British countryside in Devon. Get out your pipe and magnifying glass to look for the Hound of the Baskervilles on Dartmoor, then enjoy the scenic walk to Dartmouth, stopping en route to visit award-winning writer Dame Agatha Christie’s Greenway – her beloved holiday home and gardens. The seven-night Devon walk costs from £840 pp (two sharing), including B&B, some meals, luggage transfers between hotels, Walker’s Pack with route directions and maps, plus local telephone support. Flights extra. Call AITO* member On Foot Holidays on 01722 322 652 (onfootholidays.co.uk).
Phillip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’ sees protagonist Lyra head northward, where she encounters the spectacular Aurora while searching for her friend who has mysteriously disappeared. Hunt for the spectacle during a short break to Norway, Finland and Sweden, including a night-time catamaran cruise or Aurora dogsledding adventure, and snowmobiling to where the three countries’ borders meet. Plus, spend nights in a glass igloo and an ice room at the ICEHOTEL®. The cost is from £1,495 pp (two sharing), including transfers, four nights’ B&B, one dinner, guided activities & cold-weather clothing. Flights extra. Departures until 30 March. Call AITO* member The Aurora Zone on 01670 785 012 (www.theaurorazone.com).
Set on the fictional isle of Phraxos – but inspired by the real Greek island of Spetses – John Fowles’ The Magus is regarded by many as a fictional tour de force. Pondering the written word as Fowles did on this sun-drenched paradise, literary fans will also experience the real locations that inspired the fictional landmarks, such as the Hotel Philadelphia, which is actually the Grand Hotel Poseidonion. Combined with a stay at Economou Mansion, a restored 19th Century sea captain’s house, this escape truly is the perfect setting for literary inspiration. The cost is from £1,098 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B, return flights (Heathrow) and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4758 (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 and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.