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Kirker adds Japan to 2016 Cultural Tours & Music Holidays

Far East itinerary joins 18 further new escorted tours in Europe and North America to tempt discerning travellers next year

Renowned for its impeccable array of escorted itineraries to some of Europe’s finest destinations, Kirker Holidays has extended its expertise to the Far East with the launch of its 2016 Cultural Tours & Music Holidays brochure. Appearing in Kirker’s programme for the very first time, Japan is the focus for a 12-night small group tour, accompanied throughout by a Japanese guide and Kirker tour escort.

Examining the cultural life of this fascinating country, Gardens, Temples & Cities of Japan effortlessly blends the bustle of Tokyo and ancient beauty of Kyoto with the tranquil ‘shrine island’ of Miyajima, a cruise on the clear, still waters of Lake Ashi, rail travel by Shinkansen service (bullet train) to Hiroshima, a visit to the largest wooden building in the world (the magnificent Todai-ji Temple in Nara) and much more. Departing 13 May & 6 November 2016, the price is from £4,785 pp*.

Kirker - WashingtonFor discerning travellers keen to venture to North America for their holiday next year, Kirker has also added The Galleries & Museums of Washington DC, Philadelphia & New York, an eight-night tour that encompasses some of these fine cities’ most important heritage sites, from George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon to the impressive collections of fine and decorative art in Philadelphia and New York. There is also the option to enjoy a performance Puccini’s La bohème at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (additional cost) for clients travelling in April. Departing 23 April & 22 October 2016, the price is from £3,795 pp*.

Also new to Kirker’s Cultural Tours selection next year are four holidays – two in France and two in Italy – that can be enjoyed either as separate five-night short breaks, or combined to create comprehensive ten-night itineraries. Departing 13 April or 21 September 2016, Ravenna, Urbino & Ferrara costs from £1,428 pp*, whilst Parma, Cremona & Mantua (departing 18 April or 26 September 2016) costs from £1,498 pp*. Booked together as a ten-night tour of northern Italy’s art cities, the price is from £2,598 pp*.

More of a Francophile? Explore the Art of the Côte d’Azur on an escorted tour departing 16 April or 10 September 2016 (from £1,632 pp*) or the Gardens of the Riviera (five nights from £1,449 pp*), departing 21 April or 15 September 2016. A ten-night holiday, encompassing both itineraries, costs from £2,738 pp*.

Two new Exclusive Kirker Music Festivals join the 2016 programme too. Alongside established favourites such as the Kirker Spring Music Festival at the Hotel Tresanton, St Mawes and the Kirker Ischia Music Festival (now in its 11th year), Kirker clients can enjoy the sights and sounds of Spain at the new Kirker Music Festival in Salamanca. Staying at the comfortable and stylish Hacienda Zorita, this six-night holiday features an exciting programme of Spanish music from four centuries, performed by Flamenco guitarist José Luis Montón, soprano Amaia Azcona Cildòz, pianist Luis Bravo and La Ritirata, one of Europe’s foremost Baroque ensembles. Departing 6 May 2016, the price is from £2,240 pp*.

 Alternatively, keep the winter blues away with a seven-night stay at the five-star Hotel Botanico in Puerto de la Cruz for the Kirker Music Festival in Tenerife. Promising an unforgettable series of private concerts by violinist Marcia Crayford, viola player Simon Rowland-Jones, cellist Moray Welsh, pianist Paul Janes, and organist, Christopher Monckton, it departs on 30 January 2016. The price is from £2,395 pp*.

 Kirker has also added three new itineraries to its popular Music Festivals at Sea. Sailing on Fred.Olsen’s Black Watch, each no-fly cruise features a series of exclusive on-board chamber music concerts by international artists, as well as optional shore excursions at selected ports of call. Already booking up fast, the first cruise departs from Dover on 12 June 2016: Norway’s Midnight Sun – A Midsummer Cruise across the Arctic Circle (13 nights) visits the North Cape, Finnmark, Tromsø and Trondheim, as well as some of Norway’s most spectacular fjords, from £2,210 pp*. Departing 31 October 2016 from Harwich, A Cruise to Spain, Morocco & Portugal (11 nights) visits Vigo (for Santiago di Compostela), Casablanca (for Rabat), Cádiz, Lisbon and Oporto, and costs from £1,850 pp*.  Or discover the Art Cities of Flanders, the Netherlands & Germany (seven nights) – with three exclusive concerts by the Navarra String Quartet. Departing 11 November 2016, the price is from £1,480 pp*.

Musically-minded travellers can also immerse themselves in two new music holidays: Art & Music in Vienna, a new five-night holiday departing 26 April, 27 May & 19 June 2016 (from £1,975 pp*), whilst Opera in Budapest  merges world-class musical performances at the city’s State Opera House and Erkel Theatre with escorted sightseeing in Buda and Pest. Departing 24 March, 13 April & 21 May 2016, the price is from £1,365 pp*.

