• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Time to start thinking of your next summer holiday…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

USA and Canada

Everyone’s situation is different as to what they need to think about when booking a holiday. Do you have children at school, are you in a job that restricts you from taking time off when you like?

Early planning is a must to avoid disappointment in these situations. Booking early also means you can take advantage any early booking discounts, which can save significantly sums for your holiday.

We are here to assist you make those plans and to help take the stress out of organising your trip. Once booked you can simply sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday!

We are experts in the USA and Canada priding ourselves on the fact we have stayed in and visited many of the places we send our clients, helping you to make the best choices. The USA and Canada are well worth booking early in high season and they both offer something for everyone, from big city glamour to small town charm but can have limited availability.

 

USA – first thoughts

For the USA ‘big city glamour’ try the city of Chicago in Midwestern USA, a metropolitan hub for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago’s most famous shopping districts, and you’ll find flagship stores — from high street favourites to high fashion stores — along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s. For boutique shopping, head to Chicago’s 77 neighbourhood, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items you simply won’t want to leave without.

Chicago is bursting at the seams with theatrical talent. Broadway in Chicago and many Tony Award winning companies bring in big names and blockbuster shows, while more than 200 storefront, experimental and neighbourhood theatres bring you pioneering contemporary performances. Chicago is also a city that loves to laugh —after all Chicago invented improvisation comedy. See where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell performed at world-famous ‘The Second City’. If stand-up comedy is your thing, grab your tickets for The Laugh Factory or Zanies. It is also a hub for all kinds of music and well worth experiencing.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm, we would recommend Jackson in Wyoming USA, sitting 15 miles from the Idaho border and approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the famous Yellowstone National Park. Offering you an adventure holiday exploring the wildlife and immersing in the local culture. You can explore on skis (in winter), mountain bikes, rafts, horse drawn stagecoaches. Add in exquisite cuisine, world-renowned art, and unique shopping to make a holiday to remember.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Canada some places to consider

For ‘big city glamour’ consider a visit to the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia with its skyline of glass buildings and the surrounding ocean and coastal mountains. Here you can swim from the beach and then go off to explore a mountain all in one day.  This is such a versatile city with so much to do. The city is the largest in British Columba, but manages to hold on to its rustic charm and natural beauty nonetheless. Visitors can enjoy bike riding, shopping, visiting a local museum or just relaxing in Stanley Park. Take the free shuttle service out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offers a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. See the jaw-dropping majestic nature of British Columbia unfold as you ascend via aerial tram to the summit of Grouse Mountain. Rising 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown.

You can dine at a world class restaurant or join a Vancouver foodie tour which allows you to visit a wide variety of highly recommended restaurants trying varied cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. A visit to Granville Island is a must for true foodies looking to sample the best of this coastal city. This gastronomic-focused district offers everything from elegant waterfront restaurants to small ethnic eateries. The Granville Island Public Market is a must see, an indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of food and produce, displaying handcrafted products and unique gifts.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm in Canada, we suggest Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – an attractive town with an underground network of bootlegging tunnels connecting buildings. The tunnels were created in 1908 for a steam system that never happened, but it is rumoured that Al Capone gambled and made deals in them. You can get around this historic town on trolley buses and guided tours, stopping to visit one of the many attractions and museums, or you can simply relax in one of the many spas around the town. Summer in Moose Jaw is always bustling with activities such as Sidewalk Days, Park Art, the Motif Multicultural Festival, Farmers’ Markets, events in Crescent Park and much more.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and help with organising and booking your holiday please contact us.

Dine your way round the USA from Dirt Dog to Muffaletta…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

When it comes to dining in the United States they sure know and love their food. Each state has it own specialties and a great way to explore America is through its food.

Austin, Texas

We might like to stoke up a barbecue on the weekend, but in Texas they live and die by the practice. Mesquite smoked meats and tenderising rubs are common obsessions.  For excellent brisket, head to the Dallas Farmers Market. Also good are the pork links, pulled pork, beef ribs and collard greens. Basically everything! Also in Austin you can find Franklin’s Barbecue. This is a very popular eat house especially with the locals who arrive as early as 5am on weekends, and is well worth the wait for mouth-watering food.

Picture courtesy of Shelby Sorrel

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is best known for its glitzy casinos and sequin-spangled shows. But past the casinos, slot machines and neon glare of the Strip you can also enjoy an amazing food scene that is full of inventive, innovative cuisine. The city is full of every kind of food with something to please everyone. If you are an indecisive eater, then visit Café Hollywood and try the High Roller Sampler. This includes tasters of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers: chicken tenders coated in Cap’n Crunch, shrimp tempura, buffalo wings, and barbecue tostadas.  Another favourite is the Housedog at Dirt Dog.  You will know Dirt Dog is open when you see the huge line of hungry people stretching around the block. Here you will find a bacon-wrapped hot dog covered in cream cheese, cheddar, roasted green chilles, thousand island dressing, grilled peppers, and onions.

