Kirker Holidays

Kirker’s New Music Holidays, Cultural Tours & Scientist Experiences

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Paris, Kirker

From an exclusive jazz festival in East Sussex to lakeside opera in Finland, and from The French Revolution in Paris to Psychoanalysis in Freud’s Vienna: Kirker takes you to places not usually open to visitors, in the company of leading experts and highly acclaimed musicians.

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Specialist tour operator Kirker’s latest collection of music holidayscultural tours and scientific thinking experiences features its most-exciting-ever array of small, expert-led group tours. Group sizes are kept intentionally small – typically between 10 and 20 passengers – to ensure a more personal experience.

Featuring itineraries in the UK, Europe, and further afield, the trips are designed and meticulously planned for discerning travellers interested in topics ranging from art, architecture and science to gardens, music, and wine. Every itinerary includes visits, not only to the most noteworthy museums and monuments, but also to less-visited points of interest which many visitors overlook – and, importantly, most tours also allow some free time for independent exploration.

jazz Kirker

NEW FOR 2024

EXCLUSIVE MUSIC FESTIVALS IN THE UK

KIRKER JAZZ FESTIVAL – Alfriston, East Sussex – three nightsHosted by multi award-winning pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock, and accomplished organist Oliver Condy – Editor of BBC Music Magazine for 17 years – this festival features intimate concerts in the beautiful Hope Chapel in Alfriston in the company of three of modern jazz’s brightest stars. Guests stay at Olga Polizzi’s latest – and highly acclaimed – hotel, The Star. Behind a 15th century façade on Alfriston’s pretty high street, there’s an elegant restaurant, an atmospheric bar with open fires, and a courtyard leading to 30 stylish bedrooms. Each evening guests are joined by Oliver and the musicians, both for dinner and for post-concert drinks. During the day there will be opportunities to explore the stunning Sussex coastline and the South Downs.Departing 12 February 2024this tour costs from £1,686 pp (two sharing), including accommodation with breakfast, three dinners at the hotel, three concerts, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.KIRKER CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL – Chilston Park, Kent – three nightsThe Carducci Quartet is one of the leading quartets of its generation, performing at venues throughout the UK and America. Kirker’s newest UK Music Festival is not only an opportunity to enjoy their wonderful music, but also to hear a discussion of the works and their musical lives in a series of talks with Barry Cheeseman, director of the Kirker Music Festivals programme for over ten years. Based at the elegant Chilston Park Hotel, on the edge of the Kent Downs, guests will be taken to the Turner Gallery in Margate, and to Sissinghurst to see the garden created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Nigel Nicolson.Departing 6 May 2024this tour costs from £1,678 pp (two sharing), including accommodation with breakfast, three dinners at the hotel, three concerts, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

LA SERENISSIMA – Baroque Music at Hintlesham Hall, Suffolk – four nightsNow at the forefront of Baroque music, under the expert direction of violinist Adrian Chandler, La Serenissima is a group of 12 musicians who perform works by an astonishing number of composers with strong links to 18th century Venice, as well as German composers from the period. In the impressive surroundings of Hintlesham Hall – a Grade I Listed manor house hotel in the tranquil Suffolk countryside – this unique festival brings together the music and history of England, Vienna and Venice in the early 18th century. As well as three concerts, guests can immerse themselves in a landscape which inspired Constable and also Gainsborough, whose house they will visit, having recently reopened after redevelopment as a National Centre for Art dedicated to his life and work.Departing 22 July 2024this tour costs from £2,196 pp (two sharing), including accommodation with breakfast, four dinners at the hotel, three concerts, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

Paris Lisbon Kirker

MUSIC HOLIDAYS

PARIS – Art, Opera & Ballet – four nights

In the company of Parisian resident and opera expert Patrick Bade, this is an opportunity to experience two contrasting programmes, including both the Second Empire extravagance of the Palais Garnier, and the contrasting modern architecture of the Opéra Bastille. Exploring the city on foot and by public transport, Patrick will also introduce guests to some of his favourite Parisian restaurants. Plus, there will be visits to the latest exhibitions at the city’s best art galleries and museums.

