Make the most of the Indian Summer with these September and October holiday ideas from Travel PR
Surf’s up the Atlantic Coast – Beachside bliss in Devon from £231 pp with holidaycottages.co.uk
Whether you’re an experienced boarder or an enthusiastic beginner, there can be little doubt that October’s a fine time for watersports in South West England… it’s also when the sea’s at its warmest, so you should be able to venture in without a wetsuit! Woolacombe Bay, on North Devon’s glorious Atlantic coast, is a superb spot to surf, kayak, stand-up paddle board and more, with equipment hire and lessons available at the Woolacombe Surf Centre. Stay within walking distance of the beach at The Horseshoe (sleeps four), a stylish apartment that boasts sea views from all its rooms and a fabulous, decked balcony. Currently with good availability for October, including half-term, a seven-night stay in October costs from £231 pp (£925 total). Visit holidaycottages.co.uk (www.holidaycottages.co.uk).
A weekend of wellness and wonderful food in the North East – Seaham Hall from £457 pn
Spend a weekend at luxury coastal boutique Seaham Hall and Spa this autumn, and be sure to receive a warm northern welcome, and plenty of pampering. This superb two-night weekend package includes Afternoon Tea with a glass of chilled Taittinger Champagne on arrival in The Lounge, a three-course dinner in the grand setting of The Dining Room on both nights, a Temple Spa ‘Do Not Disturb’ box containing luxury skincare and spa products, plus full access to the Serenity Spa. A two-night Weekend Getaway costs from £915 for two sharing a Junior Suite for two nights, including all extras outlined above. Saving of 10% off B&B price. Call Seaham Hall on 0191 516 1400 (www.seaham-hall.co.uk).
Extend your summer on the UK coast – find Britain’s best beaches with the Beach Check UK App (free)
It may have been a bit of a wash out so far, but there is still plenty of summer to be enjoyed into September and October, with lots on offer across the British coastline, from food festivals and outdoor art to surf schools and clifftop hikes. Choose from the Coastal Cultural Trail in Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, Charles Dickens museums and independent shops in Kent, pop-up food trucks in Worthing, heritage railway in Somerset, castles and clifftop walks in Dorset, and much more. Using the new Beach Check UK app (free to download from Google Play and the Apple App store), you can see how busy the beach is before you arrive and check for facilities such as parking, disabled access, loos, and cafés. For more information visit https://www.englandscoast.com/en/blog/beach-check-uk-app.
A final summer hurrah at the great British seaside – from £240 pp at The Grand, Eastbourne
Eke out the final days of summer on the glorious Eastbourne coast, with art, culture, hiking, fine dining and wine tasting on your doorstep. Explore the Coastal Culture Trail – an 18-mile stretch of coastline peppered with outdoor art works and galleries such as The Towner in Eastbourne and the Hastings Contemporary, hike along the South Downs Way trail beginning in Eastbourne and promising breath taking clifftop views, and enjoy a wine tasting experience at Rathfinny Wine Estate near Alfriston, a family-run vineyard producing award-winning English sparkling. Stay at the iconic seafront hotel, The Grand, overlooking Eastbourne’s Victorian promenade and boasting an outdoor swimming pool, spa and 2-AA Rosette fine dining Mirabelle Restaurant. The cost for a two-night stay in September or October is from £480 (£240 pp) for a double room (two sharing) including breakfast and use of leisure facilities. Visit www.grandeastbourne.com / 01323 412345.
Get reacquainted with London this autumn in the company of a Blue Badge Tourist Guide
With international tourist numbers to London unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels for some time, there’s never been a better opportunity for those of us based in Blighty to explore this great capital, while its historic attractions and striking modern sights remain crowd-free. And, whilst we may think we ‘know’ the city, the plethora of interesting itineraries offered by England’s highly qualified and knowledgeable Blue Badge Tourist Guides – including tours exploring Jewish London, Rock n’ Roll London, Brixton Street Art, London’s Slave Trade and the City’s Secret Gardens – are guaranteed to give your visit a new dimension. The Institute of Tourist Guiding (www.itg.org.uk), the professional body for tourist guides, is committed to developing, maintaining and promoting the highest standards in tourist guiding. To find a Blue Badge Tourist Guide in London, visit www.guidelondon.org.uk.