Also NEW to Kirker’s Cultural Tours programme for 2016, and each led by an expert tour lecturer specialised in their field, are:


 An Introduction to Albania: A short flight from the UK yet a world away from the rest of Europe, Albania packs a cultural punch belying its diminutive size. This six-day holiday includes Butrint, home to one of the most beautiful Greco-Roman sites, the lively city of Tirana, the dramatic scenery of the Sari Saltik mountain range, ancient Apollonia, and the coastal towns of Vlora and Saranda. Departing 11 June & 24 September 2016, the price is from £1,396 pp* with no single supplement.


 The Country Houses of Bohemia & Moravia: Discover the great country houses of a little-known area of the Czech Republic on this seven-night holiday, staying for the most part in Brno, a city rich with Gothic and Baroque architecture. Moravia’s most famous son, the composer Leos Janacek, is the focus for one day of the tour, which ends in Cesky Krumlov, a charming small town perched on the River Vltava. Departing 23 May & 19 September 2016, the price is from £1,593 pp*.


 Ancient & Mediaeval Provence: Based in the walled city of Avignon, this seven-night tour explores the wealth of ancient and mediaeval architecture found throughout this delightful region of France, including some of the greatest Roman sites and monuments outside of Italy, as well as the art collections of Aix-en-Provence. Departing 1 April & 17 October 2016, the price is from £1,778 pp*.

 Pas-de-Calais: Lille, Lens & Arras: Newly revitalised with a number of major cultural developments, this north-eastern corner of France now boasts attractions such as the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie (formerly an Art Deco swimming pool) and Villa Cavrois. Tick these off, alongside visits to the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille and Arras, the Henri Matisse Museum and the Louvre-Lens Museum, during a four-night holiday that also visits Ypres for the sounding of the Last Post. Departing 1 April & 29 September 2016, the price is from £996 pp*.

The Dordogne: Discover the rural charms of the Dordogne on this seven-night holiday, staying in the picturesque market town of Sarlat. Visiting several of the impressive châteaux synonymous with the region as well as the mediaeval fortified village of Monpazier, the unhurried pace of this itinerary also allows plenty of time to enjoy delicious lunches and dinners in restaurants including La Tour des Vents. Departing 16 April & 24 September 2016, the price is from £1,796 pp*.


Genoa – City of the Doges: Historically rivalling Venice as the Mediterranean’s most important trading centre, Genoa has – until recently – been overlooked by visitors, despite its ample artistic and architectural treasures. This five-night holiday, staying in the heart of the city, also explores the beautiful Ligurian Riviera, lunching at both the Hotel Splendido in Portofino and a private palace in Chiavari, whilst opera lovers will adore the performance at Teatro Carlo Felice that is also included. Departing 20 April, 15 June & 5 October 2016, the price is from £1,575 pp*.

Lucca & the Lucchese Hills: Popular with day visitors, Lucca rewards those who linger for longer, offering artistic treasuresKirker - Lucca such as the important sculptures of the San Martino cathedral and San Michele in Foro, closely associated with Puccini, who was born in Lucca. This four-night holiday also visits Villas Grabau and Reale in the Lucchese Hills, plus the smallest public theatre in the world (Teatrino Di Vetriano) and Pisa. Departing 1 April & 4 November 2016, the price is from £1,237 pp*.


Kraków to Warsaw – Castles & Palaces of Poland: This nine-night holiday examines the architectural and artistic contrasts of Kraków and Warsaw, as well as travelling to some of Poland’s lesser-known, beautiful rural areas to tour lovingly restored country houses and palaces. A must for music lovers, too, this escorted tour also visits the homes of Chopin and Szymanovsky. Departing 27 May & 9 September 2016, the price is from £2,498 pp*.


Bilbao, Cantabria & Old Castille: Highlighting both Spain’s rich history and the changes it has undergone in the last 20 years, this seven-night holiday begins in Bilbao with visits to the Guggenheim Museum, the Museo de Bellas Artes and the Basque Museum, before moving on to Burgos, from where excursions to a section of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, plus the remote Visigothic chapel of Santa María de Lara and the Monastery of Santa Domingo de Silos all feature.  Departing 25 May & 17 October 2016, the price is from £1,598 pp*.

For those who prefer to remain closer to home…

Kirker now has a selection of UK Music Holidays, including visits to the North Norfolk Music Festival and The Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester. Departing 23 & 27 July 2016, prices for the Three Choirs start from £794 per person for four nights, including accommodation with breakfast at the three-star Mercure Bowden Hall Hotel, dinner each evening, concerts, sightseeing, all entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

*Depending on the itinerary chosen, prices are based on two sharing and include return flights (London) or standard class Eurostar, transfers, accommodation with breakfast (apart from New York) and some other meals, excursions/musical performances and the services of a tour lecturer and/or holiday escort. UK tours do not include travel to/from the destination. Single rooms available on request – supplement applies unless otherwise stated.

Kirker’s 2016 Cultural Tours & Music Holidays brochure contains 35 cultural tours to destinations throughout Europe as well as the USA, Cuba and Japan, 16 escorted itineraries to leading music festivals and events in Europe (plus one in the USA), six Exclusive Kirker Music Festivals on land and three at sea, with more itineraries planned as the year progresses.


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