Departing 6 February & 6 May 2024this holiday costs from £2,887 pp (two sharing), including return Eurostar in Standard Premier, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, one lunch, tickets for performances, a four-day Paris Museum Pass, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of both the Kirker Tour Lecturer and a local guide. 

LISBON – Art & Opera – four nights

Lisbon has a fascinating and powerful history hidden beneath its friendly façade. In addition to exploring one of Europe’s liveliest cities, guests take excursions to the nearby towns of Sintra and Queluz. Another highlight is a performance of Falstaff – Verdi’s last opera and only comedy – at Lisbon’s wonderful 18th century opera house, the Teatro Nacional De São Carlos.Departing 8 May 2024this holiday costs from £2,376 pp (two sharing), including return flights to Lisbon from London, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, three lunches, first category ticket for Falstaff, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of both the Kirker Tour Leader and a local guide.

FINLAND – Savonlinna Opera Festival – four nightsThis festival began in 1912, its romantic setting – Olavinlinna Castle on Lake Saimaa – the perfect stage for a Nordic summer spectacle. Within the covered auditorium inside the castle courtyard, three performances will take place: Verdi’s Nabucco, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Wagner’s Lohengrin, where Karita Mattila will give her first opera performance in her native Finland – a mere 40 years after storming to stardom with first prize in the inaugural BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Other highlights of the trip include visits to the National Museum of Finland and to an Orthodox monastery with a history dating back to 1717, plus cruising on Lake Saimaa, home to the endemic Saimaa ringed seal.Departing 10 July 2024this holiday costs from £3,296 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Helsinki, accommodation with breakfast, tickets for performances, four dinners, two lunches, a wine tasting, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of both the Kirker Tour Leader and a local guide.FINLAND – The 24th Sibelius Festival in Lahti – four nightsAt the annual Sibelius Festival in Lahti, about an hour from Helsinki, Kirker guests will attend all three evening concerts by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra at the Sibelius Hall, a concert hall built almost entirely of wood which overlooks the calm waters of Lake Vesijärvi. The Principal Conductor, Dalia Stasevska, is also Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and she conducted the First Night of the 2023 Proms. The trip includes a visit to Hämeenlina, where Jean Sibelius was born, and to Ainola, the house where Sibelius and his wife Aino lived and are buried, side by side, in the garden.Departing 28 August 2024this holiday costs from £2,689 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Helsinki, accommodation with breakfast, tickets for performances, three lunches, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Leader.

Kirker

CULTURAL TOURSROME – Roman Cuisine with Valentina Harris – five nightsChef, writer and broadcaster Valentina Harris leads you in experiencing Rome’s most authentic restaurants, which embody the city’s food history, and to dine in style – from local markets to Michelin-starred restaurants.  Guests will meet some of the best local food producers and winemakers, and will also explore the surrounding countryside.Departing 22 April 2024this holiday costs from £3,178 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Rome, accommodation with breakfast, three dinners, four lunches, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.TURIN – Turin and Piedmont – six nightsTurin is one of Italy’s most under-visited, yet extraordinarily fascinating, cities. Surrounded by the Alps and sliced by the River Po, it’s impossible not to be wowed by Turin’s grand architecture, Renaissance palaces, superb museums, and historic cafés and restaurants.  Led by Tour Leader Christopher Monckton, an Oxford scholar with a life-long interest in history and music, guests will also be taken beyond the city limits to explore the Piedmontese countryside – home of white truffles, Barolo vineyards and the palaces of the Dukes of Savoy.Departing 28 May and 8 October 2024this holiday costs from £2,498 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Turin, accommodation with breakfast, three dinners, two lunches, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.