 

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown is located at the tip of Cape Cod and is a ‘must’ when visiting the Cape. Here you will not beat the fresh seafood with plenty of seafood shacks to serve you your favorite lobster roll, or fresh oysters, clams, scallops and crab.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

New Orleans

One of New Orleans most famous ‘must try’ dishes is Crawfish étouffée (pronounced eh-too-fey) which comes from the French word “to smother.” This dish resembles a very thick stew, seasoned to perfection full of delicious, plump crawfish (or shrimp) served with rice. It’s a unique taste you won’t soon forget! Also a ‘must try’ is the Muffaletta, a sandwich that is never just a sandwich. This is all about the meat but with the olive salad dressing and the bread being important too. The Muffaletta is full of cured Italian meats, such as ham and salami topped with Provolone cheese. The olive dressing sports chopped green and black olives with onions and olive oil and spices, and the bread is a round sesame-seed roll like a bagel that can be big enough for sharing. Why not try it in one of the many restaurants in New Orleans, with plenty to choose from.

 

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is often hailed to be the best food town of the United States. The regional produce is grown on surrounding small farms, resulting in lots of fresh, clean flavours, with most ingredients locally reared and sustainably sourced. Most restaurants tend to be casual – even some of the Michelin-starred eateries.  San Francisco loves its’ bread and pastries, so take a visit to the old-school donut shop, Bob’s which is open 24hrs. The donuts are great, but the apple fritters are perfectly crisp-soft and laced with plenty of cinnamon. The other ‘must try’ food that comes to mind is a clam chowder (Fisherman’s Wharf) which was an East Coast invention, but in a world famous sourdough bread bowl that makes it that much better.  Chinatown is another must see place with lots of dining options, and the best way get the most out of your time here is to book a walking tour which will take you to all the tea shops, dim sum restaurants and back alleys.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf – Credit Visit California Carol Highsmith

September – the perfect month to explore America’s beautiful South-West…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

If you are still thinking of a holiday for later this year then consider a drive taking in some of North America’s most spectacular National and State Parks.  Without the summer crowds and with perfect temperatures for walking, October is a great time to explore the mountains, canyons, deserts, lakes and rivers of Arizona and Utah. Begin your adventure in Phoenix or Las Vegas. With stops for 1 or 2 nights at the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and Sedona, this will be a truly memorable journey through some of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes imaginable.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on booking your tailor made, bespoke holiday contact us now.

You can also take a look at our website at www.experienceholidays.co.uk where you will find tailor made, bespoke itineries to suit all tastes.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Holidays Closer to Home

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Did you know we also offer holidays closer to home?

Whether it is a short break to a classic European city or a week in the Mediterranean sunshine we can help you create your perfect holiday.

We work with a variety of well established companies giving us the ability to offer our clients a wide choice of destinations including the Channel Islands, Croatia, Greece, Iceland and Spain, to name but a few. If a journey on the Orient Express or a cruise along the Norwegian Fjords on an expedition ship is more your cup of tea we can help you plan all of these amazing trips.

Our expert staff can create the perfect holiday tailored to your own personal requirements, arranging travel by any combination of air, rail, car or ferry. So, if you are considering a holiday nearer to home this year please do get in touch so we can start planning your next trip.

Contact us here

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

 

Country: Panama

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Panama is a small country situated at the southern end of the Central American isthmus. Rightly famous for its 82km ship canal running from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean, it is very much more than just this. With a booming economy and a growing tourist industry it offers you history, pristine rainforests with abundant wildlife and indigenous tribes and Panama City – three cities in one. This is a year round destination with tropical weather throughout the year and a dry season that runs from November to April.

Panama City firstly offers you the ancient ruined part known as La Vieja, the original Spanish city that they burned down when the Spanish authorities heard that Henry Morgan was on his way to capture the city.  Casco Antiguo grew up a short distance from the original and still has a very Spanish feel to it. Home to boutique hotels, interesting bars and restaurants it is a place to explore and enjoy yourself. Finally there is the modern skyscraper city that is lively and with some interesting architecture.

 

Away from the city you could transit the Panama Canal as an experience or just visit the locks at Miraflores which house a museum on the construction of the first Canal and a cafe with views over the lock so that you can watch the precision needed for large ships navigating their ways to and from the Caribbean and Pacific. The second Canal is already in operation and again worth viewing as it takes larger vessels along it.

 

Just a short distance from the city, you could be climbing into a powered dugout boat and racing up a fast river deep in the rainforest to meet the indigenous tribe that lives here. Enjoy time learning how they exist in the forest, their tribal structure, their herbal medicines, their arts and craft and even a dance or two. Perhaps include trek through the cloud forest at Boquete looking at the truly colourful flora and bird life.

In addition you could be lazing on the palm fringed white sandy beaches of Bocas del Toro. Here the waters are clear – ideal for swimming, diving and snorkelling.

All in all there are plenty of reasons to holiday in Panama or combine it with a trip to Costa Rica.

