Kirker Holidays

Kirker’s new collection of cultural, musical and Christmas holidays

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From exclusive access to top winemakers in Bordeaux to prehistoric death cults in Malta, and from the history of modern medicine in France to an atmospheric Christmas in Vienna, Kirker’s new itineraries combine expert lecturers and thoughtful visits with joie de vivre and la dolce vita.

Specialist tour operator Kirker’s latest collection of cultural tours and music holidays promises discerning travellers a fascinating array of small, expert-led group tours to enjoy in 2023. Featuring itineraries in the UK, Europe and further afield, designed to appeal to those interested in topics ranging from art, architecture and archaeology to gardens, music and wine, Kirker now also offers a selection of tours for science enthusiasts, created in conjunction with New Scientist magazine.

opera

NEW to Kirker’s popular cultural tours programme this year are:

OPERA IN ITALY: The Verdi Festival in Parma
Verdi was born, grew up and lived for much of his life in the countryside around the beautiful city of Parma where the annual Verdi Festival takes place. Led by art historian and opera specialist, Patrick Bade, the tour includes performances not only in Parma’s Teatro Regio, but also at the Teatro Verdi in Busseto, and visits Cremona, a delightful historic town in Lombardy, where Stradivarius was born.

Arriving 19 September, the six-night holiday is from £3,590 pp (two sharing – single supplement £480), including B&B at the four-star Hotel Palace Maria Luigia, two dinners, two lunches, four operas, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

WINE TOUR IN FRANCE: Bordeaux – Wine Capital of the World

Travelling in the company of celebrated wine writer Jonathan Ray, this four-night holiday is based in the heart of Bordeaux, the elegant French city that has become a byword for fine wines over the course of many centuries. Kirker clients will visit a range of wineries in the region, meeting experienced winemakers in person, and going behind the scenes to sample exceptional wines and enjoy truly memorable dining experiences.

Arriving 27 October, the price is from £2,298 pp (two sharing – single supplement £398), including flights (Gatwick), B&B at the four-star Hotel De Sèze, three lunches, one dinner, wine tastings, excursions, and the services of Kirker Tour Leader, wine expert Jonathan Ray.

MUSIC FESTIVALS IN THE UK: Autumn at Glyndebourne

The autumn season at Glyndebourne is the ultimate pleasure for opera lovers. This year’s outstanding productions include Mariame Clément’s much-anticipated new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Annabel Arden’s triumphant interpretation of Donizetti’s bittersweet bucolic comedy L’elisir d’amore. The first holiday is based at The Grand in Eastbourne and includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the remarkable collection at the Towner Gallery. The second holiday is based at Alex Polizzi’s new hotel, The Star in Alfriston and begins with an evening at Glyndebourne.

Arriving 10 November and 22 November, the price is from £1,297 pp (two sharing – single supplement £264), including B&B accommodation, three dinners, two operas, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

Edinburgh

The four New Scientist collaborations appearing in Kirker’s popular Cultural Tours & Music Holidays brochure for the first time this year are:

The Science of Scotland
Explore key sites and moments from the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ (a period of unprecedented scientific and intellectual creativity in the 18th and early 19th century) on this fascinating two-centre tour. Learn more about luminaries such as James Watt, Lord Kelvin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Burns and Charles Darwin, who was exposed to early ideas on the evolution of life whilst studying in Edinburgh. Arriving 1 September, this four-night holiday costs from £1,175 pp*.

Renaissance Astronomy in Kepler’s Prague

Join astronomer and lecturer Martin Griffiths for a journey to the heart of early modern science during this tour of mediaeval Prague that retraces the footsteps of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, including the world’s oldest Astronomical Clock, Benatky Castle and an evening visit to the Stefanik Observatory. Arriving 10 September, this five-night holiday costs from £2,178 pp*.

Megalithic Malta

Led by award-winning journalist Juliet Rix, this tour explores the exceptional archaeological sites of Malta and Gozo, uncovering 7,000 years of history that includes unexplained carved-stone landscapes and prehistoric death cults, as well as beautiful coastlines, pretty fishing villages, and fine Baroque architecture. Arriving 7 November, this five-night holiday costs from £2,298 pp*. 

The Birth of Modern Medicine: Paris & Montpellier

Travelling by high-speed rail throughout, four nights will be spent in Paris, where the ‘Paris School’ of hygiene and hospital teaching flourished, followed by two nights in Montpellier, home to the world’s oldest university medical faculty, alma mater of Nostradamus. Led by New Scientist writer and author Linda Geddes, anyone intrigued by medical practice will be delighted to explore the contributions of key figures including Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie. Arriving 10 June 2024, this six-night holiday costs from £3,892 pp*.

