March 21, 2019
Held every year on 21 March since 1999, World Poetry Day celebrates a treasured form of cultural and linguistic expression. In celebration of this day, we are happy to share some poetry-inspired holiday ideas. Learn more about the observance of World Poetry Day and how it began on the United Nations website.
With a unique landscape of volcanoes, cascading waterfalls and fascinating historical towns, the Azores archipelago is an inspiration for many poets. Until 31 March, the Ponta Delgada Public Library on São Miguel is celebrating World Poetry Day with a free exhibition of love letters and poems written by renowned creatives, including author of the region’s unofficial national anthem – Hymn of the Azores – Natália Correia, plus celebrated poets Teófilo Braga and Almeida Garrett. Departing 16 March, a seven-night stay at the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico, costs from £702 pp (two sharing), including B&B, return flights (London) and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Paying homage to the life and work of Wales’ great poet, Dylan Thomas, this tailor-made itinerary visits his home town, Swansea, where you’ll spend two nights in the house where he was born, as well as his regular drinking spot, Browns Hotel, and the famous boat house in Laugharne where he spent his final years. There’s time to soak up superb Welsh scenery, too, during journeys on the Heart of Wales and Cambrian Lines, and on the Vale of Rheidol Railway. Departing 20 March (note this trip can be booked at any time of the year), the price is from £455 pp (two sharing), including four nights’ B&B, rail travel (from Swansea) and excursions. Call AITO* member Ffestiniog Travel on 01766 512400 (www.ffestiniogtravel.com).
English romantic poet John Keats was inspired by the historic Hampshire city of Winchester – particularly by its water meadows – to write his Ode To Autumn. Stay in the New Forest, at Beaulieu House (sleeps eight), a striking former brickworks right by the riverside, within the historic Beaulieu Estate. The garden leads directly to the water and a shared jetty, and there is a large lawn and trampoline. In March a three-night stay now costs from £222 pp (£1,770 total – was £1,962) with holidaycottages.co.uk (01237 459888, www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
Birthplace of celebrated Irish poets Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats and Brendan Behan, Dublin’s a dead cert in when it comes to a literary-inspired holiday. This six-night tour explores the city’s myriad cultural highlights, observing some of its finest examples of Georgian architecture and visiting the grand houses of Beaulieu, Carton, Castletown and Russborough, with ample time allowed for independent exploration, too. Departing 10 October, Georgian Dublin costs from £2,219 pp (two sharing), including flights (Heathrow), accommodation with breakfast at the four-star The Green Hotel, four lunches, two dinners, excursions and Kirker Tour Lecturer. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
One of China’s most influential poets, Hsieh Ling-yün took inspiration from the natural world, not only to write his poetry but also to found Zen Buddhism. Discover China’s serene beauty on an escorted tour taking in bucolic landscapes and ancient architecture, as well as a three-night cruise on the Yangtze River. Highlights include the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors and the beautiful Qutang and Wu gorges. Discover China costs from £2,995 pp (two sharing), including flights (Heathrow), transfers, 12 nights’ hotel B&B, three nights’ full board on the MV Century Legend, 11 lunches, nine dinners, excursions, guides & local reps. Departures in May & Jul.–Nov. Call Jules Verne on 020 3553 3722 (www.vjv.com).Guilin, China
Poet and author Robert Graves was inspired by the artistic village of Deia, Mallorca, which he called home for over 40 years. Famed for putting the small, coastal village on the map, Graves considered his greatest honour of all being dubbed the “Adopted Son of Deia”. His house, Ca N’Alluny (The Faraway House), still stands proud as a museum and can be visited during On Foot’s self-guided walking holiday (via a small detour). The trip costs from £1,085 pp (two sharing), including eight nights’ B&B accommodation, transfers, luggage transfers, full walkers pack with route directions and maps, plus local telephone support. Flights extra. Call AITO* member On Foot Holidays on 01722 322 652 (www.onfootholidays.co.uk).
In 1815 the internationally renowned poet Lord Byron married Annabella Milbanke at the extraordinarily romantic five-star boutique hotel Seaham Hall, situated on the dramatic and stunning north east coast. The couple’s daughter, Ada Lovelace, provided the inspiration for one of the hotel’s 21 ravishing suites. An overnight stay in a Junior Suite costs from £100 pp (two sharing) including a full English breakfast and use of the spa. Participate in the hotel’s World Poetry Day competition; submit your best poem to win a Champagne Afternoon Tea for two. Call Seaham Hall on 0191 516 1400 (www.seaham-hall.co.uk).Seaham Hall’s sea view
The Lake District was William Wordsworth’s greatest inspiration, both for his poem, Daffodils, as well as Guide to the Lakes, which has been studied for its relationship to his romantic poetry and for sparking tourism in the area. Follow in Wordsworth’s footsteps, staying at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, near Windermere, with Michelin-starred restaurant HRiSHi and the informal Gilpin Spice. On a separate 100-acre estate, Gilpin Lake House has just six rooms, private lake, hot tubs, saunas and pool exclusive to Lake House guests. An overnight stay is priced from £285 per room total/ £143 pp (two sharing), including two-course breakfast. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May…” but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting the birthplace of William Shakespeare this spring. Visit the beautiful homes cared for by the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, tread the cobblestones once walked by the inspirational poet and playwright himself, and wonder at one of the great works performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Stay overnight at The Arden, the sophisticated 45-bedroom boutique hotel situated directly opposite the famous theatres and the star of the historic town’s hotel scene, from £119 per room (two sharing), including full English breakfast. Call The Arden Hotel on 01789 298 682 (www.theardenhotelstratford.com).
*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.