 

 

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

Country: Cuba

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

The largest of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba has much to offer for those travellers that have an interest in history, current and ancient, music, architecture and stunning beaches. Add in friendly people, varied and interesting scenery and direct flights and it is a great destination for most at reasonable prices.

This is a Third World country with 97% literacy and one of the best health services anywhere. Doctors and nurses and the chief export of Cuba.  But money is scarce so do not be surprised that all of the roads have potholes that rival African ones. Of course cigars feature heavily in the economy as does sugar but tourism is very much a prime industry and a hope for their future. The horse, oxen and mule are still very much in evidence. For every cowboy you saw in the USA there are 5,000 Cuban ones and they do truly work on the land.

Because the US has enforced an embargo on Cuba for the past 55 years things have to last, be renewed, worked around etc. There are 75,000 old cars still running and they cannot be exported. Many are in a really good state and fun to ride in. The iconic photo of an ancient Buick, Ford or Chevy outside an ancient Spanish colonial era building is one that you will keep taking.

Things are changing slowly, so do not delay too long before heading out there.

 

 

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Destinations Show, Olympia

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 


Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures

Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.

For your free tickets to Destinations Show, please go to: http://www.destinationsshow.com/london/form/registration  and then type in MSC97 in the appropriate place.

We look forward to seeing you at either event.

Include Cape Cod In Your New England Trip

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

One of our favorite little B&B boutique hotels ‘The Platinum Pebble’ in Cape Cod, New England, USA have written the following article about being on Cape Cod –

The best place to stay on Cape Cod means different things to different travelers.  Why are you traveling and what do you enjoy on holiday?  For us, the best place to stay is where we have the best access to explore our new surroundings.  We live like a local in our travels and soak up as much as we can as we discover the best of where we happen to be.  Harwich drew us like a bonfire with its central Cape location, direct access to the beach and bike trails, farm to table restaurants, almost everything is walkable, and Provincetown is the same distance as Falmouth so we can easily explore the entire Cape.  Now our goal is to bring it to our Guests via customized itineraries so your vacation is everything it should be.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Two of our favorite places to visit on the Cape are Provincetown and Falmouth but, the distance between the two is a couple hours…more in High Season.  When we first came to Cape Cod we chose Harwich because it opens up both sides of the Cape without too much wasted travel time in between.  For us, the decision was easy because we like to see it all!  As an unintended consequence we found that Harwich is also about the same distance to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket with drive and ferry time considered.  For travelers searching for the best place to stay on Cape Cod, it’s about making this a vacation of your dreams…what is important to you is what defines where you should be.

To decide on the best place to stay on Cape Cod, access and walkability were high on our list.   Harwich has it all and we have discovered that having very little time to spend enjoying the best place on Earth (as Innkeepers) we are glad to have easy access to nearly everything when we do get a breather.

For more information on making Cape Cod part of your bespoke tailor made holiday to the USA then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Getting more from your trip to New York City

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

There is plenty to do in New York City from shopping along some of the most famous streets in the world, going to the top of iconic skyscrapers, heading across the river to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to browsing through all the various markets. The attractions are legion but if you are willing to travel a short distance out then there is even more to offer.

Join a tour, drive yourself or take the train and taxi to the following attractions which are just a couple of hours away from downtown NY. Overlooking the Hudson River is the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a guided tour and tour of the garden will leave you far more knowledgeable about this historic President. The first presidential library is located here and gives you details of this particular era. Just a short drive further along brings you to the Vanderbilt Mansion. Full of stunning art, furniture and surrounded by national parkland, you soon understand why they lived here.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

While in this area why not visit the Culinary Institute of America where students will give you a guided tour of the facilities and finish of dining at one of four restaurants found here. The food is excellent, as you would expect, and the prices very reasonable.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

To stretch your legs, head to Poughkeepsie and the New York State Park found here. One of the key attractions is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. This crosses over the Hudson River and is over 2 kms long.

For those interested in history (and flying) then make your way to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome which is home to a huge collection of 1900 – 1939 aeroplanes, cars, motorcycles and their memorabilia. From June to October there is an air show every weekend (weather permitting) with vintage aircrafts flying including WW1 German Fokker planes. For those intrepid enough, you can take to the skies in a biplane ride any day of the week.

A wonderful way to see this beautiful and interesting part of New York State.

We are a call away!

For more information please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Good News For Locals!

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Good News – Cathay Pacific has announced that they will be launching a new service offering direct flights from Gatwick to Hong Kong four times a week. This is in addition to their longstanding routes between Heathrow and Hong Kong, and between Manchester and Hong Kong.

This new route is great news for those living in the South East wishing to visit Australia and New Zealand, as there will be connections through to key hubs in both countries from Hong Kong.

The new service is due to commence in September 2016 with Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A350-900 with refreshed Business Class cabin and new Premium Economy Class seats.

Hong Kong makes a great stopover location, as well as a holiday destination in its own right. For more information on this, and how these flights could work well for your future holiday plans, give us a call on 01323 446550, or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

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