Vienna Christmas

Kirker’s Christmas tours this year are: 

CHRISTMAS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR

Staying at Nice’s iconic five-star Hotel Negresco – recognised as a National Historic Monument, no less – this festive trip combines the city’s most important museums and galleries, visits to Antibes and St Paul-de-Vence, and exquisite French cuisine. Christmas Eve dinner is taken in the hotel’s Royal Salon, Christmas Day lunch at the wonderful Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, and Boxing Day lunch at La Colombe d’Or, where the walls are adorned with works by Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Chagall – evidence indeed that the Côte d’Azur has lured artists since the 19th century. Located on the Promenade des Anglais overlooking the beautiful Baie des Anges, the hotel is a sumptuous base for an unusual and enlightening Christmas. A gift to yourself, one might say.

Arriving 22 December, the five-night holiday is from £3,598 pp (two sharing – single supplement £680), including return BA flights from Heathrow to Nice, B&B accommodation, three dinners, two lunches, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA

 Dream-like at any time of the year, Vienna at Christmas time is particularly special. Divinely decorated shop windows and elegant festive lights enhance the city’s medieval streets. As guests at the leading five-star Hotel Bristol, a beautiful bedroom is guaranteed, and drinks at the intimate ‘Bristol Bar’ – one of the oldest American-style bars in Austria – are a must. On Christmas Day attend a performance at the Vienna State Opera, directly opposite the hotel. Plus, enjoy visits to the city’s finest museums and galleries, including the Belvedere Palace and the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Arriving 22 December, the five-night holiday is from £3,695 pp (two sharing – single supplement £680), including return BA flights from Heathrow to Vienna, B&B accommodation, Christmas Day lunch, two dinners, one opera, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

museum

Each holiday is led by an expert lecturer, who will help Kirker clients experience the very best of their chosen destination, revealing additional insights that they might otherwise miss. Every itinerary is meticulously planned to include visits, not only to the most noteworthy museums and monuments, but also to less-visited points of interest which many visitors overlook, and most tours also allow some free time for independent exploration. Group sizes are kept intentionally small – typically between 10 and 20 passengers – to ensure a more personal experience. 

Kirker’s 2023 Cultural Tours & Music Holidays collection is elegantly encapsulated in a dedicated brochure, its colourful pages revealing yet more Cultural Tour choices that include Kirker favourites such as Sicily – An Enigmatic Island (nine nights from £3,236 pp), The Duke of Wellington & The Peninsular War (seven nights from £2,889 pp) and Jordan – The Land of T.E. Lawrence (eight nights from £4,898 pp). There are several lovely UK options too, The Gardens & Galleries of Cornwall (five nights from £2,149 pp), The Gardens of Dorset & Somerset (four nights from £1,489 pp) and The Vineyards of Kent (four nights from £1,597 pp). For those already planning ahead, there are two delightful festive breaks: Christmas in Vienna and Christmas on the Côte d’Azur (price on application).

Also featured in the new brochure is Kirker’s popular selection of Escorted Holidays to Leading Music Festivals & Events, including European favourites such as the Puccini Opera Festival (five nights from £2,648 pp), Opera at La Fenice in Venice (four nights from £2,598 pp), the Grafenegg Music Festival in Austria (five nights from £3,196 pp) and Baroque Opera in Sweden (five nights from £2,796 pp). UK options for 2023 include The Grange Festival in Hampshire (four nights from £1,948 pp), The Buxton Opera Festival (four nights from £1,657 pp) and Suffolk’s much-loved Aldeburgh Festival (five nights from £1,747 pp). In the USA, Kirker offers discerning travellers an unmissable opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Opera & Art Galleries of New York (five nights from £3,540 pp).

Guaranteed to entrance the most discerning of cultural travellers, Kirker also offers a programme of Exclusive Music Festivals in the UK and Italy, each featuring a programme of world-class performances created solely for Kirker clients. Join fellow enthusiasts closer to home at The Kirker Music Festival at The Grand in Eastbourne (three nights from £1,398 pp), The Kirker Music Festival at The Star in Alfriston (three nights from £1,565 pp) and The Kirker Music Festival in Suffolk (four nights from £1,860 pp). Alternatively, head to idyllic Italy, where Kirker clients may join a very special private house party to enjoy The Villa Medici Giulini Collection (four nights from £2,293 pp) or visit the former Mediterranean island home of Sir William and Lady Walton at La Mortella for Kirker’s annual Exclusive Music Festival in Ischia (seven nights from £2,920 pp).

A copy of Kirker’s 2023 Cultural Tours & Music Holidays brochure – as well as its 2023 Short Breaks brochure – can be ordered in digital or print format, by clicking here.

For more information or to book one of Kirker’s small group tours, tailor-made short breaks or holidays to Europe and beyond, please call 020 7593 2283 or visit www.kirkerholidays.com.

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