Balmy late summer sailing around Malta – from £636 pp with SamBoat
With the mercury still hitting up to 25 degrees in September and October, head south to Malta for a spot of guaranteed sunshine on an idyllic sailing trip around this beautiful archipelago. On a seven-night trip aboard NuShen, a 15-metre Ketch cruising sail yacht with swimming platform, based in Valetta, you’ll discover hidden coves, crystal clear blue waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling, blue lagoons, prehistoric temples and cities built by knights, and the spectacular islands of Gozo and Comino. Sleeping four guests plus one skipper, the cost for a seven-night trip is from €3,690 / approx. £3,142 (£785 pp). Flights extra. SamBoat offers a Covid-related insurance policy (additional cost). To book, visit www.samboat.com
Easy-going autumn escape on Agistri, near Athens – from £873 pp with Sunvil*
Enjoy the comfortable climate of Greece in autumn and spend a week on Agistri, one of the closest islands to Athens and better known to Greeks than to tourists. With a pine-covered landscape, great walking trails and remarkably clear sea, Agistri is the smallest of the Saronic islands and its resort village of Scala has a good selection of tavernas and café-bars, a safe sandy beach and a laidback Greek atmosphere. Sunvil offers a stay at the family-run Yianna Hotel, just a 3-minute walk from the beach and 5-minutes to the town on foot. It features a freshwater pool and is celebrated for its restaurant offering authentic Greek dishes. Departing 22 October, a seven-night B&B stay costs from £873 pp (two sharing), including flights (Heathrow), 23kg luggage pp and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4758 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Indian Summer on the Island of Calm – Mallorca from £1,298 pp with Kirker*
Described by the Spanish painter and poet Santiago Rusiñol as ‘the island of calm’, there can be few places more perfect than Mallorca for a peaceful escape – and that all-important last blast of sunshine – before winter beckons. Stay at the four-star Cala Fornells, a charming beachside property surrounded by pine trees at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana that’s been privately owned by the same family since it opened in 1947. Active types will find walking and cycling trails on the doorstep, a tennis court at the hotel, and a golf course just 3 km away, whilst excursions to Valldemossa, Sóller, Deìa and Sa Dragonera National Park can be easily organised. Or simply chill out on a sunlounger with a good book… A seven-night stay in September or October costs from £1,298 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), private transfers, B&B and the services of the Kirker Concierge. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Cook with Clive in Spain’s spectacular Subbética – Andalucia from £323 pp Finca Las Encinas
Renowned for its olive oil and abundant in delicious local produce, the Subbética region of southern Spain is a superb choice for UK foodies seeking more than just sunshine from their early autumn break. Stay at Finca Las Encinas, a family-run gourmet B&B (just four rooms) in an idyllic rustic setting near Iznájar that’s been lovingly restored by its owners, Clive and Maki, and uses only the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients – ethically produced on their own grounds or sustainably sourced – in its mouth-watering menus. Learn to cook like Clive (who’s also the chef) on one of his fun-filled, hands-on courses that range from two to four sessions, or can be arranged bespoke. A three-night B&B stay, including welcome dinner and two cooking sessions with Clive costs from €380/approx. £323 per person (two sharing). Flights from the UK to Malaga (a 90-minute drive) in October currently start from £52 pp. Call Finca Las Encinas on 00 34 629 610 783 or visit www.finca-las-encinas.com.
October sunshine with solo travel appeal on Lake Como – Italy for £895 pp with Jules Verne
Soak up the splendour of the most elegant of the Italian lakes, and some last rays of sunshine, with an October stay at the four-star Grand Hotel Menaggio on Como. Set directly on the lake – world-famous for its exclusive villas, pastel-hued villages and pretty gardens – it’s an idyllic base from which to enjoy private boat trips to Villa del Balbianello and Villa Carlotta, plus optional excursions to Lake Orta, Bergamo, Milan and St. Moritz. Grand Hotel on Lake Como costs £895 pp, including flights (Heathrow), transfers, B&B, and the services of local reps. Departing 16 & 23 October, the latter date is a Solo Group Tour, designed exclusively for single travellers. Call Jules Verne on 020 3553 3722 (www.vjv.com).
*AITO is The Specialist Travel Association: more than 120 specialist independent holiday companies and 80 specialist independent travel agents, together providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas covering every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO members can be assured of high-quality holidays, excellent personal service and full financial protection. Visit www.aito.com for further information.
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