FLORENCE – Renaissance Art in Florence – five nights

This new tour will be led by Jeremy Boudreau, Head of Art History at the British Institute, a 16th  century palazzo on the banks of Florence’s River Arno. Since the birth of the Renaissance, the city has been one of the most important destinations for discerning art lovers. On this trip, in addition to visiting the best art galleries and churches, guests attend a lecture at the Institute’s Harold Acton Library, and enjoy a private visit to the Villa La Pietra, the 14thcentury palace in the hills above Florence which was the Acton family home.Departing 28 October 2024this holiday costs from £2,698 pp (two sharing), including return Eurostar in Standard Premier, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, one lunch, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.

Brussels

PARIS – The French Revolution – four nightsHugh Macdonald-Buchanan has led people from all over the world on tours to the battlefields of The Western Front. You couldn’t be in more conversant company in which to trace the story of one of history’s most important events. Highlights include a private tour of Versailles, where the Revolution started, provoking a World War that lasted for 23 years; the Picpus Cemetery (the only private cemetery in Paris), where 1,300 beheaded victims were flung en masse into two pits; and the Conciergerie, the ancient palace of the mediaeval monarchs that was used as a prison during The Terror. Departing 22 April 2024this holiday costs from £2,489 pp (two sharing), including return Eurostar in Standard Premier, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, one lunch, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.

BRUSSELS – The Battle of Waterloo – three nights

Also led by Hugh Macdonald-Buchanan, this trip focuses on one of the epic contests of all time with the three greatest generals of the age present, along with 200,000 troops from nine countries. But Napoleon was ultimately defeated and exiled, allowing the British Empire to establish a powerful hegemony over the following hundred years.

Departing 26 April 2024this holiday costs from £1,798 pp (two sharing), including return Eurostar in Standard Premier, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, one lunch, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.

PARIS & BRUSSELS – The Rise & Fall of Napoleon (The French Revolution & The Battle of Waterloo together) – seven nights

Departing 22 April 2024, this holiday combines the two above trips and costs from £3,998 pp (two sharing), including return Eurostar in Standard Premier, train travel from Paris to Brussels, accommodation with breakfast, four dinners, two lunches, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.

Vienna, Kirker

VIENNA – Wine & Opera in Vienna – four nights

Vienna is perfectly positioned in the centre of Austria’s winemaking regions – added to which the city itself has almost 1,500 acres of vineyard which are now producing award-winning wines. This new tour, led by wine expert Tim Clarke, takes guests to Austria’s wine regions to meet some of the country’s best winemakers. Interwoven with this is a visit to the Mozart House, lunch in the wine tavern where Beethoven produced some his greatest symphonies, and the Baroque splendour of the Esterházy Palace, where Joseph Haydn lived and worked.Departing 22 April 2024this holiday costs from £3,289 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Vienna, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, three lunches, four wine tastings, a ticket for ‘Tosca’ at the Staatsoper, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer.

LAUSANNE – Lake Geneva & Wines of Lavaux – four nightsLake Geneva has inspired artists and writers for centuries, from Mary and Percy Shelley to Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward, Richard Burton and Audrey Hepburn, all of whom lived overlooking the lake’s waters. The area’s exceptional wines are little known to the UK, so great is the domestic demand. Staying at a wonderful lakeside hotel in Lausanne, guests will visit the steep south-facing terraces of Lavaux, constructed by11th century Benedictine and Cistercian monks. Other highlights include an excellent dinner served on board during a lake cruise, and a day in the Alps with lunch overlooking the valleys below.Departing 26 August 2024this holiday costs from £3,689 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Geneva, accommodation with breakfast, three dinners, two lunches, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of the Kirker Tour Expert.EGYPT – Ancient Egypt & The Nile Valley – nine nightsIn the company of an expert historian, guests will marvel at the Pyramids and the Sphinx, the great temples at Karnak, Luxor and Aswan, and the extraordinary tombs etched into the Valley of the Kings. Beginning in Cairo, the trip takes you as far as the great temple at Abu Simbel, more than 500 miles upriver. Cruising the Nile itself between Luxor and Aswan, it will become clear how and why this magnificent river has been the lifeblood of Egyptian culture and civilisation for five millennia.Departing 23 September 2024this holiday costs from £4,497 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Cairo, flights within Egypt, half-board accommodation, four lunches, two afternoon teas, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of a Kirker Tour Lecturer plus an expert local guide.

Copenhagen

NEW SCIENTIST TOURS – in collaboration with New Scientist magazine

PARIS & MONTPELLIER – The Birth of Medicine – six nights

From mummified écorché figures to bone-lined catacombs, discover the foundations of the modern science of medicine through the tales of two French cities: Paris, where the ‘Paris School’ of hygiene and hospital teaching flourished, and Montpellier, home to the world’s oldest university medical faculty and its medicinal garden. Accompanied by Linda Geddes, the award-winning journalist and author, also a New Scientist contributor.

Departing 10 June 2024this holiday costs from £3,892 pp (two sharing), including return Eurostar and TGV tickets in First Class, accommodation with breakfast, three dinners in local restaurants, guest lectures from New Scientist contributor Linda Geddes, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of a Kirker Tour Leader and local guide.

BOHR’S COPENHAGEN – Physics, Past & Future – five nights

Oppenheimer may have taken the limelight recently, but his work built on the foundations laid by Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962) in Copenhagen. Join author, journalist and scientist Manjit Kumar for an intriguing trip to the Danish capital, the birthplace of quantum physics. It was here that Niels Bohr founded the Institute of Theoretical Physics, now known as the Niels Bohr Institute, where the greatest scientific minds of the era – including Einstein, Heisenberg and Schrödinger – pioneered work on atomic structure. Guests will visit Copenhagen University where cutting-edge research is taking place into deep space and data science, and ancient Roskilde – now a centre for sustainable energy research.

Departing 3 July 2024this holiday costs from £2,898 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Copenhagen, accommodation with breakfast, three dinners, guest lectures from New Scientist contributor Manjit Kumar, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of a Kirker Tour Leader and local guide.

NOBEL’S STOCKHOLM – Celebrating Science through Space & Time – five nights

Stockholm is a haven of scientific thinkers, including Alfred Nobel, Carl Linnaeus, and Jons Jacob Berzelius. In the company of experts, examine the Sweden Solar System: sculptures, installations and lights that represent the planets and moons of our solar system at a scale of 1:20 million. It is the world’s largest model of a planetary system.

Departing 21 September 2024this holiday costs from £2,794 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Stockholm, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, one lunch, guest lectures from a New Scientist contributor, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of a Kirker Tour Leader and local guide.

FREUD’S VIENNA – The three schools of Psychoanalysis – four nights

Dr Sigmund Freud, founder of modern psychoanalysis, lived in Vienna for about 80 years, until Anschluss with Nazi Germany in 1938 forced him to emigrate to London. During this time, he pioneered studies and theories of the unconscious mind. On this tour, in the company of a neuroscience expert, guests explore the history of Freud, Adler and Frankl, as well as exploring the history of science and medicine in Vienna, and of the Jewish community in particular.

Departing 25 November 2024this holiday costs from £2,486 pp (two sharing), including return flights from London to Vienna, accommodation with breakfast, two dinners, guest lectures from a New Scientist contributor, all sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities, and the services of a Kirker Tour Leader.

A copy of Kirker’s 2024 Cultural Tours & Music Holidays 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 2284 or visit www.kirkerholidays.com.

Press: Please contact Gemma Minto or Sue Ockwell at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email g.minto@travelpr.co.uk / s.ockwell@travelpr.co.uk. At Kirker, contact Patrick Millar on 020 7593 2281 or email patrick.millar@kirkerholidays.com.

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